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CHAPTER V.: the colonies and scotland. - William Edward Hartpole Lecky, A History of England in the Eighteenth Century, vol. II 
A History of England in the Eighteenth Century (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1878, 1917). 8 Vols. Vol. II.
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the colonies and scotland.
Among the British dependencies in the middle of the eighteenth century, the first place must be given to the colonies in North America. It was a signal proof of the wisdom of the English legislators of the seventeenth century that they conceded to these colonies, charters which secured them an almost absolute self-government; while the number of the American provinces, and the diversity of the religions of the colonists, led to a much larger measure of religious liberty than existed in Europe. To these two inestimable advantages must be added a country of almost unlimited resources, and a people who, in energy, moral excellence, and practical wisdom, were probably unsurpassed upon the earth. In the present century the immigration of a large foreign population is seldom favourable to the moral condition of a nation. Emigration has become so easy and so familiar that it is the resource of multitudes but little removed from simple pauperism. Men of ordinary characters usually deteriorate when severed from the ties of home traditions, associations, and opinions; and they seldom feel any strong attachment for a country which was not that of their childhood. But in the seventeenth century the conditions of emigration were essentially different. The difficulties of the enterprise were such that those who encountered them were almost always men of much more than common strength of character, and they were to a very large extent men whose motive in abandoning their country was the intensity of their religious or political convictions. It is the peculiarity of the British colonies in America that they were mainly founded and governed by such men. Puritans in New England, Episcopalians in Virginia, Quakers in Pennsylvania, Catholics in Maryland—each province contained numbers who, during the persecutions of the Stuarts or of the Commonwealth, had sought in the Western world the opportunity of freely professing their faith. From the time of the Pilgrim Fathers to the time when the Salzburg Protestants flocked to the new colony of Georgia in 1732, America was pre-eminently the home of the refugees; and this fact is, perhaps, the most important in its history. After all that can be said of material and intellectual advantages, it remains true that moral causes lie at the root of the greatness of nations; and it is probable that no nation ever started on its career with a larger proportion of strong characters, or a higher level of moral conviction, than the English colonies in America.
Many other circumstances combined to mark them out as the predestined seat of a great free nation. Founded in nearly every case without any pecuniary assistance from the mother country, and separated from it by 3,000 miles of water, they were, during the earlier stages of their existence, practically almost beyond the knowledge and control of the Government at home; and most of the colonists belonged to those non-episcopal Churches which, by throwing on the people the duties of ecclesiastical government, have been the best schools of political freedom. Without bishops, without peers, without a resident sovereign, without superfluous offices or endowments, with a population consisting almost wholly of freeholders scattered thinly over an immense territory and mainly occupied in agricultural pursuits, their politics were naturally of the simplest and freest kind; and they almost entirely escaped the corruption that so deeply tainted the Government at home. Their progress, though less rapid than it afterwards became, was eminently healthy and steady. In less than eighty years after the first permanent English settlement there were twelve distinct colonial governments; and the population, which at the time of the Revolution was estimated at about 200,000, had risen to 1,000,000 some years before the middle of the century.1
There were, no doubt, many shadows on the picture. From the nature of their population the American colonies contained a very large amount of the fiercest religious fanaticism; and although in some provinces noble efforts were made to establish freedom of worship, these efforts were altogether exceptional. What religious liberty existed was much more the consequence of the extent of territory, and of the multiplication of provinces, which enabled each sect to find a home, than of the dispositions of the people themselves.2 The history of Salem witchcraft, of the persecution of the Quakers in Massachusetts, and of the suppression of religious liberty in Maryland, as well as a crowd of savage or absurd laws regulating, in the interests of religion, not only the opinions but also the minutest actions of the people, remain to show how far the colonists were from attaining any high general standard of religious freedom. Nor were their faults exclusively those of saints. Their warfare and intercourse with Indians were often marked by gross cruelty or injustice. The practice of kidnapping men at the English, Scotch, or Irish ports, to sell them to American planters, continued far into the eighteenth century; a numerous race of daring pirates found secure homes along the long deserted seaboards of America; and the colonial population, if it contained much of the highest excellence, contained also not a little of the refuse, of Europe. As numbers increased and as the condition of society became more complex, violent disputes arose in many provinces between the colonists and the proprietary, and they generally ended in an increase of the power of the Crown. The proprietary governments sometimes degenerated into narrow oligarchies; the theocratical laws of New England excited wide and general irritation, and in the last days of the Stuarts there were many conflicts between the Home Government and the colonies. Under Charles II. the charter of Massachusetts was annulled on the pretext of violation of the Navigation Act; under James II. the illegal Declaration of Indulgence was published in the colonies, and the constitutions of Rhode Island, of Connecticut, and of Plymouth were invaded. They were re-established at the Revolution, but that great event was on the whole not favourable to America. While it greatly lowered the royal authority at home, it rather increased it beyond the Atlantic; for the commercial classes who rose to power viewed with extreme jealousy the growing independence of the colonies, and were especially anxious to secure for themselves the most rigid monopoly of trade. William more than once exercised his power of veto against declaratory Acts of the colonial Assemblies tending towards independence, and there was a great desire on the part of the Government to bring all the colonies under the direct management of the Crown. The disputes in some colonies between the colonists and the proprietaries, the embarrassment resulting in time of war from distinct forms of government, the Jacobitism of Penn who had founded one great colony, and the Catholicism of Lord Baltimore who had established another, assisted in the transformation. The charter of Massachusetts was not restored, but a new charter was granted much more favourable to the Crown. Bills were brought in, in 1701 and in 1721, for the resumption of all the colonial charters; and although these bills were not carried, several charters were surrendered in the thirty years that followed the Revolution, and a new system was established more favourable to the supremacy of the Crown.1 It is not necessary here to follow in detail these changes, which have now lost most of their interest, and it is sufficient to indicate their general scope. In the old proprietary and charter colonies the forms of government were very various, but the great principle was the division of power, in widely differing proportions, between the proprietary and the freeholders; and the colonial legislatures, though restricted in their sphere, were in that sphere almost supreme. In the proprietary colonies, which consisted, at the time of the Revolution, of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Carolina, and Delaware, certain individuals called proprietaries appointed the governors and authorised them to summon legislative assemblies. In the other charter colonies, which then consisted of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, nearly all power resided with the freemen. In the Crown colonies, on the other hand, the government was a faint copy of the English constitution. Every Bill, in order to become law, had to be read three times by the Council and Assembly, and assented to by the Governor. The Governor and the Council, as well as the judges, were appointed by the Crown, but the Assembly was a representative body elected by the colonists. The members of the Council were nominated from among the chief persons in the colony. They discharged the functions not only of a House of Lords but also of a Privy Council to the Governor, and in some cases of a Court of Chancery, but they only held office during pleasure. The Crown did not consider itself bound by the colonial Acts, and reserved to itself a power of subsequent veto in the case of measures which had received the assent of the Governor; and civil cases of the more important kind might be carried on appeal to England. In 1696 a law was passed modifying the condition of the charter colonies,1 enjoining that no proprietors should dispose of their land, without licence from the sovereign, to any but British subjects, conferring on the Crown a negative upon the Governors, who were nominated by the proprietors, and asserting the nullity of any colonial Act or usage that was repugnant to English Acts relating to the colonies. To maintain the complete ascendency of the British Parliament over all colonial authorities became a fundamental maxim, and each change in government was intended to strengthen the influence of the Crown. During the peaceful administration of Walpole, however, the moderation of the Government extended to the colonies, and the happy neglect of Newcastle, to whose department they belonged, was probably on the whole very conducive to their prosperity.1
They had long eclipsed all rivals in North America. The great extent of Spanish territory which spread to the south of the British colonies was afflicted with that political atrophy which had passed over the other parts of the once mighty empire to which it belonged; and the Dutch, who in so many quarters rivalled or surpassed the colonial enterprise of England, had been long driven from North America. New Netherlands, captured by the English in 1664, was confirmed as a British possession by the Peace of 1667, the Dutch retaining, as a compensation, the colony of Surinam, in Guiana, which they had taken from the English. New Amsterdam, the capital of the Dutch settlement in North America, consisted chiefly of small thatched houses, and was so poor and so mean that the English general complained that he was unable to find in the town, bedding for his soldiers. In compliment to the brother of the King, it was called by its conquerors New York—a name destined to occupy a great space in the eyes of the world. The French settlements were more important, but they were dwarfed and stunted by a restrictive and centralised, though not unskilful, system of government;1 and when the Revolution involved the two nations in war, the superior force of the English colonies was so manifest that William refused the offer of colonial neutrality which had been made by Lewis. The French settlers at the time of the Revolution were officially reckoned at not more than 11,249 persons, about a twentieth part of the population of the English colonies.2 They were scattered over Canada, Acadia, Newfoundland, and the borders of Hudson's Bay; they laid claim to large tracts of almost uninhabited territory, which were under British rule; and though each nation possessed, beyond dispute, tracts immeasurably greater than it could occupy, a keen competition existed between them. A long series of wars, rendered very horrible by the employment on both sides of Indian auxiliaries, ensued. The Peace of Ryswick did not alter the relative positions of the two nations, as it provided that each should possess the territories it occupied before the war, and that commissioners should be appointed to settle the disputed frontier. The Peace of Utrecht advanced greatly the English power, for Newfoundland, Acadia, now called Nova Scotia, and the borders of Hudson's Bay, passed into their possession, but the frontier line continued ill-defined, and a subject of perpetual dispute. The French endeavoured with great energy to repair their disasters. They occupied Cape Breton, which commanded the St. Lawrence, and erected there the powerful fortifications of Louisburg. They strengthened their new colony of Louisiana, founded New Orleans in 1718, and encroached steadily on what was claimed as English territory along the Ohio and the Alleghany. The establishment of Georgia brought the English colonists into closer connection with the Spaniards; and during the war of the Austrian succession Oglethorpe carried on hostilities with skill and daring along the disputed frontiers of Georgia and Florida. In the north the English colonists obtained a brilliant triumph by the capture of Louisburg and consequent subjugation of Cape Breton; and, by a singular stroke of good fortune, a great French expedition against Nova Scotia in 1746 was dispersed and shattered by two furious storms. The Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle left the American frontiers almost unchanged, for Cape Breton was restored to the French in compensation for Madras, but the foundation of Halifax contributed much to strengthen the great ascendency of England; and the whole white population of French America, about the middle of this century, was said not to have been more than 52,000, while that of British America was reckoned at 1,051,000.
The real evil of the colonies lay in the commercial policy of the mother country—in the system of restrictions intended to secure for England a monopoly of the colonial trade, and to crush every manufacture that could compete with English industry. It was a policy which sprang, in a great degree, from that mercantile theory which denied the possibility of a commerce mutually beneficial to the parties engaged in it. It was strengthened by the Revolution, which gave commercial interests and the commercial classes a new pre-eminence in English legislation, and it had political consequences of the gravest character. In a very few instances, it is true, it was considered an English interest to encourage colonial produce. Thus Virginia, though afterwards forbidden to export her tobacco to any foreign country, had obtained under the first two Stuarts, in conjunction with Bermuda, a monopoly of the English market, and the cultivation of tobacco at home was absolutely forbidden.1 For a long time the tar and pitch of the British navy had come chiefly from Sweden, but that power having conferred the monopoly of the trade upon a mercantile company the price was inordinately raised. Under these circumstances the Ministers resolved to secure the materials for the navy from the British colonies, and Acts were accordingly passed, in 1703 and 1711, encouraging by bounties, the import from the American colonies, of tar, pitch, hemp, masts, and yards, and at the same time reserving all pine-trees of certain specified dimensions, that were not private property, for his Majesty's navy.1
But with these exceptions, the laws were almost wholly restrictive. The famous Navigation Acts, intended to exclude foreigners from the trade, provided that all vessels trading to or from the plantations should be built in England or the plantations, and limited both the export and import trade, as far as the most important articles were concerned, to the British dominions.2 Another measure declared in its preamble that the woollen manufacture, which had begun to rise among the colonists, ‘would inevitably sink the value of lands’ in England; and it proceeded utterly to destroy the inter-colonial trade by enacting that, ‘after the 1st of December, 1699, no wool or manufacture made or mixed with wool, being the produce of any of the English plantations in America, shall be loaden in any ship or vessel, upon any pretence whatever, nor loaden upon any horse, cart, or other carriage, to be carried out of the English plantations to any other of the said plantations, or to any other place whatever.’3 In 1719 the House of Commons resolved ‘that the erecting of manufactories in the colonies tended to lessen their dependence upon Great Britain.’ In 1721 George I., when opening Parliament, recommended the policy of deriving the naval stores from the North American colonies, on the express ground that ‘the cultivation of this useful and advantageous branch of commerce would divert the colonies from setting up manufactures which directly interfered with those of Great Britain.’ Iron existed largely in the colonies; and in a new country covered with unfelled timber, and depending mainly on ship-building, the trade of the smith was of pre-eminent importance. But the English House of Commons, in the interests of the English manufacturer, passed a measure in 1719 that none of the American colonies should manufacture iron of any kind; that no smith might make so much as a bolt, a spike, or a nail; and the House of Lords added a clause to the effect that no forge should be erected in any of the colonies for making ‘sows, pigs, or cast-iron into bar or rod-iron.’1 Such a measure would have hopelessly ruined the colonies, and it raised so vehement an opposition that it was dropped; but the export of American iron to the mother country was restrained by heavy duties till 1750. The introduction of pig and bar-iron was then freely admitted; but in order that the American manufacture should never rise above the most rudimentary stage, it was provided that no mill or other engine for rolling iron, or furnace for making steel, should be permitted in the colonies.2 No part of the world possessed furs in greater abundance, or of finer quality, than North America; and it was therefore obviously absurd that all hats should be imported from the mother country: but no sooner had the colonists began to make their own hats than the English hatters took the alarm, and Parliament in 1732 made a law forbidding the exportation of American hats, not only to foreign countries and to the mother country, but even from one colony to another, and at the same time providing that no colonist should pursue the trade unless he had served a seven years' apprenticeship, should have more than two apprentices at a time, or should teach the industry to negroes.3 The measure was successful, and an industry in which the colonies were naturally peculiarly fitted to excel speedily languished. The colonists were accustomed to send large quantities of provisions and lumber to the French West Indian colonies, and to bring back in return rum, sugar, and molasses. The English sugar colonies complained, and a law was passed in 1733 imposing heavy penalties on all rum, sugar, and molasses imported into America except from the British colonies.1 It was, indeed, found impossible to enforce this law, but it long remained unrepealed upon the statute book.
In this manner England made it a fixed maxim of her commercial policy to repress the prosperity of her colonies by crushing every rising industry that could possibly compete with the home market. On the other hand, it must be admitted that she hitherto abstained from deriving from them a direct revenue, and it must be added that some system of commercial restraint was universally pursued, and that the English system was not sufficiently severe to counteract the great material and political advantages of her colonies. Farming and shipbuilding, the trade in furs, provisions, tar, and pitch, the magnificent cod fisheries of Newfoundland, and the whale fishery, which had received a new impulse through the invention of a gun by which the harpoon could be plunged from a great distance into the body of the fish, were the chief sources of colonial wealth; and there was also a considerable linen manufacture created by Irish emigrants, and a large smuggling trade which it was happily impossible to suppress. The country was growing rapidly richer, though its progress was seriously retarded, and though many of its natural capacities were paralysed by law. But the political alienation which was the inevitable and most righteous consequence of these laws had already begun, and it is to the antagonism of interests they created, much more than to the Stamp Act or to any isolated instances of misgovernment, that the subsequent disruption must be ascribed.2 To a sagacious observer of colonial politics two facts were becoming evident. The one was that the deliberate and malignant selfishness of English commercial legislation was digging a chasm between the mother country and the colonies which must inevitably, when the latter had become sufficiently strong, lead to separation. The other was that the presence of the French in Canada was an essential condition of the maintenance of the British Empire in America. It was a perpetual danger to the colonists, and as long as the French Canadians were assisted by France it was impossible for the British colonists to dispense with the assistance of England. By ordinary statesmen these things appear to have been altogether unperceived, but even at the time we are considering there were those who foretold them. In 1748 the Swedish traveller Kalm, having described in vivid colours the commercial oppression under which the colonists were suffering, and the growing coldness of their feelings towards the mother country, added these remarkable words:—‘I have been told, not only by native Americans, but by English emigrants publicly, that within thirty or fifty years the English colonies in North America may constitute a separate State entirely independent of England. But as this whole country towards the sea is unguarded, and on the frontier is kept uneasy by the French, these dangerous neighbours are the reason why the love of these colonies for their metropolis does not utterly decline. The English Government has, therefore, reason to regard the French in North America as the chief power which urges their colonies to submission.’1
The commercial disabilities were not the only grievances under which the colonies laboured. Another—which, however, never attained any very serious proportions—was the influx of English criminals. The system of selling English criminals to the colonists for a limited period of servitude may, indeed, be traced back to a much earlier period, but it was revived or increased by a statute of George I.,2 and it introduced a very pernicious element into colonial life.3 Another, and a much more terrible evil was the rapid multiplication of negro slaves. Of all the many forms of suffering which man has inflicted upon man, with the exception of war, and, perhaps, of religious persecution, the slave trade has probably added most largely to the sum of human misery, and in the first half of the eighteenth century it occupied the very foremost place in English commerce. The first Englishman who took part in it appears to have been John Hawkins, who sailed in 1562 with three ships to Sierra Leone, where he secured, ‘partly by the sworde and partly by other meanes,’ some 300 negroes, whom he transported to Hispaniola. The enterprise proving successful he made a much more considerable expedition in 1564 to the coast of Guinea, the English ‘going every day on shore to take the inhabitants with burning and spoiling their towns,’ and the achievement was so highly considered at home that he was knighted by Elizabeth, and selected for his crest a manacled negro. It is a slight fact, but full of a ghastly significance as illustrating the state of feeling prevailing at the time, that the ship in which Hawkins sailed on his second expedition to open the English slave trade was called ‘The Jesus.’1 The traffic in human flesh speedily became popular. A monopoly of it was granted to the African Company, but it was invaded by numerous interlopers, and in 1698 the trade was thrown open to all British subjects. It is worthy of notice that while by the law of 1698 a certain percentage was exacted from other African cargoes for the maintenance of the forts along that coast, cargoes of negroes were especially exempted, for the Parliament of the Revolution desired above all things to encourage the trade.2 Nine years before, a convention had been made between England and Spain for supplying the Spanish West Indies with slaves from the island of Jamaica,3 and it has been computed that between 1680 and 1700 the English tore from Africa about 300,000 negroes, or about 15,000 every year.4
The great period of the English slave trade had, however, not yet arrived. It was only in 1713 that it began to attain its full dimensions. One of the most important and most popular parts of the Treaty of Utrecht was the contract known as the Assiento, by which the British Government secured for its subjects during thirty years an absolute monopoly of the supply of slaves to the Spanish colonies. The traffic was regulated by a long and elaborate treaty, guarding among other things against any possible scandal to the Roman Catholic religion from the presence of heretical slave-traders, and it provided that in the thirty years from 1713 to 1743 the English should bring into the Spanish West Indies no less than 144,000 negroes, or 4,800 every year, that during the first twenty-five years of the contract they might import a still greater number on paying certain moderate duties, and that they might carry the slave trade into numerous Spanish ports from which it had hitherto been excluded. The monopoly of the trade was granted to the South Sea Company, and from this time its maintenance, and its extension both to the Spanish dominions and to her own colonies, became a central object of English policy. A few facts will show the scale on which it was pursued. From Christmas 1752 to Christmas 1762 no less than 71,115 negroes were imported into Jamaica.1 In a despatch written at the end of 1762, Admiral Rodney reports that in little more than three years 40,000 negroes had been introduced into Guadaloupe.2 In a discussion upon the methods of making the trade more effectual, which took place in the English Parliament in 1750, it was shown that 46,000 negroes were at this time annually sold to the English colonies alone.3 A letter of General O'Hara, the Governor of Senegambia, written in 1766, estimates at the almost incredible figure of 70,000 the number of negroes who during the preceding fifty years had been annually shipped from Africa.4 A distinguished modern historian, after a careful comparison of the materials we possess, declares that in the century preceding the prohibition of the slave trade by the American Congress, in 1776, the number of negroes imported by the English alone, into the Spanish, French, and English colonies can, on the lowest computation, have been little less than three millions, and that we must add more than a quarter of a million, who perished on the voyage and whose bodies were thrown into the Atlantic.1
These figures are in themselves sufficiently eloquent. No human imagination, indeed, can conceive, no pen can adequately portray, the misery they represent. Torn from the most distant parts of Africa, speaking no common language, connected by no tie except that of common misfortune, severed from every old association and from all they loved, and exchanging, in many cases, a life of unbounded freedom for a hopeless, abject, and crushing servitude, the wretched captives were carried across the waste of waters in ships so crowded and so unhealthy that, even under favourable circumstances, about twelve in every hundred usually died from the horrors of the passage. They had no knowledge, no rights, no protection against the caprices of irresponsible power. The immense disproportion of the sexes consigned them to the most brutal vice. Difference of colour and difference of religion led their masters to look upon them simply as beasts of burden, and the supply of slaves was too abundant to allow the motive of self-interest to be any considerable security for their good treatment. Often, indeed, it seemed the interest of the master rather to work them rapidly to death and then to replenish his stock. All Africa was convulsed by civil wars and infested with bands of native slave-dealers hunting down victims for the English trader, whose blasting influence, like some malignant providence, extended over mighty regions where the face of a white man was never seen.
It has been frequently stated that England is responsible for the introduction of negro slavery into British America; but this assertion will not stand the test of examination. The first cargo of negro slaves introduced into North America is said to have been conveyed by a Dutch vessel to Virginia in 1620.1 Slavery existed in New York and New Jersey when they were still Dutch; in Carolina, Maryland, and Pennsylvania when they were still subject to proprietary governments. Its encouragement only became an object of the colonial policy of England at the time of the Peace of Utrecht, but before that date it had been planted in every British colony in North America, had become eminently popular among the colonists, and had been sanctioned by many enactments issuing from colonial legislatures. It is, however, true that from a very early period a certain movement against it may be detected in some American States, that there was, especially in the Northern Provinces, a great and general dislike to the excessive importation of negroes, and that every attempt to prohibit or restrict that importation was rebuked and defeated by England.2 As early as 1701 we find a petition in favour of the emancipation of negroes presented to the representatives of Boston. In 1703 a duty of 4l. was imposed on every slave introduced into Massachusetts. After the Peace of Utrecht many States, and among others South Carolina itself, remonstrated and struggled against the vast importation of slaves. They had, however, no power to prohibit it by law. Several English Acts of Parliament were passed to encourage the slave trade,3 the State Governors were forbidden to give the necessary assent to any measures restricting it, and the English pursued this policy steadily to the very eve of the Revolution. As late as 1775 we find Lord Dartmouth, the Secretary of State for the Colonies and one of the most conspicuous leaders of the English religious world, answering the remonstrance of a colonial agent in these memorable words: ‘We cannot allow the colonies to check or discourage in any degree a traffic so beneficial to the nation.’1
It has been computed that up to the year 1740 the number of negroes who had been introduced into the North American colonies was nearly 130,000, and that by 1776 it was rather more than 300,000.2 The causes that, at a later period, gave a much greater extension to American slavery, and the philanthropic movement in opposition to the slave trade, will find their place in a later portion of this book. In the first half of the eighteenth century the colonial opposition to the importation of slaves arose almost exclusively from economical and political reasons—from the effect of the excessive supply upon prices, and from the grave dangers resulting from the presence of a vast population of captives. In 1711 there was a violent panic in New York and nineteen victims perished, on account of an alleged negro plot to burn the city.3 In 1738 a serious insurrection of negroes was excited by the Spaniards in South Carolina, and the colonists of Jamaica were compelled to make a treaty with fugitive slaves whom they were unable to subdue.4 A few isolated protests against slavery based on religious principles were heard, but they had no echo from the leading theologians. Jonathan Edwards, who occupied the first place among those born in America, left among other property, a negro boy. Berkeley had slaves when in Rhode Island, and appears to have felt no scruples on the subject, though he protested, with his usual humanity, against ‘the irrational contempt of the blacks.’5 The article in the charter of Georgia forbidding slavery, being extremely unpopular among the colonists, was repealed in 1749; and it is melancholy to record that one of the most prominent and influential advocates of the introduction of slavery into the colony was George Whitefield. In Georgia there was an express stipulation for the religious instruction of the slaves; it is said that those in or about Savannah have always been noted in America for their piety,1 and the advantage of bringing negroes within the range of the Gospel teaching was a common argument in favour of the slave trade. The Protestants from Salzburg for a time had scruples, but they were reassured by a message from Germany: ‘If you take slaves in faith,’ it was said, ‘and with intent of conducting them to Christ, the action will not be a sin but may prove a benediction.’2 In truth, however, but little zeal was shown in the work of conversion. Many who cordially approved of the slavery of pagans questioned whether it was right to hold Christians in bondage; there was a popular belief that baptism would invalidate the legal title of the master to his slave,3 and there was a strong and general fear lest any form of education should so brace the energies of the negro as to make him revolt against his lot. Of the extent to which this latter feeling was carried, one extraordinary instance of a later period may be given. The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel sent missionaries to convert the free negroes in Guinea, on the Gold Coast, and in Sierra Leone; but it was itself a large slaveowner, possessing numerous slaves on an estate in Barbadoes. In 1783 Bishop Porteus strongly urged upon the managers of the Society the duty of at least giving Christian instruction to these slaves; but, after a full discussion, the recommendation was absolutely declined.4
In the American States slavery speedily gravitated to the South. The climate of the Southern provinces was eminently favourable to the negroes; and the crops, and especially the rice crop—which had been introduced into South Carolina from Madagascar in 1698—could hardly be cultivated by whites. In the Northern provinces the conditions were exactly reversed. We can scarcely have a better illustration of the controlling action of the physical on the moral world than is furnished by this fact. The conditions of climate which made the Northern provinces free States and the Southern provinces slave States established between them an intense social and moral repulsion, kindled mutual feelings of the bitterest hatred and contempt, and in our own day produced a war which threatened the whole future of American civilisation.
But in spite of these grave evils, the American provinces in the period I am describing were rapidly advancing. The old Puritanical fervour and simplicity, strengthened as it was by the influx of many persecuted Protestants, may still be sometimes detected. At the close of the seventeenth century, ‘travel, play, and work on the Lord's day,’ were prohibited in Massachusetts by law; and injunctions were given to constables ‘to restrain all persons from swimming in the waters, unnecessary and unreasonable walking in the streets or fields of the town of Boston or other places, keeping open their shops or following their secular occasions or recreations in the evening preceding the Lord's day, or any part of the said day or evening following.’ Adultery was punished by public whipping and by compelling the culprit to wear a large A sewn on his coat.1 In the following century we find in the same State one law for the suppression of lotteries, another for ‘the prevention of idleness and immorality,’ a third for discouraging extraordinary expenses at funerals and forbidding funeral scarves, a fourth prohibiting all dramatic representations.2 The last Act was due to the indignation produced by some young Englishmen who got up, in a Boston coffee-house, a representation of Otway's ‘Orphan;’ and it is worthy of notice that professional acting was not introduced into the English colonies of America till 1752. A London theatrical company then visited the colonies, but the law prohibited them from appearing in Massachusetts or Connecticut.1 In general, however, the increase of wealth was bringing with it a more luxurious type of civilisation which often surprised the traveller from England,2 and the standard of intelligence was very high. In 1721, in the very year when inoculation first appeared in England, it was introduced into Boston by Cotton Mather.3 Having seen in the ‘Transactions of the Royal Society’ some letters from Turkey describing its advantages he succeeded in inducing a physician named Boylston to join with him in his crusade; he obtained the support of the leading Puritan ministers at Boston, and in spite of a furious opposition—during which his life was more than once seriously threatened — he at last brought the practice into common use. It is a curious fact that Cotton Mather, who on this occasion showed himself so much in advance of his time, was the same man who thirty years before was the chief agent in the most ferocious persecution of witches ever known in America.4 The first printing press in North America is said to have been set up at Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1638, Harvard College was founded in the same year, and it was followed in 1693 by William and Mary College, in Virginia, and in 1701 by Yale College, in Connecticut.5 Free schools had early been established in New England, and in the beginning of the eighteenth century an American press gradually grew up. The first American newspaper appeared at Boston in 1704, and by 1740 there were eleven in the colonies.6 A considerable public library was founded at Philadelphia in 1742, and another at Newport in Rhode Island in 1747.1 Franklin, the greatest natural philosopher and one of the greatest writers America has produced, about this time rose to notice; and his discovery in 1752 of the lightning-conductor was probably the most important that any British subject had made for more than a generation. Jonathan Edwards, the most acute of American metaphysicians, was now in the zenith of his fame; and when, a few years later, the hour arrived for the final rupture with England, it was found that the British colonies had formed a generation of men who were fully competent to guide the destinies of a nation.
The American provinces were by far the most important of the English colonies, and England, as a colonial power, had in the first half of the eighteenth century no pretensions to that complete pre-eminence which she afterwards obtained. Spain and Portugal, indeed, the great colonial Powers of the past, though still possessing mighty territories, were already in their decadence; but France, from the time of Colbert, had entered vigorously into the field, and Holland in a great part of the world considerably overbalanced the influence of England. In that great Indian Empire which now counts more than 180 millions of subjects, England in the middle of the century possessed little more than Bombay, Madras, Fort William in Bengal, and a few scattered factories. The whole coast, ports, and forts of the rich island of Ceylon were in the hands of the Dutch, whose factories rivalled those of England on the mainland, and who had acquired dominion, influence, or commercial preponderance in the Spice Islands, in Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Celebes, and many neighbouring islands, in the peninsula of Malacca, and in the kingdoms of Siam and of Aracan. The Dutch at this time almost monopolised the important trade in cinnamon, nutmegs, cloves, and spice; they were the only Europeans who had commercial relations with Japan, and in Africa they were the sovereigns of the Cape of Good Hope. The French colonies at Pondicherry, the Isle of France, and the Isle of Bourbon, fostered as they were by the skill of Dupleix and La Bourdonnais, seriously threatened the English dominions in Hindostan, and, as we have seen, Madras was at one time in their power. The two English East India Companies whose rivalry played so great a part in the politics of the years that followed the Revolution, had been amalgamated in 1702. Among the articles imported from India were printed and dyed calicoes, which began to come into fashion in England under William and Mary, and the demand for them was soon so great as for a few years to add very largely to Indian prosperity. But the jealousy of the manufacturers at home was soon aroused, and as usual they speedily succeeded in crushing the rival trade. A law passed in 1699 and renewed in 1721, absolutely prohibited under severe penalties the use of all Indian silks, stuffs, and printed or dyed calicoes in apparel, household stuffs, or furniture in England.1 The Island of St. Helena, which had been abandoned by the Dutch in 1651, proved of great importance as a station for provisioning English ships to India, and there were a few English factories along the Persian Gulf, and in the Islands of Borneo and Sumatra.
In the West Indies it was estimated towards the middle of the eighteenth century that the English possessions contained about 90,000 whites and at least 230,000 negroes.2 Jamaica, which was the most important of the British islands, had long been a favourite resort of the buccaneers or pirates who infested the Spanish waters. It derived great wealth from its clandestine trade with Spanish America, and it was one of the chief depots of the slave trade. Its government was the most valuable in the gift of the Crown, next to that of Ireland, the total emoluments of the post being little less than 10,000l. a year. The prosperity of the island, however, had been clouded by some great calamities, and its old capital, Port Royal, had three times in thirty years been reduced to ruins. It had been destroyed by a great earthquake in 1692, by a great fire about ten years later, and by a terrific hurricane in 1722. From this time the seat of government was transferred to Kingston. Barbadoes, which ranked next to Jamaica in importance and before it in the date of its settlement, was much more thickly populated in proportion to its size, but it seems to have somewhat declined since the period of the Restoration. Shortly after that event Charles II. had marked his sense of its importance by creating no less than thirteen baronets out of its leading men. The growth of the French sugar islands, the settlement of Antigua, St. Christopher, Nevis, and Montserrat, the progress of Jamaica, and a great pestilence which swept over the island in 1692, diminished the relative importance of Barbadoes, but it still carried on a large trade in sugar, rum, molasses, cotton, ginger, and aloes, and it supported a militia of near 5,000 men. The Anglican religion was established in each of the English West India isles. The system of government was like that in the Crown colonies of America. Each island possessed a representative assembly, and although they were much hampered by the commercial policy of the mother country, they enjoyed in their internal affairs a large measure of self-government.1 It was computed in 1734 that the English sugar islands produced annually about 85,000 hogsheads of sugar, that 300 sail of ships visited them every year from Great Britain besides those from the English colonies, and that they annually received British manufactures to the value of 240,000l.2 There were, however, bitter complaints that the French sugar plantations of St. Domingo, Guadaloupe, Martinico, and other less considerable islands, had so rapidly increased that they rivalled or surpassed those of England.3
Much more important to England than any changes that were effected in these distant colonies were those which were produced nearer home. No period in the history of Scotland is more momentous than that between the Revolution and the middle of the eighteenth century, for in no other period did Scotland take so many steps on the path that leads from anarchy to civilisation. In the beginning of the eighteenth century the Highlands were almost wholly inaccessible to the traveller. They were for the most part traversed only by rude horse-tracks, without any attempt to diminish the natural difficulties of the country. They were inhabited by a population speaking a language different from that of England, scarcely ever intermarrying with Lowlanders, living habitually with arms in their hands, sunk in the lowest depths of barbarism, and divided into a number of kingdoms, that were practically as distinct and independent as those of the Heptarchy. By law the chief had an hereditary jurisdiction over his vassals extending ‘to the pit and to the gallows,’ to the execution of capital punishment by drowning and hanging; but the law was a very feeble and inadequate expression of his real power. It is, indeed, no exaggeration to say that the decisions of Parliament and of the tribunals were long absolutely inoperative in the Highlands. The chief could determine what king, what government, what religion his vassals should obey; his word was the only law they respected; a complete devotion to his interests, an absolute obedience to his commands, was the first and almost the single article of their moral code. Combining in his own person the characters of king, general, landlord, and judge, he lived with his vassals on terms of the utmost familiarity, but he ruled them with all the authority of an oriental despot, and he rarely appeared abroad without a retinue of ten or twelve armed men.1 The law could never touch him. Captain Burt, who visited the Highlands about 1730, found an English footman, who had been lured to the Highlands, enslaved by one of these chiefs, and his return to freedom was hopeless. Sometimes the chief had a regular executioner in his service,1 and for the slightest cause he could have those who offended him either deliberately assassinated or executed after a mock trial, conducted by his own followers. Sometimes he would grant the temporary use of his power to his guest, and promise him the pleasure of seeing anyone who had offended him hanging next morning before his window, unless he preferred his head as a memorial of Highland courtesy.2 ‘Almost every chief,’ said a traveller, ‘had in some remote valley, in the depths of woods and rocks, whole tribes of thieves in readiness to let loose against his neighbours when, for some public or private reason, he did not judge it expedient to resent openly some real or imaginary affront.’3
Not unfrequently the chiefs increased their scanty incomes by kidnapping boys or men, whom they sold as slaves to the American planters.4 Generations of an idle and predatory life had produced throughout the Highlands the worst vices of barbarians. The slightest provocation was avenged with blood. Fierce contests between chiefs and clans were perpetuated from age to age, and the pile of stones, which marked the spot where a Highlander had fallen, preserved through many generations the memory of the feud.5 In war the Highlanders usually gave no quarter. Their savage, merciless ferocity long made them the terror of their neighbours.6 Few episodes in British history are more terrible than that which occurred in 1678, when Lauderdale let loose 8,000 Highlanders to punish the obstinate Presbyterianism of the western counties by living in free quarters among them. For three months they committed every variety of atrocity that human malignity could conceive; torturing some with thumb-screws, scorching others before vast fires, tearing children from their mothers, foully abusing women, plundering and devastating everything within their range.1 Far into the eighteenth century no stranger could settle among the clans. If he did, his house was burnt, his cattle were killed or maimed, and he himself was happy if he escaped with life.2 Manual labour was looked upon with contempt. Most forms of field-labour were habitually done by the women, while the husband and the son looked on in idleness, or devoted themselves to robbing or begging.3 Plunder was the passion, the trade, the romance of the Highlander. In war his admirable courage and endurance were almost neutralised by the predatory instinct that led him in the midst of the battle to turn aside to plunder the wounded or the dead, or to fly in the most critical moments, to his mountain fastnesses in order to secure his booty. Lord Kames has very happily observed that the Highlanders, till after the rebellion of 1745, were precisely in the moral condition of the Germans as described by Cæsar, among whom robbery carried with it no reproach, if it were committed beyond the borders of their canton or their tribe.1 The whole line of the Lowlands contiguous to the Highlands was infested with predatory bands, driving off, or as it was termed ‘lifting’ cattle, especially at Michaelmas, when they were in a fit condition for the market. These expeditions carried with them no sense of immorality and dishonour, and when undertaking them the Highlanders, it was said, ‘prayed as earnestly to Heaven for success as if they were engaged in the most laudable design.’2 At one time every young chief, on coming of age, was expected in this manner to prove his manhood.3 From this source the chiefs obtained the rewards for their numerous followers, and sometimes dowries for their daughters. A regular tribute, called ‘black mail,’ was paid in defiance of the law, to some neighbouring chief, by most of the Lowlanders whose land adjoined the Highlands, to secure them against depredations. If it were neglected, the cattle of the farmer were soon driven away, and the only hope of recovering them was by the payment of ‘tascall,’ or compensation money, to some powerful Highlander. Even if the thieves were captured, they were seldom prosecuted, for few farmers dared to incur the vengeance of the clan, who would descend by night to burn the houses and to hough the cattle of those who offended them. It was computed in 1747 that cattle to the value of 5,000l. were annually stolen in this manner from the Lowland border; that the expense of fruitless efforts to recover them amounted to at least 2,000l.; that the additional expense of herds and watchmen to guard against the Highlanders was about 10,000l.; that 5,000l. was annually paid in black mail; and that the lands were understocked by reason of thefts to such an extent as amounted to a loss of at least 15,000l.1 Of the extraordinary impotence of the law in the early years of the eighteenth century, even in the southern extremity of the Highlands, we have a striking instance in the career of Robert Macgregor, the well-known Rob Roy. For more than twenty years he carried on a private war with the Duke of Montrose, driving away his cattle, intercepting his rents, levying contributions on his tenants, and sometimes, in broad daylight, carrying away his servants. He did this—often under the protection of the Duke of Argyle—in a country that was within thirty miles of the garrison towns of Stirling and Dumbarton, and of the important city of Glasgow, and although a small garrison had been planted at Inversnaid for the express purpose of checking his depredations. He at last died peacefully on his bed in 1736 at the patriarchal age of eighty.
If such things could be on the borders of Loch Lomond, we can easily imagine the barbarous condition of the North. The very rudiments of civilisation had scarcely penetrated to the mountains. From Dunkeld to Inverness, which was about one hundred miles, and from thence to the Western Sea, including the western islands, there was in the middle of the eighteenth century not a single town or village that could contain the rudest court of justice, nor was there any inn or other accommodation for travellers till a few were built by General Wade shortly after the rebellion of 1715. Of this large tract of country, no part was cultivated except a few spots in straths or glens, by the sides of rivers, brooks, or lakes, and on the sea-coast and in the western islands.2 The population lived by the produce of their cattle, or by the chase. Iron was hardly known except in the form of weapons. The plough was a piece of wood that scratched the earth; the spades were made of wood; table-knives were rarely or never laid upon the table. The only mills for grinding corn were hand-querns turned by a woman's hand.1 In some of the Western Highlands the harrow was attached to the tail of the horse, and drawn without any harness whatever.2 The rents were usually paid in kind.3 Potatoes, except as a rare garden vegetable, were unknown in Scotland till the reign of George III.4 ; field turnips were extremely rare;5 wheat was confined to the Lowlands;6 and, except some scanty crops of oats, cattle were almost the only form of Highland produce. In the complete absence of all industrial pursuits, there were few purchasers and few changes, but a dead level of the most abject poverty. In bad seasons a little milk and a small quantity of oatmeal were mixed with blood drawn from a living cow, and boiled together into cakes.7 When Captain Burt visited the Highlands he found in some places the cattle so weak from want of food and from immoderate bleeding, that in the morning they could not rise from the ground, and the inhabitants joined together to help up each other's cows.8 In the islands and on the coast shellfish were largely eaten, and in the interior of the Highlands the peasants lived chiefly on oatmeal and potatoes. The filth of their persons, their cabins, and their cookery was described as revolting; and it is a curious fact that one of the consequences of the invasion of England in 1745, that was most dreaded, was the spread of the cutaneous diseases that accompanied the Highlanders wherever they went.1 Their cabins had no chimneys, but only holes for the escape of the smoke. During the long winters they had no diversions, but sat brooding in the smoke over the fire till their legs and thighs were completely scorched, and till they grew as black as chimney-sweepers. Sore eyes and frequent blindness were the natural consequence, and they had no candles, though resinous sticks were sometimes employed in their place.2 The islands were, if possible, even more barbarous than the mainland. In some of them it was said beef was boiled in the hide, and fowls roasted with their feathers.3 The sheep were not shorn, but the wool was torn from the living animals.4 The Shetland islands during the whole winter were cut off from all communication with the mainland. The landing of William in Torbay in November 1688 is said only to have been known in Zetland in the following May.5
In some of these islands and in several of the remoter valleys of the Highlands the Catholic worship lingered on during the greater part of the eighteenth century, and although the Scotch Kirk gradually extended its empire, it found it much more easy to extirpate the worship and the dogmas than the popular superstitions of the old faith. A strange mixture of Pagan and Popish notions long continued to blend with the new creed. A Presbyterian minister who visited the northern islands in the beginning of the eighteenth century relates with much horror that in one parish of Orkney the people attached such a reverence to the remains of a ruined and roofless chapel called Our Lady's Kirk, containing a stone which was said to bear the footprints of St. Magnus, that it was found necessary even in the wildest weather to conduct the Presbyterian service there, as the congregation refused to attend it in any other place.6 In another island the minister was given his choice from all the young seals that were taken, and that which he selected was called ‘cullen Mory,’ ‘or the Virgin Mary's seal.’1 The lark was known as Our Lady's hen.2 The belief in charms, inholy wells, in second sight, in sacred spots, in holy or unholy seasons, was almost as general as in a Catholic country. Lunatics were dipped in the well of St. Fillan or of Inch Maree.3 The faces of the sick were fanned with the leaves of a Bible.4 On a particular day in harvest time it was believed that if anyone worked the ridges would bleed.5 An impostor in the Island of St. Kilda carried away a large proportion of the inhabitants, in the beginning of the eighteenth century, by a pretended revelation from St. John the Baptist, enjoining among other things a careful observance of saint-days and a weekly fast, and reviving the doctrine of the intercession of the saints; and it was noticed that if any change should give a renewed ascendency to Popery the people were thoroughly prepared to embrace it.6 Other superstitions partook largely of paganism. The clans were summoned to war by the fiery cross dipped in blood with those mystic rites which the great Scotch poet has made so familiar. As late as 1745 it was sent round Loch Tay by Lord Breadalbane to summon his clansmen to support the Government.7 Traces of the old forms of sacrifice may be found in the custom, which has lingered even to our own century, of burying a cock alive where an epileptic first fell, of burying one cow alive in order to save a herd stricken by the murrain.8 On May-day a strange ceremony was performed, in which a libation was poured out on the ground, and offerings were made for the preservation of the horses and sheep, and to propitiate the fox, the hooded crow, and the eagle.1 The belief in witches and in fairies was universal. Tarans, or souls of unbaptized infants, were believed to wander disconsolate over the hills, and spirit voices, singing Irish songs, to be heard during the night in the lonely valleys.2 Spirits in the shape of tall men with long brown hair, known as Brownies, played a very large part in the Highland mythology, were propitiated by libations of milk, and were sometimes consulted in difficulty by a man sewn up in a cow's hide and placed during the night in the hollow under a cataract to await the answer to his inquiry.3
The great virtue of the Highlander was his fidelity to his chief and to his clan. It took the place of patriotism and of loyalty to the sovereign. It was unbroken by the worst excesses of tyranny, and it was all the more admirable on account of that extreme poverty which, after the Union, made the Scotch nobles a laughing-stock in England. In the reign of James V., an insurrection of Clan Chattan having been suppressed by Murray, 200 of the insurgents were condemned to death. Each one as he was led to the gallows was offered a pardon if he would reveal the hiding-place of his chief, but they all answered that, were they acquainted with it, no sort of punishment could induce them to be guilty of treachery to their leader. In the rebellion of 1715 an extraordinary example of the power of the chief was furnished by the career of the well-known Simon Fraser, afterwards Lord Lovat. He was personally very indifferent to the rival claimants of the throne. Having committed a rape on the sister of the Duke of Athol, and afterwards been mixed up in a Jacobite plot, he had lived for many years in exile in France, but had fallen into suspicion with the Court of St. Germains, and at last resolved, for this and for a still more personal reason, to go over to the Hanoverian side. By the law of Highland allegiance he was the head of the Fraser clan, but the English law had given his estates to the daughter of the last Lord Lovat, who had married Mackenzie of Fraserdale. Mackenzie, by virtue of his marriage, claimed the territorial influence of the head of the Frasers. He took the Jacobite side in the rebellion, and had actually led a great portion of the clan to join the camp of Lord Mar, when Simon Fraser appeared upon the scene. The effect was instantaneous. Although he had long been absent from the country, although he had himself hitherto been a Jacobite, the Frasers at once obeyed his summons, abandoned the army of the Pretender, and took a conspicuous part on the Hanoverian side. Not less remarkable on the other side was the case of the Macleans. Their land had for more than forty years been vested for debt in the Duke of Argyle. Their chief had not retained an acre of ground. He had spent most of his life in France, and had latterly been maintained in London by the charity of Queen Anne. Yet Sir John Maclean was able as head of the clan to summon 400 men to fight for the Pretender, although the Hanoverian army was commanded by their own landlord, the Duke of Argyle. For many years after the estates of Lord Seaforth had been forfeited for his participation in the rebellion of 1715 his rents were regularly collected by his tenants and transmitted to the Continent to their exiled lord. In 1745 the house of Macpherson of Cluny was burnt to the ground by the King's troops. A reward of 1,000l. was offered for his apprehension. A large body of soldiers was stationed in the district and a step of promotion was promised to any officer who should secure him. Yet for nine years the chief was able to live concealed on his own property in a cave which his clansmen dug for him during the night, and, though upwards of one hundred persons knew of his place of retreat, no bribe or menace could extort the secret; till at last, wearied of the long and dreary solitude and despairing of pardon, he took refuge in France.1
It needs no argument to show how dangerous, how incompatible with all national unity and with all security, was this absolute devotion of the clansmen to their chief. It is, however, equally manifest that it implied a moral quality of a high order. It grew out of a state of society in which the dignity of the noble depended, not on any display of pageantry or wealth, but solely on the number and affection of his people—in which the humblest clansman claimed consanguinity with his chief, bore his name and identified himself with his glory. Chivalrous, self-sacrificing fidelity was the great virtue of the Highlands, and the education of the clan life made it at last a distinguishing feature of the Scotch character. For a long time, however, the influence of the Highlands and the Lowlands on each other was chiefly an influence of repulsion, and it is curious to contrast the conduct of the Scotch Parliament, which, with the assent of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, surrendered Charles I. for money to the Republicans, with that of those poverty-stricken Highlanders, among whom the Pretender wandered helplessly for five months at a time when a reward of 30,000l. was offered for his apprehension.
Of the high military qualities of the Highlanders it is scarcely necessary to speak, and they were probably shared to the full extent by the inhabitants of the Lowlands. Great courage, great power of enduring both privation and pain,1 great fire and impetuosity in attack were abundantly shown; but the discipline of a regular army was required to add to these, that more than English tenacity which has placed the Scotchman in the first rank of European soldiers. The prowess of the nation had been displayed in many glorious fields both at home and abroad. Crowds of Scotch adventurers, impelled by poverty, ambition, or internal feuds had from a very early date been scattered over Europe.stanza2 Many had taken part in the Crusades. Great numbers, from the days of St. Lewis till near the close of the seventeenth century, were enlisted in the service of France. They may be traced in the armies of Germany, Italy, and Russia, and Scotchmen were conspicuous among the bravest soldiers of Gustavus Adolphus.1 More than 3,000 Scotchmen under Lord Reay, the Laird of Fowlis, and other Highland gentlemen, followed his banner, and they fought so desperately that scarcely one in ten outlived the field of Lutzen. Their military qualities, however, were more recognised abroad than at home, and no statesmen in the beginning of the eighteenth century appears yet to have foreseen that the Highland valleys, which were still looked upon as mere nests of thieves, would become one day among the most valuable recruiting-grounds of the British army.
A few other traits may be added which lighten the darkness of the picture. The Highlanders were distinguished for their hospitality to those who came properly recommended to them,2 and several examples are recorded of the signal generosity of the inhabitants of the Western Islands to shipwrecked sailors at the very time when the practice of plundering wrecks was most scandalously prevalent on both the English and the Irish coasts.3 Their natural grace of manner was beyond question, and popular poetry and much traditional lore produced among them some of the effects of education. They were comparatively free, too, from that spirit of bitter theological intolerance which was the bane of the Lowlands,4 and even their predatory habits were not unqualified or unrestricted. The ‘lifting’ of cattle was looked upon as a form of guerilla warfare, and Captain Burt observed as a curious anomaly that ‘the Highlander thinks it less shameful to steal 100 cows than one single sheep,’ that ‘personal robberies are seldom heard of among them,’ and that he had himself frequently made long journeys in the Highlands accompanied by only a single servant, and with four hundred or five hundred guineas in his portmanteau, without any apprehension of robbers by the way, or any danger in his lodgings by night.1
Among the greater chiefs there were, no doubt, a few who, from their intercourse with the Lowlands and with the Continent, had attained to a fair degree of culture; but for the most part the difficulties of travelling and the habits of clan life were sufficient to exclude even considerable men from all further contact with civilisation than could be obtained by rare visits to Inverness or perhaps to Aberdeen. The first of these towns was the real capital of the Highlands. It had been for some time occupied by Cromwell; and he was so sensible of its importance as a military post for keeping the tribes in subjection that he strengthened it by a fortress, which took five years in its erection and is said to have cost not less than 80,000l., but which, at the petition of the Highland chiefs, was at once levelled at the Restoration. More enduring consequences ascribed to the invasion were the excellent English long afterwards spoken in the town, and the prevalence of English manners among its people.2 Inverness was one of the few towns which appear, at the time of the Revolution, to have been sincerely attached to Episcopacy. For ten years the population refused to allow any Presbyterian minister to effect a peaceful settlement among them, and the final establishment of the Kirk was not accomplished without the intervention of the troops.3 In the beginning of the eighteenth century the town consisted of 400 or 500 thatched houses, with two churches, twelve maltkins, and a wretched prison—so loathsome and so neglected that an unhappy prisoner is said, in 1715, to have been actually devoured by rats.1 It carried on a considerable trade in malt, supplying the counties of Inverness, Ross, Sutherland, and Caithness, as well as the Orkney and Shetland Isles, and receiving in return large quantities of skins. Its prosperity, which was never very great, received a serious blow from the duties imposed on corn and afterwards from the malt tax; ruins of granaries and maltkilns were seen on every side, and to this fact we may in part attribute the strong Jacobitism of its inhabitants. The house which, during the troubles of 1745, was successively occupied by the Pretender and by the Duke of Cumberland is stated to have been then the only one in the town which contained a sitting-room or parlour without a bed in it. Inverness was so isolated from the Lowlands that there was no regular post between it and Edinburgh till the Union in 1707, and it was not till 1755 that the post ceased to be carried on foot. It may be added that the coach of Lord Seaforth, which appeared in the town in 1715, was the first ever seen in its streets; that in 1740 its magistrates advertised for a saddler to settle in the borough, as there was then no such person among its inhabitants; and that the most ordinary form of cart was not introduced till 1778.2
Aberdeen was a much more important town, but it lay outside the range of the wilder districts of the Highlands, and in spite of its northern situation it had all the characteristics of a Lowland city. Its constant communication by sea with the south and with the Continent, and also its admirable educational institutions, had raised it to a high level of civilisation. Its Grammar School was founded early in the fifteenth century, and King's College was the last of the three universities established in Scotland before the Reformation. It owed its origin to a letter of James IV., who represented to the Pope ‘that the inhabitants of the Highlands were ignorant of letters and almost uncivilised; that there were no persons to be found fit to preach the Word of God to the people, or to administer the sacraments of the Church; and besides that, the country was so intersected with mountains and arms of the sea, and so distant from the universities already erected, and the roads so dangerous, that the youth had not access to the benefits of education in their seminaries.’ At the same time the King suggested Old Aberdeen as a fitting site for the university, as being ‘situated at a moderate distance from the Highland country and Northern islands.’ The request was readily granted. A bull of Alexander VI. was obtained, in which the Pope, having noticed that there were already two universities in Scotland, added, with much force, that ‘while the distribution of other things lessened their power, science had this distinguishing quality, that the diffusion of it tended not to diminish but to increase and spread the general stock of knowledge.’ The university was formed after the model of that of Paris; its leading promoter was the Chancellor, Bishop Elphinstone, who had himself been professor at Paris and Orleans; and the first principal was Hector Boece, the friend of Erasmus and the historian of Scotland. After the Reformation, however, the distance of King's College from the new town and also the Catholic tendencies of its professors, produced a desire for a new university; and at the end of the sixteenth century Marischal College was founded. Even before the middle of the eighteenth century many eminent Scotchmen were connected with Aberdeen either by birth or by education. Jamesone, who is said to have been fellow-pupil with Vandyck in the school of Rubens, and who certainly was the first and for a long time the only considerable painter of Scotland, was a native of the city. Burnet and Arbuthnot were both educated in Marischal College, and the former, though but little connected with Scotland during his lifetime, showed his gratitude by founding eight bursarships in his will. Colin Maclaurin, one of the greatest mathematicians in Europe, was professor in the same college before his removal to Edinburgh in 1727. Reid was educated in Marischal College, and became professor in King's College in 1752. The population of Aberdeen in 1755 was estimated at 15,730.1 The first newspaper in the north of Scotland was established by its citizens in 1748. They had an important manufacture of woollen stockings, they exported to the Continent large quantities of salmon and pork, and they were less honourably noted for a scandalous system of decoying young boys from the country and selling them as slaves to the planters in Virginia. It was a trade which, in the early part of the eighteenth century, was carried on to a considerable extent through the Highlands;2 and a case which took place about 1742 attracted much notice a few years later, when one of the victims, having escaped from servitude, returned to Aberdeen and published a narrative of his sufferings, seriously implicating some of the magistracy of the town. He was prosecuted and condemned for libel by the local authorities, but the case was afterwards carried to Edinburgh. The iniquitous system of kidnapping was fully exposed, and the judges of the Supreme Court unanimously reversed the verdict of the Aberdeen authorities and imposed a heavy fine upon the provost, the four bailies, and the dean of the Guild.3
If we now turn to the Lowlands we find their condition at least so far different from that of the Highlands that a real civilisation was generally diffused. The intellect, the industrial energy, the progressive instincts of Scotland were essentially Lowland; and in quiet times these guided the policy of the nation. Edinburgh, though still but a small town, excited the admiration of travellers who were acquainted with the greatest cities of England and the Continent; nor was their admiration entirely due to the singular beauty of its situation. The quaint architecture of the older houses—which sometimes rose to the height of nine, ten, or eleven stories—indeed, carried back the mind to very barbarous times; for it was ascribed to the desire of the population to live as near as possible to the protection of the castle.1 The filth of the streets in the early years of the eighteenth century was indescribable.2 Southern writers were fond of expatiating on the dangers to the passers-by from the fetid torrents that were continually discharged from the windows; and, long after the middle of the century had past, they complained that the best inn in the capital of Scotland hardly ranked above an English alehouse.3 The new quarter, which now strikes every stranger by its spacious symmetry, was not begun till the latter half of the eighteenth century, but as early as 1723 an English traveller described the High Street as ‘the stateliest street in the world,’1 and even after the extinction of the Parliament, the law courts and the new university attracted to the capital most of the intellect and the refinement of the country. Under the influence of the Kirk the public manners of the town were marked by much decorum and even austerity, but the populace were unusually susceptible of fierce political enthusiasm, and when excited they were extremely formidable. The riots against the Union, the riot against the imposition of the malt tax in 1725, the well-known riot in which Captain Porteus was hung by the mob, the riot in 1749 arising from some officers having, on the anniversary of Culloden, called for the tune of ‘Culloden’ in the theatre, were among the most serious in the kingdom, during the first half of the eighteenth century. Political feeling, indeed, among all classes, appears to have run very high; and it was noticed that even the ladies took sides, and expressed their politics by the manner in which they wore their plaids.2 Edinburgh, however, in the eighteenth century, could boast of a much more efficient police than London or any other English town. A city guard composed chiefly of fierce Highlanders armed and disciplined like regular soldiers, and placed under the control of the magistrates, was permanently established in 1696; and it was not finally abolished till the present century.3
Edinburgh, at the beginning of the eighteenth century, was more than twice as large as any other Scotch town. Its population at the time of the Union slightly exceeded 30,000, while that of Glasgow was not quite 15,000, that of Dundee not quite 10,000, and that of Perth about 7,000.4 A hard climate, a sterile soil, and a long continuance of singularly adverse circumstances, had formed among the people a character of indomitable energy which promised well for the future; but as yet the condition of the Lowlands was extremely wretched. They lay between the anarchy of the Highlands and the anarchy of the border. To the north, the greater part of Scotland was occupied by predatory tribes, who continually descended to ravage their fields, who infested their streets as beggars, and who inoculated all classes with their habits of idleness, filth, and turbulence. To the south lay a much more wealthy and powerful nation, whose dealings towards them were usually inspired by implacable hatred or by the narrowest selfishness. Repeated English invasions had desolated the weaker land, and a chronic war subsisted for centuries along the border. The accession of a Scotch king to the English throne diminished these dangers, but it brought with it new evils scarcely less grave. In the interests of the English Church a long attempt was made to force Episcopacy, by savage persecution, upon a Presbyterian people. After the Restoration all religious worship by non-Episcopal ministers was for a time forbidden. A few ministers were afterwards restored by the Indulgence on terms which the more rigid members deemed it criminal to accept, but it was made a capital offence to preach in any conventicle, or even to attend a conventicle in the open air. The goods as well as the lives of all who were guilty of these offences were forfeited to the law, and no one could sit in Parliament or could vote for a Member of Parliament, who had not sworn an oath abjuring the principles of the Covenanters. Great numbers were killed, despoiled of their property, driven to the mountains, tortured with horrid ingenuity, or transported to the plantations; and although the persecution failed as it deserved, it inflicted great and enduring calamities upon the nation, and among other consequences infused into it a spirit of fierce and gloomy fanaticism. Besides this, the natural poverty and the unhappy position of Scotland could not save it from the commercial jealousy of its neighbour. Though part of the same empire, it was excluded from all trade with the English colonies; no goods could be landed in Scotland from the plantations unless they had been first landed in England and paid duty there, and even then they might not be brought in a Scotch vessel. The trade with England itself was at the same time severely hampered. At the time of the Union, and even after the Scotch land tax had been increased in accordance with its provisions, the whole revenue of Scotland was only 160,000l. while that of England was 5,691,000l.1 The poverty, the abject misery of the country, was such that every bad season produced a literal famine. In 1698 and the three preceding years the harvests were very bad, and Fletcher of Saltoun—one of the greatest intellects and one of the most ardent patriots of Scotland—wrote a discourse on the state of the nation which throws a vivid light on the material wretchedness and the moral anarchy that prevailed. ‘Many thousands of our people,’ he said, ‘are at this day dying for want of bread … and though, perhaps, upon the great want of bread occasioned by the continued bad seasons of this and the three preceding years, the evil be greater and more pressing than at any time in our days, yet there have always been in Scotland such numbers of poor as by no regulations could ever be orderly provided for; and this country has always swarmed with such numbers of idle vagabonds as no laws could ever restrain.’ ‘There are at this day,’ he adds, ‘in Scotland (besides a great many poor families, very meanly provided for by the Church boxes, with others who by living upon bad food fall into various diseases) 200,000 people begging from door to door. These are not only no way advantageous, but a very grievous burden to so poor a country; and though the number of them be perhaps double to what it was formerly by reason of this present great distress, yet in all times there have been about 100,000 of those vagabonds who have lived without any regard or subjection either to the laws of the land or even those of God and nature—fathers incestuously accompanying with their own daughters, the son with the mother, and the brother with the sister. No magistrate could ever discover or be informed which way one in a hundred of these wretches died, or that ever they were baptised. Many murders have been discovered among them, and they are not only a most unspeakable oppression to poor tenants (who, if they give not bread or some kind of provision to perhaps forty such villains in one day, are sure to be insulted by them), but they rob many poor people who live in houses distant from any neighbourhood. In years of plenty many thousands of them meet together in the mountains, where they feast and riot for many days; and at country weddings, markets, burials, and other the like public occasions, they are to be seen—both men and women—perpetually drunk, cursing, blaspheming, and fighting together.’1
It is difficult for us to realise that these words were written less than 200 years ago by a great Scotch patriot, of a country which now ranks in social, industrial, and political virtues at the very head of the British Empire; nor would it be easy to find a more impressive illustration of the immense advance in human welfare which has during that period been achieved. The remedies which Fletcher of Saltoun deemed alone adequate to the evil are such as would even now in some quarters find much favour. He desired to reduce these wandering beggars and their children to a condition of slavery, to oblige every man of a certain estate to take a proportionate number, to hand over as an example ‘three or four hundred of the most notorious of those villains which we call jockeys to the State of Venice to serve in the galleys’ against the Turks, and, lastly, to transplant the whole population of the Highlands, whom he regarded as incorrigible, into the Low country and to people the Highlands from thence. These measures, he said, should be prepared secretly, and taken rapidly, as otherwise those whom it was intended to enslave ‘would rather die with hunger in caves and dens and murder their young children than appear abroad to have them and themselves taken into such a kind of service.’ He might have added that such a policy would have inevitably produced a reaction of violence that would have intensified every evil it was intended to correct, and would have left behind it a hatred which would have rankled for centuries in the Scotch mind, and which generations of freedom and good government would have been unable to efface.
Very different was the course which was actually pursued. The series of measures which in a few generations raised Scotland from one of the most wretched and barbarous into one of the most civilised and happy nations in Europe may be soon told, and it forms one of the most striking examples of continued good legislation upon record. The Revolution brought into the ascendency in England, the party who were in alliance with the Dissenters, and the first great work was to put an end to the religious oppression of the people. The Act which made the religion of the immense majority of devout Scotchmen the established religion of their country closed for ever the darkest page in Scotch history, and terminated the opposition between the authority of religion and the authority of law. It was soon followed by an Act establishing schools in every parish, which in a few years diffused the benefits of knowledge throughout the kingdom and made the average level of Scotch intelligence superior to that of any other part of the empire. The Tory ministry of Anne completed the work by a measure passed in a somewhat different spirit and in favour of another class, securing the Episcopal minority the undisturbed exercise of their religion.
The effect of these three measures can hardly be overrated. Of all the nations of Europe there was probably not a single one which, up to the time of the Revolution, was so violent, so turbulent, so difficult to govern as the Scotch.1 It is not true, indeed, that the sentiment of loyalty was wanting among them, but it was a sentiment which found its object in the chief of the clan and not at all in the government of the nation.1 Nor was the contemptuous repudiation of the English doctrine of passive obedience confined to the Highlanders. The Lowlanders in this respect scarcely differed from their northern fellow-countrymen, except in the more orderly and methodised character of their opposition. During the minority of James I., the well-known saying of Trajan when he delivered the sword to the governor of a province, ‘Pro me; si merear in me,’ was actually inscribed on the coin of the realm, and, although the King afterwards changed the motto, the coin was not called in, and continued to circulate till the Union.2 Of all the considerable forms into which the Christian religion crystallised after the Reformation, the Scotch Kirk was the most violently, the most habitually, insubordinate to the civil power. It caught its colour from the spirit of the nation in which it rose. It was by its constitution essentially republican, deriving its theology chiefly from the Old Testament. It was in this respect the very antipodes to the Anglican Church and to the Gallican branch of the Catholic Church, both of which did all that lay in their power to consecrate despotism and to strengthen authority. Had the Scotch Kirk continued much longer to be oppressed and proscribed, had all the force and weight of religious sentiment been employed for several generations to enfeeble and to subvert the authority of the law, the effect upon the character of the nation would have been in the last degree pernicious. The habits produced by generations of misgovernment do not at once subside when the cause is removed; and more than half a century of time and many other healing measures were required before Scotland became a really loyal country, but from the time when the Scotch Kirk became its established religion its condition was comparatively normal and healthy, and in spite of the rebellions of 1715 and 1745 the elements of turbulence began steadily to subside.
Scarcely less striking and beneficial in its effects was the second measure to which I have referred. The importance of a sound system of national education was at that time hardly recognised out of Scotland, and it was peculiarly necessary for a people who in the competition of life were depressed by the weight of great natural disadvantages. It must be acknowledged, however, that a very large part of the credit of the movement in favour of education belongs to the Church which preceded the Reformation, nor is any fact in Scotch history more remarkable than the noble enthusiasm for knowledge which animated that Church during the fifteenth century. The establishment of the University of St. Andrews in 1410, of that of Glasgow in 1450, of that of Aberdeen in 1495, the formation of grammar schools in the burgh corporations, and, above all, that remarkable law enacted in 1496, by the Scotch Parliament, requiring all barons and freeholders of substance, under pain of a heavy fine, to send their eldest sons to grammar schools till they had obtained a competent knowledge of Latin, and then for three years to ‘the schules of art and jure,’ till they had acquired a sufficient knowledge of law to distribute justice among their people, abundantly attest the importance of the movement. Even the University of Edinburgh, though not formally established till 1582, was chiefly endowed by a sum bequeathed many years before for that purpose by Reid, the Catholic bishop of Orkney.1 It was on these foundations that the statesmen of the Reformation and of the Revolution built, but it must be added that the Scotch Kirk uniformly exhibited a most praiseworthy zeal in extending the benefits of education. Knox himself, as early as 1560, had proposed an elaborate system of national education. Soon after the rebellion of 1640 the establishment throughout Scotland of parochial schools, imitated from those at Geneva, and placed under the direct supervision of the Kirk, was decreed, and the clergy largely extended the system of Bursarships which has played so conspicuous a part in Scotch life and has brought the advantage of University education within the range of classes wholly excluded from it in England.1 The singularly disputatious character of Scotch preaching, and the republican form of Scotch Church government, contributed to give a considerable though onesided stimulus to the national mind. Burnet, describing his own experience when preaching with some brother divines in Scotland in 1670, said, ‘We were indeed amazed to see a poor commonalty so capable to argue on points of government and on the bounds to be set to the power of princes in matters of religion. Upon all these topics they had texts of Scripture at hand and were ready with their answers to anything that was said to them. This measure of knowledge was spread even among the meanest of them, their cottagers, and their servants.’2 The turbulence of the time, however, and the rapid fluctuations of politics prevented some of these measures from being fully carried out, and the system of parochial schools was not finally, generally, and efficaciously established till the Act of 1696. Its effects in a few years became visible. Though the material well-being of the people, even of the most prosperous parts of Scotland, was during the greater part of the eighteenth century considerably below the average standard in England, though the Scotch poor in the Lowlands remained rather conspicuously deficient in the graces and the courtesies of life, the level of intelligence among them was soon distinctly higher, the proportion of national faculties called into active exercise was distinctly greater, than in any other part of the empire. The impulse which was created in primary education was soon followed by a corresponding improvement in higher culture. The zeal of the Scotch student became notorious, and in the Lowlands at least the standard of general knowledge among the gentry was perceptibly higher than in England.1 In no other country did the philosophy of Newton at so early a period find a general acceptance. In 1692 it was noticed that Newton had already received numerous congratulatory letters on the ‘Principia,’ but ‘especially from Scotland.’ The new philosophy was taught by James Gregory at St. Andrews, and by David Gregory at Edinburgh, prior to 1691; and the latter professor, having in that year been removed to the astronomical chair at Oxford, appears to have been the first person who made it popular in the great English University.2 In the philosophy of the eighteenth century the name of Hume is only second to that of Kant, and Glasgow University was the centre of a great reaction against the teaching of Locke, conducted successively by Hutcheson, Adam Smith, and Reid, at a time when the English Universities, with their enormous revenues, were sunk in lethargy and prejudice.3
The Act of Toleration of 1712, granting the Episcopal clergy liberty and protection in their worship and permission to administer baptism and perform marriages, though less important than the measures I have mentioned, was also of some real advantage to the country. The establishment of the Scotch Kirk had undoubtedly fulfilled the wishes of a majority of the people, but there were many districts, especially in the North of Scotland, where Episcopalianism had struck deep root, where the new Church was only accepted with much difficulty, and where a majority, or at least a large minority, long continued sincerely attached to the proscribed faith.1 After undergoing great hardship and persecution in the years immediately following the Revolution, the Episcopal clergy obtained a small measure of legal toleration by the Comprehension Act of 1695, which, however, only applied formally to parish churches, leaving Episcopal worship in private houses and meeting-houses as illegal as before. All Episcopal clergymen who had not before been deprived, were permitted by this Act to retain their benefices on taking the oath of allegiance and subscribing the ‘assurance’ which was the Scotch equivalent to the abjuration oath. The great majority of the Episcopal clergy refused to comply with this latter condition, which, by asserting that the Pretender had no right to the throne, was tantamount to abandoning the doctrine of the Divine right of kings. A small number, however, known as the ‘Protected Ministers,’ submitted and were suffered to retain their benefices, but not to take any share in the government of the Church, and, though it was not expressly stated in the Act of Parliament, they were assumed by the law courts to be beyond the control of the Church Judicatures. This assumption was, it is true, violently contested by the Presbyterian authorities, and they made more than one effort to bring the Episcopalian clergy within the range of their discipline.1 It is worthy of notice that the difference between the Churches for several years after the Revolution lay exclusively in the system of Church government, for the Episcopalians in Scotland employed no liturgy and conducted their worship in almost exactly the same way as the Presbyterians.
The bitterness, however, that raged between them was very great. The memory of atrocious persecutions inflicted on the Presbyterians during the period of Episcopalian ascendency, and the fierce and acrid fanaticism of the Kirk, excited the people to the utmost, though in the great towns the Episcopal meeting-houses were usually connived at. Queen Anne, shortly after her accession, wrote a letter to the Privy Council, expressing her wish that the Episcopal clergy should be permitted the free exercise of public worship. As the Tory party acquired an ascendency, the spirit of the Government became hostile to the Presbyterian establishment and there were serious fears that an attempt would be made to subvert it. The Episcopalians, on the other hand, identified themselves more closely with the English Church, and after the Union some of them began to employ the Anglican liturgy in their services—an innovation which excited paroxysms of alarm and indignation in Scotland, partly on religious grounds, partly as a symptom of a very dangerous alliance of Churches. The matter was brought to an issue by a Scotch clergyman named Greenshields, who had for some time held a curacy in Ireland, but returned to Scotland in 1709, and, having taken the required oaths, opened an Episcopal meeting-house at Edinburgh and made use of the English liturgy. A petition against it was at once presented to the General Assembly from many of the inhabitants of Edinburgh. The Assembly passed an Act proclaiming that the Union was infringed by ‘the use of set forms, rites, and ceremonies.’ The magistrates interfered, and threw Greenshields into prison. The ostensible reason was that he officiated in an unauthorised meeting-house. The real reason was that he employed the English liturgy in his worship. On an appeal to the Court of Session the sentence of the magistrates was confirmed, but Greenshields at once took a step which filled his opponents with dismay. He appealed to the British House of Lords, and the Presbyterians were made for the first time to feel that a question relating to their own discipline and jurisdiction could be decided by a tribunal consisting in part of English bishops. Harley and St. John wished the appeal to be withdrawn, as being certain to give bitter offence either in England or in Scotland, but Lockhart of Carnwath1 and other Tory Scotch members insisted on its being heard, and in March 1711 the House of Lords reversed the judgment of the Court of Session and condemned the Edinburgh magistrates to costs.
This episode, occurring at a time when Presbyterian meeting-houses were perfectly legal in England, naturally caused much indignation south of the Tweed, and it was the immediate forerunner of the Toleration Act of 1712. It was, no doubt, true that this Act was supported by many who were enemies to the Scotch Establishment, and who hoped that a toleration would lead to its overthrow; but this fact will not justify, and will but slightly palliate, the passionate, vehement, and persistent hatred with which the bare toleration of Episcopalians was denounced by the Presbyterians of Scotland. It was described as inconsistent with the existence and with the discipline of the Established Church, as a breach of the Union, as opening the door to great corruption both in doctrine and worship, as a grievous sin against the Almighty. A petition was addressed to the Queen adjuring her to interpose in order to prevent ‘such a manifest and ruinous encroachment.’ The pulpits rang with denunciations of toleration. The Assembly assumed an attitude of uncompromising hostility. Carstairs,2 the ablest of the Scotch divines, was sent to London to oppose it, and Defoe, the most brilliant writer among the English Nonconformists, employed his pen in the same cause. The English Parliament, however, was at this time borne along on the full wave of Tory enthusiasm that followed the Sacheverell impeachment, and public opinion was not a little stirred when it was known that even English regiments in Scotland were not suffered to have the English service publicly celebrated for their use.1 The measure was carried, but a provision was added which at once diminished its benefit and added to its oppressiveness. The Whigs, who could hardly, consistently with their principles, oppose a Toleration Act, desired at least that it should not shelter a Jacobite party, and carried a clause making the oath of abjuration indispensable for those who desired the benefits of the Act. The Tories accepted the clause, but extended the oath to the Established Church. It might appear at first sight that the Presbyterians at least, who entirely discarded the doctrine of the Divine right of kings, and who had in general very little sympathy with the Stuarts, would have found no difficulty in taking an oath abjuring the Pretender, and promising allegiance to the sovereign who reigned according to the Act of Settlement. It was discovered, however, by the keen eye of theological jealousy, that, as the Act of Settlement provided that the reigning sovereign must be a member of the Anglican Church, the oath imposed on the Presbyterians of Scotland was an act of homage and an additional guarantee to Prelacy. Some positively refused to take it, and seceded from the Establishment; others took it, making at the same time a formal declaration that they did so under the belief that it implied no deviation from their strict allegiance to the Presbyterian type of worship and Church government; and for many years the new test, as it was termed, added very materially to the discontent which the Toleration Act produced among the Presbyterians of Scotland. Among the Episcopalians its effects were still more serious. The clergy of this Church were almost universally Jacobite, and the conditions of the Toleration Act were that they should pray for the reigning sovereign, and take the oath not only of allegiance, but also of abjuration. These conditions they could not or would not accept. The oath, as I have already explained, involved a distinct repudiation of the religious doctrine of the Divine right of kings—a retrospective judgment which many, wholly free from the taint of disloyalty, were unable to make.1 As a matter of fact, it was usually not taken, and the required prayer was not offered. On the rare occasions when, in Episcopalian meeting-houses, the King was prayed for, the congregation would rise up; men and women would begin to take snuff, or to occupy themselves in some other trivial way, and not a single response would be heard.2 The Toleration Act, however, saved the Episcopalians from State prosecutions. The Government left them in tranquillity as long as they remained peaceful, and the partial recognition of the Episcopal Church, though it proved but temporary, had the effect of considerably extending the sphere of religious liberty, of checking in some degree the extreme despotism of the Kirk Sessions, and perhaps of preventing many Scotchmen from abandoning their country.
The next great object to be attained was the development of industrial life. We have seen how profoundly—it might easily have been imagined how incurably—the habits of the Scotch were opposed to those of an industrial community, and how one of the greatest Scotchmen of his time imagined that the only way of correcting them was by instituting a gigantic system of slavery. In truth, however, the slow but simple remedy for the evil was found in the legislative emancipation of Scotch industry. The first great impulse towards industrial life in Scotland was given by the project of the Darien colony, which stirred the nation to the very depths, and created hopes that were only too soon dashed to the ground. A terrible reaction followed. On the ruin of the scheme in which so much of the capital of Scotland was embarked, poverty and discouragement became more general than ever, and the jealous hostility which the English Government and people had shown to the enterprise supplied a new aliment to the old national animosity. The real development of Scotch industry dates from the Union of 1707. This measure was not, it is true, a popular one. The political absorption of a small into a larger nationality can very rarely be effected without irritating the most sensitive chords of national feeling. The sentiment of nationality is one of the strongest and most respectable by which human beings are actuated. No other has produced a greater amount of heroism and self-sacrifice, and no other, when it has been seriously outraged, leaves behind it such enduring and such dangerous discontent. The deep hostility between the English and the Scotch, their difference in religion, their great difference in wealth, and the large national debt of England, all contributed to aggravate the difficulty. The Treaty of Union, however, as it was finally carried, was drawn up with great skill, and with much consideration for the interests of the weaker nation. It provided that the land-tax should be so arranged that when England contributed 2,000,000l., Scotland should only contribute 48,000l., or rather less than a fortieth part; that in consideration of the heavy English debt, by which the taxation of the whole island would be increased, an equivalent of about 400,000l. should be granted to Scotland and applied to the payment of her small debt of 160,000l., to making good the losses incurred in assimilating her coinage to that of England, to the restitution of the money lost by the Darien Company, and, if any surplus remained, to the encouragement of her manufactures, and also that she should enjoy an exemption of a few years from some temporary taxes. With these exceptions the taxation of the two countries was equalised, and the same duties of custom and excise, the same system of weights and measures, the same coinage, the same laws concerning public right, policy, and civil government were extended through the whole island. It was provided also that the succession of the United Kingdom should remain to the Princess Sophia and the heirs of her body, being Protestants; that sixteen peers elected every Parliament by the whole body of Scotch peers, and forty-five commoners elected, two-thirds of them by the counties, and the remainder by the boroughs, should represent Scotland in the United Parliament;1 and that the Episcopal Church should be for ever established in England and the Presbyterian Church in Scotland. The sovereign was also restrained from creating any additional Scotch peers, and the hereditary jurisdictions and all the other privileges of the existing peers, except that of voting in Parliament, were guaranteed. But, above all, perfect free trade was established between England and Scotland, and all the markets of the English plantations were thrown open to Scotland as freely as to her neighbour.
The commercial clauses of the Union laid the foundation of the material prosperity of Scotland, and they alone reconciled the most intelligent Scotchmen to the partial sacrifice of their nationality. The country was, indeed, reduced to a condition of chronic famine, and the emancipation of Scotch trade had become a cardinal object of every patriot. The Union in itself was extremely unpopular, but the English clearly intimated that on no other condition would they grant Scotland a share in the commercial privileges of the empire. One of the last public acts of William had been to urge the expediency of an Union; and in 1702 formal negotiations were entered into, and commissioners were appointed to negotiate a treaty between the nations, but English manufacturing jealousy defeated the attempt. In 1703, however, a new Scotch Parliament assembled, which soon brought matters to an issue. The great majority of the members were vehement Presbyterians, full of suspicions of the High Church tendencies of the Queen and of bitter resentment at the policy of England. They adjourned, till other business had been despatched, the bills of supply; they began by passing a declaratory Act securing the Presbyterian government in Scotland, and they even made it high treason to impugn, either by writing, speaking, or acting, any article of the Claim of Rights, which asserted the evil of Episcopacy and the necessity for a Presbyterian Establishment. A Bill for tolerating the Episcopalians was brought forward, but its promoters did not venture to press it. Turning then from religious to civil matters, the Parliament proceeded with a high hand to exhibit its independence of England. Though members of the British empire, though they bore their part in the burdens and the dangers of British wars, the Scotch were excluded by their neighbours from all trade with the Colonies; and they now resolved to consult exclusively their own interests and dignity. An Act was passed declaring that after the death of the reigning Queen the sovereign of Scotland should have no right of declaring war without the consent of the Parliament. Another and still more startling measure, called the Bill of Security, provided that on the death of the Queen without issue, the Estates should meet to name a Protestant successor; but that this should not be the same person who would succeed to the Crown of England unless a treaty had been first made securing ‘the honour and sovereignty of the Scotch crown and kingdom, the freedom, frequency and power of parliaments, the religion, freedom, and trade of the nation from English or any foreign influence.’ It was at the same time made high treason to administer the coronation oath without parliamentary authority, and orders were given immediately to arm the nation.
These were bold measures, and they showed plainly that the spirit of the nation could no longer be trifled with. Scotland could not directly compel England to grant her free trade, but she could proclaim herself a separate kingdom, and by the assistance of France she might have maintained her position. The last days of the Parliament of 1703 were indeed extremely alarming. A Bill brought in by the Earl of Marchmont to secure the succession to the House of Hanover was met by an outburst of furious derision; and the House refused even to allow any record of it to remain in their books. An attempt to bring in a Bill of Supply was treated with scarcely less scorn, and for nearly two hours the debate was rendered inaudible by fierce cries of ‘Liberty!’ and ‘No subsidy!’ The necessities of the Government were such that the ministers appear to have supported a strange measure, which was carried, to remove the restrictions upon the importation of French wine, at a time when war was raging between England and France. The duty raised from it was found absolutely necessary for the public service; while, on the other hand, the Jacobites supported the Bill as opening easy communications with France. Menaces of coercion were freely used on both sides. The foot-guards were ordered to be in readiness; the Duke of Queensberry, who was the Queen's High Commissioner, would have been in imminent danger of his life but for the protection of the soldiers. ‘The whole nation,’ said an observer, ‘was strangely inflamed;’ and ‘a national humour of being independent of England fermented strongly among all sorts of people without doors.’ While the royal assent was reluctantly granted to the other Bills, it was refused to the Bill of Security; and as the Scotch Parliament was proceeding to discuss still more stringent measures, limiting the prerogative of future sovereigns, it was suddenly prorogued without having voted supplies, and the pay of the army and the charge of the Government were suffered to run to credit.1
It was hoped that in the recess the angry feeling would subside; and, as a means of softening some of the leaders, Athol, who, though he was Lord Privy Seal, had been prominent in opposition, was made a Duke; Tarbet, who had been conspicuous on the same side, was raised to the Earldom of Cromarty; and several other dignities were conferred. The Order of the Thistle was at this time revived and bestowed on some powerful noblemen. Some changes were made in the administration; the Duke of Queensberry, who had been accused of getting up a false charge of Jacobitism against some conspicuous nobles, was removed from the position of High Commissioner, and replaced by the Marquis of Tweeddale; and the royal speech, in opening the session of 1704, urged in the strongest terms the absolute necessity of at once settling the question of the succession. But it soon appeared that the Parliament was neither conciliated nor dismayed. The Duke of Hamilton began the opposition by moving that ‘this Parliament could not proceed to name a successor to the crown until the Scots had a previous treaty with England in relation to commerce and other concerns.’ The Bill of Security was again passed, with little modification, and this time it was tacked to a Bill for the payment of the army. The leading politicians openly declared their determination to refuse to vote funds for the payment of the troops till the Bill was passed. War was at this time raging; an invasion might at any time be expected. There was a strong Jacobite party in the Scotch Parliament; another party, guided by Fletcher of Saltoun, was almost or altogether Republican, and desired to reduce the prerogative of the Crown to little more than a shadow, and make Scotland virtually independent of England. The resentment of the people at English commercial jealousy blazed fierce and high, and manifested itself by alarming demonstrations. If the royal assent was refused, an invading army from France might be altogether unresisted, and might even find the Parliament and people on its side. Under these very critical circumstances the English Government thought it prudent to yield, and by the advice of Godolphin the royal assent was given to the Bill of Security.
This step was vehemently unpopular in England. It was, in fact, nothing less than an agreement by the English ministry that unless certain privileges, to which the English Parliament and the English nation tenaciously clung, were accorded to the Scotch, the union of crowns effected under James I. should be annulled, and the nations, on the death of the reigning sovereign, should be definitively separated. Wharton is reported to have said, when the assent was given, that the head of the Lord Treasurer was now safe in the bag; and had not the Battle of Blenheim just given a new strength to the ministry, it is not impossible that the judgment might have proved true. When the English Parliament met, a vote of censure was at once moved against the Government. In order, probably, to moderate the language of the Opposition speakers, the Queen herself was present at the debate. The influence of Marlborough was exerted in favour of Godolphin, and his friends succeeded in defeating the motion. But whatever fate might await the ministry, it was plain that if the disruption of the kingdom was to be averted free trade must be conceded; and the English were resolved that it should be conceded only as the price of an Union. Seldom, however, was there less real union of feeling between the nations than at this time. Resolutions were passed by the House of Lords praying the Queen to fortify Newcastle, Tynemouth, Carlisle, and Hull; to call out the militia in the four northern counties; and to send a sufficient number of troops to the border. She was at the same time empowered to appoint commissioners on the part of England to negotiate an Union on condition that a similar step was taken by the Scotch Parliament; but if no such Union took place, and if the same succession to the crown with that of England were not enacted by a specified day, it was provided that all Scotchmen, except those who were settled residents in England or who were serving in her Majesty's forces, should be held as aliens; that the introduction of Scotch cattle, coal, and linen into England and of English horses or arms into Scotland should be absolutely forbidden; and that all Scotch vessels found trading with France should be captured.
The effects of the prohibitory clauses of this Bill on the feeble resources of Scotland would have been fatal, and from this time the Union was inevitable. The Scotch Parliament, however, met in June 1705 in a very angry mood. The ministry, being thought unable to meet the difficulties of the Bill, was changed. The Duke of Argyle was appointed commissioner. The Duke of Queensberry again came to the front, in the office of Privy Seal, and some of the adherents of the ejected ministry, forming a separate party, added considerably to the complexity of the situation. Purely personal and factious motives played a great part in the events that ensued, and it is not here necessary to pursue them in detail. It is sufficient to say that the Duke of Hamilton was partially gained over by the administration, and that his defection in a great degree determined the course of events. Bills were passed providing that on the Queen's death the officers of State and Judges of the Supreme Court should be elected by Parliament, that a Scotch ambassador should be present at every treaty made by the sovereign of the two kingdoms with a foreign power, and that the Scotch Parliament should become triennial. None of these Bills received the royal assent, and the Scotch Parliament soon entered into the treaty for Union. A resolution of capital importance, moved, to the astonishment of most men, by the Duke of Hamilton, and carried by the absence of some of the usual opponents of the Government, placed the appointment of the Scotch commissioners for negotiating the Union in the hands of the Crown. As a preliminary step to the treaty it was insisted, as a matter affecting the national honour, that the English Act declaring the Scotch to be aliens should be repealed. This measure had answered its purpose of compelling the Scotch to negotiate, and the English Parliament wisely and gracefully consented to repeal it, as well as the clauses in the same Act relating to trade, and thus removed a formidable obstacle to the treaty. The Scotch would, if possible, have desired free trade without any other change in the constitution: and when it was plain that England would not submit to this, they would gladly have negotiated a federal union, but the English statesmen steadily refused to grant the boon unless it were accompanied by a complete consolidation of the kingdom.
Somers, who possessed the qualities of a great statesman in a much higher degree than any other Englishman of the period of the Revolution, took a leading part in the negotiation, and he conducted it with consummate skill. Neither of the contracting parties entered into it with any enthusiasm, but each of them gained by the treaty an end of the utmost importance. England, at the expense of commercial concessions, at which her manufacturers were deeply indignant, obtained a strength in every contest with her enemies such as she had never before enjoyed. Scotland, at the price of the partial sacrifice of a nationality to which she was most passionately and most legitimately attached, acquired the possibility of industrial life, and raised her people from a condition of the most abject wretchedness. In the ten years preceding the Union the commercial intercourse between the two countries had been so slight that the goods imported from Scotland to England only twice exceeded the small amount of 100,000l., and the imports from England into Scotland never in a single year exceeded 87,536l., while the whole shipping trade of the smaller country was annihilated by the Navigation Act. But immediately after the Union the movement of industry and commerce was felt in every part of the Lowlands.1 Glasgow, having no port or vessels of its own, chartered ships from Whitehaven and began a large trade with the American colonies.2 In 1716 or 1718 the first Scotch vessel that ever crossed the Atlantic was launched upon the Clyde;3 in 1735 Glasgow possessed sixty-seven vessels with a tonnage of 5,600,4 and in a few years she had become, in the American trade, a serious rival to the great seaports of England. It was in the first half of the eighteenth century that Greenock laid the foundation of its future greatness by the construction of a commodious harbour, and Paisley rose from a small village into a considerable manufacturing town.5 It was computed that the aggregate tonnage of Scotch vessels rose between 1735 and 1760 from 12,342 tons to more than 52,000,1 and it was noticed as a significant sign of the growth of the industrial spirit in Scotland, that from the time of the Union it was common for the younger sons of the gentry to become merchants, and to make voyages in that capacity to the Continent.2 In the seventeenth century almost the only Scotch manufacture had been that of linen. In imitation of the curious law which encouraged the English woollen trade by providing that every corpse should be buried in wool, a Scotch law of 1686 had enacted that every shroud should be of linen,3 but it was not until the Union gave the linen manufacture a wider vent, that the trade began really to flourish. It was introduced into Glasgow in 1725, it speedily spread through many other Scotch towns,4 and we find it appearing even in the Orkney Islands about 1747.5 It was noticed by the historian of commerce that on October 23, 1738, no less than 151,219 yards of Scotch linen, as well as 3,000 spindles of linen yarn were imported into London, and that of late years the entries had been annually increasing.6 The value of the Scotch linen stamped for sale in five years from 1728 to 1732 was 662,938l. In the four years from 1748 to 1751 it had risen to 1,344,814l.7 The Aberdeen trade in woollen stockings largely increased, and a considerable manufacture of coarse woollen serge grew up. Some time before the century had closed, cheap Scotch carpets had penetrated to most English houses.1 The preparation of kelp, which was introduced into Scotland in 1720, gave some industry to the poorest coasts;2 and the first Scotch county banks were established in 1749 at Aberdeen and Glasgow.3 The extreme poverty of Scotland was in this manner relieved, and with the extension of commerce the sober habits of industrial life began to pervade and reform the vagabond portion of the population.
It is hardly possible to advert to the Scotch Union, without pausing for a moment to examine why its influence on the loyalty of the people should have ultimately been so much happier than that of the legislative union which nearly a century later, was enacted between England and Ireland. A very slight attention to the circumstances of the case will explain the mystery, and will at the same time show the extreme shallowness of those theorists who can only account for it by reference to original peculiarities of national character. The sacrifice of a nationality is a measure which naturally produces such intense and such enduring discontent that it never should be exacted unless it can be accompanied by some political or material advantages to the lesser country that are so great and at the same time so evident as to prove a corrective. Such a corrective in the case of Scotland was furnished by the commercial clauses. The Scotch Parliament was very arbitrary and corrupt, and by no means a faithful representation of the people. The majority of the nation were certainly opposed to the Union, and, directly or indirectly, it is probable that much corruption was employed to effect it; but still the fact remains that by it one of the most ardent wishes of all Scottish patriots was attained, that there had been for many years a powerful and intelligent minority who were prepared to purchase commercial freedom even at the expense of the fusion of legislatures, and that in consequence of the establishment of free trade the next generation of Scotchmen witnessed an increase of material well-being that was utterly unpredecented in the history of their country. Nothing equivalent took place in Ireland. The gradual abolition of duties between England and Ireland was, no doubt, an advantage to the lesser country, but the whole trade to America and the other English colonies had been thrown open to Irishmen between 1775 and 1779. Irish commerce had taken this direction; the years between 1779 and the rebellion of 1798 were probably the most prosperous in Irish history, and the generation that followed the Union was one of the most miserable. The sacrifice of nationality was extorted by the most enormous corruption in the history of representative institutions. It was demanded by no considerable section of the Irish people. It was accompanied by no signal political or material benefit that could mitigate or counteract its unpopularity, and it was effected without a dissolution, in opposition to the votes of the immense majority of the representatives of the counties and considerable towns, and to innumerable addresses from every part of the country. Can any impartial man be surprised that such a measure, carried in such a manner, should have proved unsuccessful? There was, it is true, one course that might have made it palatable. The Irish never dreamed of demanding the establishment of the Church of the majority, which in the case of Scotland was solemnly guaranteed by the Union. They never dreamed of demanding even that religious equality which, sixty-eight years after the Union, was at last conceded. The Union Treaty, indeed, had a special clause guaranteeing the perpetuity of the established Church of the inority, and it was one of the favourite arguments of Castlereagh that it would stereotype the inequality. But there was another and a much less ambitious end which the majority of the Irish people ardently desired. Had the Catholic population been able to look back to the Union as the era of their complete political emancipation, the whole current of Irish feeling might have been changed. The propriety of uniting Catholic emancipation with the Union was self-evident, and Pitt naturally perceived it; but the actual proceedings of his Government on the subject combined so much folly with so much baseness that it would have been better had the question of emancipation never been raised. The shameful story will be hereafter told. It is sufficient here to say that the Government intimated to the leading Catholics that they would be in favour of emancipation if the Union were carried, and that they succeeded in this manner in obtaining some valuable ecclesiastical support, and in inducing the great body of the Catholics to remain passive during the struggle. But no sooner had the Union been carried than it appeared that the ministers were not even agreed in desiring emancipation, that they had not taken a single step to overcome the known opposition of the King, and that they were prepared to make no considerable sacrifice in favour of the Catholics. Pitt resigned office, indeed, when the King refused to consent to the measure, but he resumed it within a month, and he resumed it on the express understanding that he would oppose any attempt to carry emancipation. The Catholics for some years acted with perfect moderation, till it became evident to all men that their cause had not only not been assisted, but had even been greatly impeded by the Union. Then at last O'Connell induced them to change their policy. Duped and sacrificed by the English Government, they threw themselves into a violent agitation, brought the country to the verge of civil war, and obtained emancipation from a Tory ministry by the menace of rebellion. Such an episode was not likely to pacify the country, or to reconcile it to the sacrifice of its nationality; and it is not surprising that the organised agitation that was created should have been turned in the direction of repeal, or that the animosity produced by the Union should even now be far from extinguished.1
In all this there is nothing mysterious. The chain of cause and effect is very evident, and to understand it, it is only necessary for an Englishman to exert in favour of an Irish Catholic a small amount of that useful form of imagination by which we realise the position and the feelings of others. It is obvious that the Union never ought to have been carried until some considerable section of the people desired it, and until it could be accompanied by the removal of religious disabilities. A nation, however, which has never been called upon to surrender its nationality is apt to underrate the difficulty of the sacrifice in others; and public writers, in whom this sentiment has usually been enfeebled by education or other causes, hardly recognise sufficiently its great power over large masses of men. But certainly the history of the Scotch Union, if rightly understood, should not lead men into this error, for it is most instructive to observe how tenacious and how violent was the hostility to the measure for many years after its material benefits had become apparent. Many influences concurred in aggravating the discontent. To anyone who will attentively study the subject, it will appear evident that the religious difficulty in Scotland in the beginning of the eighteenth century was even more serious than the religious difficulty in Ireland at its close. One section of the Scotch clergy had long denounced as sinful all allegiance to a sovereign who was connected with Episcopacy, and when the project of Union was announced it was met by a storm of religious invective. To enter into an adulterous union with a nation which had adopted the anti-Christian system of prelacy, to acknowledge the legislative and judicial authority of an assembly in which bishops sat, to recognise in innumerable public documents their titles as lords over God's heritage, to throw in the lot of Scotland with that of a nation which had so long persecuted the saints, was denounced as a complete apostasy from the true religion of the Covenant. Such a measure, it was said, was essentially and grossly sinful, and could not fail to entail upon the purer nation the Divine1 wrath accumulated by the crimes of the oppressor. More moderate divines questioned whether any mere treaty provision could secure the establishment of Presbyterianism if the supreme legislative power were lodged with a Parliament consisting mainly of Episcopalians, and their apprehensions derived much weight from the fact that, soon after the Union, a Tory ministry, supported by a furious outburst of Church feeling, was in power. The Act securing the toleration of Episcopacy, the imposition of the abjuration oath on Presbyterians, the partial restoration by the imperial Parliament of that lay patronage which had been abolished by the Revolution, and the legal recognition of Christmas, were all esteemed great grievances by the Kirk.
There were also many others of a different kind. Edinburgh suffered from the withdrawal of the Parliament. Taxation was increased; the trade with France was stopped; the retail trade of Scotland was disturbed by the sudden influx of English goods; the commissioners of customs and excise appointed for carrying out the Union were chiefly Englishmen. The Scotch Privy Council was abolished in 1708 in defiance of the wishes of the great majority of the Scotch representatives. When the Habeas Corpus Act was suspended in the same year on account of the Jacobite expedition, the Government availed themselves of their power to arrest many of their leading opponents, including Lord Belhaven and Fletcher of Saltoun, who were certainly not Jacobites, and who were actually carried, under custody, to London. It was very difficult to obtain convictions for treason in Scotland, and accordingly a Bill was framed in 1709 making the law in cases of treason the same throughout the whole kingdom; it was carried, in spite of the strenuous and almost unanimous opposition of the Scotch, in both Houses, and under its provisions eighty-nine Scotch rebels were carried in 1716 from Edinburgh to Carlisle to be tried by English juries. The House of Lords, too, exhibited an extreme and illiberal jealousy of the Scotch peers, and in 1711, when the English dukedom of Brandon was conferred on the Duke of Hamilton, the Whig majority, including Somers and Cowper, in order to limit strictly the number of Scotchmen in the House, passed a resolution declaring that, although the sovereign had an undoubted right to confer English peerages on Scotch peers, these peerages did not carry with them the right of sitting or voting in the House of Lords, or of taking part in the trial of peers. This decision was dictated mainly by party and national feeling. It was all the more scandalous, because at this very time the Duke of Queensberry was sitting in the House by virtue of an English peerage bestowed on him since the Union, and it was not rescinded until the unanimous opinion of the judges was given against its legality, in 1782. In 1713 a new and terrible grievance arose when the malt-tax, which was one of the heaviest of English burdens, was extended to Scotland, where the poverty of the nation, and the poor quality of the native barley, made it almost insupportable.1 All these things, together with the constant insults to which the Scotch were exposed in London on account of their poverty, their pronunciation, or their birth, envenomed the minds of a proud people, who had but just consented to a most painful sacrifice of their nationality. The unpopularity of the Union, at the time it was carried, was abundantly shown by the addresses which poured in from every side against it, and by the fierce demonstrations in every leading city in Scotland.2 In 1708 the violent discontent produced by it was one of the chief reasons that induced Lewis XIV. to attempt a Jacobite invasion.3 In 1713, when the malt-tax was first extended to Scotland, the Scotch peers, and among them the Duke of Argyle, who had taken a leading part in carrying the Union, brought forward in the House of Lords a motion for its repeal, and they were only defeated by a majority of four. In 1715 the deep dissatisfaction produced by the Union was a leading element of the Jacobite rebellion. In 1725 an attempt to levy the malt-tax in Scotland, produced in Edinburgh and Glasgow riots almost amounting to insurrection, and, but for the presence of a strong military force, the whole country would have been in a flame.1 In 1745, when the Pretender endeavoured to rally the nation around his standard, the most seductive offer he could make was a promise that he would restore the old Parliament of Scotland. How much longer the discontent smouldered on, it is impossible to say. There was then no such thing as popular suffrage or vote by ballot, and we can only glean from incidental notices the real sentiments of the people. It is impossible, however, not to be struck by the bitterness with which the Union was regarded, long after the rebellion of 1745, by such a Scotchman as Smollett, and at a still later period by such a Scotchman as Sir Walter Scott.
The industrial life, however, which it rendered possible was one of the most important elements in the regeneration of Scotland. The work was completed by another group of measures reducing the Highlands to a condition of comparative civilisation. One serious obstacle to be encountered was the language, for there were great tracts in which the English tongue was unknown. The parochial schools were intended, among other objects, to spread the knowledge of English, and ‘to root out the Irish language,’1 and the same ends were very powerfully forwarded by a Scotch ‘Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge,’ which obtained letters patent from Anne in 1709, and was chiefly designed to dispel the ignorance of the Highlands. It established numerous schools in the mountain districts; and a very competent historian, writing in 1775, stated that, as a consequence of its efforts, public worship had in many places ceased to be celebrated in Gaelic, that Popery had considerably diminished, and that the English language was ‘so diffused, that in the remotest glens it is spoken by the young people.’2 The zeal in spreading the English language was, indeed, carried to such an extent that there were even those who objected to the diffusion of the Bible in the Highland tongue.3
Another great difficulty was the want of communications. As long as there were no roads through the Highlands it was impossible to restrain the influence of the chiefs, or to assert the authority of the law; and regular soldiers were almost powerless when matched against lightly-clad and hardened mountaineers, who knew every glen and mountain pass. After the rebellion of 1715 an Act was passed for disarming the Highlanders, and many barracks were built; but these measures proved utterly useless. The loyal clans alone brought in their arms. The soldiers were easily baffled and bewildered in the trackless mountains. They were ignorant of the language; they could obtain no information from the inhabitants, and their presence tended rather to weaken than to strengthen the law, for it was a standing proof of the impotence of the Government.1 About 1726 Marshal Wade undertook to make the Disarming Act a reality, and at the same time to strike a deathblow to the power of the chiefs by opening up the Highlands. Surveyors and engineers were brought from England, one of them being that Captain Burt whom I have so often quoted. Troops were employed on extra pay to make the roads, and after about eleven years of patient labour, the greater part of the Highlands was made thoroughly accessible. The place which this enterprise occupies in history is not a great one, but very few measures have contributed so largely to the moral, material, and political civilisation of Scotland.2
The extension of education, the formation of a powerful middle class in consequence of the industrial development of the Lowlands, the Disarming Act, and, above all, the new roads that intersected the Highlands, gradually destroyed the absolute power which the chiefs exercised over their clans, brought them within the range of the law, and weakened that moral sentiment which lay at the root of their power. The Union contributed very powerfully to the same end; the political weight of the great majority of the Scotch nobles was destroyed; the sixteen representative peers legislated in England; London became the centre of their hopes, their ambitions, and their intrigues, and the bond of sympathy that had so closely united them to their people was slowly dissolved. The rebellions of 1715 and 1745 ruined many of the great Scotch families; some noblemen were executed, the property of others was confiscated, several were compelled to take refuge on the Continent and lived for a whole generation away from their clans. In this manner the moral condition of the Highlands was profoundly modified, and the way was prepared for the abolition of hereditary jurisdictions by the Pelham ministry in 1746. This great measure was the natural consequence of the suppression of the rebellion; and although these jurisdictions had been guaranteed by the Union, their abolition was of such manifest advantage to the nation, and was so clearly inevitable through the causes I have enumerated, that it was carried with little difficulty. A compensation of about 150,000l. reconciled the gentry to the destruction of the last vestige of feudal power, and the hopeless ruin of the Jacobite cause put an end to all expectation of its revival.
Other measures, of much more doubtful benefit, were carried about the same time. Not content with again disarming the Highlanders, the Legislature passed an Act rendering it penal for them to wear their national dress; and by doing so it produced a deep and general irritation. A somewhat inquisitorial measure compelled all private teachers to take the oath of allegiance; and the Scotch Episcopal Church, which was still vehemently Jacobite, was crushed by laws of terrible severity. We have already seen how, by the Toleration Act of 1712, the oaths, both of allegiance and abjuration, and the obligation of praying by name for the sovereign, were imposed on all officiating clergymen; how this obligation was generally neglected; and how the Government usually connived at the neglect. In 1718, however, during an alarm about the Pretender, a severe law was enacted rendering all Episcopal clergymen who performed Divine worship without having taken the prescribed oaths liable to six months' imprisonment; and every religious assembly of nine or more persons, exclusive of the household, was declared to be a meeting-house within the meaning of the Act.1 The law was but little enforced. For many years after the accession of the Hanoverian dynasty, the Pretender seems to have habitually designated the clergyman who was to fill a vacancy in the Scotch episcopacy.1 The whole of that episcopacy, as well as the great majority of the minor clergy, remained Nonjurors; and in each rebellion the Church was strongly on the side of the Pretender. The result was the crushing Act of 1746. It was enacted that every person who exercised the functions of pastor or minister in any Episcopal meeting-house in Scotland without registering his letters of orders, taking the prescribed oaths, and praying by name for the sovereign, should, on conviction, be imprisoned for six months for the first offence, transported for life to some of his Majesty's colonies for the second, and imprisoned for life if he returned; and any place where more than four persons besides the household assembled for public worship, was constituted a meeting-house under the provisions of the Act. The penalties were no longer confined to clergymen; every layman present at one of these illegal meetings who did not give information to the magistrate within five days, was liable to a fine of 5l. on the first conviction and to two years' imprisonment on the second. No one convicted of having been twice in one year at an illegal Episcopal meeting-house could sit in either House of Parliament, could vote for a representative peer or for a member of the House of Commons, could act as magistrate or councillor, or could hold for one year after conviction, any civil or military office in Scotland; and all judges and magistrates convicted of negligence in putting the Act into force were liable to a fine of 50l.2 Nor was this all. A supplementary Act provided that no clergyman, even if he had complied with all the provisions of the law, could officiate in Scotland unless he could produce letters of orders from a bishop of the Church of England or of Ireland.3 As the Scotch bishops were, without exception, Nonjurors, their letters of orders were insufficient, and as it was impossible for Orders to be repeated, the effect of this law was to unfrock all the existing Episcopal clergy in Scotland, except the few who had been ordained out of the country. The clause was vehemently opposed by the English bishops, who dilated upon the disrespect shown to Episcopal orders, and, with more justice, upon the extreme hardship of depriving a large body of men—many of them guilty of no offence whatever—of their means of livelihood, and shutting against them every door of repentance. For a time the opposition was successful, and the clause was thrown out in committee; but by the strenuous efforts of Lord Hardwicke it was speedily restored.
These measures were certainly not unprovoked, but they were examples, I think, of a very excessive and injudicious severity; and they reduced one section of the Scotch people to a state of great suffering and depression, from which they were not relieved till the following reign. They did not, however, affect a sufficiently large proportion of the people to counteract the long train of favourable influences that were operating in Scotland, and the pacification of the Highlands rapidly advanced. The elder Pitt, by forming the Highlanders into Scotch regiments in the great war against France, gave a full vent and a new direction to their military qualities, created among them a new enthusiasm, and enabled them speedily to efface, by new and glorious deeds, the bitter recollections of the past.
The industrial habits that had taken such deep root in Scotland speedily penetrated to the relations between landlord and tenant, and the effects were by no means entirely good. A very painful transition took place from a state of society that rested upon feudal custom to a state of society that was governed by mercantile principles. Rack rents had, it is true, been known at a much earlier period,1 but they do not appear to have been general during the first forty years of the eighteenth century; or, at least, they were not usually paid to the landlord. The system of middle-men, or, as they were termed, tacksmen, became almost universal; and it produced all those evils which were so well known in Ireland before the famine. The head tenant held his farm at a very low rent from the landlord; he sub-let it at a heavier rent, and sub-divided it to such an extent that farms which one family and four horses would suffice to cultivate had from four to sixteen families living upon them.1 In consequence of the clan system tenants were never displaced and rarely migrated, and they multiplied indefinitely on the same spot Rents were settled by custom; feudal duties were largely considered; the landlord cared more for maintaining around him skilful robbers and bold soldiers than for increasing his revenue; agriculture was at the lowest ebb. Such a system was very rude and barbarous, but it was impossible to overthrow it without inflicting much distress. Pennant, who visited Scotland in 1769, and Dr. Johnson, who visited it in 1773, have both left us vivid descriptions of the social and economic change that was at that time taking place. Rents of competition were everywhere replacing rents of custom. The landlord, being no longer a feudal chief, sought to increase his revenue by raising rents; the tenants resisted, and were ejected without scruple, and new tenants came in who, regarding the whole transaction in a commercial spirit, were entirely without feudal attachment to their landlord. The old hospitality exercised by the chief had ceased; his army of retainers disappeared; the clans were rapidly dispersing, some seeking to improve their lot in the great industrial cities of the Lowlands, and very many emigrating to America. In remote districts, where the spirit of enterprise had not penetrated, the change produced extreme distress; the tenants clinging desperately to their old farms, though their complete want of agricultural skill made it impossible for them to pay with tolerable comfort the increased rents. The whole character of the people was rapidly changing, and the chief, who had once been looked upon as the father of his people, was too often regarded only as a rapacious landlord.1
There was much in this change that it is impossible to contemplate without regret, but the general result was on the whole beneficial. The deplorable agriculture which had so long contributed to impoverish Scotland began to give way before the stimulus of competition, and the economical condition of the Highlands was rapidly ameliorated. Some efforts to improve the agriculture or the breeds of cattle in Scotland had been made, about the time of the Union, by the Earl of Haddington, by Sir Archibald Grant, by Lockhart of Carnwath, and by Elizabeth Mordaunt—the daughter of Lord Peterborough and the wife of the eldest son of the Duke of Gordon.2 Large tracts were about the same time planted, the seats of the nobility were embellished,3 and a society ‘for improving the knowledge of agriculture’ was founded at Edinburgh in 1723;4 but it was not until after the abolition of hereditary jurisdictions that Scotch agriculture began to show any real promise of the admirable perfection it has since attained.5 If feudal virtues and some of the more romantic aspects of Highland life had diminished, the loss was more than compensated by the immense increase of order, sobriety, honesty, and security. The manners of all classes were softening. It is remarkable that the use of tea, which only became common among the upper classes in England late in the seventeenth century, had some time before the middle of the eighteenth century become general among the very poorest classes in the Lowlands, and was to a great extent superseding among them the use of intoxicating drinks.6 The progress of the Highlands was even more startling than that of the Lowlands. Travellers said with truth that there was no recorded instance in Europe of so rapid and so extraordinary an improvement as took place in them in the thirty or forty years that followed the rebellion. In that time districts which had been for centuries nests of robbers became as secure as the counties about the metropolis, and some of the most inveterate vices were eradicated.1 A single instance will suffice to illustrate the magnitude of the change. I have already quoted the picture from Fletcher of Saltoun of the extraordinary extent to which the habits of vagabond and shameless mendicancy were, at the end of the seventeenth century, spread through the whole Scotch nation. It is a singularly curious fact that when Pennant visited Scotland, in 1769, one of the features with which that acute English traveller was especially, struck was the remarkable absence of beggars in a population that was still extremely poor. ‘Very few beggars,’ he said, ‘are seen in North Britain; either the people are full masters of the lesson of being content with very little, or, what is more probable, they are possessed of a spirit that will struggle hard with necessity, before it will bend to the asking of alms.’2
If I have been fortunate enough in the foregoing pages to exhibit clearly the nature and the coherence of the measures I have enumerated and the magnitude of the economical and moral revolution that was effected, the history can, I think, hardly fail to have some real interest for my readers. There are very few instances on record in which a nation passed in so short a time from a state of barbarism to a state of civilisation, in which the tendencies and leading features of the national character were so profoundly modified, and in which the separate causes of the change are so clearly discernible. Invectives against nations and classes are usually very shallow. The original basis of national character differs much less than is supposed. The character of large bodies of men depends in the main upon the circumstances in which they have been placed, the laws by which they have been governed, the principles they have been taught. When these are changed the character will alter too, and the alteration, though it is very slow, may in the end be very deep. To trace the causes, whether for good or ill, that have made nations what they are is the true philosophy of history. It is mainly in proportion as this is done that history becomes a study of real value, and assuredly no historical school is more mischievous or misleading than that which evades the problem by treating all differences of national character as innate and inexplicable, and national crimes and virtues as the materials for mere party eulogy or party invective.
There is another and a much more serious school of writers who regard legislation simply as the product and expression of a state of thought and feeling otherwise created, and will scarcely admit that it has any independent influence in moulding the characters or determining the progress of nations. In this theory there is, doubtless, a considerable element of truth. No law can be permanently efficacious if it is opposed to those prevailing moral and intellectual tendencies which we call the spirit of the age. The best are those which, being suggested by some previous want, respect very closely the customs and dispositions of the people, and fall in with the tendencies of the time. Englishmen, at least, are in general free from the delusion so prevalent on the Continent, that a nation which has been for generations ignorant, superstitious, intolerant, and enslaved, which has for ages been without the opportunities or the habits of political life, can be suddenly regenerated by removing every restraint and conferring upon it a democratic constitution. They know that the result invariably is either that the old despotism continues under a new name, or that a period of anarchy is followed by a period of reaction in which the small amount of liberty the nation might otherwise have enjoyed becomes impossible. They know that legislation greatly in advance of the nation for which it is intended will always prove pernicious or inoperative; that constitutions, in order to flourish, must grow out of the past condition of the country; that the system of government which is good for one nation is not necessarily good for another, and that the laws which were well suited for the infancy of a people are not equally suited for its maturity.
But although the effects of legislative and political influences on the formation of national character have been greatly exaggerated, although these effects probably diminish with the increasing complexity of society, and with the increasing force of its spontaneous energies, they both have been and are very real. The results of great movements of moral or intellectual advance would often have been transient had they not been consolidated by laws which arrested in some degree the reflux of the wave, kept the higher standard continually before the people, and prevented the tide of opinion from sinking altogether to its former level. Laws regulating the succession of property govern in a few generations the distribution of wealth, which more than any other single circumstance determines the social type, and thus affects the whole circle of opinions and of tastes. A skilfully framed system of national education has often contributed largely to settle the unfixed opinions of a nation and has always done very much to establish the character and the grade of national civilisation. By offering endowments for the cultivation of some one class of talents or the propagation of some one class of opinions, the legislator, if he abstains carefully from shocking any strong national prejudice, may gradually invest those particular talents with a consideration they would never otherwise have possessed, and attract to those opinions a very disproportionate amount of the national ability. On the other hand, a great legislative injustice festers in the social body like a wound and spreads its influence far beyond the part immediately affected. The habits of arrogance, of servility, and of lawlessness it produces will propagate themselves from class to class till the whole type of the nation becomes more or less perverted.
Of the good effects of legislation upon national character we can hardly have a better example than is furnished by the succession of laws I have enumerated, beginning with the establishment of the Scotch Kirk in 1690, and ending with the abolition of hereditary jurisdictions in 1746. But although from this time the history of Scotland was one of uninterrupted progress there were still dark shadows on the picture, and it was many years before the English level of civilisation was altogether attained. Even torture, which had always been illegal in England, was legal and was practised in Scotland after the Revolution, and was only abolished by the Treason Act of 1709. The last traces of serfdom disappeared in England about the time of James I., but in Scotland colliers and labourers in the salt works were in a condition of serfdom during the greater part of the eighteenth century. They were legally attached for life to the works on which they laboured. Their children were bound to the same employment in the same place, and on the sale of the works their services were transferred to the new owner. It was only in 1775 that an Act was passed for their emancipation.1 Judicial corruption in England, in spite of one or two exceptional cases, may be said to have ceased at the Revolution, but in Scotland there is reason to believe that it was largely practised far into the eighteenth century.2 The political system was even more corrupt and more illusory than that of England; for while the borough Members were elected by the magistrates and town councils, the qualification for the county Members was so high that the whole representation was often in the hands of a few families. The character of the Scotch Members was lowered by the fact that for many years after the Union they alone received regular wages for their attendance in Parliament,1 their greater poverty exposed them specially to temptation, and one of the worst effects of the Union on imperial politics was the great accession it gave, in both Houses, to the corrupt influence of the Crown. It was, indeed, the custom in England to regard the Scotch as the most slavish and venal of politicians, and the reproach was not wiped away till the Reform Bill of 1832 gave Scotland a real representation and created constituencies surpassing those of any other part of the kingdom in the average of their intelligence, purity, and liberalism.
It must be added, however, that the systematic support which Scotch Members and Scotch peers were accustomed to give to successive ministries did not extend to purely Scotch questions. The very unpopularity of Scotchmen drew them together, and in this class of questions they showed themselves singularly shrewd, tenacious, and implacable in their resentments. The admirable habit of conferring together on purely local matters and adopting a common line of policy before the discussions in Parliament, which has given the Scotch contingent nearly all the weight of a national legislature, was early adopted. It appears to have begun at the time of the organised opposition to the malt-tax in 1713,2 and it has contributed largely to promote the interests of their country. The murder of Captain Porteous in 1736, the complete impunity of the murderers, the weakness shown by the Provost, and the manifest connivance of a large part of the inhabitants of Edinburgh,3 were followed by a severe Bill disabling the Provost from holding any public office, and at the same time depriving the city of its charter and of its guards, and taking away the gates of the Netherbow. The opposition of the Scotch was so fierce and general that the measure was at last reduced to one disabling the Provost from holding any future office, and imposing on the city the very moderate fine of 2,000l. for the benefit of the widow of Porteous. But the design against the city was never forgiven, and the animosity of the Scotch legislators against Walpole did much to hasten his fall.1 One Scotch Member, named Anstruther, had voted for the original Bill, and he received a regiment as the price of his vote; but when he afterwards visited his estate in Scotland, he found it necessary to assume a disguise in order to escape the vengeance of the people. When his election was contested, the Scotch Members voted to a man against him, and when, as late as 1751, he was accused on account of some alleged misgovernment at Minorca, the animosity of his countrymen was still conspicuously apparent.2
The manners of the people continued for some time to reflect very clearly their former degradation. The modes of life produced by a long period of abject wretchedness are never at once removed by the introduction of comparative prosperity. What began by the force of necessity continues by the force of habit, and more than one generation must pass before it is changed. Industrial habits were rapidly growing, but it was a long time before they reached the English level.1 In spite of their admirable education, in spite of their Protestantism, in spite of their growing industry, the aspect of the Scotch population in the latter years of the eighteenth century was still extremely repulsive to an English eye. All the squalor of dress, person, and dwelling that now shocks the traveller in some parts of Ireland was exhibited in the Lowlands, and it was accompanied by a striking absence of the natural grace, the vivacity, the warm and hospitable spirit of an Irish population. These latter qualities existed, indeed, in Scotland, but only in the Highlands, and the tone of manners in the north and south of the country is said to have presented a stronger contrast than could be furnished by any other nation in Europe.2 The many solid and noble elements of the Scotch character might, indeed, be clearly discerned, but many years had still to pass before the nation reached its present high standard in the externals of civilisation.
One evil of a different kind proved very inveterate. However great may have been the services which, in some respects, the Scotch Kirk has rendered to its country, it is incontestable that the religious bigotry it produced far exceeded that of any other considerable body in the kingdom, and its influence for evil as well as for good may even now be deeply traced in the character of the people.
The history of the Scotch Kirk, and the nature of the influence it exercised, have been treated, not many years ago, with great power, but with some prejudice, by one of the most thoughtful and eloquent of the historians of England. Buckle has, indeed, fully recognised its undoubted services to political liberty, but he has not, I think, done justice to the good effects of a stern moral discipline acting, during many generations, on a people singularly wild, wayward, and anarchical; to the strength of character infused into the nation by the fervent, though narrow, religious zeal with which all classes were saturated; or to the educational value of a system in which every sermon was an argument, and all the problems of religion were perpetually submitted to popular discussion. The Scotch Kirk is, indeed, a body which it is not very easy for those who are not in sympathy with its theology, to judge with equity. Few forms of religion have been more destitute of all grace or charm, more vehemently intolerant, and at the same time more ignorant and narrow. Those who take any wide or philosophical view of religious phenomena will find it peculiarly difficult to sympathise with men who, assuming the genuineness, authority, and absolute infallibility of the whole body of canonical writings without question and without discrimination, excluded on principle all the lights which history, tradition, patristic writings, or Oriental research could throw upon their meaning; banished rigidly from their worship every artistic element that could appeal to the imagination and soften the character; condemned in one sweeping censure almost all Churches, ages, and religious literatures, except their own, as hopelessly benighted and superstitious, and at the same time pronounced, with the most unfaltering assurance, upon the most obscure mysteries of God and of religion, and cursed, with a strange exuberance of anathema,1 all who diverged from the smallest article of their creed. The Scotch ministers succeeded, indeed, in impressing their doctrines, with a peculiar definiteness, on the minds of their people, and in forming a high standard of principle, and a rare energy of conviction; but their system was not one to produce any real modesty of judgment, any gentleness or generosity of character, any breadth or variety of sympathy. Superstitious and intolerant as was the Catholic Church, it was at least in these respects superior. In a religion that rests ultimately on authority there is always something to mitigate the extreme arrogance of ignorant dogmatism. In a great and ancient religion, comprising within itself the accumulated traditions, literatures, and superstitions of many nations and of many centuries, influences from distant and various quarters are at least brought to bear upon the mind, and insular habits of thought are in some degree corrected. Popes and Councils may define their dogmas, every instrument of coercion or persuasion may be employed to reduce the mighty mass to uniformity, but still the religion will practically assume many forms. There will be degrees of realised belief, and types of devotion adapted to different characters, national peculiarities, and grades of intellect and knowledge; while a worship and a mythology appealing largely to the imagination, and a devotional literature appealing largely to the feelings, will supply an atmosphere in which religious minds can expatiate without concentrating themselves unduly on the dogmatic side of their faith. In the Scotch Kirk a bare, hard, and narrow dogmatism was the very essence of religion, and was enforced with an intolerance that has never been surpassed. Of all the reformers, none breathed a spirit of such savage fanaticism as John Knox; and there was certainly no branch of the Protestant clergy who so long and so steadily denounced every form of religious toleration as his successors.1 It is wholly untrue that they were intolerant only in self-defence, and towards those whose principle was intolerance of others. The last and one of the very worst instances in British history of the infliction of death for the expression of religious opinions was the execution, in 1697, of Thomas Aikenhead, a young man of only eighteen, for the enunciation of some sceptical opinions which he was afterwards most anxious to recant, and this judicial murder was mainly due to the Scotch clergy.2 The Scotch Nonjurors made it one of their charges against William that he had sinfully suffered James II. to escape, instead of bringing his head to the block.3 For nearly a generation the Scotch ministers habitually denounced the toleration of Episcopalianism and of other Protestant sects with a vehemence quite as unqualified as that with which they had previously denounced the persecution directed against themselves; and when the Associate Presbytery seceded from the Establishment they announced in their ‘testimony’ that the institution of religious toleration was among the foremost ‘causes of God's wrath against sinful and backsliding Scotland.’4 In no part of the British empire—I imagine in no part of Protestant Europe—were prosecutions for witchcraft so frequent, so persistent, and so ferocious as in Scotland, and it was to the ministers that the persecution was mainly due. They employed all their influence in hunting down the victims, and they sustained the superstition by their teaching long after it had almost vanished in England.5 Hundreds of wretched women have on this ground been burnt in Scotland since the Reformation, and the final sentence was preceded by tortures so horrible, various, and prolonged that several prisoners died through the torment.1 As late as 1678 no less than ten women were condemned to the flames on a single day on the charge of having had carnal intercourse with the devil.2
Even when the superstition had to a great degree died away among educated laymen, the influence of the clergy over the populace was such that acquittal itself was sometimes insufficient to save the life of the victim. A curious and very detailed contemporary account is preserved of a case of this kind which occurred in 1704–5 in the little town of Pittenweem in Fifeshire. A blacksmith in that town, having long been ill, at last declared himself to be suffering from witchcraft, and accused seven women as the culprits. They were at once arrested; a petition was presented from Mr. Cowper, the minister of the town, and from the Town Councillors for a commission to try them; but the Earl of Rothes, who was the sheriff, having instituted an inquiry, detected the imposture and released them. Among them was a poor, ignorant woman named Jane Corphar. When first ‘committed prisoner to the tolbooth upon suspicion of being a witch, she was well guarded with a number of men, who, by pinching her and pricking her with pins, kept her from sleep many days and nights, threatening her with present death unless she would confess herself guilty of witchcraft;’ and she herself alleged that Mr. Cowper had beaten her with his stick on her denying her guilt. The intended effect was produced; and wearied out with pain, sleeplessness, and terror, she confessed whatever they desired. On being visited, however, by the magistrates, she at once asserted her innocence, declared that her previous confessions were all lies and were made ‘to please the minister and the bailies,’ and succeeded in obtaining her release. But the minister again appeared on the scene. It was stated that when the poor woman was charged with having renounced her baptism she gave the unmeaning, and probably purely ignorant, answer that ‘she had never renounced it but to the minister.’ For this offence Mr. Cowper summoned her to the Church, threatened her, and of his own authority ordered her to be confined in a prison that was in the building. She succeeded in escaping, but next day was arrested by the minister of a parish eight miles off, who, without giving any notice to the magistrates, sent her in custody to the minister of Pittenweem. ‘When she came to Mr. Cowper she asked him if he had anything to say to her; he answered, “No.”’ It was now evening, but it was with great difficulty she could find anyone in the town to shelter her. The storm was rapidly gathering around her. Next morning a fierce crowd had collected, who ‘went,’ writes our informant, ‘to Mr. Cowper and asked him what they should do with her. He told them he was not concerned, they might do what they pleased with her. They took encouragement from this to fall upon the poor woman, three of the minister's family going along with them, I hear.’ They seized her, beat her unmercifully, tied her so hard with a rope that she was almost strangled, dragged her by the heels through the streets and along the shore, bound her fast to a rope which they stretched at a great height between a ship and the land, swung her to and fro till they were weary—throwing stones at her meanwhile—and at last dashed her violently to the ground, all being ready to receive her with stones and staves. Her two daughters rushed in and fell upon their knees before the mob, imploring at least to be permitted to speak one word to their mother before she expired; but they were driven away with fierce threats. At last, after ‘three hours’ sport, as they called it,’ the woman was killed; the populace compelled a man with a sledge and horse to drive several times over her head, and they placed her mangled corpse under a heap of stones at the door of the woman who had given her shelter on the previous night, whom they threatened with a similar fate. It was noticed that in his sermon on the following Sunday the minister did not introduce a single sentence expressing reprobation of the murder to which he had so largely contributed.1
This episode is probably typical of many others. Under the teaching of the Scotch clergy, the dread and hatred of witches rose to a positive frenzy; and the last execution for witchcraft, as well as the last execution for heresy, in the British Empire, took place in Presbyterian Scotland. As late as 1727 a mother and daughter were convicted of witchcraft; the daughter succeeded in escaping, but the old woman was burnt in a pitch-barrel.2 The associated Presbytery, in 1736, left a solemn protest against the repeal of the laws against witchcraft as an infraction of the express word of God.3
Other extravagances, if less pernicious, were even more grotesque. Thus, some of the clergy denounced the use of ‘fanners’ to winnow corn as impious, because by them men raised an artificial breeze in defiance of Him ‘who maketh the wind to blow as He listeth;’4 they denounced inoculation, till late in the eighteenth century, as flying in the face of Providence and endeavouring to baffle a Divine judgment;5 they denounced in repeated resolutions the legal vacation in December as a national sin, because it implied some recognition of the superstitious festival of Christmas;6 and they sometimes even thought it necessary to interfere on the same ground to put down the custom of eating a Christmas goose.7 A picture of Christ, attributed to Raphael, formed part of a small collection which was exhibited in 1734 at Edinburgh and Perth. In the latter city it was at once denounced from the pulpit; a furious mob, shouting ‘Idolatry!’ ‘Popery!’ and ‘Molten images!’ surrounded the house where it was. It was saved with difficulty, and soon after the Seceders solemnly enrolled among the national sins of Scotland the fact that ‘an idolatrous picture of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was well received in some remarkable places of the land.’1 Theatres, assemblies, dancing, light literature, gaieties at weddings, all those forms of popular festivity which brighten the hard lot of the labouring poor, were inexorably condemned. An assembly for dancing which was established at Edinburgh in 1710 was denounced from the pulpit, attacked by a furious mob, and the doors were on one occasion perforated with red-hot spits.2 The first circulating library in Scotland, which was set up by Allan Ramsay in 1728, was denounced; and the magistrates were induced to take measures against it because it was made the means of disseminating plays and other light literature.3 The Scotch Sabbath became a proverb throughout Europe. Even after the Revolution, the magistrates in Edinburgh employed men called ‘seizers,’ whose function was to patrol the streets and arrest all who were found walking on Sunday during sermon time.4 On that dreary day it was esteemed sinful to walk in the fields, to stand in the streets, to look out of the window, to suffer little children to play, to travel even on the most urgent occasions, to pursue the most innocent secular recreation or employment, to whistle, to hum a tune, to bathe, or, in the opinion of some ministers, even to shave. Very few things affect so largely the happiness and the true civilisation of a people as the manner in which they are accustomed to spend the only day of the week in which, for the great majority of men, the burden of almost ceaseless labour is intermitted. In Scotland, as far as the Church influence could extend, every element of brightness and gaiety on that day was banished, every form of intellectual and æsthetic culture was rigidly proscribed. In every parish a Kirk Session was established, consisting of the minister and his elders, who often employed spies to discover offences, and pried incessantly, not only into the opinions, but also into the domestic relations and private pursuits and manners of the parishioners; and the minister summoned offenders before the congregation, imposed upon them public and shameful penances, and if they resisted, subjected them to excommunication, which, in the existing state of society, cut them off from all intimate intercourse with their neighbours, and blasted their temporal and, as they believed, also their eternal prospects.1 There was, in truth, more real religious liberty in the seventeenth century at Naples and in Castile than in the Western Lowlands of Scotland.
This system cannot be exactly termed priestcraft, for the minister was strictly controlled by the congregation; and the elders, who were all laymen, took part in his judicial acts. As far, however, as freedom of action and liberty of dissent were concerned, it had the effects of a crushing sacerdotal tyranny; and it was supported by language about the claims and prerogatives of the Kirk, hardly less arrogant and imperious than that which issues from the Vatican.
The palmy days of this Church despotism were in the seventeenth century and in the early years of the eighteenth. From this time, many influences contributed gradually to weaken it. The cessation of persecution, the secure position of an established Church, the growth of industrial life, a more intimate connection with England, and also those intellectual agencies which during the eighteenth century were steadily lowering the theological temperature throughout Europe, had all their influence in Scotland. In the great centres especially an opposition arose, and Allan Ramsay, Pitcairn, and a few others, bitterly assailed the pretensions of the clergy. A lady who was a very keen observer of the habits of her time, and who died at a great age, near the close of the eighteenth century, had the happy thought of writing down the changes of manners that occurred in Scotch society during her own life, as well as those which she had gathered from the lips of her older relations, and she has furnished us with several curious particulars illustrating the movement. The infusion of English ideas after the Union was very rapid. Some of the most considerable persons in Scotland were obliged to pass half the year in London, and naturally came back with a certain change in their ideas. The under officers of the Court of Exchequer and the Boards of Customs and Excise established in Scotland, were chiefly English, and being men of fashion they were hospitably received in the best Scotch society, and gradually modified its tone. About the same time the custom was largely extended of sending young men of fortune to Holland for their education, and permitting them afterwards to make a tour through France; and French manners, and to a certain degree French morals, began to penetrate into Scotch society. Luxury increased, and the severity of domestic discipline which had once prevailed rapidly disappeared. In the early years of the century we are told, ‘Every master was revered by his family, honoured by his tenants, and awful to his domestics. His hours of eating, sleeping, and amusement were carefully attended to by all his family, and by all his guests. Even his hours of devotion were marked that nothing might interrupt him. He kept his own seat by the fire or at the table with his hat on his head, and often particular dishes were served up for himself that nobody else shared of. His children approached him with awe, and never spoke with any degree of freedom before him. The consequence of this was that except at meals they were never together.’ There was a reverence for parents and elderly friends and generally an attention to the old which in the latter part of the century was unknown. The position of servants was still very humble. They had ‘a set form for the week of three days broth and salt meat, the rest meagre, with plenty of bread and small beer.’ Until vails were abolished, the yearly wages of menservants were only from 3l. to 4l., those of maidservants from 30s. to 40s. The tables were covered with many dishes, and fine table-linen was greatly prized, but the gentry still eat off pewter and few persons except the richest noblemen kept a carriage. Girls, even in good families, were taught very little beyond reading, writing, and plain work. They spent their time chiefly in working tapestry or curtains for the house, and in reading long romances or books of devotion; they rarely appeared in public except at church, and at the great gatherings for baptisms, marriages, or funerals; and their chief task was to repeat psalms and long catechisms, in which they were employed an hour or more every day, and almost the whole day on Sunday. ‘They never eat a full meal at table. This was thought very indelicate, but they took care to have something before dinner, that they might behave with propriety in company.’ The intercourse of men with women, however, though not less pure, was much less reserved than in the latter part of the century. ‘They would walk together for hours or travel on horseback or in a chaise without any imputation of imprudence.’ The character of ‘a learned lady’ was greatly dreaded, and it was acquired by a very slight knowledge of the current literature of the time. Our informant has preserved from the recollections of her uncle a curious record of the ordinary way of spending Sunday in a gentleman's house in the first years of the century. At nine the chaplain read prayers to the family. At ten the whole household went regularly to church, which lasted till half-past twelve. At one the chaplain again read prayers, after which they had cold meat or an egg, and returned to church at two. The second service terminated at four, when they betook themselves to their private devotions, except the children and servants, who were convened by the chaplain and examined. This continued till five, when dinner was served. A few male friends usually partook of this meal, and sat till eight. It was followed by singing, reading, and prayers conducted by the master himself, after which all retired to rest. ‘The fear of hell and deceitful power of the devil were at the bottom of all their religious sentiments.’ Almost every old house had its haunted chamber, where few dared to sleep; and dreams and omens were in high repute even among the most educated.1
All this, in the upper classes at least, gradually changed, and it was noticed that the decline of religious terrorism advanced step by step with the softening of the relations between parent and child, and between master and servant. In 1719 the Presbytery of Edinburgh passed some very characteristic resolutions lamenting the decadence of piety.2 They complained among other things that the people were now accustomed to walk or stand in the streets before or after service time on Sunday, that they even wandered on that day to fields and gardens, or to the Castle Hill, or stood idly gazing from their windows, and that ‘some have arrived at that height of impiety as not to be ashamed of washing in waters and swimming in rivers upon the holy Sabbath.’ Amateur concerts took root in Edinburgh about 1717.3 Two or three years later the fashion of large gatherings at the tea-table came in, and exercised a wide social influence, and about the same time clubs began rapidly to multiply.4 A love of dancing spread in certain circles, and was bitterly censured and deplored, and it was noticed by the more rigid Presbyterians, as a circumstance of peculiar poignancy, that the Cameronian March, called by the name of the saintly Cameron, was a favourite tune.5 A weekly assembly for dancing, and private balls carried on by subscription, began in Edinburgh to take the place as centres of social intercourse, once occupied by the gatherings at baptisms, marriages, and burials;1 and about 1726 we even find a theatre established, though its existence was long very precarious.2 There was as yet little or no scepticism, and attendance at the Kirk was universal, but some preachers had arisen who entirely discarded the old style of dogmatic preaching, who banished from their sermons every description of religious terrorism, and were accustomed to represent the Christian religion chiefly as the purest rule of morals, the belief in a particular providence and a future state as the support in every trial, the distresses of individuals as necessary for exercising the affections of others, and the state of suffering as the post of honour. This kind of preaching became especially popular after the rebellion of 1745, when ideas of liberty were widely diffused. The phrase ‘slavery of the mind’ came then into common use. Nurses were dismissed for talking to the young of witches or ghosts, and the old ministers were ridiculed who preached of hell and damnation.3 It must be added that, by one of those curious contrasts not unfrequent when Churches aim at an excessive austerity, there existed in the midst of a rigid and externally decorous society a large amount of the most extravagant dissipation. We read of a Hell-fire Club in Edinburgh, and of a Sweating Club, whose members perpetrated infamous street outrages like those of the Mohocks in London, and it is certain that during a great part of the eighteenth century hard drinking and other convivial excesses were carried among the upper classes in Scotland to an extent considerably greater than in England, and not less than in Ireland.4
This evil, however, appears to have been more in the second than in the first half of the century. In the second half of the century also, the kind of preaching I have described became more common in the fashionable quarters of the great towns. A small but very eminent party arose in the Established Church of Scotland, who fully reflected the more enlightened tendencies of their time; and among their ministers we find the great names of Blair, Ferguson, Home, Reid, and Robertson. This school, however—distinguished and admirable as it was—was almost confined to the great cities, and it had no real root among the people. It has been observed with truth that every popular schism in Scotland was inspired, not by a desire to innovate, but by a desire to restore the sterner discipline of the past. The empire of the Kirk over the greater part of Scotland, and over the poorer and middle classes, was but little shaken during the eighteenth century; and although it is scarcely possible for a Christian Church to exercise a supreme influence over a people without producing some excellent moral effects, it also contributed largely to narrow, darken, and harden the national character. The general standard of external decorum was, indeed, so far higher than in England that it was said that a blind man travelling southwards would know when he passed the frontier by the increasing number of blasphemies he heard. If there was a somewhat unusual amount of hypocrisy and censoriousness, no one who reads the letters of the time will question that there was also a very large amount of simple and unostentatious piety; while order, industry, and truthfulness were admirably displayed. The industrial virtues, however, for which Scotchmen are so eminently distinguished, can only be very partially attributed to the influence of the Kirk; for they spring naturally and almost spontaneously from good secular education and from an advanced industrial civilisation, while in some other branches of morals no great improvement has been effected. It is well known that the statistics of drunkenness and the statistics of illegitimacy show that in point of sobriety the Scotch nation ranks among the lowest in Europe, and in point of chastity below either of the other parts of the kingdom. I cannot find that the discipline of the Scotch Kirk has ever had an influence in repressing drunkenness at all comparable to that which was exercised by Father Mathew in Ireland, and which was felt for an entire generation. Offences against chastity occupied a very prominent place in the proceedings of the Kirk Sessions and of the Scotch legislators, and penalties of an absurdly exaggerated description were employed to repress them. In 1695 thirty-two women of ill-fame were transported from Edinburgh to the American plantations.1 Offenders of a less serious kind were compelled to do public penance before the congregations in the churches, and, among other punishments, to stand in the pillory. The effects were what might have been expected. The extreme publicity given to these matters had no tendency to diminish the offence; the spectacle of the public penances attracted to the Kirk those who would certainly have found no other charm within its walls; and the excessive severity of the penalties imposed on the fallen led to a very serious increase of child-murder. On one day in the last century, four women were executed in Edinburgh for this offence; and they all declared that the dread of the pillory had prompted them to the crime.2 In the Northern districts the influence of the Kirk in this, as in other respects, appears to have been less felt; and it is somewhat remarkable that, in spite of all the efforts of the clergy, a great Scotch writer was able to state, long after the middle of the eighteenth century, that ‘in the Highlands of Scotland it is scarce a disgrace for a young woman to have a bastard.’3
Some of the higher and more attractive features also, of the Scotch character are to be attributed, not to the action of the Kirk, but to a widely different source. We have seen in the foregoing pages how marked had been the opposition between the Highlands and the Lowlands, and in how great a degree the pacification and civilisation of Scotland depended upon the increasing predominance of the latter. It would, however, be a great mistake to suppose that the Highlands contributed nothing beneficial to the Scotch character. The distinctive beauty and the great philosophie interest of that character spring from the very singular combination it displays of a romantic and chivalrous with a practical and industrial spirit. In no other nation do we find the enthusiasm of loyalty blending so happily with the enthusiasm for liberty, and so strong a vein of poetic sensibility and romantic feeling qualifying a type that is essentially industrial. It is not difficult to trace the Highland source of this spirit. The habits of the clan life, the romantic loyalty of the clansman to his chief, the almost legendary charm that has grown up aroung Mary Queen of Scots and around the Pretender, have all had their deep and lasting influence on the character of the people. Slowly, through the course of many years, a mass of traditional feeling was formed, clustering around, but usually transfiguring, real facts. The devotion which sprang up among the countrymen of Knox, and in defiance of the hard Puritanism of the Kirk, to the mournful memory of the Catholic Queen, is one of the most touching facts in history. It was noticed by Dempster, only thirteen years after the tomb of Mary had been removed from Peterborough to Westminster Abbey, that devout Scots were accustomed to make pilgrimages to it as to the tomb of a martyr. It was supposed to have wrought numerous miracles, and is probably the last tomb in the kingdom to which this power has been ascribed.1 The clan legends, and a very idealised conception of clan virtues, survived the destruction of feudal power; and the pathos and the fire of the Jacobite ballads were felt by multitudes long after the star of the Stuarts had sunk for ever at Culloden. Traditions and sentiments that were once the badges of a party became at last the romance of a nation; and a great writer arose who clothed them with the hues of a transcendent genius, and made them the eternal heritage of his country and of the world.
Hildreth's Hist. of the United States (Ed. 1849), ii. 127, 373.
See two remarkable chapters on religious intolerance in the colonies in Burke's Account of the European Settlements in America.
See Bancroft, iii. 68–70, 107, 108. Hildreth, ii. pp. 123–124.
Bancroft, iii. 105. Macpherson's Annals of Commerce, ii. 683–684.
Walpole gives a curious description of ‘the extreme ignorance in which the English Court had kept themselves of the affairs of America.’ ‘The Board of Trade during Sir R. Walpole's administration had very faultily been suffered to lapse almost into a sinecure, and during all that period the Duke of Newcastle had been Secretary of State. It would not be credited what reams of paper, representations, memorials, petitions from that quarter of the world lay mouldering and unopened in his office. … He knew as little of the geography of his province as of the state of it. When General Ligonier hinted some defence to him for Annapolis he replied with his evasive lisping hurry, “Annapolis, Annapolis! Oh, yes! Annapolis must be defended, to be sure Annapolis should be defended—Where is Annapolis?”’—Memoirs of George II. i. p. 396.
In that able work on The European Settlements in America (published anonymously in 1757), which was written at least in part by Burke, a much more favourable judgment is passed on the French colonial governments than is usual in modern American and English histories.
Bancroft, iii. p. 177.
Macpherson's Annals of Commerce, ii, 329, 332, 486.
3 & 4 Anne, c. x.; 9 Anne, c. xvii.
12 Charles II.c.xviii.; 15 Charles II. c. vii.; 22 & 23 Charles II. c. xxvi.; 25 Charles II. c. vii.; 7 & 8 William III. c. xxii.
10 & 11 William III. c. x. (abridged).
Macpherson's Annals of Commerce, iii. 72, 73.
Ibid. iii. 280.
5 George II. c. xxii.
6 George II. c. xiii.
As Arthur Young very justly said, ‘Nothing can be more idle than to say that this set of men, or the other administration, or that great minister occasioned the American war. It was not the Stamp Act nor the repeal of the Stamp Act; it was neither Lord Rockingham nor Lord North, but it was that baleful spirit of commerce that wished to govern great nations on the maxims of the counter.’—Preface to the Tour in Ireland. See, too, Huskisson's Speech on the Navigation Lars.
Quoted by Bancroft, iii. 464, 465,
4 George I. c. xi.
See Colquhoun on the Police of the Metropolis (7th ed. 1806), p. 436, 437. Harris's Life of Lord Hardicke, i, p. 156.
Hakluyt's Voyages, vol. iii.
Macpherson's Annals of Commerce, ii. 702.
Macpherson, ii. 638.
Bancroft's Hist. of the United States, iii. 411.
Macpherson, iii. 403.
Grenville Correspondence, ii. 12.
Walpole's Letters, Feb. 25, 1750.
Macpherson, iii. 438.
Bancroft's Hist. of the United States, iii. 411, 412.
Hildreth, Hist. of the United States, i. 119–120.
See on this subject Grahame's Review of the American Apology for American Accession to Negro Slavery. The question of negro slavery is treated with much ability and impartiality in Hildreth's Hist. of the United States. Mr. Bancroft writes in a vehement anti-English spirit.
The following, e.g., is the preamble of one of the laws passed in the ministry of the elder Pitt: ‘Whereas the trade to and from Africa is very advantageous to Great Britain, and necessary for the supplying the plantations and colonies thereunto belonging with a sufficient number of negroes at reasonable prices.’ See on this subject, Rose's Diaries, i. p. 38. Bancroft, iii. 413–414.
Bancroft's Hist. of the United States, iii. 407–416.
Ibid. iii. 407.
Hildreth, Hist. of the United States, ii. 267.
Holmes's Annals of America, ii. 10, 11.
Fraser's Life of Berkeley, p. 187, 188.
Hildreth, ii. 417–419.
See Hildreth's Hist. of the United States, ii. 426. Bancroft, iii. 409. South Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland passed laws expressly asserting that baptism made no change in the legal position of the negro; an opinion of Yorke and Talbot, the English law officers, to the same effect was circulated in the Colonies; and Gibson, the Bishop of London, declared that ‘Christianity and the embracing of the Gospel does not make the least alteration in civil property.’
Hodgson's Life of Porteus, pp. 86–88.
Hildreth, ii. 169.
Holmes's Annals of America, i. 524, 534; ii. 42. Hildreth, ii. 407.
Hildreth, ii. p. 407.
See Grahame's Hist. of the United States, iii. 153.
Holme's Annals of America, i. 527.
Hildreth, ii. 300, 301. The Courant—a newspaper edited by a brother of Franklin—strongly opposed inoculation. Benjamin Franklin was then working as an apprentice with his brother, and there is an old Boston tradition that he wrote something on the same side.—Miller's Retrospect of the Eighteenth Century (English edition, 1805), i. 356.
The history of American education has been very fully treated in the third volume of Miller's Retrospect of the Eighteenth Century, a valuable American book which does not deserve the neglect into which it has fallen.
Bancroft, iii. 374–375.
Holmes, ii. 21–35
11 & 12 Gul. III. c. 10; 7 George L c. 7.
Burke's Account of the European Settlements in America (6th ed.) ii. p. 117.
See an excellent description of these islands in Burke's Account of the European Settlements in America.
Macpherson's Annals of Commerce, iii. 200.
Ibid. iii. 262, 263.
‘The ordinary Highlanders esteem it the most sublime degree of virtue to love their chief and pay him blind obedience, although it be in opposition to the Government, the laws of the kingdom, or even 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.’—Burt's Letters from the North of Scotland (5th ed.), ii. 2–3. See, too, Marshal Wade's ‘Reports on the Highlands,’ appended to Burt, vol. ii. p. 270, and the vivid picture by Dr. Johnson, Tour to the Hebrides (ed. 1817), 130–137.
‘There is still to be seen among the papers of the family of Perth an application from the town of Perth to Lord Drummond, dated in 1707, requesting an occasional use of his Lordship's executioner, who was considered an expert operator. The request was granted, his lordship reserving to himself the power of recalling him whenever he had occasion for his services.’—Stewart's Sketches of the Character of the Highlanders (3rd ed.), i. 52.
See Burt's Letters, and the description of Highland manners in Burton's Hist, of Scotland since the Revolution.
Pennant's Second Tour in Scotland. Pinkerton's Voyages, iii. 349.
Burton's Hist. of Scotland, ii. 407–411.
Burt, ii. pp. 10, 11. Another English traveller writes: ‘Many gentlemen in the Highlands shun one another's company lest they should revive a quarrel that happened between their forefathers, perhaps 300 years ago.’ — Macky's Journey through Scotland, p. 128.
See a horrible catalogue of Highland cruelties in Macaulay, c. xviii. ‘That the Highlanders,’ says Captain Burt, ‘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 shedding blood without necessity’ (ii. p. 77). The same writer gives numerous horrible instances of their cruelty both to English soldiers and to each other. See, too, Johnson's Tour, p. 140.
Wodrow's Hist. of the Church of Scotland, ii.
Burt's Letters, ii. 72–75, 225.
See a striking statement in Burt, ii. 44–45. Fletcher of Saltoun writes: ‘Nor, indeed, can there be a thorough reformation in this affair so long as the one half of our country, in extent of ground, is possessed by a people who are all gentlemen only because they will not work, and who in everything are more contemptible than the vilest slaves, except that they always carry arms, because for the most part they live upon robbery. This part of the country, being an inexhaustible source of beggars, has always broken all our measures relating to them.’—Second Discourse on the Affairs of Scotland. Pennant, when he visited Scotland in 1769 and 1772, noticed the same traits, though in diminished intensity, and especially observed how at Caithness ‘the tender sex are the only animals of burden.’—Pinkerton's Voyages, iii. 89–94. Another writer who visited the Highlands in 1774, says: ‘An Highlander will to this day wrap himself up in his plaid, throw himself at his length on the ground and lie there totally unconcerned, while his wife and children are busily engaged in getting in the scanty harvest which the barren nature of his land allows him.’—Topham's Letters from Edinburgh, pp. 43–44.
History of Man, book ii. c. 1.
Pennant (Pinkerton's Voyages, iii. 348). There is an interesting examination of the moral notions of the Highlanders on this subject in Stewart's Sketches of the Character of the Highlanders, i. 36–48.
Martin's Description of the Western Islands (Pinkerton's Voyages, iii. p. 607).
See ‘An Inquiry into the Rise and Progress of Rebellions in the Highlands,’ appended to Burt's Letters (5th ed.), ii. 359. Also the review of Marshal Wade's proceedings in the Highlands, Burt, ii. 126–130; and Lord Lovat's report to George I. in 1724 on the State of the Highlands.
Culloden Papers, p. 298.
Burton's Hist. of Scotland, ii. 395–396. ‘Table knives,’ wrote Dr. Johnson, ‘were not regularly laid on the table before the prohibition of arms and the change of dress. Thirty years ago the Highlander wore his knife as a companion to his dirk or dagger, and when the company sat down to meat, the men who had knives cut the flesh into small pieces for the women, who with their fingers conveyed it to their mouths.’—Johnson's Tour to the Hebrides, p. 84. I may add that the eccentric Duchess of Queensberry (the friend and patroness of Gay) was accustomed, when at Edinburgh, to express very emphatically her disgust at the Scotch fashion, still prevailing in the capital, of eating off the end of a knife.—Chambers' Traditions of Edinburgh.
Burt's Letters, ii. p. 43. Pennant found this barbarous custom prevailing in Skye as late as 1772 (Second Tour in Scotland). — Pinkerton's Voyages, iii. p. 318.
Defoe's Hist. of the Union. Johnson's Tour, p. 174. Burt's Letters, ii. 52.
Stewart on the Highlanders of Scotland (3rd ed.), i. p. 146.
Burton, ii. 395. Johnson's Tour, p. 120. Burt's Letters. It is curious that while Burt speaks of the complete absence of wheat in his time in the Highlands, Boethius had mentioned the country round Inverness as specially fertile in this crop.—Culloden Papers, p. xx.
Burt's Letters, ii. 28.
Ibid. pp. 30–31.
Burton, ii. 480.
Burt's Letters, ii. 34–35.
Ibid. p. 173.
Brand's description of Orkney, Zetland, &c., in Pinkerton, iii. 770. Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, i. 392, v. 410.
Brand's description of Orkney, &c. (1701), Pinkerton, iii. 773.
Ibid. Pinkerton, iii. 762–763.
Martin's Description of the Western Islands (Pinkerton, iii. 594).
Brand (Pinkerton, iii. 763).
See Arthur Michell's very interesting paper on ‘Superstitions of the north-west Highlands of Scotland,’ in the fourth volume of the Antiquarian Society of Scotland.
Martin's description (Pinkerton, iii. 653).
Brand's description (Pinkerton, iii. 763)
Martin and Brand (Pinkerton, iii. 725–728, 763).
Stewart's Sketches of the Highlanders of Scotland, i. append. xi.
Michell on Superstitions of the North-West Highland. Dalzell's Darker Superstitions of Scotland. Michell states that these sacrifices are even now not unknown in some parts of Scotland.
Pennant's Tour (Pinkerton, iii. 49).
Martin (Pinkerton, iii. 681).
Ibid. (Pinkerton, iii. 610, 611).
See Lord Lovat's Memorial of the State of the Highlands. Pennant's Tour (Pinkerton, iii. 384). Chambers's Domestic Annals of Scotland, iii. 459. Stewart on the Highlanders of Scotland, i. 62–63, and append. xlviii.
I have heard one of the most eminent of English surgeons state as the result of his experience, that he found a wide difference in the power of enduring pain shown by patients from different parts of the British Empire, and that he has usually found his Scotch patients in this respect greatly superior both to his English and to his Irish ones.
There was an old French proverb—
An immense amount of information about Scotchmen abroad will be found in Michel's Ecossais en France. See, too, Stewart's Sketches of the Highlanders, ii. 409–418; Defoe's Memoirs of an English Cavaher; Macky's Journey in Scotland.
One great source of the proverbial hospitality of the Scotch chiefs and lairds was the prevalent custom of paying rent in kind.—See the ‘Remarks on the Changes of Manners in My Time,’ by Mrs. Mure, Caldwell Papers, i. p. 262.
See some striking instances of this in Stewart's Sketches of the Highlanders, i. append. xiii.-xvii.
Pennant (Pinkerton, iii. 426) Stewart, i. 105–108.
Burt's Letters, ii. 131–133. See, too, Stewart's Sketches of the Highlanders, i., pp. 37–39.
‘The people speak as good English here [at Inverness] as at London, and with an English accent; and ever since Oliver Cromwell was here they are in their manners and dress entirely English.’—Macky's Journey through Scotland, p. 123. See, too, Burt's Letters, i. 37. Chambers. however, attributes the good English spoken in Inverness ‘to the simple circumstance that the people here do not learn English in their infancy through the medium of broad Scotch, but make a direct transition from Gaelic into pure English.’—Gazetteer of Scotland.
Lawson's Hist. of the Episcopal Church of Scotland, p. 139.
Fraser-Mackintosh's Antiquarian Notes respecting the Highlands, p. 16. No great improvement appears to have been effected till late in the century. In Dunbar's Social Life in former days, chiefly in, the Province of Moray, illustrated by family papers (1865), there is a frightful contemporary picture of the state of Inverness prison in 1786. About thirty persons—some of them criminals and some of them debtors—were frequently confined in cells none of which were above 13 feet square (pp. 90–92).
See on Inverness, the description in Burt's Letters, Sinclair's Survey, and Chambers's Gazetteer of Scotland; and also some curious facts collected from other sources in Fraser-Mackintosh's Antiquarian Notes respecting the Highlands (Inverness, 1865).
Thom's Hist. of Aberdeen, ii. 28.
An atrocious case of this kind, which shows clearly the state of the Highlands, occurred in 1739. Nearly 100 men, women, and children, were seized in the dead of the night on the islands of Skye and Herries, pinioned, horribly beaten, and stowed away in a ship bound for America, in order to be sold to the planters. Fortunately the ship touched at Donaghadee in Ireland, and the prisoners, after undergoing the most frightful sufferings, succeeded in escaping. The case was fully investigated by Messrs. Ward and Baillie, two local magistrates, and their report is among the State Papers for Ireland in the English Record Office.
See Kennedy's Annals of Aberdeen, i. 294–296.
Pennant (Pinkerton, iii. 28–29).
See Chambers's Domestic Annals of Scotland, iii. 591–593.
An English traveller who lived at Edinburgh in 1774 and 1775, and who was in general greatly pleased with the town and with its inhabitants, says those who have been accustomed ‘to the hotels of Paris and Lyons can scarcely form in imagination the distress of a miserable stranger on his first entrance into this city; as there is no inn that is better than an alehouse, nor any accommodation that is decent, cleanly or fit to receive a gentleman. On our first arrival, my companion and self, after a long day's journey, were landed at one of these stable-keepers’ (for they have modesty enough to give them no higher denomination). … On entering the house we were conducted by a poor devil of a girl without shoes or stockings, and with only a single linsey-woolsey petticoat which just reached half-way to her ankles, into a room where about twenty Scotch drovers had been regaling themselves with whiskey and potatoes. You may guess our amazement when we were informed that this was the best inn in the metropolis—that we could have no beds unless we had an inclination to sleep together and in the same room with the company which a stage coach had that moment discharged.’—Topham's Letters from Edinburgh, p. 19.
Macky's Journey to Scotland (1723), p. 65.
Burt, i. 85.
Chambers's Traditions of Edinburgh. Topham bears high testimony to the efficiency of this body as a police force.
Chalmers's Caledonia, i. 881.
Stanhope's Anne, i. 281.
The Second Discourse on the Affairs of Scotland.
‘There have been more rebellions in Scotland than in any other country, and the rebellions have been very sanguinary as well as very numerous. The Scotch have made war upon most of their kings, and put to death many. To mention their treatment of a single dynasty, they murdered James I. and James III. They rebelled against James II. and James VII. They laid hold of James V. and placed him in confinement. Mary they immured in a castle and afterwards deposed. Her successor, James VI., they imprisoned; they led him captive about the country, and on one occasion attempted his life. Towards Charles I. they showed the greatest animosity, and they were the first to restrain his mad career.’—Buckle's Hist. of Civilisation, ii. 159.
See the very just remarks of Macaulay on the difference between English and Scotch Jacobitism.—Hist. c. xiii.
Burnet's Speech on the Sacheverell case (1710).
Bower's Hist. of the University of Edinburgh, i. 69.
See Bower's Hist, of the University of Edinburgh, i. 198–204.
Hist. of his Own Times, i. 293.
Burnet, after deploring the low level of instruction among the English gentry, adds. ‘The Scotch, though less able to bear the expense of a learned education, are much more knowing; the reason of which is this: the Scotch, even of indifferent fortunes, send private tutors with their children both to schools and colleges; these look after the young gentlemen mornings and evenings and read over with them what they have learned, and so make them perfecter in it; they generally go abroad a year or two and see the world.’—Hist. of his Onn Times, ii. 648. Lockhart (who is a more partial witness) says: ‘It is obvious that at this very time (which must chiefly proceed from this humour of travelling) the Scotch gentry do far exceed those of England, so that in the one you shall find all the accomplishments of well-bred gentlemen, and in your country English esquires all the barbarity imaginable.’—Lockhart Papers, i. 252.
Baden Powell's Hist. of Natural Philosophy, pp. 347–348.
As early as 1703 Leibnitz wrote to Lord Roxburgh: ‘The Scotch prove clearly enough that their genius can quite keep pace with that of the English. Messrs. David Gregory and Creigh are taking successful pains with mathematics, but the late Mr. James Gregory especially was an excellent genius. I say nothing of the illustrious Lord Napier, the author of the Logarithms. I hope also that Mr. Cunningham … will do honour to his country whenever he shall choose to communicate to the public the great knowledge he possesses.’—Kemble's State Papers, pp. 319–320.
I think anyone who will read the evidence collected in the eighth chapter of Lawson's Hist. of the Episcopalian Church in Scotland will conclude that the Episcopalian minority was more important, and the resistance to the establishment of Presbyterianism more serious, than would be inferred from the narrative of Macaulay. In one parish—that of Glenorchy — some of the parishioners actually marched the Presbyterian minister over the bounds of the parish (the piper meanwhile playing the march of death) and compelled him to swear that he would never return.—See Stewart's Sketches of the Highlanders, i. 105, 106, 138. See, too, on the number of Scotch Episcopalians, Lathbury's Hist. of the Nonjurors, pp. 420–422. The lower and middle classes were usually Presbyterian, the nobility and gentry Episcopalian.
See Lathbury's Hist. of the Non jurors, pp. 438, 439.
See Lockhart's Memoirs, i. 378.
The proceedings of Carstairs on this matter have been lately investigated with much learning and ability from the Scotch Kirk point of view, in Story's Life of Carstairs. See, too, the preface to Defoe's Hist. of the Union, Burton's Hist. of Scotland, Lathbury's Hist. of the Nonjurors, and the tracts on the subject published at the time.
See Lathbury's Hist. of the Non jurors, p. 451.
See the powerful statement of son, p. 266. Bishop Russell to this effect in Law.
Burt's Letters, i. 212.
The mode of election for both peers and commoners was to be determined in the last session of the Scotch parliament, whose act on this point the union treaty ratified by anticipation.
See on these and the subsequent transactions, Lockhart Papers, vol. i.; Tindal, Hist. of England; Burnet's Own Times; Boyer's Queen Anne; Defoe's Hist. of the Union.
Craik's Hist. of Commerce, ii. 183–184.
Chambers's Domestic Annals, iii. 481.
Compare Buckle's Hist. of Civilisation, ii. 315, Burton's Hist. of Scotland, ii. 393.
Burton's Hist. ii. 393.
Buckle's Hist. of Civilisation, ii. 313–316.
Burton's Hist. ii. 393. Macpherson's Annals of Commerce, iii. 340.
Mrs. Mure's ‘Remarks on the Change of Manners in my time.’—Caldwell Papers, i. 266.
Chambers's Annals, iii. 85. Mrs. Mure, in her very curious sketch of the manners of her time, tells us that ‘every woman made her web of wove linen and bleched it herself. It never rose higher than 2s. the yeard, and with this cloth was everybody cloathed. The young gentlemen, who at this time  were growing more delicat, got their cloth from Holland for shirts, but the old was satisfied with necks and sleeves of the fine, which was put on loose, above the country cloth.’—Caldwell Papers, i. 260. In the Highlands it was the first task of a newly-married woman to prepare her winding sheet.
See many curious facts on this subject in Buckle's Hist. of Civilisation, ii. 315–320.
Barry's Hist. of the Orkney Islands, p. 368.
Macpherson's Annals of Commerce, iii. 217.
Ibid. iii. 289.
Topham's Letters from Edinburgh, pp. 175–176.
Barry's Hist. of the Orkney Islands, p. 376.
Buckle, ii. 320.
For proofs of all these assertions relating to Ireland I must refer to the abundant, and, I believe, irrefrag-able, evidence I have given in my Leaders of Public Opinion in Ireland.
This is noticed by all Scotch historians, but the course of opinion has lately been traced with especial fulness by Mr. Burton in his valuable history.
It was contended, with some reason, that this imposition was a violation of the Union. The 14th article provided that Scotland should not be subject to any malt tax during the war; and at the time when it was imposed, though peace had been signed with France, it had not yet been signed with Spain.
Much striking evidence of this, as well as of the long continuance of the discontent, will be found in the Lockhart Papers.
Lockhart Papers, 2 24–227. Boyer's Hist, of Queen Anne, 334, 335.
At this time Lockhart wrote to the Pretender, ‘As the aversion to the Union daylie increases, that is the handle by which Scotsmen will be incited to make a generall and zealous appearance; this your enimies know so well that on former occasions all manner of pains were taken to buz in the people's ears that they'd be disappointed in what they expected from you, for that to gratify your subjects of England you was to uphold the Union.’ Lockhart accordingly recommends, as the most efficacious way of raising Scotland, a proclamation promising repeal.—Lockhart Papers, ii. 224–236. Sec too the passages I have quoted, vol. i. p. 131. A very touching letter of advice written on his deathbed by the ninth Earl of Eglinton, in 1729, for the guidance of his infant son when he grew older, contains the following passage, ‘You come to live in a time, my chiefest care, when the right of these kingdoms comes to be a question betwixt the House of Hanover, who are in possession, and the descendants of King James. You are in my poor opinion not to intermeddle with either but live abstractedly at home … for since we are under the misery and slavery of being united to England, a Scotsman without prostituting his honour can obtain nothing by following a court, but bring his estates under debt and consequently himself to necessity.’—Fraser's Memorials of the Earls of Eglinton, i. 116.
See the appendix to Burt's Letters, ii. 363.
Lachlan Shaw's Hitt. of Moray, p. 381. In 1730, Primate Boulter notices ‘the good success of the corporation established in Scotland for the instruction of the ignorant and barbarous part of that nation,’ and the example contributed largely to the institution of the Irish Charter Schools. Boulter's Letters, ii. 10–13.
‘Their language is attacked on every side. Schools are erected in which English alone is taught, and there were lately some who thought it reasonable to refuse them a version of the Holy Scriptures, that they might have no monument of their native tongue.’—Johnson's Tour in the Hebrides, p. 85. See, too, p. 159.
See ‘Lord Lovat's Memoir to George I. on the State of the Highlands’ (1724), in the appendix to Burt's Letters.
See the Memoir on Scotch Roads, appended to Burt's Letters, and numerous notices of their history in Chambers's Domestic Annals of Scotland. It was on the road between Inverness and Inverary that the obelisk stood with the well-known inscription—
5 George L., c. 29.
See the Lockhart Papers, vol. ii. passim, but especially pp. 76–93, 104–108, 116–117. A serious schism, however, broke out among the bishops of the Scotch Church in 1726, which caused much trouble to the Jacobites. A Bishop of Edinburgh appears from Lockhart to have been one of the most active of the Jacobites under George I., and his son was one of the Jacobite prisoners taken in the Rebellion of 1715.—Bishop Nicholson's Letters (British Museum Add. MSS. 6116, p. 70).
19 George II., c. 38.
21 George II., c. 34.
Fletcher of Saltoun wrote in 1698: ‘Were I to assign the principal and original source of our poverty, I should place it in the letting of our lands at so excessive a rate as makes the tenant poorer even than his servant, whose wages he cannot pay … and makes the master have a troublesome and ill-paid rent; his land not improved by enclosure or otherwise, but for want of horses and oxen fit for labour everywhere run out and abused.’—Second Discourse on the Affairs of Scotland.
See the ‘Inquiry into the Causes of Rebellions in the Highlands,’ Appendix to Burt's Letters, ii, 340, 41.
See the very interesting description—unfortunately too long for quotation—of this change in Johnson's Tour, pp. 144–152. Pennant's Tour (Pinkerton, iii. 95, 328–329).
Chambers's Domestic Annals of Scotland, iii. 417–419.
Macky's Tour in Scotland (1723), p. 276.
Chambers's Annals, iii. 484.
Burton's Hist. ii. 393–394.
In a very valuable paper on ‘The State of the Revenue of Scotland,’ drawn up about 1742, Duncan Forbes laments bitterly the decline of the duty on beer and ale arising from this cause. ‘The cause of the mischief we complain of,’ he says, ‘is evidently the excessive use of tea, which is now become so common that the meanest families, even of labouring people, particularly in boroughs, make their morning meal of it, and thereby wholly disuse the ale which heretofore was their accustomed drink; and the same drug supplies all the labouring women with their afternoon's entertainments, to the exclusion of the twopenny. … As the lowest rank of housekeepers make use of tea, so the servants, particularly the females in better families, make it their morning and afternoon's diet.’—Culloden Papers, pp. 190, 193. According to Chambers, tea was first introduced into Scotland in the parties of Mary of Modena at Holyrood, at the time when, on account of the excitement about the Exclusion Bill, it was thought prudent to send the Duke of York, as Governor, to Scotland.—Traditions of Edinburgh, p. 320.
Thus Lord Kames said: ‘The mildness with which the Highlanders have been treated of late, and the pains that have been taken to introduce industry among them, have totally extirpated depredations and reprisals, and have rendered them the most peaceable people in Scotland.’ — Hist, of Man, bk. ii. sec. 9.
Pinkerton's Voyages, iii. 45. See, too, Sinclair's Survey of Scotland, vi. 220; viii. 574. Some instances, however, of strolling beggars are given by Sinclair under the head of ‘Beggars.’
Eden's Hist. of the Pour, i. 417–418.
See Chambers's Traditions of Edinburgh, 117–120.
See some particulars of these payments in Dunbar's Social Life in Former Days, pp. 214, 215.
Lockhart Papers, i. 417, 429.
It would be useless and foolish to attempt to describe again an episode which Sir Walter Scott has made the subject of perhaps the most masterly historical picture in the language, but I may quote two curious passages illustrating the state of Scotch feeling about it. General Moyle, who was commanding at Edinburgh, wrote to the Duke of Newcastle (Sept. 9, 1736): ‘Ican't but mention to your Grace that this is the third prisoner within the memory of man that has been taken out of a tolbooth here, and barbarously murdered by the mob. They charge me with procuring Porteous’ reprieve, and threaten to murder me in my bed or set fire to my house; but I despise them all. I don't hear that any of the criminals are yet apprehended, though well known by many of the inhabitants of the town.’ The Earl of Islay, writing a little later (Oct. 16) to Sir R. Walpole, says ‘The most shocking circumstance is, that it plainly appears the high-flyers of our Scotch Church have made this infamous murder a point of conscience. One of the actors went straight away to a country church where the Sacrament was given a vast crowd of people, as the fashion is here, and there boasted of what he had done. All the lower rank of the people who have distinguished themselves by pretences to a superior sanctity, speak of this murder as the hand of God doing justice; and my endeavours to punish murderers are called grievous persecutions. I have conversed with several of the parsons, and I observe that none of those that are of the high party will call any crime the mob can commit by its proper name. Their manner of talking, were it universal, would extirpate religion out of the world for the good of human society, and, indeed, I could hardly have given credit to the public reports of the temper of these saints if I had not myself been witness of it and been admonished by one of them to have regard to the Divine attribute of mercy, (in English) to protect the rebels and murderers.’—Coze's Walpole, ii. 361, 367.
Walpole's Memoirs of George II. i. 56–61.
Topham, in his Letters from Edinburgh in 1774 and 1775, was much struck with the aversion to trade still prevailing in Scotland. Lord Kames gives a curious illustration of the growth of commercial habits. ‘In Scotland,’ he says, ‘an innocent bankrupt imprisoned for debt obtains liberty by a process termed cessio bonorum. From the year 1694 to the year 1744 there were but twenty-four processes of that kind, which shows how languidly trade was carried on, while the people remained ignorant of their advantages by the Union. From that time to the year 1771 there have been thrice that number every year, taking one year with another—an evident proof of the late rapid progress of commerce in Scotland.’—Hist. of Man, bk. i. sec. 4.
An intelligent traveller, who visited Scotland in 1787, gives the following description of the aspect of the people: ‘The common people of Scotland are more than a century behind the English in improvement; and the manners of the Lowlanders in particular cannot fail to disgust a stranger. All the stories that are propagated of the filth and habitual dirtiness of this people are surpassed by the reality; and the squalid, unwholesome appearance of their garb and countenances is exceeded by the wretchedness that prevails within their houses … Whole groups of villagers fly from the approach of a traveller like the most untamed of savages.’ On the other hand, the Highlanders ‘are courteous in their manners, civil in their address, and hospitable to the utmost extent of their little power. Their houses, it is true, are mean and inconsiderable; but within they are often as clean as their poverty will allow; and their doors are never closed against the necessities or curiosity of a stranger. This marked distinction between two races of inhabitants of the same country is curious, and, I believe, quite unparalleled in any other nation; neither does it seem to wear off in the degree that might be expected in the common progress of improvement.’—Skrine's Travels in the North of England and part of Scotland, pp. 71, 72.
See an amusing instance of this in Burton, ii. 70.
The reader may find, without going further, numerous illustrations of this fact in Buckle, Macaulay, and Burton.
See Macaulay's Hist. c. xxii.
Macaulay, c. xvi.
Burton's Hist. of Scotland, ii. pp. 321, 332, 333.
Much evidence on the subject of Scotch witchcraft will be found in Dalzell's Darker Superstitions of the Highlanders; Pitcairn's Criminal Trials of Scotland; Burt's Letters, and Sir Walter Scott's Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft. I have myself elsewhere referred to the subject.
Thus we find that of twenty-six persons who were condemned to the flames at Aberdeen in 1595 and 1596, three died under torture. The rest were burnt.—Kennedy's Annals of Aberdeen, i. 169–172.
Arnot's Hist. of Edinburgh, pp. 193–194.
See the very interesting letter describing the tragedy, in Dunbar's Social Life in Former Days, pp. 268–273.
Burt's Letters, i. pp. 230, 231.
Burton, ii. 334.
See a Note to Burt's Letters, i. 176.
Buckle's Hist. ii. 380, 381. There are, however, several instances of the clergy having used their influence to promote the practice. See under ‘Inoculation,’ in Sinclair's Survey of Scotland.
Macaulay's Hist. c. xiii.
Dunbar's Social Life in Former Days, p. 128.
Chambers's Domestic Annals of Scotland, iii. 564, 565.
Chambers's Traditions of Edinburgh, p. 57.
Ibid. p. 25.
Arnot's Hist. of Edinburgh, p. 192.
See many curious particulars about the Kirk sessions in Burt. Burton has analysed their discipline with much care. See, too, Buckle's masterly chapter on the Scotch Kirk.
See the ‘Remarks on the Change of Manners in my own time,’ by Mrs. Elizabeth Mure, in the Caldwell Papers (Maitland Club), vol. i. pp. 259–272.
Arnot's Hist. of Edinburgh, p. 204.
Chambers's Domestic Annals, iii. 432–433
Caldwell Papers, i. 269, 271.
See the curious extracts from a book of Patrick Walker, published about 1723, in Chambers's Domestic Annals, iii. 483.
Caldwell Papers, i. 267.
Chambers's Domestic Annals, iii. 520. In Glasgow the first theatrical performance appears to have been in 1728. Wodrow says that in that year ‘two things happened pretty singular, which twenty or thirty years ago would have been very odd in Glasgow—the setting up of an Episcopalian meeting-house, and public allowing of comedies.’—Wodrow's Analecta, iii. 436.
Caldwell Papers, i. 269, 270. In 1774 Topham describes Deism as very prevalent in Scotland, though an external conformity to the Kirk was strictly enforced.—Letters from Edinburgh, p. 238.
Ample evidence of this will be found in Chambers's Traditions of Edinburgh, and in Dean Ramsay's Reminiscences. Mrs. Mure mentions how an entire hogshead of wine was drunk at the marriage of one of her friends. ‘The women,’ she says, ‘had a good share; for though it was a disgrace to be seen drunk, yet it was none to be a little intoxicate in good company.’—Caldwell Papers, i. 263–265.
Chambers's Domestic Annals, iii. 115.
Arnot's History of Edinburgh, p. 193.
Lord Kames's Hist. of Man, book i. sec. 6.
Stanley's Westminster Abbey.