Scotland Genealogical Records
Scotland Birth & Baptism Records
An index to all foreign, domestic, air-borne, consular, High Commission, marine and military births registered by the Scottish government. The index is linked to images of birth registers from 100 or more years ago. They contain a great deal of information, including parent's full names, date and place of birth, date and place of parent's marriage and more.
The baptism registers of Scotland provide details of births from to . Entries usually record parents' names (with mother's maiden name) and date of birth and/or baptism.
An index to births registered to British Army personal at home and abroad.
An index to over 100,000 birth and christening notices from The London Times.
An index to births and baptisms recorded by Catholic churches in Scotland. Records provide proof of parentage and other details.
Scotland Marriage & Divorce Records
An index to all foreign, domestic and military marriages recorded by the Scottish government. The index is linked to digital images of records more than 75 years old. Details given include date & place of marriage, full names of all parents and more.
The marriage registers of Scotland are the primary source for marriage details before civil registration. A full index to names with original images of the registers are available between and .
Digital images of documents from civil divorce cases. The cases cover both the cause of the case and the outcome, such as division of property and visitation rights. These records also contain details of illegitimate children. Cases can be searched by a name index.
An index to marriages registered for British Army personal at home and abroad.
An index to over 80,000 marriage and engagement notices from The London Times.
Scotland Death & Burial Records
An index to all foreign, domestic, air-borne, consular, High Commission, marine and military deaths registered by the Scottish government. The index is linked to images of death registers from 50 or more years ago. They contain a great deal of information, including parent's full names, date and place of death, age and more.
The burial registers of Scotland provide details of deaths from to . Entries usually record no more than the deceased's name; occasionally an age and cause of death are given.
An index to over 54,000 death notices and obituaries from The London Times.
Scotland Church Records
Prior to civil registration in 1837, the parish registers of Scotland are the most common place to turn for details on births, marriages and deaths.
The parish registers of Scotland are a collection of books documenting baptisms, marriages and burials from 1817 to 1934.
Index to names and images of the original baptism registers of Scotland. They commonly record the date of birth or baptism with parents' names (often including the mother's maiden name).
An index to thousands of Scots who were persecuted for not recognising the King as head of the Scottish Church. Contains details of their baptism and references to sources detailing their persecution
Scotland Census & Population Lists
Documents listing households and residents throughout Scotland. The records include family relations, gender, age, occupation, place of birth, employment status, number of years married, number of children living and deceased, nationality, whether an individual could speak Gaelic, number of windows in property and some infirmities.
The 1901 census provides details on an individual's age, residence, place of birth, relations and occupation. FindMyPast's index allows searches on for multiple metrics including occupation and residence.
Documents listing households and residents throughout Scotland. The records include family relations, gender, age, occupation, place of birth, employment status, whether an individual could speak Gaelic, number of windows in property and some infirmities.
Inventories of all land and buildings in Scotland. They give a description of the property, the name of the owner, tenant & occupier and the rates due on the property.
The 1891 census provides details on an individual's age, residence, place of birth, relations and occupation. FindMyPast's index allows searches on for multiple metrics including occupation and residence.
Scotland Wills & Probate Records
An index to testators and the subject's of other testamentary documents. The index is linked to digital images of the documents. An account is required to search the index.
A index to testators whose will was proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury. They principally cover those who lived in the lower two thirds of Britain, but contain wills for residents of Scotland, Ireland, British India and other countries. A copy of each will may be purchased for digital download.
An index and digital images of PCC wills, available on a subscription basis.
A list of names, primarily of those who left unclaimed estates, but also relating to debts and legal cases.
Newspapers Covering Scotland
Originally founded as a chartist organ, the newspaper became a liberal platform.
A 'radical' newspaper founded and initially edited by Charles Dickens. Regularly published birth, marriage and death announcements.
The UKs largest repository of obituaries, containing millions of searchable notices.
A growing collection currently containing over 425,000 abstracts of obituaries with reference to the location of the full obituary.
A collection of 364 obituaries of Quakers from the British Isles. The volume was published in 1849 and includes obituaries of those who died in late 1847 through 1848.
This transcribed and searchable work by Sir William Musgrave contains 10,000s of brief obituaries. The work is a reference point for other works containing information on an individual.
A text index and digital images of all editions of a journal containing medical articles and obituaries of medical practitioners.
Photographs and transcriptions of millions of gravestones from cemeteries around the world.
Photographs and descriptions of Scotland's most illustrious church monuments, often featuring effigies, medieval inscriptions and heraldic devices.
Several thousand transcribe memorials of those connected with the nautical occupations.
A searchable database of photographs relating to railways and canals in Britain.
Scotland Directories & Gazetteers
Breif details of companies engaged in or related to the engineering, metal and motor trades industries. Organised by trade and place.
Historical and contemporary descriptions of settlements, detailing their governance, churches, schools etc.; to which is appended lists of residents, with their occupations.
A directory of the Church of England, its institutions and ministers.
Historical and contemporary descriptions of settlements, detailing their governance, churches, schools etc.; to which is appended lists of residents, with their occupations.
Directories containing over 275,000,000 entries. As well as name, address and phone number, occupations are often recorded. A useful census substitute.
Scotland Court & Legal Records
The Privicy Council dealt with a wide spectrum of issues pertaining to administration, the economy, politics and social affairs.
Details on the parole and revocation thereof, of over 4,400 female prisoners.
A publication giving brief details of bankruptcies, including the names of parties and companies involed.
A calendar to records detailing the proceedings of numerous cases, particularly marriage, divorce, separation and legitimacy. These records cover all of Scotland.
Transcripts of charters granted by the Great Seal of Scotland. Largely consists of royal grants of lands and confirmations. In Latin.
Scotland Taxation Records
Inventories of all land and buildings in Scotland. They give a description of the property, the name of the owner, tenant & occupier and the rates due on the property.
An index linked to original images of registers recording apprenticeship indentures. Details are given on the trade and nature of apprenticeship. Many records list the parents of the apprentice.
A report detailing the manner in which customs and excise are dealt with in Scotland.
Scotland Land & Property Records
Inventories of all land and buildings in Scotland. They give a description of the property, the name of the owner, tenant & occupier and the rates due on the property.
A list of people who owned more than one acre of land in Scotland. Lists a landowner's residence, acreage and estimated gross yearly rental.
A collection of various land valuation documents extending as far back as 1650, but primarily covering the period after 1884. Useful for establishing the ancestry of land owners and their tenants.
Poll books record the names of voters and the direction of their vote. Until 1872 only landholders could vote, so not everyone will be listed. Useful for discerning an ancestor's political leanings and landholdings. The collection is supplemented with other records relating to the vote.
Detailed abstracts of early legal records covering numerous topics. The records cover many Scottish counties, but predominately those in the vicinity of Edinburgh.
Scotland Occupation & Business Records
Books listing doctors who were licensed to operate in Britain and abroad. Contains doctor's residencies, qualification and date of registration.
A rich collection of records documenting those who worked for railway companies that were later absorbed by the government. Records include: staff registers, station transfers, pensions, accident records, apprentice records, caution books, and memos. Records may include date of birth, date of death and name of father.
Indexed medical journals from British ships containing personal and medical details of patients. The journals list names, ages, rank/status, diseases, illness duration and notes on symptoms and treatment. Contains details on military men as well as people immigrating or being deported to colonies.
This collection gives brief details on the appointment of over 1.4 million people who worked for the Post Office. Includes references to corresponding data in the Postmaster General’s minute books and is a starting point for research in the rich archive of the British Postal Museum.
An index linked to original images of registers recording apprenticeship indentures. Details are given on the trade and nature of apprenticeship. Many records list the parents of the apprentice.
Scotland School & Education Records
A name index linked to original images of short biographies for over 120,000 Oxford University students. This is a particularly useful source for tracing the ancestry of the landed gentry.
A transcript of a vast scholarly work briefly chronicling the heritage, education and careers of over 150,000 Cambridge University students. This is a particularly useful source for tracing the ancestry of the landed gentry.
A searchable database containing over 90,000 note-form biographies for students of Cambridge University.
A digitally indexed book giving details on visitors, principals, fellows, officers and scholars at the college.
A directory of registered teachers – their current school and date of registration. Also contains details on officers and operations of the Teachers Registration Council.
Pedigrees & Family Trees Covering Scotland
Digital images of registers recording those who are eligible to bear coats of arms in Scotland. The records can contain genealogical tracts and renderings of the arms.
A searchable database of linked genealogies compiled from thousands of reputable and not-so-reputable sources. Contains many details on European gentry & nobility, but covers many countries outside Europe and people from all walks of life.
A compilation of lineage-linked family trees submitted by Ancestry users. The database contains over 2 billion individuals and is searchable by numerous metrics.
Scotland Royalty, Nobility & Heraldry Records
Digital images of registers recording those who are eligible to bear coats of arms in Scotland. The records can contain genealogical tracts and renderings of the arms.
A searchable database of linked genealogies compiled from thousands of reputable and not-so-reputable sources. Contains many details on European gentry & nobility, but covers many countries outside Europe and people from all walks of life.
Lineages of Britain and Ireland's untitled landed families; supplemented with biographical sketches.
Scotland Military Records
A searchable list of over 100,000 British Army POWs. Records contains details on the captured, their military career and where they were held prisoner.
Details on around 165,000 men serving in the British Army, Navy and Air Force who were held as prisoners during WWII.
Index and original images of over 5 million medal index cards for British soldiers It can be searched by individual's name, Coprs, Unit and Regiment. Due to the loss of many WWI service records, this is the most complete source for British WWI soldiers
This rich collection contains contains records for 1.9 million non-commissioned officers and other ranks who fought in WWI. Due to bomb damage in WWI, around 60% of service records were lost. Documents cover: enlistment, medical status, injuries, conduct, awards and discharge. A great deal of genealogical and biographical documentation can be found in these documents, including details on entire families, physical descriptions and place of birth.
An index to nearly 900,000 military personnel who were awarded the Silver War Badge for sustaining injures. Records include rank, regimental number, unit, dates of enlistment and discharge, and reason for discharge.
Scotland Immigration & Travel Records
A name index connected to original images of passenger lists recording people travelling from Britain to destinations outside Europe. Records may detail a passenger's age or date of birth, residence, occupation, destination and more.
A full index of passenger lists for vessels arriving in the UK linked to original images. Does not include lists from vessels sailing from European ports. Early entries can be brief, but later entries may include dates of births, occupations, home addresses and more. Useful for documenting immigration.
Details on thousands of 17th century British immigrants to the U.S., detailing their origins and nature of their immigration.
A list of over 40,000 passengers traveling from North America to the British Isles. Details of passengers may include: occupation, nationality, gender, age, martial status, class, destination, and details of the vessel they sailed on.
An un-indexed collection of over 100,000 documents of correspondence and other documents of the Home Office and the Aliens Office. Contains a great deal of information on aliens and those who applied for naturalisation.
Scotland Histories & Books
A growing database including millions of photographs of the United Kingdom, Isle of Man and Ireland catalogued by latitude & longitude and OS grid reference.
Over 19,000 postcards depicting places in the UK & Ireland.
Eleven searchable editions of an almanac that provides details on events, national taxes, carriers, tide times, shipping, army lists and more. Despite the name it is relevant to all of Scotland.
A sprawling website setting out and describing the historical divisions of Britain. Also contains countless maps of various sorts. Covers the UK, Ireland, Isle of Man & has fleeting details of other localities.
Biographical Directories Covering Scotland
A name index linked to original images of short biographies for over 120,000 Oxford University students. This is a particularly useful source for tracing the ancestry of the landed gentry.
A transcript of a vast scholarly work briefly chronicling the heritage, education and careers of over 150,000 Cambridge University students. This is a particularly useful source for tracing the ancestry of the landed gentry.
A compendium of biographies of thousands of Scottish Jacobites.
A directory containing lengthy biographies of noted British figures. The work took over two decades to compile. Biographies can be searched by name and are linked to images of the original publication.
Maps showing settlements, features and some buildings in mainland Britain.
A sprawling website setting out and describing the historical divisions of Britain. Also contains countless maps of various sorts. Covers the UK, Ireland, Isle of Man & has fleeting details of other localities.
County and national maps covering the British Isles, extracted from John Speed's landmark work, Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain.
An interactive index to thousands of maps covering the world, continents, countries and regions. The majority of maps cover Britain and Ireland.
Scotland Reference Works
A comprehensive guide to researching the history of buildings in the British Isles.
A service that provides advanced and custom surname maps for the British Isles and the US.
A dictionary of around 9,000 mottoes for British families who had right to bear arms.
A growing collection of heraldic and related clip art that can be used to reconstruct a families' arms. Includes packs for British, German, Austrian, Spanish, Italian, Danish, Polish, Portuguese, French, Swiss and Dutch arms. Images are available in a variety of formats including vectors.
Scotland is the Northern part of Great Brittain, and separated from England by the River Tweede, and Solway, and the Hills extending from the one to the other. It is in length 480 miles, but of small breadth, no place being distant from the Sea above 60 miles.
This Countrey is divided into 25 Shires; the Cities and Towns whereof are neither fair nor many.
In general, their Towns and Cities for number, building, or pleasantness, are not comparable to those in England; neither are their Gentlemens or Noblemens Houses so frequent, or so stately built, as the better sort of the English. For their Villages, they are of Clay, covered with Straw, being much more frequent than in England, yet not so commodious within. Among the Kings Palaces, that of Edenburgh and Sterling for building, and Fawlkland for pleasure of hunting, are chief.
On the West-side of this Countrey are many Woods, Mountains, and Lakes; on the East-side toward the Sea it is fruitfull in Corn, especially in Barley and Oats. It abounds in Fish, and hath plenty of Cattel, yet not so big as ours; their Horses are little, but full of spirit, and patient of labour.
Natures of the People
The People in general are much given to Venery: those that inhabit the South, are the best, and civillest, and speak the English Language; but those in the Northern part are savage and uncivil, termed Silvesters.
About Scotland in the Irish Ocean are above 40 Islands, termed Merania and Hebrides: the biggest of these in length exceeds not 30 miles, and in breadth not above 12; the chief whereof is Pomonia, well known by the Episcopal Seat, and yielding both Tin and Lead.— A Geographical Description of the World (1671) by George Meriton
SITUATION, EXTENT, CLIMATE, FACE OF THE COUNTRY, &C
SCOTLAND comprehends that part of the island of Great Britain, which lies north of the river Tweed, and is situated between 54 and 59 degrees of north latitude. It is bounded on all sides by the sea, except on the south-east, where it is joined to England. It extends 278 miles in length, but the breadth is variable, being in some places 180 miles, and in others not more than 50 or 60. It contains an area of 27,794 miles, having about 12,151,471 acres of cultivated, and 14,218,224 acres of uncultivated land, the remainder of the surface being occupied by rivers and lakes.
From its situation in the midst of a great ocean, and in such a northern latitude, Scotland cannot boast of a regular climate. It is likewise various in different places: from its insular situation, however, the cold is not so intense as in similar latitudes on the continent; the thermometer does not even sink so low during the winter as it does in the neighbourhood of London. Mountainous countries are always most subject to rain; and Great Britain being a sort of inclined plain, gradually declining from west to east, it has been supposed that on this account, the western coast is the most rainy; but in this part of the island we are inclined to think that the rain is rather owing to the prevalence of the west wind, which brings humidity with it, from the Atlantic Ocean; hence we find that more rain falls at Greenock than at Glasgow, and more at Glasgow than at Edinburgh: the east coast is however shrivelled and nipt, during the spring months, by cold and piercing east winds. Notwithstanding all which, the air of Scotland is in general pure and healthy.
Scotland is naturally divided into two great divisions, Highlands and Lowlands; and it may again be divided into three parts, which may be called the north, middle, and south divisions. The first or northern division is separated from the middle by a chain of lakes, stretching from the Moray Frith to Loch Linnhe; the second or middle division is separated from the southern by the Friths of Forth and Clyde, and the Great Canal in the northern; it presents nothing to the eye but an assemblage of vast mountains, bordered however on the north-east and east coasts, with vales and level tracts tolerably fertile; the middle division also contains many ranges of mountains, particularly the Grampians, stretching from Aberdeenshire to the Atlantic Ocean. In these two divisions, which comprehends more than two thirds of Scotland, the arable land bears but a small proportion to the mountainous regions, which are of such ruggedness and sterility as nearly to defy the efforts of human industry. The eastern coast of the middle division and a greater part of the southern, bears a resemblance to England, and in the southern division may be seen every sort of rural variety, having in many parts verdant plains watered by copious streams, and covered with innumerable flocks of cattle; some of the tracts abounding with prospects of the most romantic kind.
The principal ridges of mountains are the Grampians; the Pentland-hills in Lothian; the Lammermuir-hills in Berwickshire; the Ochils, in Fife and Perthshire; and the Cheviot-hills, on the English borders.
The following is a list of the most remarkable mountains and hills, with their heights above the level of the sea.
|Benclo, or Bengloe||3724|
|Benlach, or Benclock||2420|
|Benivas, or Benivers||4000|
|Buch of Crabrack||2377|
|Pap of Caithness||1920|
The ancient forests of Scotland have been greatly diminished, yet there are considerable remains in the districts of Marr, and Glentanar, Rannoch, Glenmore, and Strathspey, and in Ross-shire. The fir is the most common timber.
The soil of Scotland consists of every variety in nature, and its general character in point of fertility is much inferior to England. The Highlands have been compared with the moorlands of Yorkshire; but of late the principal nobility and gentry have formed themselves into a society, called The Highland Society of Scotland, giving premiums and various encouragements, for the improvement of the waste lands, and the amelioration of the breeds of black cattle and sheep. The soil produces wheat, rye, barley, oats, peas, and beaus, flax, hemp, hay, potatoes, &c. and almost every sort of crop in common with England, although not in such perfection, and at times precarious with the season. Apples and several fruits are also produced in great abundance: Juniper shrubs grow naturally on the hills, and the whortle or blue berries (vaccinium mertillum) grow on the highest mountains, in the greatest abundance.
MINES AND MINERALS
Scotland at present cannot boast of mines of the most precious metals, but considerable quantities of gold and silver have been found at different times; no mines are now wrought solely for silver, but the lead mines are exceedingly rich in that metal. Iron ore is abundant. Copper has also been discovered in many places, and of late years a very rich mine of antimony has been opened in Westerkirk, in Dumfriesshire; the other metallic substances are cobalt, bismuth, manganese, &c. In the southern and middle districts, coal is abundant, but none has been yet discovered north of the Tay: limestone, freestone, and slates, are found in every district; and many of the marbles prove equal in colour and polish to those of Italy.
Most of the gems and precious stones have been found in Scotland, the diamond excepted; pearls are found in the great horse-muscle, a native of the northern rivers; the sapphire is found in several places of different shades, from a deep red to a transparent white, and of equal hardness with the oriental. The topaz is found in the Highland mountains, and the ruby and hyacinth mixed with the sand on the sea shore. At Portsoy is found that singular kind of granite called Moses’ tables, which when polished, the marks in it resemble the Hebrew characters on a white ground; besides these there are many curious and rare fossils: among the districts of metallic ores there are many springs of mineral impregnation, and the chalybeate waters are very numerous; and at Moffat and near Edinburgh are sulphureous springs.
The rivers of this country are numerous, and descending from so elevated a country to the sea, are in general rapid and precipitous, and their innumerable cascades heighten the beauty of the scenery; the most considerable of these rivers are those of the middle division. The Spey rising in the mountainous district of Lochaber, rushes furiously into the eastern sea; and the Tay discharges into the. ocean below Dundee a greater quantity of water than perhaps any other river in Britain. In this district too the Dee.
Don, and Esk, are very large rivers. In the southern district, are the rivers Forth, Clyde, and Tueed, besides the numerous rivers which empty themselves into the Irish Sea, and Solway Frith; viz. the Ayr, Glrvan, South Dee, Nith, and Annan. The northern division contains the Beaulieu, the Orron Water, the Fleet, the Brora, and the Helmsdale, besides several inferior streams.
The Spey, as before-mentioned, is a rapid river, rising in the centre of those rocks and frightful precipices with which the vast mountain of the Coriaraich is environed, in the wilds of the northern highlands of Inverness-shire. A small lake conceals its source, from whence, with various windings, it pursues a north-east direction, gradually verging more and more towards the north, till it reaches the sea below Fochabers.
Nothing can be imagined more rude and desolate than the early part of this river’s course, as it falls in a succession of precipitous cataracts from the base of the Coriaraich, and rolls with unparalleled rapidity along the valley it has formed, through an uninhabited district, till it reaches the solitary hamlet of Garvamore. A scanty succession of inconsiderable villages then adorns its banks, which swell again into the compass of a small lake, called Loch-Inch, near Ruthven Castle, and two of the greatest military roads to Inverness join near it, as it crosses a corner of the county of Murray. The Spey afterwards divides Inverness-shire from Banff-shire, passing near Grant-Town, and through the great forests of pines which encircle the territory of Castle Grant; little afterwards distinguishes its course, though the country it traverses becomes more expanded, while the villages still remain scanty and inconsiderable. The Spey, long before it reaches the small town of Fochabers near its mouth, widens considerably, and becoming navigable, transports the abundant pines which clothe its hills, still preserving to the last strong traits of its native rapidity. The extensive plantations, magnificent house, and beautiful grounds of Castle Gordon, decorate its approach to the sea with new features. The Tay finds its source in the central part of the Western Highlands, where the extremity of Perthshire borders on Argyleshire, in a very wild, elevated, and mountainous district; it flows towards the south-east by Tyndrum to Crienlarich, and then makes a curve to the north-east, as it pervades the valley of Glendochart, pursuing the same direction to form its great lake, hetween Killin and Taymouth, at the former of which places it is joined by the Lochy from the northwest, and a little below the latter by the Lion from the west. It then makes a considerable compass by the north, and meeting the Tumel, descending in that direction, pursues a southward course with it to Dunkeld, where the Braan from the south-west falls into it; its tendency is then eastward, till it meets the Isla from the north-west, soon after the junction of that river with the Airdle from the north-west. The Tay, thus reinforced, makes a rapid curve, by the west to the south, till it reaches Perth, and beneath the rock of Kinnoul turns again to the south-east; the Earne from the west joins it near Newburgh, and it then forms its firth, turning to the north-east, but after it has passed Dundee, inclining once more to the south-east, to make its exit to the sea.
The Tay is one of the most considerable and beautiful rivers in our island, traversing the whole county of Perth, amidst the richest districts of the middle range of Scotland, and forming itself the principal ornament to some of the most romantic tracts in nature; its source is in one of the highest and wildest eminences in the western Highlands, from whence it rushes with a singularly characteristic rapidity, through the gloomy hollow of Glendochart, where it forms a small lake, with an island and a castle. The pleasant little town of Killin is delightfully situated some miles lower, on a neck of land between the two points, where the placid Lochy and the rapid Tay, strongly contrasting each other in character, form the great expanse of water, called Loch Tay; lofty mountains surround this charming lake, encircling a wooded, populous, and well-cultivated district; two good roads pervade the whole, oh eminences overhanging each side of the water, and command every species of the sublime and beautiful in landscape: these scenes are varied happily by the three great turns of Loch Tay, the last of which disclosesall the ornamented territory of Taymouth, whose groves sweep the whole horizon, stretching across the plain at the bottom of the lake, from the heads of two opposite mountains, and interspersed with many conspicuous buildings. The Tay makes its exit from the Jake through the handsome stone bridge of Kenmore, the church of which village stands finely exalted on an eminence, looking directly down Loch Tay.
The river, now greatly increased by the junction of the Lion from its pleasant dale, but still preserving all its original rapidity, rolls in majestic state between the rich groves of Taymouth, and at Aberfeldie is crossed by a large stone bridge, built by General Wade, when the military roads were formed; the Tumel, lately enlarged by the waters of the Carrie, tumbling from the highly-improved district of the Blair of Athol, through the hollow parts of Killirancky, meets the Tay below the romantic spot of Faskally, which after passes through a finely pastured and well-timbered vale to Dunkeld, the venerable remains of whose abbey present a fine object close to the Tay, and in the midst of the Duke of Athol’s numerous plantations. High obtruding hills direct its winding course in its exit from the Highlands, beneath the scanty remains of the celebrated wood of Birnam, from whence the ruined fortress of Dunsinane is seen at a considerable distance across the plain. The Tay here makes a considerable circuit to meet the Isla from Angus, and then descending beneath the ancient palace of Scone, to the fine city of Perth, passes under the arches of its noble bridge, and sweeps in a bold semicircle round the rock of Kinnoul, opposite to the the hill of Moncrieffe, where it is said the Roman legions, struck with astonishment at the grandeur of the scene before them, suddenly halted, and cried, “Ecce Tiberim.“
The Earne descends a little below this spot from Crieffe, and beneath the elevated pile of Drummond Castle adorns the fertile vale of Straith, Earne, through which its course is parallel with the Tay, till the two rivers unite near Newburgh. Thus is formed that vast æstury, called the Firth of Tay, at the head of which the important and flourishing port of Dundee spreads over a considerable eminence. This firth narrows considerably as it approaches its exit, and falls into the sea beneath the walls of Broughty Castle.
The Dee rises at the western extremity of the Grampian hills, near the borders of Inverness-shire, and intersects the whole chain of that mountainous district in its course to the sea, which tends almost invariably eastward.
The country encircling this fine river in the early part of its progress is wonderfully bold and romantic, especially about the Castle-Town of Brae-Marr, and the wells of Pannanach, where the heights are clothed with vast forest of pines. The Dee afterwards forms a more expanded valley, as it crosses the northern corner of Kincardineshire, and re-entering Aberdeenshire, passes under the arches of a noble bridge, a few miles before it falls into the sea, on the south side of New Aberdeen.
The Don finds its origin in the Grampians, somewhat northward of the Dee at Brae-Marr, on the borders of Banffshire, near Cock-bridge, pursuing a course rather inclined to the north-east till it meets the Urie from the north-west a little below Inverarie, from whence it flows to the south-west with various windings, till it reaches the sea, somewhat northward of Old Aberdeen.
The Don is throughout a very rapid and romantic river, buried within its deep banks, and traversing one of the wildest districts of Scotland; the mighty ruin of Kildrumie Castle frowns over its northern shore, and it afterwards passes by the towns of Monymusk and Kintore, preserving its original character to the last; even as it approaches the sea, it remains enclosed in a deep hollow, fringed with brush-wood, where a singular bridge of one pointed arch crosses it. The river is not navigable, and its capital of Old Aberdeen (now only celebrated for its university) has yielded to the more modern consequence of its southern neighbour, which the large flourishing port of the Dee has enriched with great commercial advantages.
The North and South Esk, are rivers of Angus; both these streams rise in the Grampian hills, which form a central ridge in this part of the island, terminating in the eastern sea near Aberdeen. They are both rapid rivers, though short in their course, the South Esk flowing eastward, beneath the high eminence crowned with the spires of Brechin, and under the well-planted territory of Kinnaird, with its superb mansion, and expanding into a large basin at last in front of the handsome town of Montrose, before it reaches the sea. The course of the North Esk is through a wilder district, as it divides the counties of Angus and Kincardine, inclining to the south-east, and falling into the sea a few miles north of Montrose.
The Forth is perhaps the most important river of any in Scotland, from the length of its course, the profusion of its commerce, and its proximity to the capital. Its proper rise is in the wild tract of mountains in the western highlands, at the back of the great Ben-Lomond, towards the north-west extremity of Stirlingshire. A little before it reaches Stirling it is joined by the Teith from the north-west, one branch of which forms Loch Katyern and Loch Vanacher, and the other the Lochs of Doine, Voille, and Lubnich, before they meet near Callander, and descend together to Doune; the Allan afterwards joins the Forth, flowing to the south-west from Perthshire by Dumblaine, and the Devon, in the same direction, afterwards from Kinross-shire. The course of these united streams, which altogether form the Forth, is towards the south-east, after the general junction, but with multiplied windings below Stirling. The Firth of Forth is thus formed, which, swelling into a vast expanse, and turning at last somewhat toward the north, divides Edinburgh and its adjacent counties from Fifeshire, and so falls into the German ocean.
Neither the Forth nor its auxiliary streams in general are remarkable for rapidity, though they take their origin in a mountainous district, nor is the river itself of any great magnitude, till after the union of its several branches. This happens in a rich and fertile plain, bounded towards the north by the long waving ridge of the Ochill hills, and intersected by the frequent meanders of the river, whose incessant curves, when viewed from any eminence, exhibit an apparent labyrinth of pools of water, which deceive the eye in seeming distinct from each other. In the centre of this plain, a lofty rock rises abruptly, crowned with the palace and church of Stirling, from which that town descends to the east in a long and steep street. Just where the Forth becomes increased by the tide, the little stream of the Carron descends into it, tinged with the produce of its iron-works, and the great canal from the Clyde joins it, transporting the rich manufactures of Paisley and Glasgow, and the trade of the Western Sea. The forges of Borrostoness, somewhat below the fine remains of Linlithgow Palace, front the ivyed walls of Culross Abbey, on the opposite side of the expanded basin, a little below the point where the Avon descends from the south into the Forth, which beneath Inverkeithing is narrowed considerably by a promontory from the north, where the great pass of the Queen's Ferry is established, about three miles below the high terrace and superb mansion of Hopeton, The Forth immediately afterwards spreads into a vast arm of the sea, as it sweeps between receding shores, beneath the groves of Barnbugle, and receiving the Almond from the south, approaches Leith, the grand and crowded port of Edinburgh.
The Clyde finds its source in the great hills which bound Lanerkshire towards the south, between Elvan Foot and Moffatt, on the high road from Carlisle to Glasgow. Its course, with various windings, is generally north-west to Hamilton and Glasgow, where it receives the tide, entering soon afterwards its Firth, which pursues the same direction till it meets a considerable arm of the sea called Loch Long, united with which it turns to the south, and makes its exit between Ayrshire and the Isle of Bute. The Clyde has several considerable branches, the principal of which are The Douglas Water from the south-west, the Calder from the south-east, the Avon from the south-west, and the Carl flowing by Paisley from the south, united with the Grief of Renfrewshire, neither of which are considerable streams, and the Leven, which falls into it at Dumbarton from Loch Lomond.
The Clvde is one of the finest rivers in Scotland, rapid in its origin, and precipitating itself in three picturesque and tremendous falls near Lanerk, the two first of which, called Cora Lyn ami Boniton Lyn, are beautifully encompassed by the grounds and plantations laid out by Sir John Lockhart Ross, of which they form the principal ornaments. At Hamilton, it passes through the princely but too level territory, surrounding the Duke of Hamilton’s palace; alter which it again engulfs itself in a hollow between vast rocks cloathed with brushwood, as it sweeps furiously round the eminence, on which the ruins of Bothwell Castle form the principal feature of the superb seat of Lord Douglas. Emerging from these barriers, the Clvde rolls proudly to Glasgow, which magnificent and flourishing city with its University, lies spread along the northern bank of that river, and the eminences which overlook it, presenting a grand assemblage of objects to the wondering traveller as he approaches it.
Two magnificent stone bridges cross the Clyde at this city; another also has been lately built at Hamilton, and near Lanerk one, created by the taste and spirit of four neighbouring great landed proprietors, exhibits a beautiful structure.
Navigation now adds its consequence to the Clyde, as, crowded with vessels and gradually widening, it divides the counties of Dumbarton and Rentrew, transporting all the riches of Glasgow to the sea; to which the manufactures of the flourishing town of Paisley are added by the Dart, and those of Stirlingshire by the Grand Canal, which joins the Clyde at Kilpatrick, and forms a communication with the capital and interior of Scotland, by means of the Forth.-A vast æstuary now opens, as the high doubie-headed rock, crowned with the castle of Dumbarton, forms an extraordinary island in front of its town, far below which Greenock and Port Glasgow appear spread out on the opposite coast, thickly stored with large vessels. Argyleshire, intersected with its vast arms of the sea, now forms the north-western boundary of the Clyde, one of which called Loch Long, descends into that river from the central part of the county, separated only by a small neck of land, from the middle part of Loch Lomond. There the military road divides into two branches, one of which leads northward along the upper parts of Loch Lomond to Crienlarick, where it meets the great road from Tyndrum to Killin and Taymouth; the other, crossing to Loch Long, passes round its head, and traversing the dreary heights of Glen-Crow and Glen-Kinlas, descends to Loch tine, and the delightful county of Inverary.
Loch Long is environed with lofty mountains about Arracher, where the Duke of Argyle has converted the seat of the Laird of Mac-Farlane into an excellent inn, delightfully situated, almost on the margin of the water. It joins the Clyde just below the point where a smaller arm of the sea, called Loch Gore, descends through a narrow inlet, and where a ferry is established between the village of Row and Rosineath, a seat of the Duke of Argyle.
The Kyle, a narrow strait from which two small arms of the sea penetrate into Argyleshire, separates that county from the Isle of Bute, and communicates with the Clyde, near its mouth. An immense bay then is formed, between the Mull of Cantire, at the extremity of the Argyleshire coast, and the opposite promontory of Kirkholm Point in Galloway, starting forth from Loch Ryan, and being the Perigonus sinus of the Romans. The whole coast of Ayrshire forms the eastern side of this great gulph, the centre of which is occupied by the rocky and mountainous Isle of Arran, whose heights appear proudly exalted over the intervening level. Above this bold object, the smaller island of Bute, comparatively flat in its appearance, extends itself almost to the entrance of the Clyde, exhibiting the fine seat of Mount Stuart, belonging to its Marquis.
The Tiviot and the Tweed may properly be called the boundary rivers between England and Scotland, though they certainly appertain more strongly to the latter country; nor does the Tiviot indeed pass at all through England. Its source is in the wild hills near the centre of Roxburghshire, where it flows almost northward to Hawick, inclining afterwards more towards the east, met by the Jed and the Kale, till it joins the Tweed near Kelso. The short course of this rapid stream, after its exit from the hills, is through the beautiful and highly-romantic district of Tiviotdale, profusely adorned with seats, and well sprinkled with villages. The town of Hawick, on the north road, occupies a charming spot over the river at the entrance of that district; and Jedburgh, with its ancient abbey, lies on the hills, about two miles above its centre, where the bridge of Ancram is built over it. The junction of the Tiviot with the Tweed, a little southward of Kelso, forms a charming scene; and Fleurs, the elevated seat of the Duke of Roxburgh, no where appears to so much advantage as from the high bank above the point of their union.
The Tweed finds its distant origin in the mountaious district which unites the counties of Ayr, Dumfries, and Peebles, in Scotland, somewhat northward of the celebrated springs of Moffat; its course is north-east to Peebles, where it makes a compass to the south-east, receiving the Yarrow and Eutrick Waters, soon after their junction, near Selkirk, uniting with the Tiviot at Kelso, and the Till at Cornhill, and filling into the sea below Berwick.
Nothing can be more wild and dreary than the early course of this great river, as it is fed by innumerable torrents from the bare hills it divides, and seems to collect its forces in the pleasant vale, in which its first town, Peebles, is situated, bearing the appropriate name of Tweedale. After this the country throughout continues rude and bleak, except on the immediate banks of the Tweed, that river forming here, for a great distance, the principal boundary between England and Scotland, and the surrounding tracts on each side having been for ages the theatre of disputes, national contests, and mutual hostilities. Marks of their ravages may still be traced, and much of the country contiguous to the river appears more neglected than the interior districts: yet it is now gradually emerging from this eclipse, and the Scottish side in particular, rises rapidly in cultivation, ornament, and improvement. A little below Selkirk, the beautiful remains of Melrose Abbey strongly arrest the attention of the traveller, and the Tweed is soon afterwards crossed by. a handsome modern edifice of the Flybridge, leading from Jedburgh by a new road to Edinburgh. The Duke of Roxburgh’s numerous plantations and superb mansion adorn the part of Tweedale above Kelso, whose abbey and bridge are sinking objects. Coldstream also is pleasantly situated on the Tweed somewhat lower, with a stately stone bridge; and an antient one of great length, connects the suburb of Tweedmouth, with the fortified town of Berwick, which graces the northern shore of this river at its exit to the sea.
The Ayr, the Irvine, the Doon, the Girvan and the Stincher are rivers which discharge themselves on the long extended coast of Ayrshire, but neither of them have any remarkable features. The Ayr and the Irvine, (the former of which is joined by the Lugar) are in the northern part of that county, each communicating with the bay above descrihed. Both these streams take their names from towns near their mouths, of which Ayr is a considerable port, being also the capital of its large county; their, course is very winding, but principally directed to the north-west.
The Doon finds its origin in a lake on the border of Dumfriesshire, flowing northward, a little inclined to the west, till it falls-into the sea below the Ayr.
The Girvan is a small stream from the north-east, reaching the sea at the town which bears its name, nearly at the southern extremity of Ayr-shire, its course being mostly westward.
The Stincker, joined by the Dusk, is another inconsiderable stream, descending in nearly the same direction, with the small port of Ballantree at its mouth, and the short course of the little river Glemap terminates Ayrshire, falling into Loch Ryan at its extremity.
The South Dee is formed by the Deugh from the northern, parts of Kirkudbright, and the Ken from the north-west of Dumfriesshire, both of which uniting bear the name of the Ken, till they reach the town of New Galloway. The river then, assuming the name of the Dee, it pursues a south-east course, forming the Loch of Kenmoor in its passage, after which it makes a compass from the east to the west, by the south, forming a considerable æstuary before it reaches the town of Kirkudbright, and opening into the sea, in front of the small island, called the Ross of Balnagar, close to the point of the bay of Wigton, opposite to that of Burrow-head. This river has some fine features, and the surrounding country is wild, though inhabited. The towns of New Galloway and Kirkudbright make a handsome appearance on its banks; its lake also with its æstuary, are fine expanses of water.
The Nith is the most considerable river on the south-western side of Scotland, below the Clyde, rising from some small lakes near Cumnock in Ayrshire, not far from the source of the Luggar, one of the branches of the Ayr. It then traverses great part of Dumfriesshire, which county it at last divides from Kirkudbright, inclining chiefly to the south-east, but turning at last to the south.
This river is a very rapid and picturesque stream, forcing its way between deep banks, thickly fringed with wood, through a charming vale, bounded by lofty hills. The grand but deserted palace of Drumlanrig, now stripped of its plantations, makes a naked figure on its banks, yet is still to be admired as one of the finest specimens extant of an old Scottish castle. Dumfries is a large and opulent town, below which, the river, becoming navigable, widens considerably as it approaches the Solway Firth.
The Annan, rises above Queensberry Hill, westward of Moffat, a town famous for its medicinal springs, and pursues a south-eastern course, through a wild district, to the town of Annan, where it is crossed by a handsome bridge, just before it falls into the Firth of Solway, over which the great road to Port Patrick passes from Carlisle, that leading to Glasgow following its banks for a long way from Lockerby: it is a clear and rapid stream.
The Beaulieu finds its source in the Lakes of Assarig and Maddy, in the most northern part of Inverness-shire, winding frequently, and flowing chiefly to the south-east, till it constitutes the Firth of Beaulien, which turning to the north-east, contracts itself into a narrow strait, opposite to the month of the Ness. The junction of these waters forms the Murray Firth, which expands itself considerably, but at last appears almost land-locked, as it turns by the north-west round the points of Fortrose and Fort George, dividing Rossshire from Inverness-shire.
The course of this river from its native mountains, is singularly wild and rugged, till it reaches the district of Straithgiass, where cultivation, and population begin to shew themselves. These advantages encrease, as it approaches its little capital of Beaulieu, and the Firth, which bears its name, presents a fine oval basin, encompassed by strongly-featured banks, and backed with high mountains. The Murray Firth, formed by the junction of the two rivers, is not less distinguished by grand objects, perpetually varying as the traveller follows its curving shores, and opening views into the interior recesses of the mountains of Inverness-shire, Ross-shire, and Sutherland. The strait which attends its exit to the sea, is very narrow and winding, where the little town of Fortrose covers one eminence, while the magnificent and regular pile of Fort George occupies the opposite side of the bay.
The Orron Water rises in the mountains of Ross-shire, a little north of the Beaulieu, and meeting other streams flowing from Loch Gillon and Loch Luichart, forms the beautiful Firth of Cromartie, in its course to the north-east. Dingwall, the small capital of Ross-shire, lies at the head of this fine bay, which divides that county from the lesser one of Cromartie. covering its southern bank. This charming expanse of water is beautifully varied in form, being also decorated with a well cultivated and populous outline, and backed by high mountains. It narrows extremely at Invergordon Ferry, where the promontory of Kirk-Michael projects into it on the Cromartie shore, after which it swells again into a very grand and spacious hay, extending far to the north, and turning to the south-east abruptly to make its exit. All the navies of Europe might ride in this delightful basin, which is well stored with good anchorage, and appears land-locked, except where one channel communicates with the upper lake, and another opens with a grand curve to the sea, beneath the town, and the two bold rocks, called the Sutters of Cromartie.
The Fleet, the Brora, and the Helmsdale, are rivers of Sutherland, all descending to the south-east from a wild and mountainous district, and neither of them remarkable for its features. On the coast, between the two former, is situated the noble but deserted castle of Dunrobin, the ancient seat of the earl of Sutherland; beyond the latter, the precipices of the rocky Ord of Caithness impend horribly over a stormy ocean.
Besides these rivers, Scotland contains a great number of lakes, called Lochs, some of which are of great extent, and afford a large variety of enchanting views; and the whole abounds with excellent and various kinds of fish: indeed North Britain, may well boast of its waters; for so short a ride as thirty miles presents the traveller with a view of four most magnificent pieces. Loch-Au, Lock-Fine, Loch-Lohg, and Loch-Lomond; two indeed are of salt water, but by their narrowness give the idea of fresh-water lakes. It is an idle observation of travellers that seeing one is the same with seeing all of these superb waters; for almost every one has its peculiar characters.
Luch-Leven is a broad expanse, with isles and cultivated shores.
Loch-Tay makes three bold windings, has steep but sloping shores, cultivated in many parts, and bounded by vast hills.
Loch-Rayncick is broad and straight, has more wildness about it, with a large natural pine wood on its southern banks.
Loch-Tumel is narrow, confined by the sloping sides of steep hills, and has on its western limits a flat, rich, woody country.
The Loch of Spinic is almost on a flat, and its sides much indented..
Loch-Moy is small, and has soft features on its banks amidst rude environs.
Lock-Ness is strait and narrow; its shores abound with a wild magnificence, lofty, precipitous, and wooded, and has all the greatness of an Alpine lake.
Loch-Oich has lofty mountains at a small distance from its borders; the shores indented, and the water decorated with isles.
Loch-Lochy, is without isles; its shores slope, and several straiths terminate its banks.
Loch-Au is long and waving; its little isles tufted with trees, and just appearing above the water: its two great feeds of water at each extremity, and its singular lateral discharge near one of them, sufficiently mark this great lake.
Loch-Lomond is the most beautiful of the Caledonian lakes. The first view of it from Tarbat, presents an extensive serpentine, winding amidst lofty hills: on the north barren, black, and rocky, which darken with their shade that contracted part of the water.
Near this gloomy tract, beneath Craig Roston, was the principal seat of the M‘Gregors, a murderous clan, infamons for excesses of all kind; who at length, for a horrible massacre of the Colquhuns, or Cahouns, in the year 1602, were proscribed, and hunted down like wild beasts; their very name suppressed by act of council; so that the remnant, now dispersed, dare not even sign it to any deed. Their posterity are still said to be distinguished among the clans in which they have incorporated themselves, not only by the redness of their hair, but by their still retaining the mischievous disposition of their ancestors.
On the west side of this lake the mountains are cloathed, near the bottoms, with woods of oak, quite to the water’s edge; their summits lofty, naked, and craggy.
On the east side, the mountains are equally high, but the tops form a more even ridge, parallel to the lake, except where Ben Lomond overtops the rest. The upper parts are black and barren; but the lower parts have great marks of fertility, the yellow corn finely contrasting with the verdure of the groves intermixed with it.
Scotland is almost divided into two parts, by the rivers Forth and Clyde. The Forth falls into the sea below Edinburgh, and has a communication with the whole eastern coast of Great Britain; with France, Ostend, Holland, Hamburgh, Prussia, Denmark, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and Greenland. The Clyde falls into the Atlantic Ocean below Glasgow, and communicates with the western coast of Great Britain, with Ireland, the south of France, Portugal, Spain, the Mediterranean, America, and the West Indies. These two rivers thus falling, in opposite directions, into the two seas which environ our island, and the neck of land between them, being scarcely twenty-four miles in breadth, suggested the idea of a junction between them, to open a communication across the kingdom, and thereby render unnecessary, the long and dangerous navigation, by the Land’s-end, and the Pentland-frith.
An object of such general utility did not escape the attention of Charles II. who amidst all his gallantries, was the great promoter of every design which tended to encourage trade and navigation. That monarch proposed to open a passage for transports, and small ships of war, at the expence of 500,000l. but the sum was much too great to be raised in his reign, and the design, was consequently laid aside. The affairs of the continent engaged the attention of succeeding princes, till the beginning of the present reign, when the Earl of Chatham, endued with all the penetration and magnanimity of an able statesman, proposed to carry the design immediately into execution, at the public expence, on a smaller scale than the original plan, but still sufficient to admit vessels of considerable burthen. Unfortunately, the resignation of that great man, among other causes, prevented the execution of a project so beneficial to the security and expedition of the British navigation in the northern seas.
This scheme, thus abandoned a second time by the state, was now taken up by individuals, some of whom were suspected of private views, inimical to the general welfare of the community; so that this great work may from that time be considered as sacrificed to the hopes of gain and influence, both with respect to the course of the canal and to its dimensions. Nature had pointed out Borrowstounness, on the Forth, and Dalmuir-burn-foot, six miles below Glasgow, on the Clyde, as the two extremities of this inland navigation; but such was the force of influence, that instead of opening the east end of the canal at Borrowstounness, where there is water at neap tides for ships of two or three hundred tons burthen, and safe lying, it was begun upon the river Carron, at the distance of a mile from its junction with the Forth, and four miles above Borrowstounness, where vessels of burthen could not float at neap tides, besides the delay, and inconveniences in navigating the Forth, and the mouth of the Carron, from floods and contrary winds, also a circuitous navigation of at least two miles.
The depth of water, and dimensions of the canal, came next under consideration, and gave rise to much controversy between the inhabitants of the east country, on one part, and a considerable number of the inhabitants of Glasgow on the other. When we consider that the space to be cut did not, with all its windings, exceed thirty, or thirty-two miles, and that this short navigation, would at once open a communication between the two seas, and all the countries lying upon those seas, common sense pointed out the propriety of the greatest depth of water that the nature of the country would admit. This was the desire of the nation in general; and it would have been the interest of Ireland, and of London, Bristol, Liverpool, and other towns of England, to have subscribed towards a design, in which their commerce, especially in time of war, was materially interested.
These considerations, however, were disregarded by the merchants; and those of the Scottish nation, who were friends to a deep canal, seeing themselves overpowered by their opponents, submitted reluctantly to an imperfect navigation. Mr. Smeaton, an able engineer from Yorkshire, had estimated the expence of four, seven, and fourteen feet water; certain merchants of Glasgow adopted the scale of four feet, which, though sufficient for the trade of that city, would scarcely have answered any valuable purpose to the nation in general; and it was suggested, no doubt invidiously, that those persons never meant that the canal should join the Clyde. While a bill for cutting the proposed ditch, of four feet water, was before parliament, and on the point of being passed, the east country gentlemen and traders took the alarm, objected to the frivolousness and partial utility of the plan, and, fortuuately for the public, obtained a bill extending the depth of water to seven feet. It now became necessary to open a subscription, to the amount of 150,000l. which was soon, filled about 130,000l. was actually paid; and 50,000l. was afterwards added by government.
Mr. Smeaton began this arduous task in the year 1768, and overcame almost insurmountable difficulties in the execution of it. The dimensions of this canal, though greatly contracted from the original design, are much superior to any work of the same nature in South-Britain. The English canals are generally from three to five feet deep, and from twenty to forty feet wide, and the lock-gates from ten to twelve feet; but they answer the purpose of inland carriage, from one town to another, for which alone they were designed. The depth of the canal between the Forth and the Clyde is seven feet; its breadth at the surface sixty feet: the locks are seventy-five feet long, and their gates twenty feet wide. It is raised from the Carron by twenty locks, in a track of ten miles, to the amazing height of 155 feet above the medium full seamark. At the twentieth lock begins the canal of partition, on the summit between the east and west seas; which canal of partition continues eighteen miles on a level, terminating at Hamilton-hill, a mile north-west of the Clyde, at Glasgow. In some places the canal is carried through mossy ground, and in others through solid rock. In the fourth mile of the canal there are ten locks, and a fine aqueduct bridge, which crosses the great road leading from Edinburgh to Glasgow: the expence of this mile amounted to eighteen thousand pounds. At Kirkintullock the canal is carried over the water of Logie, on an aqueduct bridge, the arch of which is ninety feet broad, and was built in three different operations of thirty feet each, having only one centre of thirty feet broad, which was shifted on small rollers from one stretch to another. Though this was a new thing, and never attempted before with an arch of this size, yet the joinings are as fairly equal as any other part of the arch; the whole is thought to be a capital piece of masonry. There are in the whole eighteen draw-bridges, and fifteen aqueduct bridges, of considerable size, besides small ones and tunnels.
There is one reservoir of fifty acres, twenty-four feet deep; and another of seventy acres, twenty-two feet deep, in which many springs and rivers terminate, sufficient to give a supply of water at all times. This great work was completed, by contract, in the year 1789; and cost about 200,000l. The ceremony of opening this canal in form was in July, 1790
Upon the whole, this canal, even in its contracted state, will exceed the most sanguine hopes of the public, with respect to its general utility. The distance between the entrance into the Clyde, and the Forth is, by the Peutland-frith, six hundred miles; by the canal, scarcely one hundred. But this disproportion of distance, in a sea-voyage, is trifling, when compared with the delays, the shipwrecks, the positive and casual expences attending a passage by the Hebrides and the Pentland-frith, or even by the Land’s-end, particularly in time of war, when the charge of insurance is from fifteen to twenty per cent.; while, by means of the inland navigation, it seldom exceeds five per cent.
Another canal, called the Caledonian canal, is now nearly constructed, to open a communication between the Western sea and the Murray-frith, by the chain of lakes which nearly intersect the island. This great work, which is hardly equalled in Europe, in its wideness or in its depth, is most assiduously carried on, and will, when completed, open a navigation of twenty feet water, by an hundred feet wide.
NAME, ORIGINAL INHABITANTS, HISTORY, &C
Scotland is supposed by some to derive its name from the Scotti, a Scythian tribe, who invaded and settled in it about the fourth century: it is, however, more probable that the appellation of Scot, was first a term of reproach, framed by enemies, rather than assumed by the nation. The highlanders, who are the genuine descendants of the ancient Scots, are absolute strangers to the name, and have been always so.
All those who speak the Gælic language call themselves Albanich, or Gael; and their country, Alba, or Gaeldochd: whence Caledonia, the most ancient name of that part of the country which, according to the testimonies of Tacitus, Dio, and Solinus, comprehended all that country lying north of the Forth and Clyde. In proportion as the Silures, or Cimbri, advanced toward the north, the Caledonians, being circumscribed within narrower limits, were forced to emigrate into the islands on the western coasts of Scotland. It is in this period, probably, we ought to place the first great migration of the British Gael into Ireland; that kingdom being much nearer to the promontory of Galloway and Cantire, than many of the Scottish isles are to the continent of North-Britain. To the country which the Caledonians possessed they gave the name of Caël-doch; which is the only appellation the Scots, who speak the Gaelic language, know for their own division of Britain. Cael-doch is a compound made up of Gael, or Caël, the first colony of the ancient Gauls, who emigrated into Britain, and dock, a district, or division of a country. The Romans, by transposing the letter I in Cael, and by softening into a Latin termination the ch of doch, formed the well-known name of Caledonia. This appears to be a much more natural etymology than that of Camden, from the old British word kaled, hard, because the people were a hardy rustic race.
The Picts, who possessed originally the northern and eastern, and, in a later period, also the more southern division of North-Britain, were, at first, more powerful than the Caledonians of the west. It is therefore probable that the Picts, from a principle of pride, were ready to traduce and ridicule their weaker neighbours of Argyle. These two nations spoke the same language, the Gaëlic. In that language, Scot, or Scode, signifies a corner, or small division of a country. Accordingly, a corner of North-Britain is the name which Giraldus Cambrensis gives the little kingdom of Argyle, which the six sons of Muredus, king of Ulster, were said, according to his information, to have erected in Scotland. Scot, in Gaëlic, is much the same with little, or contemptible, in English; and Scotland, literally speaking, signifies a small flock; metaphorically, it stands for a small body of men. Others observe, that in the same language the word Scuit signifies a wanderer, and suppose that this may have been the origin of the name of Scot; a conjecture which they think is countenanced by a passage in Ammianus Marcellinus, who characterizes the men by the epithet of per diversa vagantes. On the whole, it appears, that for some one of the reasons couched under the above disparaging epithets, their malicious, or sneering neighbours, the Picts, or the Britons, may Lave given the appellation of Scots to the ancestors of the Scottish nation. At what time the inhabitants of the west of Scotland came to be distinguished by this name is uncertain. Porphyrius, the philosopher, is the first who mentions them, about the year 267; and towards the middle of the fourth century we find them mentioned with other British nations by Marcellinus. in the passage above alluded to.
The origin of the Scots has been warmly disputed by many antiquaries of note; some contending that they are of Caledonian, while others suppose that they are of Irish extraction; but what appears most probable is, that the Scots were originally descended from Britons of the south, or from Caledonians, who being pressed forward by new colonies from Gaul, till they came to the western shore of Britain, passed over into Ireland, probably about one hundred years before the Christian era. About the year 320 they returned again into Britain; or at least a large colony of them, under the conduct of Fergus, and settled on the western coasts of Caledonia, from whence they had formerly migrated.
Caledonia, in its largest extent, from the Tweed and the Eden, on the south, to Caithness point, on the north, was possessed by twenty-one tribes of Aboriginal Britons, who were populous, in proportion to the greater or less fertility of the districts which they severally occupied. The tribes on the west coast must have been fewer in number than the more potent clans on the eastern shore. Every tribe enjoyed the ancient privilege of being each independent of the whole; and who only united under a Pendragon, when danger pressed, and necessity demanded the authority of a single person, for the safety of the whole people, according to the Celtic principle of disunited independence.
As early as the year 340 we find them associated with the Picts in their expedition to the Roman province; and for upwards of ninety years after, their ravages are frequently mentioned by the Roman and British writers.
By the historians of Scotland, the reign of Fergus, the first Scots monarch, is placed in the year 330, A. C. He was the son of Ferquhard, an Irish prince, and was called into Scotland by the Caledonians, to assist them against the southern Britons, with whom they were then at war. Having landed on one of the Ebudæ, or western isles, he had a conference with the Caledonians, whose language and manners lie found to be the same with those of his countrymen. Having then landed in Scotland, and taken the field, at the head of his new allies, he engaged the Britons, under their king Coilus. Victory declared in favour of the Scots; Coilus was defeated and slain; and from him the province of Kyle first received its name. After this, Fergus was declared king of the Scots, with the solemnity of an oath: but having been recalled to Ireland, to quiet some commotions there, he was drowned, in the year 305, B. C. by a sudden tempest, on his return, at a place in Ireland, called from him, Knock-Fergus, or Carrick-Fergus; i. e. Fergus’s Rock.
Fergus I. was succeeded by his brother Feritharis, to the prejudice of his two sons, Ferlegus and Mainus. This was done in conformity to a law, by which it was ordained, that, whilst the children of their kings were infants, one of their relations, who was reckoned the most fit for the government, should be raised to the throne; but after his death the sovereignty should return to the sons of the former king. But Ferlegus, impatient for the crown, demanded it from his uncle. The dispute being referred to an assembly of the states Feritharis was confirmed on the throne, and Ferlegus would have been condemned for sedition, had not his uncle interposed. He was, however, imprisoned; but having made his escape, he fled first to the Picts, and then to the Britons, to excite them against Feritharis, With both he failed in accomplishing his purpose; but his uncle being afterwards stabbed in his bed, the suspicion fell upon Ferlegus, who was thereupon set aside from the succession, and died in obscurity, the throne being confirmed upon his brother Mainus.
Mainus succeeded his uncle, in the year 291, A. C, and is celebrated for a peaceable and just reign of twenty-nine years; and for a treaty with Crinus, king of the Picts. He died in the year 262, A. C. and was succeeded by his son Dornadil, who was a great hunter, and instituted the laws of hunting in this country. He died in the year 233, A, C. and was succeeded by his brother Nothal; who, in the twentieth year of his reign, 213, A. C. was killed in a battle with Reuther, his nephew; upon which the latter was immediately invested with the sovereignty. A bloody war now ensued with the Picts, in which both parties were reduced to the last extremity, and glad to conclude a peace; which continued many years, Reuther died in 187, A, C. the twenty-sixth of his reign, and was succeeded by his brother Reutha; who is said to have encouraged trade and manufactures, and to have received an embassy of learned men, from Ptolemy, king of Egypt. He died in the year 171, A. C. and left the throne to his son Therreus, who, proving a tyrant, was banished, and died at York, in the year 161, C. His brother Josina succeeded, and cultivated the arts of peace; studying medicine and botany, &c. He reigned twenty-four years, and died in the year 137, A. C. when his son Finnan succeeded, who is celebrated as a wise monarch, and in his reign we find the origin of the Scottish parliament; as he enacted, that kings should do nothing without the consent of their grand council..
Finnan died in his thirtieth year, 107, A. C. and was succeeded by his son Durstus; who proving a tyrant, was killed in battle, by his nobles, in the ninth year of his reign. He was succeeded by his brother Even I. who was a wise monarch, and successfully assisted the Picts against the Britons. Even died in his 19th year B. C. 79, when the crown was usurped by his bastard son Gillus, who murdered the two sons of Durstus, but was killed in battle two years after. In 77, A. C. Even II. the nephew of Finnan, succeeded Gillus, and built the towns of Innelochy and Inverness. He overcame Belus, king of the Orkneys, who had invaded Scotland, and was succeeded by his son Eder, in the 30th year, A. C.; in whose time Julius Cæsar invaded the southern parts of this island. Eder is said to have assisted the Britons against the common enemy. He was succeeded, after a reign of forty-eight years, by his son Even III. in the year 12, A. C. who is represented as a monster of cruelty and lust: for, not content with having one hundred noble concubines of his own, he made a law that a man might marry as many wives as he could maintain; and that the king should lav the first night with every noble bride, and the nobles the like with the daughters of their tenants. Nor was he less remarkable for his cruelty and rapacionsness, which at length occasioned a rebellion; and Even was dethroned, imprisoned, and put to death, in the seventh year of his reign, and fourth A. C. This monster was succeeded by Metellanus, nephew of Ederus, he was a wise and good king, and reigned prosperously thirty-nine years in peace, and was succeeded by his sister’s son, the famous Caractacus, A. D. 35, who is celebrated by Boece, Fordun, Monipenny, Buchannan, and all other ancient Scottish historians, as one of the greatest of their monarchs; although the English historians claim him as a British monarch, and king of the Silures, in South Wales. But the Scottish historians insist that his fame for wisdom, courage, and riches, (accumulated during the peaceable reign of his uncle) being very great, he was invited by the Britons to assist them in expelling the Romans, and that upon his arrival at York, to which the Britons had retired, after a defeat, he was elected general of the combined troops of the Britons, Scots, and Picts; who, though equally brave and numerous, amounting to sixty thousand men, were defeated by the Romans in three different battles; in the last of which, Caractacus’s queen, daughter, and brother, were taken prisoners by Vespasian, and soon after he himself was betrayed to the Romans by his step-mother, Queen Cartismandua, and carried prisoner to Rome, where he was honourably treated by Vespasian, and afterwards restored with his relations. They add, that after this Caractacus reigned in peace, till the year 55, when he died in the twentieth year of his reign.
Caractacus was succeeded by his brother, Corbred I., who punished the treachery of Cartismandua, by burying her alive. Corbred’s sister, the famous Woada or Voadicea, being married to the king of the Britons, and shamefully used by the Romans, herself being whipped, and her daughters ravished, Corbred raised a great army of Scots and Picts, expelled the Romans out of the north of England, and took Berwick. About this time the Scots were joined by a numerous tribe of the Murrays from Moravia, under their general Roderi; who assisted them in their wars, receiving the county of Murray in reward for their bravery. After this Woada raised an army of five thousand ladies, to revenge the cause of the sex, who joing the combined forces, defeated the Romans, and killed seven thousand of them; but Suetonius coming soon after, with a fresh body of ten thousand troops, the combined army was defeated, and Woada killed herself. Corbred returned to Scotland, where he died in peace, in the eighteenth year of his reign, A. D. 72, and was succeeded by Dardanus, nephew of Metellanus; who proving a cruel tyrant, was beheaded by his nobles, in the year 76. He was succeeded by Corbred II. sirnamed Galdus, and called by the Roman historians Galgacus, in whose reign the invasion by Agricola happened. Agricola having completed the conquest of the southern parts, and in a great measure civilized the inhabitants, formed a like plan with regard to Scotland. At this time the Caledonians were rendered more formidable than ever they had been, by the accession of great numbers from the south; for though the Romans had civilized the greatest part, many of those savage warriors, disdaining the pleasures of a peaceable life, retired to the northward, where the martial dispositions of the Scots better suited their inclination. The utmost efforts of valour, however, were not proof against the discipline of the Roman troops, and the experience of their commnnder. In the third year Agricola had penetrated as far as the river Tay; but the particulars of his progress are not recorded. In the fourth year, he built a line of forts, between the friths of Forth and Clyde, to exclude the Caledonians from the south parts of the island; and the year after, he subdued those parts which lay to the south and west of his forts, viz. the counties of Galloway, Cantyre, and Argyle, which were then inhabited by a people called Cangi, who, as Tacitus expressly informs us, had never before been known to the Romans. Agricola still pursued the same prudent measures, by which he had already secured the possession of such a large tract of country, advancing slowly, and building forts as he advanced, to keep the people in obedience. The Scots, though commanded by their king, who is said to be well acquainted with the manner of fighting, and discipline of the Romans, were yet obliged to retreat; but at last, finding that the enemy made such progress, as endangered the subjugation of the whole country, he resolved to cut off their communication with the southern parts, and likewise to prevent all possibility of a retreat by sea; Agricola then divided his troops into three bodies, having a communication with each other. Upon this Galgacus resolved to attack the weakest of the three, which consisted only of the 9th legion, and lay at that time, at a place called Louchare, about two miles from Loch-Leven, in Fifeshire. The attack was made in the night, and as the Romans were both unprepared and inferior in number, the Scots penetrated into the heart of their camp, and were making a great slaughter, when Agricola detached some light armed troops to their assistance; by whom the Caledonians in their turn were routed, and forced to fly to the marshes, and inaccessible places, were the enemy could not follow them. This engagment has been magnified by the Roman historians into a victory, though it can scarce be admitted from the testimonies of other historians. The Romans, however, certainly advanced very considerably, and the Scots as constantly retreated, till they came to the foot of the Grainpian-mountains, where the Caledonians resolved to make their last stand. In the eighth year of the war, Agricola advanced to the foot of the mountains, where he found the enemy ready to receive him. A desperate engagement ensued. In the beginning, the Britons had the advantage, by the dextrous management of their bucklers; but Agricola having ordered three Tungrian and two Batavian cohorts, armed with short swords, and embossed bucklers, terminating in a point to attack the Scots, who were armed with long swords, the latter soon found these weapons useless in a close encounter; and as their bucklers only covered a small part of their bodies, they were easily cut in pieces by their adversaries. The most forward of their cavalry and charioteers fell back upon their infantry, and disordered their centre; but the Britons endeavouring to outflank their enemies, the Roman general opposed them with his horse; and the Caledonians were at length routed with great slaughter, and forced to fly into the woods, whither the Romans pursued with so little caution, that numbers of them were cut off.
Agricola, however, having ordered his troops to proceed more regularly, prevented the Scots from attacking and cutting off his men in separate parties, as they had expected; so that this victory proved the greatest stroke to the Caledonians that they had hitherto received. This battle is supposed by some to have been fought in Strathern, half a mile south from the kirk of Comrie; but others imagine the place to have been near Fontingal Camp, a place somewhat farther on the other side of the Tay. Great as this victory was, it seems not to have been productive of any solid or lasting advantage to the Romans; as Agricola, instead of putting an end to the war by the immediate conquest of all Caledonia, retreated into the country of the Foresti, commonly supposed to be Forfarshire, though others imagine it to have been the county of Fife. Here he received hostages from part of the Caledonians; and ordered part of his fleet to sail round Britain, that they might discover whether it were an island or a continent. The Romans had no sooner left that part of the country, than the Caledonians demolished all the forts they had raised; and Agricola being soon after recalled by Domitian, the farther progress of the Roman arms was stopped; Galgacus proving superior to any of the successors of that general. Galgacus or Corbredus reigned peaceably after this, till the year 110, when he died, in the thirty-fifth year of his reign.
From the time of Agricola to that of Adrian, little is known of the affairs of Scotland, except that Lugtacus succeeded his father in the year 110, and proving a cruel tyrant, was killed by his nobles, in the year 113. He was succeeded by his cousin Morgallus, in whose reign Adrian came into Britain. During this interval the Scots must have entirely driven the Romans out of their country, and re-conquered all that tract which lay between Agricola’s chain of forts and Carlisle on the west, and Newcastle of Tinmouth Bar on the east, which Adrian, on visiting Britain, fixed as the northern boundary of the Roman dominions; Here he built a wall between the mouth of the Tyne, and the Solway Frith, to shut out the barbarians; which did not answer the purpose, as it was only built of turf, and guarded by no more than eighteen thousand men. On the departure of Adrian, he left Julius Severus as his lieutenant: but he carried his arms to the north of Adrian’s wall; and this long interval of peace gave so much security to Mogallus, that he degenerated into a tyrant, and was murdered by his nobles. The only instance of his tyranny, however, is a law by which it was enacted, that the estates of such as were condemned should be forfeited to his exchequer, without any part thereof being allotted to their wives and children; an act which subsists almost in its full force to this day in Great Britain and the best regulated European governments. Mogallus was succeeded by his son Conarus in the year 149, who following his father’s bad example, was deposed and died in jail, in the year 163. His cousin Ethod or Ethodius I. succeeded him, who proved a good monarch, and was successful in several battles against the Romans, under Victorious, Trebellius, and Pertinax; yet he was treacherously murdered by a harper in his thirty-third year, A. D. 195. The harper was tortured to death. Satrael, Ethod’s brother succeeded him, but becoming tyrannical, he was killed by a courtier in the fourth year of his reign, A. D. 199; and was succeeded by his brother Donald I. In the reign of Antoninus Pius, the proprætor Lollius Urbius drove the Scots far to the northward, and repaired the chain of forts built by Agricola, which lay between the Carron on the Firth of Forth and Dunglass on the Clyde. These were joined together by turf walls, and formed a much better defence than the wall of Adrian. However, after Antoninus’s death, Commodus having recalled Calpurnicus Agricola, an able commander, who kept the Scots in awe, a more dangerous war broke out than had ever been experienced by the Romans in that quarter. The Scots having passed the wall, put all the Romans they could meet with to the sword; but they were soon repulsed by Ulpius Marcellus, a general of consummate abilities, whom Commodus sent into the island. —In a short time, however, the tyrant also recalled this able commander. After whose departure, the Roman discipline in Britain suffered a total relaxation; the soldiery grew mutinous, and great disorder ensued; but these were all removed by the arrival of Clodius Albinus, a person of great skill and experience in military affairs. His presence for some time restrained the Scots within proper bounds; but a civil war breaking out between him and Severus, Albinus crossed over to the continent with the greatest part of the Roman forces in Britain, and met his antagonist at Lyons, a dreadful battle ensued, in which Albinus was defeated, and his army cut in pieces. The absence of the Roman forces gave encouragement to the Scots to renew their depredations, which they did with such success that this emperor became apprehensive of losing the whole island; on which he determined to go in person, and quell these troublesome enemies. The army he now collected was far more numerous than any the Romans had ever sent into Britain; and being commanded by such an able general as Severus, the Scots must have been very hard pressed. The particulars of this important expedition are very imperfectly related: we are assured, however, that Severus lost a vast number of men, it is said not less than fifty thousand, in his march through Scotland; yet he penetrated to the most northern extremity of the island, and obliged the enemy to yield up their arms. On his return he built a much stronger fortification to secure the frontiers against the enemy, than had ever been done before, and which in some places coincided with Adrian’s wall, but extended farther at each end. The Scots, however, in the mean time, provoked by the brutality of the emperor’s son, Caracalla, whom he had left regent in his absence, again took arms; on which Severus himself took the field, with a design to extirpate the whole nation; for he gave orders to his soldiers “not to spare even the child in the mother’s womb.” But his death, which happened soon after, put a stop to the execution of this revenge; and his son Caracalla ratified a peace with the Scots.
During all these important transactions, Scotland was governed by Donald I. who was the first Christian king of this country. He also first coined gold and silver, and died in the eighteenth year of his reign, A. D. 216. Donald was succeeded by Ethodius II. the son of Ethodius I. who acting tyranically, was killed by his guards, in the year 231. His son Athirco succeeded, and pursuing similar measures, was deserted by his nobles, and killed himself in the twelfth year of his reign, A. D. 242. His successor Nathalours, behaving also tyrannically, was killed by his nobles in the eleventh year, A. D. 253. He was succeeded by Findocus, the son of Athirco, who proved a good monarch, but was killed while hunting, at the instigation of his brother Carausius, in his eleventh year, A. D. 264. His other brother Donald II. succeeded, but reigned only one year, being killed in battle, by Donald III. lord of the Isles, who usurped the throne, and reigned twelve years, but was killed by Crathilinthus, the son of Findocus, A. D. 277, who proved a good monarch; meantime his uncle Carausius had acquired great fame by his repeated victories over the Romans, and was elected king of the Britons. Crathilinthus died in the twenty-fourth year of his reign, A. D. 301, and was succeeded by his cousin Fincormachus, a brave and pious prince, who assisted Octavius, king of the Britons, in a successful battle against the Romans, wherein sixteen thousand Romans were slain, and fifteen thousand Britons; for which service Westmoreland and Cumberland were ceded to Scotland. He died in the forty-seventh year of his reign, A. D. 348, and was succeeded by Romachus, nephew of Crathilinthus, who for his cruelty, was beheaded by his nobles, in the year 351. Angusian, another nephew, succeeded, and proved a good prince, but was killed in battle in the year 354; and succeeded by Finconnachus, a third nephew of Crathilinthus, who reigned well, and conquered the Picts, but was treacherously murdered in the year 357, by two Picts, who were tortured to death. He was succeeded by his son, Eugene I. under whom the Roman and Pictish forces were united against the Scots. The Picts were commanded by their king, named Hungus, and the Romans by Maximus, who murdered Valentinian III. and afterwards assumed the empire. The allies defeated Eugene in the county of Galloway; but Maximus being obliged to return southward on account of an insurrection, the Picts were in their turn defeated by the Scots. Next year, however, Maximus marched against the Scots; who being now reduced to extremity, brought into the field, not only all the men capable of bearing arms, but the women also. In this engagement, the Picts would have been utterly defeated, had they not been supported by the Romans; but Eugene being killed, with the greatest part of his nobility, the Scots were defeated; and so well did the conquerors improve their victory, that their antagonists were at last totally driven out of the country. Some of them took refuge in the Æbudæ islands and some in Scandinavia, but most of them fled to Ireland, whence they made frequent descents upon Scotland. The Picts were at. first highly pleased with the victory that they had gained over their antagonists; but they being commanded to adopt the laws of the Romans, and to choose no king who was not sent them from Rome, they began to repent of their having contributed to the expulsion of the Scots; and in the 404, when Aistulphus, king of the Goths, sent over a body of exiled Scots to Britain, under Fergus, the son of Erthus, and grandson of Ethodius, brother of Eugene I. the Picts immediately joined them against the common enemy.
The consequence was, that the Britons were pushed to the last extremity; and the Romans being obliged, by the inundations of the northern barbarians who poured in upon them, to recal their forces from Britain, the inhabitants were reduced to a most miserable situation. In the time of Fergus II. they were obliged to give up all the country which lies north of Adrian’s wall. Fergus II. is celebrated as not only a brave but a pious prince; but, though often successful against the Romans, he was at last killed in battle by them, in the sixteenth year of his reign, A. D. 420. His son Eugene II. succeeded him, and imitated his virtues. He obtained several victories over the Romans and their British allies.
In his reign Graham, the founder of the fomily of that name, who was of the blood-royal, and whose daughter was married to Fergus II. performed many brave exploits, and destroyed part of Antoninus’s Wall, thence called Graham’s Dike.
In the seventh year of Eugene, the Romans were expelled out of Scotland, after a bloody battle; and soon after left the island. Eugene died in his thirty-first year, A. D. 455, and was succeeded by Dongard his brother. It was in Æugene’s reign that the Britons were reduced so low, that they were obliged to write that remarkable letter to Rome, entitled, “The groans of the Britons.” This, however, not being attended with success, the Britons were obliged to call in the Saxons to their assistance. By these new allies the Scots were defeated in a great battle, and their, king Dongard, drowned in the Humber, A. D. 457, which put a stop for some time to these incursions.
Hitherto we have seen the Scots very formidable enemies to the soothern Britons, but when the Saxons became enemies of the Britons, the Scots joined in a strict alliance with the latter; neither does it appear that this league was ever dissolved again, though the united efforts of the Scots and Britons were not sufficient to preserve the independency of the latter.
A series of monarchs followed, of whom littie is recorded. Dongard was succeeded by his brother Constantine I. who, becoming tyrannical, was killed by one of his nobles, whose daughter he had ravished; A. D. 479, in his twenty-second year. Congal I. the son of Dongard succeeded him, who conquered the Britons in a bloody battle, wherein twenty thousand Britons, with Guythel, prince of Wales, were slain.-He had afterwards some other battles with the Britons and Saxons, wherein little was gained by either party. He died in his twenty-second year, A. D. 501, and was succeeded by his brother Conranus, who also carried on a war against the Saxons, and along with the Picts, assisted first King Ambrosius, and afterwards the celebrated King Arthur against them, with considerable success. This excellent monarch, however, alter all his victories, was murdered by traitors in his own chamber, in the thirty-fourth year of his reign, A. D. 535. Conranus was succeeded by Eugene III. whose reign was uncommonly peaceable. He died in the twenty-third year of his reign, A. D. 558, and was succeeded by his brother Congal II. who was a pious prince, and died in the eleventh year of his reign, A. D. 569. His brother Kinnatel succeeded, and reigned well the short time that he lived, which was only one year. He was succeeded by Aldanus, the son of Conranus, who joined the Britons against the Saxons: he died in the thirty-fifth year of his reign, A. D. 605; and was succeeded by Keneth I. the son of Congul II. who only reigned one year, and was succeeded by Eugne IV. the son of Aidanus, in the year 506. He reigned in peace, instituted good laws, and died in the fifteenth year of his reign, A. D. 621.-He was succeeded by his son Ferquhard I. who, being a vicious tyrant, was deposed by his nobles, and put in prison, where he killed himself in the year 632.. His son Donald IV. succeeded him, and proved a pious and peaceable monarch, but was unfortunately drowned in Loch Tay, while fishing, in the fourteenth year of his reign, A. D. 646. He was succeeded by his brother Ferquhard II. who was infamous for his avarice; and died in the eighteenth year of his reign, A. D. 664, by the bite of a wolf. Malduinus, the son of Donald IV. succeeded, and was esteemed a pious and just sovereign; but his queen becoming jealous of him, strangled him in bed, in the twentieth year of his reign, A. D. 684; for which she, and her accomplices in the murder, were burnt. Eugeue V. Malduin’s brother, succeeded him, and proved a valiant monarch, He obtained a great victory over Edfred, king of Northumberland, who was killed with ten thousand Saxons, and their ally Bredius, king of the Picts, fled.-Eugene died in the fourth year of his reign, A. D. 688. Eugene VI. the son of Ferchard II. succeeded him, and maintained the character of a religious and peaceable monarch, he only reigned nine years, dying in the year 697, when Amberkeleth, the son of Aidan, succeeded, but was killed in battle by an arrow, in the second year of his reign. He was succeeded by his brother Eugene VII. who made peace with Garnard, king of the Picts, who married his daughter Spontana; but she was murdered, the year following, in bed, by two assassins, who had intended to kill her husband. Eugene VII. endowed several churches, and died in the sixteenth year of his reign, A. D. 715. Murdach the son of Amberkeleth, succeeded, and cultivated peace so successfully, that during his reign all the differences were settled among the Britons, Scots, Picts, and Saxons.. He also built Whithorn, and the venerable Bede flourished in his time. Murdach died in the sixteenth year of his reign, and was succeeded by Etfinus, or Ethwm, the son of Eugene VII. in the year 730, who had a peaceable and prosperous reign of thirty-one years. Eugene VIII. the son of Murdach succeeded him, in the year 761, and began his reign with an act of justice, by executing Donald, lord of the Isles, and the Earl of Galloway, for their crimes; but soon after degenerated so greatly himself, that his nobles conspired against and killed him, in the third year of his reign. Fergus III. the son of Etfinus, succeeded Eugene in the year 763, and married Ethiolia, daughter of the king of the Picts; but in the third year of his reign, neglecting her for other women, she murdered him; and, his servants being taken up on suspicion, she came into court, confessed the murder, and stabbed herself. Fergus III. was succeeded by Solvathius, the si of Eugene VIII. in the year 767, who married a daughter of the king of the Britons, and preserved his kingdom in peace and prosperity for twenty years, when he died of the gout. He was succeeded by the celebrated Achaius, the son of Ethwin, in the year 787, who, after having quelled some insurrections both in Scotland and Ireland, entered into a treaty perpetual amity with Charles the Great, King of France and Emperor of Germany; winch continued to be observed inviolably between the two nations, till the accession of James VI. to the throne of England. Achaius strengthened this alliance still farther, by marrying a daughter of Charlemagne, and by sending his brother William, with several noblemen, and four thousand troops, to assist Charles in his various wars, wherein they acquired great honour, upon which our ancient historians expatiate very largely; and inform us, that, along with these troops, Achaius sent two learned men, who are said to have given the Parisians their first taste for learning, and laid the foundation of the University of Pans; and they add that one of them was afterwards sent to Pavia, to establish learning in Italy. After this, Achaius reigned in peace, and died of age in the thirty-second year of his reign; leaving one son, named Alpmus, by his secod Queen Tergusia, sister of Hungus, king of the Picts: which connection afterwards proved the fount duron of the Scottish king’s claim upon the Pictish crown. Li the mean time Congal II. nephew of Achaius, succeeded him, according to the Scottish rule, in the year 819; but during the fifth year of hi short but peaceable reign, he was succeeded by Dongal, the son of Solvathius, in the year 824. Meantime a horrible scene of murder and incest was acted in the royal family of the Picts. Dorstologus, their king, was murdered by his brother Eganus, who married his brother’s widow, Brenna; who soon after murdered him in his bed, to avenge the death of her first husband. The murder of these two princes gave rise to the next remarkable event in the history of Scotland, viz. the war with the Picts. The occasion of the quarrel was, that Dongal king of Scotland claimed, in the name of prince Alpinus, by a formal embassy, a right to the Pictish throne; which, however, was rejected by the Picts: upon which both parties had recourse to arms; but when every thing was ready for the campaign, Dongal was drowned in crossing the fiver Spey, in the seventh year of his reign, A. D. 731. At this time the dominions of the Scots comprehended the western islands, together with the counties of Aygyle, Knapdale, Kyle, Kinture, Lochaber, and a part of Breadalbane; while the Picts possessed all the rest of Scotland, and part of Northumberland; so that the Picts seem to have been by much the most powerful people of the two. However, the Scots appear to have been superior in military skill; for Alpin, the successor of Dongal, having engaged the Pictish army pear Forfar, after an obstinate engagement, defeated them, and killed their king, though not without the loss of a great number of his own men. The Picts chose Brudus, the son of their former king, to succeed him; but soon after deposed him and put him to death, on account of his stupidity and indolence, His brother Kenned shared the same fate on account of his cowardice; till at length another Brudus, a brave and spirited prince, ascended the throne, who, having raised a powerful army, began with offering terms of peace to the Scots; which, however, Alpin rejected, and insisted upon a total surrender of his crown.-Brudus on this endeavoured to procure the assistance of Edwin, king of Northumberland. Edwin accepted the money proffered to him; but under pretence of being engaged in other wars, he refused the assistance which he had promised. Brudus, not dismayed by this disappointment, marched resolutely against his enemies; and the two armies came to an engagement near Dundee. The superior skill of the Scots in military affairs, was about to have decided the victory in their favour, when Brudus used the following stratagem, to preserve his army from destruction. He caused all his attendants, and even the women who attended his army, to assemble, and show themselves at a distance as a powerful reinforcement coming to the Picts. This struck the Scots with such a panic, that all the efforts of Alpin could not recover them; and they were accordingly defeated with great slaughter. Alpin himself was taken prisoner, and soon after beheaded, by order of the conqueror; and his head was afterwards stuck on a pole, and exposed on a wall. Alpin was succeeded by his son Kenneth II. in the year 834, who being a brave and enterprising prince, resolved to take a most severe revenge for his father's death. The Scots, however, were so dispirited by their late defeat, that they were exceedingly averse from any renewal of the war; while on the other hand, the Picts were so much elated, that they made a law by which it became death for any man to propose peace with the Scots,whom they resolved to exterminate: and some of the nobility were expelled the council on account of their opposition to this law. The consequence was, that civil dissensions took place among them, and a bloody battle was fought between the opposite parties, before the Scots had thought of making any farther resistance. By these distractions Brudus, who had in vain endeavoured to appease them, was so much affected, that he died of grief; and was succeeded by his brother Drusken; who likewise failed in his endeavours to accommodate the civil differences; so that the Scots, by gaining so much respite, at last began to recover their courage; and some of them having ventured into the Pictish territory, carried off Alpin’s head from Abernethy, the capital of their dominions. In the mean time, Kenneth gained over the nobility to his side, and war was immediately renewed with great vigour. The Picts were not deficient in their preparations, and had now procured some assistance from England. The first battle was fought near Sterling; where the Picts, being deserted by their English auxiliaries were utterly defeated. Drusken escaped by the swiftness of his horse, and in a few days after made application, to Kenneth for a cessation of hostilities; but as the Scottish monarch demanded a surrender of all the Pictish dominions, the treaty was instantly broken off. Kenneth pursued his good fortune, and conquered the counties of Merns, Angus, and Fife; but as he marched against Stirling, he received intelligence that these counties had again revolted, and cut off all the garrisons which he had left, and that Drusken was at the head of a considerable army in these parts. On this Kenneth hastened to oppose him, and a negotiation again took place.-The result was still unfavourable; for Kenneth insisted on an absolute surrender of the counties of Fife, Mearns, and Angus; which being refused, both parties prepared for a decisive battle. The engagement was very bloody and desperate, the Picts fighting like men in despair. Drusken renewed the battle seven times; but at last was entirely defeated and killed, and the counties in dispute became the immediate property of the conqueror. Kenneth did not fail to improve his victory, by reducing the remainder of the Pictish territories; which he is said to have done with the greatest cruelty, and even to have totally exterminated the inhabitants. The capital, called Camelon, supposed to have been Abernethy) held out four months; but was at length taken by surprise, and every living creature in it destroyed. This was followed by the reduction of the Maiden Castle, now that of Edinburgh; which was abandoned by the garrison, who fled to Northumberland. After the reduction of these important places, the rest of the country made no great resistance, and Kenneth became master of the whole kingdom of Scotland.
Besides this war with the Picts, Kenneth is said to have been successful against the Saxons, though of these wars we have very little account. Having reigned ten years in peace, after his subjugation of the Picts, and composed a code of laws for the good of his people, Kenneth died of a fistula, at Fort Teviot, near Duplin, in Perthshire, in the year 854. Before his time the seat of the Scots government had been in Argyleshire; but he removed it to Scone, by transferring thither the famous stone supposed to be the palladium of Scotland, and which was afterwards carried off by Edward I. of England, and lodged in Westminster Abbey.
Kenneth II. surnamed the Great, by some historians, was succeeded by his brother Donald V. who is represented as a man of the worst character; so that the remaining Picts, who had fled out of Scotland, were encouraged to apply to the Saxons for assistance, promising to make Scotland tributary to the Saxon power after it should be conquered. This proposal was accepted; and the confederates invaded Scotland with a powerful army, and took the town of Berwick; however, they were soon after defeated by Donald, who took also their ships and provisions. This capture proved their ruin; for some of the ships being laden with wine, the Scots indulged themselves so much with that liquor, that they became incapable of defending themselves; the consequence of this was that the confederates rallying their troops, attacked them in that state of intoxication. The Scots were defeated with excessive slaughter; twenty thousand of them lay dead on the spot; the king and his principal nobility were taken prisoners: and all the country, from the Tweed to the Forth, became the property of the conquerors. Still, however, the conquerors were unable to pursue their victory farther, and a peace was concluded, on condition that the Saxons should be masters of all the conquered country.-Thus the Forth and Clyde became the southern boundaries of the Scottish dominions. It was agreed that the Forth should from that time forward be called the Scots Sea; and it was made capital for any Scotsman to set his foot on English ground. They were to erect no forts near the English confines, to pay an annual tribute of' one thousand pounds, and to give up sixty of the sons of their chief nobility as hostages. A mint was erected by the Saxon prince named Osbreth, at Stirling; and a cross raised on the bridge at that place, with the following inscription, implying that this place was the boundary between Scotland and England:
“Anglos a Scotis separat crux ista remotis:
Arma hic stant Bruti, stant Scoti sub hac cruce tuti.”
After the conclusion of this treaty, so humiliating to the Scots, the Picts, finding that their interest had been entirely neglected, fled to Norway, while those who remained in England were massacred. Donald shared the common fate of unfortunate princes, being dethroned and shut up in prison, where he killed himself, in the year 858. The character, however, of Donald, and the whole account of these transactions, rest on the credit of a single author, namely Boece; for other writers represent Donald as a hero, and successful in his wars: but the obscurity in which the whole of this period of Scottish history is involved, renders it impossible to determine these matters.
Donald V. was succeeded by his nephew Constantine II. the son of Kenneth II. in whose reign Scotland was first invaded by the Danes, who proved such formidable enemies to the English. This invasion was occasioned by some exiled Picts, who fled to Denmark. where they prevailed upon the king of that country to send his two brothers, Hungar and Hubbn, to recover the Pictish dominions from Constantine.-These princes landed on the coast of Fife, where they committed the most horrid barbarities, not sparing even the ecclesiastics who had taken refuge in the island of May at the mouth of the Forth. Constantine defeated one of the Danish armies commanded by Hubba, near the water of Leven; but was himself defeated and taken prisoner by Hungar, who caused him to be beheaded at a place since called the Devil's Cave, in the year 874. This unfortunate action cost the Scots ten thousand men; but the Danes seem not to have purchased their victory very easily, as they were obliged immediately afterwards to abandon their conquests, and retire to their own country. The Danish monuments, however, that are to be seen in Fife, leave no room to doubt that many bloody scenes had been acted here between the Scots and Danes besides that above mentioned. Constantine II. was succeeded by his brother Eth, (or his son, as Monipenny stiles him), surnamed the Swift-footed, from his agility. Being devoted to luxury, his nobles took him and put him in prison, where he died in three days, of melancholy, in the second year of his reign, A. D. 876. He was succeeded by Gregory the son of Dongal, contemporary with Alfred of England, and both princes deservedly acquired the sirname of Great.-The Danes at their departure had left the Picts in possession of Fife; against whom Gregory immediately inarched, and quickly drove them into the north of England, where their confederates were already masters of Northumberland and York, In their way thither they threw a garrison into the town of Berwick; but this was presently reduced by Gregory, who put to the sword all the Danes, but spared the lives of the Picts. From Berwick, Gregory pursued the Danes into Northumberland, where he defeated them; and passed the winter in Berwick. He then marched against the Cumbrians, who being mostly Picts were in alliance with the Danes, and easily overcame them, and obliged them to yield up all the lands they had formerly possessed belonging to the Scots, and he agreed to protect them from the Danes. In a short time, however, Constantine the king of the Cambrians violated the convention he had made, and invaded Annandale; but was defeated and killed by Gregory near Lochmaben. After this victory, Gregory reduced the counties of Cumberland and Westmorland, which, it is said, were ceded to him by Alfred the Great; and indeed the situation of Alfred’s affairs at this time renders such a cession probable. Gregory next engaged in a war with the Irish, to support Donach an Irish prince, against two rebellious noblemen. The Irish were the first agressors, and invaded Galloway; but being repulsed with great loss, Gregory went over to Ireland in person, where the two chieftains, who had been enemies to each other before, now joined their forces to oppose the common enemy. The first engagement proved fatal to one of their chiefs, named Brian, who was killed with a great number of his followers. After this victory Gregory reduced Dundalk and Drogheda. On his way to Dublin he was opposed by a chieftain, named Corneil, who shared the fate of his confederate, being also killed, and his army entirely defeated. Gregory then became guardian to the young prince, whom he came to assist, appointed a regency, and obliged them to swear that they would never admit into the country either a Dane or an Englishman, without his consent. Having then placed garrisons in the strongest fortresses, he returned to Scotland, where he built the city of Aberdeen; and died in the year 894, at his castle of Dundore in the Garioch, in the eighteenth year of his reign.
Gregory was succeeded by Donald VI. the son of Constantine II. who imitated the virtues of his predecessor. The Scotch historians unanimously agree, that Northumberland was, at that time, in the possession of their countrymen; while the English as unanimously affirm that it was subject to the Danes, who paid homage to Alfred. Donald, however, continued to live on good terms with the English monarch, and sent him a body of forces, who proved of considerable advantage to him in his wars with the Danes. The clans of the Murrays and Rosses, having invaded each other, and commenced a bloody civil war, Donald came upon them with a great army, and punished the ringleaders, in the year 903. He died at Forres, in the year 905.
Donald was succeeded by Constantine III. the son of Eth, who married a daughter of the prince of Wales; he also entered into an alliance with the Danes against the English. The reason of this confederacy was, that the English monarch, Edward the Elder, finding the Scots in possession of the northern counties of England, made such extravagant demands upon Constantine, as obliged him to enter into an alliance with the Danes, to preserve his dominions in security. However, the league subsisted only for two years; after which the Danes found it more to their advantage to resume their ancient friendship with the English. Constantine afterwards appointed the presumptive heir to the Scottish crown, Malcolm, or, according to some, Eugene, the son of the late king Donald VI. prince of the southern counties, on condition of his defending them against the attacks of the English. The young prince had soon an opportunity of exerting his valour; but not behaving with the requisite caution, he was defeated, with the loss of almost all his army, he himself being carried wounded out of the field; and in consequence of this disaster, Constantine was obliged to do homage to Edward for the possessions he had to the south of the Scots boundary.
In the beginning of the reign of Athelstan, the son of Edward the Elder, the northern Danes were encouraged, by some conspiracies formed against that monarch, to throw off the yoke; and their success was such, that Athelstan entered into a treaty with Sithric, the Danish chief, and gave him his daughter in marriage. Sithric, however, did not long survive his nuptials; and his son Guthred, endeavouring to throw off the English yoke, was defeated, and obliged to fly into Scotland. This brought on a series of hostilities between the Scots and English, which, in the year 938, issued in a general engagement. At this time the Scots, Irish, Cumbrians, and Danes, were confederated against the English. The Scots were commanded by their king Constantine, the Irish by Anlaf, the brother of Guthred the Danish prince; the Cumbrians by their own sovereign, and the Danes by Froda. The generals of Athelstan were Edmund his brother, and Turketil his favourite. The English attacked the entrenchments of the confederates, where the chief resistance they met with was from the Scots. Constantine was in the utmost danger of being killed or taken prisoner, but was rescued by the bravery of his soldiers; however, after a most obstinate engagement, the confederates were defeated with such slaughter that the slain are said to have been innumerable. The consequence was, that the Scots were deprived of all their possessions south of the Forth; and Constantine, quite dispirited with his misfortunes, resigned the crown to Malcolm, and retired to the monastery of the Culdees, at St. Andrew’s, where he became a canon, and died five years after, in A. D. 943. The distresses which the English sustained in. their subsequent wars with the Danes gave the Scots an opportunity of retrieving their affairs: and in the year 944, Malcolm I. the successor of Constantine, was invested with the sovereignty of Northumberland, on condition of his holding it as a fief of the crown of England, and assisting in the defence of the northern border. Soon after the conclusion of this treaty, Malcolm going to the county of Moray, to settle some disturbances, was treacherously murdered in the ninth year of his reign. The murderers were all apprehended, tortured, and put to death. Malcolm was succeeded, in the year 952, by his son Lndulfus, in whose regin the Danes became extremely formidable by their invasions, which they now renewed with greater fury than ever, being exasperated by the friendship subsisting between the Scots and English monarchy. Haquiu, king of Norway, also attempted an invasion, but was defeated by Indulfus.
The first descent of the Danes was upon East Lothian, from whence they were soon expelled, but they crossed over to Fife: here they were again defeated, and driven out; and so well had Indulfus guarded the coasts, that they could not find an opportunity of landing; till having seemed to steer towards their own country, the Scots were thrown off their guard, and the Danes, on a sudden, made good their landing, at Cullen, in Banffshire. Here Indulfus soon came up with them; attacked their camp, and drove them towards their ships; but he was killed in an ambuscade, into which he fell during the pursuit, in the ninth year of his reign. He was succeeded by Duffus, the son of Malcolm I. in the year 961, to whom historians have given an excellent character; but who, after a reign of five years, was murdered in the year 966. He was succeeded by Culen, the son of Iuduifus, who had been nominated prince of Cumberland, in his father’s life time, as heir-apparent to the throne. He is represented as being a very degenerate prince; and is said to have given himself up to sensuality, in a manner almost incredible, being guilty of incontinence, not only with women of all ranks, but even with his own sisters and daughters. The people in the mean time were fleeced, to support the extravagance and luxury of their prince. In consequence of this, an assembly of the states was convened, at Scone, for the resettling of the government; but, on his way thither, Culen. was assassinated, in the fourth year of his reign, near the village of Methven, by Rohard, or Rodard, thane of Fife, whose daughter he had debauched. The provocations which Culen had given to his nobility seem to have rendered them untractable and licentious; which gave occasion to a remarkable revolution, in the reign of Kenneth III. who succeeded Culen in the year 970. This prince being a man of great resolution, began with relieving the common people from the oppressions of the nobility, which were now intolerable; and this plan he pursued with so much success, that having nothing to fear from the great barons, he ordered them to appear before him, at Lanerk; but the greater part, conscious of their demerits, did not attend. The king so well dissembled his displeasure, that those who came were quite charmed with his affability, and the noble entertainment that he gave them; in consequence of which, when an assembly was called next year, the guilty were encouraged to appear as well as the innocent. No sooner had this assembly met, however, than the place of meeting was beset with armed men. The king then informed them, that none had any thing to apprehend, excepting such as had been notorious offenders; and these he ordered to be immediately taken into custody; telling them, that their submitting to public justice must be the price of their liberty. They were obliged to accept the king’s offer, and the criminals were punished according to their deserts. About this time, Edgar, king of England, finding himself hard pressed by the Danes, found means to unite the king of Scotland and the prince of Cumberland along with himself in a treaty against the Danes: which gave occasion to a report, that Kenneth had become tributary to the king of England. This, however, is utterly denied by all the Scots historians; who affirm that Kenneth cultivated a good correspondence with Edgar, both because he expected assistance in defending his coasts, and because he intended entirely to alter the mode of succession to the throne.
About this time the Danes made a dreadful invasion. Their original intention seems to have been, to land on some part of the English coasts; but finding them, probably, too well guarded, they landed at Montrose. in Scotland; committing every where the most dreadful ravages. Kenneth, at that time, was at Stirling, and quite unprepared; having, however, collected a few troops, he cut off many of the enemy, as they were straggling up and down, but could not prevent them from besieging Perth. Nevertheless, as the king’s army constantly increased, he resolved to give the enemy battle. The scene of this action was at Luncarty, near Perth. The king is said to have offered ten pounds in silver, or the value of it in land, for the head of every Dane which should be brought him; and an immunity from all taxes to the soldiers who served in his army, provided they should be victorious: but, notwithstanding the utmost efforts of the Scots, their enemies fought so desperately, that Kenneth’s army fled, and must have been totally defeated, had not the fugitives been stopped by a yeoman, named Thomas, and his two sons, who were coming up to the battle. Buchanan and Boece inform us, that those countrymen were ploughing in a field, hard by the scene of action, and perceiving that their countrymen fled, they loosed their oxen, and made use of the yokes as weapons, with which they first obliged their countrymen to stand, and then fell upon their enemies. The fight was now renewed with such fury, on the part of the Scots, that the Danes were utterly defeated; and, after the battle, the king rewarded Thomas with the barony of Errol, in the Carse of Gowrie; ennobled his family, and gave them an armorial bearing of a bloody yoke in a field, alluding to the rustic weapons with which they had atchieved this glorious exploit; and gave them also the sirname of Hay, because when weary with the fatigue of his exertions, he had said, “Oh, Hay!” After this, Kenneth stained all his glory by poisoning prince Malcolm, lord of Cumberland, &c. the heir-apparent of the crown; and to secure the succession more effectually in his own family, prevailed on the states to make the succession hereditary, without regard to infancy or age. After this, either the king’s conscience persuaded him, or the superstition of the times invented the story, that he heard a voice from heaven, threatening him and his son with vengeance for the murder of the prince. In either case the threatening was fulfilled: for, in the year 99-1, Kenneth was murdered by a lady named Fenella,. whose son he had caused to be put to death. The murder was perpetrated in Fenella’s castle, at Fettercairn, in the Mearns, where she had persuaded the king to pay her a visit, by an automaton image of the king, in brass, which held out a golden apple in its hand, which Fenella desired the king to take; but he had no sooner done so, than the internal springs moved a cross bow, field by the image, and shot the king through the body. His attendants waited long near the place, but being at length tired out, they broke open the doors, and found their king murdered; upon which they laid the castle in ashes; but Fenella had escaped by a postern.
The throne was then seized by an usurper named Constantine IV. the son of Culen, who being killed in battle at Cramond, after a reign of a year and a half, was succeeded by Grim, the son of King Duffus; and he again was defeated and killed by Malcolm, the son of Kenneth, the lawful heir to the Scottish throne, in the year 1004. After this victory, however, Malcolm did not immediately assume the sovereignty; but asked the crown from the nobles, although by the law passed in the reign of Kenneth, the succession to the throne of Scotland was now hereditary. This they immediately granted, and Malcolm was crowned in the year 1004. He joined himself in alliance with the king of England; and proved so successful against the Danes in England, that Sweno their king resolved to direct his whole force against him, by an invasion of Scotland. His first attempt, however, proved very unsuccessful; all his soldiers being cut in pieces, except some few who escaped to their ships, while the loss of the Scots amounted to only thirty men. But in the mean time, Duncan, prince of Cumberland, having neglected to pay his homage to the king of England, the latter invaded that country in conjunction with the Danes. Malcolm took the field against them, and defeated both; but while he was thus employed in the south, a new army of Danes landed in the north, at the mouth of the Spey. Malcolm advanced against them with an army much inferior in number; and his men, neglecting every thing but the blind impulses of fury, were almost all cut to pieces; Malcolm himself being desperately wounded. By this victory the Danes were so much elated, that they sent fur their wives and children, intending to settle in this country. The castle of Nairn, then thought almost impregnable, fell into their hands; and the towns of Elgin and Torres were abandoned both by their garrisons and inhabitants. The Scots were every where treated as a conquered people, and employed in the most senile offices by the haughty conquerors; who, to render the castle of Nairn, as they thought, absolutely impregnable, cut through the small isthmus which joined it to the land. All this time, however, Malcolm was raising forces in the southern counties; and having at last got an army together, he came up with the Danes at Murtloch, near Balveny, which appears at this day to have been a strong Danish fortification. Here he attacked the enemy; but having the misfortune to lose three of his general officers, he was again obliged to retreat. The Danish general, however, happening to be killed in the pursuit, the Scots were encouraged to renew the fight with such vigour, that they obtained at last a complete victory; but suffered so much that they were unable to derive from it all the advantages which might otherwise have accrued. On the news of this ill success, Sweno ordered two fleets, one from England, and another from Norway, to make a descent upon Scotland, under Camus, one of his most renowned generals. The Danes attempted to land at the mouth of the Forth; but finding every place there well fortified, they were obliged to move farther northward, and effected their purpose at Redhead in Angus-shire. The castle of Brechin was first besieged: but meeting with a stout resistance there, they laid the town and church in ashes. From thence they advanced to the village of Panbride, and encamped at a place called Barr, in the neighbourhood of which both parties prepared to decide the fate of Scotland; for as Moray and the northern provinces were already in the possession of the Danes, it was evident that a victory at this time must put them in possession of the whole. The engagement was desperate, and so bloody that the rivulet which proceeds from Loch Tay is said to have had its water dyed with the blood of the slain; but at last the Danes gave way and fled.
There was at that time in the army of Malcolm, a young prince of the name of Keith, who commanded a colony of the Catti, a German tribe, who settled in the north of Scotland and gave name to Caithness. He pursued Camus; and having overtaken him, engaged and killed him; but another Scots officer coming up, disputed with Keith the glory of the action. While the dispute lasted, Malcolm came up; who suffered them to decide it by single combat; in this second contest, Keith proved also victorious, and killed his antagonist. The dying person confessed the justice of Keith's claim; and Malcolm dipping his finger in his blood, marked the shield of Keith with three strokes, pronouncing the words Veritas vincit, “Truth overcomes,” which has ever since been the armorial bearing and motto of the family of Keith. The shattered remains of the Danish forces reached their ships; but being driven back by contrary winds, and provisions becoming scarce, they put ashore five hundred men on the coast of Buchan, to procure them some food; but their communication being soon cut off, they fortified themselves as well as they could, and made a desperate resistance; but at last were all put to the sword. The place where this massacre happened is still called Crudune; being probably an abreviation of Cruor Danorutn, the blood of the Danes, a name imposed on it by the ecclesiastics of those days. Sweno, not yet discouraged, sent his son Canute, afterwards king of England, and one of the greatest warriors of that age, into Scotland, with an army more powerful than any that had yet appeared. Canute landed in Buchan; and as the Scots were much weakened by such a long continued war, Malcolm thought it prudent to act on the defensive; but the Scots, who now conceived themselves to be invincible, demanded to be led on to a general engagement. Malcolm complied with their desire, and a battle ensued; in which though neither party had much reason to boast of victory, the Danes were so much reduced that they willingly concluded a peace on the following terms, viz. That the Danes should immediately depart Scotland; that as long as Malcolm and Sweno lived, neither of them should wage war with the other, or help each other’s enemies; and that the field in which the battle was fought, should be set apart and consecrated for the burial of the dead. The stipulations were punctually fulfilled by Malcolm, who built in the neighbourhood a chapel, dedicated to Olaus, the tutelar saint of these northern nations. After all these glorious exploits, and becoming the second legislator in the Scottish nation, Malcolm is said to have stained the latter part of his reign with avarice and oppression; in consequence of which he was murdered at the age of eighty, after he had reigned upwards of thirty years. This assassination was perpetrated when he was on his way to Glammis. His own domestics are said to have been privy to the murder, and to have fled, along with the conspirators; but in passing the lake of Forfar on the ice, it gave way with them, and they were all drowned, their bodies being discovered some days after. This account is confirmed by the sculptures upon some stones erected near the spot; one of them, which is still called Malcolm’s grave-stone, and all of them exhibit some rude representations of the murder, and fate of the assassins.
Malcolm II. was succeeded, in the year 1034, by his grandson Duncan I. but he is said to have had another grandson, by a daughter named Dowoda, viz. the famous Macbeth; though some are of opinion that Macbeth was not the grandson of Malcolm, but of Fenella, who murdered Kenneth III. ‘ The first years of Duncan’s reign passed in tranquility, but domestic broils soon took place on the following occasion.-Banquo, thane of Lochaber, and ancestor to the royal family of Stuart, acted then in the capacity of steward to Duncan, by collecting his rents; but being very rigid in the execution of his office, he was way-laid, robbed, and almost murdered Of this outrage Banquo complained, as soon as he recovered of his wounds, and could appear at court. The robbers were summoned to surrender themselves up to justice; but, instead of obeying, they killed the messenger. Macbeth represented this in such strong terms, that he was sent with an army to reduce the insurgents, who had already destroyed many of the king’s friends. This commission he performed with such success, that the rebel chief put an end to his own life; after which Macbeth sent his head to the king, and then proceeded with the utmost severity against the insurgents, who were composed of Irishmen, Islanders, and Highlanders. This insurrection was scarcely quelled, when the Danes landed again in Fife; and Duncan put himself at the head of an army, having the thanes Macbeth and Banquo serving under him. The Danes were commanded by Sweno, king of Norway, and the eldest son of Canute. He proceeded with all the barbarity customary with his nation, putting to death men, women, and children, who fell in his way. A battle was fought between the two nations near Culross, in which the Scots were defeated: but the Danes purchased their victory so dearly, that they could not improve it; and Duncan retreated to Perth, while Macbeth was sent to raise more forces. In the mean time Sweno laid siege to Perth, which was defended by Duncan and Banquo. The Danes were so much distressed for want of provisions, that they at last consented to treat for a peace, provided the pressing necessities of the array were relieved. The Scots historians inform us, that this treaty was set on foot to amuse Sweno, and gain time for the stratagem which Duncan was preparing. This was no other than a barbarous contrivance of infusing intoxicating herbs into the liquors, that were sent with the other provisions to the Danish camp. These soporifics had their intended effect; and while the Danes were under their influence, Macbeth and Banquo broke into their camp, where they put all to the sword, and it was with difficulty that some of Sweno’s attendants carried him on board the only ship of all the fleet that returned to Norway. It was not long, however, before a fresh body of Danes landed at Ivinghorn, in Fifeshire; but they were entirely defeated by Macbeth and Banquo. Such of the Danes as escaped fled to their ships; but before they departed they obtained leave to bury their dead in Inchcolm, a small island lying in the Forth, where one of their monuments is still to be seen.
Thus ended the formidable invasions of the Danes; after which Duncan applied himself to the administration of justice, and the reformation of the manners of his subjects. Macbeth, however, who had obtained great reputation by his success against the Danes, began to form ambitious designs, and to aspire to the crown itself. The fables relating to his usurpation are so well known from the tragedy composed by Shakespear, which bears the name of Macbeth, that we need not take notice of them; but only mention the fact, that Duncan, not knowing that he had so dangerous an enemy near his person, was murdered at Inverness, in the sixth year of his reign, by Macbeth, who succeeded him in the throne, in the year 1040. During the greatest part of the reign of the Usurper, Malcolm, the true heir to the crown of Scotland, kept close in his principality of Cumberland, without any thoughts of ascending his father’s throne. Macbeth for some time governed with moderation, and enacted some excellent laws; but at last became a tyrant. Becoming jealous of Banquo, the most powerful subject in his dominions, he invited him to an entertainment, and caused him to be treacherously murdered. His son Fleance was destined to the same fate, but escaped to Wales. After him Macduff, the thane of Fife, was the most powerful person in Scotland; for which reason, Macbeth determined to destroy him. But Macduff understanding this, fled to France; and Macbeth cruelly put to death his wife and infant children, and sequestered his estate. Macduff vowed revenge, and encouraged Malcolm to attempt to dethrone the tyrant. Macbeth opposed them with his whole force; but being defeated in a pitched battle, he took refuge in the most inaccessible places of the Highlands, where he defended himself for two years; but in the mean time Malcolm was acknowledged king of Scotland, and crowned at Scone, in the year 1055. The war between Macbeth and the new king continued for two years after the coronation of the latter; but at last he was killed in a sally by Macduff. The public tranquility, however, was not restored by his death: for his followers elected one of his kinsmen, named Lullach, sirnamed the Idiot, to succeed him; but he, unable to withstand Malcolm, withdrew to the north, where, being pursued, he was killed at Essey, in Strathbogie, after a reign of four months.
Malcolm being now established on the throne, began with rewarding Macduff for his great services; and conferred upon his family four extraordinary privileges; 1. That they should place the king in his chair of state at the coronation. 2. That they should lead the van of all the royal armies. 3. That they should have a regality within themselves; and 4. That if any of Macduiff's family should happen to kill a nobleman unpremeditately, he should pay twenty-four marks of silver, and if a plebian twelve. The king’s next care was to reinstate in their father’s possessions all the children that had been disinherited by the late tyrant; which he did in a convention of his nobles held at Forfar. In the time of William the Conqueror, Malcolm was engaged in a dangerous war with England, the occasion of which was as follows: on the death of Edward the Confessor, Harold H. siezed the throne of England, to the prejudice of Edgar Atheling, the true heir to the crown. However, he created him earl of Oxford, and treated him with great respect; but on the defeat and death of Harold, William discovered some jealousy of Edgar. Soon after, William having occasion to pay a visit to his dominions in Normandy, he appointed Edgar to attend him, along with some other noblemen whom he suspected to be in his interest; but on his return to England, he found the people in a state of such disaffection to his government, that he proceeded with great severity, and great numbers of his subjects were obliged to take refuge in Cumberland and the southern parts of Malcolm’s dominions. Edgar had two sisters, Margaret and Christina: these, with his two chief friends Gospatric and Marteswin soon made him sensible how precarious his life was under such a jealous tyrant, and persuaded him to make preparations for flying into Hungary or some foreign country. Edgar accordingly set sail with his mother Agatha, his two sisters, and a great train of Anglo-Saxon noblemen; but by stress of weather were forced into the Frith of Forth, where the illustrious exiles landed at a place since then called the Queens Ferry. Malcolm no sooner heard of their landing than he paid them a visit in person; and at this visit he fell in love with the princess Margaret. In consequence of this, the chief of Edgar’s party repaired to the court of Scotland. William soon made a formal demand of Edgar; and on Malcolm’s refusal, declared war against him. William was the most formidable enemy the Scots had ever encountered, as having not only the whole force of England, but of Normandy at his command. However, us he had tyrannized most unmercifully over his English subjects, they were much more inclined to assist his enemies than their own prince: and he even found himself obliged to give up the county of Northumberland to Gospatric, who had followed Edgar, upon condition of his making war upon the Scots. This nobleman accordingly invaded Cumberland; in return for which Malcolm ravaged Northumberland in a dreadful manner, carrying off an immense booty, and inviting at the same time the Irish and Danes to join him. Even at this time the Danes kept up their claims to the crown of England, so that they could not be supposed very zealous for the interest of Edgar. The Irish were also interested in advancing the cause of Harold's three sons, who had put themselves under their protection, besides their view of obtaining plunder at the expence of any party. However, as all these views tended to the pulling down of William’s power, an union was formed against him; but when they came to particular stipulations the parties immediately disagreed. The three sous of Harold, with a: body of Irish made a descent upon Somersetshire, and defeated a body of English; but the Irish having thus obtained an opportunity of acquiring some booty, immediately retired with it, after having ravaged the country. The Danes landed at the mouth of the Humber from forty small ships, where they were joined by Edgar and his party; and had the allies been unanimous, it is probable that William’s government would have been overthrown. By this time William had taken from Gospatric the earldom of Northumberland, and given it to Robert Cummin, one of his Norman barons; but the Northumbrians having joined Gospatric, and received the Danes as their countrymen, murdered Cummin and all his followers at Durham, where they had been guilty of great cruelties. After this, they laid siege to the forts built by William in Yorkshire; but not being able to reduce them, the English, Scots and Danes, united their forces, took the city of York, and put to the sword three thousand Normans, who were there in garrison; and this success was followed by many incursions and ravages, in which the Danes and Northumbrians acquired great booty. It soon appeared, that these allies had the interest of Edgar no more at heart than the Irish; and that all the dependence of this forlorn prince, was upon Malcolm, and the few Englishmen, who had followed his fortune; for the booty was no sooner obtained, than the Danes retired to their ships, and the Northumbrians to their habitations, as though they had been in perfect safety. But in the mean time William, having raised a considerable army, advanced northwards. He first took a severe revenge upon the Northumbrians; then he reduced the city of York, and put to death all the inhabitants; and perceiving that danger was still threatened by the Danes, he bribed them with a sum of money to depart to their own country. Malcolm was now left alone to encounter this formidable adversary; who finding himself unable to oppose so great a force, withdrew to his own dominions, where he remained for some time upon the defensive, but making great preparations for invading England once more.
His second invasion took place in the year 1071, while William was employed in quelling an insurrection in Wales. He is said, at this time, to have behaved with the greatest cruelty. He invaded England by Cumberland, ravaged Teesdale; and at a place, called Hutidreds-keld, he massacred some English noblemen with all their followers. From thence he marched to Cleveland in the north riding of Yorkshire, which he also ravaged with the utmost cruelty, sending back the booty, with part of his army to Scotland: after which he pillaged the bishopric of Durham, where he is said not to have spared the most sacred edifices, but to have burnt them to the ground.
Meanwhile, Gospatric, to whom William had again ceded Northumberland, attempted to make a diversion in his favour, by invading Cumberland; but being utterly defeated by Malcoim, he was obliged to shut himself up in Bamborough castle; while Malcolm returned in triumph, with his army to Scotland, where he married the princess Margaret, who proved a most excellent queen.
In the year 1072, William having greatly augmented his army, invaded Scotland in his turn. The particulars of the war, are unknown; but it certainly ended to the disadvantage of the Scots, as Malcolm agreed to pay him homage. The English historians contend that the homage was for the whole of his dominions; but the Scots affirm that it was only for those he possessed in England. On the conclusion of the peace, a cross was erected at Stanmore in Richmondshire, with the arms of both Kings, to serve as a boundary between the possessions of William, and the feudal dominions of Malcolm. Part of this monument, called Re-cross, or rather Roy-cross: the cross of kings, was entire in the days of Camden.
This peace produced the greatest alteration in the manners of the Scots. What contributed chiefly to this, was the excellent disposition of queen Margaret; who was, for that age, a pattern of piety and politeness; and next to this, was the number of foreigners who had settled in Scotland; among whom were some Frenchmen. Malcolm himself, also, was far from being averse from a reformation, and even set the example. During her husband’s absence in England queen Margaret had chosen for her confessor one Turgot, whom she also made her assistant in her intended reformation. She began with new modelling her own court; into which she introduced the officers, furniture, and manner of living, common in the more polite nations of Europe. She dismissed from her service, all who were noted for immorality and impiety; she charged Turgot, on pain of her displeasure, to give his real sentiments on the state of the kingdom; after the best enquiry he could make. By him she was informed that faction reigned among the nobles, rapine among the commons, and incontinence among all ranks. Above all, he complained that the kingdom was destitute of a learned clergy, capable of reforming the people by their example and doctrine. All this the queen represented to her husband, and prevailed upon him to set about the work of reformation immediately; in which, however, he met with considerable opposition. The Scots, accustomed to oppress their inferiors, thought that all restrictions of their power were as many steps towards their slavery. The introduction of foreign offices, and titles, confirmed them in this opinion; and such a dangerous insurrection happened in Moray, and some of the northern counties, that Malcolm was obliged to march against the rebels in person. He found them indeed very formidable; but they were so much intimidated by his resolution, that they entreated the clergy who were among them to intercede with the king in their favour; Malcolm received their submission, but refused to grant an unconditional pardon. He gave all the common people, indeed, leave to return to their habitations, but obliged the higher ranks to surrender themselves to his pleasure. Many of the most guilty were put to death, or condemned to perpetual imprisonment; while others had their estates confiscated. This severity checked the rebellious spirit of the Scots, upon which Malcoim returned to his plans of reformation still: however, he found himself opposed even in those abuses which were most obvious and glaring. He durst not entirely abolish that infamous practice of the landlord claiming the first night with his tenant’s bride; though, by the queen's influence, the privilege was changed into the payment of a piece of money by the bridegroom, and was afterwards known by the name of mercheta mulierum, or the æoman's merk. In those days the Scots were without the practice of spying grace after meals till it was introduced by Margaret, who gave a glass of wine to those who remained at the royal table, and heard the thanksgiving; which gave rise to the term of the grace drink. Besides this the terms of the duration of Lent and Easter were fixed; the king and queen bestowed large alms to the poor, and the latter washed the feet of six of their number; many churches, monasteries, &c. were erected; and the clerical revenues augmented.
In the year 1077, Maicolm again invaded England; but upon what provocation, or with what success, is not well known. But in the year 1088, after the death of the Conqueror, he again espoused the cause of Edgar Athelling, who had been reduced to implore his assistance a second time, when William Rufus ascended the throne of England. At the time of Edgar’s arrival, Malcolm was at the head of a brave and well-disciplined army, with which he penetrated a great way into the country of the enemy; and as it is said, returned to Scotland with an immense booty. William resolved to revenge the injury, and prepared great armaments, both by sea and land, for the invasion of Scotland. His success, however, was not answerable to his preparations. His fleet was dashed to pieces by storms, and almost all on board of it perished. Malcolm had also laid waste the country through which his antagonist was to pass, in such an effectual manner, that William lost a great part of his troops by fatigue and famine; and when he arrrived in Scotland, found himself in a situation very little able to resist Malcolm, who was advancing against him with a powerful army. In this distress, Rufus had recourse to Robert de Mowbray, Earl of Northumberland, who dissuaded him from venturing a battle, but advised him by all means to open a negociation by Edgar and the other English noblemen who resided with Malcolm. Edgar undertook the negociation, on condition of his being restored to his estates in England. Malcolm had never yet recognized the right of William Rufus to the throne of England, and therefore refused to treat with him as a sovereign prince; but offered to enter into a negociation with his brother Robert, surnamed Curihose, from the shortness of his legs. The two princes accordingly met; and Malcolm having shown Robert the disposition of his army, offered to cut off his brother William, and to pay him the homage he had been accustomed to pay to the Conqueror for his English dominions. But Robert generously answered, that he had resigned to William his right of primogeniture in England; and that he had even become one of William’s subjects by accepting of an English estate. An interview with William then followed, in which it was agreed, that the king of England should restore to Malcolm all his southern possessions, for which he should pay the same homage he had been accustomed to do to the Conqueror; that he should restore to Malcolm twelve disputed manors, and give him likewise twelve marks of gold yearly, besides restoring to Edgar all his English estates. This treaty was concluded in Lothian, recording to the English historians; but at Leeds, in Yorkshire, according to the Scots. However, Wiliiam considered the terms as so very dishonourable, that lie resolved not to fulfil them. Soon after his departure, Edgar and Robert began to press him to fulfil his engagements; but receiving only evasive answers, they passed over into Normandy. After their departure, William applied himself to the fortification of his northern boundaries, especially Carlisle, which had been destroyed by the Danes two hundred years before. As this place lay within the feudal dominions of Malcolm, he complained of William’s proceeding as a breach of the late treaty; and soon after repaired to the English court at Gloucester, that he might have a personal interview with the king of England, and obtain redress. On his arrival, William refused him admittance to his presence; without paying him homage. Malcolm offered this in the same manner as had been done by his predecessors, that is, on the confines of the two kingdoms; but this being rejected by William, Malcolm returned to Scotland in a rage, and prepared again for war. The first of Malcolm’s military operations now proved fatal to him; but the circumstances of his death are variously related. According to the Scots historian's, Malcolm having laid siege to Alnwick, and reduced the place to such straits, that a knight came out of the castle, haying the keys on the point of a spear, and pretending that he designed to lay them at Malcolm’s feet; but instead of this, he ran him through the eye with the spear as soon as he came within reach. Prince Edward, the king’s eldest son, was mortally wounded in attempting to revenge his father’s death. The English historians, on the other hand, contend that the Scots were surprised in their camp, their army entirely defeated, and their king killed. On this occasion the Scots historians also inform us, that the family of Piercy received its name; the knight who killed the Scots king having been surnamed Pierce-eye, from the manner in which he gave that monarch the fatal stroke. Queen Margaret, who was at that time lying ill in the castle of Edinburgh, died four days after her husband.
After the death of Malcolm Canmore, which happened in the year 1093, the throne was usurped by his brother, Donald Bane, or Donald VII.; and he was dethroned by Duncan II. whose legitimacy being disputed, he was succeeeded by Edgar, the son of Malcolm III. who was a wise and valiant prince: he was succeeded by Alexander I.; and upon his death David I. mounted the throne. The noble actions of this prinee in the service of his niece, the Empress Maud, in her competition with King Stephen for the English crown, give us the highest idea of his virtues, as they could be the result only of duty and principle. To him Henry II. the mightiest prince of his age, owed his crown; and his possessions in England joined to the kingdom of Scotland, placed David’s power nearly on an equality with that of England, when confined to this island. His actions and adventures, and the resources he always found in his own courage, prove him to have been an hero of the first rank. If he appeared to be too lavish to churchmen, and in his religious endowments, we must consider that these were the only means by which he could then civilize his kingdom: and a code of laws drawn up by him does his memory immortal honour. They are said to have been compiled, under his inspection, by learned men, whom he assembled from all parts of Europe in his magnificent abbey of Melross. David was succeeded by his grandson, Malcolm IV. and he by William, surnamed, from his valour, The Lion. William’s son, Alexander II. was succeeded in the year 1249 by Alexander III. who was a good king. He married first, Margaret, daughter to Henry III. of England, by whom he had Alexander, the prince who married the Earl of Flanders’s daughter; David; and Margaret, who married Hangowan, or as some call him, Eric, son to Magnus IV. king of Norway, who bore to him a daughter, named Margaret, commonly called the Maideu of Norway, in whom king William’s posterity failed, and the crown of Scotland returned to the descendants of David, Earl of Huntingdon, brother to King Malcolm IV. and King William.
Upon the death of Alexander III. John Baliol, who was great grandson to David earl of Huntingdon, by his eldest daughter Margaret, and Robert Bruce, (grandfather to the great king Robert Bruce,) grandson to the same earl of Huntingdon by his youngest daughter Isabel, became competitors for the crown of Scotland. The laws of succession, which were not so well established in Europe as they are at present, rendered the case very difficult. Both parties were almost equally matched in interest; but after a confussd interregnum of some years, the great nobility agreed in referring the decision to Edward I. of England, the most politic ambitious prince of his age.
He accepted the office of arbiter; but having long had an eye to the throne of Scotland, he revived some obsolete absurd claims of its dependency upon that of England; and finding that Baliol was disposed to hold it by that disgraceful tenure, Edward awarded it to him, but afterwards dethroned him, and treated him as a slave, without Baliol’s resenting it.
After this, Edward used many endeavours to annex the crown to his own, which were often defeated; and though Edward for a short time made himself master of Scotland, yet the Scots were ready to revolt against him on every favourable opportunity. Those of them who were zealously attached to the independency of their own country, as to be resolved to hazard every thing for it, were indeed hut few when compared to those in the interest of Edward and Baliol, which was the same; and for some time they were obliged to temporise. Edward availed himself of their weakness and his own power. He accepted of a formal surrender of the crown of Baliol, to whom he allowed a pension, but detained him in England; and sent every nobleman in Scotland, whom he in the least suspected, to different prisons in or near Loudon. He then obliged the Scots to sign instruments of their subjection to him, and most barbarously carried off or destroyed all the monuments of their history, and the evidence of their independency; and particularly the famous fatidical, or prophetic stone, which is still to be seen in Westminster Abbey, These severe proceedings, while they rendered the Scots sensible of their slavery, revived in them the ideas of their freedom; and Edward, finding their spirits were not to be subdued, endeavoured to caress them, and affected to treat them on a footing of equality with his own subjects, by projecting an union, the chief articles of which have since taken place between the two kingdoms. The Scotch patriots treated this project with disdain, and united under the brave William Wallace, the truest hero of his age, to expel the English. Wallace performed actions that entitled him to eternal renown, in executing this scheme. Being, however, no more than a private gentleman, and his popularity daily increasing, the Scotch nobility, among whom was Robert Bruce, the son of the first competitor, began to suspect that he had a design upon the crown, especially after he had defeated the earl of Surry, Edward’s viceroy of Scotland, in the battle of Stirling, and had reduced the garrisons of Berwick and Roxburgh, and was declared by the states of Scotland their protector. Their jealousy operated so far, that they formed violent cabals against the brave Wallace. Edward, upon this, once more invaded Scotlaud, at the head of the most numerous and best disciplined array England had ever seen, for it consisted of eighty thousand foot, three thousand horsemen, completely armed, and four thousand light armed; and was attended by a fleet to supply it with provisions. These, besides the troops who joined him in Scotland, formed an irresistible body: Edward, however, was obliged to divide it; reserving the command of forty thousand of his best troops to himself. With these he attacked the Scots army, under Wallace, at Falkirk, while their disputes ran so high, that the brave regent was deserted by Cumming, the most powerful nobleman in Scotland, and at the head of the best division of his countrymen. Wallace, whose troops did not exceed thirty thousand men, being thus betrayed, was defeated wich vast loss, but made an orderly retreat; during which he found means to have a conference with Bruce, and to convince him of his error in joining Edward, Wallace still continued in arms, and performed many gallant actions against the English; but was betrayed into the hands of Edward, who most ungenerously put him to death, at London, as a traitor; but he himself died as he was preparing to renew his invasion of Scotland with a still more desolating spirit of ambition, after having destroyed upwards of one hundred thousand of her inhabitants.
Bruce died soon after the battle of Falkirk, but not before he had inspired his son, who was a prisoner at large about the English court, with the glorious resolution of vindicating his own rights, and his country’s independency. He escaped from London, and with his own hand killed Cumming for his attachment to Edward; and after collecting a few patriots, among whom were his own four brothers, he assumed the crown, but was defeated by the English (who had a great army in Scotland) at the battle of Methven.-After his defeat, he fled with a few friends to the Western Isles, and parts of Scotland, where his fatigues and sufferings were as incredible, as the courage with which he and his few friends (especially the lord Douglas) bore them.
Though his wife and daughters were sent prisoners to England, where the best of his friends and two of his brothers were put to death, yet such was his persevering spirit, that he recovered all Scotland, excepting the castle of Stirling, and improved every advantage that was given him by the dissipated conduct of Edward II. who raised an army more numerous and better appointed still than that of his father, to make a total conquest of Scotland. It is said that it consisted of one hundred thousand men, though this has been supposed to be an exaggerated computation: however it is admitted that the army of Bruce did not exceed thirty thousand men; but all of then heroes, who had been bred up in a detestation of slavery.
Edward, who was not deficient in point of courage, led this mighty host towards Stirling, then besieged by Bruce, who had chosen, with the greatest judgment, a camp near Bannockburn. The chief officers under Edward were, the earls of Gloucester, Hereford, Pembroke, and Sir Giles Argenton. Those under Bruce were, his own brother Sir Edward, who next to himself, was reckoned to be the best knight in Scotland, his nephew, Randolph earl of Murray, and the young lord Walter, high-steward of Scotland. Edward's attack of the Scotch army was exceedingly furious, and required all the courage and firmness of Bruce and his friends to resist it, which they did so effectually, that they gained one of the most complete victories that is recorded in history. The great loss of the English fell upon the bravest part of their troops, who were led on by Edward in person, against Bruce himself. The Scotch writers make the loss of the English amount to fifty thousand men. Be that as it may, there certainly never was a more total defeat, though the conquerors lost four thousand. The flower of the English nobility were either killed or taken prisoners; their camp, which was immensely rich, and calculated for the purpose rather of a triumph than a campaign, fell into the hands of the Scots; and Edward himself, with a few followers, favoured by the swiftness of their horses, were pursued by Douglas to the gates of Berwick, from whence he escaped in a fishing-boat. This great and decisive battle happened in the year 1314.
The remainder of Robert’s reign was a series of the most glorious successes; and so well did his nobility understand the principles of civil liberty, and so unfettered were they by religious considerations, that in a letter which they sent to the Pope, they acknowledged that they had set aside Baliol, for debasing the crown, by holding it of Englaud; and that they would do the same by Robert, if he should make the like attempt. Robert having thus delivered Scotland, sent his brother Edward to Ireland, at the head of an army, with which he conquered the greatest part of that kingdom, and was proclaimed its king; but by exposing himself too much, he was killed. Robert, before his death, which happened in the year 1328, made an advantageous peace with England; and when he died he was acknowledged to be indisputably the greatest hero of his age.
The glory of the Scots may be said to have been in its zenith under Robert I. who was succeeded by his son David II. who was a virtuous prince, but his abilitles, both in war and peace, were eclipsed by his brother-in law and enemy, Edward III. of England, whose sister he married. Edward, who was as keen as any of his predecessors upon the conquest of Scotland, espoused the cause of Baliol, son to Baliol the original competitor. His progress was at first amazingly rapid.; and he and Edward defeated the royal party in many bloody battles; but Baliol was at last driven out of his usurped kingdom by the Scotch patriots. David had the misfortune to be taken prisoner by the English at the battle of Durham, and after continuing above eleven years in captivity, he paid one hundred thousand marks for his ransom; and died in peace, without issue, in the year 1371.
The crown of Scotland then devolved upon the family of Stuart, by its head having been married to the daughter of Robert I. The first king of that name was Robert II. a wise and brave prince. He was succeeded by his son Robert III. whose age and infirmities disqualified him from reigning; so that he was obliged to trust the government to his brother, the duke of Albany, an ambitious prince, who seems to have had an eye to the crown for his own family. Robert, upon this, attempted to send his second son to France; but he was most ungenerously intercepted by Henry IV, of England; and, after suffering a long captivity, he was obliged to pay an exorbitant ransom. During the imprisonment of James in England, the military glory of the Scots was carried to its greatest height in France, where they supported that tottering monarchy against England, and their generals obtained some of the first titles of the kingdom.
James, the first of that name, upon his return to Scotland, discovered great talents for government, enacted many wise laws, and was beloved by the people. He had received an excellent education in England during the reigns of Henry IV. and V. where he saw the feudal system refined from many of the imperfections which still adhered to it in his own kingdom; he determined therefore to abridge the overgrown power of the nobles, and to recover such lands as had been unjustly wrested from the crown, during his minority, and the preceding reigns; hut the execution of these designs cost him his life; he being murdered in his bed by some of the chief nobility, in the year 1437, in the forty-fourth year of his age.
Along minority succeeded; but James II. would probably have equalled the greatest of his ancestors, both in warlike and civil virtues, had he not been suddenly killed by the accidental bursting of a cannon, in the thirteenth year of his age, as he was besieging the castle of Roxburgh, which was defended by the English.
Suspicion, indolence, immoderate attachment to females, and many of the errors of a feeble mind, are visible in the conduct of James III.; and his turbulent reign was closed by a rebellion of his subjects, being slain in battle, in the year 1488, aged thirty-five.
His son James IV. was the most accomplished prince of the age: he was naturally generous and brave; he loved magnificence, he delighted in war, and was eager to obtain fame. He encouraged and protected the commerce of his subjects, so that they greatly increased in riches; and the court of James, at the time of his marriage with Henry the Seventh’s daughter, was splendid and respectable. Even this alliance could not eradicate that error of his family a predilection for the French, in whose cause he rashly entered, and was killed, with the flower of his nobility, by the English, in the battle of Flodden, in the year 1513, and the fortieth of his age.
The minority of his son, James V. was long and turbulent; and when he grew up he married two French ladies: the first being daughter to the king of France, and the latter of the house of Guise. He instituted the court of session, enacted many salutary laws, and greatly promoted the trade of Scotland, particularly the working of the mines. At this time the balance of power was so equallyy poised between the contending princes of Europe, that James’s friendship was courted by the Pope, the Emperor, the king of France, and his uncle, Henry VIII. of England; from all of whom he received magnificent presents. But James took little share in foreign affairs; he seemed rather to imitate his predecessors in their attempts to humble the nobility; and the doctrines of the reformation beginning to be propagated in Scotland, he gave way, at the instigation of the clergy, to a religious persecution; though it is generally believed, that, had he lived longer, he would have seized all the church revenues, in imitation of Henry. However, having rather slighted some friendly overtures made to him by the king of England, and thereby given great umbrage to that prince, a war at length broke out between them. A large army, under the command of the duke of Norfolk, entered Scotland, and ravaged the country north of the Tweed. After this short expedition the English army retired to Berwick: upon which the king of Scotland sent ten thousand men to the western borders, who entered England at Solway Frith; and he himself followed them at a small distance, ready to join them upon occasion. But he soon after gave great offence to the nobility and the army, by imprudently depriving their general, lord Maxwell, of his commission, and conferring the command on Oliver Sinclair, a private gentleman, who was his favourite. The army was so much disgusted with this alteration, that they were ready to disband, when a small body of English horse appeared, not exceeding five hundred. A panic seized the Scots, who immediately took to flight, supposing themselves to be attacked by the whole body of the English army. The English horse, seeing them flee with such precipitation, closely pursued them, and slew great numbers, taking prisoners seven lords, two hundred gentlemen, and eight hundred soldiers, with twenty-four pieces of ordnance. This disaster so much affected king James, that it threw him into a fit of illness, of which he soon after died, on the 14th of December, 1542.
His daughter and successor, Mary, was but a few hours old at the time of her father’s death. Her beauty, her misconduct, and her misfortunes, are alike famous in history; but the confined limits of our work will only admit us to add, that during her minority, and while she was wife to Francis II. of France, the reformation advanced in Scotland; that, being called to the throne of her ancestors while a widow, she married her own cousin-german, the lord Darnley, whose untimely death hath given rise to so much controversy. The consequence of her husband’s death, and of her marriage with Bothwell, who was considered as his murderer, was an insurrection of her subjects, from whom she fied into England, where she was ungenerously detained a prisoner for eighteen years, and afterwards, on pretended motives of state policy, beheaded, by queen Elizabeth, in the year 1587, in the forty-sixth year of her age.
Mary’s son, James VI. of Scotland, succeeded, in right of his blood from Henry VII. upon the death of queen Elizabeth, to the English crown, after shewing considerable abilities in the government of Scotland. This union of the two crowns, in fact, destroyed the independency, as it impoverished the people of Scotland; for the seat of government being removed to England, their trade was checked, their agriculture neglected, and their gentry migrated to other countries. James, after a splendid but troublesome reign over his three kingdoms, left them, in the year 1625, to his son, the unfortunate Charles I. That prince, by his despotic principles and conduct, induced both his Scottish and English subjects to take up arms against him; and indeed it was in Scotland that the sword was at first drawn against Charles. But when the royal party was totally defeated in England, the king put himself into the power of the Scottish army: they, at first, treated him with respect; but afterwards they delivered him up to the English parliament, on condition of their paying four hundred thousand pounds to the Scots, which was said to be due to them for arrears. The Scots, however, afterwards made several bloody, but unfortunate attempts, to restore his son, Charles II. That prince was finally defeated by Cromwell, at the battle of Worcester, in the year 1651; after which, to the time of his restoration, the commonwealth of England, and the Protector, gave law to Scotland The state of parties in England, at the accession of queen Anne, was such, that the whigs once more had recourse to the Scots, and offered them their own terms if they would agree to the incorporate union as it now stands. It was long before the majority of the Scotch parliament would listen to the proposal; but at last, partly from conviction, and partly through the force of money, distributed among the needy nobility, it was agreed to; since which event, the history of Scotland is the same with that of England.
LAWS AND CONSTITUTION
The ancient constitution and government in Scotland, has been highly applauded, as excellently adapted to the preservation of liberty. And it is certain that the power of the king was greatly limited, and that there were many checks in the constitution upon him, which were well calculated to prevent his assuming or exercising a despotic authority. But the Scottish constitution of government was too much of the aristocratic kind to afford to the common people that equal liberty which they had a right to expect. The king’s authority was indeed sufficiently restrained, but the nobles, chieftains, and great landholders, had it too much in their power to tyrannize over and oppress their tenants and the common people.
The parliament of Scotland was formerly composed of all who held land of the crown by military service. This parliament appointed the time of its own meetings and adjournments, ordered the expenditure of the public money, raised the army, and appointed generals; annexed and alienated the revenue of the crown, and restrained grants made by the king, who had no negative vote, nor could he declare war or make peace, or conclude any public business without the consent of parliament. He was not even trusted with the executive goverment.
The kings however, through the lords of the articles, who were chosen out of the clergy, nobility, knights and bur esses, generally had interest enough to prevent any obnoxious bills from being brought into parliament: but Charles I. found these very lords refractory to his will.
Scotland, when a separate kingdom, cannot be said to have had a house of peers: the nobility, consisting of dukes, marquisses, earls, and barons, were heriditary members of parliament; but they formed no distinct bouse, and sat in the same room with the commons, who had the same deliberate and decisive vote with them on all public matters: a baron, though not a baron of parliament, might sit upon a lord’s assize in matters of life and death; nor was it necessary for the assizes or jury to be unanimous in their verdict.
The feudal customs, even at the time of the restoration, were so prevalent, and the rescue of great criminals so much expected, that seldom more than two days passed between the sentence and execution.
Great uncertainty occurs in the Scotch history by confounding parliaments with conventions: the difference was, a parliament could enact laws and levy taxes, a convention met only for the latter.
Previous to the union the great officers of state belonging to the court of Scotland, were the lords high chancellor, high treasurer, privy seal, and secretary: besides these were the lord register, the lord advocate, the lord treasurer depute, and the lord justice clerk. At the union all these offices were abolished, except the lord privy teal, the lord ad vocate, the lord register, and the lord justice clerk. A secretary of state has occasionally been nominated by the king for Scottish affairs; but under the same denomination as the other secretaries.
The above officers of state sat in the Scottish parliament by virtue of their offices.
The officers of the crown were, the high chamberlain, constable, admiral, and marshal; the offices of constable and marshal were hereditary. A nobleman has still a pension as admiral; and the office of marshal is exercised by a knight marshal.
The high offices of Scotland differed little from those of the same appellation in England; the lord register was head clerk to the parliament, convention, treasury, exchequer, and session, and keeper of all public records. He acted as teller to the parliament, and it was dangeroue for any member to dispute his report of the numbers upon a division.
The office of lord advocate resembles that of the attorney-general in England, only his powers are far more extensive; because by the Scotch laws, he is prosecutor of all capital crimes before the justiciary, and likewise concurs in all pursuits before sovereign courts for breaches of the peace, and also in all matters civil where the king is concerned. Two solicitorsare appointed by the king as assistants to the lord advocate.
The justice clerk presides in the criminal courts, while the justice general is absent.
The ancient constitution of Scotland admitted of many other offices both of the crown and state; that of lion king at arms, or grand herald of Scotland, is still in being. It was formerly an office of great splendour and importance, insomuch that the science of heraldry was preserved there in greater purity than in England. He was even solemnly crowned in parliament with a golden circle; and his authority, which is not the case in England, in all armorial affairs, might be carried into execution by the civil law.
The privy council of Scotland previous to the Revolution, Irad, or assumed, inquisitorial powers, even that of torture; but it is now sunk in the parliament and privy council of Great Britain, and the civil and criminal causes in Scotland are chiefly cognizable by two courts of judicature.
The first is that of the College of Justice, which was instituted by James V. after the model of the French parliament, to supply an ambulatory committee of parliament who took to themselves the names of the lords of council and session, which the present members of the college of Justice still retain. This court consists of a president and fourteen ordinary members, besides extraordinary ones named by the king, who may sit and vote, but have no salaries, and are not bound to attendance. This court may be styled a standing jury in all matters of property that lie before them. The civil law is their directory in all matters that come not within the municipal laws of the kingdom. The lords of council and session act likewise as a court of equity; but their decrees are (fortunately perhaps for the subject) reversible by the British House of Lords, to which an appeal lies.
The Justice-Court is the highest criminal tribunal in Scotland: but in its present form it was instituted so late as the year 1672, when a lord justice-general, removable at the king’s pleasure, was appointed. This lucrative office still exists in the person of one of the chief nobility; but the ordinary members of the court are the chief justice-clerk, and five other judges, who are always nominated from the lords of session. In this court the verdict of a jury condemns or acquits, but without any necessity of being unanimous.
Besides these two great courts of law, the Scots, by the articles of the union have a court of exchequer. This court has the same power, authority, privilege, and jurisdiction, over the revenue of Scotland, as the court of exchequer in England has over the revenue there, and all other matters and things competent to the court of exchequer of England relating thereto, are likewise competent to the exchequer of Scotland. The judges of the Exchequer in Scotland exercise certain powers which formerly belonged to the treasury, and are still vested in that of England.
The court of admiralty in Scotland, was, in the reign of Charles II. by act of parliament, declared to be a supreme court, in ail causes competent to its own jurisdiction; and the lord high admiral is declared to be the king’s lieutenant and justice-general, upon the seas, and in all ports, harbours, and creeks of the same; and upon fresh waters, and navigable rivers below the first bridge, or within flood-mark; so that nothing competent to its jurisdiction can be interrupted, in the first instance, but by the lord high admiral and judges of his court. Sentences passed in all inferior courts of admiralty may be brought again before his court; but no appeal lies from it to the lords of the session, or any other judicatory, unless in cases not maritime. Causes are tried in this court by civil law, which, in such cases, is likewise the common law of Scotland, as well as by the laws of Oleron, Wisby, and the Hanse-towns, and other maritime practices and decisions, common upon the continent. The place of lord admiral of Scotland is little more than nominal, but the salary annexed to it is reckoned worth upwards of one thousand pounds per annum; and the judge of the admiralty is usually a lawyer of distinction, with considerable perquisites pertaining to his office.
The college or Faculty of Advocates, which answers to the English inns of court, may be called the seminary of Scotch lawyers. They are, within themselves, an orderly court, and their forms require great precision and examination, to qualify its candidates for admission. Subordinate to them is a body of inferior lawyers, or, as they may be called, attorneys, who call themselves writers to the signet, because they alone can subscribe the writs that pass the signet; they likewise have a bye-government for their own regulation.
Such are the different law-courts that are held in the capital of Scotland: we shall now proceed to those that are inferior.
The government of the counties in Scotland was formerly vested in sheriffs and stewards, courts of regality, baron courts, commissaries, justices of the peace, and coroners.
Formerly, sheriffdoms were generally heritable, but by a late act of parliament they are now all vested in the crown; it being there enacted, that all high sheriffs, or stewards, shall, for the future, be nominated and appointed, annually, by his majesty, his heirs and successors. In regard to the sheriff-deputes, and steward-deputes, it is enacted, that there shall only be one in each county or stewartry, who must be an advocate of three years standing, at least. For the space of seven years, these deputies are to be nominated by the king, with such continuance as bis majesty shall think fit; after which they are to enjoy their office, ad vitam aut culpam; “for life, unless guilty of some offence.” Some other regulations have likewise been introduced, highly for the credit of the sheriffs’ courts.
Stewartries were formerly part of the ancient royal domain; and the stewards bad much the same power in them as the sheriffs had in the county.
Courts of regality were held, of old, by virtue of a royal jurisdiction vested in the laird, with particular immunities and privileges; but these were so dangerous, and so extravagant, that all the Scotch regalities are now dissolved by an act of parliament.
Baron courts belong to every person who holds a barony of the king. In civil matters, they extend to sums not exceeding forty shillings sterling; and, in criminal cases, to petty actions of assault and battery; but. the punishment is not to exceed twenty shillings sterling, or setting the delinquent in the stocks for three hours, in the day-time. These courts, however petty now, were, in former days, invested with the power of life and death.
The courts of commissaries in Scotland answer to those of the diocesan chancellors, the highest of which is kept at Edinburgh wherein, before four judges, actions are pleaded concerning matters delating to wills and testaments; the right of patronage to ecclesiastical benefices, tithes, divorces, and causes of that nature; but in almost all other parts of the kingdom there sits but one judge on these causes.
According to the present institution, justices of the peace, in Scotland, exercise much the same powers as those in England. In former times their office, though of very old standing, was insignificant, being cramped by the powers of the great feudal tyrants, who obtained an act of parliament, that they were not to take cognizance of riots till fifteen days after the fact.
The institution of coroners is as old as the reign of Malcolm II. the great legislator of Scotland. They took cognizance of all breaches of the king’s peace; and they were required to have clerks to register depositions and matters of fact, as well as verdicts of jurors: the office, however, is at present much disused in Scotland.
From the above short view of the Scotch laws and institutions, it is plain that they were radically the same with those of the English, who alledge, indeed, that the Scots borrowed the contents of their Regiam Majestatem, their oldest law-book, from the work of Glanville, who was a judge under Henry II. of England. The Scots, on the other hand, say, that Glanville’s work was copied from their Regiam Majestatem, even with the peculiarities of the latter, which do not, now, and never did, exist in the laws of England.
Representatives from the royal burghs meet annually at Edinburgh, to consult on the common interests of the whole: their powers are now considerable; but, previous to the union, they had the power of making laws relating to trade, manufactures, commerce, and navigation.
By the act of union, Scotland was to send sixteen peers, as representatives of the whole body of nobility, to the house of lords, and forty-five members to the British house of commons; that is, thirty for the counties, Bute and Caithness choosing alternately, as do Clackmannan and Kinross; and Cromarty and Nairn; and fifteen for the royal boroughs.
The boroughs which send representatives, are, Edinburgh.
Kirkwall, with Wick, Dornoch, Dingwall and Tain.
Ayr, with Irvine, Inverary, Cambletown, and Rothsay.
Banff, Elgin, Cullen, Kintore, and Inverary.
Pittenweem, with East and West Anstruther, Crail, and Kilkenny.
Dysart, with Kinghorne, Kirkaldy, and Bruntisland.
Stirling, with Culross, Inverkeithing, Dumfermline, and S. Queensferry.
Aberdeen, with Inverberby, Montrose, Arbroath, and Brechin.
Perth, with Dundee, Forfar, St. Andrew’s, and Cupar.
Dunbar, with Jedburgh, Haddington, Landes, and North Berwick.
Kirkudbright, with Dumfries, Sanguhar, Annan, and Lochmaben.
12. Glasgow, with Renfrew, Rutherfen, and Dumbarton.
Fortrose, with Inverness, Nairn, and Forres.
Peebles, with Selkirk, Linlithgow, and Lanark.
Wigton, with Whithorn, New Galloway, and Stranraer.
Several other towns, which have not the privilege of sending members to parliament, are become very considerable; such as Paisley, Greenock, Kelso, and Hawick; while many of the royal burghs have dwindled almost to nothing.
The military establishment of Scotland consists of a lieutenant-general, three major-generals, and the staff, who are under the commander in chief There are four forts, which by the articles of union are to be kept constantly in repair, viz. Edinburgh, Stirling, Dumbarton, and Blackness; besides which there are several other forts, which are kept as barracks for soldiers, such as forts George, Augustus, William, Charlotte, &c. and by a late act of parliament, the militia laws have been extended to Scotland.
The ancient Scottish historians, with Bede and other writers, generally agree that Christianity was first taught in Scotland by some of the disciples of St. John the Apostle, who fled to this northern corner, to avoid the persecution of Domitian, the Roman emperor; though it was not publicly professed till the beginning of the third century, when a prince, whom the Scotch historians called Donald the First, his queen, and several of his nobles, were solemnly baptised. It was farther confirmed by emigrations from South Britain, during the persecutions of Aurelius and Dioclesian, when it became the established religion of Scotland, under the management of certain learned and pious men, named Culdees, who seem to have been the first regular clergy in Scotland, and were governed by overseers or bishops chosen by themselves, from among their own body, and who had no pre-eminence of rank over the rest of their brethren. Thus, independent of the church of Rome, Christianity seems to have heen taught, planted, and finally confirmed in Scotland as a national church, where it flourished in its native simplicity till the arrival of Palladius, a priest sent by the bishop of Rome in the fifth century, who found means to introduce the modes and ceremonies of the Romish Church, which at length prevailed, and Scotland became involved in that darkness which for ages overspread Europe; though their dependence upon the pope was very slender, when compared to the blind subjection of many other nations.
The Culdees, however, long retained their original manners, and remained a distinct order, not with standing the oppression of the Romish clergy, so late as the age of Robert Bruce in the fourteenth century, when they disappeared. But it is worthy of observation, that the opposition to popery in this island, though it ceased in Scotland upon the extinction of the Culdees, was in the same age revived in England by John Wickliffe, a man of parts and learning, who was the forerunnner in the work of reformation to John Huss and Jerome of Prague, as the latter were to Martin Luther and John Calvin. But though the doctrines of Wickliffe were nearly the same with those propagated by the reformers in the sixteenth century, and the age seemed greatly disposed to receive them, affairs were not yet fully ripe for that great revolution; and the finishing blow to popery in England was reserved to the age of Henry the Eighth.
Soon after that important event took place in England, when learning, arts, and sciences, began to revive in Europe, the absurdities of the church of Rome, as well as the profligate lives of her clergy, did not escape the notice of a free and enquiring people, but gave rise to the reformation in Scotland. It began in the reign of James the Vth. made great progress under that of his daughter Mary, and was at length completed through the preaching of John Knox, who had adopted the doctrines of Calvin, and in a degree was the apostle of Scotland. It was natural for his brethren to imagine, that upon the abolition of the Roman Catholic religion, they were to succeed to the revenues of that clergy. The great nobility, who had parcelled out these possessions for themselves, did not at first discourage this notion; but no sooner had Knox succeeded in his designs, which through the fury of the mob destroyed some of the finest ecclesiastical buildings in the world, than the parliament, or rather the nobility, monopolised all the church livings, and most scandalously left the reformed clergy to live almost in a state of beggary; nor could all their efforts produce any great struggle or alteration in their favour.
The nobility and great land holders left the doctrine and discipline of the church to be modelled by the preachers, and they were confirmed by parliament. Succeeding times rendered the Presbyterian clergy of vast importance to the state; and their revenues have been so much mended, that, though no stipend there exceeds one hundred and fifty pounds a year, few fall short of sixty, and none of fifty pounds.
Our limits will not admit of our entering at large upon the doctrinal or economical part of the church of Scotland. It is sufficient to say that its first principle is a parity of ecclesiastical authority among all its presbyters; that it agrees in its censures with the reformed churches abroad in the chief heads of opposition to popery; but that it is modelled principally after the Calvinistical plan established at Geneva. This establishment, at various periods, proved so tyrannical over the laity, by having the power of the greater and lesser excommunications, which were attended by a forfeiture of estate, and sometimes life, that the kirk sessions, and other bodies, have been abridged of all their dangerous powers over the laity, who were extremely jealous of their being revived. It is said that even that relique of popery, the obliging fornicators to sit upon what they call a repenting stool, in the church, and in full view of the congregation, begins to wear out; it having been found that the Scotch women, on account of that penance, were the greatest infanticides in the world. In short the power of the Scotch clergy is at present very moderate, or at least very moderately exercised; nor are they accountable for the extravagancies of their predecessors. They have been, ever since the Revolution, firm adherents to civil liberty, and the house of Hanover, and acted with remarkable intrepidity during the rebellion in the year 1745. They dress without clerical robes; but some of them appear in the pulpit in gowns, after the Geneva form, and bands. They make no use of set forms in worship, but are not prohibited that of the Lord’s Prayer. The rents of the bishops, since the abolition of episcopacy, are paid to the king, who commonly appropriates them to pious purposes. One thousand pounds a year is always sent by his Majesty for the use of the Protestant schools erected by act of parliament in North Britain and the Western Isles; and the Scotch clergy of late have planned out funds for the support of their widows and orphans. The number of parishes in Scotland are eight hundred and ninety, whereof thiry-one are collegiate churches, that is where the cure is served by more than one minister.
The highest ecclesiastical authority in Scotland is the general assembly, which may be called the ecclesiastical parliament of Scotland. It consists of commissioners, some of whom are laymen, under the title of ruling elders, from presbyteries, royal burghs, and universities. A presbytery, consisting of under twelve ministers, sends two ministers, and one ruling elder; if it contain between twelve and eighteen ministers it sends three, and one ruling elder; if it contain between eighteen and twenty-four ministers, it sends four ministers and two ruling elders: but if the presbytery has twenty-four ministers, it sends five ministers and two ruling elders. Every royal burgh sends one ruling elder, and Edinburgh two; whose election must be attested by the respective kirk sessions of their own burghs. Every university sends one commissioner, usually a minister of their own body. These commissioners are chosen yearly, six weeks before the meeting of the assembly. The ruling elders are often of the first quality of the country.
The king presides by his commissioner (who is always a nobleman) in this assembly, which meets once a year; but he has no voice in their deliberations. The order of their proceedings is regular, though the number of members often creates a confusion, which the moderator, who is chosen by them to be as it were speaker of the house, has not sufficient authority to prevent. Appeals are brought from all the other ecclesiastical courts in Scotland to the general assembly; and no appeal lies from its determination in religious matters.
Provincial synods are next in authority to the general assembly. They are composed of a number of the adjacent presbyteries, over whom they have a power; but their acts are reversible by the general assembly.
Subordinate to the synods are the presbyteries, sixty-nine of which are in Scotland, each consisting of a number of contiguous parishes. The ministers of these parishes, with one ruling elder, chosen half yearly out of every session, compose a presbytery. These presbyteries meet in the head town of that division, but have no jurisdiction beyond their own bounds, though within these they have cognizance of all ecclesiastical causes and matters. The chief part of their business is the ordination of candidates for livings, in which they are regular and solemn. The patron of a living is bound to nominate or present in six months after a vacancy, otherwise the presbytery fills the place jure devoluto; but that privilege does not hold in royal burghs.
A kirk session is the lowest ecclesiastical judicatory in Scotland, and its authority does not extend beyond its own parish. The members consist of the ministers, elders, and deacons. The deacons are laymen, and act pretty much as churchwardens do in England, by having the superintendency of the poor, and taking care of other parochial affairs. The elder, or as he is called the ruling elder, is a place of great parochial trust, and is generally a lay-person of quality or interest in the parish. They are supposed to act in a kind of co-ordinacy with the minister, and to be assisting to him in many of his clerical duties, particularly in catechising, visiting the sick, and at the communion-table.
The office of ministers, or preaching presbyters, includes the offices of deacons and ruling elders, they alone can preach, administer the sacrament, catechise, pronounce church censures, ordain deacons and ruling elders, assist at the imposition of hands upon other ministers, and moderate or preside in all ecclesiastical judicatories.
It has already been observed, that the established religion of Scotland is presbyterian; that it was formerly of a rigid nature, and partook of all the austerities of Calvinism, and of too much of the intolerance of popery; but at present it is mild and gentle; and the sermons and other theological writings of many of the modern Scotch divines are equally distinguished for good sense and moderation. This moderation is however too often interrupted by the fanaticism not only of lay seceders but of regular ministers. These are industrious to fix upon the absurdities of former divines and visionaries, and ecclesiastical ordinances and discipline which were supposed to be incompatible with the nature of government. A vast number of these seceding congregations are to be found in the Lowlands. They maintain their own preachers, though scarcely any two congegations agree either in principle or practice with each other. We do not, however, find that they oppose the civil power, or at least the instances are rare and inconsiderable; and perhaps many of these secessions are lawful, or to be justified, on account of the great abuses of patronage, by which many parishes have unworthy or incapable ministers imposed upon them, as is the case in many places in England.
A different set of dissenters, in Scotland, consist of the episcopalians, a few quakers, many baptists, and other sectaries, who are denominated from their preachers. Episcopacy, from the time of the restoration in the year 1660, to the revolution in 1688, was the established church of Scotland; and would probably have continued so, had not the bishops, who were in general very weak men, and creatures of the duke of York, afterwards James VII. and II. refused to recognise king William’s title. The partisans of that unhappy prince retained the episcopal religion; and king William’s government was rendered so unpopular in Scotland, that in queen Anne’s time the episcopalians were more numerous in some parts than the presbyterians; and their meetings, which they held under the act of toleration, as well attended. A Scotch episcopalian thus becoming another name for a jacobite, they received some checks after the rebellion in the year 1715, but they recovered themselves so well, that at the breaking out of the rebellion in 1745, they became again numerous, after which the government found means to invalidate the acts of their clerical order. Their meetings, however, still subsist, but thinly. In the mean while, the decline of the nonjurors is far from having suppressed episcopacy in Scotland: the English bishops supply them with clergy qualified according to law, whose chapels are chiefly filled by the English, and such Scotch hearers of that persuasion as have places under the government.
The defection of some great families from the cause of popery, and the extinction of others, have rendered its votaries inconsiderable in Scotland. They are chiefly confined to the northern parts, and the islands; and though a violent opposition was lately raised againt them, fearing their liberties were about to be enlarged, they appear to be as quiet and inoffensive as protestant subjects.
CIVIL AND ECCLESIASTICAL DIVISIONS
Scotland is unequally divided into thirty-three counties or shires, viz. Aberdeen, Ayr, Argyle, Banff, Berwick, Bute, Caithness, Clackmannan, Cromarty, Dumbarton, Dumfries, Edinburgh, Fife, Forfar, Haddington, Inverness, Kincardine, Kinross, Kircudbright, Lanerk, Linlithgow, Murray, Nairn, Orkney with Shetland, Peebles, Perth, Renfrew, Ross, Roxburgh, Selkirk, Stirling, Sutherland, and Wigton. These counties are subdivided into sheriffdoms, stewartries, and bailiwicks.
There are four ecclesiastical courts, the kirk session, the presbytery, the provincial synod, and the general assembly.
Previous to the revolution there were two archbishops, one of St. Andrew’s, and another of Glasgow, and twelve bishops, viz. Edinburgh, Dunkeld, Dumblane, Brechin, Aberdeen, Caithness, Murray, Orkney, Ross, Argyle, Galloway, and the Isles.
The present division of Scotland is into fifteen synods and twenty-eight presbyteries.
I. The synod of Lothian and Tweedle, which contains the presbyteries of—
|Edinburgh, in which are||22 parishes|
II. Svnod of Mers, or Berwick and Tiviotdale, contains the presbyteries of—
|Dunse in which are||10 parishes|
III. The Synod of Dumfries contains the presbyteries of—
|Langholm, in which are-||6 parishes|
IV. The Synod of Galloway contains the presbyteries of-
|Stranraer, in which are-||11 parishes|
|Ayr, in which are||27 parishes|
|Dunkeld, in which are||19 parishes.|
|Dunfermline, in which are||12 parishes|
|St. Andrew||19 parishes|
|Meigle, in which are||13 parishes|
|Aberdeen, in which are||15 parishes|
|Kincardine O‘Neil||16 parishes|
|Strathbagie, in which are||12 parishes|
|Dornoch, in which are||9 parishes|
|Dunson, in which are||8 parishes|
|Abertaph, in which are||5 parishes|
|Kirkwall, in which are||8 parishes|
|North Isles||6 parishes|
There are in Scotland four universities, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and St. Andrew.
Scotland, according to the population act passed in the year 1801 contained 304,090 houses, occupied by 364,079 families, consisting of 1,599,068 persons, viz.: 734,581 males, and 864,487 females; of which number 365,516 were returned as being employed in Agriculture: and 293,373 in various trades and manufactures.
Without entering into the disputed point, how far Scotland was benefited by its union with England, it is certain that the expedition of the Scots to take possession of Darien, and carry on the East and West India trade, was founded upon true principles of commerce, and (so far as it went) executed with a noble spirit of enterprise. The miscarriage of that scheme, after receiving the high est and most solemn sanctions, is a disgrace to the annals of the reign in which it happened; as the Scots had then a free, independent, and unconnected parliament. We are to account for the long langour of the Scottish commerce, and many other misfortunes which that country sustained, by the disgust the inhabitants conceive on that account, and some invasions of their rights afterwards, which they thought inconsistent with the articles of the union. The entails and narrow settlements of family estates, and some remains of the feudal institutions, might contribute to the same effect.
After the extinction of the rebellion in the year 1745, Mr. Pelham, who was then at the head of the administration in England, first discovered the true value of Scotland, which then became a more considerable object of governmental enquiry than ever. All the benefits received by that country, for the relief of the people from their feudal tyranny, were effected by that great man. The bounties and encouragements granted to the Scots, for the benefit of trade and manufactures during his administration, made them sensible of their own importance. Mr. Pitt, a succeeding minister, pursued Mr. Pelham’s wise plan, and justly boasted in parliament, that he availed himself of the courage, good sense, and spirit of the Scots, in carrying on the most extensive war that ever Great Britain was engaged in. Let us add, to the honour of the British government, that the Scots have been suffered to avail themselves of all the benefits of commerce and manufactures they can claim either in right of their former independency, the treaty of union, or posterior acts of parliament.
This is manifest from the extensive trade they lately carried on with the British settlements in America and the West Indies, and with all the nations to which the English themselves trade; so that the increase of their shipping of late years has been very considerable. The exports of those ships are composed chiefly of Scottish manufactures, fabricated from the produce of the soil and the industry of its inhabitants. In exchange for these, they import tobacco, rice, cotton, sugar, and rum, from the British plantations, and from other countries, their products, to the immense saving of their nation. The prosperity of Glasgow and its neighbourhood has been greatly owing to the connection and trade with Virginia and the West Indiies.
The trade carried on by the Scots with England, is chiefly from Leith, and the eastern ports of the nation; but Glasgow was the great emporium for the American commerce, before the commencement of the unhappy breach with the colonies. The late junction of the Forth to the Clyde renders the benefits of the trade mutual to both parts of Scotland. In short, the more that the seas, the situation, the soil, the harbours, and rivers of this country come to be known, the better adapted it appears for all the purposes of commerce, both foreign and domestic.
The manufactures of Scotland, of all kinds, are great and important, particularly that of iron, at Carron, in Stirlingshire, where, is the most extensive iron-foundery in Europe, at which upwards of 1,600 workmen are employed; it consumes weekly about eight hundred tons of coals; four hundred tons of iron-stone and ore, and one hundred tons of lime-stone. All kinds of cast-iron goods are manufactured here, both for domestic use, agriculture, and war. The works are carried on by a chartered company, divided into various shares, the property of different individuals.
Their linen manufactory, notwithstanding a strong rivalship from Ireland, is in a flourishing state. The thread manufacture of Scotland is equal, if not superior, to any in the world; and the lace fabricated from it has been deemed worthy of royal wear and approbation; and even some years ago, the exports from Scotland to England and the British plantations, in linen, cambrics, checks, Osnaburgs, inkle, and the like commodities, amounted annually to four hundred thousand pounds, exclusive of their home consumption. The Scots are likewise making very promising efforts for establishing woollen manufactures; and their exports of caps, stockings, mittens, and other articles of their own wool, begin to be very considerable. The Scots, it is true, cannot pretend to rival the English in their finer cloths; but they make at present some broadcloths proper for the wear of people of fashion in an undress; and in quality and fineness, equal to what is commonly called Yorkshire cloth. Among the other late improvements of the Scots, we must not omit mentioning the vast progress they have made in working the mines, and smelting the ore of their country. Their coal trade to England is well known; and of late they have turned even their stone to account, by their contracts for paving the streets of London. If the great trade in cattle which the Scots carried on of late with the English be now diminished, it is owing to the best of national causes, that of an increase of home consumption.
With regard to other manufactures, not mentioned, some of them are yet in their infancy. The town of Paisley alone employs an incredible number of hands in fabricating a particular kind of flowered and striped lawns, which are a reasonable and elegant wear. Sugar-houses, glass-works of every kind, delft-houses, and paper mills are erected every where. The Scotch carpeting makes neat and lasting furniture; and some essays have been lately made, with no inconsiderable degree of success, to carry that branch of manufacture to as great perfection as in any part of Europe. —After all that has been said, many years will be required before the trade and improvements in Scotland can be brought to maturity. In any event they never can give umbrage to the English, as the interests of the two people are, or ought to be, the same.
Having said thus much, we cannot avoid observing the prodigious disadvantages under which both the commercial and landed interests of Scotland lie from her nobility and great land-holders having too fond an attachment for England, and foreign countries, where they spend their ready money. —This is one of the evils arising to Scotland from the Union, which removed the seat of her legislature to London; but it is greatly augmented by the resort of volunteer absentees to that capital.
The fisheries of Scotland are not confined to its own coasts, for the Scots have a great share in the whale-fishery, carried on upon the coast of Spitzbergen; and their returns are valuable, as the goverment allows them a bounty of forty shillings for every ton of shipping employed in that article. The late improvements of their fisheries are daily increasing, which will open inexhaustible funds of wealth; their cured fish being, by foreigners, and the English planters in America, preferred to those of Newfoandland.
The busses or vessels employed in the great herring fishery, on the western coasts of Scotland, are fitted out from the north-west parts of England, the north of Ireland, as well as the numerous ports of the Clyde, and the neighbouring islands. The grand rendezvous is at Cambletown, a commodious port of Argyleshire facing the north of Ireland, where sometimes three hundred vessels have been assembled. They clear out on the 12th of September, and must return to their different ports by the 13th of January. They are also under certain regulations respecting the number of tons, men, nets, &c.; the whole being judiciously calculated to promote the best of national purposes, its strength and commerce. But though the political existence of Great-Britain depend upon the number and bravery of her seamen, this noble institution has hitherto proved ruinous to many of those who have embarked in it, and, unless vigorously supported, must fail of attaining its object.
To encourage this fishery, a bounty of fifty shillings per ton was granted by parliament; but, whether from the insufficiency of the fund appropriated for this purpose, or any other cause, the bounty was withheld from year to year, while in the mean time the adventurers were not only sinking their fortunes, but also borrowing to the utmost limits of their credit. The bounty has since been reduced from fifty to thirty shillings, with the strongest assurance of its being regularly paid when due. Upon the strength of these promises they have again embarked in the fishery; and it is to be wished that no consideration whatever may tend to withdraw an inducement so requisite to place their fishery on a permanent footing.
In the reign of Edward II. of England, the value and denominations of coins was the same in Scotland as in England. Towards the reign of James II. a Scotch shilling answered to about an English six-pence; and about the reign of queen Mary of Scotland, it was not more than an English groat. It continued diminishing in this manner till after the union of the two crowns under her son James VI. when the vain report of the Scotch nobility and gentry to the English court occasioned such a drain of specie from Scotland, that by degrees a Scotch shilling fell to the value of one-twelfth of an English shilling, and their pennies in proportion. A Scotch penny is now very rarely to be found; and they were succeeded by bodies, which were double the value of a Scotch penny, and are still current, but are daily wearing out. A Scotch halfpenny was called a babie; some say, becauseit was first stamped with the head of James III. when he was a babe or baby; but perhaps it is only a corruption of two French words bas piece, signifying a low piece of money. The same observation that we have made of the Scotch shilling holds of their pounds, or marks; which are not coins, but denominations of sums. In all other respects, the currency of money in Scotland and England is the same, as very few people now reckon by the Scotch computation.
The people of Scotland are generally raw-boned, and a kind of characteristical feature, that of high cheek-bones, prevails in their faces; they are lean, but clean-limbed, and can endure incredible fatigues. Their adventurous spirit was chiefly owing to their laws of succession, which invested the elder brother, as head of the family, with the inheritance, and left but a very scanty portien for the other sons. This obliged the latter to seek their fortunes abroad, though not any people have more affection for their native soil than the Scotch have in general It is true this disparity of fortune among the sons of one family prevails in England likewise; but the resources which younger brothers have in England are numerous, compared to those of a country so narrow, and so little improved, either by commerce or agriculture, as Scotland was formerly.
It may easily be perceived, by an intelligent reader, that the ridiculous family pride, which is perhaps not yet entirely extinguished in Scotland, was owing to the feudal institutions which prevailed there in all the horrors of blood and barbarity. The family differences, especially of the Highlanders, familiarised them to blood and slaughter; and the death of an enemy, however effected, was always a subject of triumph. These passions did not prevail in the breasts of the common people only; for they were authorised and cherished by their chieftains, many of whom were men who had seen the world, were conversant in the courts of Europe, versed in polite literature, and amiable in all the duties of civil and social life. Their kings, excepting some of them who were endued with extraordinary virtues, were considered in little other light than commanders of their army in time of war; for in time of peace their civil authority was so little felt, that every clan or family, even in the most civilized parts of Scotland, looked upon its own chieftain as its sovereign. These prejudices were confirmed even by the laws, which gave those petty tyrants a power of life and death upon their own estates; and they generally executed their hasty sentences in four and twenty hours after the party was apprehended. The pride which those chieftains had of outvying each other in in the number of their followers, created perpetual animosities, which seldom or never ended without bloodshed; so that the common people, whose best qualification was a blind devotion to the will of their chieftain, and the aggrandisement of his name, lived in a state of continual hostility.
Archibald, the great duke of Argyle, was the first chieftain we have heard of who had the patriotism to attempt to reform his dependents, and to banish from them those barbarous ideas. His example has been followed by others; and has tended to reconcile the Highlanders to all the milder habits of society.
The Highland plaid is composed of a woollen stuff, sometimes very fine, called tartan. This consists of various colours, forming stripes which cross each other at right angles; and the natives value themselves on the judicious arrangement, or what they call sets of of those stripes and colours, which, when skilfully managed, produce a pleasing effect to the eye. Above the shirt the Highlander wears a waistcoat of the same composition with the plaid, which commonly consists of twelve yards in width, and which they throw over the shoulder in very near the form of a Roman toga, as represented in ancient statues; sometimes it is fastened round the middle with a leathern belt, so that part of the plaid hangs down before and behind like a petticoat, and supplies the want of breeches. This they call being dressed in a phelig, but which the Lowlanders call a kilt, and which is probably the same word with Celt. Sometimes they wear a kind of petticoat of the same variegated stuff, buckled round the waist; and this they term the phelibeg, which seems to be of Milesian extraction. Their stockings are likewise of tartan, tied below the knee with tartan garters formed into tassels. The poorer people wear upon their feet brogues made of untanned or undressed leather; for their heads a blue flat cap is used, called a bonnet, of a particular woollen manufacture. From the belt of the phelibeg hung generally their knives and a dagger, which they called a dirk, and an iron pistol, sometimes of fine workmanship, and curiously inlaid with silver. The introduction of the broad sword of Andrea Ferrara, a Spaniard, (which was always part of the Highland dress) seems to be no earlier than the reign of James III. who invited that excellent workman to Scotland. A large leathern purse, richly adorned with silver, hanging before them, was always part of an Highland chieftain’s dress.
The dress of the Highland women consisted of a petticoat and jerkin, with strait sleeves, trimmed or not trimmed, according to the quality of the wearer; over this they wore a plaid, which they either held close under their chins with the hand, or fastened with a buckle of a particular fashion. On the head they wore a kerchief of fine linen of different forms. The womens’ plaid has been but lately disused in Scotland by the ladies, who wore it in a graceful manner, the drapery falling towards the feet in large folds. A curious virtuoso may find a strong resemblance between the variegated and fimbriated draperies of the Scots, and those of the Tuscans (who were unquestionably of Celtic original) as they are to be seen in the monuments of antiquity.
The attachment of the Highlanders to this dress rendered it a bond of union, which often proved dangerous to the government. Many efforts had been made by the legislature, after the rebellion in 1715, to disarm them, and oblige them to conform to the Low-country dress. The disarming scheme was the most successful; for when the rebellion in 1745 broke out, the common people had scarcely any other arms than those which they took from the king’s troops. Their overthrow at Culloden rendered it a difficult matter for the legislature to force them into a total change of their dress. Its conveniency, however, for the purposes of the field, is so great that some of the Highland regiments still retain it. Even the common people have of late resumed the use of it; and, for its lightness, and the freedom it gives to the body, many of the Highland gentlemen wear it in the summer season.
The dress of the higher and middle ranks of the Low country differs little or nothing from the English; but many of the peasantry still retain the bonnet, for the cheapness and lightness of the wear. The dress of the women of all ranks is much the same in both kingdoms.
MANNERS AND CUSTOMS
The ancient modes of living among the Scotch nobility and gentry are as far from being applicable to the present time as the forms of a Roman senate are to that of a Popish conclave; and not any nation ever underwent so quick and so sudden a transition of manners.
The peasantry have their peculiarities; their ideas are confined, but not any people can form their tempers better than they do to their stations. They are taught from their infancy to bridle their passions, to behave submissively to their superiors, and live within the bounds of the most rigid economy. Hence we find few instances of murder, perjury, robbery, and other atrocious crimes, occur at present in Scotland. They seldom enter singly upon any daring enterprise; but when they act in concert, the secrecy, sagacity, and resolution, with which they carry on any desperate undertaking, is not to be paralleled; and their fidelity to one another, under the strongest temptations arising from their poverty, is still more extraordinary. Their mobs are managed with all the caution of conspiracies; witness that which put Porteus to death in the year 1736, in open defiance of law and government, and in the midst of twenty thousand people: and though the agents were well known, and some of them tried, with a reward of five hundred pounds annexed to their conviction, yet evidence could not be found sufficient to bring them to punishment. The fidelity of the Highlanders of both sexes, under a still greater temptation, to the young Pretender, after his defeat at Culloden, could scarcely be believed, were it not well attested.
They affect a fondness for the memory and language of their forefathers, beyond, perhaps, any people in the world; but this attachment is seldom or ever carried into any thing that is indecent or disgustful, though they retain it abroad as well as at home. They are fond of ancient Scotch dishes, which, in their original dressing, were savoury and nutritive for keen appetites; but the modern improvements that have been made in the Scotch cookery have rendered them agreeable to the most delicate palates.
The inhabitants of most part of Scotland, who live chiefly by pasture, have a natural vein for poetry; and the beautiful simplicity of the Scotch tunes is approved by all judges of nature. Love is generally the subject; and many of the airs have been brought upon the English stage, with variations, under new names, but with this disadvantage, that, though rendered more conformable to the rules of music, they are mostly altered for the worse, being stripped of their original simplicity, which, however irregular, is the most essential characteristic, is so agreeable to the ear, and has such powers over the human breast. Those of a more lively and merry strain have had better fortune, being introduced into the army in their native dress, by the fife, an instrument for which they are remarkably well suited.
The common people of Scotland retain the solemn decent manner of their ancestors at burials. When a relation dies in a town, the beadle is sent round with a passing bell; but he stops at certain places, and with a slow, melancholy tone, announces the name of the party deceased, and the time of his interment, to which he invites all his fellow countrymen. At the hour appointed, if the deceased was beloved in the place, vast numbers attend. The procession is sometimes preceded by the magistrates and their officers, as the deceased is carried in his coffin, covered with a velvet pall, with chair poles, to the grave, where it is interred, without any oration or address to the people, or prayers, or farther ceremony, than the nearest relation thanking the company for their attendance. The funerals of the nobility and gentry are performed much in the same manner as in England, but without any funeral service. The Highland funerals were generally preceded by bagpipes, which played certain dirges, called coronachs, and were accompanied by the voices of the attendants of both sexes.
Dancing is a favourite amusement in this country; but little regard is paid to art or gracefulness: the whole consists in agility, and in keeping time to their own tunes, which they do with great exactness. One of the peculiar diversions practised by the gentlemen, is the Goff, which requires an equal degree of art and strength; it is played by a bat and ball, the latter is smaller and harder than a crlcket-ball; the bat is of a taper construction, till it terminates in the part that strikes the ball, which is loaded with lead and faced with horn. An expert player will send the ball an immense distance at one stroke: each party follows his own ball upon an open heath, and he who strikes it in fewest strokes into a hole, wins the game. The diversion of Curling is likewise peculiar to the Scots. It is performed upon ice, with large flat stones, often from twenty to two hundred pounds weight each, which they hurl from a common stand to a mark at a certain distance; and whoever is nearest the mark is the victor. These two may be called the standing winter and summer diversions in Scotland. The natives are expert at other diversions common in England, cricket excepted, of which they have no notion; the gentlemen considering it as too athletic and mechanical.
These are pretty much the same in Scotland as in England, only that of beheading is performed by an instrument called the Maiden; the model of which, it is well known, was brought from Halifax in England to Scotland, by the regent, Earl Morton; and was first used for the execution of himself.
ORDER OF THE THISTLE
This is a military order, instituted, as the Scotch writers assert, by their king Achaius, in the ninth century, upon his making an offensive and defensive league with Charlemagne, king of France; or, as others say, on account of his victory over Athelstan, king of England, when he vowed in the kirk of St. Andrew, that he and his posterity should ever bear in their ensigns the figure of that cross on which the saint suffered. It has been frequently neglected, and as often resumed. It consists of the sovereign and twelve companions, who are called Knights of the Thistle, and have on their ensign this significant motto, Nemo me impune lacesset. “None shall safely provoke me.”
LEARNING AND LEARNED MEN
For this article we may refer to the literary history of Europe for 1,400 years past. The western parts and isles of Scotland produced St. Patrick, the celebrated apostle of Ireland; and many others since, whose names alone would make a long article. The writings of Adamnarus, and other authors, who lived before and at the time of the Norman invasion, which are still extant, are specimens of their learning.-Charles the Great, or Charlemagne, most unquestionably held a correspondence by letters with the kings of Scotland, with whom he formed a league; and employed Scotchmen in planning, settling, and ruling his favourite universities, and other seminaries of learning, in France, Italy, and Germany. It is an undoubted truth, though a seeming paradoxical fact, that Barbour, a Scotch poet, philosopher, and historian, though prior in time to Chaucer, having flourished in the year 1368, wrote, according to the modern ideas, as pure English as that bard; and his versification is perhaps more harmonious. The destruction of the Scotch monuments of learning and antiquity has rendered their early annals lame, and often fabulous; but the Latin style of Buchanan's history is equal in classical purity to that of any modern production. The letters of the Scotch kings to the neighbouring princes are incomparably the finest compositions of the times in which they were written, and are free from the barbarisms of those sent them in answer. This has been considered as a proof that classical learning was more cultivated in the court of Scotland than at any other in Europe.
The discovery of the logarithms, a discovery which, in point of ingenuity and utility, may vie with any that has been made in modern times, is the indisputable right of Napier of Merchistone. And since his time, the mathematical sciences have been cultivated in Scotland with great success. Keil, in his physico-mathematical works, to the clearness of his reasoning, has sometimes added the colouring of a poet. Of all writers on astronomy, Gregory is allowed to be one of the most perfect and elegant. Maclaurin, the companion and friend of Sir Isaac Newton, was endowed with all that precision and force of mind which rendered him peculiarly fitted for bringing down the ideas of that great man to the level of ordinary apprehensions, and for diffusing that light through the world which Newton had confined within the sphere of the learned. His Treatise on Fluxions is regarded by the best judges in Europe as the clearest account of the most refined and subtile speculations on which the human mind ever exerted itself with success. While Maclaurin pursued this new career, a geometrican, no less famous, distinguished himself, in the almost deserted track of antiquity. This was the late Dr. Simpson, so well known for his illustrations of the ancient geometry. —His elements of Euclid, and above all, his Conic Sections, are sufficient of themselves to establish the scientific reputation of his native country.
This, however, does not rest on the character of a few mathematicians and astronomers. The fine arts have been called sisters, to denote their affinity: there is the same connexion between the sciences, particularly those which depend on observation. Mathematics, and physics, properly so called, were, in Scotland, accompanied by the other branches of study to which they are allied. In medicine, particularly, the names of Pitcairn, Arbuthnot, Monro, Smellie, Whytt, Cullen, Brown, and Gregory, hold a distinguished place.
Nor have the Scots been unsuccessful in cultivating the belles lettres. Foreigners who inhabit warmer climates, and conceive the northern nations incapable of tenderness and feeling, are astonished at the poetic genius and delicate sensibility of Thomson.
But of all literary pursuits, that of rendering mankind more virtuous and happy, which is the proper object of what is called morals, ought to be regarded with peculiar honour and respect. The philosophy of Dr. Hutcheson, not to mention other works more sublime and elegant, but less convincing and less instructive, deserves to be read by all who would know their duty, or who would wish to practise it. —Next to Locke's Essay on the Human Understanding, it is perhaps the best dissection of the human mind that has appeared in modern times; and is likewise the most useful supplement to that Essay.
It would be endless to mention all the individuals who have distinguished themselves in the various branches of literature; particularly as those who are alive (some of them in high esteem for historical composition) dispute the palm of merit with the dead, and cover their country with laurels, which neither envy can blast, nor time can destroy.
ANTIQUITIES AND CURIOSITIES, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL
The Roman and other antiquities found in Scotland have of themselves furnished matter for large volumes. The stations of the Roman legions, their castella, their pretentures or walls reaching across the island, have been traced with great precision by antiquaries and historians; so that, without some new discoveries, an account of them could not afford instruction to the learned, and but little amusement to the ignorant; because at present they can be discovered only by critical eyes. Some mention of the chief, however, may be proper. The course of the Roman wall, (or, as it is called by the country people, Graham's Dyke, from a tradition that a Scottish warrior of that name first broke over it) between the Clyde and Forth, which was first marked out by Agricola, and completed by Antoninus Pius, is still discernible, as are several Roman camps in the neighbourhood.
Near the western extremity of this wall, at Duntocher in Dumbartonshire, a countryman, in digging a trench on the declivity of a hill, upon which are seen the remains of a Roman fort, turned up several uncommon tiles; which exciting the curiosity of the peasantry in that neighbourhood, it was not long before they broke in upon an entire subterraneous building, from which they dug out a cart-load of these materials. A traveller, who was then upon a journey through that part of Scotland, found means, upon the second day, to stop all farther proceedings, in hopes that some public-spirited persons would, by taking off the surface, explore the whole without demolishing it. The tiles are of seven different sizes; the smallest being seven, and the largest twenty-one inches square. They are from two to three inches in thickness, of a reddish colour, and in a perfectly sound condition. The lesser ones composed several rows of pillars, which form a labyrinth of passages, about eighteen inches square; and the larger tiles being laid over the whole, serve as a roof to support the earth above, which is found to be two feet in depth. The building is surrounded by a subterraneous wall of hewn stone. The bones and teeth of animals, with a sooty kind of earth, were found in the passages; from which some have conjectured this building to have been occupied as a hot-bed for the use of the neighbouring garrison. Agricola’s camp, at the bottom of the Grampian hills, is a striking remain of Roman antiquity. It is situated at Ardoch, in Perthshire, and is generally thought to have been the camp occupied by Agricola, before he fought the bloody battle, so well recorded by Tacitus, with the Caledonian king, Galcacus, who was defeated. Some writers think that this remain of antiquity at Ardoch was, on account of the numerous Roman coins and inscriptions found near it, a Roman castellum or fort. Be that as it will, it certainly is the most entire and best preserved of any Roman antiquity of that kind in North Britain, having no less than five rows of ditches, and six ramparts on the south side; and of the four gates which lead into the area, three are very distinct and plain, viz. the prætoria, decumana, and dextra.
The Roman temple, or building in the form of the Pantheon at Rome, or of the dome of St. Paul’s at London, stood upon the banks of the river Carron in Stirlingshire, but has been barbarously demolished by a neighbouring Goth, for the purpose of mending a mill-pond. Its height was twenty-two feet, and its external circumference at the base was eighty-eight feet; so that, upon the whole, it was one of the most complete Roman antiquities in the world. It is thought to have been built by Agricola, or some of his successors, as a temple to the god Terminus, as it stood near the pretenture which bounded the Roman empire in Britain to the north. Near it are some artificial conical mounds of earth, which still retain the name of Duni-pace, or Duni-pacis; which serve to evidence that there was a kind of solemn compromise between the Romans and the Caledonians, that the former should not extend their empire farther to the northward.
Innumerable are the coins, urns, utensils, inscriptions, and other remains of the Romans, that have been found in different parts of Scotland: some of them to the north of the wall, where, however, it does not appear that they made any establishment. By the inscriptions found near the wall, the names of the legions that built it, and how far they carried it on, may be learned. The remains of Roman highways are frequent in the southern parts.
Danish camps and fortifications are easily discernible in several northern counties, and are known by their square figures and difficult situations. Some houses or stupendous fabrics remain in Rosshire; but whether they are Danish, Pictish, or Scottish, does not appear. The elevations of two of them are to be seen in Gordon’s Itinerarium Septentionale. Some are of opinion that they are Norwegian or Scandinavian structures, and built about the fifth century, to favour the descents of that people upon those coasts.
Two Pictish monuments, as they are thought to be, of a very extraordinary construction, were formerly standing in Scotland; one of them at Abernethy, in Perthshire, the other at Brechin in Angus; both of them are columns, hollow in the inside, and without the staircase; that of Brechin is the most entire, and covered at the top with a spiral roof of stone, with three or four windows above the cornice; it consists of sixty regular courses of hewn free-stone, laid circularly, and regularly tapering towards the top. If these columns are really Pictish, that people must have had among them architects that far exceeded those of any coeval monuments to be found in Europe, as they have all the appearance of an order; and the building is neat, and in the Roman style of architecture. It is, however, difficult to assign them to any but the Picts, as they stand in their dominions; and some sculptures upon that at Brechin denote it to be of Christian origin. It is not indeed impossible that these sculptures are of a later date. Besides these two pillars, many other Pictish buildings are found in Scotland, but none of the same taste.
The vestiges of erections by the ancient Scots themselves are not only curious but instructive, as they regard many important events in their history. That people had amongst them a rude notion of sculpture, in which they transmitted the actions of their kings and heroes. At a place called Aberlemno, near Brechin, four or five ancient obelisks are still to be seen, called the Danish stones of Aberlemno. They are erected as commemorations of the Scotch victories over that people; and are adorned with bas-reliefs of men on horseback, and many emblematical figures and hieroglyphics, not intelligible at this day. Many other historical monuments of the Scots may be discovered on the like occasions; but it must be acknowledged that the obscurity of their sculptures has opened a field of boundless and frivolous conjectures, so that the interpretations of many of them are often fanciful. It would, however, be unpardonable, if we should neglect to mention the stone near the town of Forress, or Fortrose, which far surpasses all the other in magnificence and grandeur, “and is,” says Mr. Gordon, “perhaps one of the most stately monuments of that kind in Europe. It rises about twenty-three feet in height above ground, and is not less than twelve or fifteen feet below; so that the whole height is at least thirty-five feet, and its breadth near five. It is all one single and entire stone; great variety of figures in relievo are carved thereon, and some of them still distinct and visible; but the injury of the weather has obscured those towards the upper part.”— Though this monument has been generally looked upon as Danish, there is little doubt of its being Scotch, and that it was erected in commemoration of the final expulsion of the Danes out of Murray, where they held their last settlement in Scotland, after the defeat they received from Malcolm, a few years before the Norman invasion.
At Sandwich, in Rosshire, is a very splendid ancient obelisk, surrounded at the base with large well-cut flag-stones, formed like steps. Both sides of the column are covered with various enrichments, in well-finished carved work. The one face presents a sumptuous cross, with a figure of St. Andrew on each hand, and some uncouth animals and flowerings underneath. The central division on the reverse, exhibits a variety of curious figures, birds, and animals.
The ruins of the cathedral of Elgin are very striking; and many parts of that fine building have still the remains of much grandeur and dignity in them.-The west door is highly ornamented: there is much elegance in the carvings, and the whole edifice displays very elaborate workmanship.
Among the remains of ancient castles, may be mentioned Rildrumy castle in the north of Scotland, which was formerly a place of great strength and magnificence, and often used as an asylum to noble families in periods of civil war. Inverugie castle, the ancient seat of the earls-mareschals of Scotland, is also a large and lofty pile, situated on a steep bank of the river; two very high towers bound the front, and, even in their decaying state, give the castle an air of much grandeur and antiquity. Vast rows of venerable trees, inclosing the adjoining garden, add to the effect of the decayed buildings. Near the town of Huntly are the ruins of Huntly castle. On the avenue, that leads to it, are two large square towers, which had defended the gateway. The castle seems to be very old, and a great part of it is demolished; but there is a massy building of a more modern date, in which some of the apartments, and, in particular, their curious ceilings, are still in tolerable preservation.-They are painted with a great variety of subjects, in small divisions, in which are contained many emblematical figures.
Besides these remains of Roman, Pictish, Danish, and Scottish antiquities, many Druidical monuments and temples are discernible in the northern parts of Scotland, as well as in the isles, where we may suppose that paganism took its last refuge. They are easily perceived by their circular forms; but though they are equally regular, yet none of them are so stupendous as the Druidical erections in South Britain.-There is in Perthshire, a barrow which seems to be a British erection, and the most beautiful of the kind perhaps in the world. It exactly resembles the figure of a ship with the keel uppermost. The common people call it Ternay, which some interpret to be terra, navis, the ship of earth. It seems to be of the most remote antiquity, and perhaps was erected to the memory of some British prince, who acted as auxiliary to the Romans; for it lies near Auchterarder, not many miles distant from the great scene of Agricola's operations.
The traces of ancient volcanoes are not unfrequent in Scotland. The hill of Finehaven is one instance, and the hill of Bergoninm is another, yielding vast quantities of pumices or scoriae of different kinds, many of which are of the same species with those of the Icelandic volcanoes. Among the natural curiosities of this country, mention is made of a heap of white stones, most of them clear like crystal, together with great plenty of oyster and other sea shells; they are found on the top of a mountain called Scorna-Lappich, in Rosshire, twenty miles distant from the sea. Slains, in Aberdeenshire, is said to be remarkable for a petrifying cave, called the Dropping Cave, where water oozing through a spongy porous rock at the top, quickly consolidates after it drops to the bottom.-Other natural curiosities belonging to Scotland have their descriptions and histories; but they generally owe their extraordinary qualities to the credulity of the vulgar, and vanish when they are skilfully examined. Some caverns that are to be found in Fifeshire, and are probably natural, are of extraordinary dimensions, and have been the scenes of inhuman cruelties.— Topography of Great Britain, written: 1802-29 by George Alexander Cooke
Surnames Found in Scotland
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* Statistics based on the 1881 census