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Title: Footsteps of Dr. Johnson - (Scotland)
Author: Hill, George Birkbeck Norman
Language: English
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       *       *       *       *       *

    “’Tis pleasant through the loop-holes of retreat
    To peep at such a world.”

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: SAMUEL JOHNSON, L.L.D.



       *       *       *       *       *

                       Footsteps of Dr. Johnson



                     GEORGE BIRKBECK HILL, D.C.L.

                       PEMBROKE COLLEGE, OXFORD





                   St. Dunstan’s House, Fetter Lane


                        CHANCERY LANE, LONDON.

                   *       *       *       *       *


                         The Prior and Members


                           The Johnson Club,

                        (MOST CLUBABLE OF MEN)

                             IN MEMORY OF



                        This Work is Dedicated.


       *       *       *       *       *


At the beginning of last year, at the request of Messrs. Sampson
Low and Co., I began to prepare a work in which, under the title of
_Footsteps of Dr. Johnson_, I was to describe the various places that
he had either inhabited or visited. It was to be copiously illustrated
with views. I had made considerable progress with my task when I saw
that its extent required that it should be divided into two separate
works. Scotland in itself afforded ample materials for at least a
single volume. In this opinion I was confirmed by my friend Mr.
Lancelot Speed, the artist who was to prepare the illustrations. My
publishers yielded to our advice and allowed us to confine ourselves
entirely to that country. The materials which I had got together for
England and Wales I have put on one side, in the hope that the present
venture will prove sufficiently successful to encourage author, artist,
and publishers alike to follow it up with a companion work.

Of Johnson’s journey through Scotland we have three different accounts,
his _Letters to Mrs. Thrale_, his _Journey to the Western Islands_, and
Boswell’s _Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides_. In writing his _Journey_
he may have had before him the letters which he had written on the
spot. Many interesting circumstances, however, which he mentioned in
them he omitted in his formal narrative. Boswell’s _Journal_, though
published ten years after Johnson’s work, was written first; and it
was not only written, but it was published before the publication
of the _Letters_. His single account, therefore, and Johnson’s two
accounts are independent narratives. It would have been easy to weave
all three together into one work, and to have done nothing more. It
went, however, against the grain with me to make a mixture of that
sort. The plan which I have pursued has been much more laborious; but
it will, I trust, commend itself both to “the gentle reader”—who is,
I take it, a somewhat indolent reader—and also to the student of the
manners and customs of a past age. Of all history there was no part
which Johnson held equal in value to the history of manners. With this
judgment my own taste leads me to agree. I take far greater interest in
the daily life, the briars and roses of the working-day world as it was
known to our forefathers, than in all the conquests of Chatham and of
Clive. I have made, therefore, the attempt to bring before my readers
the Scotland which Johnson saw, the Scotland which he had expressly
come to study. “The wild objects” which he said he wished to see I
have not neglected, but here I trust chiefly to Mr. Speed’s art. “The
peculiar manners” which interested him far more than natural objects
have been my special study. Even before I took the present work in hand
I had examined them somewhat closely; but last summer, on my return
from Scotland, in a quiet recess of the Bodleian Library, I carried my
inquiries a good deal farther. In covering so large an extent of ground
and in such a mass of details it is idle to hope that no error has been
made. I can honestly say that I have done my best to be accurate.

The country which Johnson traversed is famous for other footsteps
besides his. I have called in the earlier and later travellers to add
interest to the scene, and I have thrown in anecdotes with a liberal
hand. “I love anecdotes,” he said. To Boswell’s descriptions of the
men with whom he associated I have often been able to add a great deal
from memoirs and other books to which that writer had not access; I
have gathered some few traditions of the _Sassenach mohr_, the big
Englishman, which still linger in the Highlands and the Hebrides.

The tour in which I followed his course I was forced to divide into
two parts. Beginning at Inverness I went first through the Western
Highlands and the Hebrides, and so southwards through Glasgow to
Auchinleck, Boswell’s home in Ayrshire. Later on I visited Edinburgh
and its neighbourhood, and completed my task by going northwards to
Inverness. I mention this to guard against any apparent inaccuracy in
dates which might be discovered in my narrative. I cannot pretend to
have seen every place which Johnson saw; but those spots which I passed
by are few in number. In the former part of my trip I was fortunate
enough to have Mr. Speed for my companion; but over the latter part of
the ground we had, to my regret, to travel at different times. Like
Boswell he had done much “to counteract the inconveniences of travel.”

I have the pleasant duty of expressing my acknowledgments for the
kindness with which I was received and for the assistance which was
given me in my inquiries. Most of all am I indebted to the Rev.
Roderick Macleod, of Macleod, Vicar of Bolney, who, by the numerous
introductions with which he honoured me, greatly facilitated my
progress in the Isle of Skye. To his father Macleod of Macleod, and
his aunt, Miss Macleod of Macleod, I am under great obligations. My
thanks are due also to the Duke of Argyle; the Earl of Cawdor; the
Earl of Erroll; Sir Charles Dalrymple, of New Hailes; Captain Burnett,
of Monboddo House; Mr. Macleane of Lochbuie; Mr. John Lorne Stewart,
Laird of Coll; Mr. J. Maitland Anderson, Librarian of the University
of St. Andrews; Mr. G. J. Campbell, of Inverness; Mr. P. M. Cran, the
City Chamberlain, and Mr. William Gordon, the Town Clerk of Aberdeen;
Mr. Lachlan Mackintosh, of Old Lodge, Elgin; Dr. Paterson, of Clifton
Bank, St. Andrews; Professor Stephenson, of the University of Aberdeen;
Mr. A. E. Stewart, of Raasay; and to my friend Mr. G. J. Burch, B.A.,
Librarian of the Institution of Civil Engineers, for some time the
Compiler of the Subject Catalogue in the Bodleian Library.

To my friend, General Cadell, C.B., of Cockenzie House, I owe the
sketches of the ruins of Ballencrieff, and of a group of ash-trees
which were said to have been planted on Johnson’s suggestion.

Both at Inverary Castle and at Dunvegan Castle I was allowed to have
photographs taken not only of the rooms, but also of the interesting
portraits of the former owners who had been Johnson’s hosts.

To the Rev. Alexander Matheson, minister of Glenshiel, who came many
miles over the mountains to help me with his knowledge as a local
antiquary, I am, alas! too late in bringing my acknowledgments. It was
with great regret that early in the spring I learnt of the sudden death
of this amiable man.

I have once more the pleasure of giving my thanks to Mr. G. K.
Fortescue, Superintendent of the Reading Room of the British Museum,
who does so much to lighten the labours of the student.

Should any of my readers be able to add to the traditions of Johnson
which I have collected, or to throw light on any of the questions
which I have investigated I trust that they will honour me with their
communications. Hope comes to all, and a second edition of these
_Footsteps_ is within the range of possibility. In it their kindness
shall meet with proper acknowledgment.

    G. B. H.
_OXFORD; July 4th, 1890._




    _The date in each case shows, not the year of the original
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        (Published anonymously.)

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    Wordsworth, William. _Works._ 6 vols. London, 1857.




Portrait of Dr. Johnson, after Reynolds                   _frontispiece_
Staffa                                                  _facing page_ 24
Loch Ness                                                    ”   ”    28
Inch Keith                                                   ”   ”    84
Montrose                                                     ”   ”   104
Findlater                                                    ”   ”   130
The Fiddler’s Walk, Cawdor                                   ”   ”   142
Foyers                                                       ”   ”   150
The Moriston River                                           ”   ”   152
Mam Rattachan                                                ”   ”   164
Bernera Barracks, Glenelg                                    ”   ”   166
Corrichatachin, near Broadford, Skye                         ”   ”   168
Raasay Castle                                                ”   ”   172
Dunvegan Castle                                              ”   ”   184
Island Isa                                                   ”   ”   200
The Cuchullin Hills, from the Cave on Wia Island, Skye       ”   ”   204
McLeod’s Maidens, Skye                                       ”   ”   206
Sligachan, the Cuchullin Hills, Skye                         ”   ”   210
Coll Island                                                  ”   ”   216
Sandiland                                                    ”   ”   224
Lochbuy                                                      ”   ”   232
Ben Cruachan, from the Hill Above Oban                       ”   ”   244
Trees at Ballencrieff, planted at Dr. Johnson’s Suggestion   ”   ”   300
Facsimile Letter                                             ”   ”   308
Route Map of Scotland                                        ”   ”   318





Dr. Johnson’s Bedroom, Dunvegan                                        1
Mam Rattachan                                                          3
Sound of Ulva                                                          5
Glencroe                                                              13
Armidale                                                              23
Loch Ness, near Foyers                                                27
Loch Lomond                                                           31
The Tolbooth                                                          55
Hume’s House                                                          57
White Horse Close                                                     70
James’s Court                                                         73
The Old Library                                                       84
St. Leonard’s College                                                 89
St. Andrews                                                           93
West Door, St. Andrews                                                96
Golf at St. Andrews                                                   98
St. Mary’s College Library                                           101
Leuchars                                                             103
View on the Tay                                                      104
Aberbrothick                                                         106
On the Way to Montrose                                               108
Gardenston Arms                                                      109
Monboddo                                                             114
King’s College, Aberdeen                                             121
Marischal College                                                    122
Ellon                                                                124
Slains Castle                                                        126
The Bullers of Buchan                                                128
Elgin                                                                131
Elgin Cathedral                                                      133
Fores                                                                134
Cawdor                                                               136
Penance-Ring, Cawdor Church                                          137
Drawbridge, Cawdor Castle                                            138
Cawdor Castle                                                        139
Vault, Cawdor Castle                                                 140
Tapestry Chamber, Cawdor Castle                                      141
Dungardie, a vitrified Fort near Foyers                              148
Loch Ness                                                            149
Map of Foyers                                                        150
Invermoriston                                                        152
The Ruins of the House at Anoch                                      153
Thatched House                                                       154
Clunie                                                               157
Eilan Donan                                                          158
Glen Shiel Battle-field                                              159
Faochag                                                              160
Skye, from Glenelg                                                   166
The Sound of Slate                                                   167
Corrichatachin                                                       170
Raasay                                                               175
Dun Can                                                              178
Portree Harbour                                                      180
Kingsburgh                                                           181
The Ferry to Kingsburgh                                              184
Rorie More’s Nurse                                                   186
Watergate, Dunvegan                                                  192
Dining Room, Dunvegan                                                193
Portrait of Sarah, Lady Macleod, by Raeburn                          194
Rorie More’s Horn                                                    195
  ”    ”     Armour                                                  196
Macleod’s Tables                                                     197
Terrace, Dunvegan                                                    199
Heronry                                                              200
Sacrament Sunday                                                     201
A Crofter’s Hut in Skye                                              203
Talisker Head and Oronsay                                            204
Landing place, Talisker                                              207
View of Talisker                                                     208
On the Road to Sconser                                               212
Sailing past the Isle of Rum                                         213
Ardnamurchan Point                                                   214
Col                                                                  215
Col: The Laird’s House                                               216
Colvay                                                               217
Loch na Keal                                                         219
Inchkenneth Chapel                                                   223
Mackinnon’s Cave                                                     225
Mull                                                                 227
Ruins in Iona                                                        231
Carsaig Arches: Mull                                                 232
Kerrera Island                                                       243
Dunolly Castle, Oban                                                 244
Inverary Castle                                                      246
Elizabeth Gunning                                                    247
Johnson’s Host                                                       248
The Avenue of Beeches                                                249
The Hall, Inverary Castle                                            250
The Old Dining Room                                                  251
Tapestry Bedroom                                                     252
“Rest, and be Thankful”                                              254
Milestones on the Tarbet Road                                        255
Rosedew                                                              256
Inch Galbraith                                                       257
Yew Tree Island                                                      258
Cameron                                                              260
Smollett’s Pillar                                                    261
Dunbarton                                                            262
Dundonald Castle                                                     267
Old Auchans                                                          269
Dining Room at Old Auchans                                           270
Auchinleck                                                           273
New Hailes                                                           291
Library, New Hailes                                                  295
Ballencrieff                                                         301
Hawthornden                                                          305




A traveller who passed through the Hebrides in the year 1786 recorded
that in many houses he was given the room to sleep in which had been
occupied by Dr. Johnson.[1] Twenty-eight years later, when Sir Walter
Scott with some of his friends landed in Skye, it was found on inquiry
that the first thought which had come into each man’s mind was of
Johnson’s Latin Ode to Mrs. Thrale.[2] The Highlanders at Dunvegan,
Scott goes on to say, saw that about Johnson there was something
worthy of respect, “they could not tell what, and long spoke of him
as the _Sassenach mohr_, or big Englishman.”[3] He still lives among
them, mainly, no doubt, by his own and Boswell’s books, but partly
also by tradition. Very few of the houses remain where he visited.
Nevertheless, in two of these in the Hebrides, and in one in the
Lowlands, I was shown his bedroom. Proud, indeed, would the old man
have been could he have foreseen that an Englishman who followed on
his steps one hundred and sixteen years later would be shown at New
Hailes, at Rasay, and at Dunvegan, “Dr. Johnson’s Chamber.” At Rasay is
preserved his walking-stick—not the famous “piece of timber” which was
destined for some museum, but was stolen or lost in Mull, but one which
he had occasionally used. In his bedroom an engraving of him hangs on
the wall. The china tea-set out of which he had drunk is preserved by
a descendant of the laird who was his host. At Dunvegan his portrait
is set up in a post of honour in the noble drawing-room of the famous
old castle, and his autograph letter to Macleod of Macleod rests among
the ancient memorials of that still more ancient family. That it is
endorsed “Dr. Johnston’s Letter” may be twisted into a compliment. So
popular was he that his very name was “Scottified.”



In many places I found traditions of him still remaining—some, no
doubt, true; others false. But whether false or true, by their vitality
they show the deep mark which the man made as he passed along. In
Glenmorison there are countryfolk who profess to know by the report
of their forefathers the “clear rivulet” in “the narrow valley, not
very flowery but sufficiently verdant,” where Johnson reposed on “a
bank such as a writer of romance might have delighted to feign, and
first conceived the thought of the narration” of his tour.[4] In a
farmhouse on Loch Duich, just below the mountain which exhausted his
patience and good-humour, and nearly exhausted his strength, I was
told of the speech which he made as he reached the top of the pass.
“He turned as he was beginning the descent, and said to the mountain,
‘Good-bye, Ma’am Rattachan, I hope never to see your face again.’”[5]
From Rasay a friendly correspondent wrote to tell me how the great
man had climbed up Dun Can, the highest mountain in the island, and
had danced on the top. I have pointed out that it was Boswell and not
Johnson who performed this feat, but the tradition, doubtless, will
linger on. At Dunvegan Miss Macleod of Macleod, who remembers her
grandmother, Johnson’s hostess, and her aunts, “the four daughters, who
knew all the arts of southern elegance, and all the modes of English
economy,”[6] has preserved some traditions more worthy of trust. “One
day,” she said, “he had scolded the maid for not getting good peats,
and had gone out in the rain to the stack to fetch in some himself.[7]
He caught a bad cold. Lady Macleod went up to his room to see how he
was, and found him in bed, with his wig turned inside out, and the
wrong end foremost, serving the purpose of ‘a cap by night,’ like the
stocking of Goldsmith’s _Author_. On her return to the drawing-room,
she said, ‘I have often seen very plain people, but anything as ugly as
Dr. Johnson, with his wig thus stuck on, I never have seen.’[8] She was
(her granddaughter added) greatly pleased with his talk, for she had
seen enough of the world to enjoy it; but her daughters, who were still
quite girls, disliked him much, and called him a bear.”

[Illustration: MAM RATTACHAN.]

At the inn at Broadford, sitting in the entrance-hall, I fell into
talk with an elderly man, a retired exciseman, who lived close by.
He, too, had his traditions of the _Sassenach mohr_. His father had
known an old lady, blind of one eye, who was fond of telling how in
her childhood, at the time of Johnson’s visit, she had been watching
the dancing in that famous farmhouse of Corrichatachin, where Boswell
got so drunk one night over the punch, and so penitent the next morning
over a severe headache and the Epistle for the Twentieth Sunday after
Trinity.[9] A large brass button on the coat-tail of one of the dancers
had struck her in her eye as he whirled round and had so injured it
that she lost the sight. My informant had a story also to tell of the
learned minister, the Rev. Donald Macqueen, who accompanied Johnson
in part of his tour. “A crofter seeing the two men pass, asked the
minister who was his companion. Macqueen replied, ‘The man who made
the English language.’ ‘Then he had very little to do,’ rejoined the
crofter; meaning, according to the Gaelic idiom, that he might have
been much better employed.” My friendly exciseman had known also
an old lady who remembered Johnson coming to her father’s house in
Mull. According to a custom once very common in the Highlands, though
even in those days passing fast away, she had been sent for three or
four years to a shepherd’s hut to be fostered. It was shortly after
her return home that Johnson’s visit was paid. He did not hide his
displeasure at the roughness which still clung to her. She had not
forgotten, moreover, how he found fault with the large candles, rudely
made of pieces of old cloth twisted round and dipped in tallow.[10] My
acquaintance ended his talk by saying: “If Dr. Johnson had returned to
Scotland after publishing his book, he would have got a crack on his

At Craignure, in the Isle of Mull, the landlord of the little inn
had his story to tell of the untimely death of young Maclean of
Col, that “amiable man,” who, while the pages of Johnson’s _Journey
to the Western Islands_ “were preparing to attest his virtues,
perished in the passage between Ulva and Inch-Kenneth.”[11] My host’s
great-grandmother, a Macquarrie of Ulva, on the night when the boat was
upset, had been watching the cattle near the fatal shore. An old woman
who was to have been her companion had failed her, so that she was
alone. She saw nothing, and heard no cries. “A half-witted person,” my
informant added, in a serious voice, “had warned one of the party not
to go; but his warning was not heeded, and the man lost his life.”

[Illustration: SOUND OF ULVA.]

At Lochbuie two traditions, I found, had been preserved in the family
of the laird, the great-grandson of that Maclean of Lochbuie whom
Boswell had heard described as “a great roaring braggadocio,” but
found only “a bluff, comely, noisy old gentleman. He bawled out to
Johnson (as Boswell tells us), ‘Are you of the Johnstons of Glencroe
or of Ardnamurchan?’ Dr. Johnson gave him a significant look, but made
no answer.”[12] The report has come down in the family that Johnson
replied that he was neither one nor the other. Whereupon Lochbuie cried
out, “Damn it, Sir, then you must be a bastard.” There can, I fear, be
no doubt that this rejoinder belongs to those _excellens impromptus à
loisir_ in which Rousseau excelled[13]—that _esprit de l’escalier_, as
the French describe it. If the laird, like Addison, could draw for a
thousand pounds, he had, I suspect, but nine pence in ready money.[14]
For had this repartee been made at the time, and not been merely an
after-invention, Boswell most certainly would not have let it pass
unrecorded. The second tradition is scarcely more trustworthy. Johnson
at the tea-table, I was told, helped himself to sugar with his fingers,
whereupon Lady Lochbuie at once had the basin emptied, and fresh sugar
brought in. He said nothing at the time, but when he had finished his
tea he flung down the cup, exclaiming that if he had polluted one he
had also polluted the other. A lady of the family of Lochbuie, whose
memory goes back ninety years, in recounting this story when I was
in Scotland, added, “But I do not know whether it was true.” That it
was not true I have little doubt. In the first place, we have again
Boswell’s silence; in the second place, to the minor decencies of life
Johnson was by no means inattentive. At Paris he was on the point of
refusing a cup of coffee because the footman had put in the sugar
with his fingers; and at Edinburgh, in a passion, he threw a glass of
lemonade out of the window because it had been sweetened in the same
manner by the waiter. In one of his letters to Mrs. Thrale he expressed
his displeasure in Skye at the very practice with which he is charged
a few weeks later in Mull. Describing his visit to the house of Sir
Alexander Macdonald, he wrote: “The lady had not the common decencies
of her tea-table: we picked up our sugar with our fingers.”[15]

It is strange that while in Mull, that “most dolorous country,” that
“gloom of desolation,” as Johnson described it, these stories of him
are preserved, the boatman who took me across the narrow passage
between it and Inch-Kenneth had no traditionary knowledge of his host,
Sir Allan Maclean, and of his retirement in that little island. To the
forefathers of the men of Mull the head of the Macleans would have been
an object of reverence and even of fear, and Johnson only a passing
wonder. “I would cut my bones for him,” said one of his clan, speaking
of Sir Allan in Boswell’s hearing.[16] But of the Highland chief who
lived among them no remembrance remains, while the _Sassenach mohr_,
who spent but a few days in the island-home of the Macleans, is still
almost “a household word.”


I was indeed surprised to find through the Highlands and the Hebrides
how much he still remained in men’s thoughts. On Loch Lomond, the
boatman who rowed me to the islands on which he had landed, a man
of reading and intelligence, said that though he had himself read
Johnson’s _Journey_, yet “Scotchmen still feel too sore to like reading
him.” Whatever soreness still lingers is, I have little doubt, much
more due to his sarcasms recorded by Boswell than to any passages in
his own narrative. But it is surprising that Scotchmen cannot more
generally join in a hearty laugh at his humorous sallies, though
they are at their own expense. That the Scotch of a hundred years
and more ago were over-sensitive is not astonishing. At that time
in most respects they were still far behind England. It was England
that they were striving to follow in their arts, their commerce, and
their agriculture. It was the English accent that they were striving
to catch, and the English style in which they laboured to write. It
was to the judgment of Englishmen that their authors, no small or
inglorious band, anxiously appealed. That they should be sensitive to
criticism beyond even the Americans of our day was not unnatural. For
in the poverty of their soil, and the rudiments of their manufactures
and trade, they found none of that boastful comfort which supports
the citizen of the United States, even when he is most solicitous of
English approbation. But at the present day, when they are in most
respects abreast of Englishmen, and in some even ahead, they should
disprove the charge that is brought against them of wanting humour
by showing that they can enjoy a hearty laugh, even though it goes
against them. Johnson’s ill-humour did not go deep, and, no doubt, was
often laughed away. Of that rancour which disgraced Hume his nature
was wholly incapable. He wished no ill to Scotland as Hume wished
ill to England.[17] “He returned from it,” writes Boswell, “in great
good-humour, with his prejudices much lessened, and with very grateful
feelings of the hospitality with which he was treated.”[18]

Not all Scotch critics were hostile towards him. The _Scots Magazine_,
which last century was to Edinburgh what the _Gentleman’s Magazine_ was
to London, always spoke of him with great respect. Writing of him early
in the year in which he visited Scotland, it says:

    “Dr. Johnson has long possessed a splendid reputation in the
    republic of letters, and it was honestly acquired. He is
    said to affect a singularity in his manners and to contemn
    the social rules which are established in the intercourse of
    civil life. If this extravagance is affected, it is a fault;
    if it has been acquired by the habitudes of his temper and
    his indolence, it scarcely merits censure. We allow to the man
    who can soar so high above the multitude to descend sometimes
    beneath them.”[19]

In the two reviews of his _Journey_ in the same magazine, there is
not one word of censure; neither when Boswell, eleven years later,
brought out his account of the tour, had they any fault to find. In the
character which they drew of Johnson on his death they leave unnoticed
his attacks on Scotland. They are even generous in their praise.
Speaking of his pension they say: “It would have been a national
disgrace if such talents, distinguished by such writings, had met with
no other recompense than the empty consciousness of fame.”[20] There
were also men of eminence in Scotland who at once acknowledged the
merits of the book. “I love the benevolence of the author,” said Lord
Hailes.[21] The “virtuous and candid Dempster,” the “patriotic Knox,”
Tytler, the historian, “a Scot, if ever a Scot there were,” had each
his word of high praise.[22] Sir Walter Scott, writing many years
later, said: “I am far from being of the number of those angry Scotsmen
who imputed to Johnson’s national prejudices all or a great part of the
report he has given of our country. I remember the Highlands ten or
twelve years later, and no one can conceive of how much that could have
been easily remedied travellers had to complain.”[23]

These men, nevertheless, formed a small minority. The outcry that was
raised against Johnson was at once loud and bitter. To attacks for many
a long year he had been used, but yet this time he was startled. “He
expressed his wonder at the extreme jealousy of the Scotch, and their
resentment at having their country described as it really was.”[24]
Boswell mentions “the brutal reflections thrown out against him,” and
“the rancour with which he was assailed by numbers of shallow irritable
North Britons.”[25] How quickly the storm gathered and burst is shown
in a letter written by an Englishman from Edinburgh a few days after
the book was published:

    “Edinburgh, Jan. 24, 1775. Dr. Johnson’s _Tour_ has just made
    its appearance here, and has put the country into a flame.
    Everybody finds some reason to be affronted. A thousand people
    who know not a single creature in the Western Isles interest
    themselves in their cause, and are offended at the accounts
    that are given of them. Newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, all
    teem with abuse of the Doctor. He was received with the most
    flattering marks of civility by everyone. He was looked upon as
    a kind of miracle, and almost carried about for a show. Those
    who were in his company were silent the moment he spoke, lest
    they should interrupt him, and lose any of the good things he
    was going to say. He repaid all their attention to him with
    ill-breeding, and when in the company of the ablest men in this
    country, who are certainly his superiors in point of abilities,
    his whole design was to show them how contemptibly he thought
    of them. Had the Scotch been more acquainted with Dr. Johnson’s
    private character they would have expected nothing better.
    A man of illiberal manners and surly disposition, who all
    his life long had been at enmity with the Scotch, takes a
    sudden resolution of travelling amongst them; not, according
    to his own account, ‘to find a people of liberal and refined
    education, but to see wild men and wild manners.’”[26]


The “patriotic Knox,” as Boswell calls him, the author of _A Tour
through the Highlands and Hebride Isles in 1786_, a man freer from
prejudices than the common run, and one who readily acknowledged the
merits of Johnson’s book, bears equal witness to the wrath of his

    “Dr. Johnson (he writes) set out under incurable impressions
    of a national prejudice, a religious prejudice, and a literary
    jealousy. From a writer of such abilities and such prejudices
    the natives of Scotland had reason to expect a shower of arrows
    without mercy, and it was possibly from this prepossession that
    they were ready to fall upon him as one man the moment that
    his book appeared. Their minds were charged with sentiments
    of indignity, resentment and revenge, which they did not
    fail to discharge upon his head in whole platoons from every

To us, who know Johnson better than we know any other author who has
ever lived, the charge of literary jealousy seems ridiculous. But
Knox lived before Boswell’s _Life_ was published. Scotland, in which
learning and even literature had slumbered for nearly a century, had
started up from her long sleep, and was bent on turning the Auld Reekie
into the Modern Athens. All her geese were swans, though of swans she
had at this season a fair flock. “Edinburgh is a hotbed of genius,”
wrote Smollett, shortly before Johnson’s visit, and as a proof of it
he instanced among “authors of the first distinction,” Wallace, Blair,
Wilkie, and Ferguson. Hume still earlier had proclaimed that at last
there was “a hope of seeing good tragedies in the English language,”
for Johnny Home had written his _Douglas_. Wilkie of the _Epigoniad_,
the great historian held, was to be the Homer, and Blacklock the
Pindar, of Scotland.[28] But it was in Ossian Macpherson that the
hopes of the country had at one time soared highest. By Dr. Blair, the
Edinburgh Professor of Rhetoric, he had been ranked with Homer and
Virgil.[29] The national pride, the honour of Scotland, was concerned,
and the meanest motive was attributed to the man who had ventured to
pronounce his poems an impudent forgery. Macpherson was a dangerous
enemy. Against “the menaces of a ruffian” a thick cudgel might avail;
but the secret arts of a literary forger were not so easily baffled.
His position was one of great power, for from the Court he received a
pension at first of £600 a year, and afterwards of £800, “to supervise
the newspapers. He inserted what lies he pleased, and prevented
whatever he disapproved of being printed.”[30] It was from this tainted
source that no doubt sprang many of “the miserable cavillings against
the _Journey_ in newspapers, magazines, and other fugitive pieces.”[31]
These, as Boswell tells us, “only furnished Johnson with sport.”
Nevertheless, though they did not trouble his mind, they marred the
fame of his book, and prejudiced not only the immediate, but even the
traditional judgment of Scotland. Enough dirt was thrown, and some of
it did stick and sticks still. Lies were sent wandering through the
land, and some of them have not even yet found their everlasting rest.
One disgusting story, not unworthy of the inventive genius of Ossian
himself, is still a solace to Scots of the baser sort. That it is a lie
can be plainly proved, for it rests on a supposed constant suspicion in
Johnson of the food provided for him. Now we know from his own writings
that only twice in his tour had he “found any reason to complain of a
Scottish table.”[32] Moreover, in his letters to Mrs. Thrale and in
Boswell’s _Journal_, we can follow his course with great accuracy and
minuteness. Had there been any foundation for this lie it must be found
on the road between Inverness and the seashore. Now we know what meals
he had at each station. Even in the miserable inn at Glenelg, where
his accommodation was at its worst, if he had chosen he could have had
mutton chops and freshly-killed poultry. Finding both too tough, he
supped on a lemon and a piece of bread.


The attacks of the angry critics, published as they were in fugitive
pieces, might have been forgotten had they not been revived three
or four years later in “a scurrilous volume,” as Boswell justly
describes it, “larger than Johnson’s own, filled with malignant abuse
under a name real or fictitious of some low man in an obscure corner
of Scotland, though supposed to be the work of another Scotchman,
who has found means to make himself well known both in Scotland and
England.”[33] The “low man” was the Rev. Donald M’Nicol, and the
“obscure corner” that long and pleasant island of Lismore which
the steamers skirt every summer day as they pass with their load
of tourists between Oban and the entrance of the Caledonian Canal.
M’Nicol’s predecessor in the manse was the Rev. John Macaulay, whose
famous grandson, Lord Macaulay, was to rebuke those “foolish and
ignorant Scotchmen, who moved to anger by a little unpalatable truth
which was mingled with much eulogy in the _Journey to the Western
Islands_, assailed him whom they chose to consider as the enemy of
their country with libels much more dishonourable to their country than
anything that he had ever said or written.”[34] When Johnson was shown
M’Nicol’s book he said: “This fellow must be a blockhead. They don’t
know how to go about their abuse. Who will read a five shilling book
against me? No, Sir, if they had wit, they should have kept pelting me
with pamphlets.” The book, however, seems to have been widely read,
and in the year 1817 was reprinted at Glasgow in a fine large type. A
Scotch gentleman recently told me that he fears that to many of his
countrymen Johnson’s tour is only known through M’Nicol’s attack.


It was Macpherson at whom Boswell aimed a blow when he wrote of the
“other Scotchman whose work it was supposed to be.” If Ossian had
no hand in it himself, it was certainly written by someone fired
with all his hatred of the man who had branded him as a forger.
Johnson is described as “a man of some reputation for letters, whose
master-passion was hatred of Scotland. When the _Poems of Ossian_ were
published, and became the delight and admiration of the learned over
all Europe, his cynical disposition instantly took the alarm.”[35] It
was from this time that “we may date the origin of his intended tour
to Scotland.” It was from malice that he started so late in the year—a
malice, by the way, which nearly brought him to a watery grave. “It
was not beauties he went to find out in Scotland, but defects; and for
the northern situation of the Hebrides the advanced time of the year
suited his purpose best.”[36] Johnson, with a discretion which other
travellers in like circumstances would do well to imitate, had passed
over Edinburgh with the remark that it is “a city too well known to
admit description.” This wise reticence is twisted into a proof of
malevolence. So, too, is the brevity with which he mentions Dundee.
“We stopped awhile at Dundee,” he recorded, “where I remember nothing
remarkable.”[37] Surely this is a very innocent sentence. Even Boswell,
whose record was generally far fuller, dismisses this place with three
words. “We saw Dundee,” he says.[38] But M’Nicol at once discovered the
miserable jealousy of the Englishman. “He passes very rapidly through
the town of Dundee, for fear, I suppose, of being obliged to take
notice of its increasing trade.”[39] How delicately Johnson treated
this town in his published narrative is shown by his description of it
in his private letter to Mrs. Thrale. To her he had written: “We came
to Dundee, a dirty despicable town.”[40] Much as M’Nicol belaboured
Johnson, he could not refrain from claiming him as of Scotch origin.
“We are much deceived by fame,” he wrote, “if a very near ancestor of
his, who was a native of that country, did not find to his cost that
a tree was not quite such a rarity in his days.”[41] This mysterious
hero of the gallows was no doubt no Johnson at all, but a Johnston—of
Ardnamurchan, probably, or of Glencroe.[42]

M’Nicol is ingenious in his treatment of the great Ossian controversy.
“The poems,” he says, “must be the production either of Ossian or Mr.
Macpherson. Dr. Johnson does not vouchsafe to tell us who else was the
author, and consequently the national claim remains perfectly entire.
The moment Mr. Macpherson ceases to be admitted as a translator, he
instantly acquires a title to the original.”[43] Granted that he was a
ruffian who had tried by menaces to hinder the detection of a cheat.
What of that? He was a great original ruffian, and his cheat was a work
of great original genius. So that Caledonia, if she had one forger
the more, had not one poet the less. She made up in genius what she
lost in character. But this Dr. Johnson failed to see, being, poor man,
“naturally pompous and vain, and ridiculously ambitious of an exclusive
reputation in letters.” It must have been this same pomposity, vanity,
and ambition which led him to say of these poems: “Sir, a man might
write such stuff for ever, if he would _abandon_ his mind to it.”[44]

[Illustration: GLENCROE.]

That Johnson’s narrative should have roused resentment is not
surprising. Even his friend Beattie, “much as he loved and revered
him,” yet found in it “some asperities that seem to be the effect of
national prejudice.”[45] That “this true-born Englishman,” as Boswell
delights to call him, should have given a wholly unprejudiced account
of any country not his own was an impossibility. As regards Scotland,
the position which he took certainly admitted of justification. “When I
find,” he said, “a Scotchman to whom an Englishman is as a Scotchman,
that Scotchman shall be as an Englishman to me.”[46] Boswell, and
perhaps Boswell alone, exactly answered this requirement, and the
two men were fast friends. For many other Scotchmen, indeed, he had
strong feelings of regard, and even of friendship—for Andrew Millar
the bookseller, for William Strahan the printer, for Blair, Beattie,
John Campbell, Hailes, and Robertson, among authors, and for his poor
assistants in the great work of his Dictionary, who all came from
across the Tweed. There was no want of individual affection, no John
Bull disinclination that had to be overcome in the case of each fresh
acquaintance which he made. His “was a prejudice of the head and not
of the heart.”[47] He held that the Scotch, with that clannishness
which is found in almost equal strength in the outlying parts of the
whole island, in Cornwall and in Cumberland, achieved for themselves in
England “a success which rather exceeded the due proportion of their
real merit.”[48] Jesting with a friend from Ireland, who feared “he
might treat the people of that country more unfavourably than he had
done the Scotch,” he answered, “Sir, you have no reason to be afraid
of me. The Irish are not in a conspiracy to cheat the world by false
representations of the merits of their countrymen. No, Sir: the Irish
are a _fair people_;—they never speak well of one another.”[49] To
Boswell he began a letter, not meant, of course, for the public eye, by
saying: “Knowing as you do the disposition of your countrymen to tell
lies in favour of each other.”[50] When he came to write his _Journey_,
he was led neither by timidity nor false delicacy to conceal what he
thought. He attacks that “national combination so invidious that their
friends cannot defend it,” which is one of the means whereby Scotchmen
“find, or make their way to employment, riches, and distinction.”[51]
He upbraids that “vigilance of jealousy which never goes to sleep,”[52]
which sometimes led them to cross the borders of boastfulness and pass
into falsehood, when Caledonia was their subject and Englishmen their
audience. “A Scotchman,” he writes, “must be a very sturdy moralist
who does not love Scotland better than truth; he will always love it
better than inquiry.”[53] Even in his talk when among Scotchmen he was
inclined “to expatiate rather too strongly upon the benefits derived to
their country from the Union.”[54] “‘We have taught you,’ said he, ‘and
we’ll do the same in time to all barbarous nations, to the Cherokees,
and at last to the Ouran-Outangs,’ laughing with as much glee as if
Monboddo had been present. BOSWELL. ‘We had wine before the Union.’
JOHNSON. ‘No, Sir; you had some weak stuff, the refuse of France, which
would not make you drunk.’ BOSWELL. ‘I assure you, Sir, there was a
great deal of drunkenness.’ JOHNSON. ‘No, Sir; there were people who
died of dropsies, which they contracted in trying to get drunk.’”[55]


Such pleasantry as this could hardly have given offence to anyone
into whose skull a jest could penetrate by any operation short of a
surgical one. But it was a very different matter when the spoken jest
passed into a serious expression of opinion in print. All the theoretic
philosophy of which Scotland justly boasts was hardly sufficient to
support with patience such a passage as the following: “Till the
Union made the Scots acquainted with English manners the culture of
their lands was unskilful, and their domestic life unformed; their
tables were coarse as the feasts of Esquimaux, and their houses filthy
as the cottages of Hottentots.”[56] His attacks on the Highlanders
would have been read with patience, if not with pleasure, in Lowland
circles. “His account of the Isles,” wrote Beattie, “is, I dare say,
very just. I never was there.”[57] These were not the “asperities” of
which that amiable poet complained. Yet they were asperities which
might have provoked an incensed Highlander to give the author “a
crack on his skull,” had he looked not to the general tenour of the
narrative, but to a few rough passages scattered up and down. M’Nicol
would surely have roused the anger of his countrymen to a fiercer
heat had he forborne to falsify Johnson’s words, and strung together
instead a row of his sarcastic sayings. The offensive passages are
not indeed numerous, but out of such a collection as the following
irritation enough might have been provided: “the genuine improvidence
of savages;”[58] “a muddy mixture of pride and ignorance;”[59] “the
chiefs gradually degenerating from patriarchal rulers to rapacious
landlords;”[60] “the animating rabble”[61] by which of old a chief was
attended; “the rude speech of a barbarous people;”[62] “the laxity of
their conversation, by which the inquirer, by a kind of intellectual
retrogradation, knows less as he hears more;”[63] “the Caledonian
bigotry” which helps “an inaccurate auditor” to believe in the
genuineness of Ossian.[64]

To the sarcasms which had their foundation in Johnson’s dislike of
Presbyterianism Lowlanders and Highlanders were equally exposed. On
Knox and “the ruffians of reformation”[65] he has no mercy. It is true
that he maintains that “we read with as little emotion the violence of
Knox and his followers as the irruptions of Alaric and the Goths.”[66]
But how deeply he was moved Boswell shows, where he describes him among
the ruins of the once glorious magnificence of St. Andrews. “I happened
to ask where John Knox was buried. Dr. Johnson burst out, ‘I hope in
the high-way. I have been looking at his reformations.’”[67] The sight
of the ruined houses of prayer in Skye drew from him the assertion that
“the malignant influence of Calvinism has blasted ceremony and decency
together.”[68] In another passage he describes the ancient “epidemical
enthusiasm compounded of sullen scrupulousness and warlike ferocity,
which, in a people whom idleness resigned to their own thoughts, was
long transmitted in its full strength from the old to the young.”[69]
Even for this inveterate ill a cure had at length been found. “By trade
and intercourse with England it is visibly abating.”


By the passages in which he described the bareness of the eastern
coast the most irritation was caused. The very hedges were of stone,
and not a tree was to be seen that was not younger than himself. “A
tree might be a show in Scotland as a horse in Venice.”[70] For this
he was handled as roughly as Joseph’s brethren. He was little better
than a spy who had come to see the nakedness of the land. The Scotchmen
of that day could not know, as we know now, that “he treated Scotland
no worse than he did even his best friends, whose characters he used
to give as they appeared to him both in light and shade. ‘He was
fond of discrimination,’ said Sir Joshua Reynolds, ‘which he could
not show without pointing out the bad as well as the good in every
character.’”[71] If in his narrative he has not spared the shade, every
fair-minded reader must allow that he has not been sparing of the
light. John Wesley, who had often travelled over the same ground as far
as Inverness, on May 18, 1776, recorded in his Journal at Aberdeen:
“I read over Dr. Johnson’s _Tour to the Western Isles_. It is a very
curious book, wrote with admirable sense, and, I think, great fidelity;
although in some respects he is thought to bear hard on the nation,
which I am satisfied he never intended.”[72]


That Johnson was not careless of the good opinion of the Scotch is
shown by his eagerness to learn what Boswell had to tell him about
the book. “Let me know as fast as you read it how you like it; and
let me know if any mistake is committed, or anything important left
out.”[73] A week later he wrote: “I long to hear how you like the
book; it is, I think, much liked here.” The modesty of the closing
passage of his narrative should have done something towards disarming
criticism. “Having passed my time almost wholly in cities, I may
have been surprised by modes of life and appearances of nature that
are familiar to men of wider survey and more varied conversation.
Novelty and ignorance must always be reciprocal, and I cannot but be
conscious that my thoughts on national manners are the thoughts of
one who has seen but little.”[74] The compliment which he paid to the
society of the capital must surely have won some hearts. “I passed
some days in Edinburgh,” he wrote, “with men of learning whose names
want no advancement from my commemoration, or with women of elegance,
which perhaps disclaims a pedant’s praise.”[75] He never lets slip
an opportunity of gracefully acknowledging civilities and acts of
kindness, or of celebrating worth and learning. As he closed his
book, so he had opened it with a well-turned compliment. It was, he
said, Boswell’s “acuteness and gaiety of conversation and civility of
manners which induced him to undertake the journey.”[76] He praises
the kindness with which he was gratified by the professors of St.
Andrews, and “the elegance of lettered hospitality” with which he was
entertained.[77] At Aberdeen the same grateful heart is seen. Among
the professors he found one whom he had known twenty years earlier in
London. “Such unexpected renewals of acquaintance may be numbered among
the most pleasing incidents of life. The knowledge of one professor
soon procured me the notice of the rest, and I did not want any token
of regard.”[78] He had the freedom of the city conferred upon him. In
acknowledging the honour he compliments the town at the expense of
England, by mentioning a circumstance which, he says, “I am afraid I
should not have had to say of any city south of the Tweed; I found no
petty officer bowing for a fee.”[79] With Lord Monboddo he was never
on friendly terms. “I knew that they did not love each other,” writes
Boswell, with a studied softness of expression. Yet Johnson in his
narrative praises “the magnetism of his conversation.”[80] With Lord
Auchinleck he had that violent altercation which the unfortunate piety
of the son forbade the biographer to exhibit for the entertainment of
the public. Nevertheless, he only mentions his antagonist to compliment
him.[81] If he attacked Presbyterianism, yet to the Presbyterian
ministers in the Hebrides he was unsparing of his praise. He celebrates
their learning, which was the more admirable as they were men “who had
no motive to study but generous curiosity or desire of usefulness.”[82]
However much he differed from “the learned Mr. Macqueen” about Ossian,
yet he admits that “his knowledge and politeness give him a title
equally to kindness and respect.”[83] With the aged minister of Col he
had a wrangle over Bayle, and Clarke, and Leibnitz. “Had he been softer
with this venerable old man,” writes Boswell, “we might have had more
conversation.”[84] This rebuke Johnson read in Boswell’s manuscript.
The amends which he makes is surely ample. He describes the minister’s
“look of venerable dignity, excelling what I remember in any other man.
I lost some of his goodwill by treating a heretical writer with more
regard than in his opinion a heretic could deserve. I honoured his
orthodoxy, and did not much censure his asperity. A man who has settled
his opinions does not love to have the tranquillity of his conviction
disturbed; and at seventy-seven it is time to be in earnest.”[85]

[Illustration: [A]]

[A] See Appendix. [Transcriber’s note: The illustration is of the
letter which is transcribed in Appendix A.]


The people he praises no less than their ministers. “Civility,” he
says, “seems part of the national character of Highlanders. Every
chieftain is a monarch, and politeness, the natural product of royal
government, is diffused from the Laird through the whole clan.”[86]
He describes the daughter of the man who kept the hut in Glenmorison,
where he passed a night. “Her conversation like her appearance was
gentle and pleasing. We knew that the girls of the Highlanders are all
gentlewomen, and treated her with great respect, which she received
as customary and due.”[87] He praises the general hospitality.
“Wherever there is a house the stranger finds a welcome. If his good
fortune brings him to the residence of a gentleman he will be glad
of a storm to prolong his stay.”[88] How graceful is the compliment
which he pays to Macleod of Rasay! “Rasay has little that can detain
a traveller except the Laird and his family; but their power wants no
auxiliaries. Such a seat of hospitality amidst the winds and waters
fills the imagination with a delightful contrariety of images. Without
is the rough ocean and the rocky land, the beating billows and the
howling storm; within is plenty and elegance, beauty and gaiety, the
song and the dance. In Rasay if I could have found a Ulysses I had
fancied a Phæacia.”[89] To the other branch of the Macleods he is no
less complimentary. “At Dunvegan I had tasted lotus,” he wrote, “and
was in danger of forgetting that I was ever to depart.”[90] He met
Flora Macdonald, and does not let the occasion pass to pay her a high
compliment. “Hers is a name that will be mentioned in history, and,
if courage and fidelity be virtues, mentioned with honour.”[91] In
fact, he rarely introduces in his narrative any living person but in
way of compliment or acknowledgment. “He speaks ill of nobody but
Ossian,” said Lord Mansfield, Scotchman though he was.[92] “There
has been of late,” he once said, “a strange turn in travellers to be
displeased.”[93] There was no such turn in him. From the beginning to
the end of his narrative, there is not a single grumble. In Mull last
summer I had the pleasure of meeting an old general, a Highlander, who
had seen a great deal of rough service in the East Indies. Someone
in the company let drop an unfavourable remark on Johnson. “I lately
read his _Journey_,” the general replied, “and when I thought of his
age, his weak health, and the rudeness of the accommodation in those
old days, I was astonished at finding that he never complained.”
In his food he had a relish for what was nice and delicate. Yet
he records that “he only twice found any reason to complain of a
Scottish table. He that shall complain of his fare in the Hebrides has
improved his delicacy more than his manhood.”[94] “If an epicure,”
he says in another passage, “could remove by a wish in quest of
sensual gratifications, wherever he had supped he would breakfast in
Scotland.”[95] Boswell, we read, “was made uneasy and almost fretful”
by their bad accommodation in the miserable inn at Glenelg. “Dr.
Johnson was calm. I said he was so from vanity. JOHNSON. ‘No, Sir,
it is from philosophy.’”[96] The same philosophy accompanied him not
only through his journey, but through his letters and his narrative.
Nearly five weeks after he had left Edinburgh he wrote to Mrs. Thrale:
“The hill Rattiken and the inn at Glenelg were the only things of
which we or travellers yet more delicate could find any pretensions to
complain.”[97] Yet he was by no means free from bodily troubles, as his
letters show. He was “miserably deaf,” he wrote at one time, and was
still suffering from the remains of inflammation in the eye, he wrote
at another time. His nerves seemed to be growing weaker. The climate,
he thought, “perhaps not within his degree of healthy latitude.”[98]
The climate, indeed, had been at its worst. In all September he had
only one day and a half of fair weather, and in October perhaps not
more.[99] Kept indoors as he was by the rain, he often suffered under
the additional discomfort of bad accommodation. Two nights he passed
in wretched huts; one in a barn; two in the miserable cabin of a small
trading-ship; one in a room where the floor was mire. Even in some of
the better houses he had not always a chamber to himself at night,
while in the daytime privacy and quiet were not to be enjoyed. At
Corrichatachin, where he twice made a stay, “we had,” writes Boswell,
“no rooms that we could command; for the good people had no notion that
a man could have any occasion but for a mere sleeping place; so, during
the day, the bed-chambers were common to all the house. Servants eat in
Dr. Johnson’s, and mine was a kind of general rendezvous of all under
the roof, children and dogs not excepted.”[100]

He not only passes over in silence the weariness and discomforts of
his tour, but he understates the risks which he ran. On that dark and
stormy October night, when the frail vessel in which he had embarked
was driven far out of its course to Col, he was in great danger.
“‘Thank God, we are safe!’ cried the young Laird, as at last they spied
the harbour of Lochiern.”[101] This scene of peril, of which Boswell
gives a spirited description, is dismissed by Johnson in his letter to
Mrs. Thrale in a few words: “A violent gust, which Bos. had a great
mind to call a tempest, forced us into Col, an obscure island.”[102] In
his narrative, if he makes a little more of it, he does so, it seems,
only for the sake of paying a compliment to the seamanship of Maclean
of Col.[103] It was this stormy night, especially, that was in Sir
Walter Scott’s mind when he described “the whole expedition as being
highly perilous, considering the season of the year, the precarious
chance of getting seaworthy boats, and the ignorance of the Hebrideans,
who are very careless and unskilful sailors.”[104]

If votive offerings have been made to the God of storms by those who
have escaped the perils of the deep, surely some tall column might well
be raised on the entrance to Lochiern by the gratitude of the readers
of the immortal _Life_. Had the ship been overwhelmed, not only the
hero, but his biographer, would have perished. One more great man would
have been added to the sad long list of those of whom the poet sang:

        “Omnes illacrimabiles
    Urguentur, ignotique longa
    Nocte, carent quia vate sacro.”

    “In endless night they sleep unwept, unknown,
    No bard had they to make all time their own.”[105]

By the men of Johnson’s time the journey was looked upon as one of
real adventure. When Boswell visited Voltaire at Ferney, and mentioned
their design of taking this tour, “he looked at him as if he had
talked of going to the North Pole, and said, ‘You do not insist on
my accompanying you?’ ‘No, Sir.’ ‘Then I am very willing you should
go.’”[106] Dr. Percy, of the _Reliques_, wrote from Alnwick Castle that
a gentleman who had lately returned from the Hebrides, had told him
that the two travellers were detained prisoners in Skye, their return
having been intercepted by the torrents. “Sir Alexander Macdonald and
his lady,” Percy adds, “at whose house our friend Johnson is a captive,
had made their escape before the floods cut off their retreat; so that
possibly we may not see our friend till next summer releases him.”[107]
A Glasgow newspaper gave much the same report, but attributed his delay
to the danger of crossing in the late autumn “such a stormy surge in a
small boat.”[108] On the Island of Col they were indeed storm-bound for
eleven days. “On the travellers’ return to Edinburgh,” writes Boswell,
“everybody had accosted us with some studied compliment. Dr. Johnson
said, ‘I am really ashamed of the congratulations which we receive. We
are addressed as if we had made a voyage to Nova Zembla, and suffered
five persecutions in Japan.’”[109] Dr. Robertson “had advanced to him
repeating a line of Virgil, which I forget,” Boswell adds. “I suppose

    _Post varios casus, per tot discrimina rerum,_[110]


    —_multum ille et terris jactatus et alto._[111]

Johnson afterwards remarked that to see a man come up with a formal
air and a Latin line, when we had no fatigue and no danger, was
provoking.” Of exaggeration he had always a strong hatred, and would
not allow it in his own case any more than in another’s. He had
undergone great fatigue, and he had been in real danger, but of both
he made light. [Sidenote: JOHNSON’S DELIGHT IN HIS TOUR.] It was in
high spirits that he returned home after his tour of a hundred days.
“I came home last night,” he wrote to Boswell, “and am ready to begin
a new journey.”[112] He had fulfilled his long-cherished wish, and no
wonder his spirits were high. His father, the old Lichfield bookseller,
had put into his hands when he was very young Martin’s _Description
of the Western Islands_, and had thus roused his youthful fancy.[113]
His longing to visit the wild scenes of which he had read in his
childhood would in all likelihood have remained ungratified, had it
not been for Boswell. He had known that lively young gentleman but a
very few weeks, when, over supper “in a private room at the Turk’s
Head Coffee-house in the Strand,” he promised to accompany him to the
Hebrides.[114] Ten years elapsed before the promise was fulfilled. “I
cannot but laugh,” he said at Armidale in Skye, “to think of myself
roving among the Hebrides at sixty.[115] I wonder where I shall rove
at four-score.”[116] To Mrs. Thrale soon after his birthday he wrote:
“You remember the Doge of Genoa, who being asked what struck him most
at the French Court, answered, ‘Myself.’ I cannot think many things
here more likely to affect the fancy, than to see Johnson ending his
sixty-fourth year in the wilderness of the Hebrides.”[117] “Little
did I once think,” he wrote another day, “of seeing this region of
obscurity, and little did you once expect a salutation from this
verge of European life. I have now the pleasure of going where nobody
goes, and seeing what nobody sees.”[118] So close to this verge did
Mrs. Thrale suppose he was, that she thought that he was in sight of
Iceland.[119] She and his friends of the Mitre or the Literary Club
would have been astonished could they have seen him that night in Col
when “he strutted about the room with a broad-sword and target,” and
that other night when Boswell “put a large blue bonnet on the top of
his bushy grey wig.”[120]

[Illustration: ARMIDALE.]

The motives which led him on his adventurous journey were not those
which every summer and autumn bring travellers in swarms, not only
from England, but from the mainland of Europe, from across the wide
Atlantic, from India, from Southern Africa, from Australia and New
Zealand to these Highlands of poetry and romance. “I got,” he said, “an
acquisition of more ideas by my tour than by anything that I remember.
I saw quite a different system of life.”[121] It was life, not scenery,
which he went to study. On his return to the south of Scotland he was
asked “how he liked the Highlands. The question seemed to irritate him,
for he answered, ‘How, Sir, can you ask me what obliges me to speak
unfavourably of a country where I have been hospitably entertained?
Who _can_ like the Highlands? I like the inhabitants very well.’”[122]
The love of wild scenery was in truth only beginning as his life was
drawing to its close. “It is but of late,” wrote Pennant in 1772, “that
the North Britons became sensible of the beauties of their country;
but their search is at present amply rewarded. Very lately a cataract
of uncommon height was discovered on the Bruar.”[123] Fifteen years
later Burns, in his _Humble Petition of Bruar Water_, shows that the
discovery had been followed up:

    “Here haply too at vernal dawn
      Some musing Bard may stray,
    And eye the smoking dewy lawn
      And misty mountain grey.”


But in the year 1773 Johnson could say without much, if indeed any
exaggeration, that “to the southern inhabitants of Scotland the state
of the mountains and the islands is equally unknown with that of
Borneo and Sumatra; of both they have only heard a little and guess
the rest.”[124] Staffa had been just discovered by Sir Joseph Banks.
It seems almost passing belief, but yet it is strictly true, that
Staffa—Staffa, as one of the wonders of creation—was unknown till
the eve of Johnson’s visit to the Hebrides. The neighbouring islanders
of course had seen it, but had seen it without curiosity or emotion.
They were like the impassive Frenchman who lived in Paris throughout
the whole of the Reign of Terror, and did not notice that anything
remarkable went on. It was on August 12, 1772, a day which should for
ever be famous in the annals of discovery, that Banks coming to anchor
in the Sound of Mull, “was asked ashore” by Mr. Macleane of Drumnen.
At his house he met with one Mr. Leach, an English gentleman, who told
him that at the distance of about nine leagues lay an island, unvisited
even by the Highlanders, with pillars on it like those of the Giant’s

[Illustration: STAFFA


No yachtsman as yet threaded his way through the almost countless
islets of our western seas; the only sails as yet reflected on the
unruffled surface of the land-locked firths were the fisher’s and
the trader’s. For the sea as yet love was neither felt nor affected.
There was no gladness in its dark-blue waters. Fifteen years were to
pass before Byron was born—the first of our poets, it has been said,
who sang the delights of sailing. A ship was still “a jail, with the
chance of being drowned.”[126] No Southerner went to the Highlands to
hunt, or shoot, or fish. No one sought there a purer air. It was after
Johnson’s tour that an English writer urged the citizens of Edinburgh
to plant trees in the neighbourhood of their town because “the increase
of vegetation would purify the air, and dispel those putrid and noxious
vapours which are frequently wafted from the Highlands.”[127] It was
on an early day of August, in a finer season than had been known
for years, that Wolfe, the hero of Quebec, complained that neither
temperance nor exercise could preserve him in any tolerable health
in the unfriendly climate of Loch Lomond.[128] Of all the changes
which have come over our country, perhaps none was more unforeseen
than the growth of this passion for the Highlands and the Hebrides.
Could Johnson have learnt from some one gifted with prophetic power
that there were passages in his narrative which would move the men
of the coming century to scoff, it was not his references to scenery
which would have roused his suspicion. I have heard a Scotchman laugh
uproariously over his description of a mountain as “a considerable
protuberance.” He did not know however where the passage came, and he
admitted that, absurd as it was, it was not quite so ridiculous when
taken with the context. “Another mountain,” said Boswell, “I called
immense. ‘No,’ replied Johnson, ‘it is no more than a considerable
protuberance.’”[129] It was his hatred of exaggeration and love of
accurate language which provoked the correction—the same hatred and
the same love which led him at college to check his comrades if they
called a thing “prodigious.”[130] But to us, nursed as we have been and
our fathers before us in a romantic school, the language of Johnson and
of his contemporaries about the wild scenes of nature never fails to
rouse our astonishment and our mirth. Were they to come back to earth,
I do not know but that at our extravagancies of admiration and style,
our affectations in the tawdry art of “word-painting,” and at our
preference of barren mountains to the meadow-lands, and corn-fields,
and woods, and orchards, and quiet streams of southern England, their
strong and manly common sense might not fairly raise a still heartier


The ordinary reader is apt to attribute to an insensibility to beauty
in Johnson what, to a great extent, was common to most of the men of
his time. It is true that for the beauties of nature, whether wild
or tame, his perception was by no means quick. Nevertheless, we find
his indifference to barren scenery largely shared in by men of poetic
temperament. Even Gray, who looked with a poet’s eye on the crags and
cliffs and torrents by which his path wound along as he went up to the
Grande Chartreuse, yet, early in September, when the heather would be
all in bloom, writes of crossing in Perthshire “a wide and dismal heath
fit for an assembly of witches.”[131] Wherever he wandered he loved to
find the traces of men. It was not desolation, but the earth as the
beautiful home of man that moved him and his fellows. _Mentem mortalia
tangunt._ He found the Apennines not so horrid as the Alps, because
not only the valleys but even the mountains themselves were many of
them cultivated within a little of their very tops.[132] The fifth
Earl of Carlisle, a poet though not a Gray, in August, 1768, hurried
faster even than the post across the Tyrol from Verona to Mannheim,
“because there was nothing but rest that was worth stopping one moment
for.” The sameness of the scenery was wearisome to his lordship, “large
rocky mountains, covered with fir-trees; a rapid river in the valley;
the road made like a shelf on the side of the hill.” He rejoiced
when he took his leave of the Alps, and came upon “fields very well
cultivated, valleys with rich verdure, and little woods which almost
persuaded him he was in England.”[133]

[Illustration: LOCH NESS, NEAR FOYERS.]

There is a passage in Camden’s description of Argyleshire in which we
find feelings expressed which for the next two centuries were very
generally entertained. “Along the shore,” he writes, “the country
is more unpleasant in sight, what with rocks and what with blackish
barren mountains.”[134] One hundred and fifty years after this was
written, an Englishman, describing in 1740 the beautiful road which
runs along the south-eastern shore of Loch Ness, calls the rugged
mountains “those hideous productions of nature.”[135] He pictures to
himself the terror which would come upon the Southerner who “should be
brought blindfold into some narrow rocky hollow, inclosed with these
horrid prospects, and there should have his bandage taken off. He would
be ready to die with fear, as thinking it impossible he should ever
get out to return to his native country.”[136] This account was very
likely read by Johnson, for it was published in London only nineteen
years before he made his tour. In the narrative of a Volunteer in the
Duke of Cumberland’s army, we find the same gloom cast by mountain
scenery on the spirits of Englishmen. The soldiers who were encamped
near Loch Ness fell sick daily in their minds as well as in their
bodies from nothing but the sadness produced by the sight of the black
barren mountains covered with snow, with streams of water rolling down
them. To divert their melancholy, which threatened to develop even into
hypochondriacal madness, races were held. It was with great joy that
the volunteer at last “turned his back upon these hideous mountains and
the noisy ding of the great falls of waters.”[137]

Even the dales of Cumberland struck strangers with awe. Six months
before Wordsworth was born, Gray wandered up Borrowdale to the point
where now the long train of tourist-laden coaches day after day in
summer turns to the right towards Honister Pass and Buttermere. “All
farther access,” he wrote, “is here barred to prying mortals, only
there is a little path winding over the Fells, and for some weeks in
the year passable to the Dale’s-men; but the mountains know well that
these innocent people will not reveal the mysteries of their ancient
kingdom, the reign of Chaos and Old Night.”[138]

A few days after Johnson had arrived in Scotland, Mason, the poet,
visited Keswick. Many of the woods which had charmed his friend Gray
had been since cut down, and a dry season had reduced the cascade to
scanty rills. “With the frightful and surprising only,” he wrote, “I
cannot be pleased.”[139] He and his companion climbed to the summit
of Skiddaw, where, just as if they were on the top of the Matterhorn,
they found that “respiration seemed to be performed with a kind of
asthmatic oppression.”[140] To John Wesley, a traveller such as few men
have ever been, wild scenery was no more pleasing than to the man who
wandered for the first time. Those “horrid mountains” he twice calls
the fine ranges of hills in the North Riding of Yorkshire, whose waters
feed the Swale and the Tees, though it was in summer-time that he was
travelling.[141] To Pennant Glencroe was “the seat of melancholy.”[142]
Beattie, Burns’s “sweet harmonious Beattie,” finds the same sadness
in the mountains:


    “The Highlands of Scotland” (he writes) “are a picturesque, but
    in general a melancholy country. Long tracts of mountainous
    desert, covered with dark heath, and often obscured by
    misty weather; narrow valleys, thinly inhabited and bounded
    by precipices resounding with the fall of torrents; a soil
    so rugged, and a climate so dreary, as in many parts to
    admit neither the amusements of pasturage nor the labours of
    agriculture; the mournful dashing of waves along the friths and
    lakes that intersect the country; the portentous noises which
    every change of the wind, and every increase and diminution of
    the waters, is apt to raise in a lonely region full of echoes,
    and rocks, and caverns; the grotesque and ghastly appearance
    of such a landscape by the light of the moon—objects like
    these diffuse a gloom over the fancy which may be compatible
    enough with occasional and social merriment, but cannot fail to
    tincture the thoughts of a native in the hour of silence and

[Illustration: LOCH NESS


The French writer, Faujas de Saint Fond, who visited the Highlands
about the year 1780, was touched with the same unromantic gloom.
When on his way from the barren mountains of the north he reached
the fertile southern shore of Loch Tay, and caught the first glimpse
of the change to happier climes, his soul experienced as sweet a
joy as is given by the first breath of spring. He had escaped from
a land where winter seemed eternally to reign, where all was wild,
and barren, and sad.[144] Even Macleod of Macleod, the proprietor of
nine inhabited isles and of islands uninhabited almost beyond number,
who held four times as much land as the Duke of Bedford, even that
“mighty monarch,” as Johnson called him,[145] looked upon life in his
castle at Dunvegan as “confinement in a remote corner of the world,”
and upon the Western Islands as “dreary regions.”[146] Slight, then,
must have been the shock which Johnson gave even to the poets among
his fellows, when on “a delightful day” in April, he set Fleet Street
with its “cheerful scene” above Tempé, and far above Mull.[147] To the
men of his time rocks would have “towered in horrid nakedness,”[148]
and “wandering in Skye” would have seemed “a toilsome drudgery.”[149]
Nature there would have looked “naked,” and these poverty-stricken
regions “malignant.”[150] Few would have been “the allurements of
these islands,” for “desolation and penury” would have given as
“little pleasure” to them as it did to him.[151] In Glencroe they
would have found “a black and dreary region,”[152] and in Mull “a
gloomy desolation.”[153] Everywhere “they would have been repelled by
the wide extent of hopeless sterility,”[154] and everywhere fatigued
by the want of “variety in universal barrenness.”[155] In the midst
of such scenes, as the autumn day was darkening to its close, they
would have allowed that, “when there is a guide whose conduct may be
trusted, a mind not naturally too much disposed to fear, may preserve
some degree of cheerfulness; but what,” they would have asked, “must
be the solicitude of him who should be wandering among the crags
and hollows benighted, ignorant, and alone?”[156] Upon the islets
on Loch Lomond they would have longed “to employ all the arts of
embellishment,” so that these little spots should no longer “court the
gazer at a distance, but disgust him at his approach, when he finds
instead of soft lawns and shady thickets nothing more than uncultivated
ruggedness.”[157] Everywhere they would have regretted the want of the
arts and civilization and refinements of modern life.


Had Johnson been treated more kindly by the weather, doubtless the
gloom of the landscape would have been less reflected upon his pages.
Fifty-eight days of rain to three days of clear skies would have been
sufficient to depress even the wildest worshipper of rude nature. In
the eleven days in which he was kept prisoner by storms in Col, he had
“no succession of sunshine to rain, or of calms to tempests; wind and
rain were the only weather.”[158] When the sun did shine he lets us
catch a little of its cheerful light. His first day’s Highland journey
took him along the shore of Loch Ness in weather that was bright,
though not hot. “The way was very pleasant; on the left were high
and steep rocks, shaded with birch, and covered with fern or heath.
On the right the limpid waters of Loch Ness were beating their bank,
and waving their surface by a gentle undulation.”[159] The morrow was
equally fine. How prettily he has described his rest in the valley on
the bank, where he first thought of writing the story of his tour,
“with a clear rivulet streaming at his feet. The day was calm, the
air was soft, and all was rudeness, silence and solitude.”[160] Very
different would have been the tale which he told had he travelled in
the days of fast and commodious steamboats, good roads and carriages,
comfortable inns, post-offices, telegraphs, and shops. He would not
have seen a different system of life, or got an acquisition of ideas,
but he might have found patience, and even promptings for descriptions
of the beauties of rugged nature. “In an age when every London
citizen makes Loch Lomond his wash-pot, and throws his shoe over Ben
Nevis,”[161] the old man may easily be mocked, for his indifference to
scenery. But the elderly traveller of our times, who whirled along “in
a well-appointed four-horse coach,” indicates the beauties of nature
to his companions, and utters exclamations of delight, as from time
to time he takes his cigar from his lips, might have felt as little
enthusiasm as Johnson, had he had, like him, to cross Skye and Mull on
horseback, by paths so narrow that each rider had to go singly, and so
craggy that constant care was required.

[Illustration: LOCH LOMOND.]

The scenery in which he took most delight was the park-lands of
southern and midland England.

    “Where lawns extend that scorn Arcadian pride,
    And brighter streams than fam’d Hydaspes glide.
    There all around the gentlest breezes stray,
    There gentle music melts on every spray;
    Creation’s mildest charms are there combin’d,
    Extremes are only in the master’s mind.”[162]

“Sweet Auburn” would have been dearer to him than all the wilds of the
Highlands. But Auburn scenery he did not find even in the Lowlands. Had
Goldsmith passed his life in Ayrshire or even in “pleasant Teviotdale,”
the _Deserted Village_ would never have been written. Burns had never
seen an Auburn, nor even that simpler rural beauty which was so dear to
Wordsworth. No “lovely cottage in the guardian nook” had “stirred him
deeply.” He knew nothing of the sacredness of

    “The roses to the porch which they entwine.”[163]

In Scotland was seen the reverse of the picture in which Goldsmith had
painted Italy.

    “In florid beauty groves and fields appear,
    Man seems the only growth that dwindles here.”[164]


In Scotland man was nourished to the most stubborn strength of
character, but beauty was the growth that dwindled. In the hard
struggle for bare living, and in the gloom of a religion which gave
strength but crushed loveliness, no man thought of adorning his home as
if it had been his bride. Wordsworth compared the manses in Scotland
with the parsonages, even the poor parsonages in England, and said that
neither they nor their gardens and grounds had the same “attractive
appearance.”[165] The English country-house, with its lawns, its
gardens, and its groves, which adds such a singular charm to our
landscape, had not its counterpart on the other side of the border.
Elderly men could still recall the day when the approach to the laird’s
dwelling led past the stable and the cow-house, when the dunghill
was heaped up close to the hall-door, and when, instead of lawns and
beds of flowers, all around grew a plentiful crop of nettles, docks,
and hemlocks.[166] Some improvement had been already made. A taste
had happily begun for “neat houses and ornamental fields,” and to the
hopeful patriot there was “the pleasing prospect that Scotland might in
a century or sooner compare with England, not indeed in magnificence of
country-seats, but in sweetness and variety of concordant parts.”[167]
Even at that time it supplied England with its best gardeners,[168] and
nevertheless it was a country singularly bare of gardens. “Pray, now,
are you ever able to bring the _sloe_ to perfection?” asked Johnson
of Boswell.[169] So far was nature from being adorned that she had
been everywhere stripped naked. Woods had been cut down, not even had
groups of trees been spared, no solitary oak or elm with its grateful
shade stood in the middle of the field or in the hedge-row; hedge-rows
there were none. The pleasantness of the prospect had been everywhere
sacrificed to the productiveness of the field. The beautiful English
landscape was gone. “The striking characteristic in the views of
Scotland,” said an observant traveller, “is a poverty of landscape from
a want of objects, particularly of wood. Park scenery is little known.
The lawn, the clump, and the winding walk are rarely found.”[170] As he
crossed the border he might have said with Johnson: “It is only seeing
a worse England. It is seeing the flower gradually fade away to the
naked stalk.”[171] “Every part of the country,” wrote Goldsmith from
Edinburgh in his student days, “presents the same dismal landscape. No
grove nor brook lend their music to cheer the stranger, or make the
inhabitants forget their poverty.”[172] There was none of “the bloomy
flush of life.” The whole country was open, and resembled one vast
common with a few scattered improvements.[173] Along the western road
from Longworth to Dumfries it exhibited “a picture of dreary solitude,
of smoky hovels, naked, ill-cultivated fields, lean cattle and a
dejected people, without manufactures, trade or shipping.”[174]

The eastern coast, along which Johnson travelled, was singularly bare
of trees. He had not, he said, passed five on the road fit for the
carpenter.[175] The first forest trees of full growth which he saw
were in the north of Aberdeenshire.[176] “This is a day of novelties,”
he said on the morrow. “I have seen old trees in Scotland, and I have
heard the English clergy treated with disrespect.”[177] Topham, while
attacking his _Journey to the Western Isles_, yet admitted that it was
only in the parks of a few noblemen that oaks were found fifty years
old.[178] Lord Jeffrey maintained so late as 1833 that within a circle
of twenty miles from Watford there was more old timber than in all
Scotland.[179] Burns, in his _Humble Petition of Bruar Water to the
Duke of Athole_, testifies to the want of trees:—

    “Would then my noble master please
      To grant my highest wishes,
    He’ll shade my banks wi’ tow’ring trees,
      And bonnie spreading bushes.”

There were, of course, noble trees scattered throughout the country.
Gray describes “the four chestnuts of vast bulk and height in Lord
Breadalbane’s park,”[180] and Pennant, “the venerable oaks, the vast
chestnuts, the ash trees, and others of ancient growth, that gave
solemnity to the scene at Finlarig Castle.”[181] A love of planting,
which began about the time of the Union, was gradually extending. Defoe
noticed the young groves round the gentlemen’s houses in the Lothians,
and foretold, that in a few years Scotland would not need to send to
Norway for timber and deal.[182] The reviewer of Pennant’s _Tour_ in
the _Scots Magazine_ for January, 1772, rejoiced to find that the
spirit of planting was so generally diffused, and looked forward to the
advantages arising from it, which would be enjoyed by posterity.[183]
Sir Walter Scott defended Johnson against the abuse which had unjustly
been cast on him. The east coast, if the young plantations were
excepted, was as destitute of wood as he had described it.[184] Nay, to
his sarcasms he greatly ascribed that love of planting which had almost
become a passion.[185] It was not for nothing, then, that Johnson had
joked over the loss of his walking-stick in Mull, and had refused to
believe that any man in that island who had got it would part with it.
“Consider, Sir, the value of such a piece of timber there.”[186]


The modern traveller who, as he passes through the Lothians or
Aberdeenshire, looks with admiration on farming in its perfection,
would learn with astonishment how backward Scotch agriculture was
little more than one hundred years ago. While in England men of high
rank and strong minds were ambitious of shining in the characters
of farmers, in Scotland it was looked upon as a pursuit far beneath
the attention of a gentleman. Neither by the learned had it been
made a study.[187] There were those who attributed this general
backwardness to the soil and climate; but it was due, said Lord Kames,
“to the indolence of the landholders, the obstinate indocility of the
peasantry, and the stupid attachment of both classes to ancient habits
and practices.”[188] The liberal intercourse between the two countries,
which was an unexpected result of the Rebellion of 1745, greatly
quickened the rate of improvement.

    “Before that time the people of Northumberland and the
    Merse, who spoke dialects of the same language, and were
    only separated by a river, had little more intercourse than
    those of Kent and Normandy. After the Rebellion a number of
    noblemen and gentlemen amused themselves with farming in the
    English style. The late Lord Eglinton spared no expense in
    getting English servants. He showed his countrymen what might
    be done by high cultivation. Mr. Drummond, of Blair, sent
    over one of his ploughmen to learn drill husbandry, and the
    culture of turnips from Lord Eglinton’s English servants.
    The very next year he raised a field of turnips, which were
    the first in the country. And they were as neatly dressed as
    any in Hertfordshire. A single horse ploughing the drills
    astonished the country people, who, till then, had never seen
    fewer than four yoked. About the year 1771 our tenants were
    well-disposed to the culture of turnips. They begin to have an
    idea of property in winter as well as in summer; nor is it any
    longer thought bad neighbourhood to drive off cattle that are
    trespassing upon their winter crops.”[189]

The young Laird of Col, just before Johnson’s visit, had gone to
Hertfordshire to study farming, and had brought back “the culture of
turnips. His intention is to provide food for his cattle in the winter.
This innovation was considered by Mr. Macsweyn as the idle project of
a young head heated with English fancies; but he has now found that
turnips will grow, and that hungry sheep and cows will really eat
them.”[190] Yet progress was not so rapid but that Adam Smith held that
a better system could only be introduced “by a long course of frugality
and industry; half a century or a century more perhaps must pass away
before the old system which is wearing out gradually can be completely

The cultivation of vegetables for the table and of fruits was also
taking a start, though much remained to be done. When Johnson was
informed at Aberdeen that Cromwell’s soldiers had taught the Scotch
to raise cabbages, he remarked, that “in the passage through villages
it seems to him that surveys their gardens, that when they had not
cabbage they had nothing.”[192] Pennant, however, the year before, in
riding from Arbroath to Montrose, had passed by “extensive fields of
potatoes—a novelty till within the last twenty years.”[193] It was
not till Johnson had travelled beyond Elgin that he saw houses with
fruit trees about them. “The improvements of the Scotch,” he remarks,
“are for immediate profit; they do not yet think it quite worth their
while to plant what will not produce something to be eaten or sold in
a very little time.”[194] The Scotch historian of Edinburgh complained
that “the apples which were brought to market from the neighbourhood
were unfit for the table.”[195] “Good apples are not to be seen,” wrote
Topham in his _Letters from Edinburgh_. “It was,” he said, “owing to
the little variety of fruit that the inhabitants set anything on their
tables after dinner that has the appearance of it, and I have often
observed at the houses of principal people a plate of small turnips
introduced in the dessert, and eaten with avidity.”[196] Smollett
indirectly alludes to this reflection on his native country when, in
his _Humphry Clinker_, he says that “turnips make their appearance,
not as dessert, but by way of _hors d’œuvres_, or whets.”[197] Even
in the present day, the English traveller far too often looks in vain
for the orchards and the fruit tree with its branches trained over
the house-wall. Yet great progress has been made. In Morayshire, in
the present day, peaches and apricots are seen ripening on the garden
walls. In the year 1852 an Elgin gardener carried off the first prize
of the London Horticultural Society for ten varieties of the finest
new dessert pears.[198] If Scotland can do such great things as this,
surely justification is found for the reproaches cast by Johnson on
Scottish ignorance and negligence.


So closely have the two countries in late years been drawn together by
the wonderful facilities of intercourse afforded by modern inventions,
that it is scarcely possible for us to understand the feelings of our
adventurous forefathers as they crossed the Borders. At the first step
they seemed to be in a foreign country. “The first town we come to,”
wrote Defoe, “is as perfectly Scots as if you were one hundred miles
north of Edinburgh; nor is there the least appearance of anything
English either in customs, habits, usages of the people, or in their
way of living, eating, dress, or behaviour.”[199] “The English,”
Smollett complained, “knew as little of Scotland as of Japan.”[200]
There is no reason to think that he was guilty of extravagance, when in
his _Humphry Clinker_ he makes Miss Tabitha Bramble, the sister of the
Gloucestershire squire, imagine that “she could not go to Scotland but
by sea.”[201] It is amazing to how late a day ignorance almost as gross
as this came down. It was in the year in which George II. came to the
throne that Defoe, in his preface to his _Tour through Great Britain_
wrote:—“Scotland has been supposed by some to be so contemptible a
place as that it would not bear a description.”[202] Eleven years
later, in 1738, we find it described much as if it were some lately
discovered island in the South Seas.

    “The people in general,” we read, “are naturally inclined
    to civility, especially to strangers. They are divided into
    Highlanders who call themselves the antient Scots, and into
    Lowlanders who are a mixture of antient Scots, Picts, Britons,
    French, English, Danes, Germans, Hungarians, and others.
    Buchanan describes the customs of the Highlanders graphically
    thus:—‘In their diet, apparel, and household furniture they
    follow the parsimony of the antients; they provide their diet
    by fishing and hunting, and boil their flesh in the paunch or
    skin of a beast; while they hunt they eat it raw, after having
    squeezed out the blood.’... The Western Islands (the author
    goes on to add) lie in the Deucaledonian Sea.... The natives of
    Mull when the season is moist take a large dose of aqua-vitæ
    for a corrective, and chew a piece of charmel root when they
    intend to be merry to prevent drunkenness. The natives of
    Skye have a peculiar way of curing the distempers they are
    incident to by simples of their own product, in which they are
    successful to a miracle.”[203]

Into so strange and wild a country it required a stout heart to enter.
A volunteer with the English army at the time of the Rebellion of 1745
wrote from Berwick:—“Now we are going into Scotland, but with heavy
hearts. They tell us here what terrible living we shall have there,
which I soon after found too true.”[204] How few were the Englishmen
who crossed the Tweed even so late as 1772 is shown by the hope
expressed in the _Scots Magazine_ for that year, that the publication
of Pennant’s _Tour_ would excite others to follow in his steps.[205]
Two years later Topham wrote from Edinburgh that “the common people
were astonished to find himself and his companion become stationary
in their town for a whole winter.... ‘What were we come for?’ was the
first question. ‘They presumed to study physic.’ ‘No.’ ‘To study law?’
‘No.’ ‘Then it must be divinity.’ ‘No.’ ‘Very odd,’ they said, ‘that
we should come to Edinburgh without one of these reasons.’”[206] How
ignorant the English were of Scotland is shown by the publication of
_Humphry Clinker_. The ordinary reader, as he laughs over the pages
of this most humorous of stories, never suspects that the author
in writing it had any political object in view. Yet there is not a
little truth in Horace Walpole’s bitter assertion that it is “a party
novel, written by the profligate hireling Smollett, to vindicate the
Scots, and cry down juries.”[207] It was not so much a party as a
patriotic novel. Lord Bute’s brief tenure of ignoble office as Prime
Minister and King’s Friend, the mischief which he had done to the
whole country, and the favour which he had shown to his North Britons,
a few years earlier had raised a storm against the Scotch which had
not yet subsided. “All the windows of all the inns northwards,” wrote
Smollett, “are scrawled with doggrel rhymes in abuse of the Scotch
nation.”[208] With great art he takes that fine old humorist, Matthew
Bramble, from his squire’s house in Gloucestershire on a tour to the
southern part of Scotland, and makes him and his family send to their
various correspondents lively and pleasant descriptions of all that
they saw. At the very time that he was writing his _Humphry Clinker_ a
child was born in one of the narrow Wynds of Edinburgh who was to take
up the work which he had begun, and as the mighty Wizard of the North,
as if by an enchanter’s wand, to lift up the mist which had long hung
over the land which he loved so well, and to throw over Highlands and
Lowlands alike the beauty of romance and the kindliness of feeling
which springs from the associations given by poetry and fiction.

While the English as yet knew little of Scotland, the Scotch were
not equally ignorant of England. From the days of the Union they had
pressed southwards in the pursuit of wealth, of fame, and of position.
Their migration was such that it afforded some foundation for Johnson’s
saying that “the noblest prospect which a Scotchman ever sees is the
high road that leads him to England.”[209] England was swiftly moving
along the road to Empire, sometimes with silent foot, sometimes with
the tramp of war. In America and in the East Indies her boundaries
were year by year pushed farther and farther on. Her agriculture, her
manufactures, her trade and her commerce were advancing by leaps and
bounds. There was a great stir of life and energy. Into such a world
the young Scotchmen entered with no slight advantages. In their common
schools everywhere an education was given such as in England was only
to be had in a few highly favoured spots. In their universities even
the neediest scholar had a share. The hard fare, the coarse clothing,
and the poor lodgings with which their students were contented, could
be provided by the labours of the vacation. In their homes they had
been trained in habits of thrift. They entered upon the widely
extending battle of life like highly trained soldiers, and they gained
additional force by acting together. If they came up “in droves,” it
was not one another that they butted. They exhibited when in a strange
land that “national combination” which Johnson found “so invidious,”
but which brought them to “employment, riches, and distinction.”[210]
Their thrift, and an eagerness to push on which sometimes amounted
to servility, provoked many a gibe; but if ever they found time and
inclination to turn from Johnny Home to Shakespeare they might have
replied in the words of Ferdinand:

                    “Some kinds of baseness
    Are nobly undergone, and most poor matters
    Point to rich ends.”


On the advantages of the Union to Scotland Johnson was not easily tired
of haranguing. Of the advantages to England he said nothing probably
because he saw nothing. Yet it would not be easy to tell on which side
the balance lay. Before the Union, he maintained, “the Scotch had
hardly any trade, any money, or any elegance.”[211] In his _Journey to
the Western Islands_ he tells the Scotch that “they must be for ever
content to owe to the English that elegance and culture which, if they
had been vigilant and active, perhaps the English might have owed to

Smollett, who in national prejudice did not yield even to him, has
strongly upheld the opposite opinion. In his _History_ he describes
Lord Belhaven’s speech against the Union in the last parliament which
sat in Scotland—a speech “so pathetic that it drew tears from the
audience. It is,” he adds, “at this day looked upon as a prophecy by
great part of the Scottish nation.”[213] The towns on the Firth of
Forth, he maintained, through the loss of the trade with France, had
been falling to decay ever since the two countries were united.[214]
In these views he was not supported by the two great writers who were
his countrymen and his contemporaries. It was chiefly to the Union that
Adam Smith attributed the great improvements in agriculture which had
been made in the eighteenth century.[215] It was to the Union that Hume
attributed the blessing “of a government perfectly regular, and exempt
from all violence and injustice.”[216] Many years later Thomas Carlyle,
in whom glowed the _perfervidum ingenium Scotorum_ as it has glowed
in few, owned that “the Union was one of Scotland’s chief blessings,”
though it was due to Wallace and to men like him “that it was not the
chief curse.”[217]

It must never be forgotten that in this Union England was no less
blessed than Scotland; that if she gave wealth to Scotland, Scotland
nobly repaid the gift in men. In the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries the English stock had been quickened and strengthened
and ennobled by fugitives seeking refuge on her shores from the
persecutions of priests and kings, which passed over the coward and
the base, and fell only on the brave and the upright. To the Fleming
and the Huguenot was now added the Scot. In philosophy, in history,
in law, in science, in poetry, in romance, in the arts of life, in
trade, in government, in war, in the spread of our dominions, in the
consolidation of our Empire, glorious has been the part which Scotland
has played. Her poet’s prayer has been answered, and in “bright
succession” have been raised men to adorn and guard not only herself
but the country which belongs to Englishmen and Scotchmen alike.
Little of this was seen, still less foreseen by Johnson. The change
which was going on in Scotland was rapid and conspicuous; the change
which she was working outside her borders was slow, and as yet almost
imperceptible. What was seen raised not admiration, but jealousy of
the vigorous race which was everywhere so rapidly “making its way to
employment, riches, and distinction.” That Johnson should exult in
the good which Scotland had derived from England through the Union
was natural. Scarcely less natural that he should point out how much
remained to be done before the Scotch attained the English level, not
only in the comforts and refinements, but even in the decencies of
life. One great peculiarity in their civilization struck him deeply.
“They had attained the liberal without the manual arts, and excelled
in ornamental knowledge while they wanted the conveniences of common
life.”[218] [Sidenote: A DISPUTATIOUS PEASANTRY.] Even the
peasantry were able to dispute with wonderful sagacity upon the
articles of their faith, though they were content to live in huts
which had not a single chimney to carry off the smoke.[219] Wesley,
each time that he crossed the Borders, found a far harder task
awaiting him than when he was upbraiding, denouncing, and exhorting
an English congregation. To the Scotch, cradled as they had been
in the Shorter Catechism, and trained as they were from their
youth up in theology, his preaching, like Paul’s to the Greeks,
was too often foolishness. He spoke to a people, as he complained,
“who heard much, knew everything, and felt nothing.”[220] Though
“you use the most cutting words still they _hear_, but _feel_ no
more than the seats they sit upon.”[221] Nowhere did he speak
more roughly than in Scotland. No one there was offended at plain
dealing. “In this respect they were a pattern to all mankind.” But
yet “they hear and hear, and are just what they were before.”[222]
He was fresh from the Kelso people and was preaching to a meeting
in Northumberland when he wrote: “Oh! what a difference is there
between these living stones, and the dead unfeeling multitudes
in Scotland.”[223] “The misfortune of a Scotch congregation,” he
recorded on another occasion, “is they know everything; so they
learn nothing.”[224]


With their disputatious learning the meagreness of their fare and the
squalor of their dwellings but ill contrasted. “Dirty living,” said
Smollett, “is the great and general reproach of the commonalty of this
kingdom.”[225] While Scotland sent forth into the world year after year
swarms of young men trained in thrift, well stored with knowledge, and
full of energy and determination, the common people bore an ill-repute
for industry. They were underfed, and under-feeding produced indolent
work. “Flesh-meat they seldom or never tasted; nor any kind of
strong liquor except two-penny at times of uncommon festivity.”[226]
“Ale,” wrote Lord Kames, “makes no part of the maintenance of those
in Scotland who live by the sweat of their brow. Water is their
only drink.”[227] Adam Smith admitted that both in bodily strength
and personal appearance they were below the English standard. “They
neither work so well, nor look so well.”[228] Wolfe, when he returned
to England from Scotland in 1753, said that he had not crossed the
Border a mile when he saw the difference that was produced upon the
face of the country by labour and industry. “The English are clean and
laborious, and the Scotch excessively dirty and lazy.”[229]

This dirtiness would offend an Englishman more than a man of any
other nation, for “high and low, rich and poor, they were remarkable
for cleanness all the world over.”[230] Matthew Bramble, in
Smollett’s _Humphry Clinker_, notices the same change. “The boors of
Northumberland,” he wrote, “are lusty fellows, fresh-complexioned,
cleanly and well-clothed; but the labourers in Scotland are generally
lank, lean, hard-featured, sallow, soiled and shabby. The cattle
are much in the same style with their drivers, meagre, stunted, and
ill-equipt.”[231] Topham, in his _Letters from Edinburgh_, asserts the
misery, but denies the idleness. Temperance and labour were, he says,
in the extreme; nevertheless, on all sides were seen, “haggard looks,
meagre complexions, and bodies weakened by fatigue and worn down by
the inclemency of the seasons.” Neither were the poor of the capital
any better off. Their wretchedness and poverty exceeded, he thought,
what was to be found anywhere else in the whole world. But though as
a nation the Scotch were very poor, yet they were very honest.[232] A
traveller through the country in 1766 goes so far as to maintain that
the common people in outward appearance would not at first be taken to
be of the human species. Though their indigence was extreme, yet they
would rather suffer poverty than labour. Their nastiness was greater
than could be reported. Happily their rudeness was beginning to wear
off, and in the trading towns where the knowledge of the use of money
was making them eager enough to acquire it, they were already pretty
well civilized and industrious.[233] Wages were miserably low. The
Scotch labourer received little more than half what was paid to the
Englishman; yet grain was dearer in Scotland than in England.[234] The
historian of Edinburgh thus sums the general condition of the labouring

    “The common people have no ideas of the comforts of life. The
    labourers and low mechanics live in a very wretched style.
    Their houses are the receptacles of nastiness, where the spider
    may in peace weave his web from generation to generation.
    A garden, where nothing is to be seen but a few plants of
    coleworts or potatoes, amidst an innumerable quantity of weeds,
    surrounds his house. A bit of flesh will not be within his door
    twice a year. He abhors industry, and has no relish for the
    comforts arising from it.”[235]

Lord Elibank’s famous reply to Johnson’s definition of _oats_ had
every merit but a foundation of fact. “Oats,” wrote Johnson, “a grain
which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports
the people.” “Very true,” replied his lordship, “and where will you
find such men and such horses?”[236]

The natural result of this general poverty was seen in the number
of beggars who thronged the streets and roads. Scotland was neither
blessed with a good poor-law nor cursed with a bad one. The relief of
want was left altogether to charity. In Edinburgh Johnson thought that
the proportion of beggars was not less than in London. “In the smaller
places it was far greater than in English towns of the same extent.”
The mendicants were not, however, of the order of sturdy vagabonds.
They were neither importunate nor clamorous. “They solicit silently,
or very modestly.”[237] Smollett went so far as to maintain in his
_Humphry Clinker_, which was published only two years before Johnson’s
visit, that “there was not a beggar to be seen within the precincts
of Edinburgh.”[238] For some years, indeed, the streets had been free
of them, for a charity workhouse had been erected, to which they were
all committed. But the magistrates had grown careless, and the evil
had broken out afresh. “The streets are crowded with begging poor,”
wrote one writer. “We see the whole stairs, streets, and public walks
swarming with beggars every day,” wrote another.[239]


The general neglect of the decencies of life was due chiefly to
poverty, but partly, no doubt, to that violent outburst against all
that is beautiful and graceful which accompanied the Reformation in
Scotland. A nation which, as a protest against popery, “thought dirt
and cob-webs essential to the house of God,”[240] was not likely in
their homes to hold that cleanliness was next to godliness. The same
coarseness of living had been found in all classes, though it was
beginning to yield before English influence. Dr. Alexander Carlyle,
in the year 1742, notices as a sign of increasing refinement, that
at the tavern in Haddington, where the Presbytery dined, knives and
forks were provided for the table. A few years earlier each guest had
brought his own. There was, however, only one glass, which went round
with the bottle.[241] The same custom had prevailed in Edinburgh when
Lord Kames was a young man. French wine was placed on the table,
he said, in a small tin vessel, which held about an English pint. A
single drinking-glass served a company the whole evening, and the first
persons who called for a new glass with every new pint were accused of
luxury.[242] Boswell could remember the time when a carving knife was
looked upon as a novelty. One of his friends was rated by his father,
“a gentleman of ancient family and good literature, for introducing
such a foppish superfluity.” In the previous generation whatever food
was eaten with a spoon, such as soup, milk, or pudding, used to be
taken by every person dipping his spoon into the common dish.[243] When
an old laird was complimented on the accomplishments which his son had
brought home from his travels, “he answered that he knew nothing he had
learnt but to cast a sark (change a shirt) every day, and to sup his
kail twice.”[244] Of the food that was served up, there was not much
greater variety than of the dishes in which it was served. When Wesley
first visited Scotland, even at a nobleman’s table, he had only one
kind of meat, and no vegetables whatever. By the year 1788, however,
vegetables were, he recorded, as plentiful as in England.[245] The
butter in these early days made in country houses, “would have turned
stomachs the least squeamish.” But by the introduction of tea a great
improvement had been made. Bread and butter was taken with it, and a
demand arose for butter that was sweet and clean. Wheaten bread, too,
began to be generally eaten. So great a delicacy had it been, that the
sixpenny loaf and the sugar used to be kept “locked up in the lady’s
press.”[246] In the Highlands, at all events, there was a great variety
as well as abundance of food. The following was the breakfast which in
Argyleshire was set before the travellers in _Humphry Clinker_:—

    “One kit of boiled eggs; a second full of butter; a third full
    of cream; an entire cheese made of goat’s milk; a large earthen
    pot full of honey; the best part of a ham; a cold venison
    pasty; a bushel of oatmeal made in thin cakes and bannocks,
    with a small wheaten loaf in the middle for the strangers; a
    large stone bottle full of whisky, another of brandy, and a
    kilderkin of ale. There was a ladle chained to the cream kit,
    with curious wooden bickers to be filled from this reservoir.
    The spirits were drunk out of a silver quaff, and the ale out
    of horns. Finally a large roll of tobacco was presented by way
    of desert, and every individual took a comfortable quid, to
    prevent the bad effects of the morning air.”[247]

Knox, in his _Tour through the Highlands_,[248] gives a still vaster
bill of fare. The houses of the country gentlemen were for the most
part small. “It was only on festivals or upon ceremonious occasions,
that the dining-room was used. People lived mostly in the family
bed-chamber, where friends and neighbours were received without
scruple. Many an easy, comfortable meal,” writes Ramsay, of Ochtertyre,
“had I made in that way.”[249] It was to this custom that the Scotch
had of turning a bed-room into an eating-room that an English traveller
refers, when he says that the Edinburgh taverns are the worst in the
world, for “you sup underground in a bed-chamber.”[250] Even at the
modern houses there was generally a total absence of an accommodation
such as would not at the present day be tolerated in a labourer’s
cottage by a sanitary inspector in any district in England.[251]

The state of the capital was far worse even than the state of the
country. It was one of the last places in the world on which would
have been bestowed that favourite and almost exalted epithet of
praise—_neat_.[252] The houses, indeed, were solidly built, and the
rooms of the well-to-do people were comfortable and clean, and often
spacious. “Nothing could form a stronger contrast than the difference
between the outside and the inside of the door.” Within all was decency
and propriety, without was a filthy staircase leading down into a
filthy street. Every story was a complete house, occupied by a separate
family. The steep and dark staircase was common to all, and was kept
clean by none. It was put to the basest uses.[253] The gentry did not
commonly occupy the lowest stories or the highest. The following is the
list of the inhabitants of a good house in the High Street:—

    “First door upstairs, Mr. Stirling, fishmonger.
    Second door, Mrs. Urquhart, who kept a lodging-house of good repute.
    Third flat, the Dowager Countess of Balcarras.
    Fourth flat, Mrs. Buchan, of Kelly.
    Fifth flat, the Misses Elliots, milliners.
    Garrets, a great variety of tailors and other tradesmen.”[254]


There were no water pipes, there were no drain pipes, there were no
cess-pools, and there were no covered sewers in the streets. At a fixed
hour of the night all the impurities were carried down the common
staircase in tubs, and emptied into the street as into a common sewer,
or else, in defiance of the law, cast out of the window. “Throwing
over the window” was the delicate phrase in which this vile practice
was veiled. It was “an obstinate disease which had withstood all the
labour of the Magistrates, Acts of Council, Dean of Guild Courts for
stencheling,[255] tirlesing,[256] and locking up windows, fines,
imprisonments, and banishing the city.”[257] The servants were willing
to serve for lower wages in houses where this practice was winked at.
It gave rise to numerous quarrels which caused constables more trouble
than any other part of their duty.[258] According to the account given
by the English maid in _Humphry Clinker_, when “the throwing over”
began, “they called _gardy loo_ to the passengers, which signifies
_Lord have mercy upon you_.”[259] A young English traveller, who, the
first night of his arrival in Edinburgh, was enjoying his supper, as he
tells us, and good bottle of claret with a merry company in a tavern,
heard, as the clock was striking ten, the beat of the city drum, the
signal for the scavenging to begin. The company at once began to
fumigate the room by lighting pieces of paper and throwing them on the
table. Tobacco smoking, it is clear, could not have been in fashion. As
his way to his lodgings lay through one of the wynds he was provided
“with a guide who went before him, crying out all the way, _Hud your
Haunde_.”[260] The city scavengers cleansed the streets as fast as they
could, and by opening reservoirs which were placed at intervals washed
the pavement clean.[261]

To this intolerable nuisance the inhabitants generally seemed
insensible, and were too apt to imagine the disgust of strangers as
little better than affectation.[262] Yet it was not affectation which
led John Wesley, in May, 1761, to make the following entry in his

    “The situation of the city on a hill shelving down on both
    sides, as well as to the east, with the stately castle upon a
    craggy rock on the west, is inexpressibly fine. And the main
    street so broad and finely paved, with the lofty houses on
    either hand (many of them seven or eight stories high) is far
    beyond any in Great Britain. But how can it be suffered that
    all manner of filth should still be thrown, even into this
    street, continually? Where are the Magistracy, the Gentry,
    the Nobility of the Land? Have they no concern for the honour
    of their nation? How long shall the capital city of Scotland,
    yea and the chief street of it, stink worse than a common

Ten years earlier he had described the town as dirtier even than
Cologne. According to Wolfe, it was not till after Christmas, when
the company had come into it from the country, that it was “in all
its perfection of dirt and gaiety.”[264] Gray called it “that most
picturesque (at a distance) and nastiest (when near) of all capital
cities.”[265] “Pray for me till I see you,” he added, “for I dread
Edinburgh and the —.”[266] To add to the insalubrity, the windows
would not readily open. In Scotland they neither opened wide on hinges,
nor were drawn up and down by weights and pulleys. For the most part
the lower sash only could be raised; and when lifted, it was propped
open by a stick or by a pin thrust into a hole.[267] “What cannot be
done without some uncommon trouble or particular expedient will not
often be done at all. The incommodiousness of the Scotch windows keeps
them very closely shut.”[268] From this closeness Johnson suffered not
a little, for he loved fresh air, “and on the coldest day or night
would set open a window and stand before it,” as Boswell knew to his
cost.[269] Topham, who sided with his Scotch friends against Johnson,
scoffed at these observations on window-frames and pulleys. “Men of the
world,” he wrote, “would not have descended to such remarks. A petty
and frivolous detail of trifling circumstances are [_sic_] the certain
signs of ignorance or inexperience.”[270] Johnson, in introducing
the subject, had guarded himself against such reflections. “These
diminutive observations,” he said, “seem to take away something from
the dignity of writing. But it must be remembered that the true state
of every nation is the state of common life.”[271] This indifference
to pure air no doubt spread death far and wide. In Sir Walter Scott’s
family we see an instance of the unwholesomeness of the Old Town. His
six elder brothers and sisters, who were all born in the College Wynd,
died young. It was only by sending him to breathe country air that he
was reared. His father’s younger children were born in one of the new
squares, and they for the most part were healthy.[272]


From one burthen that weighed heavily in England the guests in
most houses in Scotland were free. It was the Scotch, who, as
Boswell boasted, “had the honour of being the first to abolish the
unhospitable, troublesome, and ungracious custom of giving vails to
servants. ‘Sir,’ said Johnson, ‘you abolished vails, because you were
too poor to be able to give them.’”[273] How heavily they weighed on
all but the rich is shown by an anecdote that I have read somewhere
of a poor gentleman, who refused to dine with his kinsman, a nobleman
of high rank, unless with the invitation a guinea were sent him to
distribute among the expectant servants, who, with outstretched hands,
always thronged the hall and blocked up the doorway as he left. “I
paid ten shillings to my host’s servants for my dinner and retired,”
is the record of a man who had received the honour of an invitation
to the house of an English nobleman of high rank.[274] Even Queen
Caroline had complained of “the pretty large expense” to which she had
been put in the summer of 1735 in visiting her friends, not at their
country houses, but in town. “That is your own fault (said the King),
for my father, when he went to people’s houses in town, never was fool
enough to be giving away his money.”[275] It was to the gentlemen of
the county of Aberdeen that was due the merit of beginning this great
reformation. About the year 1759 they resolved at a public meeting
that vails should be abolished and wages increased.[276] Early in
February, 1760, the Select Society of Edinburgh, following their lead,
passed a resolution to which their President, the historian Robertson,
seems to have lent the graces of his style. They declared that “this
custom, being unknown to other nations and a reproach upon the manners
and police of this country, has a manifest tendency to corrupt the
hospitality and to destroy all intercourse between families. They
resolved that from and after the term of Whitsuntide next every member
of the Society would absolutely prohibit his own servants to take vails
or drink-money, and that he would not offer it to the servants of
any person who had agreed to this resolution.”[277] Like resolutions
followed from the Faculty of Advocates, the Society of Clerks to His
Majesty’s Signet, the Heritors of Mid-Lothian headed by the Earl of
Lauderdale, the Grand Lodge of Freemasons, headed by the Earl of Leven,
and the Honourable Company of Scots Hunters headed by the President,
the Earl of Errol.[278] The same good change was attempted a few
years later in England, but apparently without success. The footmen,
night after night, raised a riot at Ranelagh Gardens, and mobbed and
ill-treated some gentlemen who had been active in the attempt. “There
was fighting with drawn swords for some hours; they broke one chariot
all to pieces. The ladies go into fits, scream, run into the gardens,
and do everything that is ridiculous.”[279]

That “felicity” which England had in its taverns and inns was not
equally enjoyed in Scotland. Certainly it was not in Edinburgh that
was to be found “that throne of human felicity a tavern chair.”[280]
Yet in the Lowlands generally the fare in the inns was good and the
accommodation clean. Along both the eastern and the western roads John
Wesley was well pleased with the entertainment with which he met. “We
had all things good, cheap, in great abundance, and remarkably well
dressed.”[281] In the _Gentleman’s Magazine_ for December, 1771, a
curious list is given of the inns and innkeepers in Scotland. According
to this account the fare generally was good, while everywhere was
found “excellent clean linen both for bed and board.” The traveller
did well, however, who had his sheets _toasted_ and his bed warmed,
for the natives, used as they were to sleeping in their wet plaids,
were careless about a damp bed. Goldsmith, on the other hand, spoke
as ill of the Scotch inns as he did of the Scotch landscape. In them,
he says, “vile entertainment is served up, complained of, and sent
down; up comes worse, and that also is changed, and every change
makes our wretched cheer more unsavoury.”[282] The scantiness of his
purse, however, would have made him resort to the humblest houses,
and probably his experience did not extend much outside of Edinburgh.
Of the inns of that city, no one, whether native or stranger, had a
good word to say. The accommodation that was provided, writes the
historian of Edinburgh, “was little better than that of a waggoner or
a carrier.”[283] “The inns are mean buildings,” he continues, “their
apartments dirty and dismal; and if the waiters happen to be out of the
way, a stranger will perhaps be shocked with the novelty of being shown
into a room by a dirty sun-burnt wench without shoes or stockings.
If he should desire furnished lodgings, he is probably conducted to
the third or fourth floor, up dark and dirty stairs, and there shown
into apartments meanly fitted up. The taverns in general are dirty and
dismal as the inns; an idle profusion of victuals, collected without
taste, and dressed without skill or cleanliness, is commonly served
up. There are, however, exceptions, and a Scots tavern, if a good one,
is the best of all taverns.”[284] Smollett, willing as he was to see
the good side of everything in Scotland, yet represents the inn in
Edinburgh at which Matthew Bramble alighted as being “so filthy and so
disagreeable in every respect, that the old man began to fret.”[285]
Perhaps it was the same house which is described by Topham in the
following lively passage in his _Letters_:[286]

    “Nov. 15, 1774. There is no inn that is better than an
    alehouse, nor any accommodation that is decent or cleanly.
    On my first arrival my companion and myself, after the
    fatigue of a long day’s journey, were landed at one of these
    stable-keepers (for they have modesty enough to give themselves
    no higher denomination) in a part of the town called the
    Pleasance.[287] We were conducted by a poor devil of a girl,
    without shoes or stockings, and only a single linsey-wolsey
    petticoat, which just reached half-way to her ankles, into
    a room where about twenty Scotch drovers had been regaling
    themselves with whiskey and potatoes. You may guess our
    amazement when we were informed that this was the best inn in
    the metropolis, that we could have no beds, unless we had an
    inclination to sleep together, and in the same room with the
    company which a stage-coach had that moment discharged.”


In the _Edinburgh Directory_ for 1773-4, among the different trades,
there is no entry under the heading of _inn-keepers_. There are
_vintners_, who, I suppose, were also tavern-keepers, and _stablers_,
who kept the inns. It was to this curious appellation that Topham
referred when he said that the inn-keepers had the modesty to call
themselves stable-keepers.

A few years after Johnson’s visit a good hotel was at last opened
in the New Town. The accommodation was elegant, but the charges
extravagant.[288] The French traveller, Saint Fond, who stayed in it
about the year 1780, said that the house was magnificent and adorned
with columns, as his bill was with flourishes and vignettes. Half a
sheet of note-paper was charged threepence, with sixpence added for
the trouble of fetching it. He paid twice as much for everything as in
the best inn on the road from London. In all his journeyings through
England and Scotland he was only twice charged exorbitantly—at Dunn’s
Hotel in Edinburgh, and at the Bull’s Head in Manchester.[289]


Johnson, coming from Berwick by the coast-road, entered Edinburgh by
the Canongate. It was on a dusky night in August that, arm in arm
with Boswell, he walked up the High Street. “Its breadth and the
loftiness of the buildings on each side made,” he acknowledged, “a
noble appearance.”[290] In the light of the day he does not seem to
have been equally impressed. “Most of the buildings are very mean,” he
wrote to Mrs. Thrale; “and the whole town bears some resemblance to
the old part of Birmingham.”[291] In his Letters he does not touch on
that appearance so unusual to Englishmen which, as we learn from his
narrative, generally struck him in the ancient towns of Scotland.[292]
Wesley’s attention was caught by this same “peculiar oddness” and
“air of antiquity.” They were like no places that he had ever seen in
England, Wales, or Ireland.[293] It was not, however, to Birmingham
that that great traveller likened the famous High Street. There was
nothing, he said, that could compare with it in Great Britain. Defoe’s
admiration had risen still higher. In his eyes it ranked as almost
the largest, longest, and finest street in the world. Its solidity of
stone he contrasted with the slightness of the houses in the South.
Lofty though the buildings were, placed, too, on “the narrow ridge
of a long ascending mountain,” with storms often raging round them,
“there was no blowing of tiles about the streets to knock people on
the heads as they passed; no stacks of chimneys and gable-ends of
houses falling in to bury the inhabitants in their ruins, as was often
found in London and other of our paper-built cities in England.”[294]
“The High Street is the stateliest street in the world,” said another
writer; “being broad enough for five coaches to drive up a-breast,
while the houses are proportionately high.”[295] According to Topham
it surpassed “the famous street in Lisle, La Rue Royale.”[296] “It
would be undoubtedly one of the noblest streets in Europe,” wrote
Smollett, “if an ugly mass of mean buildings, called the Luckenbooths,
had not thrust itself into the middle of the way.”[297] Pennant had
the same tale to tell. “As fine a street as most in Europe, was spoilt
by the Luckenbooth Row and the Guard House.”[298] Carlyle, when he
came to Edinburgh as a boy-student, in the year 1809, had seen “the
Luckenbooths, with their strange little ins and outs, and eager old
women in miniature shops of combs, shoe-laces, and trifles.”[299] One
venerable monument had been wantonly removed, while so much that was
mean and ugly was left to encumber the street. In 1756 those “dull
destroyers,” the magistrates, had pulled down “Dun-Edin’s Cross.”[300]
From the bottom of the hill “by the very Palace door,” up to the gates
of the Castle the High Street, even so late as Johnson’s time, was
the home of men of rank, of wealth, and of learning. It did not bear
that look of sullen neglect which chills the stranger who recalls its
past glories. The craftsmen and the nobles, the poor clerks and the
wealthy merchants, judges, shopkeepers, labourers, authors, physicians,
and lawyers, lived all side by side, so that “the tide of existence”
which swept up and down was as varied as it was full. The coldness
of the grey stone of the tall houses was relieved by the fantastic
devices in red or yellow or blue on a ground of black, by which each
trader signified the commodities in which he dealt. As each story was
a separate abode, there were often seen painted on the front of one
tall house half-a-dozen different signs. Here was a quartern loaf over
a full-trimmed periwig, and there a Cheshire cheese or a rich firkin
of butter over stays and petticoats.[301] To the north, scarcely
broken as yet by the scattered buildings of the infant New Town,
the outlook commanded that “incomparable prospect” which delighted
Colonel Mannering, as he gazed from the window of Counsellor Pleydell’s
library on “the Frith of Forth with its islands; the embayment which is
terminated by the Law of North Berwick, and the varied shores of Fife,
indenting with a hilly outline the clear blue horizon.”[302]

Every Sunday during the hours of service the streets were silent and
solitary, as if a plague had laid waste the city. But in a moment the
scene was changed. The multitude that poured forth from each church
swept everything before it. The stranger who attempted to face it was
driven from side to side by the advancing flood. The faithful were so
intently meditating on the good things which they had just heard that
they had no time to look before them. With their large prayer-books
under their arms, their eyes fixed steadily on the ground, and wrapped
up in their plaid cloaks, they went on regardless of everything that

Less than thirty years before Johnson, on that August night, “went up
streets,”[304] the young Pretender, surrounded by his Highlanders, and
preceded by his heralds and trumpeters, had marched from the Palace
of his ancestors to the ancient Market Cross, and there had had his
father proclaimed King by the title of James the Seventh of Scotland
and Third of England. Down the same street in the following Spring his
own standard, with its proud motto of _Tandem Triumphans_, and the
banners of thirteen of his chief captains, in like manner preceded
by heralds and trumpeters, had been borne on the shoulders of the
common hangman and thirteen chimney-sweepers, to the same Cross, and
there publicly burnt.[305] Here, too, was seen from time to time the
sad and terrible procession, when, from the Tolbooth, some unhappy
wretch was led forth to die in the Grass Market. As the clock struck
the hour after noon, the City Guard knocked at the prison door. The
convict at once came out, dressed in a waistcoat and breeches of
white, bound with black ribands, and wearing a night-cap, also bound
with black. His hands were tied behind him, and a rope was round his
neck. On each side of him walked a clergyman, the hangman followed
bemuffled in a great coat, while all around, with their arms ready,
marched the Town Guard. Every window in every floor of every house was
crowded with spectators.[306] Happily the criminal law of Scotland was
far less bloody than that which at this time disgraced England, and
executions, except for murder, were rare.[307] There was also much
less crime. While the streets and neighbourhood of London were beset
by footpads and highwaymen, in Edinburgh a man might go about with
the same security at midnight as at noonday. Street robberies were
very rare, and a street murder was, it is said, a thing unknown. This
general safety was due partly to the Town Guard,[308] partly also to
the Society of Cadies, or Cawdies, a fraternity of errand-runners. Each
member had to find surety for good behaviour, and the whole body was
answerable for the dishonesty of each. Their chief place of stand was
at the top of the High Street, where some of them were found all the
day and most of the night. They were said to be acquainted with every
person and every place in Edinburgh. No stranger arrived but they knew
of it at once. They acted as a kind of police, and were as useful as
Sir John Fielding’s thief-takers in London.[309] In spite of these
safeguards, in the autumn before Johnson’s visit there was an outbreak
of crime. A reward of one guinea each was offered for the arrest of
forty persons who had been banished the city, and who were suspected of
having returned.[310] The worthy Magistrates, it should seem, were like
Dogberry, and did not trouble themselves about a thief so long as he
stole out of their company.


[Illustration: THE TOLBOOTH.]

The Edinburgh Tolbooth and the other Scotch gaols were worse even than
those cruel dens in which the miserable prisoners were confined in
England. They had no court-yard where the fresh air of heaven might be
breathed for some hours at least of every weary day. Not even to the
unhappy debtor was any indulgence shown. That air was denied to him
which was common to all. Even under a guard, said an expounder of the
law, he had no right to the benefit of free air; “for every creditor
has an interest that his debtor be kept under close confinement, that
by his _squalor carceris_ he may be brought to the payment of his
just debt.”[311] He was to learn the fulness of the meaning of “the
curse of a severe creditor who pronounces his debtor’s doom, _To Rot
in Gaol_.”[312] At the present time even in Siberia there cannot, I
believe, be found so cruel a den as that old Edinburgh Tolbooth, by
whose gloomy walls Johnson passed on his way to Boswell’s comfortable
home close by, where Mrs. Boswell and tea were awaiting him. In one
room were found by a writer who visited the prison three lads confined
among “the refuse of a long succession of criminals.” The straw which
was their bed had been worn into bits two inches long. In a room on
the floor above were two miserable boys not twelve years old. But the
stench that assailed him as the door was opened so overpowered him that
he fled. The accumulation of dirt which he saw in the rooms and on the
staircases was so great, that it set him speculating in vain on the
length of time which must have been required to make it. The supply
of the food and drink was the jailer’s monopoly; whenever the poor
wretches received a little money from friends outside, or from charity,
they were not allowed the benefit of the market price. The choice of
the debtor’s prison was left to the caprice of his creditor, and that
which was known to be the most loathsome was often selected.[313] The
summer after Johnson’s visit to Edinburgh John Wesley, in one of the
streets of that town, was suddenly arrested by a sheriff’s officer on a
warrant to commit him to the Tolbooth. Happily he was first taken to an
adjoining building—some kind of spunging-house, it is probable—whence
he sent word to his friends, and obtained bail. The charge brought
against him was ridiculous, and in the end the prosecutor had heavy
damages to pay.[314] Nevertheless, monstrous though the accusation was,
had Wesley been not only a stranger and poor, but also friendless,
it was in that miserable den that he would have been lodged. His
deliverance might have been by gaol-fever.


Boswell himself, if we may trust the tradition, little more than four
years before he welcomed Johnson, had run a risk of becoming acquainted
with the inside of that prison. Scotland was all ablaze with the great
Douglas cause. The succession to the large estates of the last Duke
of Douglas was in dispute; so eagerly did men share in the shifting
course of the long lawsuit, that it was scarcely safe to open the lips
about it in mixed company. Boswell, with all the warmth of his eager
nature, took the part of the heir whose legitimacy was disallowed by
the casting vote of the President in the Court of Session. The case was
carried on appeal to the House of Lords, and on Monday, February 27,
1769, the Scotch decision was reversed. A little before eight o’clock
on Thursday evening the news reached Edinburgh by express. The city was
at once illuminated, and the windows of the hostile judges were broken.
Boswell, it is said, headed the mob. That his own father’s house was
among those which he and his followers attacked, as Sir Walter Scott
had heard,[315] is very unlikely: Lord Auchinleck had voted in the
minority, and so would have been in high favour with the rioters. A
party of foot soldiers was marched into the city, a reward of fifty
pounds was offered for the discovery of the offenders, and for some
nights the streets were patrolled by two troops of dragoons.[316]
“Boswell’s good father,” writes Ramsay of Ochtertyre, “entreated the
President with tears in his eyes to put his son in the Tolbooth. Being
brought before Sheriff Cockburn for examination, he was desired to
tell all that happened that night in his own way. ‘After,’ said he,
‘I had communicated the glorious news to my father, who received it
very coolly, I went to the Cross to see what was going on. There I
overheard a group of fellows forming their plan of operations. One
of them asked what sort of a man the sheriff was, and whether he was
not to be dreaded. ‘No, no,’ answered another; ‘he is a puppy of the
President’s making.’ On hearing this exordium Mr. Cockburn went off,
leaving the culprit to himself.”[317]

[Illustration: HUME’S HOUSE.]


Among the sights which Johnson was shown at Edinburgh, the New Town
was not included. Yet some progress had been made in laying out those
streets, “which in simplicity and manliness of style and general
breadth and brightness of effect” were destined to surpass anything
that has been attempted in modern street architecture.[318] From
Boswell’s windows, over the tops of the stately elm-trees which at that
time ran in front of James’s Court and across a deep and marshy hollow,
the rising houses could be easily seen. Full in view among the rest was
the new home Hume had lately built for himself at the top of a street
which was as yet unnamed, but was soon, as St. David’s, to commemorate
in a jest the great philosopher who was its first inhabitant. Had the
change which was so rapidly coming over Auld Reekie been understood
in its full extent, surely Johnson’s attention would have been drawn
to it. Boswell only mentions the New Town to introduce the name of
“the ingenious architect” who planned it, Craig, the nephew of the
poet Thomson.[319] His mind, perhaps, was so set on escaping from “the
too narrow sphere of Scotland,” and on removing to London, that of
Edinburgh and its fortunes he was careless. Yet, shrewd observer as he
was of men and manners, he must have noticed how the tide of fashion
had already begun to set from the Old Town, and was threatening to
leave the ancient homes of the noble and the wealthy like so many
wrecks behind. In many people there was a great reluctance to make
a move. To some the old familiar life in a flat was dear, and the
New Town was built after the English fashion, in what was known as
“houses to themselves.” “One old lady fancied she should be lost if
she were to get into such an habitation; another feared being blown
away in going over the New Bridge; while a third thought that these
new fashions could come to _nae gude_.”[320] Nevertheless, in spite
of all these terrors, the change came very swiftly. So early as 1783,
“a rouping-wife, or saleswoman of old furniture,” occupied the house
which not many years before had been Lord President Craigie’s, while a
chairman who had taken Lord Drummore’s house had “lately left it for
want of accommodation.”[321] There were men of position, however, who,
fashion or no fashion, clung to their old homes for many years later.
Queensberry House, nearly at the foot of the Canongate, which in later
years was turned into a Refuge for the Destitute, so late as 1803 was
inhabited by the Lord Chief Baron Montgomery. Lord Cockburn remembered
well the old judge’s tall, well-dressed figure in the old style, and
the brilliant company which gathered round him in that ancient but
decayed quarter.[322]

It was full five years before Johnson’s arrival that Dr. Robertson,
pleading the cause of his poverty-stricken University, pointed out
how the large buildings that were rising suddenly on all sides, the
magnificent bridge that had been begun, and the new streets and squares
all bore the marks of a country growing in arts and in industry.[323]
It was in 1765 that the foundations were laid of the bridge which was
to cross the valley that separates the Old and New Town. It was not
till 1772 that “it was made passable.”[324] In 1783 the huge mound
was begun which now so conveniently joins the two hills. The earth of
which it is formed was dug out in making the foundations of the new
houses. Fifteen hundred cartloads on an average were thrown in daily
for the space of three years.[325] The valley, which with its lawns,
its slopes, its trim walls, its beds of flowers, and its trees, adds
so much to the pleasantness and beauty of Edinburgh, was when Johnson
looked down into it “a deep morass, one of the dirtiest puddles upon
earth.”[326] It was in its black mud that Hume one day stuck when he
had slipped off the stepping-stones on the way to his new house. A
fishwife, who was following after him, recognizing “the Deist,” refused
to help him unless he should recite first the Lord’s Prayer and the
Belief.[327] This he at once did to her great wonder. His admiration
for the New Town was unbounded. If the High Street was finer than
anything of its kind in Europe the New Town, he maintained, exceeded
anything in any part of the world.[328] “You would not wonder that I
have abjured London for ever,” he wrote to his friend, Strahan, in
the year 1772, “if you saw my new house and situation in St. Andrew’s
Square.”[329] Adam Smith told Rogers the poet, who visited Edinburgh in
1789, that the Old Town had given Scotland a bad name, and that he was
anxious to move with the rest.[330]

[Sidenote: THE “EDINBURGH FLY”.]

The age which I am attempting to describe was looked upon by Lord
Cockburn as “the last purely Scotch age that Scotland was destined
to see. The whole country had not begun to be absorbed in the ocean
of London.”[331] The distance between the two capitals as measured
by time, fatigue, and money was little less than the distance in the
present day between Liverpool and New York. Johnson, who travelled in
post-chaises, and therefore in great comfort, was nine days on the
road. “He purposed,” he wrote, “not to loiter much by the way;”[332]
but he did not journey by night, and he indulged in two days’ rest
at Newcastle. Hume, three years later, travelling by easy stages on
account of his failing health, took two days longer.[333] Had Johnson
gone by the public conveyance, the “Newcastle Fly” would have brought
him in three days as far as that town at a charge of £3 6_s._ On the
panels of the “Fly” was painted the motto, _Sat cito si sat bene_.
Thence he would have continued his journey by the “Edinburgh Fly,”
which traversed the whole remaining distance in a single day in
summer, and in a day and a half in winter. The charge for this was
£1 11_s._ 6_d._ In these sums were not included the payments to the
drivers and guards. The “Newcastle Fly” ran six times a week, starting
from London an hour after midnight. The “Edinburgh Fly” ran only on
Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. A traveller then who lost no time
on the road, leaving London at one o’clock on Sunday night, would in
the summer-time reach Edinburgh by Thursday evening, and in the winter
after mid-day on Friday.[334] Even the mail which was carried on
horse-back, and went five times a week, took in good weather about 82
hours.[335] The news of the battle of Culloden, though it was forwarded
by an express, was seven days all but two or three hours in reaching
London.[336] There were men living in 1824 who recollected when the
mail came down with only one single letter for Edinburgh.[337] By 1793
a great acceleration had been effected in the coach-service. It was
possible, so the proud boast ran, to leave Edinburgh after morning
service on Sunday, spend a whole day in London, and be back again by
six o’clock on Saturday morning.[338] The weary traveller would have
had to pass every night in the coach. By the year 1800 the journey was
done from London to Edinburgh in fifty-eight hours, and from Edinburgh
to London in sixty and a half.[339] But such annihilation of time and
space, as no doubt this rapid rate of travelling was then called, was
not dreamed of in Johnson’s day. The capitals of England and Scotland
still stood widely apart. It was wholly “a Scotch scene” which the
English traveller saw, and “independent tastes and ideas and pursuits”
caught his attention.[340] Nevertheless in one respect Edinburgh,
as I have already said, felt strongly the influence of England. In
its literature and its language it was laboriously forming itself on
the English model. There had been a long period during which neither
learning nor literature had shone in Scotland with any brightness of
light. Since the days of the great classical scholars not a single
famous author had been seen. There had been “farthing candles” from
time to time, but no “northern lights.”[341] The two countries were
under the same sovereign, but there was no Age of Queen Anne north of
the Tweed. There was indeed that general diffusion of learning which
was conspicuously wanting in England. An English traveller noticed with
surprise how rare it was to find “a man of any rank but the lowest who
had not some tincture of learning. It was the pride and delight of
every father to give his son a liberal education.”[342] Nevertheless it
had been “with their learning as with provisions in a besieged town,
every man had a mouthful and no one a bellyful.”[343] That there was a
foundation for Johnson’s pointed saying was many years later candidly
admitted by Sir Walter Scott.[344] So great had been the dearth of
literature that the printer’s art had fallen into decay. About the year
1740 there were but four printing-houses in Edinburgh, which found
scanty employment in producing school-books, law-papers, newspapers,
sermons, and Bibles. By 1779 the number had risen from four to seven
and twenty.[345] This rapid growth was by no means wholly due to an
increase in Scotch authors. Edinburgh might have become “a hot-bed
of genius,” but such productiveness even in a hot-bed would have
been unparalleled. The booksellers in late years, in defiance of the
supposed law of copyright, had begun to reprint the works of standard
English writers, and after a long litigation had been confirmed in what
they were doing by a decision given in the House of Lords.[346]


The growth of literature in Scotland had taken a turn which was not
unnatural. In the troubles of the seventeenth century the nation,
while yet it was in its power, had neglected to refine its language.
No great masters of style had risen. There had been no Sir William
Temple “to give cadence to its prose.”[347] The settled government and
the freedom from tyranny which the country enjoyed on the fall of the
Stuarts, the growth of material wealth which followed on the Union, the
gradual diminution of bigotry and the scattering of darkness which was
part of the general enlightenment of Europe had given birth to a love
of modern literature. The old classical learning no longer sufficed.
Having no literature of their own which satisfied their aspirations,
the younger generation of men was forced to acquire the language of
their ancient rivals, brought as it had been by a long succession of
illustrious authors to a high degree of perfection.[348] It was to the
volumes of Addison that the Scotch student was henceforth to give his
days and nights. To read English was an art soon acquired, but to write
it, and still more to speak it correctly, demanded a long and laborious
study. Very few, with all their perseverance, succeeded like Mallet
in “clearing their tongues from their native pronunciation.”[349]
Even to understand the language when spoken was only got by practice.
A young lady from the country, who was reproached with having seen
on the Edinburgh stage some loose play, artlessly replied:—“Indeed
they did nothing wrong that I saw; and as for what they said, it was
high English, and I did not understand it.”[350] Dr. Beattie studied
English from books like a dead language. To write it correctly cost
him years of labour.[351] “The conversation of the Edinburgh authors,”
said Topham, “showed that they wrote English as a foreign tongue,”
for their spoken language was so unlike their written.[352] Some men
were as careless of their accent as they were careful of their words.
Hume’s tone was always broad Scotch, but Scotch words he carefully
avoided.[353] Others indulged in two styles and two accents, one for
familiar life, the other for the pulpit, the court of Session, or
the professor’s chair. In all this there was a great and a strange
variety. Lord Kames, for instance, in his social hour spoke pure
Scotch, though “with a tone not displeasing from its vulgarity;” on
the Bench his language approached to English.[354] His brother judge,
Lord Auchinleck, on the other hand, clung to his mother tongue. He
would not smooth or round his periods, or give up his broad Scotch,
however vulgar it was accounted. The sturdy old fellow felt, no doubt,
a contempt for that “compound of affectation and pomposity” which
some of his countrymen spoke—a language which “no Englishman could
understand.”[355] In their attempt to get rid of their accent they too
often arrived at the young lady’s _High English_, a mode of speaking
far enough removed no doubt from the Scotch, but such as “made ‘the
fools who used it’ truly ridiculous.”[356] There were others who were
far more successful. “The conversation of the Scots,” wrote Johnson,
“grows every day less unpleasing to the English; their peculiarities
wear fast away; their dialect is likely to become in half a century
provincial and rustic, even to themselves. The great, the learned,
the ambitious, and the vain, all cultivate the English phrase, and
the English pronunciation; and in splendid companies Scotch is not
much heard, except now and then from an old lady.”[357] The old lady
whom he chiefly had in his memory when he wrote this was probably the
Duchess of Douglas. He had met her at Boswell’s table. “She talks broad
Scotch with a paralytick voice,” he wrote to Mrs. Thrale, “and is
scarce understood by her own countrymen.”[358] Boswell himself, by the
instruction of a player from Drury Lane, who had brought a company to
Edinburgh, succeeded so well in clearing his tongue of his Scotch that
Johnson complimented him by saying: “Sir, your pronunciation is not

In their pursuit of English literature the Scotch proved as successful
as in everything else which they took in hand. Whatever ill-will may
have existed between the two nations, there was no grudging admiration
shown in England for their authors. In popularity few writers of
their time surpassed Thomson, Smollett, Hume, Robertson, John Home,
Macpherson, Hugh Blair, Beattie, and Boswell; neither had Robert
Blair, Mallet, Kames, John Dalrymple, Henry Mackenzie, Monboddo, Adam
Ferguson, and Watson, any reason to complain of neglect. If Adam Smith
and Reid were not so popular as some of their contemporaries it was
because they had written for the small class of thinkers; though the
_Wealth of Nations_, which was published little more than two years
after Johnson’s visit, was by the end of the century to reach its
ninth edition. “This, I believe, is the historical age, and this the
historical nation,” Hume wrote proudly from Edinburgh.[360] He boasted
that “the copy-money” given him for his _History_ “much exceeded
anything formerly known in England.” It made him “not only independent
but opulent.” Robertson for his _Charles V._ received £3,400, and £400
was to be added on the publication of the second edition.[361] Blair
for a single volume of his Sermons was paid £600.[362]

Whatever ardour Scotchmen showed for English literature as men of
letters, yet they never for one moment forgot their pride in their
own country. In a famous club they had banded themselves together for
the sake of doing away with a reproach which had been cast upon their
nation. Just as down to the present time no Parliament has ventured to
trust Ireland with a single regiment of volunteers, so Scotland one
hundred years ago was not trusted with a militia. In the words of Burns,

    “Her lost militia fired her bluid.”[363]

[Sidenote: THE POKER CLUB.]

In 1759 a Bill for establishing this force had been brought into
Parliament, and though Pitt acquiesced in the measure, it was thrown
out by “the young Whigs.” Most Englishmen probably felt with Horace
Walpole, when he rejoiced that “the disaffected in Scotland could not
obtain this mode of having their arms restored.”[364] Two or three
years later the literary men in Edinburgh, affronted by this refusal,
formed themselves into a league of patriots. The name of The Militia
Club, which they had at first thought of adopting, was rejected as
too directly offensive. With a happy allusion to the part which they
were to play in stirring up the fire and spirit of the country, they
decided on calling themselves “The Poker.” Andrew Crosbie, the original
of Mr. Counsellor Pleydell, was humorously elected Assassin, and David
Hume was added as his Assessor, “without whose assent nothing should
be done.”[365] It was urged with great force that Scotland was as
much exposed as England to plunder and invasion. Why, it was asked,
was she refused a militia when one had been granted to Cumberland and
Westmoreland, and Lancashire? Had not those countries contributed
more adventurers to the forces of the Young Pretender than all the
Lowlands? “Why put a sword in the hands of foreigners for wounding the
Scottish nation and name? A name admired at home for fidelity, regaled
[_sic_] in every clime for strictness of discipline, and dreaded for
intrepidity.”[366] In 1776 the Bill was a second time brought in,
but was a second time rejected. “I am glad,” said Johnson, “that the
Parliament has had the spirit to throw it out.”[367] By this time
it was not timidity only which caused the rejection. The English
were touched in their pockets. It was maintained that as Scotland
contributed so little to the land-tax, so if she needed a militia she
ought to bear the whole expense herself. “What enemy,” asked Johnson
scornfully, “would invade Scotland where there is nothing to be
got?”[368] It was not till the year 1793, in the midst of the alarms of
a war with France, that the force was at last established, and Scotland
in one more respect placed on an equality with England.

In Edinburgh such a club as this, formed of all the eager active
spirits in the place, could act with the greater vigour from the ease
with which the members could meet. In whatever quarter of the town men
lived, even if they had moved to the squares which had lately been
built to the north and south, they were not much more widely separated
than the residents in the Colleges of Oxford. The narrowness of the
limits in which they were confined is shown by the small number of
hackney-coaches which served their wants. In London, in 1761, there
were eight hundred; by 1784 they had risen to a thousand.[369] In
Edinburgh there were but nine; and even these, it was complained, were
rarely to be seen on the stand after three o’clock in the afternoon.
It was in sedan chairs that visits of ceremony were paid; the bearers
were Highlanders, as in London they were generally Irishmen.[370]
The dinner-hour was still so early that the meal of careless and
cheerful hospitality was the supper. In 1763 fashionable people dined
at two; twenty years later at four or even at five.[371] At the time
of Johnson’s visit three was probably the common hour. Dr. Carlyle
describes the ease with which in his younger days a pleasant supper
party was gathered together. “We dined where we best could, and by
cadies[372] we assembled our friends to meet us in a tavern by nine
o’clock; and a fine time it was when we could collect David Hume, Adam
Smith, Adam Ferguson, Lord Elibank, and Drs. Blair and Jardine on an
hour’s warning.”[373] Though the Scotch were “religious observers
of hospitality,”[374] yet a stranger did not readily get invited to
their favourite meal. “To be admitted to their suppers is a mark of
their friendship. At them the restraints of ceremony are banished,
and you see people really as they are.” The Scotch ladies, it was
noticed, at these cheerful but prolonged repasts drank more wine than
an English woman could well bear, “but the climate required it.”[375]
The “patriotic Knox” describes the inhabitants of Edinburgh as being
“not only courteous, obliging, open, and hospitable, but well-inclined
to the bottle.” It was not to the climate that he attributed this
joyous devotion, but “to their social dispositions and the excellence
of their wines.”[376] Boswell has left us a description of a supper
which he enjoyed at Hume’s new house in St. Andrew’s Square. He had
Dr. Robertson and Lord Kames for his fellow-guests, and three sorts of
ice-creams among the dishes. “What think you of the northern Epicurus
style?” he asked. He complained, however, that he could recollect no
conversation. “Our writers here are really not prompt on all occasions
as those of London.”[377] He had been spoilt by the talk in the taverns
of Fleet Street and the Turk’s Head Club, and was discontented because
he did not find in St. Andrew’s Square a Johnson, a Burke, a Wilkes,
and a Beauclerk.


Into Hume’s pleasant house Johnson unhappily never entered.[378] He
even thought that his friend Dr. Adams, the Master of Pembroke College,
had done wrong when he had met by invitation “that infidel writer” at
dinner, and “had treated him with smooth civility.”[379] Yet a man who
could yield to the temptation of the talk of Jack Wilkes had no right
to stand aloof from David Hume. We should like to know what he would
have thought of that philosopher’s _soupe à la reine_ made from a
receipt which he had copied in his own neat hand, or of his “beef and
cabbage (a charming dish) and old mutton and old claret, in which,”
he boasted, “no man excelled him.” Perhaps, however, if Johnson could
have been persuaded to taste the claret, old as it was, he would have
shaken his head over it and called it “poor stuff.”[380] The sheep-head
broth he would certainly have refused, though one Mr. Keith did speak
of it for eight days after,[381] and the Duke de Nivernois would have
bound himself apprentice to Hume’s lass to learn it.[382] “The stye of
that fattest of Epicurus’s hogs” he failed to visit. “You tell me,”
wrote the great Gibbon to a friend who was at Edinburgh just at the
time of Johnson’s arrival, “you tell me of a long list of Dukes, Lords,
and Chieftains of renown to whom you are introduced; were I with you I
should prefer one _David_ to them all.”[383] Boswell could easily have
brought the two men together, intimate as he was with both. Early in
his life he was able to boast that one of them had visited him in the
forenoon and the other in the afternoon of the same day.[384] Hume’s
conversation perhaps was not after the fashion which Johnson liked. It
certainly would not have come recommended to him by his broad Scotch
accent. Nevertheless there was that about it which endeared it to his
friends. For innocent mirth and agreeable raillery he was thought to
be unmatched.[385] Adam Smith has celebrated his constant pleasantry.
In his wit there was not the slightest tincture of malignity.[386] But
Johnson would have nothing to do with him.[387] In Boswell’s house in
James’s Court, that Sunday he spent there in Dr. Robertson’s company,
he said “something much too rough both as to Mr. Hume’s head and
heart,” which Boswell thought well to suppress. In the quiet stillness
of that summer sabbath day in Edinburgh, the strong loud voice might
almost have been carried across the narrow valley to St. Andrew’s
Square, and startled the philosopher in his retirement.

Neither did Johnson see Adam Smith, who in Hume’s house had his room
whenever he chose to occupy it. To meet a famous stranger he would,
we may well believe, have willingly crossed the Firth from his house
in Kirkaldy. But the two men had once met in London, and “we did not
take to each other,” said Johnson. Had he been more tolerant, and
sought the society of these two great Scotchmen, he would have seen in
Scotland the best which Scotland had to show. Even as it was, in his
visit to the capital and the seats of the other universities, in his
tour through Lowlands, Highlands and Isles, he saw perhaps as great
a variety of men and manners as had been seen in that country by any
Englishman up to his time.



On Friday, August 6th, 1773, Dr. Johnson set off from London on his
famous tour to the Western Islands of Scotland. His companion as far
as Newcastle was Robert Chambers, Principal of New Inn Hall, Oxford,
who had been lately appointed one of the new judges for India, and was
going down to his native town to take leave of his family. The two
friends travelled in a post-chaise. “Life has not many better things
than this,” said Johnson once when he was driven rapidly along in one
with Boswell.[388] It was too costly a pleasure for him to indulge in
often unless he could find a companion to share the expense. The charge
for a chaise and pair of horses for two passengers from London to
Edinburgh could scarcely have been kept under twenty-two pounds.[389]
The weather was bright and hot.[390] At Newcastle Chambers’s place in
the chaise was taken by a fellow-townsman who was destined to go far
beyond him in the career of the law—William Scott, afterwards Lord
Stowell, the great judge of the High Court of Admiralty. The travellers
entered Scotland by Berwick-on-Tweed, passing near to those nine wells
which gave their name to the estate which had come down to David Hume’s
father through many generations. Very likely they dined at Dunbar, that
“high and windy town,” and thought, as they crossed the Brocksburn,
how Cromwell’s horse and foot charged across it in the mingled light
of the harvest-moon and the early dawn on that September morning one
hundred and twenty-three years before. Their next stage would bring
them to Haddington, past the ruined Abbey where nearly a hundred years
later that great Scotchman, Johnson’s foremost champion, was often
with a contrite and almost broken heart to seek his wife’s grave in
the desolate chancel. As they drove on they passed by the wide plain,
shut in by the sea on one side and by a morass on the other, over
which, only twenty-eight years earlier, on another misty morning in
September, the rude Highlanders had chased Cope’s English Dragoons in
shameful and headlong flight. Evening had overtaken the travellers by
this time, so that they could not have seen “the one solitary thorn
bush round which lay the greatest number of slain,” or the grey tower
of the church of Preston Pans, whence the afternoon before the battle,
young Alexander Carlyle had looked down upon the two armies.[391]
They passed Pinkie, where the Protector Somerset’s soldiers had made
such a savage massacre of the routed Scotch; and Carberry Hill, where
Mary took her last farewell of Bothwell as she gave herself up to the
Scottish lords. They passed, too, the serfs of Tranent and Preston
Pans, “the colliers and salters who were in a state of slavery and
bondage, bound to the collieries or salt-works for life.”[392]

[Illustration: WHITE HORSE CLOSE.]



Entering Edinburgh by the road which goes near Holyrood House, and
driving along the Canongate, they alighted at the entrance to White
Horse Close, at the end of which stood the White Horse Inn. The sign,
the crest of the house of Hanover, had probably been adopted on the
accession of George I., and was a proof of loyalty to the reigning
family. In London in the year 1761 there were forty-nine alleys, lanes
and yards which were so called.[393] It was, however, said that the
name had been given as a memorial of a white horse which, by winning
a race on Leith Sands, had saved its master, the inn-keeper, from
ruin.[394] According to the Scotch custom the inn was generally known
not by its sign, but by the name of its landlord.[395] Thus Boswell
calls this house Boyd’s Inn. In the _Edinburgh Directory_ for 1773-4 we
find under the letter B, at the head of the _Stablers_, “Boyd, James,
canongate head.” In the present time, when an inn, however small,
assumes the dignified title of _Hotel_, we may admire the modesty of
these Edinburgh innkeepers, not one of whom, pretended to be anything
more than a stabler. In fact they scarcely deserved any higher name;
their houses were on a level with the inn at Rochester where the two
carriers in Falstaff’s time passed so restless a night. A traveller
who had stayed in this house a year or two before Johnson’s visit,
described it as being “crowded and confused. The master lives in the
stable, the mistress is not equal to the business. You must not expect
breakfast before nine o’clock, and you must think yourself happy if you
do not find every room fresh mopped.”[396] The date of 1683 inscribed
upon the large window above the outside steps,[397] showed that even
in Johnson’s time it was an old house. For the whole of the eighteenth
century it was one of the chief starting places for the stage-coaches.
It sank later on into a carrier’s inn, says Sir Walter Scott, “and
has since been held unworthy even of that occupation. It was a base
hovel.”[398] Yet James Boyd, who kept it, retired with a fortune of
several thousand pounds. That he possessed napery to the value of five
hundred pounds is stated by Chambers to be a well-authenticated fact.
“A large room in the house was the frequent scene of the marriages of
runaway English couples. On one of the windows were scratched the words:

    ‘Jeremiah and Sarah Bentham, 1768.’”[399]

It was from this miserable inn that Johnson, on August 14th, sent the
following note to Boswell’s house:

    “Mr. Johnson sends his compliments to Mr. Boswell, being just
    arrived at Boyd’s.

    “Saturday night.”

Boswell went to him directly, and learnt from Scott that “the Doctor
had unluckily had a bad specimen of Scottish cleanliness. He then
drank no fermented liquor. He asked to have his lemonade made sweeter;
upon which the waiter, with his greasy fingers, lifted a lump of
sugar, and put it into it. The Doctor, in indignation, threw it out of
the window. Scott said he was afraid that he would have knocked the
waiter down.” Boswell at once carried off Johnson to his own house.
Scott he left behind with the sincere regret that he had not also a
room for him. Could the future eminence of the great judge have been
foreseen, or had his “amiable manners” been generally known, surely
some one would have been found eager to welcome him as a guest and
rescue him from the Canongate Stabler. “He was one of the pleasantest
men I ever knew,” wrote Sir Walter Scott, fifty-five years later,
when he met him at a dinner at Richmond Park, “looking very frail and
even comatose.”[400] He lived some while longer, and did not die till
the memory of this jaunt, and of everything else had been lost in the
forgetfulness in which his mind sank beneath the burthen of fourscore
years and ten.[401] Let us hope that on his first visit to Edinburgh,
like Matthew Bramble, “he got decent lodgings in the house of a widow

The old inn still stands, a picturesque ruin and an interesting
memorial of the discomfort of a long race of wandering strangers. No
one here ever repeated with emotion, either great or small, Shenstone’s

    “Whoe’er has travelled life’s dull round,
      Where’er his stages may have been,
    May sigh to think he still has found
      The warmest welcome at an inn.”[403]

With a little care it could have been made a place where “a man might
take his ease in his inn,” for it stood aloof from the noise of the
street, was well-built and was sufficiently roomy. An outside stone
staircase, which after a few steps turned right and left, led up to the
first floor, where doubtless, according to the common Scotch custom,
the principal rooms were placed. With its turrets and its gables it
must have looked pleasant enough to the young runaway couples as they
hurried in from the Canongate, and passed the outside staircases and
open galleries of the houses on each side of the Close, and so went up
to the large room where many a name was scratched with a diamond ring
on the pane. “And they are gone,” gone like the lovers of St. Agnes’


[Sidenote: JAMES’S COURT.]

“Boswell,” wrote Johnson to Mrs. Thrale, “has very handsome and
spacious rooms; level with the ground on one side of the house, and on
the other four stories high.” At this time he was living in James’s
Court, on the northern side of the Lawnmarket, having lately removed
from Chessel’s Buildings in the Canongate. It is not easy for the
stranger who passes from the thronged street under the low archway
into that quiet, but gloomy, and even shabby-looking court, to picture
to himself the gay and lively company which once frequented it. Now
ragged, bare-footed children are playing about; in some of the windows
there are broken and patched panes of glass, while high above one’s
head, from the different storeys, are hanging out to dry garments of
various sorts and hues, on a curious kind of framework, let down by a
pulley and string, till it stands out square from the wall. Some of
the houses are coloured with a yellow wash, in others the stones round
the windows and at the corners are painted red. The uncoloured stone
is a grey darkened by years of smoke. The lower windows are guarded by
iron gratings. On the southern, or Lawnmarket side, a block of building
juts out, and makes a division in the Court. This projection looks as
ancient as any part, and was doubtless there in those old days when the
place was inhabited by a select set of gentlemen, “who kept a clerk
to record their names and proceedings, had a scavenger of their own,
clubbed in many public measures, and had balls and assemblies among
themselves.”[405] It must have pleasantly recalled to Boswell the
chambers which had been lent him in the Temple that summer in which
he first became acquainted with Johnson, for it, too, was a nest of
lawyers. There were inhabiting it at this time thirteen advocates,
among them Lord Elibank, seven Writers to the Signet and Clerks of
Session, a Commissioner, and two first clerks of advocates. The other
householders were only six in number: two physicians, one of whom was
Sir John Pringle,[406] the President of the Royal Society of London, a
teller in the Old Bank, a teacher of French, a dancing-mistress, and
a gentlewoman. Pringle, who was Boswell’s intimate friend, was one of
“the three topics” which he begged Johnson to avoid at his father’s
house—Presbyterianism and Whiggism being the other two. If any one of
these subjects were introduced an altercation was certain to follow,
for all three were as dear to Lord Auchinleck as they were distasteful
to Johnson. Here Hume had lived till very lately in a house “which was
very cheerful and even elegant, but was too small,” he complained,
“to display his great talents for cookery.” Nevertheless it had been
the one spot to which, when abroad, his heart untravelled had fondly
turned. Even in the palace at Fontainebleau, while fresh from the
flattery of the three young princes who were in turn to be kings of
France, in this high tide of his fortune it was for “his easy-chair and
his retreat in James’s Court that twice or thrice a day” he longed.
Here he had welcomed Benjamin Franklin, here Adam Smith had been his
frequent guest, and here he had offered a shelter to Rousseau. In his
absence from Edinburgh Dr. Blair had been his tenant, and here, no
doubt, had written some of those sermons and lectures which were to
attain so wide a popularity, and then to sink into as deep a neglect.
The time once was when Blair’s shrine would have drawn a crowd of

[Illustration: JAMES’S COURT.]

Hume and Boswell had for a short time been very near neighbours, as
it was in the same block of buildings[407] that they lived. If the
elder man had entertained the American patriot, Franklin, the younger
had entertained the Corsican patriot, Pascal Paoli. He could boast,
moreover, of the distinguished guests who thronged his house during
Johnson’s two visits, both at his first coming and on his return
from the Hebrides. Judges, and advocates who were destined one day
to sit on the bench, the Deputy Commander-in-Chief, men and women of
high birth, authors, divines, physicians, all came to see and hear
the famous Englishman. We can picture to ourselves the sedan-chairs
passing in under the low gateway, bearing the fine ladies and gentlemen
who came to attend “the _levée_ which he held from ten o’clock in the
morning till one or two.” The echo of the strong loud voice with the
slow deliberate utterance still almost seems to sound in our ears as
we wander about in this dreary spot. “I could not attend him,” writes
Boswell, “being obliged to be in the Court of Session; but my wife was
so good as to devote the greater part of the morning to the endless
task of pouring out tea for my friend and his visitors.”

More than one caller, as he gazed on the huge frame, the scarred face,
and the awkward strange movements of the man of whom they had heard so
much, might have exclaimed with Lord Elibank, that “hardly anything
seemed more improbable than to see Dr. Johnson in Scotland.” What
Edinburgh said and thought of him we should greatly like to know. But
no letters recording his visit seem to be extant. Even the very house
has disappeared. Time, which has spared everything else in this old
Court, has not spared it. More than thirty years ago it was burnt to
the ground. We should have liked to wander about the rooms, and wonder
which was the bedchamber that Mrs. Boswell, “to show all respect to the
Sage,” so politely resigned to him; and where it was that Veronica,
that precocious babe of four months, by wishing “to be held close to
him, gave a proof from simple nature that his figure was not horrid.”
Where, we should have asked, was the dinner given him at which Mrs.
Boswell did her best “to aid wisdom and wit by administering agreeable
sensations to the palate”? Where, too, were the carpets spread on which
he let the wax of the candles drop, by turning them with their heads
downwards when they did not burn bright enough? In what closet did
Boswell keep his books, whence on Sunday, with pious purpose, Johnson
took down Ogden’s Sermons, and retired with them to his own room? They
did not, however, detain him long, and he soon rejoined the company.
Which was the breakfast-room where Sir William Forbes introduced to him
the blind scholar and poet, Dr. Blacklock? “Dear Dr. Blacklock, I am
glad to see you,” he said, with a most humane complacency. “I looked
on him with reverence,” he wrote to Mrs. Thrale. It has all utterly
passed away; Forbes himself has been Sir Walter Scott’s “lamented
Forbes”[408] for more than fourscore years. All has passed away; not
only the talk about Burke, and Garrick, and Hume, and Whitefield, and
genius, and witchcraft, and the comparative difficulty of verse-making
and dictionary-making; but even the very walls which might have caught
it in its echoes. Where this famous old house once stood now stands a
modern bank, contrasting but ill in its more elaborate architecture
with the severe, and even stern, simplicity of the ancient buildings.
Nevertheless we are at no loss to picture to ourselves the home of Hume
and Boswell. Their _land_ occupied one half of the northern side of the
Court; the other half, which no doubt corresponded with it in almost
every respect, happily escaped the flames. It is so solidly built that
if it is spared by the rage of fire and of modern improvement, it has
little to fear from time. Its situation, looking down as it does with
its northern front on the Mound, and the pleasant gardens in the valley
below, has kept it from sinking in public estimation so much as most of
the neighbouring buildings. It has indeed seen better days, but it has
not lost all the outward signs of respectability; its panes are neither
broken nor patched. The ground-floor, which was, we may assume, on the
same plan as Boswell’s house, is occupied by a bookbinder,[409] who
courteously showed me all over it. There were traces left in this busy
workshop of past splendour, and I could see how handsome and spacious
the rooms had once been. In the windows were deep recesses, where it
must have been pleasant enough on a bright summer’s day to sit in the
cool shade and look out over the heads of the elm trees waving below,
across the sparkling waters of the Forth, on the hills of Fife in the
far distance. A stone staircase, furnished with iron gates, led down
from the level of the Court to the street four storeys below, where the
foundations of this lofty pile are laid in the rock. The staircase had
its occupant, for at one of the windows a mat-maker was busy at his


There is no memorial to remind passers-by of the men who have made
James’s Court so famous. The stranger, as he climbs up the Lawnmarket
to the Castle, is little likely to notice the obscure archway through
which so gay and bright and learned a company was ever passing to and
fro. In the public gardens Allan Ramsay, John Wilson and Adam Black
have each their statue. Viscount Melville’s column lifts its head in
St. Andrew’s Square, far above David Hume’s modest house, and in its
inscription, in all probability, lies. The virtues and the glories
of George IV. are lavishly commemorated. Even good Queen Charlotte
is not suffered to be forgotten. In Chambers Street the name of the
founder of _Chambers’ Journal_ is meant to live. On the finest site in
all Edinburgh the insignificance of the fifth Duke of Buccleugh will
struggle for immortality. We look in vain for the statue of David Hume,
of Adam Smith, and of James Boswell. What street, what square, what
bridge bear their names? Where does Edinburgh proudly boast to the
stranger that she is the birth-place of the philosopher whose name is
great in the history of the world, and of the biographer whose work has
never been equalled? Where does she make it known that to her ancient
city the author of the _Wealth of Nations_ retired to spend the closing
years of his life and to die? If no nobler monuments can be raised,
surely some bronze tablet or graven stone might keep fresh the memory
of the spot where Adam Smith had his chamber, where Benjamin Franklin
came to visit David Hume, where Rousseau was offered a shelter, and
where James Boswell’s guests were Pascal Paoli and Samuel Johnson.


It was in good company that Johnson, on the morning of Monday, August
16, “walked out to see some of the things which they had to show
in Edinburgh,” for he was under the guidance of the historian of
Scotland. “I love Robertson,” Johnson had said a few years earlier,
“and I won’t talk of his book.” If Boswell had reported any part of
this saying we may hope that it was only the first half, for he who
neglects the author makes but a poor recompense by loving the man. At
all events, Robertson was not troubled with diffidence, for at Holyrood
“he fluently harangued” his companion on the scenes described in his
History. No doubt he told many of those anecdotes for which Johnson
that morning had declared his love as they breakfasted together, and
took care not to attempt “to weave them into a system.” [Sidenote: THE
LAWNMARKET.] As they passed into the Lawnmarket they had not before
them that wide expanse which in the present day makes so noble an end
to the High Street. The view was obstructed by the Weigh House, the
Luckenbooths, the Tolbooth, and the Guard House.[411] At the Weigh
House the boast, perhaps, was made that so great was the trade of the
town that the public weighing-machine which was there kept brought in
no less than a sum of £500 every year. At the Tolbooth and the Guard
House, that “long low ugly building,” which looked like “a black snail
crawling up the High Street,”[412] something, perhaps, was said of
the Porteous riots. But the real story of the Heart of Mid-Lothian
could only have been told them by that little child of scarce two
years in the College Wynd, how the wild mob on that September night,
seven-and-thirty years before, burnt down the massive gate of the jail,
and dragged their wretched prisoner by torchlight to the gallows,
and how Jeanie Deans could not tell a lie even to save her sister
from a shameful death. There was no one but this bright-eyed boy who
could have even pointed out in the Luckenbooths the stall where poor
Peter Peebles and Paul Plainstanes had for years carried on “that
great line of business as mercers and linendrapers,” which in the
end led to a lawsuit that is famous all the world over. [Sidenote:
PARLIAMENT HOUSE.] Having no one to tell them of all this they passed
on through Parliament Close, “which new-fangled affectation has termed
a square,”[413] to the Parliament House, which still showed “the grave
grey hue that had been breathed over it by one hundred and fifty
years,” and which was still free from the disgrace of “bright freestone
and contemptible decorations.” The “sorrow and indignation,” which the
restorer’s wanton changes aroused troubled a later generation.[414]
Here it was that the Court of Session sat, the High Court of Justice
of Scotland. It was in these August days empty of lawyers, for the
Vacation had just begun; but Johnson on his return saw it also in term
time, and thought “the pleading too vehement and too much addressed
to the passions of the judges. It was not the Areopagus,” he said.
Here Henry Erskine, the brother of the famous Chancellor, slipped a
shilling into Boswell’s hands, who had introduced him to Johnson,
saying that it was for the sight of his bear, and here Lord Auchinleck,
seeing the great man enter, whispered to one of his brethren on the
Bench that it was _Ursa Major_. In the Outer Hall had once sat the
ancient Parliament of Scotland. Here it was that Lord Belhaven, at
perhaps its last meeting, made that pathetic speech which drew tears
from the audience. Here every day during term time there was a very
Babel of a Court of Justice. Like Westminster Hall of old it was the
tribunal of many judges, as well as the gathering ground of advocates,
solicitors, suitors, witnesses, and idlers in general. Here it was that
“the Macer shouted with all his well-remembered brazen strength of
lungs: “Poor Peter Peebles _versus_ Plainstanes, _per_ Dumtoustie _et_
Tough:—Maister Da-a-niel Dumtoustie.”” Here it was that a famous but
portly wag of later days, “Peter” Robinson, seeing Scott with his tall
conical white head passing through, called out to the briefless crowd
about the fire-place, “Hush, boys, here comes old Peveril—I see the
Peak.” Scott looked round and replied, “Ay, ay, my man, as weel Peveril
o’ the Peak ony day as Peter o’ the Painch” (paunch).[415] Here Thomas
Carlyle, a student of the University, not yet fourteen years old, on
the afternoon of the November day on which he first saw Edinburgh, “was
dragged in to a scene” which he never forgot:

    “An immense hall, dimly lighted from the top of the walls,
    and perhaps with candles burning in it here and there, all
    in strange _chiaroscuro_, and filled with what I thought
    (exaggeratively) a thousand or two of human creatures, all
    astir in a boundless buzz of talk, and simmering about in every
    direction, some solitary, some in groups. By degrees I noticed
    that some were in wig and black gown, some not, but in common
    clothes, all well dressed; that here and there on the sides
    of the hall, were little thrones with enclosures, and steps
    leading up, red-velvet figures sitting in said thrones, and
    the black-gowned eagerly speaking to them; advocates pleading
    to judges as I easily understood. How they could be heard in
    such a grinding din was somewhat a mystery. Higher up on the
    walls, stuck there like swallows in their nests, sate other
    humbler figures. These I found were the sources of certain
    wildly plangent lamentable kinds of sounds or echoes which from
    time to time pierced the universal noise of feet and voices,
    and rose unintelligibly above it, as if in the bitterness
    of incurable woe. Criers of the Court, I gradually came to
    understand. And this was Themis in her ‘Outer House,’ such a
    scene of chaotic din and hurlyburly as I had never figured

Here every year, on the evening of the King’s birthday, there was
a scene of loyal riot. At the cost of the city funds, some fifteen
hundred guests, on the invitation of the magistrates, “roaring,
drinking, toasting, and quarrelling,” drank the royal healths to a late
hour of the night. “The wreck and the fumes of that hot and scandalous
night” tainted the air of the Court for a whole week.[417] From the
Hall our travellers passed into the Inner House, where the fifteen
judges sat together as “a Court of Review.” Like Carlyle, Johnson saw
“great Law Lords this and that, great advocates, _alors célèbres_, as
Thiers has it.” There were Hailes, and Kames, and Monboddo, on the
Bench, and Henry Dundas, Solicitor General. The judges wore long robes
of scarlet faced with white, but though their dignity was great, their
salaries were small when compared with those paid to their brethren
in Westminster Hall. The President had but £1,300 a year, and each
of the fourteen Lords of Session but £700. Six of them, among whom
was Boswell’s father, received each £300 more as a Commissioner of
Justiciary.[418] The room, or rather “den,” in which they sat, “was so
cased in venerable dirt that it was impossible to say whether it had
ever been painted. Dismal though the hole was, the old fellows who had
been bred there never looked so well anywhere else.”[419]

In the same great pile of buildings as the Law Courts is the Advocates’
Library, “of which Dr. Johnson took a cursory view.” He, no doubt,
“respectfully remembered” there its former librarian, Thomas Ruddiman,
“that excellent man and eminent scholar,” just as he remembered him
a few days later at Laurencekirk, the scene of his labours as a
schoolmaster. Perhaps a second time he “regretted that his farewell
letter to the Faculty of Advocates when he resigned the office of their
Librarian, was not, as it should have been, in Latin.” According to
Ruddiman’s successor, David Hume, it was but “a petty office of forty
or fifty guineas a year,” yet “a genteel one” too. When that great
writer came to write his letter of resignation, he used the curtest of
English, and took care to express his contempt for the Curators. Two or
three years earlier they had censured him for buying some French books,
which they accounted “indecent and unworthy of a place in a learned
library,” and he had not forgiven them.[420] It was in the _Laigh_ (or
Under) Parliament House beneath, in which at this time were deposited
the records of Scotland, that Johnson, “rolling about in this old
magazine of antiquities,” uttered those memorable words which have
overcome the reluctance or the indolence of many an author: “A man may
write at any time if he will set himself _doggedly_ to it.”

[Sidenote: ST. GILES’S CHURCH.]

It was but a step from the Parliament House to the great church of
St. Giles. Perhaps Johnson went round by the eastern end, and mourned
over the fate which had befallen Dunedin’s Cross less than twenty
years before. A full century and more was to pass away before “the
work of the Vandals” was undone, as far as it could be undone, by the
pious affection of one of the greatest of Scotchmen.[421] Perhaps he
turned to the west, and passed, little recking it, over the grave of
John Knox. Even Boswell, Edinburgh-born though he was, did not know
where the great Reformer lay buried, and a few days later asked where
the spot was. “‘I hope in the highway,’ Dr. Johnson burst out.” In
the pavement of Parliament Close, a “way of common trade,” a small
stone inscribed “I. K. 1572,” marks where he rests. St. Giles’ was at
this time “divided into four places of Presbyterian worship. ‘Come,’
said Johnson jocularly to Dr. Robertson, ‘let me see what was once
a church.’” Writing to Mrs. Thrale the next day he said: “I told
Robertson I wished to see the cathedral because it had once been a
church.” Its “original magnificence,” the loss of which Boswell justly
lamented, has been partly restored by the lavish changes of late years.
Nevertheless, the student of history may in his turn lament that in
this restoration there has of necessity disappeared much that was
interesting. “There was swept away, with as much indifference as if
it had been of yesterday, that plain, square, galleried apartment,”
which, as the meeting-place of the General Assembly, “had beheld the
best exertions of the best men in the Kingdom ever since the year
1640.”[422] Jenny Geddes and her stool, moreover, are reluctant to
answer the summons of the imagination in a scene which she herself
would scarcely have recognized. Johnson went into only one of the four
divisions, the New, or the High Church, as it was beginning to be
called. Here Blair was preaching those sermons which passed through
editions almost innumerable, and now can be bought in their calf
binding for a few pence at almost any bookstall. [Sidenote: SCOTCH
CHURCHES.] The New Church was formed out of the ancient choir. In it
were ranged the seats of the King, the judges, and the magistrates
of the city. When Johnson saw it, “it was shamefully dirty. He said
nothing at the time; but when he came to the great door of the Royal
Infirmary, where upon a board was this inscription, ‘Clean your feet,’
he turned about slily and said, ‘There is no occasion for putting this
at the doors of your churches.’” Pennant also had noticed “the slovenly
and indecent manner in which Presbytery kept the houses of God. In many
parts of Scotland,” he said, “our Lord seems still to be worshipped
in a stable, and often in a very wretched one.”[423] Nevertheless,
it seemed likely that some improvement would soon be made, and that
orthodoxy and dirt would not be held inseparable companions. In one or
two highly favoured spots the broom and scrubbing-brush had, perhaps,
already made their appearance; for according to Smollett “the good
people of Edinburgh no longer thought dirt and cobwebs essential to the
house of God.”[424] It might still have been impossible “for the united
rhetoric of mankind to prevail with Jack to make himself clean;”[425]
yet example must at last have an effect. Scotchmen had travelled
and had returned from their travels, and no doubt had brought back
a certain love for decency and cleanliness even in churches. In one
respect, it was noticed, they surpassed their neighbours. Their conduct
during service was more becoming. “They did not make their bows and
cringes in the middle of their very prayers as was done in England.”
They always waited till the sermon was over and the blessing given
before they looked round and made their civilities to their friends and
persons of distinction.[426]

I inquired in vain when I was in Edinburgh for the Post-house
Stairs, down which Johnson on leaving St. Giles was taken to the
Cowgate. Together with so much that was ancient they have long since
disappeared. He was now at the foot of the highest building in the
town. As he turned round and looked upwards he saw a house that rose
above him thirteen storeys high, being built like James’s Court on a
steep slope. It has suffered the same fate as Boswell’s house, having
been destroyed by fire more than sixty years ago.[427] [Sidenote:
EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY.] From the Cowgate Robertson led the way up the
steep hill to the College of which he was the Principal. They passed
through “that narrow dismal alley,” the College Wynd, famous to all
time as the birthplace of Sir Walter Scott. Johnson would have been
pleased indeed could he have known how that bright young genius would
one day delight in his poems, and how the last line of manuscript that
he was to send to the press would be a quotation from the _Vanity of
Human Wishes_.[428] “Hæ miseriæ nostræ,” were the melancholy words
which Robertson uttered as he showed his companion the mean buildings
in which his illustrious University was lodged. Johnson, in the
narrative of his tour, no doubt remembering what he saw both here and
at St. Andrew’s, grieved over a nation which, “while its merchants or
its nobles are raising palaces suffers its universities to moulder
into dust.” Robertson, in an eloquent _Memorial_, had lately pleaded
the cause of learning. The courts and buildings of the College were
so mean, he said, that a stranger would mistake them for almshouses.
Instead of a spacious quadrangle there were three paltry divisions,
encompassed partly with a range of low and even of ruinous houses,
and partly with walls which threatened destruction to the passers-by.
Boswell tells of one portion of the wall which, bulging out, was
supposed, like “Bacon’s mansion,” to “tremble o’er the head” of every
scholar, being destined to fall when a man of extraordinary learning
should go under it. It had lately been taken down. “They were afraid
it never would fall,” said Johnson, glad of an opportunity to have a
pleasant hit at Scottish learning. In spite of its poverty and the
meanness of its buildings, such was the general reputation of the
University, above all of the School of Medicine, that students flocked
to it from all parts of Great Britain and Ireland, from the English
settlements in North America and the West Indies, and even from distant
countries in Europe. Their number at this time was not less than six
or seven hundred; by 1789 it had risen to one thousand and ninety. The
Principal did not allow himself to be soothed into negligence by this
success. He grieved that “with a literary education should be connected
in youth ideas of poverty, meanness, dirtiness, and darkness.” The sum
of money which he asked for was not large in a country whose wealth
was so rapidly increasing. For £6,500—not quite double the amount
which he had been lately paid for his _History of Charles V._—sixteen
“teaching rooms” could be provided, while £8,500 more would supply
everything else that was needed. Yet it was not till 1789 that the
foundation stone was laid of the New College of Edinburgh. Happily
Robertson was spared to play his part on that great day. Preceded
by the Mace, with the Professor of Divinity on his right hand, and
the Professor of Church History on his left, followed by the rest of
his colleagues according to seniority, and by the students, each man
wearing a sprig of green laurel in his hat, he headed the procession of
the University.[429]

However mean were the buildings in general, with the library Johnson
was much pleased. Fifty years earlier a traveller had noticed that “the
books in it were cloistered with doors of wire which none could open
but the keeper, more commodious than the multitude of chains used in
the English libraries.”[430] I was surprised to find that so late as
1723 the use of chains was generally continued in England. Yet about
that time one of the Scotch exhibitioners at Balliol College reported
that the knives and forks were chained to the tables in the Hall,[431]
so that it was likely that at least as great care was taken with
books of value. Johnson’s attention does not seem to have been drawn
to an inscription over one of the doors, which the French traveller,
Saint-Fond, read with surprise—MUSIS ET CHRISTO. Had he noticed it, it
would scarcely have failed to draw forth some remark.

[Illustration: THE OLD LIBRARY.]

From the College the party went on to the Royal Infirmary. In the
Bodleian Library I have found a copy of the _History and Statutes_ of
that institution printed in 1749. In it is given a table of the three
kinds of diet which the patients were to have—“low, middle, and full.”
The only vegetable food allowed was oatmeal and barley-meal, rice
and panado.[432] There was no tea, coffee, or cocoa. The only drink
was ale, but in “low diet” it was not to be taken. It is to be hoped
that the Infirmary was not under the same severe ecclesiastical
discipline as the workhouse. There the first failure to attend Divine
worship was to be followed by the loss of the next meal, while for
the second failure the culprit was “to be denied victuals for a whole

[Illustration: INCH KEITH



The last sight which Johnson was shown in his “running about Edinburgh”
was the Abbey of Holyrood House, “that deserted mansion of royalty,” as
Boswell calls it with a sigh. It was more the absence of a charwoman
than of a king that was likely to rouse the regrets of an Englishman.
“The stately rooms,” wrote Wesley, “are dirty as stables.”[434] Even
the chapel was in a state of “miserable neglect.”[435] It was in
Holyrood that Robertson “fluently harangued” on the scenes of Scottish
history. In the room in which David Rizzio was murdered “Johnson was
overheard repeating in a kind of muttering tone, a line of the old
ballad, _Johnny Armstrong’s Last Good Night_:

    ‘And ran him through the fair body.’”

The mood in which he was when he made so odd a quotation was perhaps no
less natural than Burns’s when he wrote:

    “With awe-struck thought and pitying tears,
      I view that noble, stately dome,
    Where Scotia’s kings of other years
      Famed heroes, had their royal home.”[436]

The Castle, that “rough, rude fortress,” was not visited by Johnson
till his return in November. He owned that it was “a great place;”
yet a few days after he affected to despise it, when Lord Elibank was
talking of it with the natural elation of a Scotchman. “It would,” he
said, “make a good prison in England.” Perhaps there was not so much
affectation as Boswell thought, for Johnson believed, he said, that the
ruins of some one of the castles which the English built in Wales would
supply materials for all those which he saw beyond the Tweed.[437]


[Sidenote: INCH KEITH.]

On the morning of Wednesday, August 18th, the travellers, accompanied
by Mr. Nairne, an advocate, set out on their northern tour. They were
attended by Boswell’s servant, Joseph Ritter, a Bohemian, “a fine
stately fellow above six feet high, who had been over a great part of
Europe, and spoke many languages. He was,” adds Boswell, “the best
servant I ever saw. Dr. Johnson gave him this character, ‘Sir, he is a
civil man, and a wise man.’” At Leith they took boat for Kinghorn on
the other side of the Firth of Forth. In the passage Johnson observed
the Island of Inch Keith, which, to his surprise, his companions had
never visited, “though lying within their view, it had all their
lives solicited their notice.” He flattered his pride as “a true-born
Englishman” by reflecting, had it been as near London as it was to
Edinburgh, “with what emulation of price a few rocky acres would have
been purchased.” “I’d have this island,” he said. “I’d build a house,
make a good landing-place, have a garden and vines, and all sorts of
trees. A rich man of a hospitable turn here would have many visitors
from Edinburgh.” By his wish they landed, putting in at a little bay on
the north-west, the same “wild, stony little bay,” no doubt, into which
Thomas Carlyle and Edward Irving ran their boat one summer evening
more than forty years later. “We found the island,” writes Johnson, “a
rock somewhat troublesome to climb, about a mile long and half a mile
broad; in the middle were the ruins of an old fort, which had on one of
the stones, ‘Maria Re. 1564.’ It had been only a blockhouse one storey
high. The rock had some grass and many thistles, both cows and sheep
were grazing. There was a spring of water. We pleased ourselves with
being in a country all our own.” The ruins have long since disappeared;
with the stones a light-house was built. How our travellers were
affected by the beautiful scenery that was all around, if indeed they
were affected, we are not told. For natural beauties Boswell hoped to
be able some day “to force a taste.” In the description of visible
objects he honestly owned he found a great difficulty. Johnson’s
descriptions of scenery are almost all of the artificial school. Both
men were far too wise to affect raptures which they did not feel.
Happily the view that the chance wanderer sometimes sees in that lonely
island has been sketched for us by the hands of a master. Carlyle
thus describes what he saw: “The scene in our little bay, as we were
about proceeding to launch our boat, seemed to me the beautifullest
I had ever beheld. Sun about setting just in face of us, behind Ben
Lomond far away. Edinburgh with its towers; the great silver mirror
of the Frith girt by such a framework of mountains; cities, rocks,
and fields and wavy landscapes on all hands of us; and reaching right
under foot, as I remember, came a broad pillar as of gold from the just
sinking sun; burning axle, as it were, going down to the centre of the

The weather was fine, so that our travellers had a pleasant crossing
over “that great gulf” which Hume “regarded with horror and a kind
of hydrophobia that kept him,” he said, from visiting Adam Smith at
Kirkaldy.[439] In _Humphry Clinker_ Matthew Bramble had had so rough
a passage, that when he was told that he had been saved “by the
particular care of Providence,” he replied, “Yes, but I am much of the
honest Highlander’s mind, after he had made such a passage as this. His
friend told him he was much indebted to Providence. ‘Certainly,’ said
Donald, ‘but by my saul, mon, I’se ne’er trouble Providence again so
long as the Brig of Stirling stands.’”[440]



At Kinghorn, “a mean town,” which was said to consist chiefly of
“horse-hirers and boatmen noted all Scotland over for their impudence
and impositions,”[441] our travellers took a post-chaise for St.
Andrews. A few years earlier Johnson would not have found there his
favourite mode of conveyance. By the year 1758 post-chaises had only
penetrated as far north as Durham.[442] He found the roads good,
“neither rough nor dirty.” The absence of toll-gates, “afforded a
southern stranger a new kind of pleasure.” He would not have rejoiced
over this absence had he known that their want was supplied by the
forced labour of the cottars. On these poor men was laid “an annual
tax of six days’ labour for repairing the roads.”[443] Used as he was
to the rapid succession of carriages and riders, and to the beautiful
and varied scenery in the neighbourhood of London, he complained
that in Scotland there was “little diversion for the traveller, who
seldom sees himself either encountered or overtaken, and who has
nothing to contemplate but grounds that have no visible boundaries, or
are separated by walls of loose stone.” There were few of the heavy
waggons which were seen on the roads in England. A small cart drawn
by one little horse was the carriage in common use. “A man seemed
to derive some degree of dignity and importance from the reputation
of possessing a two-horse cart.” [Sidenote: KIRKALDY.] Three miles
beyond Kinghorn they drove through Kirkaldy, “a very long town, meanly
built,” where Adam Smith perhaps at that very time was taking his
one amusement, “a long, solitary walk by the sea-side,” smiling and
talking to himself and meditating his _Wealth of Nations_.[444] Here,
too, Thomas Carlyle was to have “will and waygate” upon all his friend
Irving’s books, and here “with greedy velocity” he was to read the
_Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire_ at the rate of a volume a day.
Along the beach he was to walk “in summer twilights, a mile of the
smoothest sand, with one long wave coming on gently, steadily, and
breaking in gradual explosion into harmless, melodious white at your
hand all the way.”[445] Of all the scenery which Johnson saw, either
here or on the rest of his drive, his description is of the briefest.
“The whole country,” he wrote, “is extended in uniform nakedness,
except that in the road between Kirkaldy and Cupar I passed for a
few yards between two hedges.” Night, however, had come on before
their journey was ended, for they had lost time at Inch Keith. They
could not, moreover, have been driven at a fast pace, for between
Kinghorn and St. Andrews, a distance of nearly thirty miles, there
was no change of horses to be had.[446] They crossed, perhaps without
knowing it, Magus Moor, where Archbishop Sharpe, “driving home from a
council day,” was killed “by a party of furious men.”[447] In going
over this same moor many years later, Sir Walter Scott, being moved,
as he says, by the spirit to give a picture of the assassination, so
told his tale that he “frightened away the night’s sleep of one of his


[Sidenote: ST. ANDREWS.]

Coming as they did through the darkness to St. Andrews, they saw
nothing of that “august appearance” which the seat of the most ancient
of the Scotch universities presented from afar. “It appears,” said
an early traveller, “much like Bruges in Flanders at a distance; its
colleges and fine steeples making a goodly appearance.”[449] They
arrived late, after a dreary drive, but “found a good supper at Glass’s
Inn, and Dr. Johnson revived agreeably.” Who was Glass and which was
his inn I could not ascertain. The old Scotch custom of calling a house
not after its sign but its landlord, renders identification difficult.
Wherever it was they found it full; but “by the interposition of some
invisible friend,” to use Johnson’s words, “lodgings were provided
at the house of one of the professors.” The invisible friend was a
relation of that “most universal genius,” Dr. Arbuthnot, whom Johnson
once ranked first among the writers in Queen Anne’s reign. Their host
was Dr. Robert Watson, the author of the _History of Philip II. and
Philip III. of Spain_, “an interesting, clear, well-arranged, and
rather feeble-minded work,” as Carlyle described it.[450] [Sidenote:
ST. LEONARD’S COLLEGE.] His house had formerly been part of St.
Leonard’s College, but had been purchased by him at the time when
that ancient institution, by being merged in St. Salvator’s, lost its
separate existence. A traveller who had visited St. Andrews about
the year 1723 saw the old cells of the monks, two storeys high, on
the southern side of the college. “On the west was a goodly pile of
buildings, but all out of repair.”[451] Wesley, who came to the town
three years after Johnson, does not seem to have known how large a part
of the old buildings had been converted into a private house, for he
wrote that “what was left of St. Leonard’s College was only a heap of
ruins.”[452] Of the inside of the ancient chapel Johnson could not get
a sight:

    “I was always, by some civil excuse, hindered from entering
    it. A decent attempt, as I was since told, has been made to
    convert it into a kind of green-house, by planting its area
    with shrubs. This new method of gardening is unsuccessful; the
    plants do not hitherto prosper. To what use it will next be
    put, I have no pleasure in conjecturing. It is something, that
    its present state is at least not ostentatiously displayed.
    Where there is yet shame, there may in time be virtue.”

[Illustration: ST. LEONARD’S COLLEGE.]

The virtue was somewhat slow in coming. Saint-Fond, who got a peep into
the chapel, inferred that it was used for a winter store-house for the
carrots and turnips which grew in the kitchen-garden that surrounded
it. It has of late years been cleared of rubbish and restored to
decency, which, perhaps, is all the restoration that is desirable. Some
shrubs and overhanging trees have been allowed to throw a graceful
veil over man’s neglect. One strange sight the old monkish cells had
witnessed earlier in the century. A man of liberal views had been
elected Rector of the University. In his honour “the students made
a bonfire at St. Leonard’s Gate, into which they threw some of the
Calvinistic systems which they were enjoined to read.”[453] Not very
many years before this innocent and even meritorious sacrifice was
made, the terrible flames of religious persecution had blazed up in
this city dedicated to piety and learning. It is possible that Johnson
passed in the streets some aged man who in his childhood had seen a
miserable woman burnt to death for witchcraft on the Witch Hill. So
late as the seventh year of the present century a gentleman was living
who had known a person who had witnessed this dreadful sight.[454]

In Dr. Watson’s house the two travellers “found very comfortable
and genteel accommodation.” The host “wondered at Johnson’s total
inattention to established manners;” but he does not seem to have let
his wonder be discovered by his guest. “I take great delight in him,”
said Johnson. How much delight Watson took in him we are not told.
“He allowed him a very strong understanding;” and as well he might,
for he heard some “good talk.” It was at his breakfast-table that
Johnson proudly pointed out how authors had at length shaken themselves
free of patrons. “Learning,” he said, “is a trade. We have done with
patronage. If learning cannot support a man, if he must sit with his
hands across till somebody feeds him, it is as to him a bad thing.” It
was here, moreover, that he gave that amusing account of the change of
manners in his lifetime. “I remember (said he) when all the _decent_
people in Lichfield got drunk every night, and were not the worse
thought of.” That smoking had gone out seemed to him strange, for it
was “a thing which requires so little exertion, and yet preserves the
mind from total vacuity.”


The exact spot where he was so comfortably lodged is doubtful. In the
Hebrides some of the chambers in which he slept are still known. In
a University, where the traditions of a scholar should surely linger
long, the very house has been forgotten. It is believed, however, that
Dr. Watson occupied that part of the ancient building which had once
been Buchanan’s residence. Some portion of that great scholar’s study
still remains, having outlived both time and change. Yet that Johnson
should not have been informed of a fact which to him would have been
so interesting, or that being informed he should not have mentioned
it, is indeed surprising. His admiration for Buchanan’s genius seems
almost unbounded. If the city attracted him because it had once been
archiepiscopal, so did the University, because in it Buchanan had
once taught philosophy. “His name,” he adds, “has as fair a claim to
immortality as can be conferred by modern latinity, and perhaps a
fairer than the instability of vernacular languages admits.” Sir Walter
Scott loved him almost as much as Johnson. “He was his favourite Latin
poet as well as historian.”[455]

Our travellers rose “much refreshed” from their fatigue, and to the
enjoyment of a very fine day. They went forth to view the ruins not
only of a cathedral, but almost of a city and a University. That
it had once flourished as a city was shown by history: its ancient
magnificence as the seat of a great archbishopric was witnessed by “the
mournful memorials” which had escaped the hands of the devastator. Of
its three Colleges only two were standing. It was “the skeleton of a
venerable city,” said Smollett.[456] Many years earlier a traveller,
applying to it Lord Rochester’s words, had described it as being “in
its full perfection of decay.” Pennant, who visited it only the year
before Johnson, on entering the West Port, saw a well-built street,
straight, and of a vast length and breadth, lying before him; but it
was so grass-grown, and so dreary a solitude, that it seemed as if it
had been laid waste by pestilence.[457] Another traveller, who came a
little later, praised “the noble wide street,” but lamented that most
of the houses were “disfigured by what is termed a _fore-stair_—that
is, an open staircase on the outside, carried in a zigzag manner across
the front of the house.” Before most of them was heaped up a huge
dunghill.[458] A young English student fresh from Eton, the grandson
of Bishop Berkeley, who entered the University about the year 1778,
on seeing “this dreary deserted city, wept to think that he was to
remain there three long years.” So fond nevertheless did he become of
the place that “he shed more tears at leaving than at entering.”[459]
Saint-Fond saw grass growing in all the streets: “Tout y est triste,
silencieux; le peuple, y vivant dans l’ignorance des arts et du
commerce, offre l’image de l’insouciance et de la langueur.”[460]
[Sidenote: GRASS-GROWN STREETS.] I was told by an old inhabitant that
not a single new house was built till after the year 1851, and that not
long before that time sheep might be seen feeding in the grass-grown
streets. Our travellers were touched by the general gloom. “It was,”
said Boswell, “somewhat dispiriting to see this ancient archiepiscopal
city now sadly deserted.” “One of its streets,” wrote Johnson, “is
now lost; and in those that remain there is the silence and solitude
of inactive indigence and gloomy depopulation.” This loss of a street
seems to have been imaginary. He was speaking, no doubt, of the road
known under the name of _The Scores_, which runs in front of the
Castle, and follows the line of the coast. But along its course neither
pavements nor foundations have ever been discovered.[461] Nevertheless
the desolation was very great. [Sidenote: THE CASTLE.] Over one ruin,
however, a good man might have justly exulted. In the archbishops’
castle on the edge of the sea is shown the dreadful pit in which the
unhappy prisoner, far below the level of the ground, spent his weary
days in wretchedness and darkness, listening to the beating of the
waves. Here ofttimes he waited for the hour to come when he should be
raised by a rope to the surface, as if he were a bucket of water, and
not a man, and dragged off to die before the people. Sometimes those
poor eyes, grown weak by a darkness which was never broken, of a sudden
had to face, not only the light of day, but the blaze of the torch
which was to kindle the martyr’s pile. Thinking on all this—on Patrick
Hamilton, on Henry Forrest, on George Wishart, and on Walter Milne, who
for their faith suffered death by fire at St. Andrews—who does not
rejoice that this dismal den was shattered to pieces, and that where
once “an atheous priest” made the good tremble by his frown, now on the
pleasant sward innocent children play about, and strangers from afar
idly dream an hour away?

[Illustration: ST. ANDREWS CASTLE.



None of these thoughts came into the minds of the two travellers.
They did not see this dreadful dungeon, for it was hidden beneath
the rubbish of the ruined walls. The sight of it would, I hope, have
moved Johnson to write otherwise than he did. Had he looked down into
its gloomy depths, he would scarcely have said that “Cardinal Beaton
was murdered by the ruffians of reformation.” Never surely was a more
righteous sentence executed than that whereby this murderer of George
Wishart, in the very room where, lolling on his velvet cushion, he had
looked forth on the martyr’s sufferings, was himself put to death.

[Sidenote: THE CATHEDRAL.]

With far different feelings are we animated as we look at “the poor
remains of the stately Cathedral.” If we do not grieve for the rooks,
nevertheless we mourn over the wild folly which struck down so glorious
a rookery. Would that that fair sight still caught the sailor’s eye
which met John Knox’s gaze when, “hanging tired over his oar in the
French galley, he saw the white steeples of St. Andrews rising out of
the sea in the mist of the summer morning!”[462] Desolate as is the
scene of ruin now, it was far more desolate when Johnson saw it. The
ground lay deep in rubbish. The few broken pillars which were left
standing were almost hidden in the ruins heaped up around them. The
Cathedral until very lately had been made a common quarry, “and every
man had carried away the stones who fancied that he wanted them.”
Now all is trim. The levelled ground, the smooth lawn, the gravelled
paths, the gently sloping banks, the trees and the shrubs, all bear
witness to man’s care for the venerable past, and to his reverence
for the dead who still find their last resting-place by the side of
their forefathers. The wantonness of the destruction, however, mocks
at repair. The work was too thoroughly done by those fierce reformers,
and by the quiet quarrymen of after ages. In all the cities of Scotland
there were craftsmen, but it was in Glasgow alone that they rose to
save their beloved Cathedral. Yet everywhere the people should have
felt—to use Johnson’s homely words—as, “wrapt up in contemplation,”
he surveyed these scenes—that “differing from a man in doctrine
is no reason why you should pull his house about his ears.” We may
exclaim, as Wesley exclaimed at Aberbrothick, when he was told that the
zealous reformers burnt the Abbey down, “God deliver us from reforming


In the ruined cloisters as our travellers paced up and down, while the
old walls gave “a solemn echo” to their steps and to Johnson’s strong
voice, he talked about retirement from the world. For such a discourse
there could not easily have been found a more fitting scene.

    “I never read of an hermit (he said) but in imagination I kiss
    his feet: never of a monastery, but I could fall on my knees
    and kiss the pavement. But I think putting young people there,
    who know nothing of life, nothing of retirement, is dangerous
    and wicked. It is a saying as old as Hesiod—

        ‘Ἑργα νέων, βουλαί δε μέσων, εὐχαὶ δὲ γερόντων.’[464]

    That is a very noble line: not that young men should not pray,
    or old men not give counsel, but that every season of life has
    its proper duties. I have thought of retiring, and have talked
    of it to a friend; but I find my vocation is rather to active

Here, too, it was a different scene upon which he looked from that
which meets our view. The gravestones which are now set against
the walls of the cloisters were then buried beneath the rubbish of
the cathedral. On the other side of this wall, in the grounds of
the priory, were situated those “two vaults or cellars” where our
travellers found a strange inmate.

    “In one of them (writes Johnson) lives an old woman, who claims
    an hereditary residence in it, boasting that her husband was
    the sixth tenant of this gloomy mansion in a lineal descent,
    and claims by her marriage with this lord of the cavern
    an alliance with the Bruces. Mr. Boswell staid a while to
    interrogate her, because he understood her language; she told
    him that she and her cat lived together; that she had two sons
    somewhere, who might perhaps be dead; that when there were
    quality in the town notice was taken of her, and that now
    she was neglected, but did not trouble them. Her habitation
    contained all that she had; her turf for fire was laid in
    one place and her balls of coal dust in another, but her bed
    seemed to be clean. Boswell asked her if she never heard any
    noises, but she could tell him of nothing supernatural, though
    she often wandered in the night among the graves and ruins;
    only she had sometimes notice by dreams of the death of her

I made as diligent an inquiry as I could after this kinswoman of the
royal family of Scotland, but all in vain.

    “The glories of our blood and state
    Are shadows, not substantial things.”

The memory has been preserved of “some cellar-looking places,” but no
tradition of human habitation has come down to our time.

    “Dr. Johnson wanted to mount the steeples (writes Boswell),
    but it could not be done. One of them, which he was told was
    in danger, he wished not to be taken down; ‘for (said he) it
    may fall on some of the posterity of John Knox; and no great

[Sidenote: ST. RULE’S TOWER.]

Among the posterity was to be born eight-and-twenty years later
a little girl, destined to become famous as the wife of Thomas
Carlyle.[465] What was the hindrance to the ascent of St. Rule’s Tower
I could not ascertain. The staircase, which is perfect, has in no part
a modern appearance, but nevertheless, it is possible that some of
the steps were missing. Saint-Fond, nevertheless, went up it not long
after Johnson’s visit. Sir Walter Scott, a few years before his death,
visiting the ruins, wrote that he had not been strong enough to climb
the tower.

    “When before did I remain sitting below when there was a
    steeple to be ascended? I sat down on a grave-stone, and
    recollected the first visit I made to St. Andrews, now
    thirty-four years ago. What changes in my feelings and my
    fortunes have since then taken place!—some for the better,
    many for the worse. I remembered the name I then carved in
    runic characters on the turf beside the Castle Gate, and I
    asked why it should still agitate my heart.”[466]

[Illustration: WEST DOOR, ST. ANDREWS.]

As we wander among these ancient ruins it is pleasant to think not
only on the days when the cathedral stood in all its magnificence,
and on those other days when the wild mob raved through it, but also
on old Samuel Johnson, wrapped up in contemplation or preaching about
retirement, and on Walter Scott resting on a gravestone and dreaming
of his first love. We may pause, too, for one moment in the old chapel
beneath the tower, at the spot where that good man and good antiquary
Robert Chambers lies in everlasting rest. From the top of the tower I
looked with pleasure on the long row of young trees planted along the
main street. The reproach of bareness will not long hang over the town.
Indeed, much had been done to remove it by an earlier generation, for
this noble street was adorned not many years ago by a fine group of
trees. Unfortunately a reforming provost arose, who swept them away.
Near the cathedral I noticed an inscription which might have called
forth Johnson’s sarcastic wit had he chanced to see it. It bore the
date of 1712, and was in memory of “John Anderson who was Minister of
the Gospel of St. Andrews.”


While the travellers were strolling about “dinner was mentioned.
‘Ay, ay,’ said Johnson. ‘Amidst all these sorrowful scenes I have no
objection to dinner.’” They were to be the guests of the professors,
who entertained them at one of the inns.

    “An ill-natured story was circulated (says Boswell) that,
    after grace was said in English, Johnson, with the greatest
    marks of contempt, as if he had held it to be no grace in an
    university, would not sit down till he had said grace aloud, in
    Latin. This would have been an insult indeed to the gentlemen
    who were entertaining us. But the truth was precisely thus. In
    the course of conversation at dinner, Dr. Johnson, in very good
    humour, said, ‘I should have expected to have heard a Latin
    grace, among so many learned men: we had always a Latin grace
    at Oxford. I believe I can repeat it.’”

This grace had been written by the learned Camden for Pembroke College,
“to which,” to use Johnson’s own words, “the zeal or gratitude of those
that love it most can wish little better than that it may long proceed
as it began.”

In the afternoon they went to see the monument to Archbishop Sharpe.
His great granddaughter they met at supper. Saint-Fond, confounding
him with Cardinal Beaton, says: “Il parâit que les parens du Cardinal
Beaton n’ont pas voulu déguiser la paternité du saint archevêque,
puisque sa fille est représentée toute en pleurs, les bras tendus vers
son père.”[467]

[Illustration: GOLF AT ST. ANDREWS.]

The two colleges which formed the University greatly interested
Johnson. The natural advantages of St. Andrews for a seat of learning
had been pointed out by an earlier traveller, who maintained that it
had the best situation he had ever seen for an University, “being out
of all common roads, and having fine downs or links, as they call
them, for exercising the scholars.”[468] The golfers who now throng the
links and boast that when professors by their learning could not save
the ancient city from sinking into decay, they by their idleness have
lifted it into prosperity, must have been numerous even in Johnson’s
time. Of all the old manufactures, that of golf-balls alone was left,
and it maintained, or rather helped to destroy, several people. “The
trade,” says Pennant, “is commonly fatal to the artists, for the balls
are made by stuffing a great quantity of feathers into a leathern
case, by help of an iron rod with a wooden handle pressed against the
breast, which seldom fails to bring on a consumption.”[469] To Johnson,
though he makes no mention of the Links, “St. Andrews seemed to be a
place eminently adapted to study and education.” [Sidenote:
A DECLINING UNIVERSITY.] Nevertheless, he had to grieve over
a declining university. The fault was not, he said, in the
professors; the expenses of the students, moreover, were very
moderate. For about fifteen pounds, board, lodging, and instruction
were provided for the session of seven months for students of
the highest class. Those of lower rank were charged less than
ten. Percival Stockdale, who was there in 1756, says that “for a
good bedroom, coals, and the attendance of a servant, he paid one
shilling a week.”[470] At this period an Oxford commoner, Johnson
says, required a hundred a year and a petty scholarship “to live
with great ease.”[471] To anyone who could pay for what he bought
in ready money, living was made cheaper by the system of giving
a discount of a shilling in the pound. A Scotch gentleman who
resided much in England finding that this was not done in that
country, “was in the habit when he purchased anything of putting
the cash in a piece of paper, on which he wrote what it was to pay.
This he kept in his desk twelve months, saying that the English
traders are a set of rascals.”[472] The poorer Scotch students,
however, had to bear great privations. “The miserable holes which
some of them inhabit,” writes a young English traveller, “their
abstemiousness and parsimony, their constant attendance to study,
their indefatigable industry, border on romance.”[473] At St.
Andrews they often were too poor to buy candles, and had to study
by fire-light.[474] In spite of the extraordinary cheapness of the
life their numbers were dwindling. They did not at this time exceed
a hundred, says Johnson. Three years later Wesley was told that
there were only about seventy.[475] “To the sight of archiepiscopal
ruins,” Johnson was reconciled, he said, by the remoteness of
the calamity which had befallen them. “Had the University been
destroyed two centuries ago we should not have regretted it; but
to see it pining in decay and struggling for life fills the mind
with mournful images and ineffectual wishes.” Some improvement,
nevertheless, had of late been made. [Sidenote: ST. SALVATOR’S
COLLEGE.] Defoe, in the year 1727, had described the whole building
of St. Salvator’s College “as looking into its grave.”[476] The
account given by Boswell of the fabric is much more cheerful. “The
rooms for students,” he writes, “seemed very commodious, and Dr.
Johnson said the chapel was the neatest place of worship he had
seen.” Nevertheless, at the beginning of this century some of the
lecture-rooms were described as being places “in which a gentleman
would be ashamed to lodge his hacks or his terriers.”[477] It was
fortunate for the reputation of the College that our two travellers
had not visited it earlier in the summer, otherwise they would have
had to report a disgraceful sight which three years later shocked
John Wesley. It was soon after the beginning of the Long Vacation
that he was there, before the glaziers had repaired the wreck which
marked the end of the yearly course. It was the custom, he was
told, for the students to break all the windows before they left.
“Where,” asks Wesley, indignantly, “are their blessed Governors in
the mean time? Are they all fast asleep?”[478] The young Etonian,
Bishop Berkeley’s grandson, had the merit of putting an end to
this bad practice. [Sidenote: “WINDOW-CROONS.”] On entrance he
was required to deposit a crown for window-money; when, model
of virtue as he was, he objected that he had never yet broken a
window in his life, and was not likely to begin, he was assured
that he would before he left St. Andrews. The College porter, who
collected “these window-_croons_,” told him of a poor student who
had shed tears on being called on to pay. His father, a cottar,
had sold one of his three cows to find money for his education at
the university, and had sent him up with a large tub of oatmeal, a
pot of salted butter, and five shillings in his pocket. Sixpence
of this money had already been spent, and the rest the porter
took.[479] When the window-breaking time came on, and Berkeley was
summoned to take his part in the riot, he refused. As a boy at
Eton, he said, though sometimes with more wine in his head than
was good for him, he had never performed such a valiant feat, and
he was not therefore going to begin as a young man. His comrades
yielded to his remonstrances, and the windows were no longer

At St. Mary’s College Johnson was shown the fine library which had been
finished within the last few years. Dr. Murison, the Principal, was
abundantly vain of it, for he seriously said to him, “You have not such
a one in England.” Johnson, though he has his laugh at the Doctor for
hoping “to irritate or subdue his English vanity,” yet admits that if
“it was not very spacious, it was elegant and luminous.” It is not, of
course, to be compared with the largest libraries at Oxford. “If a man
has a mind to prance” it is not at St. Andrews, but at Christ Church
and All Souls, that he must study.[481] Nevertheless it confers great
dignity on the University, and with its 120,000 volumes there is no
English College that it would disgrace. Murison’s vanity had therefore
some excuse. He was, however, a man “barely sufficient” for the post
which he held. Over his slips in Latin the lads sometimes made merry.
In the Divinity Hall he one day rebuked a student for delivering a
discourse which was too high-flown and poetical. “Lord help him, poor
man!” said the indignant youngster, “He knows no better.”[482]


[Sidenote: A FINE PLANE TREE.]

On the second day of our travellers’ stay “they went,” says Boswell,
“and saw Colonel Nairne’s garden and grotto. Here was a fine old plane
tree.[483] Unluckily the Colonel said there was but this and another
large tree in the country.[484] This assertion was an excellent cue
for Dr. Johnson, who laughed enormously, calling to me to hear it.”
The Colonel’s father, Lord Nairne, had been “out in the ’45,” while
the son, who fought in the King’s army, had been sent to batter down
the old castle of his forefathers. George II. wished to reward his
fidelity with the command of a regiment, but was hindered by the
Duke of Cumberland, “who told the King that it was impossible that a
man who had suffered so much could ever forget or forgive it.”[485]
His garden and grotto were at the back of the Chapel. The grotto has
disappeared with its “petrified stocks of trees,” unless perchance
some remains of it are seen in a small building, which looks like a
private chapel, and which might have been transformed by that ingenious
collector of curiosities, the Colonel. The plane tree survived till
about the beginning of the century. An old gentleman still living was
told by his grandfather that in the branches a wooden platform had
been built, on which tea-parties were held.[486] I remember seeing in
my boyhood a similar platform in a large willow-tree overhanging Isaac
Walton’s sedgy Lea. That the good people of St. Andrews have not in
their traditions made Johnson drink a dozen or two cups of tea in this
airy summer-house is a proof either of their truthfulness or of the
sluggishness of their imagination.


Every Scotchman, it was said long ago, thought it his duty once in
his life to visit “the city of the scarlet gown” and to see the ruins
of the great cathedral.[487] No longer, happily, is the mind of the
pilgrim “filled with mournful images and ineffectual wishes;” no longer
does he see “a University pining in decay and struggling for life;” no
longer does he wander through grass-grown streets, listening to the
sound of his own solitary steps. The town is thriving and animated; the
University sees the number of its students steadily increasing. It had
long been depressed by poverty; but a noble endowment happily has this
very year[488] fallen to its lot. If it can never hope to attain to
those stately avenues and lawns and gardens and buildings, as beautiful
as they are venerable, which are the boast of Oxford, nevertheless in
the bracing pureness of its air, in its fine situation on the shores
of the northern sea, in its seclusion from that bustle which distracts
the student’s life, and from that luxury which too often makes poverty,
however honest, hang its head, it has advantages which are not enjoyed
by any other of our Universities.

[Illustration: LEUCHARS.]



Johnson, closing his description of St. Andrews with his lament over
its declining University, goes on to say like a wise man:—“As we knew
sorrow and wishes to be vain, it was now our business to mind our way.”
Perhaps, as he wrote these words he had in his memory two lines of
Matthew Green, though they were originally used of quitting, not what
was painful, but what was pleasant—

    “Though pleased to see the dolphins play,
    I mind my compass and my way.”[489]

[Illustration: VIEW ON THE TAY.]

He and Boswell started about noon for Montrose on the other side
of the Firth of Tay, a distance of a little over forty miles, but
with good reason made a halt at Leuchars, on observing the fine old
Norman church.[490] They were fortunate enough to see it before it
was “restored” for nothing ancient remains but the apse and chancel.
The new portion in the interior is ugly in the most approved Scottish
fashion; in the outside it would be insignificant were it not added
as a vast excrescence to the ancient building. It stands on a little
hill at the end of the village, with the churchyard round it falling
away on the southern side in steep slopes to the road. Hard by are
some well-grown trees round the Manse where Boswell waited on the
aged minister, a very civil old man, to learn what he could. He was
told that the church was supposed to have stood eight hundred years.
St. Andrews certainly can show nothing so ancient. The village is
built solidly enough of stone, but seems careless of pleasing the
eye. There are no little gardens before the houses, no roses trained
up the walls, scarcely any flowers in the windows. “Take care of the
beautiful, the useful will take care of itself” has not been a gospel
sounded in Scottish ears.

[Illustration: MONTROSE


The road to the Tay, which Boswell enlivened by leading Johnson to
discuss the doctrine of transubstantiation, lay through a pleasant
undulating country that bears luxuriant crops and at the present time
is no longer wanting in trees. Their chaise was taken across the
Firth in a ferry-boat at a charge of four shillings. How Johnson, who
always delighted in what he called “the accommodations of life,” would
have exulted in the great bridge which now spans the flood! He would
have noticed too with pleasure the long avenue of young trees planted
along the bank. [Sidenote: ABERBROTHICK.] Passing through Dundee,
“a dirty despicable town” as he describes it, but now the seat
of a vast commerce, they came about the close of the day to the
ruined abbey of Aberbrothick.[491] The sight of these fragments
of “stupendous magnificence” struck Johnson perhaps more than
anything which he saw on the whole of his tour. “I should scarcely
have regretted my journey,” he said, “had it afforded nothing
more than the sight of Aberbrothick.” John Wesley declared that
he “knew nothing like the Abbey in all North Britain. I paced it
and found it an hundred yards long. The breadth is proportionable.
Part of the west-end which is still standing shows it was full
as high as Westminster Abbey.”[492] It had been left in much the
same state of neglect as the Cathedral of St. Andrews. Boswell,
“whose inquisitiveness was seconded by great activity,” wanted to
climb one of the towers. “He scrambled in at a high window, but
found the stairs within broken, and could not reach the top.” The
entrance to the other tower they could not discern, and as the
night was gathering upon them he gave up the attempt. Not clearly
remembering Johnson’s account, I told the old man who shows the
Abbey that I had read in an old book that a hundred years and more
ago the staircase was broken down. “Then they _leed_,” he answered
angrily, indignant for its reputation for antiquity. I learnt from
him that an ancient inn, which had been recently pulled down, had
been found to have been built of the hewn stones taken from the
Abbey. In the ruins no doubt for many a long year the town had
had its quarry. Johnson noticed one room of which he could not
conjecture the use, “as its elevation was very disproportionate
to its area.” [Sidenote: THE CHAPTER HOUSE.] I was told that it
was the Chapter House, but my informant, a queer little urchin who
acted as under-guide, was not trustworthy, for he informed me that
the ruins had been caused by a fire in which the Abbey was burnt
down a thousand years ago. In this room I found hanging on the wall
likenesses of Mary Queen of Scots and of Pope Pius IX. Surely the
bitterness of the Reformation has passed away even in Scotland.

[Illustration: ABERBROTHICK.]


The grounds are still used as a graveyard. Here and elsewhere in
Scotland I noticed in the inscriptions that the English term _wife_
is slowly supplanting the old Scotch term _spouse_. On one side of
the great gateway two ugly arches have been lately built as entrances
to pompous family burial places. These excrescences should surely
be removed and the dead left to their quiet insignificance. On the
outside, underneath a lofty wall, a pleasant bowling-green has been
laid out for public enjoyment, with flower borders running round. The
town was keeping a public holiday the day I was there, and the ground
was thronged with players and spectators. I was sorry to see in many
places that ivy in the true cockney spirit has been trained up the
ruins. Unless the strong sea-breezes, which cut off the tops of the
trees as soon as they show their heads too high, come to the rescue,
it will in time hide the dark red sandstone beneath a uniform mantle
of green. Though the ruins are now cared for, and the ground cleared
of the long grass and weeds which hindered Johnson from tracing the
foundations, nevertheless the lofty wall close to the main entrance
is disgraced by huge advertisements. As the stranger approaches the
venerable pile from the High Street he gives one angry thought to the
Town Council which leases it to the dealers in sewing machines, in
blue, and in Irish whisky for advertising their wares. “Where there is
yet shame there may in time be virtue.” Would that this protest of mine
may rouse a feeling of shame in the unworthy guardians of so glorious a


[Sidenote: MONTROSE.]

The road along which Johnson and Boswell drove as they journeyed
from Dundee through Arbroath to Montrose, is described by Defoe as a
“pleasant way through a country fruitful and bespangled, as the sky in
a clear night with stars of the biggest magnitude, with gentlemen’s
houses, thick as they can be supposed to stand with pleasure and
conveniency.”[493] Our travellers in the latter part of the drive saw
nothing of all this, for the sun had set before they left the great
Abbey; it was not till eleven at night that they arrived at Montrose.
There they found but a sorry inn, where, writes Boswell, “I myself saw
another waiter put a lump of sugar with his fingers into Dr. Johnson’s
lemonade, for which he called him ‘rascal!’ It put me in great glee
that our landlord was an Englishman. I rallied the Doctor upon this
and he grew quiet.” The town Johnson praised as “neat”—“neat” last
century stood very high among the terms of commendation, though it
is now supplanted by “elegant” among Americans, and by “nice” among
English people. At the time of the Rebellion of 1745, the townsfolk had
been described as “very genteel, but disaffected.”[494] To the clerk of
the English chapel Johnson gave “a shilling extraordinary, saying, ‘He
belongs to an honest church.’” He had the great merit also of keeping
his church “clean to a degree unknown in any other part of Scotland,”
so that his shilling was well earned.

[Illustration: ON THE WAY TO MONTROSE.]

[Illustration: GARDENSTON ARMS.]

From Montrose the road led through a country rich with an abundant
harvest that was almost ripe for the sickle, but bare of everything
but crops. Even the hedges, said Johnson, were of stone. Boswell
calls this a ludicrous description, but it could have been easily
defended as good Scotch, for in the _Scots Magazine_ for January of
the previous year, we read of “the stone hedges of Scotland.”[495] It
is strange that Johnson had not noticed these roughly-built walls in
Northumberland, for in the northern part of that county, according
to Pennant, “hedges were still in their infancy.”[496] [Sidenote:
LAURENCEKIRK.] At Laurencekirk our travellers stopped to dine, and
“respectfully remembered that great grammarian Ruddiman,” who had spent
four years there as schoolmaster. More than seventy years before their
visit, Dr. Pitcairne, the author of that Latin epitaph on Dundee which
Dryden translated, being weather-bound at the village inn, “inquired if
there were no persons who could interchange conversation and partake
of his dinner.” The hostess mentioned Ruddiman. He came, pleased
Pitcairne, and was by him brought to Edinburgh.[497] [Sidenote: A
VILLAGE LIBRARY.] Francis Garden, one of the Scotch judges, under the
title of Lord Gardenston, the laird and almost the founder of this
thriving village, “had furnished the inn with a collection of books,
that travellers might have entertainment for the mind as well as the
body. Dr. Johnson praised the design, but wished there had been more
books, and those better chosen.” The inn still stands with the library
adjoining it. Round the room is hanging a series of portraits in French
chalk of Gardenston’s “feuars,” or tenants, who, after the laird, were
the chief people of the place when Johnson and Boswell passed through.
Many of the books remain on the shelves, though some have been lost
through carelessness or the dishonesty of travellers. There are among
them a few works of light literature such as Dryden’s _Virgil_, and
_Gil Blas_ in French, but the solid reading which most of them afford
makes us think with a feeling of respect that almost amounts to awe, of
the learning of the Scotch travellers in those good old days. Tavern
chairs were no thrones of human felicity in Laurencekirk if such works
as the following were commonly perused by those who chanced to fill

    Magno’s _Observations on Anatomy_, in Latin.
    Keill’s _Introduction to the Study of Astronomy_.
    _Aristophanes_, with Latin notes.
    Boerhaave’s _Commentaries on the Aphorisms of Diseases,
        naturalized into English_.
    Tull’s _Horse-hoeing Husbandry_.
    Watt’s _Logic_.
    Newton’s _Principia_.
    Clarke’s _Sermons_.
    _Machiavelli_, in Italian.[498]

In Marischal College, Aberdeen, there is a portrait of Lord Gardenston
in his judge’s robes. He has a somewhat conceited look, such as we
might expect in a man who “wrote a pamphlet upon his village, as if he
had founded Thebes,” and who provided such improving reading for his
weary fellow-creatures.

[Sidenote: LORD MONBODDO.]

A mile or two off the road from Laurencekirk to Aberdeen lived the
famous old Scotch judge, James Burnett, Lord Monboddo. “I knew,” wrote
Boswell, “that he and Dr. Johnson did not love each other; yet I was
unwilling not to visit his Lordship, and was also curious to see them
together. I mentioned my doubts to Dr. Johnson, who said he would go
two miles out of his way to see Lord Monboddo.” The two men had not
much in common except their love of learning, and their precision
of speech. Monboddo, according to Foote, was an Elzevir edition of
Johnson. In a letter to Mrs. Thrale Johnson thus describes him:

    “He has lately written a strange book about the origin of
    language, in which he traces monkeys up to men, and says that
    in some countries the human species have tails like other
    beasts. He inquired for these long-tailed men of Banks, and
    was not well-pleased that they had not been found in all his
    peregrinations. He talked nothing of this to me, and I hope we
    parted friends; for we agreed pretty well, only we disputed in
    adjusting the claims of merit between a shopkeeper of London
    and a savage of the American wildernesses. Our opinions were,
    I think, maintained on both sides without full conviction;
    Monboddo declared boldly for the savage, and I perhaps for that
    reason sided with the citizen.”

Johnson a few years earlier had contrasted Monboddo with Rousseau, “who
talked nonsense so well that he must know he was talking nonsense;”
whereas, he added, “chuckling and laughing, ‘I am afraid Monboddo does
not know that he is talking nonsense.’” He was undoubtedly a man of
great learning, but he was almost destitute of the critical faculty.
In the six volumes of his _Ancient Metaphysics_ we come across such
strange passages as the following:

    “Not only are there tailed men extant, but men such as the
    ancients describe Satyrs have been found, who had not only
    tails, but the feet of goats, and horns on their heads.... We
    have the authority of a father of the Church for a greater
    singularity of the human form, and that is of men without heads
    but with eyes in their breasts.... There is another singularity
    as great or greater than any I have hitherto mentioned, and
    that is of men with the heads of dogs.”[499]

After stating his readiness to believe that “a tame and gentle animal”
once existed, “having the head of a man and the body of a lion,” he

    “The variety of nature is so great that I am convinced of the
    truth of what Aristotle says, that everything exists, or did at
    some time exist, which is possible to exist.”[500]

The orang-outang he describes as being “of a character mild and
gentle, affectionate, too, and capable of friendship, with the sense
also of what is decent and becoming.”[501] The ancients, he stoutly
maintained, were in every respect better and stronger than their
descendants. He shocked Hannah More by telling her that “he loved
slavery upon principle.” When she asked him “how he could vindicate
such an enormity, he owned it was because Plutarch justified it.”[502]
In one respect he was wise in following the example of the ancients.
In an age when bathing was very uncommon even among the wealthy, he
constantly urged the daily use of the cold bath. He reminded “our fine
gentlemen and ladies that the Otaheite man, Omai, who came from a
country where the inhabitants bathed twice a day,” complained of the
offensive smell of all the people of England.[503] It was believed,
however, that Monboddo impaired the health of his children by the hardy
treatment to which he exposed them. He despised Johnson because “he had
compiled a dictionary of a barbarous language, a work which a man of
real genius rather than undertake would choose to die of hunger.”[504]
In the latter part of his life he used every year to pay a visit to
London, and he always went on horseback, even after he had passed his
eightieth year. “A carriage, a vehicle that was not in common use among
the ancients, he considered as an engine of effeminacy and sloth. To
be dragged at the tail of horses seemed in his eyes to be a ludicrous
degradation of the genuine dignity of human nature. In Court he never
sat on the Bench with the other judges, but within the Bar, on the seat
appropriated for Peers.”[505] Yet with all his singularities he was a
fine old fellow. There was no kinder landlord in all Scotland. While
around him the small farms were disappearing, and farmers and cottagers
were making room for sheep, it was his boast that on his estate no
change had been made. Neither he nor his father before him had ever
turned off a single cottager.

    “One of my tenants (he wrote) who pays me no more than £30
    of rent has no less than thirteen cottagers living upon his
    farm. I have on one part of my estate seven tenants, each of
    whom possesses no more than three acres of arable land, and
    some moorish land for pasture, and they pay me no more than
    twelve shillings for each acre, and nothing for the moor. I
    am persuaded I could more than double the rent of their land
    by letting it off to one tenant; but I should be sorry to
    increase my rent by depopulating any part of the country; and
    I keep these small tenants as a monument of the way in which I
    believe a great part of the Lowlands was cultivated in ancient

He befriended Burns, who repaid his kindness by celebrating his
daughter’s beauty in his _Address to Edinburgh_, and by the elegy
which he wrote on her untimely death. In a note to _Guy Mannering_
Sir Walter Scott describes his supper parties, “where there was a
circulation of excellent Bordeaux in flasks garlanded with roses, which
were also strewed on the table after the manner of Horace. The best
society, whether in respect of rank or literary distinction, was always
to be found in St. John’s Street, Canongate. The conversation of the
excellent old man; his high, gentleman-like, chivalrous spirit; the
learning and wit with which he defended his fanciful paradoxes; the
kind and liberal spirit of his hospitality, must render these _noctes
cænæque_ dear to all who, like the author (though then young), had the
honour of sitting at his board.”


Boswell’s man-servant, who had been sent on to ascertain whether Lord
Monboddo was at home, awaited the travellers’ arrival at the turn in
the road, with the news that they were expected to dinner.

    “We drove,” says Boswell, “over a wild moor. It rained, and the
    scene was somewhat dreary. Dr. Johnson repeated with solemn
    emphasis Macbeth’s speech on meeting the witches.... Monboddo
    is a wretched place, wild and naked, with a poor old house;
    though, if I recollect right, there are two turrets, which mark
    an old baron’s residence. Lord Monboddo received us at his gate
    most courteously, pointed to the Douglas arms upon his house,
    and told us that his great-grandmother was of that family.”

The old arms are still above the door, with the inscription:

                                “R. I.
                                 E. D.

“R. I.” was Robert Irvine, a colonel in the army of Gustavus Adolphus,
the Lion of the North, and possibly the superior officer of Major
Dugald Dalgetty. “E. D.” was Elizabeth Douglas. Their daughter married
one of the Burnetts, of Crathes Castle. There is nothing wretched,
wild, or naked about Monboddo in the present day. As I saw it, no
thought of a “blasted heath,” and of Macbeth’s witches could by any
freak of the imagination have entered the mind. The land all round
has been brought into cultivation, and there is no moor within five
miles. The road along which I drove was bordered by a row of beech
trees, which might have been planted by Lord Monboddo or his father.
The ancient part of the house, which remains much as Boswell saw it,
though large additions have been made, so far from striking one as poor
and wretched, has a picturesque, old-fashioned look of decent comfort.
Close to it stand a holly and a yew, which have seen the lapse of more
centuries than one. The lawns are wide and soft, and very pleasant.
Hard by a brook prattles along, almost hidden by rhododendrons and
firs. The distant view of the Grampians; the pure, bracing air, whether
the wind blows it from the sea on the east or from the mountains on
the west; the lawns, the trees, the old house, picturesque in itself,
and interesting in its associations, render Monboddo a most pleasant
abode. In the time of the old judge it was no doubt bare enough. Where
there are now lawns and flower-beds there most likely corn and turnips
grew, for he was almost as fond of farming as he was of the ancients.
When he received our travellers, “he was dressed,” says Boswell, “in
a rustic suit, and wore a little round hat. He told us we now saw him
as _Farmer Burnett_, and we should have his family dinner—a farmer’s
dinner. He produced a very long stalk of corn as a specimen of his
crop, and said, ‘You see here the _lætas segetes_.’” An instance of his
“agricultural enthusiasm” used to be recounted by Sir Walter Scott:
“Returning home one night after an absence (I think) on circuit, he
went out with a candle to look at a field of turnips, then a novelty
in Scotland.”[507] He had a glimpse, it should seem, of some of the
wonders which chemistry was soon to work in agriculture, for being one
day at Court, he told George III. that the time would come when a man
would be able to carry in his waistcoat pocket manure enough for an
acre of land.[508]

[Illustration: MONBODDO.]

The “farmer’s dinner” was good enough to satisfy Dr. Johnson, for he
made a very hearty meal. Yet with all the pride of a man who has a
vigorous appetite, he said, “I have done greater feats with my knife
than this.” The low, square, panelled room in which they dined is much
as they saw it, with its three windows with deep recesses looking on to
the lawns and trees. It is a solid, comfortable apartment, which might
have recalled to Johnson’s memory an Oxford Common-Room, and which
harmonized well with the solid talk he had with his host. In it there
is a curious clock, so old that it might have told the hours to Colonel
Irvine and his wife Elizabeth Douglas, and have attracted Johnson’s
notice by its antiquity.


Late in the afternoon our travellers drove on to Aberdeen. “We had
tedious driving,” writes Boswell, “and were somewhat drowsy.” Though
they “travelled with the gentle pace of a Scotch driver,” nevertheless
Johnson, much as he delighted in the rapid motion of the English
post-chaise, bore this journey of five-and-twenty miles with greater
philosophy than his friend. “We did not,” he writes, “affect the
impatience we did not feel, but were satisfied with the company of each
other—as well riding in the chaise as sitting at an inn.” It was not
far short of midnight when they arrived at Aberdeen. [Sidenote:
THE NEW INN AT ABERDEEN.] The “New Inn” at which they stopped
was full, they were told. “This was comfortless.” Fortunately
Boswell’s father, when on circuit, always put up there for the
five nights during which he was required by law to stay in each
assize town.[509] The son was recognized by his likeness to the
father, and a room was soon provided. “Mr. Boswell’s name,” writes
Johnson, “overpowered all objection, and we found a very good
house, and civil treatment.” A few weeks later the old judge went
this same circuit. “Two men being indicted before him at Aberdeen
on September 30 for petty thefts, petitioned, and were banished to
the plantations for life, their service adjudged for seven years to
the transporter.”[510] What these poor wretches had “petitioned”
was that they might be transported instead of being hanged. The
“transporter,” who bore the cost of shipping them to America,
was rewarded for his outlay by having the use of them as slaves
for seven years. At the end of that time they would have their
freedom; but if they returned to Scotland, and were seized, in all
likelihood they would have been sent to the gallows under their old
sentence. It is not at all improbable that these two thieves were
in the town prison at the very time of our travellers’ visit. If
so, they were separated from them merely by a wall or two; for the
“New Inn” formed part of the same block of buildings as the common
prison. In the central tower the ordinary prisoners were confined,
two rooms in the western end being reserved for burgesses, “or any
of the better rank who were committed for debt.”[511] The judge in
all the festivities of his circuit dinner was often close to some
poor wretch whom that same day he had sentenced to the gallows, and
who was awaiting his dreadful end in the gloom and misery of his
dismal cell.


On the other side of the tower, but in the same block, was the Town
House, or Town Hall as we should call it in England. When I was in
Aberdeen, a man of whom I asked the way to the Town Hall, replied that
he did not know where it was; but when I corrected myself, and asked
for the Town House, he at once showed it me. [Sidenote: THE FREEDOM OF
THE CITY.] Here it was that the freedom of the city was conferred on

    “At one o’clock (writes Boswell) we waited on the magistrates
    in the town-hall, as they had invited us in order to present
    Dr. Johnson with the freedom of the town, which Provost Jopp
    did with a very good grace. Dr. Johnson was much pleased with
    this mark of attention, and received it very politely. There
    was a pretty numerous company assembled. It was striking
    to hear all of them drinking, ‘Dr. Johnson! Dr. Johnson!’
    in the town-hall of Aberdeen, and then to see him with his
    burgess-ticket, or diploma, in his hat, which he wore as he
    walked along the street, according to the usual custom.”

The hall in which the ceremony was performed was a room “46 feet long,
29 broad, and 18 high, with five large windows in front, with many
elegant sconces double-branched set round it, and three diamond-cut
crystal lustres hanging from the roof.”[512] It has been swept away
with the New Inn and the prison, and replaced by the stately pile
which rises on the old site. The Scotch towns last century seem to
have been somewhat lavish in the honours which they conferred. Pennant
was made a freeman of at least three or four places. Monck Berkeley,
the St. Andrew’s student, had the freedom of Aberdeen and some other
towns presented to him, though he was scarcely nineteen when he left
Scotland. Like the dutiful young gentleman that he was, “he constantly
presented the diplomas to his mother requesting her to take great care
of them.”[513] George Colman the younger, who, at the age of eighteen
was sent to King’s College, says in his _Random Records_:[514] “I had
scarcely been a week in Old Aberdeen, when the Lord Provost of the New
Town invited me to drink wine with him one evening in the Town Hall;
there I found a numerous company assembled. The object of this meeting
was soon declared to me by the Lord Provost, who drank my health,
and presented me with the freedom of the city.” Two of his English
fellow-students, of a little older standing, had received the same
honour. A suspicion rises in the mind that it was sometimes not so much
a desire to confer honour as to drink wine at the public expense which
stirred up these town-councillors. Nevertheless, the testimony of an
English gentleman, who a few years earlier had been made a citizen of
Glasgow, goes far towards freeing them from so injurious a supposition.
“The magistrates,” he wrote, “are all men of so reasonable a size, and
so clear of all marks of gluttony and drunkenness, that I could hardly
believe them to be a mayor and aldermen.”[515] With the distinction
itself, on whatever account it was given, Johnson was greatly pleased.
“I was presented,” he wrote, “with the freedom of the city, not in a
gold box, but in good Latin. Let me pay Scotland one just praise; there
was no officer gaping for a fee; this could have been said of no city
on the English side of the Tweed.” In his own University of Oxford the
fee for the honorary degree of D.C.L. used to be ten guineas. Cox,
the Esquire Bedel, records in his _Recollections of Oxford_, how glum
Canning looked when he was called on to pay it.[516] Wesley, who in the
April of the previous year had been made a freeman of Perth, praised
the Latinity in which the honour was conferred on him. “I doubt,” he
wrote, “whether any diploma from the City of London be more pompous or
expressed in better Latin.”[517]

The burgess-ticket or parchment on which the freedom was inscribed,
after being read aloud in the hall, was made into a roll, and, with the
appending seal, was tied on to the new citizen’s hat with red riband.
“I wore,” wrote Johnson, “my patent of freedom _pro more_ in my hat
from the new town to the old, about a mile.” In his narrative he states
that it is worn for the whole day. In a town of 16,000 inhabitants—for
Aberdeen had no more at that time[518]—it might be supposed that the
face of the youngest freeman would thus become known to most of his
brother-burgesses. But the population at the present day is seven or
eight times as large, and the old custom has died out, perhaps because
its use was lost. On those rare occasions when the honour is conferred
the diploma is still tied to the hat. The new citizen covers himself
for a moment, and then bares his head while he returns thanks. He
might, I was told, perhaps wear his ticket for a short distance to his
hotel or a club, but certainly not farther. The entry of Johnson’s
freedom in its good Latin still remains in the City Register. I read it
with much interest.


Our travellers, as they passed a Sunday in Aberdeen, went to the
English chapel. The word _chapel_, as my friend Dr. Murray has clearly
pointed out in his learned Dictionary, which in England was generally
used of the places of worship of the Nonconformists, and in Ireland of
those of the Roman Catholics, in Scotland was properly and universally
applied to the English churches. It is the term used both by Boswell
and Johnson. Mrs. Carlyle in one of her early letters describes a
certain Haddington Episcopalian as “a man without an arm, who sits in
the chapel.”[519] “We found,” says Boswell, “a respectable congregation
and an admirable organ.” By _respectable_ he meant what would a little
later have been described as _genteel_. “The congregation,” wrote
Johnson, “was numerous and splendid.” The volunteer who accompanied the
Duke of Cumberland’s army in 1747 described the chapel as the finest
he had seen in Scotland. “The handsomest young ladies,” he adds, “are
generally attendants of those meeting-houses (as they call them here),
and are generally esteemed as Jacobites by the staunch Whigs.”[520]
Wesley, who had attended the service here a year earlier than Johnson,
“could not but admire the exemplary decency of the congregation. This
was the more remarkable,” he adds, “because so miserable a reader I
never heard before. Listening with all attention I understood but one
single word, _Balak_, in the First Lesson, and one more, _begat_, was
all I could possibly distinguish in the Second.”[521] The Aberdeen
chapel was no doubt one of those licensed ones “served by clergymen
of English or Irish ordination,” where alone in Scotland the form of
worship of the Church of England could be legally practised. [Sidenote:
THE NONJURING CLERGY] At St. Andrews Boswell recorded that he had seen
“in one of its streets a remarkable proof of liberal toleration; a
nonjuring clergyman strutting about in his canonicals, with a jolly
countenance, and a round belly, like a well-fed monk.” By an Act of
Parliament passed in 1747, a heavy and cruel blow had been struck at
the Scotch nonjurors as a punishment for the support which many of them
had given to the young Pretender. Under severe penalties all clergymen
were forbidden to officiate who had received their ordination from a
nonjuring bishop, even though they took the oaths. They had now to
undergo some of the suffering which in their day of triumph they had
inflicted on the Covenanters. They in their turn sought the shelter
of woods and moors. We read of one of them at Muthill, in Perthshire,
“baptising a child under the cover of the trees in one of Lord Rollo’s
parks to prevent being discovered.”[522] Two years later one Mr. John
Skinner had been sent to Aberdeen jail for six months for officiating
contrary to law. He survived this persecution fifty-five years, and so
was contemporary with persons still living.[523] By another act all
episcopal clergymen were required, whenever they celebrated worship
before five people, to pray for the King and the members of the Royal
Family by name, under the penalty of six months’ imprisonment for the
first offence, and of banishment to America for life for the second.
Many under this act were thrown into jail, and so late as 1755 one
unhappy man was banished for life.[524] Others complied with the law
at the expense of their lungs. An English lady who visited Scotland
about the year 1778, says: “I have heard a reverend old divine say
that he has read the English liturgy so repeatedly over to only
four that frequently by evening he has scarce been able to speak to
be heard.”[525] The persecutions had come to an end by the time of
Johnson’s visit. The nonjuring ministers were, he says, “by tacit
connivance quietly permitted in separate congregations.” On the death
of the young Pretender on January 31st, 1788, the nonjuring bishops
met at Aberdeen and directed that, beginning with Sunday, May 25th,
King George should be prayed for by name. His Majesty was graciously
pleased to notify his approbation.[526] Even a tutor or “pedagogue” in
a gentleman’s family was required to take the oaths. This difficulty,
however, was easily surmounted. They could be engaged “under the name
of factor, or clerk, or comrade,” as the Bishop of Moray pointed out in
a letter written in 1754.[527]


In Aberdeen there were two Colleges, or rather two Universities, for
each had professors of the same parts of learning and each conferred
degrees. In 1860 they were incorporated into one body. [Sidenote:
KING’S COLLEGE.] In old Aberdeen stood King’s College. The Chapel
and its “Crowned Tower,” founded by James IV. who fell at Flodden,
has survived time and restorers. They are much as Johnson saw them.
Of their architectural beauty and of the ancient richly carved oak
screen he makes no mention: “He had not come to Scotland,” he said,
“to see fine places, of which there were enough in England; but wild
objects—peculiar manners; in short, things which he had not seen
before.” The discipline of the Universities and the method and cost
of instruction he examined with attention. In Scotch universities the
students generally lived—as they live at present—in lodgings in the
town, scarcely under even the pretence of control except in the hours
in which they attended lectures. But in King’s College a few years
earlier the English system had been introduced. Dr. Thomas Reid, the
famous Professor of Moral Philosophy, in a letter written in 1755 gives
an interesting account of the change which had been made:

    “The students have lately been compelled to live within the
    college. We need but look out at our windows to see when they
    rise and when they go to bed. They are seen nine or ten times
    throughout the day statedly by one or other of the masters—at
    public prayers, school hours, meals, and in their rooms,
    besides occasional visits which we can make with little
    trouble to ourselves. They are shut up within walls at nine
    at night. This discipline hath indeed taken some pains and
    resolution, as well as some expense to establish it. The board
    at the first table is 50 merks[528] per quarter; at the second,
    40 shillings. The rent of a room is from seven to twenty
    shillings in the session. There is no furniture in their rooms
    but bedstead, tables, chimney grate and fender—the rest they
    must buy or hire. They provide fire, and candle, and washing to
    themselves. The other dues are two guineas to the Master; to
    the Professors of Greek and Humanity [Latin] for their public
    teaching, five shillings each. All other perquisites not named,
    from twelve shillings to seventeen and sixpence.”[529]



Whether this reformed system lasted in its full extent to the time of
Johnson’s visit, I do not know; some part of it at all events remained.
“In the King’s College,” he says, “there is kept a public table, but
the scholars of the Marischal College are boarded in the town.” In
Aberdeen, as well as in the other Scotch Universities, students from
England were commonly found. Johnson was surprised at finding in
King’s College a great-grandson of Waller the poet. But in the state
of degradation into which the English Universities were sunk, what
was more natural than that young Englishmen should be sent to places
where the Professors still remembered that they had a duty to perform
as well as a salary to receive? I have seen in the Royal Society of
Edinburgh a manuscript letter written by Dr. Blair from that town
to David Hume in 1765, in which he says:—“Our education here is at
present in high reputation. The Englishes are crowding down upon us
every season, and I wish may not come to hurt us at last.” Excellent
though the Aberdeen Professors were as teachers, yet before the great
Englishman they seemed afraid to speak. Johnson, writing to Mrs.
Thrale, said:—“Boswell was very angry that they would not talk.”

[Illustration: MARISCHAL COLLEGE.]


In Marischal College scarcely a fragment remains of the old building
which our travellers saw, except the stone with the curious
inscription:—“Thay haif said; quhat say thay; lat thame say.” In the
spacious modern library is shown, however, a famous picture which
Reynolds was at that time painting. On that very morning when Robertson
was showing Johnson Holyrood Palace, Reynolds began the allegorical
picture in which he represented Truth and the amiable and harmonious
Beattie triumphing together over scepticism and infidelity.[530] It
was commonly said that in the group of discomfited figures could be
recognized the portraits of Voltaire and Hume. Goldsmith, if we may
trust Northcote, reproached Reynolds “for wishing to degrade so high
a genius as Voltaire before so mean a writer as Dr. Beattie.”[531]
If Voltaire’s face is to be found in the picture, the likeness is so
remote that even he, sensitive though he was, could scarcely have take
offence, while of Hume not even the caricature can be discovered.
Feeble though the allegory is, the portrait of Beattie is a very fine
piece of workmanship. In Marischal College, by the generosity of his
grand-nieces it has found its fitting resting-place, for here for many
years he was Professor of Moral Philosophy. Here a few years earlier he
had been visited by Gray, who, to quote Johnson’s words, “found him a
poet, a philosopher, and a good man.”[532]

[Illustration: ELLON.]


At Aberdeen Johnson had found awaiting him a letter from London which
must have been six days on the road.[533] He did not receive another
till he arrived at Glasgow, nearly ten weeks later. He was now going
“to the world’s end _extra anni solisque vias_, where the post would be
a long time in reaching him,” to apply to the Hebrides the words which
four years later he used of Brighton.[534] It was only seven and twenty
years before he drove out from Aberdeen that the Duke of Cumberland
with six battalions of foot and Lord Mark Kerr’s dragoons had marched
forth along the same road to seek the rebels. With a gentle breeze and
a fair wind his transports at the same time moved along shore.[535]
Though no military state waited upon our travellers yet their fame
went before them. At Ellon, where they breakfasted, the landlady asked
Boswell: “Is not this the great Doctor that is going about through the
country? There’s something great in his appearance.” “They say,” said
the landlord, “that he is the greatest man in England, except Lord
Mansfield.” [Sidenote: THE ROAD TO SLAINS CASTLE.] They turned here
out of their course to visit Slains Castle, the seat of the Earl of
Errol. The country over which they drove this day was more desolate
than any through which they had as yet passed. In one place, writes
Johnson, “the sand of the shore had been raised by a tempest, and
carried to such a distance that an estate was overwhelmed and lost.”
Sir Walter Scott, who in the summer of 1814, sailed along the shore in
a Lighthouse Yacht, says that northwards of Aberdeen “the coast changes
from a bold and rocky to a low and sandy character. Along the Bay of
Belhelvie a whole parish was swallowed up by the shifting sands, and
is still a desolate waste. It belonged to the Earls of Errol, and was
rented at £500 a year at the time. When these sands are past the land
is all arable. Not a tree to be seen; nor a grazing cow, or sheep, or
even a labour-horse at grass, though this be Sunday.”[536] The Earl who
welcomed Johnson to Slains Castle had done what he could to overcome
nature. “He had cultivated his fields so as to bear rich crops of every
kind, and he had made an excellent kitchen-garden with a hot-house.”
His successors have diligently followed in his steps, and taking
advantage of a hollow in the ground have even raised an avenue of
trees. They can only grow to the height of fifteen or twenty feet, for
when the shoots rise high enough to catch the blasts from the North Sea
they are cut down the following winter. [Sidenote: SLAINS CASTLE.] The
situation of the Castle struck Johnson as the noblest he had ever seen.

    “From the windows (he said) the eye wanders over the sea
    that separates Scotland from Norway, and when the winds beat
    with violence, must enjoy all the terrific grandeur of the
    tempestuous ocean. I would not for my amusement wish for a
    storm; but as storms, whether wished or not, will sometimes
    happen, I may say, without violation of humanity, that I should
    willingly look out upon them from Slains Castle.”

[Illustration: SLAINS CASTLE.]

Boswell was also impressed with the position of this old house, set
on the very verge of life. “The King of Denmark,” he says, “is Lord
Errol’s nearest neighbour on the north-east.” The Castle was built
on the edge of the granite cliffs, in one spot not leaving even a
foothold for the daring climber. A foolhardy fellow who had tried to
get round lost his life in the attempt. I was greatly disappointed
at finding that “the excellent old house” which Boswell describes,
with its outside galleries on the first and second story, no longer
remains. I had looked forward to standing in the very bow-window of
the drawing-room fronting the sea where Johnson repeated Horace’s Ode,
_Jam satis terris_. In the new building, however, the bow-window has
not been forgotten,—and there I looked out on the wild scene which
met his view. I saw “the cut in the rock made by the influx of the
sea,” into which the rash climber had fallen as he tried to go round
the Castle. Below me there were short slopes of grass ending in a
precipice. So near was the edge that a child could have tossed a ball
over it from the window. Red granite rocks in sharp and precipitous
headlands ran out into the sea. A fishing-boat with brown sails was
passing close by, while in the distance in a long line lay a fleet of
herring-smacks. The sea-birds were hovering about and perching on the
rocks, mingling their melancholy cries with the dashing of the waves.
The dark waters were surging through the narrow chasms formed by rocky
islets and the steep sides of the cliffs. For the storm-tost sailor it
is a dreadful coast. [Sidenote: A SHIPWRECK OFF SLAINS CASTLE.] On a
wild night in winter not many years ago one of the maids, as she was
letting down the blinds in the drawing-room, heard confused sounds
which came, she thought, from the servants’ hall beneath. The butler in
another part of the house had caught them too. Yet when they reproached
their fellow-servants with their noisiness they were told that it was
not from them that the sounds had come. They thought no more about it
that night, but next morning when the day broke the masts were seen of
a ship-wrecked vessel on the rocks below the Castle. The waves were
breaking over it, and not a soul was left alive. Then they understood
that it was the despairing cries of the unhappy sailors which had in
vain reached their ears. The story, that was told me as I stood looking
out on the sea, gave an air of sadness to a room which had already
raised sad thoughts in my mind. [Sidenote: THE EARL OF KILMARNOCK.] For
on the wall was hanging the portrait of an innocent and pretty boy who,
before so many years were to pass over him, on the scaffold on Tower
Hill was to pay the penalty of rebellion with his life.

    “Pitied by gentle minds Kilmarnock died.”

On the table was lying a curious but gloomy collection of the prints
of his trial and execution.[537] Boswell’s rest was troubled by the
thoughts of this unhappy nobleman. He had been kept awake by the
blazing of his fire, the roaring of the sea, and the smell of his
pillows, which were made of the feathers of some sea-fowl. “I saw in
imagination,” he writes, “Lord Errol’s father, Lord Kilmarnock, who was
beheaded on Tower Hill in 1746, and I was somewhat dreary.”

In the drawing-room was hanging that fine whole-length picture of Lord
Errol, which led Johnson to talk of his friend, the great painter, and
“to conclude his panegyric by saying, ‘Sir Joshua Reynolds, sir, is the
most invulnerable man I know; the man with whom if you should quarrel,
you would find the most difficulty how to abuse.’”

In the rebellion of 1745, Lord Errol, following a plan not unknown
among the Scotch nobility, had served on the opposite side from his
father. At Culloden he had seen him brought in prisoner. “The Earl of
Kilmarnock had lost his hat, and his long hair was flying over his
face. The son stepped out of the ranks, and taking off his own hat
placed it over his father’s disordered and wind-beaten locks.”[538]
The young man in his loyalty to George II., did not follow the example
of his forefathers, for he was descended from at least three lines
of rebels. “He united in his person the four earldoms of Errol,
Kilmarnock, Linlithgow, and Callander.” The last two were attainted in
1715, and Kilmarnock in 1746.[539] As we gaze at the haughty-looking
man whom Reynolds has so finely painted in the robes of a peer, we
call to mind the coronation of George III., where he played his part
as High Constable of Scotland—“the noblest figure I ever saw,” wrote
Horace Walpole.[540] To Johnson he recalled Homer’s character of
Sarpedon.[541] At the coronation banquet in Westminster Hall, Walpole
thought, as well he might, on that “most melancholy scene” which he had
witnessed less than fifteen years before in that same hall, when the
earl’s father, “tall and slender, his behaviour a most just mixture
between dignity and submission,” had in vain pleaded for mercy.[542]

[Illustration: THE BULLERS OF BUCHAN.]


From Slains Castle our travellers drove a short distance along the
coast to the famous Bullers of Buchan—“a sight,” writes Johnson,
“which no man can see with indifference, who has either sense of danger
or delight in rarity.” Boswell describes the spot as:—

    “A circular basin of large extent, surrounded with tremendous
    rocks. On the quarter next the sea, there is a high arch in the
    rock, which the force of the tempest has driven out. This place
    is called _Buchan’s Buller_, or the _Buller of Buchan_, and
    the country people call it the _Pot_. Mr. Boyd said it was so
    called from the French _bouloir_.[543] It may be more simply
    traced from _boiler_ in our own language. We walked round this
    monstrous cauldron. In some places the rock is very narrow;
    and on each side there is a sea deep enough for a man-of-war
    to ride in; so that it is somewhat horrid to move along.
    However, there is earth and grass upon the rock, and a kind of
    road marked out by the print of feet; so that one makes it out
    pretty safely: yet it alarmed me to see Dr. Johnson striding
    irregularly along.”

As the weather was calm they took a boat and rowed through the archway
into the cauldron. “It was a place,” writes Johnson, “which, though
we could not think ourselves in danger, we could scarcely survey
without some recoil of mind.” He thought that “it might have served
as a shelter from storms to the little vessels used by the northern
rovers.” Sir Walter Scott, however, was told that this was impossible,
for “in a high gale the waves rush in with incredible violence. An
old fisher said he had seen them flying over the natural wall of the
Bullers, which cannot be less than two hundred feet high.”[544] In the
_Gentleman’s Magazine_ for 1755 (p. 200), two strange pictures are
given of this curious place, which must surely have been drawn in St.
John’s Gate, Clerkenwell, by an artist who had never seen it.

[Sidenote: DUN BUY.]

Not far off is Dun Buy,[545] a lofty island rock placed in an angle
of the shore that is formed by no less lofty cliffs. The sea, with
its dark waters in endless rise and fall, washes through the narrow
channel, its ceaseless murmur answering to the cries of the countless
water-fowl who high up on the ledges breed in safety. On one side,
where there is a steep, grassy slope, Dun Buy can be scaled. I climbed
up it many years ago one hot summer’s day, and thought that I had never
seen so strange and wild a spot. Johnson had also visited it, but his
mind was not affected as was my young imagination, for he said that
“upon these rocks there was nothing that could long detain attention.”


Starting from Slains Castle on the morning of August 25, Boswell and
Johnson drove on to Banff, where they spent the night in an indifferent
inn. In this little town a dreadful sight had been witnessed when the
Duke of Cumberland’s army arrived on an early day in April, 1746. The
savage way in which the narrative is written, testifies to the ferocity
of many of the followers of “the butcher duke.”

    “At Banff” (writes Ray) “two rebel spies were taken; the one
    was knotching on a stick the number of our forces, for which he
    was hanged on a tree in the town; and the other a little out of
    town, and for want of a tree was hanged on what they call the
    ridging-tree of a house that projected out from the end, and on
    his breast was fixed in writing, _A Rebel Spy_, which, with
    the addition of _good entertainment_, might have been a very
    famous sign.”[546]

From Banff our travellers drove on to Elgin, passing through Lord
Findlater’s domain. It is strange that neither of them mentions the
passage of the Spey, which ofttimes was a matter of great difficulty
and even danger. Wesley describes it as “the most rapid river, next the
Rhine, he had ever seen.”[547] It was no doubt very low, owing to “that
long continuance of dry weather which,” as Johnson complained a few
days later, “divested the Fall of Foyers of its dignity and terror.” At
Elgin they dined, and dined badly. “It was,” he said, “the first time
he had seen a dinner in Scotland that he could not eat.” [Sidenote:
THE RED LION AT ELGIN.] He might have reasonably expected something
better, for in the account of Scotch inns given in the _Gentleman’s
Magazine_ for 1771 (p. 544), the Red Lion at Elgin, kept by Leslie,
is described as good. It is added that “he is the only landlord in
Scotland who wears ruffles.” As this was the inn in which the civic
feasts were always held, the honour not only of the landlord, but also
of the town was wounded by the publication of Johnson’s narrative. I
am glad to be able to inform the world that a satisfactory explanation
has been given, and that Elgin and the Red Lion were not guilty of
the inhospitality with which they have so long been reproached, and
so unjustly. It seems that for some years before Johnson’s visit a
commercial traveller, Thomas Paufer by name, used in his rounds to come
to this inn.

    “He cared little about eating, but liked the more exhilarating
    system of drinking. His means were limited, and he was in the
    habit of ordering only a very slender dinner, that he might
    spend the more in the pleasures of the bottle. This traveller
    bore a very striking resemblance to Dr. Johnson. When the
    doctor arrived at the inn, the waiter, by a hasty glance,
    mistook him for Paufer, and such a dinner was prepared as
    Paufer was wont to receive. The doctor suffered by the mistake,
    for he did not ask for that which was to follow. Thus the good
    name of Elgin suffered, through the mistaking of the person
    of the ponderous lexicographer. This fact is well known, and
    is authenticated by some of the oldest and most respectable
    citizens of the town.”[548]

[Illustration: FINDLATER



Mr. Paufer’s means must have been indeed limited, for unless prices
had greatly risen in the previous thirty years, a good dinner and wine
could have been provided at a most moderate charge, to judge by the
following entries in an Elgin “funeral bill,” dated Sept 26, 1742:—

  “One dozen strong old claret (bottles being returned) 14_s._ 0_d._
  4 lb. 12 oz. of sugar                                  3_s._ 4_d._
  five dozen eggs                                              5_d._
  six hens                                               2_s._ 0_d._”[549]

One pound of sugar, it will be noticed, cost as much as two hens, and a
little more than eight dozen eggs. With sugar at such a price it must
have given a shock to a careful Scotch housewife to see well-sweetened
lemonade flung out of the window merely because a waiter had used his
dirty fingers to drop in the lumps.

[Illustration: ELGIN.]

To Johnson Elgin seemed “a place of little trade and thinly inhabited.”
Yet Defoe, writing only fifty years earlier, had said: “As the country
is rich and pleasant, so here are a great many rich inhabitants, and
in the town of Elgin in particular, for the gentlemen, as if this was
the Edinburgh or the Court for this part of the island, leave their
Highland habitations in the winter, and come and live here for the
diversion of the place and plenty of provisions.”[550]


Much of its ancient prosperity has returned to it. If it cannot boast
of being a court for the north, it is at all events a pleasant little
market-town that shows no sign of decay. The covered ways which in many
places ran on each side of the street have disappeared. “Probably,”
writes Boswell, “it had piazzas all along the town, as I have seen at
Bologna. I approved much of such structures in a town, on account of
their conveniency in wet weather. Dr. Johnson disapproved of them,
‘because,’ said he, ‘it makes the under story of a house very dark,
which greatly overbalances the conveniency, when it is considered how
small a part of the year it rains; how few are usually in the street at
such times; that many who are might as well be at home; and the little
that people suffer, supposing them to be as much wet as they commonly
are in walking a street.’” “They were a grand place for the boys to
play at marbles,” said an old man to me, who well remembered the past
glories of Elgin and the delights of his youth. Even at the time of
our travellers’ visit, they were frequently broken by houses built in
the modern fashion. In many cases they have not been destroyed, but
converted into small shops. “There are,” writes a local antiquary,
“some fine old piazzas in the High Street which have been whitewashed
over and hidden.” He suggests that some of these might be restored to
the light of day.[551] It would be a worthy deed for the citizens, even
in one spot, to bring back the former appearance of their ancient town.

[Illustration: ELGIN CATHEDRAL.]


The noble ruins of the great cathedral Johnson examined with a most
patient attention, though the rain was falling fast. “They afforded
him another proof of the waste of reformation.” His indignation was
excited even more than by the ruins at St. Andrew’s; for “the cathedral
was not destroyed by the tumultuous violence of Knox, but suffered to
dilapidate by deliberate robbery and frigid indifference.” By an order
of Council the lead had been stripped off the roof and shipped to be
sold in Holland. “I hope,” adds Johnson, “every reader will rejoice
that this cargo of sacrilege was lost at sea.” On this passage Horace
Walpole remarks in a letter to Lord Hailes:—“I confess I have not
quite so heinous an idea of sacrilege as Dr. Johnson. Of all kinds
of robbery that appears to me the lightest species which injures
nobody. Dr. Johnson is so pious, that in his journey to your country
he flatters himself that all his readers will join him in enjoying
the destruction of two Dutch crews, who were swallowed up by the ocean
after they had robbed a church. I doubt that uncharitable anathema is
more in the spirit of the Old Testament than of the New.”[552] While
Johnson censured the frigid indifference of the Scotch, he did not
forget the ruin that was being slowly worked in England by the avarice
and neglect of deans and canons. “Let us not,” he wrote, “make too much
haste to despise our neighbours. Our own cathedrals are mouldering
by unregarded dilapidation. It seems to be part of the despicable
philosophy of the time to despise monuments of sacred magnificence, and
we are in danger of doing that deliberately which the Scots did not
do but in the unsettled state of an imperfect constitution.” He had
learnt, there seems good reason to believe, that the chapter of the
cathedral of his own town of Lichfield intended to strip the lead off
its roof and cover it instead with slate. As he had first printed his
narrative he had much more closely pointed the attack. It had run as
follows: “There is now, as I have heard, a body of men not less decent
or virtuous than the Scottish council, longing to melt the lead of an
English cathedral. What they shall melt, it were just that they should
swallow.” Before publication he had the leaf cancelled, from the tender
recollection that the dean had done him a kindness about forty years
before. “He is now very old, and I am not young. Reproach can do him no
good, and in myself I know not whether it is zeal or wantonness.”[553]

[Illustration: FORES.]

As I turned away from the ruins with my thoughts full of the past—of
the ancient glory of the cathedral, of the strange sights which had
been seen from its tower when the Young Pretender’s Highlanders hurried
by, closely followed by the English army, of old Johnson wandering
about in the heavy rain—I was suddenly reminded of the vastness of
“the abysm of time” by which they are separated from us, by reading in
an advertisement placarded on the walls, that for £3 16_s._ 5_d._ could
be had a ticket from Elgin to Paris and back.



Leaving Elgin that same afternoon, our travellers drove on to Fores,
where they passed the night. Next morning, continuing their journey
early, they breakfasted at Nairn. “Though a county town and a royal
burgh, it is,” writes Boswell, “a miserable place.” Johnson also
describes it as being “in a state of miserable decay.” Nevertheless,
“the chief annual magistrate,” he says, “is styled Lord Provost.” If
it sank as a royal burgh, it has raised its head again as a popular
bathing-place. In this respect it has not its rival, I was told, in the
north of Scotland. Here Johnson “fixed the verge of the Highlands; for
here he first saw peat fires, and first heard the Erse language.”[554]
Over the room in the inn where he and Boswell sat “a girl was spinning
wool with a great wheel, and singing an Erse song.” It was thirty years
later that Wordsworth in like manner heard “The Solitary Reaper”:

    “Yon solitary Highland lass
    Reaping and singing by herself.”

Even so far back as the reign of James VI. both languages were spoken
in Nairn. “It was one of that king’s witticisms to boast that in
Scotland he had a town ‘sae lang that the folk at the tae end couldna
understand the tongue spoken at the tother.’”[555] Gaelic is no longer
heard in its streets. The verge of the Higher lands must now be fixed
farther to the west. Nine years before Johnson’s visit the little town
had been stirred up by Wesley. On Monday, June 11, 1764, he recorded
in his journal: “While we were dining at Nairn, the innkeeper said,
‘Sir, the gentlemen of the town have read the little book you gave me
on Saturday, and would be glad if you would please give them a sermon.’
Upon my consenting, the bell was immediately rung, and the congregation
was quickly in the kirk.”[556]

[Sidenote: CAWDOR MANSE.]

From Nairn our travellers turned a few miles out of their course to
visit the Rev. Kenneth Macaulay in his manse at Cawdor. To Johnson
he was known by his _History of St. Kilda_—“a very pretty piece of
topography” as he called it to the author, “who did not seem much to
mind the compliment.” To us he is interesting as the great-uncle of
Lord Macaulay. “From his conversation,” says Boswell, “Dr. Johnson
was convinced that he had not written the book which goes under his
name. ‘There is a combination in it’ (he said) ‘of which Macaulay is
not capable.’” “To those who happen to have read the work,” writes Sir
George Trevelyan, “Johnson’s decision will give a very poor notion
of my ancestor’s abilities.”[557] Let him take comfort. The present
minister of Cawdor, to whose civility I am indebted, told me that in
the Kirk Session Records is a minute by Macaulay “most beautifully
expressed.” I had hoped to sit in the very parlour where Johnson had
reproached him with being “a bigot to laxness,” and where he had given
his little son a Sallust, promising at the same time to get him a
servitorship at Oxford when he was ready for the University. But hopes
that are based on the permanence of buildings are often disappointed.
Of the old manse nothing remains. The minister, who rejoiced in having
a more comfortable home than his predecessors, refused to share in my
sentimental regrets. The situation seemed a pleasant one, as I saw it
on a fine evening in July, with the sun setting behind the hills on the
other side of the Moray Firth. The haymakers were busy at their work
close to the house, in a field which is bounded on one side by a deep
hollow, with a little brook flowing at the bottom, and in front by a
row of old ash trees.

[Illustration: CAWDOR.]


In the company of Macaulay Boswell “had dreaded that a whole evening
would be heavy. However,” he adds, “Mr. Grant, an intelligent and
well-bred minister in the neighbourhood, was there, and assisted us
by his conversation.” His grandson is Colonel Grant, who shares with
Captain Speke the glory of having discovered the sources of the Nile.
It was indeed an unusual gathering that August evening in the parlour
of the quiet manse—Johnson, the first of talkers, Boswell, the first
of biographers, the great-uncle of our famous historian, and the
grandfather of our famous discoverer. My hopes rose high when I was
told that a diary which Mr. Grant kept was still in existence. Of this
evening’s talk some record surely would have been made. With sorrow I
learnt from his grandson that “accounts of expenses, sermons preached,
peat-cutting, stipends, washing _twice a year_, births, &c., are the
principal things which are mentioned.” This washing twice a year must
not be taken as a proof that this divine “had no passion for clean
linen.” A Scotch friend of mine remembers a man who owned three farms
in the neighbourhood of Campbeltown. In his house they only washed
twice a year, though both he and his three sons who lived with him
changed their shirts every second day. A time was chosen when there was
a slackness in the ordinary work, and then the female servants were
gathered from the three farms for a week’s hard washing. This same
custom exists, I believe, to the present day in Norway. [Sidenote:
CAWDOR CHURCH.] In the churchyard I found Mr. Grant’s tombstone. He
lived till 1828—fifty-five years after he had met Johnson. He used to
tell a story about the doctor which happily has been preserved. He had
supped with him, as we learn from Boswell, at the inn at Inverness.
Johnson, who was in high spirits, gave an account of the kangaroo,
which had lately been discovered in New South Wales, “and volunteered
an imitation of the animal. The company stared; Mr. Grant said
nothing could be more ludicrous than the appearance of a tall, heavy,
grave-looking man like Dr. Johnson standing up to mimic the shape and
motions of a kangaroo. He stood erect, put out his hands like feelers,
and gathering up the tails of his huge brown coat so as to resemble
the pouch of the animal, made two or three vigorous bounds across the



Near Mr. Grant lies his friend and predecessor Kenneth Macaulay,
with an inscription which tells that he was “notus in fratres animi
paterni.” This _animus paternus_ descended in full measure to Lord
Macaulay. On the porch of the church is still fastened by an iron chain
the old penance-ring which Pennant saw one hundred and twenty years
ago. “Observed,” he writes, “on a pillar of the door of Calder church
a _joug_, _i.e._, an iron yoke or ring, fastened to a chain; which was
in former times put round the necks of delinquents against the rules
of the Church, who were left there exposed to shame during the time
of divine service, and was also used as a punishment for defamation,
small thefts, &c., but these penalties are now happily abolished.”[559]
From such penance as this there was perhaps an escape for those who
were well-to-do. From _Hudibras_ we learn that the Presbyterian saints
could “sentence to stools or poundage of repentance,” which passage
is explained by the commentator as “doing penance in the Scotch way,
upon the stool of repentance, or commuting the penance for a sum of

[Illustration: CAWDOR CASTLE.]

[Sidenote: CAWDOR CASTLE.]

“By the direction of Mr. Macaulay,” writes Johnson, “we visited Cawdor
Castle, from which Macbeth drew his second title.” That they should
have needed a direction to visit so beautiful a spot seems strange, for
they must have passed close by it on their way to the manse. As I first
caught sight of it by the light of a summer evening, I thought that
I had rarely seen a fairer spot. This castle hath indeed a pleasant
seat, I said. All the barrenness of the eastern coast I had left behind
me, and had found in its stead a luxuriance of growth that would have
graced the oldest mansion in England. Everything seemed beautiful,
and everything harmonious—the ancient castle, with its high-pitched
roof and its lofty tower; the swift-flowing river, with its bridge of
a single arch; the curve in the road where it crosses it; the avenue
of lofty trees, the lawns enclosed by limes, the shrubberies, and the
range of mountains in the distance still showing the light of the sun
which had set for us. The water murmured pleasantly, and a gentle
breeze rustled the leaves. I found a little inn close by the park
gate, where homely fare and decent lodging are provided. A man of a
quiet meditative mind might pass a few days there pleasantly enough if
he sought shelter in the woods on the afternoons when the castle is
thrown open to visitors. Next morning I watched the school-children,
bare-footed, but clean and tidy, carrying on their arms their slates
covered with sums in neat figures, trooping merrily by, and winding
over the bridge on their way to school. By the kindness of the Earl
of Cawdor I was allowed to go over the castle from turret almost to
foundation-stone at a time when it was not generally open.

    “The old tower,” says Boswell, “must be of great antiquity.
    There is a draw-bridge—what has been a moat—and an ancient
    court. There is a hawthorn-tree, which rises like a wooden
    pillar through the rooms of the castle; for, by a strange
    conceit, the walls have been built round it. The thickness of
    the walls, the small slanting windows, and a great iron door
    at the entrance on the second story as you ascend the stairs,
    all indicate the rude times in which this castle was erected.
    There were here some large venerable trees.”

[Illustration: VAULT.]

It is surprising that he should have thought that there could ever
have been a moat on a rock high above the river. Johnson nevertheless
also mentions it. What they mistook for a moat is the excavation
made in quarrying the stone for the castle. In clearing it out some
while ago, the workmen came to a place where the masons had left some
stones half dressed. Mr. Irving, who visited Cawdor, has had the
fine entrance copied, I am told, in his scenery for Macbeth, adding,
however, a portcullis, of which no traces remain. I was shown in a
kind of vault the trunk of the old hawthorn which Boswell mentions.
There is a tradition that “a wise man counselled a certain thane
to load an ass with a chest full of gold, and to build his castle
with the money at the third hawthorn-tree at which the animal should
stop.” The ass stopped where Cawdor Castle is built, and the tree was
enclosed. The thane’s only child, a little girl, was carried off by
Campbell of Inverliver, on Loch Awe. In his flight he was overtaken by
the Cawdors. Being hard pressed, “he cried out in Gaelic, ‘It is a far
cry to Loch Awe, and a distant help to the Campbells,’ a saying which
became proverbial in the north to express imminent danger and distant
relief.”[561] He won the day, however, and the child when she grew
up married a son of the Earl of Argyle. From them is descended that
“prosperous gentleman,” the present Thane or Earl of Cawdor.

[Illustration: TAPESTRY CHAMBER.]

I passed through the great iron door which Boswell mentions, and other
strong doors too, and climbed up the staircase which is built in the
thickness of the wall. I was shown the place in the roof where Lord
Lovat, when fleeing from justice early in his bad career, had lain in
hiding for some weeks. I saw, moreover, more than one chamber hung
with old tapestry. In one of them stands the state bed of Sir Hugh
Campbell, who in 1672 married Lady Henrietta Stewart. Their initials,
with the date, are carved on the outside wall of the court. At one end
of the hall runs a gallery which bears the name of the Fiddler’s Walk.
There the musicians used to play, keeping time with their steps to
their tune.


From Cawdor Johnson and Boswell drove to Fort George, “the most
regular fortification in the island,” according to Johnson; “where,”
he continues, “they were entertained by Sir Eyre Coote, the Governor,
with such elegance of conversation, as left us no attention to the
delicacies of his table.” Wolfe, who saw it in 1751, when it was partly
made, writes: “I believe there is still work for six or seven years to
do. When it is finished one may venture to say (without saying much)
that it will be the most considerable fortress, and the best situated
in Great Britain.”[562] In the evening our travellers continued
their journey to Inverness—a distance of twelve miles. [Sidenote:
CULLODEN.] The reviewer of Johnson’s narrative in the _Scots Magazine_
expresses his wonder that as “he must have passed near the Field of
Culloden he studiously avoided to mention that battle.”[563] Boswell is
equally reticent. The explanation is perhaps merely due to the dusk of
evening, in which they passed by the spot. It is not unlikely, on the
other hand, that the silence was intentional. Johnson shows a curious
reticence in a passage in which he refers to the Rebellion of 1745.
In his description of Rasay he writes: “Not many years ago the late
laird led out one hundred men upon a military expedition.” [Sidenote:
THE BUTCHER DUKE.] Had he visited Culloden or described the campaign,
his indignation must have flamed forth at the cruelties of the butcher
duke. Boswell, Lowlander though he was, said “that they would never be
forgotten.” With Smollett, in his _Tears of Scotland_, they might well
have exclaimed:—

    “Yet when the rage of battle ceased,
    The victor’s soul was not appeased:
    The naked and forlorn must feel
    Devouring flames and murd’ring steel.”

Johnson does indeed speak of “the heavy hand of a vindictive
conqueror.”[564] It was about this time, or only a little later, that
Scott was learning “to detest the name of Cumberland with more than
infant hatred.”[565] That an Englishman could travel in safety, unarmed
and unguarded, through a country which only seven and twenty years
before had been so mercilessly treated seems not a little surprising.
For the next day or two he was to follow a course where fire and sword
had swept along. Wolfe, whose “great name,” we boast, was “compatriot
with our own,” who had so little of the savage spirit of war that
he would rather have written Gray’s _Elegy_ than take Quebec, even
he exulted that “as few prisoners were taken of the Highlanders as
possible. We had an opportunity of avenging ourselves. The rebels left
near 1,500 dead.” Yet he did not think that enough had been done.
The carnage-pile was not lofty enough. Surveying the battle-field
five years later, he writes in a letter to his father, a general in
the army, “I find room for a military criticism. You would not have
left those ruffians the only possible means of conquest, nor suffered
multitudes to go off unhurt with the power to destroy.”[566] Ruffians
indeed they had shown themselves in their raid into England, but enough
surely had been done in the way of slaughter to satisfy the most
exacting military critic. How merciless our soldiers had been is proved
by the letters that were written from the camp. A despatch sent off
from Inverness on April 25, nine days after the battle, says that “the
misery and distress of the fugitive rebels was inexpressible, hundreds
being found dead of their wounds and through hunger at the distance of
twelve, fourteen, and even twenty miles from the field.”[567] On June
5 an officer wrote from Fort Augustus: “His Royal Highness has carried
fire and sword through their country, and driven off their cattle,
which we bring to our camp in great quantities, sometimes 2,000 in a
drove. The people are deservedly in a most deplorable way, and must
perish either by sword or famine, a just reward for traitors.”[568]



On July 26 another officer wrote from the same fort to a friend at
Newcastle: “We hang or shoot everyone that is known to conceal the
Pretender, burn their houses and take their cattle, of which we have
got some 8,000 head within these few days past, so that if some
of your Northumberland graziers were here they might make their
fortunes.”[569] The author of a _Plain Narrative of the Rebellion_,
tells with exultation how “they marched to Loch Yell, the stately seat
of old Esquire Cameron,” the Lochiel of Campbell’s spirited lines.
“His fine chairs, tables, and all his cabinet goods were set on fire
and burnt with his house. His fine fruit garden, above a mile long,
was pulled to pieces and laid waste. A beautiful summer-house that
stood in the pleasure garden was also set on fire. From hence the
party marched along the sea-coast through Moidart, burning of houses,
driving away the cattle, and shooting those vagrants who were found
about the mountains. For fifty miles round there was no man or beast
to be seen.”[570] Andrew Henderson, in his _History of the Rebellion_,
after admitting that in the rout several of the wounded were stabbed,
and some who were lurking in houses were taken out and shot, urges by
way of excuse that “the rebels had enraged the troops; their habit was
strange, their language still stranger, and their way of fighting was
shocking to the utmost degree.”[571] Besides the massacre after the
battle and the executions by courts-martial, there were the hangings,
drawings and quarterings, and beheadings by judge and jury. Seventy-six
had been sent to the scaffold by September, 1747,[572] and above one
thousand were transported.[573] Even George II. “said that he believed
William had been rough with them.”[574] When it was proposed to confer
on the duke the freedom of the City of London, an alderman was heard to
say that it ought to be the freedom of the Butchers’ Company. So late
as the summer of 1753 seven rebels were seized in a hut on the side
of Loch Hourn, at no great distance from the way along which Johnson
was to pass only twenty years later.[575] Nevertheless he everywhere
travelled in safety. Among the chieftains, no doubt, “his tenderness
for the unfortunate House of Stuart” was known, but to the common
people he would only be an Englishman—a man of the race that had
slaughtered their fathers and wasted their country. That both he and
Boswell were not free from uneasiness they avowed when at Auchnasheal
they were surrounded by the wild McCraas. In the memory of men not much
past the middle age, tales of the cruel duke used to be told in the
winter evenings in the glens of these Western Highlands. They have at
last died away, and “infant hatred” is no longer nourished.[576]

[Sidenote: INVERNESS.]

Our travellers, whatever may have been their motive, leaving the
Field of Culloden unvisited and unnoticed, arrived at Inverness,
the capital of the Highlands. They put up at Mackenzie’s Inn. Of
their accommodation they say nothing; but it can scarcely have been
good, if we may trust an English traveller who two years earlier had
found, he said, the Horns Inn, kept by Mrs. Mackenzie, dirty and
ill-managed.[577] Perhaps they felt as Wolfe did when he was stationed
in the town with his regiment. “It would be unmanly,” he wrote, “and
very unbecoming a soldier to complain of little evils, such as bad
food, bad lodging, bad fire.... With these reflections I reconcile
myself to Inverness, and to other melancholy spots that we are thrown
upon.” He adds that the post goes but once a week, and that as there
are rapid rivers on the road that have neither bridge nor boat, it
is often delayed by the floods.[578] Wesley describes Inverness as
the largest town he had seen in Scotland after Edinburgh, Glasgow,
and Aberdeen. “It stands in a pleasant and fruitful country, and has
all things needful for life and godliness. The people in general
speak remarkably good English, and are of a friendly, courteous
behaviour.”[579] Their good English they were said to derive from the
garrison which Cromwell had settled among them. It had been noticed
by Defoe. “They speak,” he said, “perfect English, even much better
than in the most southerly provinces of Scotland; nay, some will say
that they speak it as well as at London, though I do not grant that
neither.”[580] Their behaviour had greatly improved in the thirteen
years which had elapsed between Wolfe’s second and Wesley’s first
visit, unless the soldier had viewed them with the stern eye of the
conqueror, or they had displayed the sullenness of the conquered. “A
little while,” he wrote, “serves to discover the villainous nature of
the inhabitants and brutality of the people in the neighbourhood.”[581]
Yet the brutality was quite as much on the side of the army, for a
year later, five full years after the battle, we find the people still
treated with harshness and insolence. The magistrates had invited
Lord Bury, the general in command, to an entertainment on the Duke
of Cumberland’s birthday. “He said he did not doubt but it would be
more agreeable to the duke if they postponed it to the day following,
the anniversary of Culloden. They stared, said they could not promise
on their own authority, but would go and consult their body. They
returned, told him it was unprecedented and could not be complied
with. Lord Bury replied he was sorry they had not given a negative at
once, for he had mentioned it to his soldiers, who would not bear a
disappointment, and was afraid it would provoke them to some outrage
upon the town. This did; they celebrated Culloden.”[582]

The old town had witnessed a strange sight in the first days after
the battle. The soldiers had held a fair for the sale of the plunder
which they had made. “The traffic on the Rialto Bridge was nothing
in comparison to the business done by our military merchants; here
being great sortments of all manner of plaids, broad-swords, dirks
and pistols, and plaid-waistcoats, officers’ laced waistcoats, hats,
bonnets, blankets, and oatmeal bags.”[583] The severity that was so
long exercised by government at length sank into neglect. Only five
years before the arrival of our travellers all the prisoners, just
before the opening of the Assize, made their escape from the town jail;
“so the Lord Pitfour,” a writer to the Signet wrote, “will have the
trouble only of fugitation and reprimanding the magistrates.”[584] How
miserable the jail was is shown in a memorial from the Town Council,
dated March 17, 1786, stating that “it consists only of two small
cells for criminals, and one miserable room for civil debtors. Their
situation is truly deplorable, as there are at present and generally
about thirty persons confined in these holes, none of which is above
thirteen feet square.”[585] While the poor prisoners were so cruelly
treated, the lawyers had a merry time of it every time that so
hospitable a judge as Boswell’s father came the circuit:—

    “Lord Auchinleck made a most respectable figure at the head of
    his circuit table. It was his rule to spend every shilling of
    his allowance for the circuit—a thing less to be expected that
    in everything else he was supposed to be abundantly economical.
    He had a plentiful table. He laughed much at the rule laid down
    by some of his brethren of asking gentlemen but once to dinner.
    ‘It is,’ said he, ‘treating them like beggars at a burial, who
    get their alms in rotation.’”[586]

We are not surprised that Boswell found that “everybody at Inverness
spoke of Lord Auchinleck with uncommon regard.”

The English chapel, which Johnson describes as “meanly built, but with
a very decent congregation,” was pulled down many years ago. On its
site, in the midst of the same old graveyard, another building has
been raised in what may be perhaps called the church-warden style.
Of Macbeth’s castle—“what is called the castle of Macbeth,” writes
Johnson with his usual caution—nothing remains. If we may trust
Boswell, “it perfectly corresponded with Shakespeare’s description.”
It has been replaced by “a modern building of chaste castellated
design,” to borrow the language of the guide-book. I was told, however,
that our travellers had been misinformed, and that “the old original
Macbeth’s castle” stood on a height a little distance from the town.
This “pleasant seat” has been treated, I found, even worse than its
rival; for a builder, thinking that the air “might nimbly and sweetly
recommend itself” to the public as well as to a king, began the
erection of a crescent. Owing to a difficulty about a right of way,
the speculation hitherto has not been so successful as might have been


At Inverness the Lowland life came to an end. To the west of that
town no road had ever been made till some years after the rising of
1715. All beyond was the work of General Wade and the other military
engineers. “Here,” writes Johnson, “the appearance of life began to
alter. I had seen a few women with plaids at Aberdeen, but at Inverness
the Highland manners are common. There is, I think, a kirk in which
only the Erse language is used.” The plaid, which was not peculiar
to the Highlands, had been rapidly going out of fashion. Ramsay of
Ochtertyre says that in 1747, when he first knew Edinburgh, nine-tenths
of the ladies still wore them. Five years later “one could hardly see a
lady in that piece of dress. In the course of seven or eight years the
very servant girls were ashamed of being seen in that ugly antiquated
garb.”[587] The Gaelic language does not seem to have lost much ground
in Inverness, for I was told that there are five churches in which it
is used every Sunday at one of the services.



[Sidenote: WANT OF ROADS.]

At Inverness Johnson bade farewell to post-chaises, which had brought
him in comfort all the way from London. “This day,” writes Boswell,
“we were to begin our _equitation_, as I said; for I would needs make
a word too. We might have taken a chaise to Fort Augustus, but had we
not hired horses at Inverness we should not have found them afterwards.
We had three horses for Dr. Johnson, myself, and Joseph, and one which
carried our portmanteaus, and two Highlanders who walked along with
us.” They took but little baggage, and soon found the advantage of
their moderation “in climbing crags and treading bogs. How often,”
continues Johnson, “a man that has pleased himself at home with his
own resolution, will in the hour of darkness and fatigue be content to
leave behind him everything but himself.” After leaving the Fort they
were “to enter upon a country upon which perhaps no wheel had ever
rolled.” In the Commercial Map of Scotland, published by J. Knox in
1784, there is not a single road marked in any one of the Hebrides.
After long wanderings, and the lapse of almost seven weeks, “Johnson’s
heart was cheered by the sight of a road marked with cart-wheels as
on the mainland, a thing which we had not seen for a long time. It
gave us a pleasure similar to that which a traveller feels when,
whilst wandering on what he fears is a desert island, he perceives
the print of human feet.” It was in pleasant weather that they began
their ride. [Sidenote: THE SHORES OF LOCH NESS.] “The day though
bright was not hot. On the left were high and steep rocks shaded
with birch and covered with fern or heath. On the right the limpid
waters of Loch Ness were beating their bank and waving their surface
by a gentle agitation.” In one part of the way, adds Johnson, “we had
trees on both sides for perhaps half a mile. Such a length of shade,
perhaps, Scotland cannot show in any other place.” Boswell, though he
thought Fleet Street more delightful than Tempe, nevertheless felt
the cheering powers of this delightful day. “The scene” he found “as
sequestered and agreeably wild as could be desired.” Pennant, who had
been there four years earlier, describes the scenery as “most romantic
and beautiful.”[588] Wesley thought the neighbourhood of Inverness
one of the pleasantest countries he had ever seen.[589] In striking
contrast with the enjoyment of these four travellers are the feelings
of those who a few years before had seen the spot when the alarms of
war were still fresh. “On each side of Loch Ness,” writes Ray, “is a
ridge of most terrible barren woody mountains. You travel along the
banks through a road made by blowing up monstrous rocks, which in
many places hang declining over passengers and higher than houses, so
that ’tis frightful to pass by them.”[590] _A Volunteer_ describes
the mountains “as high and frightful as the Alps in Spain; so we had
nothing pleasant to behold but the sky.”[591]

[Illustration: LOCH NESS.]

[Illustration: MAP OF FOYERS.]

[Sidenote: THE GENERAL’S HUT.]

Our travellers halted for dinner at the General’s Hut, a small
public-house nearly eighteen miles from Inverness.[592] Here, says
Johnson, Wade had lodged “while he superintended the works upon the
road.” I have seen it stated in a guide-book that on its site is built
the Foyer’s Hotel, but this is a mistake. In the _Map of the King’s
Roads made by General Wade_, dated 1746, “the General Hutt” (_sic_) is
marked just where the road takes a sudden bend to the south, a short
distance after which it passes the church of Burlassig. Dr. Garnett,
who travelled through the Highlands at the end of the century, says
that “the present public-house, which is still called the General’s
Hut, is very near the place where Wade had a small house, which was
afterwards used as an inn. It commands a delightful view up the
lake.” The change of site must have been made, it would seem, between
his visit and Johnson’s. The old inn was on the north-east or
Inverness side of the church, whereas the Foyers Hotel is a little
distance beyond it to the south-west. It is a pity that the ambition
of landlords has not allowed the old name to remain. It was the only
thing I found wanting in this comfortable hotel. Sir Walter Scott was
surprised that “when these roads were made there was no care taken for
inns. The King’s House and the General’s Hut are miserable places,” he
adds, “but the project and plans were purely military.”[593] Johnson,
however, was not dissatisfied with his entertainment. “We found,” he
says, “the house not ill-stocked with provisions. We had eggs and
bacon, and mutton, with wine, rum, and whisky. I had water.” The little
church hard by Boswell describes as “the meanest parish kirk I ever
saw. It is a shame it should be on a high road.” It might have been
pleaded, perhaps, as an alleviation of its disgrace, that the high road
had come to it and that it had not come to the high road. His reproach
seems to have had some effect, for it has been removed to another
place. The ruins, however, still remain. A middle-aged woman who dwells
in the neighbourhood told me that “there was an old man living when
she first came, who said he did not mind when it was a church, but his
father did.”

[Illustration: FOYERS



While Boswell mentions the mean kirk, with his indifference to natural
objects he passes over in silence the celebrated Falls of Fiers or
Foyers. He does not even mention the bridge over the river, or the
rocks which on three sides of it rise to a great height. Here Johnson’s
imagination was deeply impressed, for he describes them as “exhibiting
a kind of dreadful magnificence; standing like the barriers of nature
placed to keep different orders of being in perpetual separation.”
Dismounting from their horses, “we clambered,” he writes, “over very
rugged crags, till we came at last to a place where we could overlook
the river, and saw a channel torn, as it seems, through black piles of
stone, by which the stream is obstructed and broken, till it comes to
a very steep descent, of such dreadful depth, that we were naturally
inclined to turn aside our eyes. But we visited the place at an
unseasonable time, and found it divested of its dignity and terror.
Nature never gives everything at once. A long continuance of dry
weather, which made the rest of the way easy and delightful, deprived
us of the pleasure expected from the Falls of Fiers.” This same month
Mason, the poet, was complaining that the cascades at Lodore had been
“reduced by the dry season to a scanty rill, which took away more than
half the beauties of the scene.”[594]

[Illustration: INVERMORISTON.]

[Sidenote: FORT AUGUSTUS.]

It was dark when our travellers reached “the wretched inn” at Fort
Augustus. Happily it was not in it that they were to lodge, for the
governor invited them to sleep in his house. Of the fort, the rebels
had made a bonfire on April 15, 1746, the day before Culloden, “to
celebrate the Duke of Cumberland’s birthday.”[595] It had since
been rebuilt and greatly strengthened, “being surrounded by two
trenches filled with water, and having draw-bridges, strong walls,
and bastions.”[596] Nothing is left of it. Where rough soldiers once
carried things with a high hand, now smooth priests rule. On the site
of the old fortifications which bore the second name of the butcher
duke has been raised a college and monastery dedicated to St. Benedict.
Johnson long remembered the rest which he enjoyed in the governor’s
hospitable home. Nearly four years later he recorded in his diary:
“I passed the night in such sweet uninterrupted sleep as I have not
known since I slept at Fort Augustus.” The following year, writing to
Boswell, he said, “The best night that I have had these twenty years
was at Fort Augustus.” From this spot to the sea-shore opposite
Skye they had about forty-four miles of highland paths to traverse.
This part of their journey they were forced to divide very unequally,
as Anoch, the only place where they could find entertainment, was
scarcely a third of the way. [Sidenote: GLENMORISON.] Crossing the
mountains by a road which had been made “with labour that might have
broken the perseverance of a Roman legion,” early in the afternoon
they came “through a wild country” to Glenmorison.[597] They did
not, as the guide-book says, follow the course of the river Moriston
from Invermoriston, but joined it some miles higher up, above the
fine scenery and the wild tumble of water which are shown in the
accompanying sketch. This fact I did not discover till too late.
Anoch Johnson describes as “standing in a glen or valley pleasantly
watered by a winding river. It consists of three huts, one of which is
distinguished by a chimney.” It was in the house thus distinguished
that they lodged. When I visited this spot last summer, we halted at
a farmhouse hard by to rest our horses and take some lunch. We sat on
the bank of a dried-up brook, beneath a row of witch-elms. A cuckoo was
flying about, resting now and then on the garden wall. “Its two-fold
shout” it scarcely uttered, thinking, perhaps, that as it was the month
of June, it would be “heard, not regarded.” The wind rustled in the
leaves, the river, blue beneath a blue sky, ran swiftly by, now under
a shady bank, and now round a stony foreland, till it lost itself at
last from our sight behind a bend. To the west rose lofty mountains; on
the other side of the valley were sloping hills. We lunched on frothing
milk, oat-cakes, scones, and butter; the sheep dogs playing around us,
and with wistful gaze asking for their share of the feast. We lay on
the ground and looked across the little ravine at an old hut that was
“distinguished by a chimney.” This we all voted, and very likely with
truth on our side, was the very place where our travellers had lodged.
Talking of “far-off things,” of Johnson and the copy of Cocker’s
Arithmetic which he gave to his landlord’s “gentle and pleasing
daughter,” of her father’s library of odd volumes, and of the old hut
and the old life, an hour slipped quickly and pleasantly by.




As our travellers “passed on through the dreariness of solitude” on
their way hither, they had come upon a party of soldiers working on
the road, to whom they gave a couple of shillings to spend in drink.
“With the true military impatience of coin in their pockets,” these
men had followed them to the inn, “having marched at least six miles
to find the first place where liquor could be bought.” There they made
merry in the barn. “We went and paid them a visit,” writes Boswell;
“Dr. Johnson saying, ‘Come, let’s go and give ’em another shilling
a-piece.’ We did so, and he was saluted ‘My Lord’ by all of them.”
Johnson avows that one cause of his generosity was regard to his and
Boswell’s safety. “Having never been before in a place so wild and
unfrequented, I was glad of their arrival, because I knew that we had
made them friends; and to gain still more of their good-will, we went
to them when they were carousing in the barn, and added something to
our former gift.” The money was ill-bestowed. “The poor soldiers got
too much liquor. Some of them fought and left blood upon the spot, and
cursed whisky next morning.” Perhaps Johnson had them in his mind when,
a few years later, he said, “Why, sir, a common soldier is usually a
very gross man.” To the degradation of one of the English regiments
which had been stationed in the Highlands, testimony is borne by Wolfe,
who on his return from Scotland in 1753, wrote: “If I stay much longer
with the regiment I shall be perfectly corrupt; the officers are
loose and profligate, and the soldiers are very devils.”[598] Johnson
soon found that he had no need of a guard. His host had indeed fought
in the Highland army at Culloden, but he was a quiet honest fellow.
The account which he gave of the campaign moved Boswell to tears. If
he told them the following story which I have found in Henderson’s
_History of the Rebellion_, he would have moved also Johnson to anger.
[Sidenote: THE GRANTS OF GLENMORISON.] A party of the Grants of
Glenmorison had joined the Pretender’s army at Edinburgh. The laird,
who had remained loyal, came, after the battle of Culloden, “with about
five hundred of his vassals to Inverness, whence they were sent into
the country of the Macintoshes. Hereupon the Grants in the rebellion
begged his intercession. He repaired to the Duke of Cumberland, and
said, ‘Here are a number of men come in with their arms, who would
have submitted to none in Britain but to me.’ ‘No!’ answered the duke;
‘I’ll let them know that they are my father’s subjects, and must
likewise submit to me.’ So he gave orders to embark them with the other
prisoners, and they were shipped off to Tilbury Fort.”[599] Smollett
tells how great numbers of the miserable captives who were sent to
London by sea, being crowded in the holds of the vessels, “perished
in the most deplorable manner for want of necessaries, air, and
exercise.”[600] If the Grants escaped this fate, very likely they were
transported to America.


[Illustration: THATCHED HOUSE.]


It was a long and heavy journey that this day lay before our
travellers, so that they rose in good time and started about eight
o’clock. Boswell, who had awakened very early, had been a little
scared by the thought that “their landlord, being about to emigrate,
might murder them to get their money, and lay it upon the soldiers in
the barn.” “When I got up,” he adds, “I found Dr. Johnson asleep in
his miserable stye, as I may call it, with a coloured handkerchief
round his head. With difficulty could I awaken him.” So miserable had
their beds looked that “we had some difficulty,” writes Johnson, “in
persuading ourselves to lie down in them. At last we ventured, and I
slept very soundly in the vale of Glenmorison amidst the rocks and
mountains.” The road which they were to follow is but little traversed
at the present day, for tourists either keep to the south by the
Caledonian Canal, or to the north by the railway to Strome Ferry.
[Sidenote: THE HAPPY VALLEY.] They thereby miss, to use Boswell’s
words, “a scene of as wild nature as one could see.” To this part of
my tour I had long looked forward. It is many a year since I first
formed the wish to visit that “narrow valley not very flowery, but
sufficiently verdant,” where Johnson planned the history of his tour.

    “I sat down on a bank (he says) such as a writer of romance
    might have delighted to feign. I had indeed no trees to whisper
    over my head, but a clear rivulet streamed at my feet. The day
    was calm, the air was soft, and all was rudeness, silence, and
    solitude. Before me and on either side were high hills, which
    by hindering the eye from ranging, forced the mind to find
    entertainment for itself. Whether I spent the hour well I know
    not, for here I first conceived the thought of this narration.”

In a letter to Mrs. Thrale he describes the same scene, but makes no
mention of the book which he had in mind.

    “I sat down to take notes on a green bank, with a small stream
    running at my feet, in the midst of savage solitude, with
    mountains before me, and on either hand covered with heath. I
    looked around me, and wondered that I was not more affected,
    but the mind is not at all times equally ready to be put in
    motion. If my mistress and master, and Queeney[601] had been
    there, we should have produced some reflections among us either
    poetical or philosophical, for though solitude be the nurse
    of woe,[602] conversation is often the parent of remarks and

My hopes of finding this classical rivulet were great. A kind
correspondent, the Rev. Alexander Matheson, minister of Glen Shiel,
had been told by some old people of the neighbourhood that they knew
by tradition the exact spot. Though he had nearly twenty miles to
come, he undertook to show me it. I arrived at the little inn at
Clunie earlier than he had expected, and there meeting him found to
my disappointment that I had passed the spot some six or seven miles.
Both horses and travellers were too weary to retrace their steps. The
tradition of the old people had on further investigation proved to
be worthless. Like myself he had been at first misled by Boswell’s
narrative, which places this happy valley at the western end of Glen
Shiel. But on looking at Johnson’s account, aided too by his own
knowledge of the locality, he had detected the error. The rivulet by
which they had made their noonday halt must have been in Glen Clunie,
near the eastern end of the loch, for Johnson describes how after their
rest “they continued their journey along the side of a loch which at
last ended in a river broad and shallow. Beyond it is a valley called
Glen Shiel.” For my disappointment there was some consolation to be
found. The long drought of nearly two months which had preceded my
tour had dried up those rivulets which Johnson crossed, running, as
he describes them, “with a clear, shallow stream over a hard, pebbly
bottom.” The main river had still water in it; but we saw few indeed
of “the streams rushing down the steep” which fed it. In that part of
the narrow valley where he reposed we should have had only a choice of
dried-up watercourses, had we tried to select the bank on which he sat.
[Sidenote: YARROW UNVISITED.] For me Yarrow still remains unvisited. I
have still to see

      “Its silvery current flow
    With uncontrolled meanderings.”

[Illustration: CLUNIE.]

Passing through Glen Clunie, which now boasts of a little inn where
the traveller can find clean, if homely lodgings, they reached Glen
Shiel. It is worth notice that though the word _Glen_ is in Johnson’s
Dictionary, so unfamiliar was it at this time to English ears, that
using it in the letter in which he describes this day’s journey, he
adds, “so they call a valley.” In Glen Shiel, writes Boswell, they
saw “where the battle was fought in 1719.” It was in the second and
last of the Spanish invasions of our island that this fight took
place. An armament of ten ships of war and transports, having on board
6,000 regular troops with arms for 12,000 men, had sailed from Cadiz
under the command of the Duke of Ormond, in the hope of restoring the
Stuarts to that throne which they had forfeited by their tyranny and
their folly. The winds and waves fought for us, as they had fought long
before in the time of the Great Armada. Two ships only succeeded in
reaching the coast of Scotland. [Sidenote: EILAN DONAN CASTLE.] They
landed their troops near Eilan Donan Castle on Loch Duich, the seat of
the chief of the Mackenzies. Four years earlier the fighting men of
this clan had gone off to join the forces of the Earl of Mar, and had
taken part in the battle of Sheriffmuir. The grandfather of the present
minister of the parish in which Eilan Donan stands, had known an aged
parishioner, who had seen the clansmen dance on the leads of the castle
the evening before they started on their expedition. There were among
them four chieftains, each bearing the name of John, and known as “the
four Johns of Scotland.” They all danced at Eilan Donan, and all fell
at Sheriffmuir. [Sidenote: BATTLE OF GLEN SHIEL.] I was told also of a
tradition which still exists among the people, that at Glen Shiel the
clansmen had sent their women and children to wave flags on the hills
as if they were a fresh body of men. Deceived by this appearance, the
regular troops had at first retreated. The battle with the Spaniards
was fought at a spot, where on both sides the mountains draw close, and
the valley narrows to a ravine through which the river when swollen by
the rains rushes foaming along in fine cascades. Along the right bank
the rocks were so steep that till the present road was cut no passage
was possible; on the left bank there was a narrow opening beneath a
precipitous crag. A little above the uppermost of the waterfalls the
country folks still point out “the black colonel’s grave”—some swarthy
Spaniard, perhaps, who fell that day far from the cork-groves of
Southern Spain. They tell too how the Spanish soldiers who surrendered
themselves as prisoners of war first cast their arms into the deep
pool below. A dreadful story has been recorded by an Englishman who
lived for many years at Inverness. “He had been assured,” he writes,
“by several officers who were in the battle, that some of the English
soldiers who were dangerously wounded were left behind for three
or four hours. When parties were sent to them with hurdles made to
serve as litters, they were all found stabbed with dirks in twenty
places.”[603] The story may not be true. If it is, the clansmen were as
savage after Glen Shiel, as were the regular troops twenty-seven years
later after Culloden.

[Illustration: EILAN DONAN.]


[Illustration: FAOCHAG.]


In the warm sunshine of a day in June we sat on a bank above the dark
pool beneath whose eddying waters some of the arms perhaps still lie.
There was a gentle breeze, the larks were singing over our heads,
the water was sparkling and splashing, the sides of the torrent were
overhung with the mountain ash and were green with ferns, but below
us and in front lay a scene of wild desolation. Far off to the west
was the mountain which Boswell had pointed out to Johnson as being
like a cone. “No, Sir,” said Johnson. “It would be called so in a
book, and when a man comes to look at it, he sees it is not so. It
is indeed pointed at the top; but one side of it is larger than the
other.” Its Gaelic name, _Faochag_, which signifies _whelk_, shows that
though Johnson’s objection may have been a proof of his “perceptive
quickness,” yet Boswell’s description was quite accurate enough for
two men out on a tour. We tried in vain to distinguish which among the
mountains was “the considerable protuberance.” Perhaps the Johnson
Club may not disdain to appoint a committee who shall be instructed to
bid farewell for a time to the delights of Fleet Street and visit Glen
Shiel, with full powers to come to a final decision in this important
matter. A long drive down the steep pass brought us to the place
which Boswell said was “a rich green valley, comparatively speaking.”
[Sidenote: AUCHNASHEAL.] A little way beyond it lay the twenty huts
which formed the village of Auchnasheal. “One of them,” says Johnson,
“was built of loose stones, piled up with great thickness into a
strong, though not solid wall. From this house we obtained some great
pails of milk, and having brought bread with us were very liberally
regaled.” The curious scene which they witnessed here is thus described
by Boswell:—

    “We sat down on a green turf-seat at the end of a house;
    they brought us out two wooden dishes of milk,[604] which we
    tasted. One of them was frothed like a syllabub. I saw a woman
    preparing it with such a stick as is used for chocolate, and in
    the same manner. We had a considerable circle about us, men,
    women, and children, all M’Craas, Lord Seaforth’s people. Not
    one of them could speak English. I observed to Dr. Johnson, it
    was much the same as being with a tribe of Indians. Johnson:
    ‘Yes, sir, but not so terrifying.’ I gave all who chose it
    snuff and tobacco. Governor Trapaud had made us buy a quantity
    at Fort Augustus, and put them up in small parcels. I also
    gave each person a piece of wheat bread, which they had never
    tasted before. I then gave a penny apiece to each child. I
    told Dr. Johnson of this: upon which he called to Joseph and
    our guides, for change for a shilling, and declared that he
    would distribute among the children. Upon this being announced
    in Erse, there was a great stir: not only did some children
    come running down from neighbouring huts, but I observed one
    black-haired man, who had been with us all along, had gone off,
    and returned, bringing a very young child. My fellow-traveller
    then ordered the children to be drawn up in a row, and he dealt
    about his copper, and made them and their parents all happy.”

“It was the best day the McCraas declared they had seen since the time
of the old laird of Macleod.” He, no doubt, had made a halt in their
valley on his way to or from Skye. The snuff and tobacco must have won
their hearts more even than the money. “Nothing,” Johnson was told,
“gratified the Highlanders so much.” Knox recorded a few years later
that “any stranger who cannot take a pinch of snuff or give one is
looked upon with an evil eye.”[605] So uncommon was wheaten bread even
a quarter of a century later, that Dr. Garnett, after leaving Inverary,
tasted none till he reached Inverness.[606] At present it can be had in
most places, being brought by the steamers in large boxes from Glasgow,
and transported inland in the country carts. The way in which the
villagers had gathered round the travellers had startled even Johnson,
stout-hearted though he was. “I believe,” he says, “they were without
any evil intention, but they had a very savage wildness of aspect and
manner.” My friend, the minister of Glen Shiel, pointed out to me that
it was no doubt mere curiosity which brought them round him. Johnson
was as strange a sight to them as they were to Johnson. An earlier
traveller in the Hebrides has expressed this very well. “Every man
and thing I met with,” he writes, “seemed a novelty. I thought myself
entering upon a new scene of nature, but nature rough and unpolished.
Men, manners, habits, buildings, everything different from our own; and
if we thought them rude and barbarous, no doubt the people had the same
opinion of what belonged to us, and the wonder was mutual.”[607]


Auchnasheal has been swept away; nothing of it is left but a few banks
of earth and the foundations of the one stone house. The same fate has
befallen it which befell that other village near Fort Augustus where
Coleridge heard a Highland widow mourn over the desolation of the land:

    “‘Within this space,’ she said, ‘how short a time back!—there
    lived a hundred and seventy-three persons, and now there is
    only a shepherd and an underling or two. Yes, Sir! One hundred
    and seventy-three Christian souls, man, woman, boy, girl, and
    babe, and in almost every home an old man by the fire-side,
    who would tell you of the troubles before our roads were made;
    and many a brave youth among them who loved the birthplace of
    his forefathers, yet would swing about his broad-sword, and
    want but a word to march off to the battles over sea; aye,
    Sir, and many a good lass who had a respect for herself. Well,
    but they are gone, and with them the bristled bear [barley]
    and the pink haver [oats], and the potato plot that looked as
    gay as any flower-garden with its blossoms! I sometimes fancy
    that the very birds are gone—all but the crows and the gleads
    [kites]. Well, and what then? Instead of us all, there is one
    shepherd man, and it may be a pair of small lads—and a many,
    many sheep! And do you think, Sir, that God allows of such

The desolation had already begun even at the time of our travellers’
visit. Their host of the evening before was following seventy of the
dalesmen to America, whither they had been driven by a rack-renting
landlord. “I asked him,” writes Johnson, “whether they would stay at
home if they were well-treated. He answered with indignation, that no
man willingly left his native country.”

Taking leave of these inoffensive, if wild-looking people, our
travellers rode on, much refreshed by their repast. They had, as
Johnson complained, “very little entertainment, as they travelled
either for the eye or ear. There are, I fancy,” he adds, “no singing
birds in the Highlands.” It is odd that he should have looked for
singing-birds on the 1st of September. Had it been earlier in the
summer he would have found melody enough. Nowhere have I heard the
thrushes sing more sweetly than at Glenelg. Wesley, visiting Inverness
on an early day of May, “heard abundance of birds welcoming the return
of spring.”[609] If so late in the summer there was no music for the
ear, the eye surely should have been something more than entertained,
when in the evening light the first sight was caught of Loch Duich
and the waters of the Atlantic, and the barrier of mountains which so
nobly encloses them. Yet they are passed over in silence by both our
travellers. So fine is the scenery here that I longed to make a stay
in the comfortable inn at Shiel, near the head of the loch. [Sidenote:
SHEEP-SHEARING IN SHIEL.] But we were forced to press on, having first
witnessed, however, sheep-shearing on a large scale on a farm close by.
In front of a storing-house for wool fifteen men were seated all hard
at work with their shears, their dogs lying at their feet. They wore
coloured jerseys in which the shades of blue and green were all the
pleasanter to the eye because they were somewhat faded. Young lads were
bringing up the sheep from the fold. The forelegs of each animal were
tied, it was then lifted on to a narrow bank of turf which had been
raised in front of each shepherd, thrown on its back, and in a moment
the busy shears were at work. In the long summer day a quick hand
could finish eighty, we were told. As soon as the fleece fell loose,
an old woman came forward, folded it up tight, and carried it into the
store-house; while a boy, dipping the branding-iron into boiling pitch,
scored the side of each sheep with a deep black mark. From time to time
the farmer went round with a bottle and a small glass, and gave each
man a dram of pure whisky. Not far from here on the banks of the loch
was an old house where it was said that Johnson made a halt. It is so
pleasant a place, with its grove of trees and its garden of roses, and
so kindly was I welcomed, that I would willingly believe the tradition.
I could wish, however, that he and Boswell had not treated it with the
same neglect as they did the view. Had their reception been as kind as
mine they would certainly have expressed their gratitude. [Sidenote:
MAM RATTAKIN.] It was here that I was told of the address which he made
to the mountain at the foot of which the house stands, and up which he
was now to climb, “Good-bye, Mam Rattakin, I hope never to see your
face again.”[610] They did not reach it till late in the afternoon.
Both Johnson and the horses were weary, and they had “a terrible steep
to climb.” Going down was almost worse than going up, for his horse now
and then stumbled beneath his great weight. On the edge of one of the
precipices he was, he thought, in real danger. He grew fretful with
fatigue, and was not comforted by the absurd attempt made by his guide
to amuse him.

    “Having heard him, in the forenoon, express a pastoral pleasure
    on seeing the goats browsing, just when the doctor was uttering
    his displeasure, the fellow cried, with a very Highland accent,
    ‘See, such pretty goats!’ Then he whistled _whu!_ and made
    them jump. Little did he conceive what Dr. Johnson was. Here
    now was a common ignorant Highland clown imagining that he
    could divert, as one does a child, _Dr. Samuel Johnson!_ The
    ludicrousness, absurdity, and extraordinary contrast between
    what the fellow fancied, and the reality, was truly comic.”

At the bottom of the mountain a dreary ride of six or seven long miles
through a flat and uninteresting country still awaited them. They
were too tired even for talk. Boswell urged on his horse so that some
preparation might be made for the great man at the inn at Glenelg.

    “He called me back,” he writes, “with a tremendous shout, and
    was really in a passion with me for leaving him. I told him my
    intentions, but he was not satisfied, and said, ‘Do you know, I
    should as soon have thought of picking a pocket, as doing so.’
    BOSWELL. ‘I am diverted with you, Sir.’ JOHNSON. ‘Sir, I could
    never be diverted with incivility. Doing such a thing makes one
    lose confidence in him who has done it, as one cannot tell what
    he may do next.’”

[Illustration: MAM RATTACHAN


Even after he had reached the inn his violence continued. “Sir,” he
said, “had you gone on, I was thinking that I should have returned with
you to Edinburgh, and then have parted from you, and never spoken to
you more.” The next morning “he owned that he had spoken in passion;
that he would not have done what he threatened; and that if he had, he
should have been ten times worse than I; and he added, ‘Let’s think
no more on’t.’” As we drove down the mountain on a summer afternoon
the peacefulness of the pastoral scene, the sheep dotted about quietly
nibbling the grass, with their lambs by their side, the hazy air on
the hills, all seemed to contrast strangely with the violence of his
passion. To an old man, however, tired with a long day’s ride over
rough ways, and in want of his dinner, something must be forgiven.
He is not the only tourist who, in his need of rest and food, has
relieved his feelings by quarrelling with his companion.


When they were not far from the end of their ride they passed the
barracks at Bernera. “I looked at them wistfully,” writes Boswell;
“as soldiers have always everything in the best order; but there was
only a sergeant and a few men there.” Pennant, who had visited them a
year earlier, describes them as “handsome and capacious, designed to
hold two hundred men; at present occupied only by a corporal and six
soldiers. The country lament this neglect. They are now quite sensible
of the good effects of the military, by introducing peace and security;
they fear lest the evil days should return, and the ancient thefts be
renewed as soon as the banditti find this protection of the people
removed.”[611] The banditti were the Highlanders of this district in
general. Less than thirty years earlier “the whole country between Loch
Ness and the sea to the west had been,” he says, “a den of thieves. The
constant petition at grace of the old Highland chieftains was delivered
with great fervour in these terms: ‘Lord, turn the world upside down,
that Christians may make bread out of it.’”[612]

The country had to lament a loss of trade as well as of security.
The cottagers who had been drawn together to supply the wants of the
soldiers are described by Knox, a few years later, as being in the
utmost poverty. The barracks had fallen into so ruinous a state, that
it justified the report that the building of them had been “a notorious
job.” Even the sergeant and his six soldiers had been removed. “I was
entertained,” says Knox, “by the commanding officer and his whole
garrison. The former was an old corporal, and the latter was the
corporal’s wife: the entertainment snuff and whisky.”[613]


When at length our travellers, “weary and disgusted,” reached Glenelg,
“our humour,” writes Johnson, “was not much mended by our inn, which,
though it was built of lime and slate, the Highlander’s description of
a house which he thinks magnificent, had neither wine, bread, eggs,
nor anything that we could eat or drink. When we were taken upstairs
a dirty fellow bounced out of the bed where one of us was to lie.
Boswell blustered, but nothing could be got. At last a gentleman in
the neighbourhood, who heard of our arrival, sent us rum and white
sugar. Boswell was now provided for in part, and the landlord prepared
some mutton chops which we could not eat, and killed two hens, of
which Boswell made his servant broil a limb, with what effect I know
not. We had a lemon and a piece of bread, which supplied me with my
supper.” Boswell’s account of the place is no less dismal. “There was
no provender for our horses; so they were sent to grass with a man
to watch them. A maid showed us upstairs into a room damp and dirty,
with bare walls, a variety of bad smells, a coarse black greasy fir
table, and forms of the same kind; and out of a wretched bed started a
fellow from his sleep, like Edgar in _King Lear_, ‘Poor Tom’s a cold.’”
Johnson slept in his clothes and great coat, on a bed of hay; “Boswell
laid sheets upon his bed which he had brought from home, and reposed in
linen like a gentleman.”

[Illustration: SKYE, FROM GLENELG.]

Here, again, was I struck by the contrast between the past and the
present. Of the old inn, with all its magnificence of lime and slate,
not even the site is known. In its place stands a roomy and comfortable
hotel. It was on the 21st of June when we visited it, and we found
it half-asleep and almost empty, for the season had not yet begun.
At the most delightful time of the year, when the days were at their
longest and no candles were burnt, there was scarcely a single stranger
to enjoy the quiet and the beauty. There were woods and flowering
shrubs, rhododendrons and the Portugal laurel, and close to the water’s
edge the laburnum in full bloom. There were all the sights of peaceful
country life—the cocks crowing, the sheep answering with their bleats
their bleating lambs, the cows with their calves in the noonday heat
seeking the shade of the tall and wide-spreading trees. The waves
lapped gently on the shore, and in the distance, below the rocky coast
of Skye, the waters were whitened by the countless sea-birds. We drove
up a beautiful valley to the Pictish forts, and saw an eagle hovering
high above us.


[Illustration: THE SOUND OF SLATE.]


[Sidenote: LANDING ON SKYE.]

On the morning of Thursday, September 2, our travellers took boat
at Glenelg, “and launched into one of the straits of the Atlantic
Ocean.” Rowing along the Sound of Slate towards the south-west, they
reached the shore of Armidale in Skye early in the afternoon. They
had intended to visit in his castle the owner of half the island, Sir
Alexander Macdonald. But, wrote Johnson, “he had come from his seat in
the middle of the island to a small house on the shore, as we believe,
that he might with less reproach entertain us meanly.” Boswell was so
much disgusted with this chieftain’s parsimony, that he “meditated an
escape from his house the very next day; but Dr. Johnson resolved that
we should weather it out till Monday.” [Sidenote: CORRICHATACHIN.]
When the day of escape at length came, they started on horseback in
a north-westerly direction for Corrichatachin, a farm-house near
Broadford,[614] belonging to Sir A. Macdonald, but tenanted by a
Mackinnon, a clan to which all this district had formerly belonged.
“Here they were entertained better than at the landlord’s;” here “they
enjoyed the comfort of a table plentifully furnished, and here for
the first time they had a specimen of the joyous social manners of
the inhabitants of the Highlands.” Books, too, were not wanting, both
Latin and English; among them was a copy of the abridgment of Johnson’s
Dictionary. He might have said here, as four years later with some
eagerness he said at Lord Scarsdale’s, when he discovered the same book
in his lordship’s dressing-room, “Quæ regio in terris nostri non plena
laboris?” Here, too, he wrote that Latin Ode to Mrs. Thrale, which so
caught Sir Walter Scott’s imagination, that when he first set foot on
Skye, it was the thing which first came into his thoughts. And here on
their return after a lapse of nearly three weeks, Boswell got so tipsy
and so piously penitent next day. He had not gone to bed till nearly
five o’clock on a Sunday morning, by which time four bowls of punch had
been finished.

    “I awaked at noon,” he records, “with a severe headache. I
    was much vexed that I should have been guilty of such a riot,
    and afraid of a reproof from Dr. Johnson. I thought it very
    inconsistent with that conduct which I ought to maintain, while
    the companion of the _Rambler_. About one he came into my room,
    and accosted me, ‘What, drunk yet?’ His tone of voice was not
    that of severe upbraiding; so I was relieved a little. ‘Sir,’
    said I, ‘they kept me up.’ He answered, ‘No, you kept them
    up, you drunken dog.’ This he said with good-humoured English
    pleasantry. Soon afterwards, Corrichatachin, Col, and other
    friends, assembled round my bed. Corri had a brandy-bottle and
    glass with him, and insisted I should take a dram. ‘Ay,’ said
    Dr. Johnson, ‘fill him drunk again. Do it in the morning, that
    we may laugh at him all day. It is a poor thing for a fellow
    to get drunk at night, and sculk to bed, and let his friends
    have no sport.’ Finding him thus jocular, I became quite easy;
    and when I offered to get up, he very good-naturedly said,
    ‘You need be in no such hurry now.’ I took my host’s advice,
    and drank some brandy, which I found an effectual cure for my
    headache. When I rose, I went into Dr. Johnson’s room, and
    taking up Mrs. M’Kinnon’s Prayer-book, I opened it at the
    Twentieth Sunday after Trinity, in the epistle for which I
    read, ‘And be not drunk with wine, wherein there is excess.’
    Some would have taken this as a divine interposition.”

Before the afternoon was over, by the help of good cheer and good
society, he felt himself comfortable enough, and his piety was drowned
in philosophy.

    “I then thought,” he says, “that my last night’s riot was no
    more than such a social excess as may happen without much moral
    blame; and recollected that some physicians maintained, that a
    fever produced by it was, upon the whole, good for health.”



The Highlanders were more seasoned drinkers than he was, for the
following night they had another drinking-bout.

    “They kept a smart lad lying on a table in the corner of the
    room, ready to spring up and bring the kettle whenever it was
    wanted. They continued drinking, and singing Erse songs,
    till near five in the morning, when they all came into my
    room, where some of them had beds. Unluckily for me, they
    found a bottle of punch in a corner, which they drank; and
    Corrichatachin went for another, which they also drank. They
    made many apologies for disturbing me. I told them, that,
    having been kept awake by their mirth, I had once thoughts of
    getting up and joining them again. Honest Corrichatachin said,
    ‘To have had you done so, I would have given a cow.’”

Johnson was better lodged than Boswell, for he had a room to himself
at night, though in the day it was the place where the servants took
their meals. Yet he was pleased with the kindness shown him, and
discovered no deficiencies. “Our entertainment,” he wrote, “was not
only hospitable but elegant.” The company he describes as being “more
numerous and elegant than it could have been supposed easy to collect.”
He gave as much pleasure as he received, and when he left, “the
Scottish phrase of _honest man_, which is an expression of kindness and
regard, was again and again applied to him.”

The house he describes as “very pleasantly situated between two
brooks, with one of the highest hills of the island behind it.”
Boswell with good reason remarks on the entire absence of a garden.
“Corrichatachin,” he writes, “has not even a turnip, a carrot, or a
cabbage.” Where these were wanting, there would be no roses clustering
on the porch, no flower-beds before the door. This scene of hospitality
and jovial riot is now a ruin. We walked to it from Broadford across
a moorland, the curlews flying round us with their melancholy cry.
The two brooks were shrunk with the long drought, and flowed in very
quiet streams. Yet one of them, I was told, in a time of flood once
broke into Mackinnon’s house. We crossed it on a bridge formed of two
trees, with a long piece of iron wire for a railing. There we rested
awhile, now looking down at the sunlight dancing in the shallows, and
now gazing at the ruined farm and the mountain rising behind in steep
crags of barren rock. Far up the valley to the west a flock of sheep
was coming white from the shearing, bleating as they spread out along
the hill-side. Another flock the dogs were gathering into what had been
the yard of the old house. It had been solidly built, two stories high,
about thirty-six feet long by fifteen broad in the inside measurements.
On the outside, over the door, was carved:—

                         L. M. K.    J. M. K.

Johnson’s host was Lachlan Mackinnon, and the initials are, I suppose,
his and his wife’s. It was but a small place to hold the large and
festive company that was gathered at the time of our traveller’s visit;
but, as Boswell says, “it was partly done by separating man and wife,
and putting a number of men in one room and of women in another.” As
I looked up at the windows which still remain, though the floors have
fallen in, I wondered which was the room which was Johnson’s chamber
at night, and the ladies’ parlour by day, where Boswell sat among them
writing his journal.

[Sidenote: CHANGES IN SKYE.]

At the Hotel at Broadford, I was struck by the change that has come
about since Johnson’s time, “in this verge of European life,” to use
the term which he applied to Skye. Corrichatachin remains almost as he
saw it. A house had fallen in ruins and had been replaced by another,
and a small grove of trees had been planted. A garden had been made,
and patches of ground which once were pasture had been ploughed up.
But the broad face of nature is unchanged. This “region of obscurity,”
is, however, obscure no longer. Where he was nearly ten weeks without
receiving letters, now even the poor, far from their homes, by means
of the telegraphic wire can, as it were, “live along the line.” A
maid-servant who goes to distant services, on her arrival, by means of
a telegram, at once frees her mother from her “heart-struck anxious
care.” The owner of the hotel, from whom I learnt this fact, said that
“Rowland Hill had done more for the poor man than all the ministers
since, and that many of the Highlanders in gratitude had called their
sons after him.”

[Illustration: CORRICHATACHIN.]


From Corrichatachin our travellers rode down to the sea-side at
Broadford, two miles off, where they took boat for the island of
Raasay. The Macgillichallum, or laird of Raasay, John Macleod, had
politely sent his coach and six, as he called his six-oared boat, to
fetch them over. Though it was “thus dignified with a pompous name,”
writes Johnson, “there was no seat, but an occasional bundle of straw.
I never,” he adds, “saw in the Hebrides a boat furnished with benches.”
In it had come the learned Donald M’Queen, a minister, and old Malcolm
Macleod, who had been out in the ‘45, and had aided the Young Pretender
in his escape. [Sidenote: THE HIGHLAND DRESS.] I had at one time
thought that it was to him that Johnson alludes, when he speaks of
having met one man, and one only, who defied the law against wearing
the Highland dress. “By him,” he adds, “it was worn only occasionally
and wantonly.”[615] I now believe, however, that it was Macdonald of
Kingsburgh who was meant. Ever since the last rebellion the national
garb had been suppressed. It had been enacted that “no person
whatsoever should wear or put on those parts of the Highland clothes,
garb, or habiliments which are called the plaid, philibeg,[616] or
little kilt, or any of them.” Any offender “not being a landed man,
or the son of a landed man” shall be tried before a justice of the
peace “in a summary way, and shall be delivered over to serve as a
soldier.”[617] Even the loyal Highlanders in the Duke of Cumberland’s
army had been compelled in part to adopt the southern garb. “Near
Linlithgow,” writes Henderson, “the whole army passed in review before
their illustrious General. When the Highlanders passed he seemed
much delighted with their appearance, saying, ‘They look very well;
have breeches, and are the better for that.’”[618] Some years later
when Pitt “called for soldiers from the mountains of the North,” “to
allure them into the army it was thought proper to indulge them in the
continuance of their national dress.”[619] Numerous were the devices
to evade the law, and great must have been the perplexities of the
magistrates. One of Wolfe’s officers wrote in 1752, that “one of his
serjeants had taken a fellow wearing a blanket in form of a philibeg.
He carried him to Perth, but the Sheriff-substitute did not commit him,
because the blanket was not a tartan. On his return he met another
of the same kind; so, as he found it needless to carry him before a
magistrate, he took the blanket-philibeg and cut it to pieces.” Another
officer wrote two months later: “One of my men brought me a man to all
appearance in a philibeg; but on close examination I found it to be a
woman’s petticoat, which answers every end of that part of the Highland
dress. I sent him to the Sheriff-substitute, who dismissed him.”[620]

Smollett, in his _Humphry Clinker_, pleads the cause of the dejected
Highlanders, who had not only been deprived of their ancient garb, but,
“what is a greater hardship still, are compelled to wear breeches,
a restraint which they cannot bear with any degree of patience;
indeed the majority wear them, not in the proper place, but on poles
or long staves over their shoulders.”[621] In 1782 the Marquis of
Graham brought in a bill to repeal this prohibitory Act. One of the
English members asked that if it became law, the dress should still be
prohibited in England. When six Highland soldiers had been quartered at
a house in Hampshire, “the singularity of their dress,” he said, “so
much attracted the eyes of the wife and daughters of the man of the
house that he found it expedient to take a lodging for them at another
place.”[622] A Lowland friend tells me that one day at church her
grandfather turned two Highland officers out of his pew, as he thought
their dress improper where there were ladies. This she learnt from her
aunt who had been present. Old Malcolm Macleod, if he did not return
altogether to the ancient dress, nevertheless broke the law. “He wore
a pair of brogues; tartan hose which came up only near to his knees,
and left them bare; a purple camblet kilt; a black waistcoat; a short
green cloth coat bound with gold cord; a yellowish bushy wig; a large
blue bonnet with a gold thread button.” Sir Walter Scott tells us that
“to evade the law against the tartan dress, the Highlanders used to
dye their variegated plaids and kilts into blue, green, or any single
colour.”[623] Malcolm had done this with his kilt, but in his hose
he asserted his independence. Yet so early as the beginning of last
century, according to Martin, the Highland dress was fast dying out in
Skye. “They now,” he writes, “generally use coat, waistcoat, and
breeches, as elsewhere. Persons of distinction wear the garb in fashion
in the south of Scotland.”[624]

[Illustration: RAASAY CASTLE


[Sidenote: THE ROW TO RAASAY.]

While Johnson in the voyage to Raasay “sat high on the stern of the
boat like a magnificent Triton,” old Malcolm, no less magnificent
through his attire, took his turn at tugging the oar, “singing an Erse
song, the chorus of which was _Hatyin foam foam eri_, with words of
his own.” The original was written in praise of Allan of Muidart, a
chief of the Clanranald family. The following is a translation of the
complete chorus:

    “Along, along, then haste along,
      For here no more I’ll stay;
    I’ll braid and bind my tresses long,
      And o’er the hills away.”[625]

In the sound between Scalpa and Raasay, “the wind,” writes Boswell,
“made the sea very rough. I did not like it. ‘This now,’ said Johnson,
‘is the Atlantic. If I should tell, at a tea-table in London, that I
have crossed the Atlantic in an open boat, how they’d shudder, and what
a fool they’d think me to expose myself to such danger.’” In his letter
to Mrs. Thrale he makes light of the roughness of the waves. “The
wind blew enough to give the boat a kind of dancing agitation.” For a
moment or two his temper was ruffled, for by the carelessness of their
man-servant his spurs were carried overboard. “There was something
wild,” he said, “in letting a pair of spurs be carried into the sea out
of a boat.” What a fine opening we have here for the enthusiasm of the
Johnson Club! An expedition properly equipped should be sent to dredge
in this sound for the spurs, with directions to proceed afterwards to
the Isle of Mull, and make search for that famous piece of timber, his
walking-stick, which was lost there.


As the boat drew near the land the singing of the reapers on shore
was mingled with the song of the rowers. It was frequently noticed by
travellers how the Highlanders loved to keep time with their songs to
whatever they were doing. Gray heard the masons singing in Erse all
day long as they were building the park wall at Glamis Castle.[626]
An earlier writer tells how “the women in harvest work keep time by
several barbarous tones of the voice; and stoop and rise together as
regularly as a rank of soldiers when they ground their arms. They
proceed with great alacrity, it being disgraceful for anyone to be out
of time with the sickle.”[627] According to Pennant, “in the songs
of the rowers the notes are commonly long, the airs solemn and slow,
rarely cheerful, it being impossible for the oars to keep a quick time;
the words generally have a religious turn, consonant to that of the
people.”[628] Ramsay of Ochtertyre says that “the women’s songs are
in general very short and plaintive. In travelling through the remote
Highlands in harvest, the sound of these little bands on every side has
a most pleasing effect on the mind of a stranger.” The custom, we learn
from him, was rapidly dying out at the end of last century.[629] I did
not myself hear any of this singing in my wanderings; but a Scotch
friend tells me that more than forty years ago she remembers seeing a
field in which thirty Highland reapers were at work in couples, a man
and a woman together, all singing their Gaelic songs.

[Sidenote: RAASAY.]

Three or four hours’ stout rowing brought the boat to the shore below
the Laird of Raasay’s house. “The approach to it,” says Boswell, “was
very pleasing. We saw before us a beautiful bay, well defended by a
rocky coast; a good family mansion; a fine verdure about it, with a
considerable number of trees; and beyond it hills and mountains in
gradation of wildness.” At the entrance to the bay is a rocky islet,
where we landed, when we visited Raasay on the afternoon of a bright
June day. As it was unoccupied, we took formal possession, with a
better claim than the European nations have to the well-peopled islands
of the Southern Seas. Its name, we learnt from our boatman, was Goat
Island, and just as Johnson was addressed as Island Isa, so we were
willing to derive our title from our new acquisition. We passed a full
half an hour in our domain with great satisfaction. Who, we asked,
“would change the rocks of Scotland for the Strand?” The waves beat
on our coast, breaking in white crests far away in the open sound.
We looked across the little bay on the sunny shore of our nearest
neighbour, the Laird of Raasay, and did not envy him the pleasant
grassy slope, almost ready for the scythe, which stretched from his
mansion to the edge of the sea, or the fine woods which covered the
hills at the back of his house. We thought how much the scene is
changed since our travellers saw it. Then there was no landing-place;
steps had not been even cut in the natural rock. “The crags,” Johnson
complained, “were irregularly broken, and a false step would have
been very mischievous.” Yet “a few men with pickaxes might have cut
an ascent of stairs out of any part of the rock in a week’s time.”
There is now a small stone pier. The hayfield, in the memory of people
still living, was all heathland down to the water’s edge, with a rough
cart-track running across it. Trees have been everywhere planted, and
the hill-sides are beautifully wooded. Even before Johnson’s time
something had been done in the way of improvement. Martin, in his
_Description of the Western Isles_,[630] mentions “an orchard with
several sorts of berries, pot-herbs, &c.” In the copy of Martin’s work
in the Bodleian Library, Toland has entered in the margin: “Wonderful
in Scotland anywhere.” Boswell mentions “a good garden, plentifully
stocked with vegetables, and strawberries, raspberries, currants, &c.”
The house—that “neat modern fabric,” which Johnson praises as “the
seat of plenty, civility, and cheerfulness”—still remains, but it is
almost hidden beneath the great additions which have in later years
been made. In a letter to Mrs. Thrale, he says: “It is not large,
though we were told in our passage that it had eleven fine rooms,
nor magnificently furnished, but our utensils[631] were most commonly
silver. We went up into a dining-room about as large as your blue room,
where we had something given us to eat, and tea and coffee.” The blue
room, less fortunate than its rival at Raasay, has been swept away,
with all the beauty and the associations of Streatham Park. I was shown
his chamber, with his portrait hanging on the wall. A walking-stick
which he had used is treasured up. From his windows he looked down into
the garden. However productive it may have been, it was not, I fear,
so gay with flowers as it was when I saw it, or so rich in shrubs.
I walked between fuchsia hedges that were much higher than my head.
One fuchsia bush, or rather tree, which stood apart, covered with its
branches a round of sixty feet. Its trunk was as thick as a man’s
thigh. The Western Islands are kept free from severe frosts by the
waters of the Gulf Stream, so that in the spots which face the southern
suns, and are sheltered from the north and east, there is a growth
which rivals, and perhaps outdoes, that of Devonshire and Cornwall.

[Illustration: RAASAY.]

Not far from the house is the ruined chapel which provoked Johnson’s
sarcasm. “It has been,” he writes, “for many years popular to talk
of the lazy devotion of the Romish clergy; over the sleepy laziness
of men that erected churches we may indulge our superiority with a
new triumph, by comparing it with the fervid activity of those who
suffer them to fall.” Boswell took a more cheerful view. “There was
something comfortable,” he wrote, “in the thought of being so near
a piece of consecrated ground.” [Sidenote: THE MACLEODS OF RAASAY.]
Here they looked upon the tombs of the Macleods of Raasay, that
ancient family which boasted that “during four hundred years they had
not gained or lost a single acre;” which was worthily represented in
their host; which lasted for two generations longer, and then sank in
ruins amidst the wild follies of a single laird. Whilst rack-renting
landlords were driving their people across the wide Atlantic, Macleod
of Raasay could boast “that his island had not yet been forsaken by
a single inhabitant.” Pleased with all he saw, “Johnson was in fine
spirits. ‘This,’ he said, ‘is truly the patriarchal life; this is what
we came to find.’” He was delighted with the free and friendly life,
the feasting and the dancing, and all “the pleasures of this little
Court.” The evening of their arrival, as soon as dinner was finished,
“the carpet was taken up, the fiddler of the family came, and a very
vigorous and general dance was begun.” According to Boswell, “Johnson
was so delighted with this scene, that he said, ‘I know not how we
shall get away.’ It entertained me to observe him sitting by, while we
danced, sometimes in deep meditation, sometimes smiling complacently,
sometimes looking upon Hooke’s _Roman History_, and sometimes talking
a little, amidst the noise of the ball, to Mr. Donald M’Queen, who
anxiously gathered knowledge from him.” The same accommodating
hospitality was shown here as at Corrichatachin in finding sleeping
room for the large party that was assembled. “I had a chamber to
myself,” writes Johnson, “which in eleven rooms to forty people was
more than my share. How the company and the family were distributed
is not easy to tell. Macleod, the chieftain of Dunvegan, and Boswell
and I had all single chambers on the first floor. There remained eight
rooms only for at least seven-and-thirty lodgers. I suppose they put
up temporary beds in the dining-room, where they stowed all the young
ladies. There was a room above stairs with six beds, in which they put
ten men.” [Sidenote: THE PATRIARCHAL LIFE.] The patriarchal life was
so complete that in this island, with a population estimated at nine
hundred,[632] there was neither justice of the peace nor constable.
Even in Skye there was but one magistrate, and, so late as forty years
ago, but one policeman. Raasay is still without a justice. The people,
I was told, settle all their disputes among themselves, and keep clear
of crime. Much of the land is still held on the old tribal system.
“I have ascertained,” writes Sir Henry Maine, “that the families
which formed the village communities only just extinct in the Western
Highlands had the lands of the village re-distributed among them by lot
at fixed intervals of time.”[633] In Raasay there are little plots of
land which every year are still distributed by lot. So small are they,
and so close together that it often happens that five or six families
are all at the same time getting in their harvest on a strip not much
larger than a couple of lawn tennis grounds.


Boswell with three Highland gentlemen spent one day in exploring the
island, and in climbing to the top of Dun Can, or Raasay’s Cap,
as sailors called the mountain, to whom far away at sea it was a
conspicuous landmark. On the top they danced a Highland reel. If we
may trust the statement of a young English tourist, the dance was just
as enjoyable, though there were no ladies for partners. “The Scotch,”
he writes, “admire the reel for its own merit alone. A Scotchman comes
into an assembly room as he would into a field of exercise, dances till
he is literally tired, possibly without ever looking at his partner. In
most countries the men have a partiality for dancing with a woman: but
here I have frequently seen four gentlemen perform one of these reels
seemingly with the same pleasure as if they had had the most sprightly
girl for a partner. They give you the idea that they could with equal
glee cast off round a joint-stool or set to a corner cupboard.”[634]
Beyond Dun Can to the north-west the travellers visited the ruins of
the old castle, once the residence of the lairds of Raasay. On their
return from their walk of four-and-twenty miles over very rugged
ground, “we piqued ourselves,” Boswell writes, “at not being outdone at
the nightly ball by our less active friends, who had remained at home.”

[Illustration: DUN CAN.]

Of the ancient crosses which he mentions I fear but one is remaining.
Martin, who looked upon them as pyramids to the deceased ladies of the
family, found eight. Malcolm Macleod thought that they were “false
sentinels—a common deception to make invaders imagine an island
better guarded.” The learned M’Queen maintained that they “marked the
boundaries of the sacred territory within which an asylum was to be
had.” In this opinion Boswell concurred.

Delightful as the mansion at Raasay seemed to the travellers, with
“the rough ocean and the rocky land, the beating billows and the
howling storm without, while within was plenty and elegance, beauty and
gaiety, the song and the dance,” yet it had seen another sight only
seven-and-twenty years earlier. In the island the Young Pretender “in
his distress was hidden for two nights, and the king’s troops burnt
the whole country, and killed some of the cattle. You may guess,”
continues Johnson, “at the opinions that prevail in this country; they
are, however, content with fighting for their king; they do not drink
for him. We had no foolish healths.” [Sidenote: AN EARTHLY PARADISE.]
Pleased as our travellers were with their four days’ residence here,
in the midst of storms and rain, how much would their pleasure have
been increased could they have seen it as I saw it in the bright summer
weather! No one who visited it then would have said with Johnson that
“it has little that can detain a traveller, except the laird and
his family.” It has almost everything that Nature can give in the
delightfulness of scenery and situation.[635] Like Boswell, as I gazed
upon it, I might “for a moment have doubted whether unhappiness had any
place in Raasay;” but, like him, I might “soon have had the delusion
dispelled,” by recalling Johnson’s lines:

    “Yet hope not life from grief or danger free,
    Nor think the doom of man reversed for thee.”

[Illustration: PORTREE HARBOUR.]


Much as Johnson had delighted in the patriarchal life at Raasay, yet
after four days’ stay he became impatient to move. “There was,” writes
Boswell, “so numerous a company, mostly young people, there was such a
flow of familiar talk, so much noise, and so much singing and dancing,
that little opportunity was left for his energetic conversation. He
seemed sensible of this; for when I told him how happy they were at
having him there, he said, ‘Yet we have not been able to entertain them
much.’” The weather, which had been very wet and stormy, cleared up on
the morning of September 12. “Though it was Sunday,” says Johnson, “we
thought it proper to snatch the opportunity of a calm day.” [Sidenote:
THE ROW TO PORTREE.] A row of some five or six miles brought them to
Portree in Skye, a harbour whose name commemorated the visit of King
James V. The busy little town on the top of the cliff, with its Court
House, hotels, banks, and shops, which has grown up at the end of the
land-locked harbour, did not then exist. Sir James Macdonald, “the
Marcellus of Scotland,” as Boswell called him, had intended to build
a village there, but by his untimely death the design had come to
nothing. There seems to have been little more than the public-house at
which the travellers dined. “It was,” Johnson believed, “the only one
of the island.” He forgot, however, as Boswell pointed out to him when
he read his narrative, another at Sconser, and a third at Dunvegan.
“These,” Boswell adds, “are the only inns properly so called. There are
many huts where whisky is sold.”[636] [Sidenote: HIGHLAND VOLUNTEERS.]
On the evening which I spent at Portree, a company of Highland
volunteers were going through their yearly inspection, in tartan plaids
and kilts, with the bagpipes playing as only bagpipes can. Had it been
as it was in the days of their forefathers, when twelve Highlanders and
a bagpipe made a rebellion, there was ample provision made here for
at least five or six. Each volunteer, in addition to his guilt as a
rebel, both for the arms which he carried, and the garb which he wore,
would have been liable to be sent off by summary process to serve as
a common soldier. But happily we live in loyal days, and under milder
laws. These bold citizen-soldiers ran but one risk, which no doubt was
averted by a good-natured and sympathetic magistracy. To a fine of
five shillings for being drunk and disorderly some of them certainly
became exposed as the evening wore away. Let us hope that their excess
was little more than an excess of loyalty in drinking the health of a
Hanoverian queen.

[Illustration: KINGSBURGH.]


At Portree our travellers took horse for Kingsburgh, a farmhouse on
Loch Snizort, whither they went, though a little off their road, in
order to see Flora Macdonald. She had married a gentleman of the same
clan, and so had not changed her name. “Here,” writes Johnson, “I
had the honour of saluting the far-famed Miss Flora Macdonald, who
conducted the Prince, dressed as her maid, through the English forces,
from the island of Lewis; and when she came to Skye, dined with the
English officers, and left her maid below. She must then have been a
very young lady—she is now not old—of a pleasing person and elegant
behaviour. She told me that she thought herself honoured by my visit;
and I am sure that whatever regard she bestowed on me was liberally
repaid.” Boswell describes her as “a little woman of a genteel
appearance, and uncommonly mild and well-bred. To see Dr. Samuel
Johnson, the great champion of the English Tories, salute Miss Flora
Macdonald in the Isle of Skye was a striking sight.” By _salute_ I have
little doubt that both Boswell and Johnson meant _kiss_. Johnson in his
_Dictionary_ gives it as the third meaning of the word, though he cites
no authority for the usage. “The Scotch,” wrote Topham in 1774, “have
still the custom of salutation on introduction to strangers. It very
seldom happens that the salute is a voluntary one, and it frequently is
the cause of disgust and embarrassment to the fair sex.”[637] By the
uncouth appearance of the man who thus saluted her, Flora Macdonald
might with good reason have been astonished, for “the news had reached
her that Mr. Boswell was coming to Skye, and one Mr. Johnson, a young
English buck, with him.” Her husband, “a large stately man, with a
steady, sensible countenance,” who was going to try his fortune in
America, was perhaps for that reason the more careless of obeying the
laws of the country he was leaving. This evening he wore the Highland
costume. “He had his tartan plaid thrown about him, a large blue
bonnet with a knot of black riband like a cockade, a brown short coat
of a kind of duffil, a tartan waistcoat with gold buttons and gold
button-holes, a bluish philibeg, and tartan hose.” The bed-curtains of
the room in which our travellers slept were also of tartan. Johnson’s
bed had whatever fame could attach to it through its having been
occupied for one night “by the grandson of the unfortunate King James
the Second,” to borrow Boswell’s description of him. The grandson,
before many years passed over his head, proved not unworthy of the
grandfather—equally mean and equally selfish. The happy failure of the
rebels hindered him from displaying his vices, with a kingdom for his
stage. His worthlessness, which though it might have been suspected
from his stock, could not have been known in his youth, takes away
nothing, however, from the just fame of Flora Macdonald, “whose name
will be mentioned in history, and, if courage and fidelity be virtues,
mentioned with honour.” Johnson, after recounting how “the sheets which
the Prince used were never put to any meaner offices, but were wrapped
up by the lady of the house, and at last, according to her desire, were
laid round her in her grave,” ends the passage with much satisfaction,
by observing: “These are not Whigs.” Upon the table in the room he left
a piece of paper “on which he had written with his pencil these words:
_Quantum cedat virtutibus aurum_.”[638] He was thinking, no doubt,
of the reward of £30,000 set upon Charles Edward’s head, and of the
fidelity of the poor Highlanders who one and all refused to betray him.
To more than fifty people he was forced in his wanderings to trust his
life, many of them “in the lowest paths of fortune,” and not one of
them proved faithless. It was well for him that he had not had to trust
to fifty hangers-on of a Court.


[Sidenote: KINGSBURGH.]

The old house in which he had taken shelter for one night, and where
Boswell and Johnson were so hospitably received, where they heard from
their hostess the strange story of her adventures—this interesting old
house no longer exists. Some of the trees which surround the modern
residence must be old enough to have seen not only our two travellers,
but also the fugitive Prince. As we looked upon it from the opposite
shore of the narrow loch it seemed a pleasant spot, nearly facing the
west, sheltered from the east by hills, and embosomed in trees, with
meadows in front sloping down to the sea. In the rear rose barren
dreary hills, but all their lower slopes were green with grass and with
the young crops of oats. Far down the loch the green slopes ended in a
steep rocky coast. In the distance the mountains of Lewis fringed the
northern sky. The steep headland on which we sat was beautiful with
grasses and flowers and ferns and heather. Of wild flowers we gathered
no less than thirty-six varieties on this one small spot. We found even
a lingering primrose, though June was rapidly drawing to its close.
How different were our thoughts as we watched this peaceful scene from
those which, one hundred and forty-three years earlier, had troubled
the watchers as the young Wanderer slept! As the morning wore on, and
he did not awake, one of them, in her alarm lest the soldiers should
surprise him, roused her father, who was also in hiding, and begged
that “they should not remain here too long. He said, ‘Let the poor man
repose himself after his fatigues! and as for me, I care not, though
they take off this old grey head ten or eleven years sooner than I
should die in the course of nature.’ He then wrapped himself in the
bed-clothes, and again fell fast asleep.” That same afternoon the two
fugitives set off for Portree, where the Prince took boat for Raasay.

[Illustration: DUNVEGAN CASTLE




Had our travellers ridden the whole distance from Kingsburgh
to Dunvegan they would have travelled a weary way in rounding
Lochs Snizort and Grishinish. But they sent their horses by land
to a point on the other shore of the further loch, and crossed
over themselves in Macdonald of Kingsburgh’s boat. “When,” said
Johnson, “we take into computation what we have saved and what we
have gained by this agreeable sail, it is a great deal.” They had
still some miles of dreary riding through the most melancholy of
moorlands. There were no roads or even paths. “A guide,” writes
Boswell, “explored the way, much in the same manner as, I suppose,
is pursued in the wilds of America, by observing certain marks
known only to the inhabitants.” In some places the ground was
so boggy that it would not bear the weight of horse and rider,
and they were forced to dismount and walk. [Sidenote: DUNVEGAN
CASTLE.] It was late in the afternoon when they reached Dunvegan
Castle—that hospitable home where Johnson “tasted lotus, and was
in danger,” as he said, “of forgetting that he was ever to depart.”
This ancient seat of the Macleods was less beautiful, but far
more interesting as he saw it than it is at the present day. The
barrenness of nature has been covered with a luxuriant growth, and
the land all around “which presented nothing but wild, moorish,
hilly, and craggy appearances,” is now finely wooded. But while
the setting is so greatly improved, the ancient building which is
enshrined has suffered beneath the hand of a restorer. It is true
that some great improvements have been made. The wing which had
so long been left unfinished, through a superstitious fear that
the owner would not long outlive the completion—“this skeleton
of a castle,” as Johnson describes it—has been completed. A fine
approach has been formed from the side of the land. But in the
alterations which were made about fifty years ago an architect
was employed who must surely have acquired his mischievous art in
erecting sham fortresses on the banks of the Clyde for the wealthy
traders of Glasgow. It is greatly to be wished that a judicious
earthquake would bring to the ground his pepper-box turrets.
Nevertheless, in spite of all that he has done—and he did his
worst,—it still remains a noble pile, nobly placed. It is built
on the rocky shore of a small bay, and well sheltered from the
violence of the waves by an island which lies across the mouth,
and by headlands on both sides. Through narrow inlets are seen the
open waters of Loch Follart, and beyond them the everlasting hills.
We saw it on a fine summer evening, when the long seaweeds were
swaying in the gentle heaving of the tiny waves. Outside the bay
two yachts were furling their sails, for the morrow was the day
of rest. The sea-birds were hovering and screaming all around. A
great heron was standing on a rock, with his white breast reflected
in the water. A little to the north a long mast was lying on
the beach, washed up from a wreck which, black with seaweed, is
discovered at low tide. The old castle, the finely wooded hills,
the rocks covered with fern and heath, the clear reflections
in the sea of the mountains across the loch, the island, the
inlets, the white sails of the yachts, the tranquil beauty of the
summer evening—all moved us deeply. One thing only was wanting.
[Sidenote: RORIE MORE’S NURSE.] The delightful weather which the
country had so long enjoyed had silenced “Rorie More’s Nurse.”
There was not water enough in it to have caught that good knight’s
ear; still less to have lulled him to sleep. Johnson had seen it
“in full perfection.” It was “a noble cascade,” he said. But he
paid dearly for the fineness of the sight; for during the whole
of his stay the weather was dreary, with high winds and violent
rain. “We filled up the time as we could,” he writes; “sometimes
by talk, sometimes by reading. I have never wanted books in the
Isle of Skye.” So comfortably was he situated that he could hardly
be persuaded to move on. “Here we settled,” he writes, “and did
not spoil the present hour with thoughts of departure.” When on
Saturday Boswell proposed that they should leave on the following
Monday, when their week would be completed, he replied: “No, Sir, I
will not go before Wednesday. I will have some more of this good.”

[Illustration: RORIE MORE’S NURSE.]


He was fortunate in his hosts. The Laird, a young man of nineteen,
quickly won his friendship. He had been the pupil at University
College, Oxford, of George Strahan, who had been known to Johnson from
his childhood. Boswell describes Macleod as “a most promising youth,
who with a noble spirit struggles with difficulties, and endeavours
to preserve his people. He has been left with an incumbrance of forty
thousand pounds debt, and annuities to the amount of thirteen hundred
pounds a year. Dr. Johnson said, ‘If he gets the better of all this,
he’ll be a hero; and I hope he will. I have not met with a young man
who had more desire to learn, or who has learnt more. I have seen
nobody that I wish more to do a kindness to than Macleod.’” According
to Knox, who was an impartial witness, he was an excellent landlord.
Distressed though he was by this heavy burthen of debt, “he raised
no rents, turned out no tenants, used no man with severity, and in
all respects, and under the most pressing exigences, maintained the
character of a liberal and humane friend of mankind.”[639] He formed
at one time the design of writing his own Life. Unhappily he left but
a fragment. His father had died early, so that on the death of his
grandfather, the year before Johnson’s visit, he had succeeded to the
property—the estates in Skye, the nine inhabited isles and the islands
uninhabited almost beyond number. “He did not know to within twenty
square miles the extent of his territories in Skye.” But vast as these
domains were, the revenue which they produced was but small. One estate
of eighty thousand acres was only rented at six hundred pounds a year.

    “His grandfather,” he writes, “had entered upon his inheritance
    in the most prosperous condition; but the course of his life
    was expensive, his temper convivial and hospitable, and he
    continued to impair his fortune till his death. He was the
    first of our family who was led to leave the patriarchal
    government of the clan, and to mix in the pursuits and ambition
    of the world. He had always been a most beneficent chieftain,
    but in the beginning of 1772, his necessities having lately
    induced him to raise his rents, he became much alarmed by the
    new spirit which had reached his clan. Aged and infirm he was
    unable to apply the remedy in person; he devolved the task on
    me, and gave me for an assistant our nearest male relation,
    Colonel Macleod, of Talisker. The estate was loaded with debt,
    encumbered with a numerous issue from himself and my father,
    and charged with some jointures. His tenants had lost in that
    severe winter above a third of their cattle.[640] My friend and
    I were empowered to grant such deductions in the rents as might
    seem reasonable; but we found it terrible to decide between the
    justice to creditors, the necessities of an ancient family,
    and the distresses of an impoverished tenantry. I called
    the people together; I laid before them the situation of our
    family; I acknowledged the hardships under which they laboured;
    I reminded them of the manner in which their ancestors had
    lived with mine; I combated their passion for America; I
    promised to live among them; I desired every district to
    point out some of their most respected men to settle with me
    every claim, and I promised to do everything for their relief
    which in reason I could. Our labour was not in vain. We gave
    considerable abatements in the rents; few emigrated; and the
    clan conceived the most lively attachment to me, which they
    most effectually manifested.

    “I remained at home till the end of 1774, but I consider this
    as the most gloomy period of my life. Educated in a liberal
    manner, fired with ambition, fond of society, I found myself in
    confinement in a remote corner of the world; without any hope
    of extinguishing the debts of my family, or of ever emerging
    from poverty and obscurity. I had also the torment of seeing my
    mother and sisters immured with me.

    “In 1774 [1773] Dr. Samuel Johnson, with his companion, Mr.
    Boswell, visited our dreary regions; it was my good fortune
    to be enabled to practise the virtue of hospitality on this
    occasion. The learned traveller spent a fortnight at Dunvegan;
    and indeed amply repaid our cares to please him by the most
    instructive and entertaining conversation. I procured for
    him the company of the most learned clergymen and sagacious
    inhabitants of the islands.”[641]

Macleod’s high praise of Johnson is in curious contradiction to Sir
Walter Scott’s account, that “when winter-bound at Dunvegan, Johnson’s
temper became most execrable, and beyond all endurance save that of
his guide (Boswell).”[642] Mr. Croker, on receiving this account from
Sir Walter, applied to the Laird’s son and successor, “who assured him
emphatically they were all _delighted_ with him.”[643] Nevertheless, as
I have already stated,[644] the young ladies of the family do not seem
to have shared in this delight. The true Johnsonian must look upon them
as “a set of wretched un-idea’d girls,” and so forgive their want of

Macleod, two or three years after our traveller’s visit, raised a
company of his own Highlanders, and entered the army. In the war
against our colonists in America he and his wife, who had accompanied
him, were taken prisoners. In their captivity they made the
acquaintance and won the friendship of George Washington. Let us hope
that the heart of the founder of the great American Commonwealth was
softened towards the author of _Taxation no Tyranny_ by the anecdotes
which he heard of him from his warm friend, the young Scottish chief.
On his return home he raised the second battalion of the forty-second
Highlanders, and served with distinction in India as their colonel.
Zoffany painted him in his soldier’s dress, surrounded with elephants,
camels, and Hindoos, with Highland scenery in the background. Just
before he started for the East he dined at the house of one of his
_tacksmen_, or chief tenants, “who said that all the dishes should
be the produce of Macleod’s estate and the shores thereof. Amongst
a profusion of other dishes there were thirteen different kinds of
fish.”[645] He died in 1802 at the early age of forty-six.

[Sidenote: LADY MACLEOD.]

Fortunate as Johnson was in having this amiable and high-spirited
youth for his host, scarcely less fortunate was he in his hostess,
the Laird’s mother, Lady Macleod. The title which she bore was one
of courtesy. Up to this time the wives of Highland lairds, and also
of Scotch judges, seem commonly to have been addressed as _Lady_.
Johnson’s hostess at Lochbuie, the wife of the laird, is called Lady
Lochbuie by Boswell. The change to the modern usage had, however,
begun; for Ramsay of Ochtertyre, speaking of the year 1769, says that,
“Somebody asked Lord Auchinleck before his second marriage if the lady
was to be called Mrs. Boswell, according to the modern fashion.”[646]
Johnson was not wholly a stranger to his hostess. “I had once,” he
writes, “attracted her notice in London.” She was able to render his
stay pleasant, for from her long residence in England, “she knew all
the arts of southern elegance, and all the modes of English economy.”
In his talk she took great delight, though when one day she heard him
maintain ““that no man was naturally good more than a wolf, and no
woman either,” she said in a low voice, ‘This is worse than Swift.’”
Knox, who visited Dunvegan in 1786 records the following anecdote:—

    “Lady Macleod, who had repeatedly helped Dr. Johnson to
    sixteen dishes or upwards of tea, asked him if a small basin
    would not save him trouble, and be more agreeable. ‘I wonder,
    Madam,’ answered he roughly, ‘why all the ladies ask me such
    impertinent questions. It is to save yourselves trouble,
    Madam, and not me.’ The lady was silent and went on with her

It is not likely that Knox had the story at first hand, for when
he visited Dunvegan, the Castle was occupied by a Major Alexander
Macleod, who had married a daughter of Flora Macdonald. It is probable,
therefore, that Lady Macleod was not living there at the time. The
number of cups of tea may have grown as the story passed from one to
another. We shall find in the next chapter that at Ulinish Johnson
was reported to have exceeded even this feat in tea-drinking. Lady
Eldon used to relate that one evening at Oxford she had helped him to
fifteen. Cumberland, who was not famed for accuracy, did not go beyond
a dozen as the number supplied to the great man by Mrs. Cumberland.
Short even of this Johnson might very well “have turned his cup,” as he
had done at Aberbrothick, and muttered, “_claudite jam rivos, pueri_.”

[Sidenote: THE OLD ROCK.]

Lady Macleod was discontented with the barrenness of Dunvegan, and
longed to move the seat of the family to a spot about five miles off,
“where she could make gardens and other ornaments. She insisted that
the rock was very inconvenient; that there was no place near it where a
good garden could be made; that it must always be a rude place; that it
was a _Herculean_ labour to make a dinner here.” “I was vexed,” writes
Boswell, “to find the alloy of modern refinement in a lady who had so
much old family spirit. ‘Have all the comforts and conveniences of life
upon it,’ I said, ‘but never leave Rorie More’s cascade.’ ‘It is very
well for you,’ she replied, ‘who have a fine place, and everything
easy, to talk thus, and think of chaining honest folks to a rock. You
would not live upon it yourself.’ ‘Yes, Madam,’ said I, ‘I would live
upon it, were I Laird of Macleod, and should be unhappy if I were not
upon it.’ JOHNSON (with a strong voice and most determined manner).
‘Madam, rather than quit the old rock, Boswell would live in the pit;
he would make his bed in the dungeon.’ The lady was puzzled a little.
She still returned to her pretty farm—rich ground—fine garden.
‘Madam,’ said Dr. Johnson, ‘were they in Asia, I would not leave the

Her visitors were in the right. The scene was too noble a one to be
lightly deserted. There was no need to go five miles for trees and
gardens. [Sidenote: DR. JOHNSON’S PLANTATIONS.] The Scotch for their
carelessness in adorning their homes did not here fall on deaf ears.
His host and his host’s son planted largely, and the fruit of his
advice and of their judicious labours is seen in the beautiful woods
and shrubberies which surround the Castle. Rorie More’s Cascade is
almost hidden by trees. A Dutch garden has been formed, where, under
the shelter of the thick beech hedge which encloses it, the roses
bloom. Close to the ruins of an ancient chapel, with glimpses through
the trees of the waters of the Loch, a conservatory has been built. Had
Johnson seen the beautiful and rare flowers which grow in it, he would
surely never have maintained that “a green-house is a childish thing.”
What a change has come since the day when he wrote that “the country
about Dunvegan is rough and barren. There are no trees except in the
orchard, which is a low, sheltered spot, surrounded with a wall.” The
rough old fellow passed over the land with his strong common sense and
his vigorous reproofs, and the rudeness of nature has been tamed, and
its barrenness changed into luxuriance. He deserved better of mankind
even than he “who made two ears of corn, or two blades of grass, to
grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before;”[648] for he
made trees and flowers to grow where before there had been none. He did
that which a king of Scotland had tried to do and failed. James the
Fifth’s command that round every house plantations should be made had
resulted, I was told, in the few trees which Johnson saw. But where
the king’s could be almost counted on the fingers of the two hands,
Johnson’s cover whole hill-sides. I was informed by Miss Macleod, of
Macleod, for whose kindness I am most grateful, that she had no doubt
that it was his reproaches which stirred up her grandfather to plant so
widely. How luxuriantly nature can deck the ground when she is aided
by art, was seen in the strange variety of flowers which we noticed in
the grounds. Two seasons seemed to be mingled into one, for we found
at the same time wild roses, the hawthorn, blue bells, cuckoo flowers,
heather, lupins, laburnums, and rhododendrons.

In ancient days the only access to the castle, says Sir Walter Scott,
was “from the sea by a subterranean staircase, partly arched, partly
cut in the rock, which winding up through the cliff opened into
the court.”[649] These steps Johnson oddly describes as “a pair of
stairs,” just as if they were in an Oxford college or the Temple.
When the tide was up access was cut off, so that a visitor who had
arrived by land must at the very end of his journey have taken boat
in order to gain the entrance. A little above the lower gate, on the
side of the passage, there was an old well, with uncovered mouth. At
the christening of the present laird, one of the guests who had drunk
too freely, going down the steps to his boat, fell in and was drowned.
The well was at once enclosed, and has never been used since. Even in
Johnson’s time its water, though not brackish in spite of its being
so near to the sea, was not much used. The stream which formed Rorie
More’s Cascade was thought to afford a purer supply. It was not by
this staircase that our travellers entered the castle, but by a long
flight of steps which the last laird had made on the side of the land.
They were not guarded by hand-rails. Many years ago a milkmaid coming
up them with her pails on a stormy day, was carried over by a high
wind, and much hurt. They have given place to the present approach by a
carriage-road carried over the chasm which cut off the castle from the
neighbouring land.

[Illustration: WATERGATE.]


On the walls of the “stately dining-room” where our travellers were
first received, I saw hanging some fine portraits by Raeburn, their
host and his wife and their eldest son, a lad with a sweet honest
face, who was lost with his ship, the Royal Charlotte, in the Bay of
Naples. Near them hang “the wicked laird” and his two wives. There
is a tradition that his first wife had fled from him on account of
his cruelty, but had been enticed back by a friendly letter. When her
husband had caught her, he starved her to death in the dungeon. It was
no doubt the sight of these pictures which one day at table led the
company to talk of portraits; when Johnson maintained that “their chief
excellence is being like. One would like,” he added, “to see how Rorie
More looked. Truth, Sir, is of the greatest value in these things.”

In the same room stands a handsome old sideboard, bearing the date of
1603. Though it goes back to the year of the union of the two Crowns,
yet of all the festive gatherings which it has witnessed, perhaps there
is none that was more striking than that evening when the Highland
gentlemen listened to Johnson’s “full strain of eloquence. We were,”
writes Boswell, “a jovial company at supper. The laird, surrounded
by so many of his clan, was to me a pleasing sight. They listened
with wonder and pleasure while Dr. Johnson harangued.” [Sidenote: SIR
WALTER SCOTT AT DUNVEGAN.] It was very likely in this same room that
Sir Walter Scott breakfasted that August morning forty-one years later,
“when he woke under the castle of Dunvegan. I had,” he writes, “sent a
card to the laird of Macleod, who came off before we were dressed, and
carried us to his castle to breakfast.”[650]


The noble drawing-room, with the deep recesses for the windows in walls
nine feet thick, is not the one described by Boswell. The drawing-room
which he saw “had formerly been,” he says, “the bed-chamber of Sir
Roderick Macleod, and he chose it because behind it there was a
cascade, the sound of which disposed him to sleep.” At the time of Sir
Walter Scott’s visit it had again become a bed-room, for here he slept
on a stormy night. [Sidenote: THE HAUNTED ROOM.] He had accepted, he
says, “the courteous offer of the haunted apartment,” and this was
the room which was given him. “An autumnal blast, sometimes clear,
sometimes driving mist before it, swept along the troubled billows
of the lake, which it occasionally concealed and by fits disclosed.
The waves rushed in wild disorder on the shore, and covered with foam
the steep pile of rocks, which rising from the sea in forms something
resembling the human figure have obtained the name of Macleod’s
Maidens. The voice of an angry cascade, termed the nurse of Rorie More,
was heard from time to time mingling its notes with those of wind
and wave. Such was the haunted room at Dunvegan; and as such it well
deserved a less sleepy inhabitant.”[651] This account Sir Walter wrote
many years later from memory. The rocks which he saw were not Macleod’s
Maidens; from them he was separated by nearly ten miles of mountains
and lochs.


[Illustration: HORN.]


In the present drawing-room a small portrait of Johnson, ascribed
to Reynolds, but, as I was told, by Zoffany, hangs in a place of
honour. Here, too, is kept his letter of thanks to Macleod, endorsed
“Dr. Johnston’s.” He wrote it “on the margin of the sea, waiting for
a boat and a wind. Boswell,” he continues “grows impatient; but the
kind treatment which I find wherever I go makes me leave with some
heaviness of heart an island which I am not very likely to see again.”
Among other treasures in the same room is Rorie More’s horn, “a large
cow’s horn, with the mouth of it ornamented with silver curiously
carved. It holds rather more than a bottle and a half. Every laird of
Macleod, it is said, must, as a proof of his manhood, drink it off
full of claret without laying it down.” It is curious that Boswell
makes no mention of the ancient cup described by Scott in a note to the
second canto of _The Lord of the Isles_, or of the fairy flag. “Here,”
writes Pennant, “is preserved the _Braolauch shi_, or fairy-flag of the
family, bestowed on it by the queen of the fairies. She blessed it with
powers of the first importance, which were to be exerted on only three
occasions; on the last, after the end was obtained, an invisible being
is to carry off standard and standard-bearer, never more to be seen.
The flag has been produced thrice. The first time in an engagement
against the Clan-Ronald, to whose sight the Macleods were multiplied
ten-fold; the second preserved the heir, being then produced to save
the longings of the lady; and the third time to save my own; but it
was so tattered, that Titania did not seem to think it worth sending
for. This was a superstition derived from the Norwegian ancestry
of the house.”[652] Sir Walter describes it as “a pennon of silk,
with something like round red rowan-berries wrought upon it.”[653]
[Sidenote: RORIE MORE’S CLAYMORE.] In the gallery I saw Rorie More’s
claymore, “of a prodigious size,” as Boswell called it. He wrote this
some years before he heard from old Mr. Edwards that Johnson, when an
undergraduate of Oxford, “would not let them say prodigious at college,
for even then he was delicate in language.” If it is not prodigious,
nevertheless it is a real _claymore_ or _great sword_, for that is what
the Gaelic word means. Unfortunately the point is broken off. The sight
of it did not console me for my disappointment at finding that Rorie
More’s bed is no longer in existence, with the inscription above it,
“Sir Roderick M’Leod of Dunvegan, Knight. God send good rest.” I would
rather have seen it than a dozen swords, whether great or small.

[Illustration: ARMOUR.]


Johnson slept in the Fairy Bedroom in the Fairy Tower. The legend
runs that this part of the castle was built 450 years ago by that
very uncommon being, a fairy grandmother. Godmothers among the
fairies have often been heard of, but grandmothers, we believe, never
before or since. Had Puck peeped in and seen Johnson wearing his wig
turned inside out and the wrong end in front as a substitute for a
night-cap,[654] he might well have exclaimed that his mistress kept
a monster, not only near but in “her close and consecrated bower.”
From this room a winding stone staircase led up to the battlements,
but without mounting so high Johnson commanded a fine view. From his
window he could see, far away across the lochs, Macleod’s Tables, two
lofty hills with round flat tops, which on all sides form a striking
landmark. Much nearer was the Gallows Hill, where in the bad old times
many a poor wretch, dragged from his dark and dismal dungeon, caught
his last sight of loch and mountain and heath, doomed to death by the
laird. Only thirty-three years before our travellers’ visit a man was
hanged there by the grandfather of their host. He was a Macdonald who
had murdered his father, and escaped into Macleod’s country. But the
old tribal feuds were long since over, and he found no safety there.
At Macdonald’s request he was at once seized and hanged.[655]

[Illustration: MACLEOD’S TABLES.]


The dungeons and the pit are not described by either Boswell or
Johnson, though the sight of them, we would willingly believe, must
have roused their indignation. In these old castles there are few
things more shocking than the close neighbourhood of festivity and
misery. It shows a callousness to human suffering which almost passes
belief. If a prisoner is in a remote part of a great castle, the
imagination then must come into play to bring his sufferings before the
mind; but when he is close at hand, when his sorrowful sighing is only
kept by the thickness of a single wall from mingling with the prattle
of children and the merriment of feasters, then the heart must be hard
indeed which is not touched. At Dunvegan a door to the left opened into
a pleasant sitting-room, and to the right into the chief dungeon. In
it there was no window, not even one of those narrow slits by which
a few rays can struggle in. But there was something worse even than
the dungeon. In the floor there was an opening by which the unhappy
prisoner could be lowered into a deep-pit. Here he would dwell in
ever-during dark, never cheered by the hurried glimpse of daylight such
as broke the long night in the prison above whenever the jailer paid
his visit. The door of the other dungeon—for there was yet another—is
in the wall of a bedroom, which is furnished in so old a style that it
is likely enough that the curious bed and hangings were gazed at by
many a prisoner as he was hurried by.

As we wandered through these old rooms and staircases and passages, we
were told of a poor woman from St. Kilda, who like ourselves was shown
over the castle. As she went on she became so bewildered by the number
of the rooms, that she begged to be allowed to keep fast hold of the
hand of the person who was conducting her, for fear she might get lost
and never find her way out. The story called to my mind a man from the
same remote island mentioned by Martin. He was taken to Glasgow, and
though in those days it was but a small town, nevertheless he was so
much scared that in like manner he clung to his guide’s hand as long
as he was in the streets.[656] The poor woman must have breathed more
freely when she at length reached the court-yard and looked out over
the familiar sea. The platform, then, no doubt was rough with stone,
but now it is soft with green turf. I looked there for the false stone
cannons which Boswell mentions, but I learnt that they had been moved
to the top of one of the towers. In their place are some of iron,
venerable by their antiquity, but unfit for service. Against one of
the low walls which enclose this pleasant court leans a piece of old
sculpture, the effigy probably of some lady of the family.

[Illustration: TERRACE.]

[Sidenote: ISLAND ISA.]

Three or four miles down the loch, and out of sight of the castle,
lies the little island of Isa or Issay, “which Macleod said he would
give to Dr. Johnson, on condition of his residing on it three months
in the year; nay, one month. Dr. Johnson was highly amused with the
fancy. He talked a great deal of this island; how he would build a
house there—how he would fortify it—how he would have cannon—how he
would plant—how he would sally out, and _take_ the Isle of Muck; and
then he laughed with uncommon glee, and could hardly leave off. Macleod
encouraged the fancy of Dr. Johnson’s becoming owner of an island;
told him that it was the practice in that country to name every man
by his lands, and begged leave to drink to him in that mode, ‘_Island
Isa_, your health.’ Ulinish, Talisker, M’Queen, and I all joined in
our different manners, while Dr. Johnson bowed to each with much good
humour.” To Mrs. Thrale he wrote: “Macleod has offered me an island; if
it were not too far off I should hardly refuse it; my island would be
pleasanter than Brighthelmstone if you and my master could come to it;
but I cannot think it pleasant to live quite alone,

    ‘Oblitusque meorum, obliviscendus et illis.’”[657]

[Illustration: HERONRY.]

Much as he wished to visit it, he was hindered even from seeing it
by the stormy weather. We were more fortunate, for though we did not
land, yet we saw it from the high ground on the opposite shore. The
greater part of the way to this spot a rough road has been made along
which we drove, passing a great heronry. It was curious to watch the
huge nests and the great birds in the trees. For nearly three miles of
country they were the chief inhabitants. _Island Isa_ would certainly
have lived in great solitude, for after we had passed the gamekeeper’s
cottage close to the castle, we saw no signs of habitation except the
herons’ nests, till we reached a farm-house nearly three miles off.
Here the road ended. In the little garden stood some large laburnum
trees, all drooping with their golden flowers. Our way led across a
wide heath to a fine breezy headland. Below us another stretch of
heath-land sloped down to the shore of the loch. On the other side of
a narrow channel lay Isa, with fine rocky cliffs to the west and the
north, but lying open to the south-east. It was Midsummer Day. The sea
was calm, a blue haze softened the outline of the neighbouring hills,
but let the mountains in the farther Hebrides be but faintly seen. The
little isle lay before us with no signs on it of human habitation.
Buchanan describes it as “fertilis frugum,”[658] and Martin says that
it was “fruitful in corn;”[659] but it must be many a year since the
plough turned up its soil. It is a land of pastures. In the hot, drowsy
air there was nothing but the song of the lark and the bleating of
the lambs “to break the silence of the seas.” Far below us a shepherd
with his two dogs was gathering a small flock of sheep. They, and the
larks, and the sea-birds were the only things that seemed alive. We
had reached, as it were, the antipodes of “that full tide of human
existence” in which Johnson delighted. For not a single day would he
have endured the lonely dignity of such a domain. The road to the
headland had not been quite free from danger, for on our return we
found coiled up asleep on the path half hidden in the heather an adder.
It was killed by a blow of a stick which I had brought with me from


[Illustration: SACRAMENT SUNDAY.]


On the Sunday, which we spent at Dunvegan, we chanced to see a sight
interesting in itself, but doubly so to anyone who came from the South.
The Free Kirk congregations of three parishes met in a field to take
the Sacrament. It was one of the three great religious gatherings of
the year, and the people flocked in from all the country side. Many
came by water from far-off glens that sloped down to the sea. From the
windows of our inn we watched the heavy boats fully laden coming round
a distant point, and rowing slowly up to a ledge of rocks just below
us. In one we counted twenty-one people. Women as well as men tugged
at the oars, and when the boat was run aground helped to drag it up
the beach. When this was done, they all set about completing their
toilettes. The beach served them for their tiring-house, though it
was a good deal more open to view than a hawthorn-brake. In one of the
boats we had noticed a man distinguished from all the rest by a tall
black hat, _pietate gravem ac meritis_. To him had been entrusted the
clean white collars and neckties of the rowers. Many of the men knelt
down while their wives fastened them on for them and smoothed their
hair. One man even went so far as to put on his shirt in public. The
women too, who were almost all in black, had their dresses to arrange,
for in the boats they had kept their skirts tucked up. Some of the
girls even had to get their bustles adjusted. Carlyle or his wife
once made merry over their maid-of-all-work at Chelsea, who with two
or three kitchen-dusters made the best substitute she could for that
monstrous and most “considerable protuberance.” What would he have said
had he seen the lasses in Skye thus making themselves as ridiculous as
even the finest lady in town?

[Illustration: A CROFTER’S HUT IN SKYE.]


When at length every one was ready, the whole party moved slowly along
the road towards the church. Others came driving up in light and heavy
carts, while across the moors we could see single wayfarers, or more
often three or four together, coming in by different paths. There was
greeting of old friends and shaking of hands. The church stood on the
road-side, a plain building with the manse close by. In it was gathered
that part of the congregation which spoke English. On the other side
of the road the ground fell away to a little brook which had eaten its
way through the dark-coloured peat, and here made a sudden bend. On
the other side of the water, within the bend, there was a grassy slope
ending in a low ridge, and dotted with little hillocks. Here the people
sat down on the ground, facing an erection which looked like a large
sentry-box. It was occupied by the minister, who addressed the people
in Gaelic, speaking in a kind of musical recitative which carried the
voice far, and must have made every syllable distinct. It often had a
very pleading and plaintive sound. Below him stood two long rows of
tables, and a cross table, all covered with white cloths. On the other
side of the stream by the roadside twenty carts or more were standing,
while the horses were quietly grazing on the moor tethered each to
an iron peg. One horse nibbled through the cord, and came up to the
outskirts of the meeting, but a lad left his seat and caught it. In
the background the dreary moorland sloped upwards, blackened here and
there with heaps of peat drying in the sun and wind. I thought how
in the old days watchers would have been posted on the most distant
ridges to give warning of the approach of the persecutors. How many
people were gathered together I do not know—certainly many hundreds,
perhaps a thousand. [Sidenote: NATIONAL COSTUMES.] All were decently,
though some poorly dressed. Almost all had good warm clothing, with
strong boots and shoes, none of them in holes. Very many of the women
had tartan shawls, and one or two boys wore the kilt. One man I saw
with tartan stockings, but the dress of all the rest differed in no
respect from that worn in England. In costumes an act of uniformity
seems to have been passed not only for the British Isles, but also for
Western Europe in general. Travelling is losing part of its interest by
the great sameness in clothing everywhere met with. There will soon, I
fear, be no country left which can boast of a national dress. Though
the meeting was out of doors, yet all were decent and sober in their
behaviour. There was no talking or giggling, no fringe of rude lads and
silly girls. Where the little moorland path ended that led from the
church a table was set, on which stood a large metal basin to receive
the offerings. Every one seemed to put in something, even the poorest,
but in the great pile of pence and half-pence I saw but one piece of
silver. When the service in the church was over, the minister and
people joined those on the moor, for it was there that the Sacrament
was taken by both congregations together. The service began between
eleven and twelve o’clock. Soon after four we saw the people come
trooping down to the shore. The boats were launched, sails were set,
and with a gentle breeze they were slowly carried down the loch and
round the headland out of our sight.




On the morning of Tuesday, September 21, our travellers took advantage
of a break in the stormy weather to continue their journey to Ulinish,
a farm-house on Loch Bracadale, occupied by “a plain honest gentleman,”
the Sheriff-substitute of the island. Here they passed the night, and
here, if we may trust report, Johnson’s powers as a drinker of tea
were exerted to their utmost pitch. “Mrs. Macleod of Ulinish,” writes
Knox, “has not forgotten the quantity of tea which she filled out to
Dr. Johnson, amounting to twenty-two dishes.”[660] Surely for this
outrageous statement some of those excuses are needed “by which,”
according to Boswell, “the exaggeration of Highland narratives is
palliated.” From an old tower near the house a fine view was had of the
Cuillin, or Cuchullin Hills, “a prodigious range of mountains, capped
with rocky pinnacles in a strange variety of shapes,” which with good
reason reminded Boswell of the mountains he had seen near Corte in



[Sidenote: A GREAT CAVE.]

On the afternoon of the following day “an interval of calm sunshine,”
writes Johnson, “courted us out to see a cave on the shore famous for
its echo. When we went into the boat one of our companions was asked
in Erse by the boatmen who they were that came with him. He gave us
characters, I suppose, to our advantage, and was asked in the spirit
of the Highlands whether I could recite a long series of ancestors.
The boatmen said, as I perceived afterwards, that they heard the cry
of an English ghost. This, Boswell says, disturbed him. We came to the
cave, and clambering up the rocks came to an arch open at one end, one
hundred and eighty feet long, thirty broad in the broadest part, and
about thirty feet high. There was no echo; such is the fidelity of
reports; but I saw what I had never seen before, mussels and whelks in
their natural state. There was another arch in the rock open at both
ends.” This cave was not on the shore of Skye, as Johnson’s account
seems to imply, but in the little island of Wia. From Boswell we learn
that it was to an island they were taken. We were fortunate enough on
our visit to this wild part of the coast to have as our guide one of
Macleod’s gamekeepers. “A man,” to borrow from Johnson the praise which
he bestowed on one of his guides, “of great liveliness and activity,
civil and ready-handed.”[661] We had passed the night in the lonely
little inn at Struan on the shore of an arm of Loch Bracadale, where
we had found decent, if homely, lodging. In a fisherman’s boat we
rowed down the loch, sometimes in mid-channel and sometimes skirting
the cliffs, which rose like a wall of rock to a great height above us.
We passed little islets, and the mouths of caverns which filled with
clouds of spray as the long rolling waves swept in from the Atlantic.
On the ledges of the rocks, hovering over our heads, swimming and
diving in the sea, were cormorants, puffins, oyster catchers, gulls,
curlews and guillemots. We had none of us looked upon a wilder scene.
When we reached our island we were pleased to find that the narrow
beach at which we were to land was guarded by a huge headland from the
swell of the sea. Whether we visited the cave which our travellers
saw I do not feel at all sure, for it does not correspond with their
description. My friend, the gamekeeper, was sure that it was the place,
and I was willing to advance my faith more than half-way to meet his
assertion. We scrambled up the steep beach, and then over rocks
covered with grass and ferns, between the sides of a narrow gorge. At
the top a still steeper path led downwards to a cave, at the bottom
of which we could see a glimmer of light. Scrambling upwards again,
we reached a place where we could hear the sea murmuring on the other
side. We afterwards climbed to the top of the cliff and sat down on
the ground which formed the roof of the cavern. It was covered with
heather and ferns, and patches of short grass; a pleasant breeze was
blowing, the sea birds were uttering their cries, far beneath us we
could hear the beating of the surge. Across the Loch on both sides, the
dark cliffs rose to a great height, and in the background stood the
mountains of Skye and of the mainland. Had the air been very clear, we
might have seen on the north-west the wooded hills of Dunvegan.


Two or three days later, when I was giving two Highlanders an account
of this cavern, one of them asked with a humorous smile: “Did they not
tell you it was Prince Charlie’s Cave? He must, I am thinking, have
been sleeping everywhere.” His companion laughed and said: “They have
lately made a new one near an hotel which they have opened at ——.”
The innkeepers should surely show a little originality. Why should they
not advertise Dr. Johnson’s Cave, and show the tea-pot out of which
he drank his two-and-twenty cups of tea when he picnicked there? They
would do well also to discover the great cave in Skye which Martin
tells of. “It is supposed,” he writes, “to exceed a mile in length. The
natives told me that a piper who was over-curious went in with a design
to find out the length of it, and after he entered began to play on his
pipe, but never returned to give an account of his progress.”[662]

[Illustration: M^{c}LEOD’S MAIDENS SKYE



From Ulinish our travellers sailed up Loch Bracadale on their way to
Talisker. “We had,” says Boswell, “good weather and a fine sail. The
shore was varied with hills, and rocks, and corn-fields, and bushes,
which are here dignified with the name of natural _wood_.” They landed
at Ferneley, a farm-house about three miles from Talisker, whither
they made their way over the hills, Johnson on horseback, the rest
on foot. The weather, no doubt, had been too uncertain for them to
venture into the open sea round the great headland at the entrance of
the loch. Skirting the stern and rock-bound coast, a few miles’ sail
would have brought them to Talisker Bay, within sight of Colonel
Macleod’s house. Yet, had the wind risen, or had there been a swell
from the Atlantic, they would have been forced to keep out to sea.
Boswell describes “the prodigious force and noise with which the
billows break on the shore.” “It is,” says Johnson, “a coast where no
vessel lands but when it is driven by a tempest on the rocks.” Only two
nights before his arrival two boats had been wrecked there in a storm.
“The crews crept to Talisker almost lifeless with wet, cold, fatigue,
and terror.” What could not be safely done near the end of September,
might, we thought, be hazarded in June. As the day was fine and we had
a good sea-boat, an old fisherman to manage it, our trusty gamekeeper
to help in rowing, and an accomplished yachtsman in our artist, we
boldly sailed forth into the Atlantic. We passed in sight of Macleod’s
Maidens, beneath rocks such as Mr. Brett and Mr. Graham delight to
paint. In one spot we were shown where, a few years before, a huge mass
had come tumbling down. At the entrance to the Bay we passed through
a narrow channel in the rocks with the waves foaming on each side.
[Sidenote: TALISKER BAY.] Even our stout-hearted gamekeeper for a
moment looked uneasy, but with a few strong strokes of the oars the
worst was past, and we were out of the broken waters, and in full sight
of the little bay with its beach of great black stones, its rugged and
steep headlands, and its needle rocks, with one of the sunniest of
valleys for its background. Johnson thought it “the place, beyond all
he had seen, from which the gay and the jovial seem utterly excluded;
and where the hermit might grow old in meditation without possibility
of disturbance or interruption.” To us on that fine June day, with the
haze lying on the hills, it was as if

                    “We came unto a land
    In which it seemed always afternoon.”

One sight, to which I had long looked forward, I missed. It was no
longer “a land of streams.” There was no spot where

                                “The slender stream
    Along the cliff to fall and pause and fall did seem.”

[Illustration: LANDING PLACE.]

Boswell had counted “fifteen different waterfalls near the house in the
space of about a quarter of a mile.” “They succeeded one another so
fast,” said Johnson, “that as one ceased to be heard another began.”
This one thing was wanting on that beautiful afternoon which we spent
in this delightful spot. The voice of the cascades was still. There
were no waterfalls streaming down the lofty hills. One indeed we found
by following the course of a river up a fine glen, but owing to the
long drought its roar had sunk into a murmur.

[Illustration: VIEWS AT TALISKER.]


Johnson’s host, Colonel Macleod, was the good kinsman who had
befriended the young Laird in the troubles which he encountered on his
succession to the property.

    “He had,” writes Boswell, “been bred to physic, had a tincture
    of scholarship in his conversation, which pleased Dr. Johnson,
    and he had some very good books; and being a colonel in the
    Dutch service, he and his lady, in consequence of having lived
    abroad, had introduced the ease and politeness of the continent
    into this rude region.”

Pennant, writing in the year 1774, thus describes these Scotch
regiments in the Dutch service:

    “They were formed out of some independent companies sent over
    either in the reign of Elizabeth or James VI. At present the
    common men are but nominally national, for since the scarcity
    of men occasioned by the late war, Holland is no longer
    permitted to draw her recruits out of North Britain. But the
    officers are all Scotch, who are obliged to take oaths to our
    government, and to qualify in presence of our ambassador at the

In the war which broke out between England and Holland in 1781, this
curious system, which had survived the great naval battles between the
two countries in the seventeenth century, at last came to an end. In
the _Gentleman’s Magazine_ for December, 1782, we read, that on the
first of that month:

    “The Scotch Brigade in the Dutch service renounced their
    allegiance to their lawful Sovereign, and took a new oath of
    fidelity to their High Mightinesses. They are for the future to
    wear the Dutch uniform, and not to carry the arms of the enemy
    any longer in their colours, nor to beat their march. They are
    to receive the word of command in Dutch, and their officers are
    to wear orange-coloured sashes, and the same sort of spontoons
    as the officers of other Dutch regiments.”[664]

Colonel Macleod, if he was still living, lost, of course, his command.
At the time of our travellers’ visit he was on leave of absence,
which had been extended for some years, says Johnson, “in this time
of universal peace.” The knowledge which he had gained in Holland he
turned to good account in Skye. [Sidenote: THE GARDEN AT TALISKER.]
He both drained the land which lay at the foot of the mountains round
Talisker, and made a good garden. “He had been,” says Knox, “an
observer of Dutch improvements. He carried off in proper channels
the waters of two rivers which often deluged the bottom. He divided
the whole valley by deep and sometimes wide ditches into a number of
square fields and meadows. He now enjoys the fruits of his ingenuity
in the quantity of grain and hay raised thereon.” He had made it “the
seat of plenty, hospitality, and good nature.”[665] To few places in
our islands could Dutch art have been transplanted where it would find
nature more kindly. Johnson noticed the prosperous growth of the trees,
which, though they were not many years old, were already very high and
thick. Could he have seen them at the present day he would have owned
that even in the garden of an Oxford College there are few finer. The
soil is so good, we were told, “that things have only to be planted and
they grow.” So sheltered from all the cold winds is the position, and
so great is the warmth diffused by the beneficent Gulf Stream, that
the whole year round flowers live out of doors which anywhere but on
the southern coasts of Devonshire and Cornwall would be killed by the
frosts. The garden is delightfully old-fashioned, entirely free from
the dismal formality of ribbon-borders. Fruit trees, flowers, shrubs,
and vegetables mingle together. It lies open to the south-west, being
enclosed on the other sides with groves of trees. A lawn shaded by
a noble sycamore stretches up to the house. Boswell would have been
pleased to find that smooth turf now covers the court which in his
time was “most injudiciously paved with round blueish-grey pebbles,
upon which you walked as if upon cannon-balls driven into the ground.”
The house “in its snug corner” has been greatly enlarged, but the old
building still remains. Unfortunately no tradition has been preserved
of the room occupied by Johnson. Much as he admired this sequestered
spot—“a place where the imagination is more amused cannot easily be
found,” he said—nevertheless it was here that he quoted to Boswell the
lines of the song:

    “Every island is a prison
      Strongly guarded by the sea;
    Kings and princes, for that reason,
      Prisoners are as well as we.”

If Talisker is a prison, it is a goodly one. There are few places which
linger more pleasantly in my memory. To the beauty of the scenery and
the delightfulness of the weather was added the hospitality which we
received from our kind hostess, Mrs. Cameron. Time, alas, failed us
to climb “the very high rocky hill” at the back of the house, whence
Boswell had “a view of Barra, the Long Island, Bernera, the Loch of
Dunvegan, part of Rum, part of Raasay, and a vast deal of the Isle of
Skye.” According to Pennant, who had made the ascent the year before:

    “It has in front a fine series of genuine basaltic columns,
    resembling the Giant’s Causeway. The ruins of the columns at
    the base made a grand appearance; they were the ruins of the
    creation. This is the most northern basalt I am acquainted
    with; the last of four, all running from south to north—the
    Giant’s Causeway, Staffa, the rock Humbla, and Briis-mhawl. The
    depth of ocean in all probability conceals the lost links of
    this chain.”[666]

This mountain, which he calls Briis-mhawl, in Boswell’s narrative
appears as Prieshwell.




At Talisker Johnson made the acquaintance of young Macleane of Col,
that amiable man whose death by drowning the following year he so much
lamented. Under his guidance, taking leave of their kind hosts, they
rode across the island to Sconser, on the coast opposite to Raasay.
Of this part of their journey they tell us next to nothing, though
they passed through the wildest scenery. For the first two or three
miles their path wound up a valley that is not unworthy of the most
delightful parts of Cumberland. It is altogether free from the utter
desolation which casts a gloom over so much of Skye. The sloping sides
of the hills are covered with short grass and fragrant herbs. All about
in summer time are dotted the sheep and lambs, answering each other
with their bleats. When we travelled along this way we passed a band of
five-and-twenty shearers who had been hard at work for many days. The
farm of Talisker keeps a winter stock of between five and six thousand
Cheviot sheep, and the clipping takes a long time. Dropping into the
valley on the other side of the hills the road leads beyond the head of
Loch Harport across the island to Sligachan, where amidst gloomy waste
now stands a comfortable hotel. In the little garden which surrounds
it is the only trace of cultivation to be anywhere seen. It would have
seemed impossible to add anything to the dreariness of the scenery;
nevertheless something has been added by the long line of gaunt
telegraph posts which stretches across the moor. Perhaps at this spot
stood the little hut where our travellers made a short halt, as they
watched an old woman grinding at the _quern_. With one hand she rapidly
turned round the uppermost of two mill-stones, while with the other she
poured in the corn through a hole pierced through it. A ride of a few
more miles brought the party, through the gloom of evening, to Sconser,
where they dined at the little inn.

[Illustration: ON THE ROAD TO SCONSER.]



At Sconser our travellers took boat for Strolimus, on their way to the
friendly farmhouse at Corrichatachin, where they had been so hospitably
received nearly three weeks earlier. Their horses they sent round a
point of land to meet them further down the coast.

    “It was seven o’clock,” writes Boswell, “when we got into our
    boat. We had many showers, and it soon grew pretty dark. Dr.
    Johnson sat silent and patient. Once he said, as he looked on
    the black coast of Skye—black, as being composed of rocks
    seen in the dusk—‘This is very solemn.’ Our boatmen were
    rude singers, and seemed so like wild Indians, that a very
    little imagination was necessary to give one an impression of
    being upon an American river. We landed at Strolimus, from
    whence we got a guide to walk before us, for two miles, to
    Corrichatachin. Not being able to procure a horse for our
    baggage, I took one portmanteau before me, and Joseph another.
    We had but a single star to light us on our way. It was about
    eleven when we arrived. We were most hospitably received by
    the master and mistress, who were just going to bed, but, with
    unaffected ready kindness, made a good fire, and at twelve
    o’clock at night had supper on the table.”



Here, as I have already described, they rested that twentieth Sunday
after Trinity, when Boswell, recovering from his drinking bout, “by
divine interposition, as some would have taken it,” opened his Prayer
Book at the Apostles’ injunction against drunkenness contained in the
Epistle for that day. Here, too, the Highlanders, drinking their toasts
over the punch, won by Johnson’s easy and social manners, “vied with
each other in crying out, with a strong Celtic pronunciation, ‘Toctor
Shonson, Toctor Shonson, your health!’” The weather was so stormy that
it was not till the afternoon of Tuesday, September 28, that they were
able to continue their journey. That night they arrived at Ostig,
on the north-western side of the promontory of Slate, and found a
hospitable reception at the Manse. Here, too, they were kept prisoners
by wind and rain. “I am,” writes Johnson, “still confined in Skye. We
were unskilful travellers, and imagined that the sea was an open road
which we could pass at pleasure; but we have now learned with some pain
that we may still wait for a long time the caprices of the equinoctial
winds, and sit reading or writing, as I now do, while the tempest is
rolling the sea or roaring in the mountains.” Nevertheless, so good was
the entertainment which they received that, as Boswell tells us, “the
hours slipped along imperceptibly.” They had books, and company, and
conversation. In strange contrast to the wildness of the scenery and
the roughness of the weather was their talk one day about Shenstone and
his Love Pastorals. It was surely not among the stormy Hebrides that
the poet of the Leasowes, whose “ambition was rural elegance,” would
have expected to be quoted. Yet here it was, in the midst of beating
winds and dashing showers, with the storm-tossed sea in view of the
windows, that Boswell repeated the pretty stanza:

    “She gazed as I slowly withdrew;
      My path I could hardly discern;
    So sweetly she bade me adieu,
      I thought that she bade me return.”


On Friday, October 1, they took advantage of a break in the weather to
move on to Armidale, about a mile from the Sound of Slate, where they
waited for a favourable wind to carry them to Iona. It came, or rather
seemed to come, on the following Sunday.


    “While we were chatting,” writes Boswell, “in the indolent
    style of men who were to stay here all this day at least, we
    were suddenly roused at being told that the wind was fair, that
    a little fleet of herring-busses was passing by for Mull, and
    that Mr. Simpson’s vessel was about to sail. Hugh M’Donald,
    the skipper, came to us, and was impatient that we should get
    ready, which we soon did. Dr. Johnson, with composure and
    solemnity, repeated the observation of Epictetus, that ‘as
    man has the voyage of death before him, whatever may be his
    employment, he should be ready at the master’s call; and an old
    man should never be far from the shore, lest he should not be
    able to get himself ready.’”

For some hours they sailed along with a favourable breeze, catching
sight of the Isle of Rum as they rounded the point; but when they had
got in full view of Ardnamurchan, the wind changed. [Sidenote: THE
ISLAND OF COL.] They tried tacking, but a storm broke upon them, night
came on, and they were forced to run through the darkness for Col.
Boswell’s account of this dangerous voyage is too long to quote, and
too good to abridge. In this dreary spot they were weather-bound for
more than a week. “There is,” writes Johnson, “literally no tree upon
the island; part of it is a sandy waste, over which it would be really
dangerous to travel in dry weather, and with a high wind.” The sight of
these hills of sand struck him greatly. “I heard him,” writes Boswell,
“after we were in the house, repeating to himself, as he walked about
the room,

    ‘And smothered in the dusty whirlwind dies.’”

[Illustration: COL.]

Over this low-lying island the Atlantic blasts swept in all their fury.
On Sunday October 10, Boswell recorded:—“There was this day the most
terrible storm of wind and rain that I ever remember. It made such an
awful impression on us all, as to produce, for some time, a kind of
dismal quietness in the house.”

The rough weather spread far. In London, as the old weather tables tell
us, it was “a stormy day with heavy rains and with little intermission
night and day.”[667] On the previous Friday Horace Walpole had come
home in a tempest from Bushey Park. “I hope,” he wrote, “Jupiter
Pluvius has not been so constant at Ampthill. I think he ought to be
engraved at the top of every map of England.”[668] Happily in the
young Laird of Col our travellers had the kindest of hosts. His house
“new-built and neat” still stands; Grissipol, which they visited, is
in ruins. It was not till the morning of Thursday, the 14th, that they
were able to set sail. With a fair breeze they were soon carried over
to Tobermory, or Mary’s Well, a beautiful bay in the Isle of Mull.

    “There are (writes Boswell) sometimes sixty or seventy sail
    here: to-day there were twelve or fourteen vessels. To see such
    a fleet was the next thing to seeing a town. The vessels were
    from different places; Clyde, Campbeltown, Newcastle, &c. One
    was returning to Lancaster from Hamburgh. After having been
    shut up so long in Col, the sight of such an assemblage of
    moving habitations, containing such a variety of people engaged
    in different pursuits, gave me much gaiety of spirit. When we
    had landed, Dr. Johnson said, ‘Boswell is now all alive. He
    is like Antæus; he gets new vigour whenever he touches the

[Illustration: COL: THE LAIRD’S HOUSE.]

No such fleet is, I imagine, ever to be seen there at the present day,
for one steamer does the work of many small vessels. The beauty of this
little haven has been long celebrated. Sacheverell, who visited it two
hundred years ago, thus describes it:—

    “To the landward it is surrounded with high mountains covered
    with woods, pleasantly intermixed with rocks, and three or
    four cascades of water, which throw themselves from the top of
    the mountain with a pleasure that is astonishing, all which
    together make one of the oddest and most charming prospects I
    ever saw. Italy itself, with all the assistance of art, can
    hardly afford anything more beautiful and diverting.”[669]

[Illustration: COLL ISLAND.



He had been sent there to fish for sunken treasure. Martin, whose
_Description of the Western Isles_ was published the year after
Sacheverell’s book, gives the following account of this expedition:—

    “One of the ships of the Spanish Armada, called the Florida,
    perished in this Bay, having been blown up by one Smallet, of
    Dumbarton, in the year 1588. There was a great sum of gold and
    money on board, which disposed the Earl of Argyle and some
    Englishmen to attempt the recovery of it. Some pieces of gold
    and money and a golden chain was taken out of her. I have seen
    some fine brass cannon, some pieces of eight, teeth, beads
    and pins that had been taken out of that ship. Several of the
    inhabitants of Mull told me that they had conversed with their
    relations that were living at the harbour when the ship was
    blown up.”[670]

[Illustration: COLVAY.]

“One Smallet” was an ancestor of the great novelist, who in his
_Humphry Clinker_ artfully brings old Matthew Bramble to Tobermory so
that he may celebrate the great deed of his forefather. According to
his account “the divers found the hull of the vessel still entire,
but so covered with sand that they could not make their way between
decks.”[671] Mr. Froude mentions the loss of this great Spanish
galleon, but did not know the name of the harbour.[672] Sir Walter
Scott, who visited Tobermory a century and a quarter after Sacheverell,
said that, “the richness of the round steep green knolls, clothed
with copse and glancing with cascades, and a pleasant peep at a
small fresh-water loch embosomed among them—the view of the bay
surrounded and guarded by the island of Colvay—the gliding of two or
three vessels in the more distant sound—and the row of the gigantic
Ardnamurchan mountains closing the scene to the north, almost justify
his eulogium who in 1688 declared the Bay of Tobermory might equal any
prospect in Italy.”[673] With one thing Sacheverell was not content,
and that was the weather. “With the dog-days,” he says, “the autumnal
rains began, and for six weeks we had scarce a good day. The whole
frame of nature seemed inhospitable, bleak, stormy, rainy, windy.”

There was a tolerable inn, where “a dish of tea and some good bread
and butter” restored Johnson’s good humour, which had been somewhat
ruffled by the miserable accommodation which he had had on shipboard.
They did not pass the night here, but became the guests of a Dr.
Macleane who lived close by. “Col,” wrote Johnson, “made every Macleane
open his house where we came, and supply us with horses when we
departed.” Here they were once more kept prisoners by the weather. Not
only was there wind and rain, but the rivers, they were told, were
impassable. They had books and good talk. In the daughter of the house
Johnson at last found “an interpreter of Erse poetry.” At Dunvegan he
complained that “he could never get the meaning of a song explained
to him.” Miss Macleane had been bred in the Lowlands, and had gained
Gaelic by study. She therefore understood the exact nature of his

    “She is [he said] the most accomplished lady that I have found
    in the Highlands. She knows French, music, and drawing, sews
    neatly, makes shell-work, and can milk cows; in short, she can
    do every thing. She talks sensibly, and is the first person
    whom I have found, that can translate Erse poetry literally.”


On Saturday, October 16, the weather changed for the better, owing to
a new moon, as Boswell thought. A long day’s journey lay before them,
for they hoped to reach Inchkenneth, a little island which lies at the
mouth of Loch Na Keal, close to the western coast of Mull. Here they
were to be the guest of Sir Allan Macleane.


    “We set out [writes Boswell] mounted on little Mull horses. Dr.
    Johnson was not in very good humour. He said, it was a dreary
    country, much worse than Skye. I differed from him. ‘O, Sir,’
    said he, ‘a most dolorous country!’ We had a very hard journey.
    I had no bridle for my sheltie, but only a halter; and Joseph
    rode without a saddle. At one place, a loch having swelled over
    the road, we were obliged to plunge through pretty deep water.
    Dr. Johnson observed, how helpless a man would be, were he
    travelling here alone, and should meet with any accident; and
    said, ‘he longed to get to a _country of saddles and bridles_.’”

When he called the country “most dolorous” he had no doubt in mind the
lines which describe the march of “the adventurous bands” in _Paradise

          “Through many a dark and dreary vale
    They passed and many a region dolorous.”

[Sidenote: A WEARY RIDE.]

Writing to Mrs. Thrale he speaks of this day’s journey “as difficult
and tedious over rocks naked and valleys untracked through a country of
barrenness and solitude. We came almost in the dark to the sea side,
weary and dejected, having met with nothing but water falling from the
mountains that could raise any image of delight.” Sacheverell had found
the same ride no less gloomy.

    “We proceeded on our journey [he writes] over a country broken,
    rocky, boggy, barren, and almost wholly unarable. Wet and weary
    at last we came to a Change-House (so they call a house of
    entertainment); if a place that had neither bed, victuals, or
    drink may be allowed that name. Our servants cut us green fern,
    wet as it was, for bedding. We set forward early next morning.
    If I thought the first day’s journey hard and unequal, this
    was much worse; high and craggy mountains, horrid rocks and
    dreadful precipices; Pelion upon Ossa are trifling and little
    if compared to them.”[674]

[Illustration: LOCH NA KEAL.]

Our travellers made their way so slowly over this rough country that
though they started at eleven, they did not reach the coast till seven
at night. Yet they had been told that the distance was but eight miles.
To add to the gloom, it was here that Johnson discovered that he had
lost that famous piece of timber, his huge oak-stick. [Sidenote: THE
CHIEF OF ULVA’S ISLE.] Seeing how late it was, Col, who throughout
had been their guide, “determined that they should pass the night
at Macquarrie’s, in the Island of Ulva, which lies between Mull and
Inchkenneth.” The ferry-boat unfortunately was on the other side of
the narrow channel. The wind was so high that their shouts could not
be heard, and the darkness was too great for their signals to be
seen. They might have been forced to spend the night on the shore had
there not chanced to be lying in the little Sound of Ulva a ship from
Londonderry. In its long-boat they were ferried over. In this same
Sound less than a year later, on the night of September 25, 1774, poor
Col lost his life. “His boat,” says Sir Walter Scott, “was swamped
by the intoxication of the sailors, who had partaken too largely of
Macquarrie’s wonted hospitality.” Here, perhaps, the Macleanes will
some day set up a memorial to the unhappy youth. “Col does every
thing for us,” said Johnson: “We will erect a statue to Col. He is a
noble animal. He is as complete an islander as the mind can figure.
He is a farmer, a sailor, a hunter, a fisher; he will run you down a
dog; if any man has a tail, it is Col. He is hospitable; and he has
an intrepidity of talk whether he understands the subject or not.”
His untimely end was regretted by those who only knew “this amiable
man” by the reports of our two travellers. “At the death of Col,”
said Boswell, “my wife wept much.”[675] “There is great lamentation
here,” wrote Johnson from Lichfield, “for the death of Col. Lucy is
of opinion that he was wonderfully handsome.” Though they were in the
land of second-sight there was no shadow thrown by coming events on the
very liberal entertainment provided by their host. Nevertheless the
Chief of Ulva’s Isle had a sea of troubles of his own to oppose. He
was almost overwhelmed with the stormy waters, not of Loch Gyle, but
of debt. “His ancestors,” wrote Johnson to Mrs. Thrale, “had reigned
in Ulva beyond memory, but he has reduced himself by his negligence
and folly to the necessity of selling this venerable patrimony.” His
house was a strange mixture of luxury and squalor. The room in which
Johnson slept was unboarded, and through a broken window the rain had
driven in and turned the floor to mud. He thus describes his night’s
lodging:—“The house and the furniture are not always nicely suited.
We were driven once, by missing a passage, to the hut of a gentleman
where, after a very liberal supper, when I was conducted to my chamber,
I found an elegant bed of Indian cotton, spread with fine sheets. The
accommodation was flattering; I undressed myself, and felt my feet in
the mire. The bed stood upon the bare earth which a long course of rain
had softened to a puddle.”


[Sidenote: INCHKENNETH.]

Our travellers having stayed but one night at Ulva, on the morning of
Sunday, October 17, took boat and rowed to Inchkenneth, “an island
about a mile long, and perhaps half a mile broad, remarkable for
pleasantness and fertility. It is verdant and grassy, and fit both
for pasture and tillage; but it has no trees.” The only inhabitants
were “the chief of the ancient and numerous clan of Macleane, his
daughter and their servants.” [Sidenote: SIR ALLAN MACLEANE.] In
a letter to Mrs. Thrale Johnson says: “Sir Allan, a chieftain, a
baronet, and a soldier, inhabits in this insulated desert a thatched
hut with no chambers. He received us with the soldier’s frankness and
the gentleman’s elegance, and introduced us to his daughters, two
young ladies who have not wanted education suitable to their birth,
and who in their cottage neither forgot their dignity nor affected to
remember it. His affairs are in disorder by the fault of his ancestors,
and while he forms some scheme for retrieving them, he has retreated
hither.” By _chambers_, Johnson seems to mean rooms on an upper floor.
Boswell describes the habitation as commodious, “though it consisted
but of a few small buildings only one story high.” In two of these huts
were the servants’ rooms and the kitchen. “The dinner was plentiful and
delicate. Neither the comforts nor the elegancies of life were wanting.
There were several dishes and variety of liquors.” Sir Walter Scott
many years later visited the island in company with a Gloucestershire
baronet, Sir George Onesiphorus Paul:

    “He seemed to me,” writes Sir Walter, “to suspect many of the
    Highland tales which he heard, but he showed most incredulity
    on the subject of Johnson’s having been entertained in the
    wretched huts of which we saw the ruins. He took me aside,
    and conjured me to tell him the truth of the matter. ‘This Sir
    Allan,’ said he, ‘was he a _regular baronet_, or was his title
    such a traditional one as you find in Ireland?’ I assured my
    excellent acquaintance that, ‘for my own part, I would have
    paid more respect to a knight of Kerry, or knight of Glynn; yet
    Sir Allan Macleane was a _regular baronet_ by patent;’ and,
    having given him this information, I took the liberty of asking
    him, in return, whether he would not in conscience prefer the
    worst cell in the jail at Gloucester (which he had been very
    active in overlooking while the building was going on) to those
    exposed hovels where Johnson had been entertained by rank and
    beauty. He looked round the little islet, and allowed Sir Allan
    had some advantage in exercising ground; but in other respects
    he thought the compulsory tenants of Gloucester had greatly the
    advantage. Such was his opinion of a place, concerning which
    Johnson has recorded that ‘it wanted little which palaces could

Johnson, by the way, did not write “_it_ wanted,” but “_we_ wanted
little that palaces afford.” We have from Sir Walter also an amusing
story which shows how the chief of the Macleanes in the embarrassment
of his affairs had learnt to hate the sight of an attorney—_writers_,
as they are called in Scotland:

    “Upon one occasion he made a visit to a friend residing at
    Carron lodge, on the banks of the Carron, where the banks of
    that river are studded with pretty villas: Sir Allan, admiring
    the landscape, asked his friend whom that handsome seat
    belonged to. ‘M——, the writer to the signet,’ was the reply.
    ‘Umph!’ said Sir Allan, but not with an accent of assent, ‘I
    mean that other house.’ ‘Oh! that belongs to a very honest
    fellow, Jamie ——, also a writer to the signet.’ ‘Umph!’
    said the Highland chief of Macleane, with more emphasis than
    before, ‘And yon smaller house?’ ‘That belongs to a Stirling
    man; I forget his name, but I am sure he is a writer too;
    for ——.’ Sir Allan, who had recoiled a quarter of a circle
    backward at every response, now wheeled the circle entire, and
    turned his back on the landscape, saying, ‘My good friend,
    I must own you have a pretty situation here; but d—n your

In his dislike of lawyers he would have found a common feeling in
Johnson, who one day, “when inquiry was made concerning a person who
had quitted a company where he was, observed that he did not care to
speak ill of any man behind his back, but he believed the gentleman was
an attorney.” Happily there was nothing to disturb the tranquillity
of the scene during the visit of our travellers. [Sidenote: A SUNDAY
ON INCHKENNETH.] The Sunday which Johnson spent on Inchkenneth was,
as he told Boswell, “the most agreeable he had ever passed.” He thus
describes it to Mrs. Thrale: “Towards evening Sir Allan told us that
Sunday never passed over him like another day. One of the ladies read,
and read very well, the evening service, ‘and Paradise was opened
in the wild.’”[677] Such was the impression produced on him that he
commemorated the day in some pretty Latin lines entitled, _Insula
Sancti Kennethi_. Though he would not attend a Scotch church and hear
Robertson preach, yet a woman’s reading the English service did not
shock him.

    “Quid quod sacrifici versavit femina libros?
    Legitimas faciunt pectora pura preces.”

    “A woman’s hand, ’tis true, turned o’er the sacred leaves,
    But prayer from hearts so pure God’s sanction sure receives.”

He thus prettily ends his verses:

    “Quo vagor ulterius? quod ubique requiritur hic est;
    Hic secura quies, hic et honestus amor.”

    “Why should we further roam? here what all seek we gain,
    Both peace without a care, and love without a stain.”


Sir Allan had chosen well his hermitage. The landing-place is on the
south-eastern side of the island, in a little bay with a sandy beach,
sheltered by a low point from the storms coming from the north-west,
while the cold blasts from the north and the north-east are kept
off by a low hill. The ground slopes up from the shore in pleasant
meadow land. At the bottom of the slope, a little above the beach,
Sir Allan, I conjecture, had his habitation. Here are the ruins of a
farmhouse which was burnt down a few years ago. It is very likely that
it occupied the same site as his cottages. [Sidenote: THE CHAPEL ON
INCHKENNETH.] The road marked with cart-wheels, as on the main land,
at the sight of which Dr. Johnson’s heart was cheered, I failed to
discover. We wandered up the little path to where on the rising ground
the ruined chapel stands within the hearing of the wave.

    “We walked uncovered into the chapel,” writes Johnson, “and saw
    in the reverend ruin the effects of precipitate reformation.
    The floor is covered with ancient grave-stones, of which the
    inscriptions are not now legible. The altar is not yet quite
    demolished; beside it, on the right side, is a _bas relief_
    of the Virgin with her child, and an angel hovering over her.
    On the other side still stands a hand-bell, which, though it
    has no clapper, neither Presbyterian bigotry nor barbarian
    wantonness has yet taken away. The chapel is thirty-eight feet
    long and eighteen broad. Boswell, who is very pious, went into
    it at night to perform his devotions, but came back in haste
    for fear of spectres. Near the chapel is a fountain, to which
    the water, remarkably pure, is conveyed from a distant hill
    through pipes laid by the Romish clergy, which still perform
    the office of conveyance though they have never been repaired
    since Popery was suppressed.”

Our boatman, whom I had in vain questioned about Johnson’s host, led me
up to the tomb of an old knight, clothed in armour, with a dog lying at
his feet, and said, “That is Sir Allan.” The little fountain, in spite
of the lapse of years and the long drought, still ran with a stream of
pure water. Besides the chapel, there had once been on the island a
seminary of priests. “Sir Allan,” writes Johnson, “had a mind to trace
the foundations of a college, but neither I nor Mr. Boswell, who bends
a keener eye on vacancy, were able to perceive them.” Where they failed
we could not hope to succeed. We next explored, as they had done, a
neighbouring islet.

[Sidenote: SANDILAND.]

    “Even Inchkenneth,” says Johnson, “has a subordinate island,
    named Sandiland, I suppose in contempt, where we landed, and
    found a rock, with a surface of perhaps four acres, of which
    one is naked stone, another spread with sand and shells, some
    of which I picked up for their glossy beauty, and two covered
    with a little earth and grass, on which Sir Allan has a few
    sheep. I doubt not but when there was a college at Inchkenneth,
    there was a hermitage upon Sandiland.”

[Illustration: SANDILAND.]

The shells, perhaps, he kept to add to the collection of Mrs. Thrale’s
eldest daughter. “I have been able,” he wrote later on, “to collect
very little for Queeney’s cabinet.” The name which our boatman gave
to the island was, so far as I could catch it, not Sandiland, but
Sameilan. At the time of our visit it had for inhabitants four sheep,
and flocks of sea-birds who made it their breeding ground. They flew
circling and screaming over our heads, while a mother bird led off a
late brood of little ones into the sea. Before each of the burrows in
which they made their nests was a litter of tiny shells thrown up
like sand before a rabbit-warren. The sun shone brightly, the little
waves beat on the shore, while all around us there were mountains,
islands, and lochs. As I picked up a few shells, I thought that on this
lonely rock, perhaps, none had been gathered since the day when they
caught Johnson’s eye by their glossy beauty. In sailing back to the
mainland of Mull we saw four seals popping up their heads in the water
near the shore.

[Illustration: MACKINNON’S CAVE.]

So pleasant did Johnson find the life in Inchkenneth that he remained
a day longer than he had intended. “We could have been easily
persuaded,” he writes, “to a longer stay, but life will not be all
passed in delight. The session at Edinburgh was approaching from
which Mr. Boswell could not be absent.” On the morning of Tuesday,
October 19, they started for Iona in a good strong boat, with four
stout rowers under the guidance of the chief of the Macleanes. On the
shore they took their last farewell of poor Col, “who,” wrote Johnson,
“had treated us with so much kindness, and concluded his favours by
consigning us to Sir Allan.” [Sidenote: MACKINNON’S CAVE.] On the way
they visited Mackinnon’s Cave, on the opposite coast of Mull, “the
greatest natural curiosity,” said Johnson, “he had ever seen.” He thus
describes it in a letter to Mrs. Thrale.

    “We had some difficulty to make our way over the vast masses
    of broken rocks that lie before the entrance, and at the mouth
    were embarrassed with stones, which the sea had accumulated
    as at Brighthelmstone; but as we advanced we reached a floor
    of soft sand, and as we left the light behind us walked along
    a very spacious cavity vaulted overhead with an arch almost
    regular, by which a mountain was sustained, at least, a very
    lofty rock. From this magnificent cavern went a narrow passage
    to the right-hand, which we entered with a candle, and though
    it was obstructed with great stones, clambered over them to
    a second expansion of the cave, in which there lies a great
    square stone, which might serve as a table. The cave goes
    onward to an unknown extent, but we were now one hundred and
    sixty yards under ground; we had but one candle, and had never
    heard of any that went further and came back; we therefore
    thought it prudent to return.”

“Tradition,” according to Boswell, “says that a piper and twelve men
once advanced into this cave, nobody can tell how far; and never
returned.” It is indeed a wonderful place. As we sat on the rocks near
the entrance, with the huge cliffs rising sheer above us, and the waves
breaking at our feet, we could see in the distance Iona, with its
beach of white sand, Staffa with its lofty masses of dark rock, Little
Colonsay with the waves dashing in foam upon it, and on the horizon a
coast which we took to be the island of Col. Vast masses of rock lay
along the beach in huge and wild disorder. Beyond the cavern they came
to an end; for there the cliff rose from the sea steep as the wall of a
house. The cascade near the cave, which Boswell mentions, was falling
in a very slender stream. Hard by a huge crag was covered almost to the
top by the fresh young leaves of a great ivy-tree. It called up to my
memory the ivy-mantled ruins of Kenilworth Castle.

Our travellers, taking boat again, continued their voyage along the
shore of Mull. “The island of Staffa,” writes Boswell, “we saw at no
very great distance, but could not land upon it, the surge was so
high on its rocky coast.” It is strange that Sir James Mackintosh,
with this passage before him, should have accused Johnson of having
visited Iona, “without looking at Staffa, which lay in sight, with
that indifference to natural objects, either of taste or scientific
curiosity, which characterised him.”[678] As they sailed along, “Sir
Allan, anxious for the honour of Mull, was still talking of its
_woods_, and pointing them out to Dr. Johnson, as appearing at a
distance on the skirts of that island. ‘Sir,’ he answered, ‘I saw at
Tobermory what they called a wood, which I unluckily took for _heath_.
If you show me what I shall take for _furze_, it will be something.’”

[Illustration: MULL.]


They dined at “a cluster of rocks, black and horrid,” near to which
was a public-house where they had hoped to procure some rum or brandy
for the boatmen; “but unfortunately a funeral a few days before had
exhausted all their store.” Smollett in his _Humphry Clinker_, tells
how a Highland gentleman, at his grandmother’s funeral, “seemed to
think it a disparagement to his family that not above a hundred gallons
of whisky had been drunk upon such a solemn occasion.”[679] The rest
of this day’s voyage Johnson thus finely described in one of his
letters: “We then entered the boat again; the night came upon us: the
wind rose; the sea swelled. We passed by several little islands in the
silent solemnity of faint moonshine, seeing little, and hearing only
the wind and the water. At last we reached the island; the venerable
seat of ancient sanctity, where secret piety reposed, and where fallen
greatness was reposited.” Boswell adds that as they “sailed along by
moonlight in a sea somewhat rough, and often between black and gloomy
rocks, Dr. Johnson said, ‘If this be not roving among the Hebrides
nothing is.’”


Iona, which of old belonged to the Macleanes, in their recent
embarassments had been sold to the Duke of Argyle. Though the tie
of property was broken yet the feeling of clanship remained entire.
“Whatever was in the island,” writes Johnson, “Sir Allan could demand,
for the inhabitants were Macleanes; but having little they could not
give us much.” A curious scene described by Boswell bears witness to
the strength of the devotion of these poor people.

    “Sir Allan had been told that a man had refused to send him
    some rum, at which the knight was in great indignation. ‘You
    rascal! (said he,) don’t you know that I can hang you, if I
    please?’ Not adverting to the Chieftain’s power over his clan,
    I imagined that Sir Allan had known of some capital crime that
    the fellow had committed, which he could discover, and so get
    him condemned; and said, ‘How so?’ ‘Why, (said Sir Allan,) are
    they not all my people?’ Sensible of my inadvertency, and most
    willing to contribute what I could towards the continuation
    of feudal authority, ‘Very true,’ said I. Sir Allan went on:
    ‘Refuse to send rum to me, you rascal! Don’t you know that, if
    I order you to go and cut a man’s throat, you are to do it?’
    ‘Yes, an’t please your honour! and my own too, and hang myself
    too.’ The poor fellow denied that he had refused to send the
    rum. His making these professions was not merely a pretence
    in presence of his Chief; for after he and I were out of Sir
    Allan’s hearing, he told me, ‘Had he sent his dog for the rum,
    I would have given it: I would cut my bones for him.’ It was
    very remarkable to find such an attachment to a Chief, though
    he had then no connection with the island, and had not been
    there for fourteen years. Sir Allan, by way of upbraiding the
    fellow, said, ‘I believe you are a _Campbell_.’”

The memory of the power so lately exercised throughout the Highlands by
the chiefs was not soon forgotten. It was noticed so late as 1793, that
in Scotland _master_ was still, for the most part, the term used for
_landlord_. As an instance of this it was mentioned that in a sermon
preached in the High Church of Edinburgh in 1788, the minister thus
described the late Earl of Kinnoul in relation to his tenants.[680]
Even after the abolition of the jurisdictions of the chiefs the powers
left in the hands of the justices were very great. “An inferior judge
in Scotland,” wrote the historian of Edinburgh in the year 1779, “makes
nothing of sentencing a man to whipping, pillory, banishment from
the limits of his jurisdiction, and such other trifling punishments,
without the idle formality of a jury.”[681]

In Iona, however, there was no need of threats. The poor people were
devoted to their former chief. “He went,” says Johnson, “to the headman
of the island whom fame, but fame delights in amplifying, represents
as worth no less than fifty pounds. He was, perhaps, proud enough of
his guests, but ill prepared for our entertainment; however, he soon
produced more provision than men not luxurious required.” There was
not a single house in which, with any comfort, they could have been
lodged. Pennant, who had been there a year earlier, “had pitched a
rude tent formed of oars and sails.” There was but one house which had
a chimney. “Nevertheless, even in this,” says Johnson, “the fire was
made on the floor in the middle of the room, and notwithstanding the
dignity of their mansion the inmates rejoiced like their neighbours in
the comforts of smoke.” Though the soil was naturally fruitful, yet
the poverty of the people was great. “They are,” he adds, “remarkably
gross and remarkably neglected; I know not if they are visited by any
minister. The island, which was once the metropolis of learning and
piety, has now no school for education nor temple for worship, only
two inhabitants that can speak English, and not one that can write
or read.” The population was probably not less than four hundred
souls.[682] Sacheverell, who was there in 1688, mentions a class of
“hereditary servants. They are,” he adds, “miserably poor. They seem
an innocent, simple people, ignorant and devout; and though they have
no minister, they constantly assemble in the great church on Sundays,
where they spend most part of the day in private devotions.”[683]
According to Pennant they were “the most stupid and the most lazy of
all the islanders.” “They used,” he says, “the Chapel of the Nunnery as
a cow-shed; the floor was covered some feet thick with dung, for they
were too lazy to remove this fine manure, the collection of a century,
to enrich their grounds.”[684] Boswell, however, gives a much better
report. “They are industrious,” he says, “and make their own woollen
and linen cloth; and they brew a good deal of beer, which we did not
find in any of the other islands.” In July, 1798, Dr. Garnett and his
companion, Mr. Watts, the painter, passed a night in the public-house.
The floor of their chamber was liquid mud; the rain fell on their beds.
For fellow-lodgers they had several chickens, a tame lamb, a dog, some
cats, and two or three pigs. Next morning they invited the schoolmaster
to breakfast, and found that the inn could boast of only two tea-cups
and one spoon, and that of wood.[685] Sir Walter Scott, who visited
Iona in 1810 mentions “the squalid and dejected poverty of the
inhabitants—the most wretched people he had anywhere seen.”[686] With
such houses and such people Sir Allan Macleane certainly did wisely in
choosing a barn for the lodgings of himself and his two friends. “Some
good hay,” writes Boswell, “was strewed at one end of it, to form a bed
for us, upon which we lay with our clothes on; and we were furnished
with blankets from the village. Each of us had a portmanteau for a
pillow. When I awaked in the morning, and looked round me, I could
not help smiling at the idea of the chief of the Macleanes, the great
English Moralist, and myself, lying thus extended in such a situation.”


The smile might have passed into a sigh, had Boswell contrasted the
splendours of Iona’s past with the meanness of her present lot. They
had come to

          “Where, beneath the showery west,
    The mighty kings of three fair realms are laid.”

Like the pilgrim

    “From the Blue Mountains, or Ontario’s Lake,”

amidst the ruins of fallen greatness and fallen learning they had sought

              “Some peasant’s homely shed,
    Who toils unconscious of the mighty dead.”

Whether with Johnson among “those illustrious ruins,” we look upon Iona
as the instructress of the west, or with Gibbon as the island whence
was “diffused over the northern regions a doubtful ray of science
and superstition,” in either case it is surely a spot where we are
forced to pause, and with pensive mind “revolve the sad vicissitude
of things.” I must not, however, be unjust to Boswell. It was his
enthusiasm which had led them hither. It was he who had longed to
survey Iona. “I,” said Johnson, “though less eager did not oppose him.”
To him then we owe that splendid passage in which the great Englishman
celebrates the power exerted over the mind by the sight of places where
noble deeds were done, and noble lives were lived.

    “We were now treading that illustrious Island, which was once
    the luminary of the Caledonian regions, whence savage clans
    and roving barbarians derived the benefits of knowledge, and
    the blessings of religion. To abstract the mind from all local
    emotion would be impossible, if it were endeavoured, and would
    be foolish if it were possible. Whatever withdraws us from the
    power of our senses, whatever makes the past, the distant, or
    the future, predominate over the present, advances us in the
    dignity of thinking beings. Far from me, and from my friends,
    be such frigid philosophy as may conduct us indifferent and
    unmoved over any ground which has been dignified by wisdom,
    bravery, or virtue. That man is little to be envied, whose
    patriotism would not gain force upon the plain of Marathon, or
    whose piety would not grow warmer among the ruins of Iona!”

Boswell surely not without good reason maintains that “had their tour
produced nothing else but this sublime passage the world must have
acknowledged that it was not made in vain.”

[Illustration: RUINS IN IONA.]

[Illustration: CARSAIG ARCHES: MULL.]


Sailing from Iona about midday on Wednesday, October 20, our travellers
landed in the evening on the southern coast of Mull, near the house of
the Rev. Neal Macleod, who gave them lodgings for the night. Johnson
oddly described him as “the cleanest-headed man that he had met with in
the Western Islands.” The talk ran on English statesmen. Here it was
that Johnson called Mr. Pitt a meteor, and Sir Robert Walpole a fixed
star, and maintained that Pulteney was as paltry a fellow as could
be. Continuing their journey on the morrow, they dined at the house of
a physician, “who was so much struck with the uncommon conversation
of Johnson, that he observed to Boswell, ‘This man is just a hogshead
of sense.’” This doctor’s practice could scarcely have been very
lucrative, for there came a time when he had no successor. Garnett
writing of Mull at the end of the century, says, “There is at present
no medical man in the island; the nearest surgeon of eminence is at
Inverary.”[687] The distance from that town to the farthest points in
Mull, as the crow flies, is not less than sixty miles, but by the route
taken would be perhaps one hundred. [Sidenote: GLOOM AND DESOLATION.]
In the afternoon our travellers rode, writes Boswell, “through what
appeared to me the most gloomy and desolate country I had ever beheld.”
“It was,” said Johnson, “a country of such gloomy desolation that Mr.
Boswell thought no part of the Highlands equally terrific.” Faujas
Saint-Fond, a few years later, describes Mull as a country “without a
single road, without a single tree, where the mountains have heather
for their only covering.”[688] Amidst the beautiful plantations and the
fine trees with which this island is now in so many parts adorned,
the modern tourist fails to recognize the truthfulness of these gloomy
descriptions. Our travellers were to spend the night at Moy, the seat
of the Laird of Lochbuy,[689] at the head of the fine loch from which
he takes his title. [Sidenote: THE APPROACH TO LOCHBUY.] I approached
it from the north-eastern side of the island, having driven over from
Craignure, a little port in the Sound of Mull. Perhaps the country
through which I passed was naturally finer than that which they had
traversed in coming from the south-west. Perhaps, on the other hand,
the difference was chiefly due to the trees and to better weather.
Certainly the long drive, though in places dreary, was for a great part
of the road on a bright, windy summer day, one of remarkable beauty. I
passed lochs of the sea with the waves tossing, the sea-fowl hovering
and settling and screaming, great herons standing on the shore, and
the sea-trout leaping in the waters. But far more beautiful was Loch
Uisk, an inland lake embosomed among the mountains, its steep shores
covered with trees. The strong wind was driving the scud like dust
over the face of its dark waters. As I drew near Lochbuy, I caught
sight of the ivy-mantled tower across a meadow, where the mowers were
cutting the grass, and the hay-makers were tossing it out to the sun
and wind. Beyond the castle there was a broad stretch of white sand; a
small vessel lay at anchor, ready at the next tide to run ashore and
discharge the hamlet’s winter stock of coal. Tall trunks of fir-trees
were lying near the water’s edge ready for shipping. At the head of
the loch are two beautiful bays, each with its pastures and tilled
lands, its low-wooded heights and its lofty circling mountains, each
facing the south-west and sheltered from the cold winds. Between these
two bays rise fine crags, hidden in places beneath hazels and ivy. For
most of the year it is a land streaming with waterfalls. In beautiful
ravines, half hidden by the trees, wild cascades rush down, swollen
by the storms that have burst on the mountains; but at the time of
my visit their voice was hushed by the long drought. So dry had the
springs become in some places, that I was told at Lochbuy that to one
of the neighbouring islands water had to be carried in boats.

[Illustration: LOCHBUY



Close to the ruined Castle stood “the mansion, not very spacious or
splendid,” where Macleane of Lochbuy, “a true Highland laird, rough and
haughty, and tenacious of his dignity,” entertained our travellers.

    “We had heard much,” writes Boswell, “of Lochbuy’s being a
    great roaring braggadocio, a kind of Sir John Falstaff, both in
    size and manners; but we found that they had swelled him up to
    a fictitious size, and clothed him with imaginary qualities.
    Col’s idea of him was equally extravagant, though very
    different: he told us he was quite a Don Quixote; and said, he
    would give a great deal to see him and Dr. Johnson together.
    The truth is, that Lochbuy proved to be only a bluff, comely,
    noisy, old gentleman, proud of his hereditary consequence,
    and a very hearty and hospitable landlord. Lady Lochbuy was
    sister to Sir Allan Macleane, but much older. He said to me,
    ‘They are quite _Antediluvians_.’ Being told that Dr. Johnson
    did not hear well, Lochbuy bawled out to him, ‘Are you of the
    Johnstons of Glencro, or of Ardnamurchan?’ Dr. Johnson gave
    him a significant look, but made no answer; and I told Lochbuy
    that he was not Johns_ton_, but John_son_, and that he was an

According to Sir Walter Scott, Boswell misapprehended Lochbuy’s meaning.

    “There are,” he says, “two septs of the powerful clan of
    M’Donald, who are called Mac-Ian, that is _John’s-son_; and
    as Highlanders often translate their names when they go to
    the Lowlands,—as Gregor-son for Mac-Gregor, Farquhar-son for
    Mac-Farquhar,—Lochbuy supposed that Dr. Johnson might be one
    of the Mac-Ians of Ardnamurchan, or of Glencro. Boswell’s
    explanation was nothing to the purpose. The _Johnstons_ are a
    clan distinguished in Scottish border history, and as brave as
    any Highland clan that ever wore brogues; but they lay entirely
    out of Lochbuy’s knowledge—nor was he thinking of them.”

I have little doubt, however, that whatever Lochbuy was thinking of he
pronounced the name _Johnston_. In this both Boswell and Johnson agree.
This too was the name which I commonly found given to the great man in
the Highlands and Lowlands alike.

    “The following day (writes Boswell) we surveyed the old castle,
    in the pit or dungeon of which Lochbuy had some years before
    taken upon him to imprison several persons; and though he had
    been fined in a considerable sum by the Court of Justiciary,
    he was so little affected by it, that while we were examining
    the dungeon, he said to me, with a smile, ‘Your father knows
    something of this;’ (alluding to my father’s having sat as one
    of the judges on his trial). Sir Allan whispered me, that the
    laird could not be persuaded that he had lost his heritable


Up to the year 1747 “in the Highlands,” to quote Johnson’s words,
“some great lords had an hereditary jurisdiction over counties, and
some chieftains over their own lands.” This subjection of the people
to their chiefs was rightly regarded as one of the main sources of
the rebellions of 1715 and 1745. He who by law was privileged to keep
a pit, a dungeon, and a gallows, was not likely to meet with much
resistance when he summoned his people to follow him to the field.
Advantage was therefore taken of the defeat of the clansmen at
Culloden, “to crush all the Local Courts and to extend the general
benefits of equal law to the low and the high, in the deepest recesses
and obscurest corners.” The heritable jurisdiction had been divided
into regalities, ordinary baronies, and baronies which had the right of
pit and gallows.

    “The lowest criminal jurisdiction,” says a Scotch legal author,
    “is what we call for Battery and Bloodwits, _viz._, Offences
    whereby a party is beaten, or blood drawn of him, but no
    greater harm done; and this is implied in all Baronies. But if
    the erection of the Barony contain a power of Pit and Gallows,
    it imports a jurisdiction in ordinary capital cases, but not
    in the excepted crimes, which go under the name of the _Four
    Pleas of the Crown_, _viz._, Murder, Robbery, Rape, and wilful
    Fire-raising. It is so called from the manner of execution
    of criminals, _viz._, by hanging the men upon the Gallows or
    Gibbet, and drowning the women, sentenced in a capital crime,
    in a pit, it not being thought decent of old to hang them.”[691]

In old law Latin this right was known under the name of _furca et
fossa_.[692] A person invested with the jurisdiction of a regality
had power also in the Four Pleas of the Crown. “The sentences in
civil cases are subject to the review of the Lords of Session, and in
criminal to the Court of Justiciary. In criminal trials thirty days
were allowed before execution of the sentence on this [the southern]
side of the Forth, and forty on the other.” From this appeal there was
one regality which was exempt. The jurisdiction of the Duke of Argyle
was absolute even in cases of life and death. From his sentences there
was no appeal.[693] Each barony had its Gallows Hill, and its dempster
or hangman.[694] Pennant, in 1772, saw “on a little flat hill near
the village of Kilarow in Islay the remains of the gallows.”[695] At
Dunvegan men had been hanged on the sentence of the laird, so late as
1740. No doubt this power was sometimes most oppressively exercised.
A chief who lived near Inverness was charged with having rid himself
at a profit of men on his estate who had given him trouble. He charged
them with theft, threatened them with the gallows, and so brought them
“to sign a contract for their banishment.” They were then put on board
a ship bound to the West Indies, “the master paying so much a head for
them.”[696] In other words, they were sold for slaves, if not for
life, at all events for a certain number of years.

No change had been made by the Act of Union of 1706, for it was
expressly provided in it that all these heritable jurisdictions “should
be reserved to the owners as rights and property.”[697] When in 1747
these powers had been swept away, two unhappy classes of men were
excepted from the full benefit of the Act. The workers in any kind of
mine or in salt-works were to remain as they had hitherto been—serfs
for life. These men were found only in the Lowlands, chiefly in the
neighbourhood of Edinburgh. Nevertheless, even they were not left
altogether without relief. “All jurisdiction in any case inferring
the loss of life or demembration, was abrogated.”[698] A collier or a
salter therefore could no longer be hanged or drowned, or even mangled
by his master. It was not till the last year of the century that they
were finally and fully freed. One of these emancipated serfs lived till
the year 1844.[699]

The Act of 1747 not only abolished jurisdictions, but also alleviated
the prisoner’s lot. Till it was passed, “all over Scotland pits were
accounted legal prisons for thieves and other meaner criminals.”[700]
Lady Margaret Bellenden in _Old Mortality_ praises her pit. “It is
not more than two stories beneath ground,” she says, “so it cannot
be unwholesome, especially as I rather believe there is somewhere an
opening to the outer air.”[701] But henceforth—so the Act ran—“the
prison shall have such windows or grates, as that it may be practicable
for any friend of the prisoner to visit, see, and converse with him
when he shall be so minded.”[702] In out of the way places, where there
were no justices within reach, the laird, no doubt, to some extent,
continued to exercise his old powers. Thus in Col, more than sixteen
years after the Act was passed, the laird put a woman into “the family
prison” for theft.[703] There have been men who regarded, or affected
to regard with indignation the abolition of these injurious hereditary
powers. “By the nation at large,” writes Dr. Robert Chambers, “the
measure was contemplated as a last stab to the independence of
Scotland, previously almost destroyed by the Union.”[704] There is
happily no reason to believe that the nation at large was at any period
of its history a set of sentimental fools.


To most of the chiefs this loss of their ancient jurisdictions
must have come as a terrible shock. Lochbuy, as has been seen, had
refused to believe it, and so had got into trouble with the Court of
Justiciary. After some search I was fortunate enough to discover a
report of his case. He had, as I was informed by his descendant, the
present laird, with the help of his piper let down a man into the pit.
But here, for once, tradition has not been guilty of amplification.
Aided by his servant, his piper and son, the innkeeper in Moy, and two
other tenants, he had seized two men of the name of Maclean, and had
imprisoned them two days “in an old ruinous castle.” Two of the accused
did not appear to the indictment, “they were therefore fugitated
(outlawed), and their moveables escheated to the king for their
contempt.” The trial took place on August 15, 1759. It lasted twelve
hours. “The jury (of which a majority was landed gentlemen) returned
their verdict unanimously, finding the pannels (prisoners at the bar)
guilty; but verbally recommending the four servants and tenants to the
mercy of the court, it appearing that what they did was by order of
Lochbuy, their master. The lords pronounced sentence, decerning Lochbuy
in £180 sterling of expenses and damages to the private prosecutors,
and 500 marks Scots (about £27) of fine; and condemning the whole
pannels to seventeen days’ imprisonment.”[705]

Lochbuy had no doubt been the more unwilling to believe in the
abolition of his jurisdiction as he had, it should seem, no share
in that “valuable consideration in money which was granted to every
nobleman and petty baron who was thus deprived of one part of his
inheritance.”[706] On what principle of justice this compensation was
given is not clear, unless we agree with Johnson in his assertion that
“those who have long enjoyed dignity and power ought not to lose it
without some equivalent.”[707] Professor Thorold Rogers informs me that
we have here, he believes, the first instance in our history where
compensation is paid by the country at large for the vested interests
of a class. The claims which were made were excessive, partly no doubt
in the hope that when much was demanded at all events something would
be given, but partly, it was said, with the intention of “obstructing
the Act, and raising discontents in the country.”[708] The total sum
asked for was £587,000, but only £152,000 was granted. Among the
claimants I found “Maclean of Lochbuie, Bailie of the Bailiery of
Morovis and Mulerois, £500.” His name does not appear among the list of
those whose claims were allowed.[709]


Though in 1759 the castle was described as ruinous, nevertheless it had
been inhabited by the laird a few years earlier. Over the entrance of
the house in which he received Johnson is inscribed: “Hæc domus [a word
effaced] erat per Johannem M’Laine De Lochbuy Anno Dom. 1752.” It has,
in its turn, given way to a more modern mansion, and has been converted
into stables, coach-houses, and hay-lofts. The castle was built on
the edge of the sea, “four-square to all the winds that blew.” The
walls, nine or ten feet thick, “are probably as old as the fourteenth
century, but the upper part seems to have been modified in the
seventeenth.”[710] The ivy has climbed up to the top, nevertheless much
of the stonework is still seen. It would be a pity if it were suffered
to cover the walls on all sides. Hard by a little stream shaded with
trees makes its way into the loch. To the north-west rises the steep
hill of Dun Buy. “_Buy_ in Erse,” says Boswell, “signifies yellow. The
hill being of a yellowish hue, has the epithet of _buy_.” This hue I
altogether failed to discover; perhaps it is only seen in the autumn.
On the bright summer’s day in which I saw the castle, it seemed to be
almost unsurpassed in the pleasantness of its seat. Tall trees grew
near it, their leaves rustling in the wind, and the lights and shadows
dancing on the ground as the branches swayed to and fro, while in front
lay the loch with its foaming waves. The old ruin looked as if it had
been set there to add to the beauty of the scene, not for a place where
lairds and their pipers should let down luckless folk into dismal pits.
In the inside there was gloom enough. A few well-worn stone steps lead
up to the entrance. The strong old door studded with iron nails which
had withstood the storms of many a long year, has at length yielded
to time, and been replaced. Behind it is an iron grate secured by
bolts and by an oaken bar that is drawn forth from a hole in the wall.
Passing on I went into a gloomy vault known as the store-room. Not a
ray of light entered save by the open door. In the rocky floor there is
a shallow well, which in the driest seasons is always full of water.
The arched roof is built of huge boulders gathered from the beach, the
spaces between being filled up with thin layers of stone after the
fashion of Roman masonry. A dark staircase in the thickness of the wall
leads up through another strong door to a second vaulted chamber, dimly
lighted by narrow slits at the end of two slanting recesses, on each
side of which are stone benches. This I was told was the court-room or
judgment-hall. Opening out of it on one side is a very small chamber,
in which was a kind of cupboard, a hiding-place perhaps for title-deeds
and plate, for it could be so closed with stones as to look like solid
wall. On the other side is the door to the dungeon, dismal enough, but
not so dismal as the pit below, with its well in which women could be
put to death with decency. On either side of the mouth of the well is
a narrow ledge some eighteen inches wide, but not long enough to allow
the prisoner to stretch himself at full length. On the floor above the
court-room was the kitchen, with walls more than seven feet thick. It
occupied the whole of the story. On the freestone joints of the great
hearth can be seen the deep marks made by sharpening knives. Above the
kitchen was the family sitting-room, which was entered from a gallery
running all round it outside, and built in the overhanging part of the
tower. Here at length I arrived at what may be called the front door.
There was some attempt at ornament in the carving on the stones at the
top and each side of the doorway. There was, moreover, light enough to
see it clearly, for the gallery can boast of fair-sized windows. From
one of them the laird could look out on the Hangman’s Hill, about a
third of a mile off, now covered with fir-trees, but then bare. Some
stones remain, in which the gallows were set up. The view from the
castle, except when a hanging was going on, must on a fine day have
been always beautiful, even when the country was bare of trees. To the
north and east they looked over fields, once yellow every autumn with
grain, but now pleasant meadow-land, shut in with hills and mountains
down whose sides in rainy weather rivers stream and cascades leap. From
one corner of the gallery a turret projects with two narrow windows,
where the watchman could see anyone approaching from the side of the
land. Not far from it was “the whispering hole,” where, by removing a
stone which exactly fits into an opening, a suspicious laird could
overhear the talk in the kitchen beneath. Above the sitting-room was
another story divided into small rooms, the bed-chamber of the family.
So solidly had the roof been built, that unrepaired it withstood all
the blasts of heaven, till that terrible storm burst upon it and
brought it down, which swept away the Tay Bridge.

In these two upper stories there were, no doubt, cheerful rooms,
but they were reached through gloomy doors and iron grates, up dark
staircases, with rough sides and well-worn steps, past the gloomy
dungeon. Everything shows signs of danger and alarm. “It was sufficient
for a Laird of the Hebrides,” as Johnson says, “if he had a strong
house in which he could hide his wife and children from the next
clan.” At the present day, as I was told by my guide, no one thinks of
locking his door at night-time. My bag and great-coat and travelling
rug were left in perfect safety for a couple of hours by the road-side
while I wandered about. Of the modern mansion Johnson would never
have said what he said of the second house, that “it was built with
little regard to convenience, and with none to elegance or pleasure.”
He would have been delighted not only with it, but with its large
garden full of flowers and vegetables and fruits that testify to the
mildness of the climate. The peaches ripen on the walls, though they
do not attain to a large size. The hot-houses were full of choice
plants, and clustering grapes. One bunch, I was told, had weighed
nearly five pounds. But there are far greater changes than those
worked by builders and gardeners. [Sidenote: THE OLD LAIRD AND THE
NEW.] Here, where the rough old Laird in his out-of-the-way corner
of the world used to rule his people with the help of gallows,
pit and dungeon, I found a money-order office, a savings bank,
a telegraph office, and a daily post. There is a good school,
governed by a School Board, and a large reading room where the
dulness of the long winter nights is relieved by various kinds of
entertainments. There is besides an infirmary under the management
of a qualified nurse, the daughter of a medical man, who has learnt
her art by some years’ study in a hospital. She is provided with a
chest of surgical instruments and a large stock of drugs. On her
little pony she sometimes has to attend sick people at a distance
of eight miles. Forty-three cases of measles had lately been under
her care and none of them ended fatally. There is a salmon-hatching
house, and a museum both of antiquities and natural curiosities. In
it I saw a thumbscrew, with an iron ring at one end through which
a thong could be passed. Used in this way it would have served much
the same purpose as hand-cuffs. I looked with interest on an old
Highland spinning-wheel, the gift of my intelligent and friendly
guide, Mr. Angus Black. It had belonged to his grandmother. He
had given it, he said, “to be kept there as a present for ages
and generations to come.” When a little before I drank water from
“the well by the river side,” such was the name of the spring in
Gaelic, he told me that it was the spring “whence the Lairds had
drunk for ages and generations past.” One thing I in vain looked
for in the Museum. Boswell had been told much of a war-saddle, on
which Lochbuy, “that reputed Don Quixote, used to be mounted; but
we did not see it,” he adds, “for the young Laird had applied it to
a less noble purpose, having taken it to Falkirk Fair _with a drove
of black cattle_.” He took it much farther—to America, whither
he went with his regiment. There he lost his life in a duel, and
it was lost too. Perhaps it is preserved as a curiosity in some
collection on the other side of the Atlantic.


I was shown also at a short distance eastwards from the Castle, at
the bottom of a crag by the roadside, a place known as the Cheese
Cave. Here at every funeral the refreshments used to be placed for the
mourners, who had often come twenty miles across the hills. In former
days, when there were more men and fewer sheep some hundreds would
assemble. “Two old respectable friends were left behind to take care of
the food and drink. When the people came back from the grave-yard they
refreshed themselves. I have seen them,” continued my guide, “sitting
on these rocks by the cave having their luncheon.” Ramsay of Ochtertyre
tells how “the women of each valley through which the funeral passed
joined in the procession, but they attended but part of the way and
then returned. The whole company seemed to be running; and wherever
they rested small cairns or heaps of stones were raised to commemorate
the corpse having halted on that spot.”[711] These heaps were pointed
out to us on the side of Rattachan as we drove down to Glenelg. The
silence of the Scotch funeral shocked Wesley, who recorded on May 20,
1774: “When I see in Scotland a coffin put into the earth and covered
up without a word spoken, it reminds me of what was spoken concerning
Jehoiakin, ‘He shall be buried with the burial of an ass.’”[712]


It is not with accounts of funerals that I must take my leave of
a place where I spent so pleasant a day, and had so hospitable a
reception. Here I saw not only the dead past but a vigorous and hopeful
present. Even the old Laird, we are told, “was a very hearty and
hospitable landlord,” though with his belief in his rights of _furca et
fossa_ he certainly was an antediluvian. His descendant does not yield
to him in heartiness and hospitality, but has other ways of guiding his
people than gallows, pit and dungeon. By his schools, his reading-room,
his infirmary and his schemes for developing the fisheries he has won
their affections. An old lady who had been allowed to visit the Castle,
meeting him by chance as she came out, full of anger at what she had
seen, exclaimed: “You ought, Sir, to be ashamed of your ancestors.”
“No,” he replied, “I am not ashamed of them. They led their lives, and
I lead mine.” They were at all events as good as the men of their time,
perhaps better. Old Lochbuy does not seem to have been a bad fellow,
though he was slow in learning that he had lost his right to imprison
his tenants. “May not a man do what he likes with his own?” we can
fancy him asking in the words used more than seventy years later by an
English duke. Much as his descendant has done, there is one thing more
which I would ask him to do. He dreads, no doubt, the throng of noisy
tourists, but he might surely build a modest inn where the pensive
wanderer could find lodging, and enjoy the scenery of Lochbuy.

              “The guiltless eye
    Commits no wrong, nor wastes what it enjoys.”

[Illustration: KERRERA ISLAND.]



On the morning of Friday, October 22, our travellers set out for the
ferry by which they were to cross to Oban—a distance of about twelve
miles. According to Dr. Garnett, travellers were conveyed first to
Kerrera, an island lying off the mainland. Crossing this on foot or
horseback they found awaiting them another boat to take them to Oban.
At Auchnacraig in Mull there was an inn about half a mile from the
ferry. Here he and his companion could procure, he says, neither oats
for their horses nor straw for their litter. They wanted to give them
a mess of oatmeal and water, but the woman, who acted as hostler, at
first refused, “asking whether it was proper to give the food of
Christians to horses.” After a long dispute she yielded. “In these
islands,” he adds, “horses seldom taste oats.”[713] “The bottom of
the ferry-boat,” says Boswell, “was strewed with branches of trees
or bushes upon which we sat. We had a good day and a fine passage,
and in the evening landed at Oban, where we found a tolerable inn.”
This place, which I have seen recommended to cockney tourists in huge
advertisements as The Charing Cross of the North, was then a little
hamlet. In 1786 Knox found “about twenty families collected together
with a view to the fisheries.”[714] It boasted of a custom-house and
a post-office. In the islands no customs were paid, for there was no
officer to demand them.[715] Faujas Saint-Fond gives a curious account
of his stay in the inn, a few years after Johnson’s visit. He would
have got on very well, for the food though simple was good, and his
bed though hard was clean, had it not been for a performer on the
bag-pipes—“un maudit joueur de cornemuse” who played “une musique
d’un genre nouveau, mais bien terrible pour mon oreille.” The day of
their arrival this man had strutted up and down before the inn with
haughty and warlike looks, and had stunned them with his airs. “Nous
crûmes d’abord que ce personnage était une espèce d’insensé qui gagnait
sa vie à ce métier.” They were informed that he was an accomplished
musician, “de l’école _highlandoise_,” and that in this display of his
talents he was shewing the joy which he felt on seeing strangers in a
place where they came so rarely. Touched by his friendly sentiments
Saint-Fond had not only applauded him, but had even pressed on him
“quelques shelings,” which he accepted, it almost seemed, merely out of
complaisance. Taking pity on the stranger’s solitude he came and played
under his bed-room window in the silence of the night. It was all in
vain that Saint-Fond rose, went out of doors, took him by the hand and
led him away. “Il revint au même moment, me donnant à entendre qu’il
n’était point fatigué, et qu’il jouerait toute la nuit pour me plaire,
et il tint parole.”[716]

[Illustration: DUNOLLY CASTLE, OBAN.]


The bagpiper was surely the direct ancestor of those bands of musicians
who at Oban distress the peaceful tourist. But there are things worse
even than musicians. How melancholy is the change which has come over
the whole scene in the last quarter of a century! A beautiful bay
ruined by man! That it should become thronged was inevitable; it need
not have been made vulgar. It was on no scene of overgrown hotels that
Johnson looked, as, with the tear starting in his eye, he repeated
those fine lines in which Goldsmith describes the character of the
British nation:

    “Stern o’er each bosom reason holds her state,
    With daring aims irregularly great,
    Pride in their port, defiance in their eye,
    I see the lords of humankind pass by,
    Intent on high designs, a thoughtful band,
    By forms unfashion’d, fresh from Nature’s hand;
    Fierce in their native hardiness of soul,
    True to imagin’d right, above control,
    While e’en the peasant boasts these rights to scan,
    And learns to venerate himself as man.”

[Illustration: BEN CRUACHAN



The _Traveller_ had formed the subject of their talk at breakfast,
and it was while Boswell helped Johnson on with his great-coat
that he recited these lines. They had a long ride before them
through heavy rain to Inverary. Loch Awe they crossed by the ferry
at Portsonachan—“a pretty wide lake,” as Boswell describes it, not
knowing its name. Towards evening they came to a good road made by
the soldiers, the first which they had seen since they left Fort
Augustus more than seven weeks before. Unwearied by his long journey,
Johnson that same night wrote a letter to Mrs. Thrale in which he thus
describes both what he saw and what he felt.

    “About ten miles of this day’s journey were uncommonly amusing.
    We travelled with very little light in a storm of wind and
    rain; we passed about fifty-five streams that crossed our
    way, and fell into a river that, for a very great part of
    our road foamed and roared beside us. All the rougher powers
    of nature, except thunder, were in motion, but there was no
    danger. I should have been sorry to have missed any of the
    inconveniences, to have had more light or less rain, for their
    co-operation crowded the scene and filled the mind.”

When an old man describes such a journey as “uncommonly amusing” it
is clear that he uses the term in a sense which it does not bear at
present. In his _Dictionary_ he defines _amuse_, “to entertain with
tranquillity; to fill with thoughts that engage the mind without
distracting it.” The thoughts which this stormy evening in late autumn
engaged his mind amidst the wilds of Argyleshire he put forth in a
fine passage when, in the quietness of his study, he came to write the
account of his journey.

    “The night came on while we had yet a great part of the way to
    go, though not so dark but that we could discern the cataracts
    which poured down the hills on one side, and fell into one
    general channel, that ran with great violence on the other.
    The wind was loud, the rain was heavy, and the whistling of
    the blast, the fall of the shower, the rush of the cataracts,
    and the roar of the torrent, made a nobler chorus of the rough
    musick of nature than it had ever been my chance to hear


The man who wrote this noble passage had not surely that insensibility
to nature which is so often laid to his charge. He was sixty-four years
old; mounted on a pony scarcely strong enough to bear his weight, he
had had a long and hard day’s ride through wind and rain; he had dined
in his wet clothes in a hut warmed by a smoky turf fire, and yet at
the end of the day he could say with the enthusiasm of a young poet
that neither darkness nor storm would he willingly have had lessened.
He was supported, no doubt, in his recollections by the comforts of
the inn at Inverary which was, he said, “not only commodious, but
magnificent.” Perhaps he was inspired also by the gill of whisky which
he called for—“the first fermented liquor,” says Boswell, “that he
tasted during his travels.” He forgets, however, the brandy which he
was prevailed on to drink at Dunvegan when he was suffering from cold.
“Come, (said Johnson) let me know what it is that makes a Scotchman
happy.” He thought it preferable to any English malt brandy. “What was
the process,” he writes, “I had no opportunity of enquiring, nor do I
wish to improve the art of making poison pleasant.” To the excellence
of the inn at Inverary, Pennant also bears testimony. Far otherwise
does Burns speak of it, in his indignation at the incivility of the
landlord, whose whole attention was occupied by the visitors of the
Duke of Argyle.

    “Whoe’er he be that sojourns here,
      I pity much his case,
    Unless he comes to wait upon
      The Lord their God his Grace.

    “There’s naething here but Highland pride,
      And Highland scab and hunger;
    If Providence has sent me here,
      ’Twas surely in an anger.”

[Illustration: INVERARY CASTLE.]

At Inverary our travellers rested from Saturday evening till Tuesday
morning. This pleasant little town had a very different, look from
that which it now bears. “This place,” wrote Pennant, “will in time
be very magnificent; but at present the space between the front of
the castle and the water is disgraced with the old town, composed of
the most wretched hovels that can be imagined.”[717] These have long
been cleared away, so that there is now an unbroken view over a finely
wooded lawn of the loch and the hills beyond. It was in the beginning
of September, 1769, that he visited the place. [Sidenote: SUNDAY ON
LOCH FYNE.] “Every evening,” he says, “some hundreds of boats cover
the surface of Loch Fyne. On the week-days the cheerful noise of the
bag-pipe and dance echoes from on board; on the Sabbath each boat
approaches the land, and psalmody and devotion divide the day.” Our
travellers were perhaps too late in the year to witness this curious
scene; at all events they make no mention of it. Had they heard the
psalm-singing on the Sunday they would not have left it unnoticed. The
forenoon of that day they “passed calmly and placidly.” Of all the
Sundays which I passed in Scotland, nowhere did I find such an unbroken
stillness as here. It was far quieter than the towns, for the people
were as still as mice, and it was quieter than the country, for there
was an absence of country noises. We were alone in our hotel. It was
the last day of June, but there were scarcely any other strangers in
the place to enjoy the beautiful scenery and the long summer days.

[Illustration: ELIZABETH GUNNING.]

[Illustration: JOHNSON’S HOST.]


Boswell hesitated, or affected to hesitate, about calling on the Duke
of Argyle. “I had reason to think,” he writes, “that the duchess
disliked me on account of my zeal in the Douglas cause; but the duke
had always been pleased to treat me with great civility.” The duchess
was that famous beauty, Elizabeth Gunning, the wife of two dukes
and the mother of four. Her sister had married the Earl of Coventry.
“The two beautiful sisters,” says Horace Walpole, “were going on the
stage, when they are at once exalted almost as high as they could be,
were countessed and double-duchessed.”[718] The duchess, by her first
husband, the Duke of Hamilton, was the mother of the unsuccessful
competitor for the Douglas estates, and was therefore “prejudiced
against Boswell, who had shown all the bustling importance of his
character in the Douglas cause.”[719] Johnson, on hearing the state
of the case, “was clear that Boswell ought to pay his respects at the
castle. I mentioned,” continues Boswell, “that I was afraid my company
might be disagreeable to the duchess. He treated the objection with a
manly disdain, ‘_That_, Sir, he must settle with his wife.’ He insisted
that I should not go to the castle this day before dinner, as it would
look like seeking an invitation. ‘But,’ said I, ‘if the duke invites us
to dine with him to-morrow, shall we accept?’ ‘Yes, Sir,’ I think he
said, ‘to be sure.’ But he added, ‘He won’t ask us.’” By the duke, who
was sitting over his wine, Boswell was most politely received; but when
he was taken into the drawing-room and introduced, neither the duchess
nor the ladies with her took the least notice of him. The following day
he and Johnson were shown through the castle. “It is a stately place,”
said Johnson. “What I admire here is the total defiance of expense.”
In a low one-horse chair our two travellers were driven through “the
duke’s spacious park and rising forests.” [Sidenote: FINE OLD TREES
AT INVERARY.] “I had,” writes Boswell, “a particular pride in showing
Dr. Johnson a great number of fine old trees, to compensate for the
nakedness which had made such an impression on him on the eastern coast
of Scotland.” Pennant noticed pines nine feet, and beeches from nine to
twelve feet in girth, planted, it was said, by the Earl of Argyle who
was beheaded in 1685. They have grown to a noble size, and in one part
form a long avenue, which would grace that English county which takes
its name from its beech woods. Even in the Black Forest I do not know
that I have seen larger pines. The planting still goes on. A fine young
Spanish chestnut boasts in the inscription which it bears that in the
year 1858 it was planted by Lord Tennyson. “Would,” I exclaimed as I
read the words, “that twin chestnuts of stately growth in like manner
commemorated the visit of Johnson and Boswell.” But Johnson’s trees are
scattered broadcast over Scotland. _Si monumentum quæris, circumspice._

[Illustration: THE AVENUE OF BEECHES.]


The fine collection of arms of which he took much notice still
adorns the hall. Of the pictures no mention is made by either of the
travellers, though in more than one they might have recognized the work
of their friend Sir Joshua. Here is his full-length portrait of the
beautiful duchess, “about whom the world had gone mad” one-and-twenty
years before. When she was presented at Court, “the crowd was so
great,” writes Horace Walpole, “that even the noble mob in the
drawing-room clambered upon chairs and tables to look at her.” As she
passed down to Scotland, “seven hundred people,” it was reported, “sat
up all night in and about an inn in Yorkshire to see her get into
her post-chaise next morning.”[720] Here, too, is a small but lovely
picture of her sister, the Countess of Coventry. On her going down to
her husband’s country seat near Worcester, “a shoemaker in that town
got two guineas and a half by showing a shoe that he was making for her
at a penny a-piece.”[721] In striking contrast with the two sisters are
many of the portraits which hang on the walls. It is a strange company
which is brought together: Mary, Queen of Scots, and her half-sister,
a Countess of Argyle; Oliver Cromwell; the Marquis of Argyle, and just
below him Charles II., who sent him to the scaffold; the earl, his son,
who was beheaded by James II.; and John, the great duke, who broke
the neck of the rebellion in 1715, and rendered desperate the cause of
James II.’s son.


[Illustration: THE OLD DINING ROOM.]


The room in which our travellers dined is much in the state in which
they saw it; the walls panelled with the same festoons, and the chairs
adorned with the same gilding and the same tapestry. But it is turned
to other uses. No “splendid dinner” is served up in it such as Johnson
enjoyed and praised; no “luxuries” such as he defended. No Lady Betty
Hamilton can quietly take her chair after dinner, and lean upon the
back of it, as she listens eagerly to the great talker, who is unaware
that she is just behind him. No Boswell can with a steady countenance
have the satisfaction for once to look a duchess in the face, as with
a respectful air he drinks to her good health. The tables are covered
with books and magazines, and pamphlets, and correspondence. It is the
duke’s business-room where he sees his chamberlain,[722] and where
his librarian receives and sorts the new publications which are ever
coming in, before he transfers them to the shelves of the library.

The noble drawing-room remains unchanged—the gilded ceiling, the old
French tapestry covering the walls, the gilt tapestry chairs, the oaken
floor, up and down which the duke and Boswell walked conversing, while
her grace made Dr. Johnson come and sit by her. All is the same, except
that time has dealt kindly by the tapestry and the gilding, and refined
them in their fading.

[Illustration: TAPESTRY BEDROOM.]

Faujas Saint-Fond, who spent three days in the castle a few years
later, is full of praise of everything which he saw. The duke and his
family, he says, spoke French with a purity not unworthy of the highest
society in Paris. The cookery, with the exception of a few dishes,
was French, and was excellent. There was an abundance of hot-house
fruits. There were silver forks instead of “ces petits tridens d’acier
bien aigus, en forme de dard, fixés sur un manche, dont on se sert
ordinairement en Angleterre, même dans les maisons où l’on donne de
fort bons dîners.”[723] Still more did he rejoice at seeing napkins on
the table, a rare sight in England. The hours of meals were, breakfast
at ten o’clock, dinner at half-past four, and supper at ten. At dinner,
after the ladies had withdrawn, “la cérémonie des _toasts_” lasted at
least three-quarters of an hour![724]


At Inverary Johnson met not only the descendants of a long line of
famous statesmen, but also the ancestor of a great historian. Lord
Macaulay’s grandfather was at this time Minister of Inverary. He passed
the evening with our travellers at their inn after they had returned
from dining at the Castle, and got somewhat roughly handled in talk.

    “When Dr. Johnson spoke of people whose principles were good,
    but whose practice was faulty, Mr. Macaulay said, he had no
    notion of people being in earnest in their good professions,
    whose practice was not suitable to them. The doctor grew warm,
    and said, ‘Sir, are you so grossly ignorant of human nature, as
    not to know that a man may be very sincere in good principles,
    without having good practice?’”

On this Sir George Trevelyan remarks in his life of his uncle:—“When
we think what well-known ground this was to Lord Macaulay it is
impossible to suppress a wish that the great talker had been at hand
to avenge his grandfather and grand-uncle.”[725] “A hundred to one on
Sam Johnson,” say we. It is a pity that it was not at the Manse that
they spent that Sunday evening; for there the little child who was
one day to make the name of Zachary Macaulay famous as the liberator
of the slaves would have gazed with eager open eyes on the great
Englishman, who had startled the grave men at Oxford by giving as
his toast:—“Here’s to the next insurrection of the negroes in the


The Duke of Argyle, who had heard Dr. Johnson complain that the
shelties were too small for his weight, “was obliging enough to mount
him on a stately steed from his Grace’s stable.” Joseph (Boswell’s
servant), said:—“He now looks like a bishop.” Leaving Inverary on the
morning of Tuesday, October 26, they rode round the head of Loch Fyne
through Glencroe to Tarbet on Loch Lomond. Boswell, who was becoming
somewhat indolent in keeping his journal, passes over this part of
their tour in silence. Saint-Fond speaks of the Glen as “ce triste
passage.” Pennant describes it as “the seat of melancholy,” and Johnson
as “a black and dreary region. At the top of the hill,” he adds, “is
a seat with this inscription, ‘Rest and be thankful.’ Stones were
placed to mark the distances, which the inhabitants have taken away,
resolved, they said, to have no new miles.” The road was that at which
Wolfe’s men had been working twenty years earlier.

[Illustration: “REST AND BE THANKFUL.”]


“He that has gained at length the wished for height,” still finds as
Wordsworth many years later found “this brief, this simple wayside
call,” _Rest and be Thankful_; but there is no longer a seat where his
weary limbs may repose. Perhaps some day it will be restored with the
old inscription and the following addition:—“James Wolfe, 1753. Samuel
Johnson, 1773. William Wordsworth, 1831.” It is on a mile-stone, or on
what looks like a mile-stone, that the inscription is now read. Beneath
is carved.

                          MILITARY ROAD REPD.
                          BY 93D REGT. 1768.
                            TRANSFERRED TO
                      COMMRS FOR H. R. & B.[726]
                           IN THE YEAR 1814.

One of the earlier tablets, which were believed to have been put up by
Wolfe’s men, was pulled down many years ago by a farmer at Ardvoirlich,
and transformed into a hearth stone.[727] Glencroe is but little
changed since Johnson looked upon it. It is still lonely and grand.
The tourist’s carriage breaks the quiet from time to time, but it soon
sinks back into “sublimity, silence and solitude.” When we passed
through it there was no succession of cataracts and no roaring torrent
such as Johnson described. The long drought had made a silence in the
hills. We met only one tourist—a lad on his bicycle who had escaped
that morning from the smoke of Glasgow, and full of eagerness and life,
was pressing on to the inn where his long ride of fifty miles would
find its pleasant termination in dinner and a bed. I called to mind how
seven and thirty years before when I was just such another youngster,
as I was crossing the top of the Glen, I had seen in the distance
something white fluttering in the wind. It was a big Highlander
returning, as he told us, from Glasgow. Overcome by the heat of the
day, and incommoded by a garment to which he was not much accustomed,
he had taken off his trousers and was carrying them on his shoulders.
It was his shirt that had caught my eye.



At Tarbet our travellers dined at the little inn on the bank of Loch
Lomond. Here, a few years later, Saint-Fond and his party arrived very
late on a rainy night in September. They were on their way from Glasgow
to Inverary, and had meant to rest at Luss. Unfortunately for them it
was the time of the autumn circuit. The inn looked like a fisherman’s
hut. The landlady coming out made them a sign that they must not utter
a sound. They were thrust into a stable, where she said:—“Le lord juge
me fait l’honorable faveur dans sa tournée de loger chez moi; il est
là; chacun doit respecter ce qu’il fait; il dort.” She added that she
could take in neither them nor their horses. They remonstrated, “Point
de bruit, ne troublez pas le sommeil du juge, respect à la loi; soyez
heureux et partez.” They had no help for it, but drove on with their
weary horses through the night and the heavy rain to Tarbet, where
they arrived between three and four next morning. There they found all
the beds occupied by jurymen, who were on their way to Inverary. The
landlady did what she could to make them comfortable, and gave them
some good tea in a set of China cups which had been given her by the
Duchess of Argyle.[728]

[Illustration: ROSEDEW.]


At Stuckgown, close to Tarbet, Lord Jeffrey for many years passed a
few weeks of every summer, in a quietness and solitude which have for
ever fled the place. Writing from Tarbet on August 5, 1818, he says:
“Here we are in a little inn on the banks of Loch Lomond, in the midst
of the mists of the mountains, the lakes, heaths, rocks, and cascades
which have been my passion since I was a boy, and to which, like a
boy, I have run away the instant I could get my hands clear of law,
and review, and Edinburgh. They have no post-horses in the Highlands,
and we sent away those that brought us here, with orders to come back
for us to morrow, and so we are left without a servant, entirely at
the mercy of the natives.” He goes on to mention a steam-boat “which
circumnavigates the whole lake every day in about ten hours. It was
certainly very strange and striking to hear and see it hissing and
roaring past the headlands of our little bay, foaming and spouting
like an angry whale; but on the whole it rather vulgarises the scene
too much, and I am glad that it is found not to answer, and is to be
dropped next year.”[729] At Tarbet the tourist who is oppressed with
the size of the hotel and the army of waiters, and who sees the pier
as I saw it crowned with an automatic sweetmeat machine, may well
wish that the steam-boat had never been found to answer. The scene
is hopelessly vulgarised. It is fast sinking into the paradise of
cockneys. I asked for that variety of bread which I remember to have
seen served up there thirty-seven years ago. I was scornfully told that
in those days the Scotch had not known how to bake, but that now they
could make a large loaf as well as anyone. At Inverary I had in vain
asked for oat-cakes at my hotel. If Johnson were to make his journey in
these present times, and were confined to the big tourists’ hotels, he
would certainly no longer say that an epicure, wherever he had supped,
would wish to breakfast in Scotland.

[Illustration: INCH GALBRAITH.]


From Tarbet he rode along the shores of Loch Lomond to Rosedew,[730]
the house of Sir James Colquhoun. “It was a place,” says the historian
of Dumbartonshire, “rich in historic associations, but about 1770 it
was superseded by a new mansion, to which large additions have since
been made.”[731] Here Boswell passed in review Johnson’s courteous
behaviour at Inverary, and said, “‘You were quite a fine gentleman when
with the duchess.’ He answered in good humour, ‘Sir, I look upon myself
as a very polite man.’” Next morning “we took,” writes Johnson, “a boat
to rove upon the lake. It has about thirty islands, of which twenty
belong to Sir James. Young Colquhoun[732] went into the boat with us,
but a little agitation of the water frighted him to shore. We passed
up and down and landed upon one small island,[733] on which are the
ruins of a castle; and upon another much larger, which serves Sir James
for a park, and is remarkable for a large wood of yew trees.” Just one
hundred years later, on December 18, 1873, that very fate befell one of
his descendants which the young Colquhoun dreaded for himself. In the
darkness of a winter’s evening his boat was upset as he was coming home
from the Yew Island, and he was drowned with three of his gamekeepers
and a boy. It was never known how the accident happened, for no one
escaped; but the boat was heavily laden with the dead bodies of some
stags, which they had shot in the island, and the unhappy men were
weighed down with their accoutrements and the ammunition which they
carried. The yew trees were planted, it was said, on the advice of King
Robert Bruce, in order to furnish the Lennox men with trusty bows.[734]
The old castle, “on which the osprey built her annual nest,” is so much
buried in ivy that it is not easily distinguished from the surrounding
woods. [Sidenote: ROVING ON LOCH LOMOND.] We hired a boat at Luss and
in our turn roved upon the lake. We landed on one of the islands and
lunched on the top of a rock by the ruins of a second castle. Loch
Lomond, studded with islands, lay like a mirror beneath us, with the
huge Ben Lomond for a noble background. From time to time a boat broke
the smoothness of the water, and the cry of a gull, or the bark of a
far-away dog, the stillness of the air. We spoke of the heat and bustle
of the world, but imagination almost refused to picture them in so
peaceful a spot. Our boatman was a man of a strong mind, which had not
been suffered to lie barren. He bore his part well in a talk on books.
I had chanced to mention the serfs who worked in the coal-mines and
salt-pans in Scotland; he at once struck into the conversation. “Sir
Walter Scott,” he said, “makes one of his characters say, ‘he would not
take him back like a collier on a salter.’ This made me look the matter
up for I did not understand what he meant.” [Sidenote: OLD AND
NEW DOMINIES.] He praised the old Scotch common schools. “We
Scotchmen,” he proudly said, “have had education for three hundred
years. A Scotch working-man would starve to death to give his son
a good education.” The present race of schoolmasters who are “paid
by results,” he contrasted unfavourably with those whom he had
known in his boyhood. “The old Dominies would willingly teach all
that they knew, and grudged no time to a boy who was eager for
knowledge; but now they are like other people, and when they have
done their day’s work they will do no more.” In the village club
to which he belonged, they had in the last two or three winters
engaged for a few weeks a young Glasgow student to teach them
elocution, “for how could they enjoy Shakespeare if they did not
know how to read him properly?” He praised the Colquhouns. “They
would never send any of their tenants to prison for poaching. They
might fine them, but the money they would give away in charity.” He
spoke of the old clan feeling, and of the protection given by the
laird. His grandfather, who was a farmer, a Macpherson by name, had
married a Macqueen.[735] On a rapid fall in the price of Highland
cattle he fell into money difficulties, and was harshly threatened
with a forced sale by one of his creditors. The Laird of the
Macqueens said significantly to this man: “You may do whatever you
like against Macpherson, but remember that his wife is a Macqueen.”
The hint was enough, and the proceedings were at once dropped. Our
boatman had read Johnson’s _Journey to the Western Islands_, but
said that Scotchmen feel too sore about him to like reading him.
I opened the book, for I had it with me, and read the concluding
words in which he says: “Novelty and ignorance must always be
reciprocal, and I cannot but be conscious that my thoughts on
national manners are the thoughts of one who has seen but little.”
My boatman was much struck with his modesty, and seemed to think
that he had formed too severe a judgment.

[Illustration: YEW TREE ISLAND.]

Boswell was not so careful in recording Johnson’s talk on the Lake
as I was with our boatman’s. “I recollect,” he writes, “none of his
conversation, except that, when talking of dress, he said, ‘Sir, were
I to have any thing fine, it should be very fine. Were I to wear a
ring, it should not be a bauble, but a stone of great value. Were I to
wear a laced or embroidered waistcoat, it should be very rich. I had
once a very rich laced waistcoat, which I wore the first night of my
tragedy.’” Johnson, nearly five and twenty years before, sat in one of
the side-boxes of Drury Lane Theatre, in a scarlet waistcoat, with rich
gold lace, and a gold-laced hat, listening to the catcalls whistling
before the curtain rose; how little could he have thought that one day
he would boast of his costume as he was roving in a boat upon Loch

[Illustration: CAMERON.]


In the evening they drove to Cameron, the seat of Commissary Smollett.
It was the first drive which they had taken since at Inverness they
began their _equitation_ full two months earlier. “Our satisfaction,”
says Boswell, “of [_sic_] finding ourselves again in a comfortable
carriage was very great. We had a pleasing conviction of the
commodiousness of civilisation, and heartily laughed at the ravings
of those absurd visionaries who have attempted to persuade us of the
superior advantages of a _state of nature_.” With these visionaries
Boswell himself sometimes sided. The people of Otaheite especially
had won his admiration. “No, Sir;” said Johnson to him on one such
occasion: “You are not to talk such paradox; let me have no more
on’t. It cannot entertain, far less can it instruct.” “Don’t cant in
defence of savages,” he said, on another occasion. At Cameron they
had none of this fanciful talk. Their host “was a man of considerable
learning, with abundance of animal spirits; so that he was a very good
companion for Dr. Johnson, who said, ‘We have had more solid talk
here than at any place where we have been.’” He was a relation of the
great novelist, and one of the four judges of the Commissary Court in
Edinburgh. It was the sole court in Scotland which took cognisance
of actions about marriage, and the Supreme Court in all questions of
probate. “It sat,” says the lively Topham, “in a little room of about
ten feet square; from the darkness and dirtiness of it you would rather
imagine that those who were brought into it were confined there.” The
judges were paid rather by perquisites than by salaries. In each cause
they fixed the amount which the litigants should pay them for the
sentence which they pronounced.[736]

[Illustration: SMOLLETT’S PILLAR.]


Smollett, in his _Humphry Clinker_, brings Matthew Bramble and his
nephew to Cameron, who describe it as “a very neat country house,
but so embosomed in an oak wood that we did not see it till we were
within fifty yards of the door.” “If I was disposed to be critical,”
Mr. Bramble continues, “I should say it is too near the Lake,
which approaches on one side to within six or seven yards of the
window.”[737] The Commissary had erected a pillar by the side of the
high road to Glasgow, “to the memory of his ingenious kinsman,” who
two years earlier had died in Italy, “Eheu! quam procul a patria!” The
Latin inscription for this monument was shown to Johnson, and revised
by him “with an ardent and liberal earnestness.” The copy with the
corrections in his handwriting is preserved among the family papers at

[Illustration: DUNBARTON.]

On Thursday, October 28, a postchaise which Boswell had ordered from
Glasgow, “came for us,” he says, “and we drove on in high spirits.”
On their way they stopped at Dunbarton, then “a small but good old
town, consisting principally of one large street in the form of
a crescent;”[739] but now a smoky seat of the iron ship-building
industry. The steep rock on which the Castle stands Johnson “ascended
with alacrity.” [Sidenote: THE “SARACEN’S HEAD,” GLASGOW.] At Glasgow
they stayed at the “Saracen’s Head,” “the paragon of inns in the eyes
of the Scotch,” says a writer in the _Gentleman’s Magazine_, “but
most wretchedly managed.”[740] Our two travellers seem to have been
contented. Johnson, no doubt, was kept in the best of humours by the
sight of a great many letters from England, after the long interval of
sixty-eight days during which not a line had reached him. “He enjoyed
in imagination the comforts which we could now command, and seemed
to be in high glee. I remember, he put a leg up on each side of the
grate, and said, with a mock solemnity, by way of soliloquy, but loud
enough for me to hear it: ‘Here am I, an ENGLISH man, sitting by a
_coal_ fire.’” Of fires made by peat, that “sullen fuel,” he had had
enough in the last two months. All along the sea-board coal was made
artificially dear by the folly of Parliament. A duty of five shillings
and fourpence per chaldron, says Knox, was levied on coal at ports;
none on inland coal. It had to be landed at a port where there is a
custom-house, and might then be re-shipped for some other place in the
neighbourhood.[741] Custom-houses were few and far between, so that
in many cases, if coal was used at all, it would have had to be twice
landed and twice shipped. On this mischievous regulation Adam Smith
remarks: “Where coals are naturally cheap they are consumed duty free;
where they are naturally dear, they are loaded with a heavy duty.”[742]

The “Saracen’s Head” with its coal fire has disappeared. My boatman
had heard the old people talk of it. In this inn the following morning
Dr. Reid, the philosopher, and two of the other professors of the
University breakfasted with Johnson. He met some of them also at
dinner, tea, and supper. “I was not much pleased with any of them,”
he wrote to Mrs. Thrale. Boswell unfortunately was again lazy with
his journal, and kept no record of the talk. [Sidenote: THE GLASGOW
PROFESSORS.] Writing long afterwards, he says: “The general impression
upon my memory is, that we had not much conversation at Glasgow, where
the professors, like their brethren at Aberdeen, did not venture to
expose themselves much to the battery of cannon which they knew might
play upon them.” Reid’s silence was perhaps merely due to that reserve
which he generally shewed among strangers.[743] Had fate been kinder,
the great Clow might have been still among them, who twenty-two years
before had been preferred both to Hume and Burke as Adam Smith’s
successor in the Chair of Logic.[744] The story of the Billingsgate
altercation between Smith and Johnson, recorded by Sir Walter Scott,
is wholly untrue. Smith was not at this time in Glasgow. It is, no
doubt, one of those tales about Johnson in which Scotch invention was
humorously displayed. It was, perhaps, meant as a reply to the question
which one day, in London, he put to Adam Smith, who was boasting of
Glasgow, “Pray, sir, have you ever seen Brentford?” Boswell says: “I
put him in mind of it to-day while he expressed his admiration of the
elegant buildings, and whispered him, ‘Don’t you feel some remorse?’”
Smith’s pride in the city where he had spent more than three years as a
student, and twelve as a professor, was assuredly well-founded. Johnson
calls it “opulent and handsome,” and Boswell “beautiful.” [Sidenote:
GLASGOW IN DAYS OF OLD.] Nearly two centuries earlier Camden had said
that “for pleasant situation, apple-trees, and other like fruit-trees,
it is much commended.”[745] Defoe describes it as “indeed a very fine
city; the four principal streets are the fairest for breadth, and the
finest built that I have ever seen in one city together. It is the
cleanest, and beautifullest, and best built city in Britain, London
excepted.”[746] Another traveller of about the same date says that “it
is the beautifullest little city he had seen in Britain. It stands
deliciously on the banks of the River Clyde.”[747] In June, 1757,
John Wesley went up to the top of the cathedral steeple. “It gave
us a fine prospect,” he writes, “both of the city and the adjacent
country. A more fruitful and better cultivated plain is scarce to be
seen in England.”[748] Smollett swells the general chorus of praise:
“Glasgow is the pride of Scotland. It is one of the prettiest towns in
Europe.”[749] Pennant, who visited it the year before Johnson, calls it
“the best built of any second-rate city I ever saw. The view from the
Cross has an air of vast magnificence.”[750]

At the Rebellion of 1745 the citizens had shown the greatest loyalty.
They raised and supported at their own expense two battalions of six
hundred men each, who joined the duke’s army. Their town was occupied
by the Pretender’s forces, who for ten days lived there at free
quarters. They had had to pay, moreover, two heavy fines, amounting to
more than nine thousand pounds, imposed on them for their fidelity to
the Hanoverian Family. In 1749, in answer to their petition for relief,
they received a grant from Parliament of ten thousand pounds.[751] On
April 24 of that same year a stage-coach began to run between Glasgow
and Edinburgh, starting from Edinburgh every Monday and Thursday,
and from Glasgow every Tuesday and Friday. “Every person pays nine
shillings fare, and is allowed a stone-weight of luggage.”[752] By
the year 1783 far greater facilities were afforded. In John Tait’s
_Directory for Glasgow_ of that year (p. 77) it is announced that
“three machines set out from each town every day at eight morning.
They stop on the road and change horses. Tickets, 10_s._ 6_d._ each.”
There was another daily “machine” belonging to a different set of
proprietors, besides one which ran only three times a week, and charged
but 8_s._ 6_d._ “The Carlisle Diligence,” it is announced, “sets out
every lawful day.”

As we gaze on the filthy river which runs by the large city, on the
dense cloud of smoke which hangs over it, on the grimy streets which
have swallowed up the country far and wide, while we exult in the
display of man’s ingenuity and strength, and in the commerce by which
the good things of earth are so swiftly and cheaply interchanged, we
may mourn over the beautiful little town among the apple-trees which
stood so deliciously on the banks of the fair and pure stream that ran
to seawards beneath the arches of the old stone bridge. How far removed
from us are those days when Glasgow was pillaged by the wild rabble of
Highlanders! Yet I have an uncle[753] still living who remembers his
grandfather and his grandfather’s brother, one of whom had climbed up
a tree to see the other march with a body of Worcestershire volunteers
against the Young Pretender.

Johnson, after seeing the sights of the city, visited the college.
“It has not had,” he writes, “a sufficient share of the increasing
magnificence of the place.” From the account which Dr. Alexander
Carlyle gives of the citizens, as he had known them about thirty years
earlier, they were not likely to trouble themselves much about the
glory of their University. With a few exceptions they were “shopkeepers
and mechanics, or successful pedlars, who occupied large warerooms full
of manufactures of all sorts to furnish a cargo to Virginia. In those
accomplishments and that taste that belong to people of opulence, much
more to persons of education, they were far behind the citizens of
Edinburgh.” There was not a teacher of French or of music in the whole
town. [Sidenote: GLASGOW UNIVERSITY.] Nevertheless, in the University
itself he found “learning an object of more importance, and the habit
of application much more general” than in the rival institution in the
capital.[754] Wesley compared the two squares which formed the college
with the small quadrangles of Lincoln College, Oxford, of which he
was a Fellow, and did not think them larger, or at all handsomer. He
was surprised at the dress of the students. “They wear scarlet gowns,
reaching only to their knees. Most I saw were very dirty, some very
ragged, and all of very coarse cloth.”[755] How much more surprised
would he have been at the far shorter gowns now worn by the commoners
in his own university, showing, as they do, a raggedness which is not
the effect of age and wear, but of intentional mutilation! There is
an affectation of antiquity quite as much in a freshman’s gown, as in
the pedigree of some upstart who boasts that he is sprung from the
Plantagenets. The college numbered at this time about four hundred
students, most of whom lived in lodgings, but some boarded with the


The principal was Dr. Leechman, whose sermon on prayer had once raised
a storm “among the high-flying clergy.”[757]

    “In his house Dr. Johnson had the satisfaction of being told
    that his name had been gratefully celebrated in one of the
    parochial congregations in the Highlands, as the person to
    whose influence it was chiefly owing that the New Testament was
    allowed to be translated into the Erse language. It seems some
    political members of the Society in Scotland for propagating
    Christian Knowledge had opposed this pious undertaking, as
    tending to preserve the distinction between the Highlanders and

Johnson, in a letter full of generous indignation, had maintained that
“he that voluntarily continues ignorance, is guilty of all the crimes
which ignorance produces,” and had compared these political Christians
to the planters of America, “a race of mortals whom, I suppose, no
other man wishes to resemble.”[758] Though he was no doubt struck
by Leechman’s appearance, “which was that of an ascetic, reduced by
fasting and prayer,” yet in his talk he could have had no pleasure.
“He was not able to carry on common conversation, and when he spoke
at all, it was a short lecture.” The young students who were invited
to his house, longed to be summoned from the library to tea in the
drawing-room, where his wife “maintained a continued conversation on
plays, novels, poetry, and the fashions.”[759]

[Illustration: DUNDONALD CASTLE.]



On Saturday, October 30, our travellers set out on their way to
Boswell’s home at Auchinleck, in Ayrshire. Part of the way must
have been over a wild country, for a few years earlier, in his
“Instructions” for his friend Temple on his tour to Auchinleck, he
writes: “Set out [from Glasgow] for Kingswell, to which you have a
good road; arrived there, get a guide to put you through the muir to
Loudoun.”[760] He and Johnson did not go the whole distance in one
day, though they had but thirty-four miles to travel. They broke their
journey at the house of Mr. Campbell, of Treesbank, who had married
Mrs. Boswell’s sister. Here they rested till Tuesday. At a few miles
distance Robert Burns, a lad of thirteen, “a dexterous ploughman for
his age,” was spending his boyhood “in unceasing moil” and hardship,
not having as yet “committed the sin of rhyme.” Boswell, I believe,
much as he admired Allan Ramsay’s poem in the Scottish dialect, _The
Gentle Shepherd_, never makes mention of Burns, and Burns only once
mentions him. In the _Author’s Earnest Cry and Prayer_, written before
the year 1786, he says:

    “Alas! I’m but a nameless wight,
    Trode i’ the mire an’ out o’ sight!
    But could I like Montgomeries fight,
        Or gab[761] like Boswell,
    There’s some sark-necks[762] I wad draw tight,
        An’ tie some hose well.”

[Sidenote: “KING BOB’S” CASTLE.]

Dundonald Castle, in which Robert II. lived and died, our travellers
visited on Monday morning. “It has long been unroofed,” writes
Boswell, “and though of considerable size we could not by any power
of imagination, figure it as having been a suitable habitation for
majesty. Dr. Johnson, to irritate my _old Scottish_ enthusiasm, was
very jocular on the homely accommodation of “King _Bob_,” and roared
and laughed till the ruins echoed.”

The castle belongs to two periods. The original keep was eighty-one
feet long, forty broad, and seventy high. It was afterwards lengthened
at the southern end by seventeen feet. “The great hall has been a very
noble apartment.”[763] Boswell justly praises the view. “It stands,” he
says, “on a beautiful rising ground, which is seen at a great distance
on several quarters, and from whence there is an extensive prospect of
the rich district of Cunninghame, the western sea, the isle of Arran,
and a part of the northern coast of Ireland.” Camden quaintly says that
“the name _Cunninghame_, if one interpret it, is as much as the _Kings
Habitation_, by which a man may guess how commodious and pleasant
it is.”[764] As I sat on the Castle hill, and looked over the fine
country to the north-west, I could have wished that the tall chimneys
of Irvine, pouring forth clouds of smoke, had been out of sight. In the
plain, at the distance of about a mile, a thin line of steam showed
where a heavy train was creeping along the railway. Just beneath us the
low spire of the church rose among the trees, while in the gardens of
the cottages that clustered around it there was an abundance of fruit
trees and of vegetables which would have delighted Johnson’s heart,
such as “King Bob” never saw or even dreamt of. Beyond the village were
undulating fields of well-cultivated land. To the west, almost within
bow-shot, stands a steep rocky hill—a counterpart of that on which the
castle is placed—all covered with wood. High over the old ruins the
swifts were flying and screaming. The sole tenants of the great hall
were some black cattle whom my entrance disturbed. Where kings once
kept their court, and frowned and were flattered,

        “There but houseless cattle go
    To shield them from the storm.”

High up on the wall of the keep there are two stone shields, on which
still can be traced the royal and the Stewart arms. Little did they who
carved them think that the day was to come when they would have sunk
into the ornaments of a cow-house.

[Illustration: OLD AUCHANS.]


From Dundonald our travellers rode on a short distance to Auchans,
the house of the Dowager Countess of Eglintoune. Johnson, in a letter
to Mrs. Thrale, describes her as “a lady who for many years gave the
laws of elegance to Scotland. She is in full vigour of mind, and not
much impaired in form. She is only eighty-three. She was remarking
that her marriage was in the year eight; and I told her my birth was
in nine. ‘Then,’ says she, ‘I am just old enough to be your mother,
and I will take you for my son.’ She called Boswell the boy. ‘Yes,
Madam,’ said I, ‘we will send him to school.’ ‘He is already,’ said
she, ‘in a good school;’ and expressed her hope of his improvement. At
last night came, and I was sorry to leave her.” “She had been,” writes
Boswell, “the admiration of the gay circles of life, and the patroness
of poets.” To her Allan Ramsay had dedicated his _Gentle Shepherd_,
and Hamilton of Bangour had addressed verses. With his reception
Johnson was delighted, so congenial were their principles in church
and state. “In her bed-rooms,” says Dr. Robert Chambers, “was hung a
portrait of her sovereign _de jure_, the ill-starred Charles Edward, so
situated as to be the first object which met her sight on awaking in
the morning.”[765] She who had patronised poets and worshipped princes
in her last years amused herself by taming rats. “She had a panel in
the oak wainscot of her dining-room, which she tapped upon and opened
at meal-times, when ten or twelve jolly rats came tripping forth and
joined her at table.” She died in 1780, at the age of ninety-one.[766]

[Illustration: OLD AUCHANS.]

[Sidenote: OLD AUCHANS.]

Auchans—Old Auchans as it is now called—since the countess’s death
has been chiefly inhabited by caretakers. It was built in 1644, at a
time when in the houses of the great comfort was more studied than
means of defence. Nevertheless “we find some shot-holes near the
entrance doorway.”[767] It is finely placed among the trees, with views
of Dundonald Castle on one side and of the sea in the distance on the
other. The interior has been greatly altered by the division of rooms
and blocking up of windows and passages. We were only shown a small
part of it, and looked with sadness on the broken ceiling in what by
tradition is known as the dining-room. It is a pity that so interesting
and so fine a building should have suffered under the neglect of a
whole century. It is so strongly built that it looks as if it could,
at no excessive expense, be once more made habitable. Johnson had not
been easily persuaded to visit it, but “he was so much pleased with
his entertainment, that he owned,” says Boswell, “that I had done well
to force him out.” No less pleased was the old countess, “who, when
they were going away, embraced him, saying, ‘My dear son, farewell.’”
Neither of this visit nor of one which he had paid two days earlier to
the Earl of Loudoun, who “jumped for joy” at the thought of seeing him,
does he make any mention in his book. He was the last man to indulge
“in that vain ostentatious importance,” which he censured in many
people, “of quoting the authority of dukes and lords.” He merely says
that, “on our way from Glasgow to Auchinleck we found several places
remarkable enough in themselves, but already described by those who
viewed them at more leisure, or with much more skill.”



On Tuesday, November 2, our travellers having ordered a chaise from
Kilmarnock, drove to Auchinleck, where they arrived in time for dinner.
“We purpose,” wrote Johnson that same evening, “to stay here some days,
more or fewer, as we are used.” He said “we” advisedly, for he knew
that not only between Lord Auchinleck and himself there was little in
common, but that also between the father and son there was no freedom
of intercourse. “My father,” Boswell once complained, “cannot bear that
his son should talk with him as a man.”[768] How uncomfortable was his
position at home is shown by a letter which he wrote to his friend the
Rev. Mr. Temple in September, 1775:

    “I came to Auchinleck on Monday last, and I have patiently
    lived at it till Saturday evening.... It is hardly credible
    how difficult it is for a man of my sensibility to support
    existence in the family where I now am. My father, whom I
    really both respect and affectionate (if that is a word, for
    it is a different feeling from that which is expressed by
    _love_, which I can say of you from my soul), is so different
    from me. We _divaricate_ so much, as Dr. Johnson said, that
    I am often hurt when, I dare say, he means no harm: and he
    has a method of treating me which makes me feel myself like
    a _timid boy_, which to _Boswell_ (comprehending all that my
    character does in my own imagination and in that of a wonderful
    number of mankind) is intolerable. His wife too, whom in my
    conscience I cannot condemn for any capital bad quality, is so
    narrow-minded, and, I don’t know how, so set upon keeping him
    under her own management, and so suspicious and so sourishly
    tempered that it requires the utmost exertion of practical
    philosophy to keep myself quiet. I however have done so all
    this week to admiration: nay, I have appeared good-humoured;
    but it has cost me drinking a considerable quantity of strong
    beer to dull my faculties.”[769]

It can scarcely be doubted that he is describing the position which he
himself held at home, in an essay which he published in the _London
Magazine_ in 1781 (p. 253):

    “I knew a father who was a violent Whig, and used to attack his
    son for being a Tory, upbraiding him with being deficient in
    ‘noble sentiments of liberty,’ while at the same time he made
    this son live under his roof in such bondage, that he was not
    only afraid to stir from home without leave, like a child, but
    durst scarcely open his mouth in his father’s presence. This
    was sad living. Yet I would rather see such an excess of awe
    than a degree of familiarity between father and son by which
    all reverence is destroyed.”

[Illustration: AUCHINLECK.]

Lord Auchinleck had taken unto himself a second wife on the very day
of his son’s marriage. She was, in all likelihood, in the house at the
time of Johnson’s visit, but neither by him nor Boswell is she once
mentioned. She remained, no doubt, silent and insignificant. With their
reception they must have been satisfied on the whole, as they prolonged
their stay till the sixth day, in spite of the famous altercation which
Boswell’s piety forbade him to record at any length. That only one such
scene should have occurred speaks well for the self-control both of
host and guest. To Boswell Johnson had quickly become attached. “Give
me your hand,” he said to him in the first weeks of their acquaintance,
“I have taken a liking to you.” A month or so later he added, “There
are few people to whom I take so much as to you.” But Lord Auchinleck,
though he might have respected he never could have liked. No men were
more unlike in everything but personal appearance, than Boswell and his
father. The old man had none of that “facility of manners,” of which,
according to Adam Smith, the son “was happily possessed.”[770] Whence
he got it we are nowhere told—perhaps from his mother. It certainly
was not from his paternal grandfather, the old advocate, “who was a
slow, dull man of unwearied perseverance and unmeasurable length in
his speeches. It was alleged he never understood a cause till he had
lost it thrice.”[771] [Sidenote: BOSWELL’S DUTCH BLOOD.] There were
those who attributed Boswell’s eccentricities to his great grandmother,
Veronica, Countess of Kincardine, a Dutch lady of the noble house of
Sommelsdyck. “For this marriage,” writes Ramsay of Ochtertyre, “their
posterity paid dear, for most of them had peculiarities which they had
better have wanted.” He adds that “Boswell’s behaviour on the occasion
of the riots in Edinburgh about the Douglas cause, savoured so much of
insanity, that it was generally imputed to his Dutch blood.”[772] Why
madness was supposed to come from Holland I do not know. Sir William
Temple, writing of that country, says: “In general all appetites and
passions seem to run lower and cooler here than in other countries
where I have conversed. Their tempers are not airy enough for joy or
any unusual strains of pleasant humour, nor warm enough for love. This
is talked of sometimes among the younger men, but as a thing they have
heard of rather than felt; and as a discourse that becomes them rather
than affects them.”[773] All this was the very reverse of Boswell’s
eager and wild youth, though perhaps not unlike the character of his
father and grandfather. [Sidenote: AUCHINLECK LIBRARY.] There was one
thing in common between Johnson and the old judge, both were sound
scholars. At Auchinleck there was a library “which,” says Boswell,
“incurious editions of the Greek and Roman classics is, I suppose, not
excelled by any private collection in Great Britain.”

Here Johnson found an edition of Anacreon which he had long sought in
vain. “They had therefore much matter for conversation without touching
on the fatal topics of difference.” In all questions of Church and
State they were wide as the poles asunder. In the perfect confidence
which each man had in his own judgment there was nothing to choose
between them.


    “My father,” writes Boswell, “was as sanguine a Whig and
    Presbyterian as Dr. Johnson was a Tory and Church-of-England
    man: and as he had not much leisure to be informed of Dr.
    Johnson’s great merits by reading his works, he had a partial
    and unfavourable notion of him, founded on his supposed
    political tenets; which were so discordant to his own, that
    instead of speaking of him with that respect to which he was
    entitled, he used to call him ‘_a Jacobite fellow_.’ Knowing
    all this, I should not have ventured to bring them together,
    had not my father, out of kindness to me, desired me to invite
    Dr. Johnson to his house. I was very anxious that all should
    be well; and begged of my friend to avoid three topics, as to
    which they differed very widely; Whiggism, Presbyterianism,
    and—Sir John Pringle. He said courteously, ‘I shall certainly
    not talk on subjects which I am told are disagreeable to a
    gentleman under whose roof I am; especially, I shall not do so
    to _your father_.’”

Yet with all Lord Auchinleck’s gravity and contempt of his son’s
flightiness, he had known what it was not only to be young, but to be
foolish. Like so many of the young Scotchmen of old, he had been sent
to Holland to study civil law. Thence he had made his way to Paris,
where he had played the fop. Years afterwards one of the companions
of his youth, meeting his son at Lord Kames’s table, “told him that
he had seen his father strutting abroad in red-heeled shoes and red
stockings. The lad was so much diverted with it that he could hardly
sit on his chair for laughing.”[774] His appointment as judge he owed
to that most corrupt of Whig ministers, the Duke of Newcastle,[775]
and he was as Whiggish as his patron. King William III., “one of the
most worthless scoundrels that ever existed,” according to Johnson,
was to him the greatest hero in modern times. Presbyterianism he loved
all the more because it was a cheap religion, and narrowed the power
of the clergy. He laid it down as a rule that a poor clergy was ever a
pure clergy. He added that in former times they had timber communion
cups and silver ministers, but now we were getting silver cups and
timber ministers.[776] According to Sir Walter Scott he carried “his
Whiggery and Presbyterianism to such a height, that once, when a
countryman came in to state some justice business, and being required
to make his oath, declined to do so before his lordship, because he
was not a _covenanted_ magistrate—‘Is that a’ your objection, mon?’
said the judge: ‘come your ways in here, and we’ll baith of us tak the
solemn league and covenant together.’ The oath was accordingly agreed
and sworn to by both, and I dare say it was the last time it ever
received such homage.”[777] He would have nothing to do with clearing
his tongue of Scotticisms, or with smoothing and rounding his periods
on the model of the English classical authors. “His Scotch was broad
and vulgar.”[778] In one thing at all events he was sure of receiving
Johnson’s warm approval. He was a great planter of trees. “It was,”
he said, “his favourite recreation. In his vacations he used to prune
with his own hands the trees which he himself had planted. Beginning
at five in the morning, he wrought with his knife every spare hour. Of
Auchinleck he was passionately fond.”[779] He was not the man to prefer
Fleet Street to the beauties of Nature. “I perceive some dawnings of
taste for the country,” wrote his son on one of his visits to his
old home. “I will force a taste for rural beauties.”[780] He never
succeeded in the attempt, and though he often boasted of “walking among
the rocks and woods of his ancestors,” it was from a distance that he
most admired them.

Rarely were two men more unlike. The old man had in excess that
foresight which in Boswell was so largely wanting. He had built
himself a new house, which Johnson describes as “very magnificent and
very convenient;” but he had proceeded “so slowly and prudently that
he hardly felt the expense.”[781] Across the front of it he put the

                          “Quod petis hic est,
    Est Ulubris, animus si te non deficit æquus.”[782]

    “It is,” writes Boswell, “characteristic of the founder; but
    the _animus æquus_ is, alas! not inheritable, nor the subject
    of devise. He always talked to me as if it were in a man’s
    own power to attain it; but Dr. Johnson told me that he owned
    to him, when they were alone, his persuasion that it was in a
    great measure constitutional, or the effect of causes which do
    not depend on ourselves, and that Horace boasts too much when
    he says, _æquum mi animum ipse parabo_.”

[Sidenote: JAMES BOSWELL.]

He had, too, that sobriety of character in which his son was so
conspicuously wanting. “His age, his office, and his character, had
given him an acknowledged claim to great attention in whatever company
he was, and he could ill brook any diminution of it.” He was by no
means deficient in humour, and in this respect father and son were
alike. “He had a great many good stories, which he told uncommonly
well, and he was remarkable for ‘humour, _incolumi gravitate_,’ as Lord
Monboddo used to characterize it.”

The contrast between his dignity and gravity, and Boswell’s bustling
and most comical liveliness, must have been as amusing as it was
striking. His ignorance of his son’s genius, and the contempt for him
which he did not conceal, heightened the picture. Johnson’s presence
would have greatly added to the interest of the scene, for Boswell must
have constantly wavered between his admiration of his idol and his awe
of his father. A few years later Miss Burney met Boswell at Streatham,
and thus describes him, no doubt with a good deal of exaggeration:

    “He spoke the Scotch accent strongly. He had an odd mock
    solemnity of manner, that he had acquired imperceptibly from
    constantly thinking of and imitating Dr. Johnson. There was
    something slouching in his gait and dress, that wore an air,
    ridiculously enough, of purporting to personify the same model.
    His clothes were always too large for him; his hair or wig was
    constantly in a state of negligence; and he never for a moment
    sat still or upright upon a chair. When he met with Dr. Johnson
    he commonly forbore even answering anything that was said,
    or attending to anything that went forward, lest he should
    miss the smallest sound from that voice to which he paid such
    exclusive homage. His eyes goggled with eagerness; he leant his
    ear almost on the shoulder of the Doctor; and his mouth dropt
    open to catch every syllable that might be uttered. The Doctor
    generally treated him as a schoolboy, whom without the smallest
    ceremony he pardoned or rebuked alternately.”[783]

It is probable that this description is heightened by Miss Burney’s
wounded vanity. Boswell had not read her _Evelina_, and when he was
reproached by Johnson with being a Brangton—one of the characters
in the novel—he did not know what was meant. She was as careful in
recording the conversation that was about herself as Boswell was in
recording Johnson’s. Her great hero was herself. The voices to which
she paid her homage were those in which she was praised and flattered.

In another place she describes “the singularity of his comic-serious
face and manner.”[784] He himself has more than once drawn his own
character. He was, he flattered himself, a citizen of the world; one
who in his travels never felt himself from home. In that impudent
_Correspondence_ which he and his friend Andrew Erskine published when
they were still almost lads, he thus describes himself:

    “The author of the _Ode to Tragedy_ is a most excellent man;
    he is of an ancient family in the west of Scotland, upon which
    he values himself not a little. At his nativity there appeared
    omens of his future greatness. His parts are bright; and his
    education has been good. He has travelled in post-chaises miles
    without number. He is fond of seeing much of the world. He eats
    of every good dish, especially apple-pie. He drinks old hock.
    He has a very fine temper. He is somewhat of an humorist, and a
    little tinctured with pride. He has a good manly countenance,
    and he owns himself to be amorous. He has infinite vivacity,
    yet is observed at times to have a melancholy cast. He is
    rather fat than lean, rather short than tall, rather young
    than old. His shoes are neatly made, and he never wears

We have a later description of him again by his own hand, as he was at
the time of his tour with Johnson.

    “Think, then (he says), of a gentleman of ancient blood, the
    pride of which was his predominant passion. He was then in
    his thirty-third year, and had been about four years happily
    married. His inclination was to be a soldier; but his father, a
    respectable judge, had pressed him into the profession of the
    law. He had travelled a good deal, and seen many varieties of
    human life. He had thought more than anybody supposed, and had
    a pretty good stock of general learning and knowledge. He had
    all Dr. Johnson’s principles, with some degree of relaxation.
    He had rather too little, than too much prudence; and, his
    imagination being lively, he often said things of which the
    effect was very different from the intention. He resembled

    ‘The best good man, with the worst natur’d muse.’”

Johnson celebrated his good humour and perpetual cheerfulness, his
acuteness, his gaiety of conversation, and civility of manners. “He
was,” he said, “the best travelling companion in the world.” According
to Burke, “his good nature was so natural to him that he had no merit
in possessing it. A man might as well assume to himself merit in
possessing an excellent constitution.” Reynolds loved him so well that
“he left him £200 in his will, to be expended, if he thought proper,
in the purchase of a picture at the sale of his paintings, to be kept
for his sake.”[786] In a memoir of him in the _Scots Magazine_ he is
described as “a most pleasant companion, affectionate and friendly;
but, particularly in his latter days, he betrayed a vanity which
seemed to predominate.”[787] Tytler praises “his sprightly fancy
and whimsical eccentricity,” which “agreeably tempered the graver
conversation” of Adam Smith or Hugh Blair at the small and select
parties given by Lord Kames.[788]


He was welcome everywhere but at his own father’s house. Neither was he
the better thought of by the old man on account of the great Englishman
whom he brought with him. Everything however went off smoothly for a
day or two, but the host and his guest at length came in collision over
Lord Auchinleck’s collection of medals. The scene is thus described by
Boswell, who witnessed it:

    “Oliver Cromwell’s coin unfortunately introduced Charles the
    First and Toryism. They became exceedingly warm and violent,
    and I was very much distressed by being present at such an
    altercation between two men, both of whom I reverenced; yet I
    durst not interfere. It would certainly be very unbecoming in
    me to exhibit my honoured father and my respected friend, as
    intellectual gladiators, for the entertainment of the public;
    and, therefore, I suppress what would, I dare say, make an
    interesting scene in this dramatic sketch—this account of the
    transit of Johnson over the Caledonian Hemisphere.”

Ramsay of Ochtertyre says, that the year after this famous altercation,
Lord Auchinleck “told him with warmth that the great Dr. Johnson, of
whom he had heard wonders, was just a dominie, and the worst-bred
dominie he had ever seen.”[789] The account which Sir Walter Scott
gives is very dramatic, though no doubt somewhat embellished.

    “Old Lord Auchinleck (he writes) was an able lawyer, a good
    scholar, after the manner of Scotland, and highly valued his
    own advantages as a man of good estate and ancient family;
    and, moreover, he was a strict Presbyterian and Whig of the
    old Scottish cast. This did not prevent his being a terribly
    proud aristocrat; and great was the contempt he entertained and
    expressed for his son James, for the nature of his friendships
    and the character of the personages of whom he was _engoué_ one
    after another. ‘There’s nae hope for Jamie, mon,’ he said to
    a friend. ‘Jamie is gaen clean gyte.[790] What do you think,
    mon? He’s done wi’ Paoli—he’s off wi’ the land-louping[791]
    scoundrel of a Corsican; and whose tail do you think he has
    pinned himself to now, mon?’ Here the old judge summoned up a
    sneer of most sovereign contempt. ‘A _dominie_, mon—an auld
    dominie: he keeped a schŭle, and cau’d it an acaadamy.”


The full force of Lord Auchinleck’s contempt is only seen when
we understand the position of a _dominie_. The character of a
schoolmaster, generally, according to Johnson, was less honourable
in Scotland than in England.[792] But the dominie, or tutor in a
family, was still less esteemed. “He was raised,” writes Sir Walter
Scott, “from a humble class to a society where, whatever his personal
attainments might be, he found himself placed at a humiliating distance
from anything like a footing of equality. His remuneration was scanty
in the extreme, and consisting (as if to fill up the measure of
his dependence) not entirely of a fixed salary, but partly of the
precarious prospect of future preferment in the Church. The Scotch
_dominie_ was assuredly one of the most pitiable of human beings.”[793]
It is a curious and perhaps a somewhat suspicious fact, that a very
few years before Sir Walter supplied Mr. Croker with this amusing
story about the old judge, he had put on record in the pages of the
_Quarterly Review_ the following anecdote: “When the old Scots judge
Lord Auchinleck first heard of Johnson’s coming to visit him at his
rural _castellum_, he held up his hands in astonishment, and cried
out, ‘Our Jeemy’s clean aff the hooks now! would ony body believe it?
he’s bringing down a _dominie_ wi’ him—an auld dominie.’”[794] This
looks like a different version of the same story. Moreover, Boswell
tells us that his father had desired him to invite him to his house.
When Johnson called his school at Lichfield an academy, he does not
seem to have used the term pretentiously, for in his _Dictionary_ he
defines the word under one of its meanings as “a place of education in
contradistinction to the universities or public schools.” It does not
seem likely, moreover, that Lord Auchinleck had any feeling of contempt
for Pascal Paoli, a man of good family, who for years had headed a
rebellion against the tyranny first of Genoa and afterwards of France.
He had visited Auchinleck two years before Johnson, and had been well
received. Boswell, writing to Garrick on September 18, 1771, said: “I
have just been enjoying the very great happiness of a visit from my
illustrious friend, Pascal Paoli. He was two nights at Auchinleck,
and you may figure the joy of my worthy father and me at seeing the
Corsican hero in our romantic groves. Count Burgynski, the Polish
ambassador, accompanied him.”[795] Poland’s days of sending ambassadors
had nearly drawn to an end, for the first partition of the country was
made in the following year. It was a strange chance which brought the
last Corsican patriot and the last Polish ambassador to this Ayrshire
mansion. One thing only was wanting. Would that Burns that day had
played truant and had wandered up “Lugar’s winding stream” as far as
Auchinleck! It would, indeed, have formed an interesting group—the
stiff old Scotch judge and his famous son, the great Corsican patriot
and the Pole, with the peasant-lad gazing at them with his eyes full
of beauty and wonder. Paoli’s name is well-nigh forgotten now, but
he and his Corsicans deeply stirred the hearts of our forefathers.
Boswell, by a private subscription in Scotland, had sent out to him in
one week £700 worth of ordnance—“a tolerable train of artillery.”[796]
His account of his tour in that island had been widely read. Even his
father “was rather fond of it. ‘James,’ he said, ‘had taken a _tout_
on a new horn.’”[797] Whether Lord Auchinleck abused Paoli “as a
land-louping scoundrel of a Corsican,” or admired him as he admired
other great patriots, the rest of Sir Walter Scott’s account of the
great altercation may be true enough:


    “The controversy between Tory and Covenanter raged with great
    fury, and ended in Johnson’s pressing upon the old judge the
    question, what good Cromwell, of whom he had said something
    derogatory, had ever done to his country; when, after being
    much tortured, Lord Auchinleck at last spoke out, ‘God, Doctor!
    he gart kings ken that they had a _lith_ in their neck’—he
    taught kings they had a _joint_ in their necks.”

This story did not, I believe, appear in print till the year 1831, when
it was given as a note by Scott in Mr. Croker’s edition of _Boswell_.
Fifty years earlier it had been told in somewhat different words of
Quin the player, who had said that “on a thirtieth of January every
king in Europe would rise with a crick in his neck.” Davies, who
records the anecdote, says that it had been attributed to Voltaire,
but unjustly.[798] It is possible, and even not unlikely, that we have
but a Scotch version of an English saying. Cromwell himself, in his
letter to the governor of Edinburgh Castle, had shown that he too saw
this consequence of his great deed. “The civil authority,” he writes,
“turned out a Tyrant in a way which the Christians in aftertimes
will mention with honour, and all Tyrants in the world look at with

In one happy though impudent retort, Lord Auchinleck was very


    “Dr. Johnson challenged him (writes Boswell) to point out any
    theological works of merit written by Presbyterian ministers
    in Scotland. My father, whose studies did not lie much in that
    way, owned to me afterwards, that he was somewhat at a loss
    how to answer, but that luckily he recollected having read
    in catalogues the title of _Durham on the Galatians_; upon
    which he boldly said, ‘Pray, Sir, have your read Mr. Durham’s
    excellent commentary on the Galatians?’ ‘No, Sir,’ said Dr.
    Johnson. By this lucky thought my father kept him at bay, and
    for some time enjoyed his triumph; but his antagonist soon made
    a retort, which I forbear to mention.”

In the long list of Durham’s theological works in the British Museum
catalogue I find no mention of this book on the Galatians. The old
judge, it is clear, had not forgotten in the years which he had sat on
the bench the arts of the advocate. In Rowlandson’s Caricatures there
is a humorous picture of _The Contest at Auchinleck_. Johnson is drawn
felling his opponent with a huge liturgy, having made him drop two
books equally big, entitled _Calvin_ and _Whiggism_. On the floor are
lying the medals over which the dispute had begun, while Boswell is at
the door in an attitude of despair, with his _Journal_ falling from his

One figure was wanting to make the picture complete. Of the three
topics on which Johnson had been warned not to touch only two had been
introduced. “In the course of their altercation,” writes Boswell,
“Whiggism and Presbyterianism, Toryism and Episcopacy, were terribly
buffeted. My worthy hereditary friend, Sir John Pringle, never having
been mentioned, happily escaped without a bruise.” We could have wished
that he had been mentioned, for though we know of the dislike which
existed between the two men, yet as he has never “hitched” in one of
Johnson’s strong sayings, he has scarcely attained that fame which he

Towards Lord Auchinleck Johnson bore no resentment. With him the heat
of altercation soon passed away, but not the memory of the hospitality
which he had received in his house. In not a single word spoken or
written has he attacked him. On the contrary, in his _Journey to the
Western Islands_, he only mentions him to praise him. When, six years
later, he published the first four volumes of his _Lives of the Poets_,
he wrote to Boswell: “Write me word to whom I shall send sets of
_Lives_; would it please Lord Auchinleck?” A few months after this he
wrote to him: “Let me know what reception you have from your father,
and the state of his health. Please him as much as you can, and add no
pain to his last years.” The old lord was not so placable. He had that
“want of tenderness which,” said Johnson, “is want of parts.” This part
of his character is seen in the following anecdote recorded of him by
his son:

    “I mentioned to Johnson a respectable person of a very strong
    mind, who had little of that tenderness which is common to
    human nature; as an instance of which, when I suggested to him
    that he should invite his son, who had been settled ten years
    in foreign parts, to come home and pay him a visit, his answer
    was, ‘No, no, let him mind his business.’ JOHNSON. ‘I do not
    agree with him, Sir, in this. Getting money is not all a man’s
    business: to cultivate kindness is a valuable part of the
    business of life.’”


He had what Boswell calls “the dignified courtesy of an old Baron,”
and when Johnson left “was very civil to him, and politely attended
him to his post-chaise.” But he was not in the least soothed by the
compliments which he paid him in his book. Boswell had hoped that he
might be moved. Writing to Johnson just after it had been published,
he said: “You have done Auchinleck much honour, and have, I hope,
overcome my father, who has never forgiven your warmth for monarchy
and episcopacy. I am anxious to see how your pages will operate upon
him.”[800] His anxious wish was grievously disappointed. A few months
later he wrote to his friend Temple: “My father is most unhappily
dissatisfied with me.... He harps on my going over Scotland with a
brute (think how shockingly erroneous!) and wandering (or some such
phrase) to London. How hard it is that I am totally excluded from
parental comfort! I have a mind to go to Auchinleck next autumn, and
try what living in a mixed stupidity of attention to common objects and
restraint from expressing any of my own feelings can do with him.”[801]
When his father and Johnson were both dead he indulged in the pious
hope that “as they were both worthy Christian men, they had met in
happiness. But I must observe,” he adds, “in justice to my friend’s
political principles and my own, that they have met in a place where
there is no room for _Whiggism_.” Johnson, it is true, “always said the
first Whig was the Devil,” but on the other hand, some Presbyterian who
drew up an epitaph on Lochiel, declared in it that he “is now a Whig in

That pride in his ancient blood, which Boswell boasted was his
predominant passion, was very strong in the old lord. In the son, if it
really existed in any strength, it was happily overpowered by a host
of other and better feelings. He had travelled widely, he had seen a
great variety of men, some of them among the most famous of their age,
and had learnt to value genius without troubling himself about its
pedigree. His successors at Auchinleck had something of the narrowness
of the old judge. [Sidenote: SIR ALEXANDER BOSWELL.] “His eldest son,
Sir Alexander Boswell,” wrote Sir Walter Scott, “was a proud man, and
like his grandfather, thought that his father lowered himself by his
deferential suit and service to Johnson. I have observed he disliked
any allusion to the book or to Johnson himself, and I have heard that
Johnson’s fine picture by Sir Joshua was sent upstairs out of the
sitting apartments.”[803] He was not too proud a man to write a poem
on the anniversary of the Accession of George IV., and what is George
IV. now? It was not from any dulness of mind that he did not value his
father’s book. “He had,” says Lockhart, “all _Bozzy’s_ cleverness,
good-humour, and joviality, without one touch of his meaner qualities,
wrote some popular songs, which he sang capitally, and was moreover a
thorough bibliomaniac.”[804] It was due to him and a friend, that the
Burns monument at Ayr was erected. They summoned a public meeting,
but no one attended except themselves. Little daunted they appointed
a chairman, proposed resolutions, carried them unanimously, passed a
vote of thanks, and issued subscription lists. More than £2,000 was
subscribed, and the monument was opened by Sir Alexander shortly before
his death. That he was not wanting in tenderness of heart is shown by
some of his poems. How pretty is the following verse in an address by
an aged father to his children:—

    “The auld will speak, the young maun hear,
      Be cantie, but be gude and leal;
    Your ain ills aye hae heart to bear,
      Anither’s aye hae heart to feel.

    So, ere I set, I’ll see ye shine;
      I’ll see ye triumph ere I fa’;
    My parting breath shall boast you mine—
      Good night, and joy be wi’ ye a’.”[805]

Lockhart goes, however, too far when he exalts him in comparison with
his father. Boswell, I feel sure, would never have been guilty of
the act which involved his son in the unhappy duel in which he lost
his life. In two scurrilous newspapers he had secretly defamed his
kinsman, Mr. James Stuart, of Dunearn, “with whom he had long been on
good terms.” Though the articles were written in a disguised hand,
the authorship was detected. He received a challenge from the injured
man, and at the first shot fell mortally wounded. He dined with Scott
a day or two before the duel, and “though Charles Matthews (the famous
comedian) was present, poor Sir Alexander Boswell’s songs, jokes, and
anecdotes exhibited no symptom of eclipse.”[806]


His only son, Sir James Boswell, the last male descendant of the
author of the immortal _Life_, shared his father’s illiberal feelings
about Johnson. Miss Macleod of Macleod told me that when she was on
a visit at Auchinleck, he said to her one day that he did not know
how he should name one of his race-horses. She suggested Boswell’s
Johnsoniana, which made him very angry. He was, I learnt, a man
of great natural ability, who, had he chosen, might have become
distinguished. His feeling of soreness against his grandfather was
partly due to another cause than dislike of hero-worship. Boswell, in
an access of that particular kind of folly which he called “feudal
enthusiasm,” had entailed his estates on the heirs male of his father
to the exclusion of his own nearer female descendants. Sir James, who
had no sons, saw that Auchinleck on his death would pass away from his
daughters to his cousin, Thomas Alexander Boswell, Lord Auchinleck’s
grandson by his second son David. He managed to get the settlement
upset on the plea that in the deed the first five letters of the word
_irredeemably_ were written upon an erasure.[807] It is not impossible
that the lawyer who drew it up, not liking the provision, intentionally
contrived this loop-hole.

Among Boswell’s male descendants, his second son James was, so far as
I know, the only one who was not ashamed of the _Life of Johnson_. He
supplied notes to the later editions. His father, writing of him when
he was eleven years old, says: “My second son is an extraordinary boy;
he is much of his father (vanity of vanities).”[808] Croker describes
him as “very convivial, and in other respects like his father—though
altogether on a smaller scale.”[809] According to Lockhart, he was “a
man of considerable learning and admirable social qualities. To him Sir
Walter Scott was warmly attached. He died suddenly in the prime of
life, about a fortnight before his brother.”[810]

When Boswell, at the age of twenty-seven, published his _Account of
Corsica_, he boasted in his preface that “he cherished the hope of
being remembered after death, which has been a great object to the
noblest minds in all ages.” When he saw his _Life of Johnson_ reach its
second edition, he said with a frankness which is almost touching, “I
confess that I am so formed by nature and by habit, that to restrain
the effusion of delight on having obtained such fame, to me would
be truly painful. Why then should I suppress it? Why ‘out of the
abundance of the heart’ should I not speak?” He goes on to mention
the spontaneous praise which he has received from eminent persons,
“much of which,” he adds, “I have under their hands to be reposited
in my archives at Auchinleck.” How little did he foresee that his
executors, with a brutish ignorance worthy of perpetual execration,
would destroy his manuscripts! If Oliver Goldsmith had had children and
grand-children, they too, when they read of his envy and his vanity,
when they were told that “in conversation he was an empty, noisy,
blundering rattle,”[811] might have blushed to own that they were
sprung from the author of _The Deserted Village_ and _The Vicar of


It is a melancholy thing that Boswell’s descendants should have seen
their famous ancestor’s faults so clearly as to have been unable to
enjoy that pride which was so justly their due, in being sprung from
a man of such real, if curious genius. Was it nothing to have written
the best biography which the world has ever seen? Nothing to have
increased more than any writer of his generation “the public stock of
harmless pleasure?” Nothing to have “exhibited” with the greatest skill
“a view of literature and literary men in Great Britain for near half a
century?” Nothing to have been the delight of men of the greatest and
most varied genius? Nothing to be read wherever the English tongue is
spoken, and, as seems likely, as long as the English tongue shall last?
_Sume superbiam quæsitam meritis_, “Assume the honours justly thine,”
we would say to each one of his race.

[Sidenote: BOSWELL’S FAME.]

How widely Boswell’s influence is felt is shown in a story which was
told me by Sir Charles Sikes, the benevolent inventor of the Post
Office Savings Banks, and no mean Johnsonian. One day he had gone
under an archway in Fleet Street to shun a shower, as Burke might have
gone.[812] Being “knowing and conversible,” he fell into talk with a
sergeant of police who was also taking shelter, and whose tongue showed
that he was an Irishman. He came, he said, from the west of Ireland.
When he was a boy the parish priest had lent him a copy of the _Life
of Johnson_. He had read it again and again, till at last the wish
grew so strong upon him to see with his own eyes the scenes which in
the pages of the book were so familiar to him, that he came to London,
not knowing what employment he should find, but bent on seeing Fleet
Street. What pilgrimages have not men made from the other side of the
Atlantic to the same spots! With their Boswell in their hands they have
wandered by Charing Cross, “with its full tide of human existence;” up
the Strand, “through the greatest series of shops in the world;” under
Temple Bar, where Johnson’s and Goldsmith’s names did _not_ mingle
with those of the Scotch rebels[813]; along Fleet Street, with “its
very animated appearance,” to the courts and lanes and taverns where
the spirits of the men who gathered round the great Lexicographer seem
still to linger. The Boswells are proud of their descent from a man
who fell at Flodden Field. There are thousands and ten thousands of
Scotchmen who got knocked on their heads in border forays, but only
one who wrote the _Life of Johnson_. “The chief glory of every people
arises from its authors,” and among Scotch authors Sir Walter Scott
alone equals Boswell in the extent of his popularity. The genius of
Burns lies hidden from most Englishmen in the dialect in which his
finest poetry is written. Never did one man of letters do another a
more shameful wrong than when Macaulay laboured at the ridiculous
paradox that the first of biographers was “a man of the meanest and
feeblest intellect.” He was thirty years old when he wrote this. Yet,
to borrow Johnson’s words, it was such stuff as a young man talks when
he first begins to think himself a clever fellow, and he ought to have
been whipped for it. The worst of it is that Macaulay, like Rousseau,
talked his nonsense so well that it still passes for gospel with all
those who have advanced as far as reading, but have not as yet attained
to thinking. We may feel thankful that he did not with his overpowering
common sense go on to overwhelm the memory of Goldsmith.

In the price set on autographs we have a means of measuring in some
fashion the estimation in which men are held by posterity. The standard
is but a rough one, however, for it is affected by the number of their
writings which chance to have been preserved: judging by it, Boswell’s
rank is very high. There were, probably, few men whose career he more
envied than that of Lord Bute’s “errand-goer,” Alexander Wedderburne,
who rose to be Lord Loughborough, Earl of Rosslyn and Lord High
Chancellor of England. Yet a letter of his I have recently seen offered
for sale at ten shillings and sixpence, while Boswell’s was marked nine
guineas. While I exult at seeing that one author equals eighteen Lord
Chancellors, I sometimes sigh over the high prices which have hitherto
kept me from obtaining a specimen of the handwriting of a man at whose
works I have so long laboured.

It is to be hoped that the day will at length come when those in whose
veins Boswell’s blood still flows will take that just and reasonable
view of their famous forefather which will lead them, from time to
time, to throw open “the rocks and woods,” and even “the stately house”
of Auchinleck to strangers from afar. It was he who “Johnsonised
the land,” and they therefore should have some indulgence for the
enthusiasm which he created. “The sullen dignity of the castle with
which Johnson was delighted” they should not keep altogether to
themselves. Another famous man had beheld those ruins also. “Since
Paoli stood upon our old castle,” wrote Boswell to a friend, “it has
an additional dignity.” Who would not like to stand upon it also, and
to see the Lugar running beneath, “bordered by high rocks shaded with
wood?” Into this beautiful stream falls “a pleasing brook,” to use
Johnson’s odd description of a rivulet which has cut a deep passage
through the sandstone. “It runs,” he adds, “by a red rock, out of which
has been hewn a very agreeable and commodious summer-house.” I have
been told that the meeting of the waters is a scene of striking beauty.
Then there are “the venerable old trees under the shade of which,”
writes Boswell, “my ancestors had walked,” and the groves where, as
he told Johnson, it was his intention to erect a monument to his
“reverend friend.” “Sir,” he answered, little flattered by the prospect
of “a lapidary inscription,” “I hope to see your grand-children.” Who
would not gladly stroll along Lord Auchinleck’s _via sacra_, “that
road which he made to the church, for above three miles, on his own
estate, through a range of well-inclosed farms, with a row of trees on
each side of it?” The avenue is composed mainly of oaks and beeches,
planted alternately; but the finest of the trees were brought down a
few years ago in a great storm which swept over the country. Only one
or two small farms remain, but there are the ruins of another. From
the road a most pleasant view is seen, grassy slopes running down to
the Lugar, with hedge-rows and trees growing in them after the English
fashion. Across the river the ground rises rapidly in tilled fields and
meadows and groves to a high range of hills. To the south-west lies the
village of Ochiltree, whence Scott perhaps derived old Edie’s name in
the _Antiquary_.


The manse still stands where Johnson dined with the Rev. John Dun, who
had been Boswell’s _dominie_, and had been rewarded for his services
by the presentation to the living of Auchinleck. He rashly attacked
before his guest the Church of England, and “talked of fat bishops and
drowsy deans. Dr. Johnson was so highly offended, that he said to him,
‘Sir, you know no more of our church than a Hottentot.’” Dun must have
complained to Boswell of being thus publicly likened to the proverbial
Hottentot, for in the second edition of the _Tour to the Hebrides_ his
name is suppressed. The manse has been enlarged since those days, and
surrounded with a delightful garden which might excite the envy, if
not of a drowsy dean, at all events of a south country vicar. In the
venerable minister, Dr. James Chrystal, who has lived there for more
than fifty years, Johnson would have found a man “whom, if he should
have quarrelled with him, he would have found the most difficulty how
to abuse.”


The parish church where Johnson refused to attend Boswell and his
father at public worship has been rebuilt. In the churchyard stands a
fine old beech which might have been called venerable even a hundred
years ago. There, too, is the vault of the Boswells with their
coat-of-arms engraved on it, and their motto, _Vraye Foy_. In a niche
cut in the solid rock lies Boswell’s body. He died in London, at his
house in Great Portland Street, but in accordance with the direction
in his will he was buried “in the family burial-place in the church
of Auchinleck.” Though the vault is now at a little distance from the
church, yet in the old building, which did not occupy precisely the
same site, it was under a room at the back of the Boswells’ pew. On
a wall in the churchyard I noticed a curiously-carved stone with the
following inscription:

                              G.      W.
                                 M. G.
                         HUNC TUMULUM CONJUNX
                        POSUIT DILECTA MARITO.
                          QUEMQUE VIRO POSUIT
                          DESTINAT HORA SIBI.


                        THIS STONE WAS ERECTED
                           IN MEMORY OF THE

                          REVD. GEORGE WALKER

                    WHO WAS PASTOR OF THIS PARISH.
                       REPAIRED BY OLD MORTALITY
                              IN HIS DAY
                    AND RENEWED AND PLACED HERE IN

“Auchinleck,” said the landlady of my inn, “is the very heart of the
Covenanters’ district.” Hard by, at Airdsmoss, the founder of the
Cameronians, with seven or eight of his followers, was slain in July,
1681. In the churchyard lies buried a man of a very different type
of character—William Murdoch, the inventor of gas. Two of Boswell’s
tenants were James and William Murdoch. They and their forefathers
had possessed their farms for many generations.[814] Perhaps not only
the _Life of Boswell_, but illumination by gas takes its rise from

The village consists mainly of one long street of solidly-built stone
houses; the older ones thatched and often white-washed, the modern
ones slated. At the back are good gardens well stocked with fruit
trees. Bare feet are far more common here than in the Highlands or
Hebrides. All the children, with scarcely an exception, and many of
the women, go bare-footed. As I passed down the street a “roup,” or
sale by auction, was going on before the house of a deceased “baker,
violin-maker, clock-mender, blood-letter, dentist, geologist, and
collector of coins.” The auctioneer, standing on the doorstep of this
departed worthy, who at one and the same time had played many parts,
dispersed his motley goods to the four quarters of heaven. The best
of his violins, for he had had some of considerable value, had been
sent for sale to Glasgow. I stayed in the Railway Hotel, a curious old
house, which boasted of two sitting-rooms and one bed-room. It was
clean and comfortable, and in my courteous landlady I found a woman of
sense and education. She quoted _Sartor Resartus_, and spoke with anger
of Mr. Froude’s _Life of Carlyle_. In Scotland the traveller finds
book-learning far more generally diffused than in England.

In Boswell’s time Auchinleck, he tells us, was pronounced Affléck. His
grand-daughter, who died in 1836, informed Mr. Croker that in her time
it had come to be pronounced as it is written. I learnt however from
Dr. Chrystal that “the name Affléck is still quite common as applied
to the parish, and even Auchinleck House is as often called Place
Affléck as otherwise.” A lad whom I questioned on the subject told me
that the old people call it Affléck but the young Auchinleck. The old
pronunciation will no doubt soon disappear.


Boswell had been a kind landlord. Johnson, in the early days of their
acquaintance, “had recommended to him a liberal kindness to his
tenantry, as people over whom the proprietor was placed by Providence.”
The advice was congenial to his natural disposition. In his will,
which he made ten years before his death, he says: “As there are
upon the estate of Auchinleck several tenants whose families have
possessed their farms for many generations, I do by these presents
grant leases for nineteen years and their respective lives to”—here
follow the names of eight tenants. He continues:—“And I do beseech all
the succeeding heirs of entail to be kind to the tenants, and not to
turn out old possessors to get a little more rent.” We may venture to
express a hope that his descendants, if they have slighted him as an
author, have always honoured and followed him as a landlord.

[Illustration: NEW HAILES.]



Leaving Auchinleck on the morning of November 8, our travellers
arrived that night at Hamilton on the road to Edinburgh. They had
crossed Drumclog Moor, the scene of the skirmish nearly one hundred
years earlier where Claverhouse was beaten by the Covenanters. Scott
in _Old Mortality_ has told how in the fight John Balfour of Burley
struck down Sergeant Bothwell. Fifty years or so after our travellers
crossed the Moor, Thomas Carlyle and Edward Irving passed over it on
foot. “It was here,” says Carlyle, “as the sun was sinking, Irving
drew from me by degrees, in the softest manner, the confession that I
did not think as he of the Christian religion, and that it was vain
for me to expect I ever could or should.”[815] Boswell’s record of
this day’s journey is of the briefest. “We came at night to a good
inn at Hamilton. I recollect no more.” A writer in the _Gentleman’s
Magazine_ gives us a humorous description of the innkeeper. “Hamilton
Arms, kept by Burns, tolerable. The landlord from pure insipidity will
laugh at you if you come in wet through; yet he can tell a good deal
about the Duke’s family.”[816] Smollett gives the little town the
highest praise in his vocabulary, by calling it “one of the neatest he
had seen in any country.”[817] Whatever nature could do, the force of
art could no farther go last century than make a place neat. Boswell,
before they left next morning, in vain tried to move Johnson to visit
the Palace of Hamilton, as the Duke’s castle is called. “He had not
come to Scotland to see fine places of which there were enough in
England.” He would do nothing more than view the outside. [Sidenote:
RETURN TO EDINBURGH.] That same night “they arrived at Edinburgh
after an absence of eighty-three days. For five weeks together of the
tempestuous season,” adds Boswell, “there had been no account received
of us.” Yet, as the crow flies, they had never at their farthest been
two hundred miles away. How vast is the change since those days! I
received the other day at my house in Oxford, a letter which had been
posted in Bombay just fifteen days before. Johnson would have hurried
on to London had he followed his own wishes. “I long to come under
your care,” he wrote to Mrs. Thrale a day or two after his arrival in
Edinburgh, “but for some days cannot decently get away.” He had his
morning levees to hold, and his dinner and supper parties to attend.
“‘Sir,’ he said one evening, ‘we have been harassed by invitations.’ I
acquiesced. ‘Ay, sir,’ he replied, ‘but how much worse would it have
been if we had been neglected!’” There was one man who did not harass
him. Boswell nowhere mentions that he visited Lord Auchinleck at his
house in Parliament Close.

[Sidenote: LORD HAILES.]

He paid a visit to New Hailes, four miles east of Edinburgh, the seat
of Sir David Dalrymple, better known by the title of Lord Hailes,
which he bore as one of the judges of Scotland. “Here,” says Boswell,
“we passed a most agreeable day, but,” he adds, “again I must lament
that I was so indolent as to let almost all that passed evaporate into
oblivion.” Johnson had first heard of his host ten years earlier. One
evening, when he and Boswell were supping in a private room at the
Turk’s Head Coffee-house in the Strand, “he drank a bumper to Sir David
Dalrymple as ‘a man of worth, a scholar, and a wit. I have,’ said he,
‘never heard of him, except from you; but let him know my opinion of
him; for, as he does not show himself much in the world, he should have
the praise of the few who hear of him.’” They did not meet till Johnson
came to Edinburgh, but then they at once took to each other. “I love
him better than any man whom I know so little,” wrote Johnson eighteen
months later. His love was no doubt increased by the decision which
his friend gave a few years later in that famous case in which it was
decided, by a majority of the judges, that a slave who had been brought
from Jamaica to Scotland became thereby free. “Dear Lord Hailes was
on the side of liberty,” Johnson wrote to Boswell.[818] He would have
loved him still more for the tenderness of heart which, unlike so many
of his brethren, he showed on the Bench. “When called to pass sentence
of death he addressed the unfortunate convicts in a pathetic, dignified
strain of piety and commiseration that made a deep impression on the
audience.”[819] Many of the old judges, as is shown by the stories
recorded of them, were in criminal trials little better than ruffians
in ermine. If “robes and furred gowns hide all,” in many a case they
had far more cruelty to cover than the unfortunate prisoner had been
guilty of who was sent to the gallows. Lord Hailes, with all his
kindness, was by no means faultless as a judge. He too often allowed
his pedantry to override his good sense. This failing in his friend,
Boswell took off in his comic poem _The Court of Session Garland_:

    “‘This cause,’ cries Hailes, ‘to judge I can’t pretend,
    For _justice_, I perceive, wants an _e_ at the end.’”

According to Dr. Robert Chambers “a story was told of his once making
a serious objection to a law-paper, and in consequence to the whole
suit, on account of the word _justice_ being thus spelt.”[820] Lord
Braxfield, one of the ruffian judges, but a man of strong mind,
“hearing him praised as a good judge, said, in his vulgar way, ‘Him!
he knows nothing but the nooks of a cause.’ He was not without his
crotchets. One day when he sat as President, he reprimanded a lawyer
very sharply for making a ludicrous application of some text in the
Gospels or Epistles. ‘Sir,’ said he, ‘you may take liberties with the
Old Testament, but I will not suffer you to meddle with the New.’”[821]

As an historian he had considerable merits. Johnson revised the
proof-sheets of his _Annals of Scotland_, and found them “a new mode
of history in our language.” “They are very exact,” he added, “but
they contain mere dry particulars. They are to be considered as a
Dictionary. You know such things are there, and may be looked at when
you please.”[822] Gibbon praised him as “a diligent collector, and an
accurate critic;” but he complained that when he came to criticise “the
two invidious chapters” in the _Decline and Fall_, “he scrutinized each
separate passage with the dry minuteness of a special pleader; and
as he was always solicitous to make, he may have succeeded sometimes
in finding a flaw.”[823] Hume spoke of him with contempt. “He is a
godly man; feareth the Lord and escheweth evil, and works out his
salvation with fear and trembling. None of the books he publishes are
of his writing; they are all historical manuscripts, of little or no
consequence.”[824] “Nothing delighted him more,” writes Ramsay of
Ochtertyre, “than to demolish some historical fabric which length of
time had rendered venerable. I lent an old lady the first volume of his
_Annals_. She was so ill-pleased with the rejection of some popular
stories of Wallace, that she said she would drive the powder out of his
lordship’s wig if she were by him.”[825] With all his critical power he
was a believer in Ossian. Burke, who once met him at dinner, “found him
a clever man, and generally knowing.”[826]


He had been educated at Eton, and there one day had noticed a little
black-looking boy, who had come up “_to show for college_, _i.e._, to
stand for a scholarship on the foundation.”

    “After being examined he was found entitled to be placed high
    in the fourth form, if he could make a copy of Latin verses
    in a given time. As he knew nothing of the matter, his friend
    bade him throw the theme assigned him over the window[827]
    in a quill, and he would convey him the verses ere they were
    wanted. He told the door-keeper to carry a pen-case to the lad
    under examination, who exhibited the theme, and was elected.
    For some months Dalrymple lent him his aid in versifying. Dr.
    Hallam, now Dean of Bristol and Canon of Westminster, confessed
    many years after, with tears in his eyes, that next to the
    providence of God he owed all that he had to the philanthropy
    of Sir David Dalrymple.”[828]

If, as seems likely, the examination was competitive, the boy who did
not get the scholarship might not have taken altogether the same view
of the matter as the pious and tearful dean. Dr. Hallam was the father
of the historian, and the grandfather of Arthur Hallam. Had it not been
for Lord Hailes’s good-natured roguery the _In Memoriam_ might never
have been written.

[Illustration: LIBRARY, NEW HAILES.]

[Sidenote: NEW HAILES.]

New Hailes, as Johnson’s host told Ramsay of Ochtertyre, “had been
first made by Mr. Smith, a Popish architect employed in fitting up
King James’s chapel at the Abbey. He planted the oldest trees. It was
acquired by Lord Hailes’s grandfather, the Lord Advocate, who gave it
its present name.”[829] We may wonder where poor Mr. Smith sought
shelter that day when the news reached Edinburgh that James II. had
fled from London. He may well have been in danger, for “the rabble,”
writes Burnet, “broke into the church of Holyrood House, which had
been adorned at a great charge to be a royal chapel, defaced it quite,
and seized on some that were thought great delinquents.”[830] When
Lord Hailes came into the property, “his first care was to fit up the
library—a magnificent room. The furnishing of it with an ample store
of books was the great object of his ambition.”[831] The library is now
the drawing-room—the most noble and learned drawing-room that I have
ever seen, for the great and well-filled book-shelves still go round it
from the floor almost to the lofty ceiling. If it was in this room that
Johnson was received, no doubt he behaved as he did that April day,
a year or two later, when he drove down to dine with Mr. Cambridge
at Twickenham. “No sooner,” says Boswell, “had we made our bow to Mr.
Cambridge in his library than Johnson ran eagerly to one side of the
room, intent on poring over the backs of the books.” Perhaps he turned
to Lord Hailes, as he turned to Dr. Burney, on seeing his library, and
said, “You are an honest man to have formed so great an accumulation of

The house, like so many in Scotland, is built more after the
continental than the English fashion. In the front is a square
courtyard, on a level with which are the offices. The hall is reached
by a flight of stone steps. As I came up to it a peacock was perched
on the top. Above the door is inscribed the motto, _Laudo manentem_.
Johnson’s bedroom was at one end of the house, on the same floor as
the hall; but as the ground is higher on this side, it was on a level
with the flower-garden, which was just beneath the windows. He had also
a dressing-room, whence I looked out on pleasant hayfields, where the
haymakers were hard at work. All about the house are fine trees, many
of them planted, no doubt, by the old Popish architect; while on one
side there is a lofty grove of beeches with a column in the middle,

                        “Joanni Comiti de Stair
                  De Patria et Principe optime merito
                            Viventi positum

The Earl of Stair was a Dalrymple. At the Jacobite rebellion in 1745
he had been appointed Field-Marshal and Commander-in-Chief of the
Forces in South Britain.[833] Horace Walpole did not think highly of
his services at this time for, after describing in the November of that
year how “the Prince of Wales, the night of his son’s christening, had
the citadel of Carlisle in sugar at supper, and the company besieged
it with sugar-plums,” he continues, “One thing was very proper; old
Marshal Stair was there, who is grown child enough to be fit to war
only with such artillery.”[834] We can picture to ourselves Johnson
walking up and down under the beech trees, reading the inscription,
and telling how kindly he had been welcomed a few days earlier by
the earl’s sister, the Countess of Loudoun, an old lady, “who in her
ninety-fifth year had all her faculties entire. This,” adds Boswell,
“was a very cheering sight to Dr. Johnson, who had an extraordinary
desire for long life.”

With such a pleasant spot as this to live at, it is not surprising
that Lord Hailes for many years would not take a house in Edinburgh,
but resided constantly at New Hailes summer and winter “driving in
every morning in session time before breakfast, and returning before
dinner.” Dr. Alexander Carlyle, who was no bad judge of conviviality,
said, “that nowhere did he get more good wine or more good _cracks_
than from Lord Hailes.”[835] Besides his learning and his hospitality
he had, like so many of Johnson’s Scotch friends, deserved the praise
of being a good landlord. He did not raise his rents.[836] [Sidenote:
LORD HAILES’S WILL.] On his death his will could not be found. He
had no sons, and the heir-male was about to take possession of his
estates to the exclusion of his daughter, Miss Hailes. She had made
her preparations for leaving her old home, and had sent some of her
servants to lock up his town house in New Street. As one of them was
closing the shutters of a window the will dropped out upon the floor
from behind a panel. It was found to secure her in the possession of
the estates. She enjoyed them for upwards of forty years.[837]

[Sidenote: LORD ELIBANK.]

Johnson paid a visit also to Patrick, Lord Elibank, and stayed two
nights “at his seat in the country.” I at first thought that this was
Darnhall, near Peebles, and accordingly visited that most delightful
spot. But I have little doubt that it was at Ballencrieff, in the
neighbourhood of Haddington, where he stayed.[838] Smollett, when he
takes Matthew Bramble through this part of the country, makes him say:
“I intended to pay my respects to Lord Elibank, whom I had the honour
to know at London many years ago. He lives in this part of Lothian,
but was gone to the North on a visit. I have long revered him for his
humanity and universal intelligence, over and above the entertainment
arising from the originality of his character.”[839] He was a Jacobite,
and a member of that famous Cocoa Tree Club, which, according to
Boswell, “was sacred of old to loyalty.” The loyalty, by the way, was
rather towards the third James than the second George. Horace Walpole
tells how, after Culloden, “the Duke of Cumberland gave Brigadier
Mordaunt the Pretender’s coach, on condition he rode up to London
in it. ‘That I will, Sir,’ said he, ‘and drive till it stops of its
own accord at the Cocoa Tree.’”[840] Lord Elibank had been deeper in
the cause than was known at the time. According to Sir Walter Scott,
the Stuart Papers show that “he carried on a correspondence with the
Chevalier after 1745, which was not suspected by his most intimate
friends.”[841] He probably was made to pay dearly for his attachment
to the exiled family. Lord Cromartie, one of the rebel lords, “had
been,” says Walpole, “receiver of the rents of the king’s second son
in Scotland, which it was understood he should not account for, and
by that means had six hundred pounds a year from the Government.
Lord Elibank, a very prating, impertinent Jacobite, was bound for
him in nine thousand pounds, for which the duke is determined to sue
him.”[842] If the money was exacted, the loss must have been severely
felt, for Elibank was somewhat parsimonious. “When he heard of John
Home’s pension, he said, ‘It is a very laudable grant, and I rejoice at
it; but it is no more in the power of the king to make John Home rich
than to make me poor.’”[843] Perhaps when he said this he was thinking
how the king had done his best to impoverish him by exacting “the
penalty and forfeit of his bond,” and had failed.

One day he and Dr. Robertson called on Johnson at Boswell’s house,
and the talk turned on the Rebellion. Lord Elibank, addressing the
historian, said: “Mr. Robertson, the first thing that gave me a high
opinion of you was your saying in the Select Society, while parties ran
high, soon after the year 1745, that you did not think worse of a man’s
moral character for his having been in rebellion. This was venturing
to utter a liberal sentiment, while both sides had a detestation of
each other.” Such a sentiment must have been particularly comforting to
a man who perhaps was still plotting treason. The Select Society had
been founded in 1754 by Allan Ramsay the painter, aided by Robertson,
Hume, and Adam Smith. “It rubbed off all corners by collision,” says
Dr. Carlyle, “and made the _literati_ of Edinburgh less captious and
pedantic than they were elsewhere.”[844] If collision always rubbed off
corners, there was enough between Elibank and Hume to have produced
the greatest smoothness and even polish. The historian, in the fifth
volume of his _History of England_, speaks of him as “a person that has
writ an _Enquiry historical and critical into the evidence against Mary
Queen of Scots_.” He goes on to accuse him with having “almost directly
called him a liar,” and charges him in his turn with being guilty of
“scandalous artifices.” He concludes with that well-known passage, in
which he maintains that “there are indeed three events in our history
which may be regarded as touchstones of party-men. An English Whig,
who asserts the reality of the Popish Plot, an Irish Catholic, who
denies the massacre in 1641, and a Scotch Jacobite, who maintains the
innocence of Queen Mary, must be considered as men beyond the reach of
argument or reason, and must be left to their prejudices.”[845] In a
letter to Robertson, written some years earlier than this note, Hume
says: “I desire my compliments to Lord Elibank. I hope his lordship
has forgot his vow of answering us, and of washing Queen Mary white. I
am afraid that is impossible; but his lordship is very well qualified
to gild her.”[846] Hume, with all his good nature, was not a little
touchy, and perhaps took offence where no offence was meant. Lord
Elibank had been “the early patron of Robertson and Home, the tragick
poet, who when they were ministers of country parishes, lived near his
seat. He told me,” continues Boswell, “‘I saw these lads had talents,
and they were much with me.’ I hope they will pay a grateful tribute
to his memory.” According to Dr. Carlyle, they found a far better way
of showing their gratitude, for “they cured him of his contempt for
the Presbyterian clergy, made him change or soften down many of his
original opinions, and prepared him for becoming a most agreeable
member of the Literary Society of Edinburgh, among whom he lived during
the remainder of his life, admiring and admired.”[847] Besides his
_Enquiry_, he published several other “small pieces of distinguished
merit,” according to Boswell. National Debts and the Currency were
among the subjects of which he treated.[848] Dr. Carlyle describes
him as “rather a humourist than a man of humour; one who defended
paradoxes and uncommon opinions with a copiousness and ingenuity that
was surprising.” This part of his character would have endeared him to
Johnson, who liked a tavern because, as he said, “wine there prompts
me to free conversation, and an interchange of discourse with those
whom I most love; I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict
of opinions and sentiments I find delight.”[849] Though Johnson was
fond of his society, and once said “that he was never in his company
without learning something,” yet speaking of him on another occasion he
said, “Sir, there is nothing conclusive in his talk.” Lord Elibank’s
admiration of Johnson was very high. Yet he need not have gone so far
as to flatter him at the expense of his own country. Having missed
seeing him on his first visit to Edinburgh, he wrote to Boswell: “I
could not persuade myself there was anything in Scotland worthy to have
a summer of Samuel Johnson bestowed on it; but since he has done us
that compliment, for heaven’s sake inform me of your motions. I will
attend them most religiously, and though I should regret to let Mr.
Johnson go a mile out of his way on my account, old as I am, I shall be
glad to go five hundred miles to enjoy a day of his company.” Johnson,
in his plain truthfulness, on the very day on which Lord Elibank
wrote this extravagant letter, said that “he would go two miles out
of his way to see Lord Monboddo.” As five hundred to two, so perhaps
was Johnson’s accuracy of talk to Lord Elibank’s. To the mean way in
which his lordship spoke of Scotland, as if it were beneath the great
Englishman’s notice, I much prefer the spirit of his countryman, who,
according to Boswell, “would say of Dr. Johnson, ‘Damned rascal! to
talk as he does of the Scotch!’” However, he had none of that smallness
of mind common enough among the high-born, which would not let him
enjoy Johnson’s strong talk. He was “one of the great who sought his
society. He well observed that if a great man procured an interview
with him, and did not wish to see him more, it showed a mere idle
curiosity, and a wretched want of relish for extraordinary powers of
mind.” Such an idle curiosity and such a wretched want of relish were
shown by George III.




The old house at Ballencrieff, in which Johnson “passed two nights and
dined thrice,” as Boswell accurately records, is now a melancholy ruin.
It was burnt down about twenty years ago. For many years previously,
deserted by its owners, it had been left in the care of a woman who
lived in an outbuilding, which in the old days had formed the kitchen.
It was here, I believe, that were prepared those “performances
of a nobleman’s French cook which so much displeased Johnson, that
he exclaimed with vehemence, ‘I’d throw such a rascal into the
river.’”[850] Though the flames no longer roared up the chimney as
they had done for many a long year, still a fire was kept up and soot
accumulated. One day the old woman tried to get rid of it by setting it
alight, a primitive mode of chimney-sweeping not uncommon in that part
of the country. A spark, it is conjectured, was carried into the main
building through a broken pane, and falling on some straw brought in
by the birds who nested there, set an upper room on fire. The summer
had been unusually dry. The flames spread rapidly from one end of the
house to the other; so fierce was the blaze that a large beech-tree
which stood at some little distance was burnt also. Part of the house
is evidently of considerable antiquity, being very solidly built, with
vaulted chambers and walls many feet in thickness. In the year 1625, as
I judge from an inscription on the wall, great additions were made. It
is pleasantly placed, with meadow-land on three sides, and at a little
distance from a fine range of hills, which boasts of a Roman camp and
of a lofty column to one of Wellington’s generals. So strangely do the
ages mingle here. From the upper windows on a clear day a delightful
view must have been enjoyed of the Forth, with the little island of
Inch Keith and the hills of Fife beyond. Near the house there is a row
of yew-trees which could not have looked young in Johnson’s time, and
holly hedges leading up to it, between which, perhaps, he walked, for
they too look old. The land is in the occupation of a market-gardener,
who cultivates it with a success which would have won his praise, and
made him allow that something beside the sloe is brought to perfection
in Scotland. The whole district abounds in fruitful gardens and
orchards, and fine plantations of trees. As I looked at the luxuriance
of growth, and meditated on the change that had been wrought in a
century and a quarter, I thought that to Johnson, who had shown the
nakedness of the land, a grateful and penitent people, who had profited
by his exhortations, should raise a memorial as the god of gardens.
According to a tradition which has come down to our time, a group of
ash-trees was planted by Lord Elibank on his suggestion.[851] Planting
had begun earlier than he thought. “It may be doubted,” he said,
“whether before the Union any man between Edinburgh and England had
ever set a tree.” The market-gardener told me that he had counted one
hundred and ninety rings on some tall trees near the house, which had
been cut down fourteen years before. This would show that they were
planted not only before the Union, but also before the Revolution, for
though a ring marks the growth of a year, yet in an old tree many of
the rings cannot be distinguished.

[Illustration: BALLENCRIEFF.]

As I wandered about the ruins, and listened to the jackdaws chattering
overhead “with nothing conclusive in their talk,” how much I regretted
that Boswell’s indolence had kept him from recording the conversation
which passed here in those three November days between the old Jacobite
lord and his famous guest.

Johnson’s tour was rapidly drawing to a close. Brundusium is at hand.

    “Brundusium longæ finis chartæque viæque.”[852]


He wrote from Edinburgh to Mrs. Thrale on Thursday, November 18: “I
long to be at home, and have taken a place in the coach for Monday;
I hope, therefore, to be in London on Friday, the 26th, in the
evening. Please to let Mrs. Williams know.” On Saturday he accepted
the invitation of Sir John Dalrymple, a cousin of Lord Hailes, and
author of _Memoirs of Great Britain and Ireland_, to visit him at his
house at Cranston, twelve miles from Edinburgh on the middle road to
Newcastle. There he was to be taken up by the London coach. Three
years earlier Boswell had described Dalrymple as “a very knowing,
lively companion;”[853] but his feelings towards him were changed.
He had not worshipped the image which he had set up. Nevertheless,
“he was ambitious,” Boswell writes, “of having such a guest; but as I
was well assured, that at this very time he had joined with some of
his prejudiced countrymen in railing at Dr. Johnson, and had said,
he wondered how any gentleman of Scotland could keep company with
him, I thought he did not deserve the honour; yet, as it might be a
convenience to Dr. Johnson, I contrived that he should accept the
invitation, and engaged to conduct him.” The convenience consisted in
the fact that, as his house was on the London road, Johnson would not
have to rise so early by two hours to catch the coach. Dalrymple had
lately made a good deal of stir both in the world of literature and
politics by the publication of his _Memoirs_. From these it had been
learnt for the first time that Algernon Sidney had been a pensioner
of the King of France. Horace Walpole had been roused to anger by the
exposure of a man whose memory he revered. “Need I tell you,” he wrote
to Mason, “that Sir John Dalrymple, the accuser of bribery, was turned
out of his place of Solicitor of the Customs for taking bribes from
brewers?”[854] Hume was astonished at “the rage against him, on account
of the most commendable action in his life,” but he despised “his
ranting, bouncing style.”[855] Johnson had an equal contempt for it,
calling it “his foppery.” Boswell records in the spring of the year:

    “I mentioned Sir John Dalrymple’s _Memoirs of Great Britain and
    Ireland_, and his discoveries to the prejudice of Lord Russell
    and Algernon Sidney. JOHNSON. ‘Why, Sir, every body who had
    just notions of government thought them rascals before. It
    is well that all mankind now see them to be rascals.... This
    Dalrymple seems to be an honest fellow; for he tells equally
    what makes against both sides. But nothing can be poorer than
    his mode of writing, it is the mere bouncing of a schoolboy:
    Great He! but greater She! and such stuff.’”

In describing the last scene between Lord and Lady Russell he had said,
“they parted for ever—he great in this last act of his life, but she

His portrait, which I saw in the Loan Exhibition of the Scottish
National Portrait Gallery, shows a cold conceited face. Dr. Carlyle
gives an unpleasing account of him. After recounting how at a dinner
he had once had “to divide a haunch of venison among fifteen without
getting any portion of fat for himself,” he continues, “But what
signifies that, when you have an opportunity of obliging your friends?
as Sir J. Dalrymple said to me one day when we had a haunch at the
Poker, flattering me for a good piece, for he was a gourmand.”[857]
How must the indignation of this flattering glutton have been
excited at the careless and even rude treatment which he received
from our travellers, who had engaged to dine with him on the day they
left Edinburgh! They were very late in starting, for Johnson in his
good-nature had let himself be detained “by young Mr. Tytler who came
to show some essays which he had written.” They did not leave till
one o’clock, and then Boswell insisted on their going to see Rosslyn
Castle and the Chapel. They dined and drank tea at the inn. As if this
were not enough, and as if no baronet were waiting dinner, they next
went to Hawthornden, and “had _Rare Ben_ in mind” who one hundred and
forty-three years earlier had there visited the poet Drummond. “It
was very late,” writes Boswell, “before we reached the seat of Sir
John Dalrymple, who, certainly with some reason, was not in very good
humour. Our conversation was not brilliant. We supped, and went to bed
in ancient rooms, which would have better suited the climate of Italy
in summer, than that of Scotland in the month of November.” Dalrymple
was alive when this account was published. Not finding their quarters
to their mind they went on next evening two miles further to the inn
at Blackshields. Pennant, who had passed a night there in September of
the previous year, describes “the country as good, full of corn, and
decked with numbers of small woods. The inn is good.”[858] [Sidenote:
A RUNAWAY COUPLE.] Just one year and two days before our travellers
arrived there, on November 19, 1772, one Mr. John Scott of Newcastle
had married, in this same village and most probably in the inn, pretty
Miss Elizabeth Surtees. She had escaped by a ladder from her father’s
house and had run with him across the Border. He was twenty-one and she
eighteen. “Jack Scott,” said a friend on hearing of it, “has run off
with Bessy Surtees, and the poor lad is undone.” In the end he became
Lord Chancellor and Earl of Eldon. The certificate of marriage shows
that the ceremony was performed in the presence of James and Thomas
Fairbairn. From a paper in the _Gentleman’s Magazine_ I know that
Fairbairn was the innkeeper’s name.[859]

[Sidenote: THE END OF THE TOUR.]

On the morning of Monday, November 22, the coach took up Johnson and
off he drove homewards. On the following Saturday he wrote to Boswell
from London:—“I came home last night, without any incommodity, danger,
or weariness, and am ready to begin a new journey. I shall go to Oxford
on Monday.” There he met Mr. John Scott and his young bride, and
perhaps compared notes about Blackshields and the Newcastle road.[860]
To his friend, Dr. Taylor, he wrote that “he had traversed the east
coast of Scotland from south to north, from Edinburgh to Inverness, and
the west-coast from north to south, from the Highlands to Glasgow.”[861]

[Illustration: HAWTHORNDEN.]

“The time he spent in his Tour, was,” he often said, “the pleasantest
part of his life.” I too have rarely spent my time more pleasantly than
when I was following his traces both in that beautiful country through
which he wandered, and in those old books in which still live the
people, the manners, and the Scotland which he saw.




(Pages 18 and 117.)


“Aberdoniæ vigesimo tertio Die mensis Augusti 1773 pnt [in præsentia]
magistratuum. Quo Die vir generosus ac Doctrina Clarus Samuel Johnson
LL.D. receptus et admissus fuit in municipes et fratres Guildæ
præfati Burgi de Aberdeen in deditissimi affectus et amoris ac eximiæ
observantiæ tesseram quibus dicti magistratus illum amplectuntur.”



(Page 305.)


    “Dear Sir,

“When I was at Edinburgh I had a letter from you, telling me that in
answer to some enquiry you were informed that I was in the Sky. I was
then I suppose in the western islands of Scotland; I set out on the
northern expedition August 6, and came back to Fleet-street, November
26. I have seen a new region.

“I have been upon seven of the islands, and probably should have
visited many more, had we not begun our journey so late in the year,
that the stormy weather came upon us, and the storms have I believe for
about five months hardly any intermission.

“Your Letter told me that you were better. When you write do not forget
to confirm that account. I had very little ill health while I was on
the journey, and bore rain and wind tolerably well. I had a cold and
deafness only for a few days, and those days I passed at a good house.
I have traversed the east coast of Scotland from south to north from
Edinburgh to Inverness, and the west coast from north to south, from
the Highlands to Glasgow, and am come back as I went,

                    “Your affectionate humble servant,
                                            “Sam. Johnson.

    “_Jan. 15, 1774._

  “To the Reverend Dr. Taylor,
      “in Ashbourn,






Aberbrothick, 94, 105-7, 190.

Aberdeen, 115-123;
  freedom of the city, 18, 116;
  population, 118;
  King’s College, 120;
  Marischal College, 110, 121;
  professors, 122.

_Academy_, 279.

Adams, Rev. Dr. William, 66.

Addison, Joseph, 5, 62.

Airdsmoss, 289.

Allan of Muidart, 173.

_Amuse_, 245.

Anderson, Rev. John, 97.

Anoch, 153.

Arbroath. _See_ ABERBROTHICK.

Arbuthnot, Dr., 89.

Ardnamurchan, 5, 214.

Ardvoirlich, 254.

Argyle, Archibald, second Earl of, 141.

Argyle, Archibald, ninth Earl of, 217, 249.

Argyle, Archibald, Marquis of, 250.

Argyle, Elizabeth Gunning, Duchess of, 247, 249-252, 256.

Argyle, Jane, Countess of, 250.

Argyle, John, second Duke of, 251.

Argyle, John, fifth Duke of, 227, 246-253.

Armidale, 23, 167, 214.

Auchans, 268.

Auchinleck, Lord, 18, 56, 62, 74, 79, 80, 115, 146, 189, 234, 271-288, 292.

Auchinleck, 271-290;
  house, 273-5;
  old castle, 287;
  _via sacra_, manse, church, 288;
  village, 289;
  pronounced Affléck, 290.

Auchnacraig, 242.

Auchnasheal, 144, 161.

Authors, 60-3, 66.

Bagpipes, 243.

Ballencrieff, 297.

Balliol College, 84.

Banff, 129.

Banks, Sir Joseph, 24.

Bare feet, 289.

Baronial turrets, 113.

Bathing, 112.

Bayle, Peter, 19.

Beaton, Cardinal, 94, 97.

Beattie, Rev. Dr. James, 13, 14, 28, 62, 123.

Beauclerk, Topham, 66.

Bedford, Duke of, 29.

Beggars, 43.

Belhaven, Lord, 39, 79.

Bentham, Jeremiah, 71.

Berkeley, Bishop, 92.

Berkeley, G. M., 92, 100, 117.

Bernera, 165.

Black, Adam, 77.

Black, Mr. Angus, 241.

Black Spring of 1771, 187.

Blacklock, Dr. Thomas, 75.

Blackshields, 304.

Blair, Rev. Dr. Hugh, 10, 14, 63, 65, 74, 81, 122, 278.

Boats, 171.

Boswell, Alexander (the author’s father). _See_ LORD AUCHINLECK.

Boswell, Sir Alexander (the author’s eldest son), 283.

Boswell, David (the author’s brother), 282, 284.

Boswell, James (author of _The Life of Johnson_), activity, 105, 178;
  ancestry, 272;
  autograph, 287;
  _Court of Session Garland_, 293;
  descendants, 283-7;
  described by Miss Burney, 276;
    and by himself, 277;
  drunk, 4, 168, 213;
  facility of manners, 272;
  family pride, 282;
  fear of ghosts, 205;
  feudal enthusiasm, 284;
  funeral, 288;
  good landlord, 290;
  indifference to scenery, 86, 275;
  interested in the Douglas cause, 56, 247, 272;
  _Life of Johnson_, 285-6;
  love of London, 149;
  manuscripts, 285;
  mentioned by Burns, 267;
  no memorial of him, 77;
  praises savage life, 261;
  pronunciation, 63;
  _Tour to Corsica_, 280, 285;
  will, 284, 290.

Boswell, James (the author’s grandfather), 272.

Boswell, James (the author’s second son), 284.

Boswell, Sir James (the author’s grandson), 284.

Boswell, Thomas Alexander, 284.

Boswell, Veronica (the author’s eldest daughter), 75.

Boswell, Mrs. (Lord Auchinleck’s second wife), 271.

Boswell, Mrs. (the author’s wife), 55, 75, 220, 267.

Boswell family, 286.

Bothwell, Earl of, 69.

Boyd, Hon. Charles, 128.

Boyd, James, 69.

Braxfield, Lord, 293.

Breadalbane, Lord, 34.

Breakfasts, 20.

Brentford, 263.

Brett, John, R.A., 207.

Brighton, 123, 199.

Broadford, 3, 167, 169-171.

Bruar Water, 24, 33.

Bruce, King Robert, 258.

Buccleugh, fifth Duke of, 77.

Buchanan, George, 37, 91, 200.

Bullers of Buchan, 128.

Burgynski, Count, 279.

Burke, Edmund, 66, 76, 263, 277, 286, 294.

Burlassig, 150.

Burnet, Bishop, 295.

Burney, Dr., 296.

Burney, Miss, 276.

Burns, Robert, _Bruar Water_, 24, 33;
  Ayrshire scenery, 31;
  Scotch militia, 64;
  Holyrood House, 85;
  Miss Burnet, 112;
  Inverary, 246;
  _Earnest Cry and Prayer_, 267;
  “Lugar’s winding stream,” 280;
  monument, 283;
  his genius hidden by his dialect, 286.

Bury, Lord, 145.

Bute, Earl of, 37.

Byron, Lord, 25.

Cadell, General, C.B., 302, _n._ 1.

Cambridge, R. O., 296.

Camden, William, 27, 97, 264, 268.

Cameron, 260.

Cameron of Lochiel, 144, 282.

Cameron, Mrs., of Talisker, 210.

Cameronians, 289.

Campbell, Rev. Dr. Archibald, 90, _n._ 2.

Campbell, Sir Hugh, 142.

Campbell, Dr. John, 14.

Campbell of Inverliver, 141.

Campbell of Treesbank, 267.

Campbell, ——, 4, _n._ 2.

Candles, 4.

Canning, George, 117.

Carlisle, fifth Earl of, 26.

Carberry Hill, 69.

Carlyle, Rev. Dr. Alexander, 43, 65, 69, 265, 297-9, 303.

Carlyle, Jane Welsh, 96, 118.

Carlyle, Thomas, 39, 52, 68, 79, 86, 88,89, 202, 291.

Caroline, Queen, 48.

Cathedrals, 133.

Caves, 205-6, 226.

Cawdor, 135-142.

Cawdor, Earl of, 141.

_Chamberlain_, 251.

Chambers, Sir Robert, 68.

Chambers, Dr. Robert, 97, 236, 269, 293.

Chambers, William, 77.

Change-house, 219.

Chapels, 118.

Charles I., 278, 280.

Charles II., 250.

Charles Edward, Prince, the Young Pretender, 53, 64, 119-20, 179,
        182-84, 206, 269.

Charlotte, Queen, 77.

Chatham, Earl of, 64, 171, 231.

Chesterfield, Earl of, 15, _n._ 3, 274, _n._ 1.

Chrystal, Rev. Dr. James, 288, 290.

Churches, 43, 81, 108, 176.

Civility, 19.

Clan feeling, 259.

Clarke, Rev. Dr. Samuel, 19.

Climate, 20, 30.

Clow, Professor, 263.

Coaches, 264.

Coal, 262.

Cockburn, Lord, 58, 59, 80, 81.

Cockburn, Sheriff, 56.

_Cocker’s Arithmetic_, 154.

Cocoa Tree Club, 297.

Col, Isle of, 24, 214-6, 236.

Col, Macleane of. _See_ MACLEANE.

Coleridge, S. T., 162.

Colliers, 69, 236, 259.

Colman, George, 117.

Colquhoun, Sir James, 257.

Colvay, 217.

Commissary Court, 261.

Coote, Sir Eyre, 142.

Copyright, 61.

Corrichatachin, 4, 21, 167-70, 212.

Corsica, 201, 204, 280.

Court of Session, 78.

_Court of Session Garland_, 293.

Covenanted magistrates, 275.

Coventry, Countess of, 248, 250.

Cox, G. V., 117.

Craig, James, 57.

Craigie, Lord President, 58.

Craignure, 4, 233.

Cranston, 302.

Cromartie, Earl of, 298.

Cromwell, Oliver, 35, 68, 145, 250, 278.

Crosbie, Andrew, 64.

Cuchullin Hills, 204.

Culloden, 60, 127, 142, 146, 152, 155, 298.

Cumberland, Richard, 190.

Cumberland, William, Duke of, 27, 102, 118, 123, 129, 142-6, 152,
        155, 171, 298.

Cunninghame, 268.

Cupar, 88.

Dalrymple, Sir David. _See_ LORD HAILES.

Dalrymple, Sir John, 63, 302-4.

Dancing, 178.

Darnhall, 297.

Davies, Thomas, 280.

Defoe, Daniel, 34, 36, 51, 99, 107, 131, 145, 264.

_Dempster_, 235.

Dempster, George, 8.

Dinner-hour, 65.

Discounts, 98.

Doge of Genoa, 23.

Dominies, 278.

Douglas, Duchess of, 63.

Douglas, Elizabeth, 113.

Douglas Cause, 56, 247, 272.

Drinking, 91.

Drumclog Moor, 290.

Drummond of Hawthornden, 304.

Drummond, George, of Blair, 35, 44 _n._ 3.

Drummore, Lord, 58.

Dryden, John, 109.

Dun, Rev. John, 288.

Dun Buy, 129, 238.

Dun Can, 2, 177.

Dunbar, 68.

Dunbarton, 262.

Dundas, Henry. _See_ VISCOUNT MELVILLE.

Dundee, 12, 105.

Dundee, Marquis of, 109.

Dundonald Castle, 267, 270.

Dungeons and pits, 198, 234-9.

Dunolly Castle, 244.

Dunvegan, 1-3, 19, 184-204, 235.

Durham, 87.

_Durham on the Galatians_, 281.

Dutch Scotch Regiments, 209.

Edinburgh, Advocates’ Library, 80;
  Bridge, 58;
  Cadies, 54;
  Castle, 85;
  Chessel’s Buildings, 72;
  College Wynd, 82;
  Cowgate, 82;
  Cross, 53, 81;
  English residents, 37;
  Grass Market, 53;
  Guard House, 78;
  hackney coaches, 65;
  High Street, 51-4;
  Holyrood House, 77, 85, 295;
  hotbed of genius, 9;
  houses, 45;
  inns and taverns, 45, 49-51, 69-72;
  James’s Court, 57, 67, 72-7;
  Laigh Parliament House, 80;
  Luckenbooths, 52, 78;
  Mound, 58;
  New Town, 57, 59;
  Parliament-House, 78;
  Pleasance, 50;
  poor, 42;
  Post-House Stairs, 82;
  printing-houses, 61;
  robberies, 54;
  Royal Infirmary, 84;
  scavengers, 46;
  “Scotch scene,” 60;
  Sedans, 65;
  Select Society, 48, 298;
  St. David’s Street, 57;
  St. Giles, 81;
  St. John’s Street, 113;
  Stage-coaches, 60, 123 _n._ 4, 264;
  Sunday, 53;
  suppers, 65;
  Tolbooth, 53, 78;
  University, 58, 83;
  Weigh House, 78;
  White Horse Inn, 68-72;
  workhouse, 43, 85.

Edwards, Oliver, 196.

Eglinton, Earl of, 35.

Eglintoune, Dowager Countess of, 268-70.

Eilan Donan Castle, 158.

Eldon, Earl of, 304.

Eldon, Countess of, 190, 304.

Elgin, 36, 130-4.

Elibank, Patrick, Lord, 42, 65, 74, 75, 85, 297-302.

Ellon, 124.

Emigration, 162, 176.

Epictetus, 214.

Errol, Earl of, 49, 124-27.

Erse, 135, 147, 218, 266.

Erskine, Hon. Andrew, 277.

Erskine, Hon. Henry, 78.

Erskine, John, 55 _n._ 1.

Eton, 294.

Executions, 53.

Fairbairn, James, 304.

Faochag, 160.

Farming, 32, 34.

Farms, small, 112.

Ferguson, Dr. Adam, 9, 63, 65.

Ferneley, 206.

Fielding, Sir John, 54.

Findlater, Lord, 130.

Firth of Tay, 104.

Fleet Street, 275, 286.

Foote, Samuel, 111.

Forbes, Sir William, 76.

Fore-stairs, 92.

Fores, 134.

Forrest, Henry, 93.

Fort Augustus, 143, 148, 152, 162.

Fort George, 142.

Foster-children, 4.

Foyers, 130, 150-51.

Franklin, Benjamin, 74, 77.

Frederick, Prince of Wales, 296.

Freedom of towns, 117.

Froude, Mr. J. A., 217, 290.

Funeral bill, 131.

Funerals, 227, 241.

_Furca et fossa_, 235.

Gaelic. _See_ ERSE.

Garden, Francis (Lord Gardenston), 109.

Gardens, 32, 35, 42, 105, 169, 175-76, 190, 210, 240, 301.

Gardenston Arms, 109.

Garnett, Dr. T., 150, 161, 229, 232, 242.

Garrick, David, 76.

Geddes, Jenny, 81.

General’s Hut, 150.

George I., 69.

George II., 48, 101, 127, 144.

George III., 115, 120, 127, 300.

George IV., 77, 283.

Giant’s Causeway, 211.

Gibbon, Edward, 67, 230, 293.

Gladstone, Right Hon. W. E., 81, _n._ 1, 300, _n._ 1.

Glamis Castle, 173.

Glasgow, 94, 117, 123, 198, 262-66.

_Glen_, 157.

Glen Clunie, 156-57.

Glen Croe, 5, 13, 253-55.

Glen Elg, 10, 20, 163-67.

Glen Morison, 2, 19, 153.

Glen Shiel, 156-60.

Goat Island, 174.

Goldsmith, Oliver, 3, 32, 33, 49, 244, 285-87.

Golf, 9, _n._ 1, 98.

Graham, Marquis of, 172.

Graham, Peter, R.A., 207.

Grant, Colonel, 136.

Grant, Rev. Mr., 136, 137.

Grants of Glenmorison, 155.

Gray, Thomas, 26, 28, 33, 45 _n._ 6, 47, 123, 143, 173.

Green, Matthew, 103.

Gunning, Elizabeth. _See_ ARGYLE, DUCHESS OF.

Gustavus Adolphus, 113.

Hackney-coaches, 65.

Haddington, 43, 68.

Hailes, Lord (Sir David Dalrymple), 8, 14, 80, 132, 292-97.

Hailes, Miss, 297.

Hallam, Arthur, 294.

Hallam, Dean, 294.

Hamilton, 290.

Hamilton, Duke of, 248.

Hamilton, Lady Betty, 251.

Hamilton, Patrick, 93.

Hamilton of Bangour, 269.

Hawthornden, 304.

Hebridean sailors, 21.

Hedges, 16, 109.

Henderson, Andrew, 144, 155, 171.

Hereditary Jurisdictions, 197, 228, 234-38.

Heronry, 200.

Hesiod, 95.

Highlands and Hebrides, air, 25;
  books, 168;
  chiefs, 228;
  dress, 171-73, 181-82, 203, 255;
  fidelity of Highlanders, 183;
  like Indians, 154, 161;
  “banditti,” 165;
  unknown, 24.

Hill, Mr. Frederick, 265.

Hill, Sir Rowland, 170.

Holland, 272, 274.

Home, John, 10, 39, 63, 298-99.

_Honest man_, 169.

Hottentots, 15, _n._ 3, 288.

Houses, 15, 21, 32, 42, 45, 170, 177, 220, 229, 240, 296.

_Hudibras_, 138.

HUME, DAVID, ill-will to England, 7;
  benefits of the Union, 39;
  house, 57, 66, 74-77;
  in the mire, 59;
  journey to London, 59;
  accent, 62, 67;
  copy-money, 63;
  Poker Club, 64;
  cookery, 66;
  “infidel writer,” 66;
  conversation, 67;
  father’s house, 68;
  no statue, 77;
  Advocates’ Librarian, 80;
  dread of the sea, 87;
  Reynolds’s picture, 123;
  Clow preferred to him, 263;
  Lord Hailes, 294;
  Select Society, 298;
  Mary, Queen of Scots, 299;
  Dalrymple’s _Memoirs_, 303.

_Humphry Clinker_, 38.

Iceland, 23.

Inch Galbraith, 257.

Inch Keith, 85.

Inch Kenneth, 6, 218, 221-25.

Innes, Rev. Dr., 90, _n._ 2.

Inns, 49, 69, 89, 151, 165, 180, 219, 229, 245-46, 262, 304.

Inverary, 232, 245-53, 257.

Invermoriston, 152.

Inverness, 137, 142-48.

Iona, 214, 226-31.

Ireland, 64.

Irish people, 14.

Irvine, Robert, 113.

Irving, Edward, 86, 88, 291.

Irving, Mr. Henry, 140.

Isa, 174, 199.

Isle of Muck, 199.

James IV., 120.

James V., 180.

James VI., 135.

James II. of England, 182, 250, 295.

Jardine, Rev. Dr., 65.

Jeffrey, Francis (Lord Jeffrey), 33, 62 _n._ 9, 256.

Johns of Scotland, The Four, 158.

Johnson Club, 160, 173.

Johnson, Michael, 23.

JOHNSON, SAMUEL, affection for Boswell, 272;
  altercation with Lord Auchinleck, 278-281;
  behaviour at Dunvegan, 188;
  broad-sword, 24;
  never complained, 20;
  complimented on his return, 22;
  cups of tea, 189, 204;
  dangers of his voyage, 21;
  delicate in his language, 196;
  _Dictionary_, 168;
  dominie, 278;
  dread of the Highlanders, 154, 161;
  dukes and lords, 270;
  Erse New Testament, 266;
  feared by professors, 122, 263;
  fresh air, 47;
  fretful, 164;
  harassed by invitations, 292;
  hatred of exaggeration, 22;
  hogshead of sense, 232;
  imitates the kangaroo, 137;
  “Island Isa,” 174;
  laced clothes, 260;
  in a library, 295;
  love of life, 297;
  journey to Edinburgh and return, 59, 304;
  _Journey to the Hebrides_, 17, 156, 259;
  lemonade, 71, 107;
  levee, 75;
  meals, 10;
  objects of his tour, 24;
  _Odes_, 1, 168;
  peats, 3;
  politeness, 257;
  projected monument, 288;
  retirement, 95;
  roving among the Hebrides, 23, 227;
  sacrilege, 132;
  Sassenach mohr, 1;
  scenery, 24-29, 86, 120, 245;
  Scotch feeling towards him, 7-16, 259, 300;
  his feeling towards them, 7, 16;
  sleep, 152;
  spurs, 173;
  tavern-life, 299;
  traditions of him, 1-7, 156, 164, 189, 191, 204, 296, 302;
  _Ursa Major_, 79;
  walking-stick, 2, 34, 173, 176, 220;
  wig, 3, 197;
  writing doggedly, 81;
  young English buck, 182.

_Johnston_, 2, 5, 12, 195, 234.

Jonson, Ben, 304.

Jopp, Provost, 116.

Jougs, 138.

Judges, on circuit, 115;
  their brutality, 293.

Kames, Lord (Henry Home), 34, 41, 43, 62, 66, 80, 274.

Kangaroos, 137.

Keith, ——, 66.

Kerr, Lord Mark, 123.

Kerrera, 242.

Kilarow, 235.

Kilmarnock, 271.

Kilmarnock, Earl of, 126.

Kincardine, Countess of, 272.

Kinghorn, 86-7.

Kingsburgh, 181.

Kinnoul, Earl of, 228.

Kirkaldy, 87-8.

Knives and forks, 43, 252.

Knox, John (the reformer), 16, 81, 94, 95-6.

Knox, John, the traveller, 9, 45, 148, 161, 165, 187, 189, 204,
        209, 243, 263.

_Lady_, title of, 189.

_Land_, 74, _n._ 2.

Lauderdale, Earl of, 49.

Laurencekirk, 109.

Leach, ——, 25.

Leechman, Principal, 266.

Leuchars, 103.

Leven, Earl of, 49.

Lewis, Island of, 182-3.

Libraries, 84, 100.

Lichfield, 91, 133, 220.

Linlithgow, 171.

Lismore, 11.

Loch Awe, 141, 245.

Loch Bracadale, 204, 206.

Loch Buie, 5, 233-242.

Loch Duich, 2, 163.

Loch Follart, 185.

Loch Fyne, 247, 253.

Loch Grishinish, 184.

Loch Harport, 211.

Loch Hourn, 144.

Lochiern, 21.

Loch Lomond, 6, 25, 30, 253, 255-61.

Loch Na Keal, 218.

Loch Ness, 27, 30, 149-52.

Loch Snizort, 181, 184.

Loch Uisk, 233.

Lochbuy, Laird of (John Macleane), 5, 233-42.

Lochbuy, Lady, 6, 189, 234.

Lochbuy, Macleane of, (the present Laird), 237, 240, 242.

Lodore, 151.

Loudoun, Countess of, 296.

Loudoun, Earl of, 270.

Lovat, Lord, 141.

Lugar, 280, 287.

Luss, 255, 258.

Lyttelton, Lord, 15 _n._ 3.

Macaulay, Lord, 11, 135, 137, 253, 285-87.

Macaulay, Rev. John, 11, 253.

Macaulay, Rev. Kenneth, 135-59.

Macaulay, Zachary, 253.

Macbeth, 147.

Macdonald, Sir Alexander, 6, 22, 167.

Macdonald, Flora, 19, 181-83.

Macdonald, Sir James, 180.

Macdonald of Kingsburgh, 182, 184.

Mackenzie, Henry, 63.

Mackenzie, Mrs. 145.

Mackenzies, clan of, 158.

Mackinnon, Lachlan, 170.

Mackinnon, Mrs., 168.

Mackinnon’s Cave, 226.

Mackintosh, Sir James, 226.

Mackintoshes, clan of, 155.

Macleane, Sir Allan, 6, 218, 221-30, 234.

Macleane of Col, 4, 21, 35, 211, 220, 226, 234.

Macleane of Drumnen, 25.

Macleane, Dr., 218.

Macleane of Lochbuy. _See_ LOCHBUY.

Macleane, Miss, 218.

Macleod of Macleod, Miss, 2, 191, 284.

Macleod, Lady, 189-90, 194.

Macleod, Laird of, 2, 29, 177, 186-9, 209.

Macleod, the old Laird of, 187, 192.

Macleod, Major Alexander, 189.

Macleod, Colonel, 187, 207-9.

Macleod, John, of Raasay, 19, 171, 174-79.

Macleod, Malcolm, 171-73, 179.

Macleod, Mrs., of Ulinish, 204.

Macleod, Rev. Neal, 231.

Macleod, Sir Roderick, 193.

Macleod’s Maidens, 194, 207.

Macleod’s Tables, 197.

Macpherson, James, 10, 11, 63.

Macquarrie of Ulva, 220.

Macqueen, Rev. Donald, 4, 18, 171, 177, 179.

Macsweyn, 3 _n._ 1, 35.

Magus Moor, 88.

Maine, Sir Henry, 177.

Mallet, David, 62.

Mam Rattachan, 2, 164, 241.

Man not naturally good, 189.

Mansfield, Earl of, 20, 124.

Martin, M., 23, 173, 175, 179, 198, 200, 206, 216.

Mary, Queen of Scots, 69, 106, 250, 299.

Mason, Rev. William, 28, 151.

Matheson, Rev. Alexander, 145 _n._ 1, 156, 162.

Matthews, Charles, 284.

McCraas, 144, 161.

Meals, 20, 41, 43-5, 165.

Medical men, 232.

Melville, Viscount, (Henry Dundas), 77, 80.

Merk, Scotch, 121.

Mile stones, 253.

Militia, 64.

Millar, Andrew, 14.

Milne, Walter, 93.

Ministers, 19.

M’Nicol, Rev. Donald, 11, 135 _n._ 1.

Moidart, 144.

Monboddo, Lord (James Burnet), 15, 18, 80, 110-15, 276, 300.

Monboddo House, 113.

Montgomery, Lord Chief Baron, 58.

Montrose, 104, 107.

Moray, Bishop of, 120.

Mordaunt, Brigadier, 298.

More, Hannah, 111.

Moy, 233.

Mull, 6, 218-20, 227, 231-42.

Murdoch, William, 289.

Murray, Dr. James A. H., 118.

Murison, Rev. Dr., 100.

Muthill, 119.

Nairn, 134.

Nairne, Colonel, 101.

Nairne, Lord, 101.

Nairne, William (Lord Dunsinan), 85.

Napkins, 252.

_Neat_, 45, 108, 291.

New Hailes, 2, 291-7.

Newcastle, first Duke of, 274.

Newcastle Fly, 59.

Nivernois, Duke de, 66.

Nonjurors, 119.

Northcote, James, 123.

Northumberland, 109.

Oats, 42, 242, 257.

Oban, 242-44.

Ochiltree, 288.

Ogden, Rev. Dr. Samuel, 75.

Oglethorpe, General, 49, _n._ 2.

Old Mortality, 289.

Omai, 112.

Ormond, Duke of, 158.

Ossian, 18, 20, 294.

Ostig, 213.

Otaheite, 261.

Oxford, 98, 100, 117, 266, 304.

Paoli, Pascal, 74, 278-80, 287.

Patriarchal life, 177.

Patronage, 90.

Paufer, Thomas, 130.

Paul, Sir G. O., 221.

Peasants, 33, 34, 40-43, 112.

Pembroke College, Oxford, 97.

Penance rings, 137.

Pennant, Thomas, 24, 28, 34, 82, 91, 98, 109, 117, 137, 149, 165,
         195, 211, 229, 235, 246-47, 249, 253, 264, 304.

Percy, Dr. Thomas (Bishop of Dromore), 22.

Perth, 117, 172.

Philibeg, 171.

Pictish Forts, 167.

Pinkie, 69.

Pitcairne, Dr. Archibald, 109.

Pitfour, Lord, 146.

Pitt, William. _See_ EARL OF CHATHAM.

Pius IX., 106.

Plaids, 147, 171.

Plane trees, 101, _n._ 2.

Plutarch, 111.

Poker Club, 64, 303.

Poland, 279.

Porteous Riots, 78.

Porter, Lucy, 220.

Portraits, 192.

Portree, 180, 184.

Post chaises, 68, 87, 148.

Posts, 123, 145, 170, 262, 292.

Potatoes, 35.

Presbyterians, 274.

Preston Pans, 69.

Prince Charlie’s Caves, 206.

Pringle, Sir John, 74, 274, 281.

Prisons, 54, 146. _See_ DUNGEON.

Pulteney, William (Earl of Bath), 232.

Querns, 211.

Quin, James, 280.

Raasay, 2, 19, 142, 171-79.

Raeburn, Sir Henry, 192.

Ramsay, Allan, 77, 267, 269, 298.

Ramsay, John, of Ochtertyre, 45, 56, 174, 189, 241, 272, 278, 294.

Ranelagh Gardens, 49.

Rattachan. _See_ MAM RATTACHAN.

Ray, James, 129, 149.

Rebellion of 1745-46, 101, 119, 123, 127, 129, 134, 142-46, 149-52,
        154-55, 171, 179, 181, 264-65, 296, 298.

Reformation, The, 16.

Reid, Rev. Dr. Thomas, 63, 120, 263.

Reynolds, Sir Joshua, 17, 123, 127, 249, 277, 283.

Ritter, Joseph, 86.

Rizzio, David, 85.

Roads, 87, 147-48, 184, 224, 245, 260.

Robert II., 267.

Robertson, Rev. Dr. William, 14, 22, 48, 63, 66, 77, 81-5, 123,
        223, 298-99.

Robinson, “Peter,” 79.

Rochester, Earl of, 91.

Rogers, Samuel, 59.

Roger, Professor Thorold, 237.

Rollo, Lord, 119.

Room-setters, 71, _n._ 4.

Rorie More, 186, 190, 193-96.

Rosedew, 257.

Rosslyn Chapel, 304.

Rosslyn, first Earl of, 287.

Rousseau, 5, 77, 111, 287.

Rowlandson, Thomas, 281.

Royal Charlotte, 192.

Ruddiman, Thomas, 80, 109.

Rum, Isle of, 213.

Ruskin, John, 57.

Russell, Lord William, 303.

Sacheverell, William, 162, 216, 219, 229.

Sacrament-Sunday, 201.

Saint-Fond, Faujas de, 29, 51, 84, 90, 92, 96-7, 243, 252-56.

Salters, 69, 236.

_Saluting_, 182.

Sandiland, 224.

Scalpa, 173.

Scarsdale, Lord, 168.

Scenery, 24-34, 87, 218.

Schools, 259.

Sconser, 211.

SCOTCH, boastful, 14;
  clannish, 14;
  combination, 14, 39;
  decencies of life neglected, 41-8;
  English abuse, 38;
  English ignorance of them, 24, 36;
  English imitated, 7, 60-3;
  historical nation, 63;
  hospitality, 65;
  ill-fed, 41;
  learning, 60, 290;
  neglect of the beautiful, 32;
  outcry against Johnson, 8-15;
  road to England, 38;
  sensitive to criticism, 7;
  vigour of character, 32, 38, 40.

Scots Hunters, 49.

Scots Magazine, 7.

SCOTT, SIR WALTER, Lord Auchinleck, 274, 278;
  Sir A. Boswell, 283-84;
  Buchanan a favourite author, 91;
  colliers and salters, 259;
  cruise in 1814, 124;
  Duke of Cumberland, 143;
  death of Col, 220;
  dominies, 279;
  at Dunvegan, 188, 191, 193, 195;
  Lord Elibank, 298;
  Highland accommodation, 8;
  Highland dress, 172;
  house in the College Wynd, 48, 78;
  Inch Kenneth, 221;
  inns, 151;
  Iona, 229;
  Johnson and Adam Smith, 263;
  Johnson’s _Ode_, 168;
  last quotation from Johnson, 83;
  _Johnston_, 234;
  Lord Monboddo, 112, 114;
  _Old Mortality_, 291;
  _Peveril of the Peak_, 79;
  his popularity, 286;
  Scotch learning, 61;
  Archbishop Sharpe, 88;
  at St. Andrews, 96;
  in Skye, 1;
  Lord Stowell, 71;
  at Tobermory, 217;
  trees, 34;
  Wizard of the North, 38.

Scott, William (Lord Stowell), 68, 71.

Seaforth, Lord, 161.

Sharpe, Archbishop, 88, 97.

Sheep-shearing, 163.

Shenstone, William, 72, 214.

Sidney, Algernon, 303.

Sikes, Sir Charles, 285.

Silver fork, 252.

Singing, 173.

Singing-birds, 163.

Skinner, Rev. John, 119.

Skye, the verge of European life, 170;
  one magistrate, 177.

Slains Castle, 124-29.

Slaves, 292.

Sligachan, 211.

Smallet of Dumbarton, 217.

SMITH, ADAM, praises Boswell, 272;
  conversation, 278;
  farming, 35;
  Kirkaldy, 66, 87-8;
  old town of Edinburgh, 59;
  peasantry, 41;
  professor at Glasgow, 263;
  reported quarrel with Johnson, 263;
  room in Hume’s house, 67, 74;
  Select Society, 298;
  no statue to him, 77;
  tax on coal, 263;
  the Union, 39;
  _Wealth of Nations_, 63.

Smith, ——, an architect, 294.

Smoking, 91.

Smollett, Commissary, 260.

SMOLLETT, TOBIAS, ancestor, 217;
  beggars, 43;
  churches, 82;
  Edinburgh High Street, 52;
  Lord Elibank, 297;
  funerals, 227;
  Glasgow, 264;
  Hamilton, 291;
  Highland dress, 172;
  and meals, 44;
  _Humphry Clinker_, 37;
  inns, 50;
  living, 41, 46;
  his pillar, 261;
  rebel prisoners, 155;
  St. Andrews, 91;
  _Tears of Scotland_, 142;
  turnips, 36;
  Union, 39.

Snuff, 161.

Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge, 266.

Soldiers, 154, 165.

Somerset, Duke of, 69.

South, Rev. Dr. Robert, 16 _n._ 6.

Southey, Robert, 105 _n._ 1.

Spanish Invasion, 158, 217.

Speke, Captain, 136.

Spey, 130.

_Spouse_, 107.

ST. ANDREWS, 16, 17, 88-103;
  Castle, 92;
  Cathedral, 94, 102;
  Cloisters, 95;
  Glass’s Inn, 89;
  nonjuring parson, 119;
  professors’ dinner, 97;
  St. Leonard’s College, 89;
  St. Mary’s College, 100;
  St. Salvator’s College, 99;
  St. Rule, 96;
  streets, 91;
  trees, 97;
  University, 98-9, 102.

St. Kilda, 198.

Stablers, 51, 69.

Staffa, 24, 226.

Stairs, Earl of, 296.

State of nature, 260.

Steamboats, 256.

Stewart, Lady Henrietta, 142.

Stockdale, Rev. Percival, 98.

Stone, Jerome, 101.

Strahan, George, 186.

Strahan, William, 14, 59.

Streatham, 176, 276.

Strolimus, 212.

Struan, 205.

Stuart, James, of Dunearn, 284.

Stuckgown, 256.

Sugar-tongs, 6.

Supper-parties, 65.

Swift, Jonathan, 82, 189, 191.

Tait, John, 264.

Talisker, 206-11.

Tarbet, 253, 255-57.

Tay Bridge, 240.

Taylor, Rev. Dr., 305.

Temple, Sir William, 61, 272.

Temple, Rev. W. J., 267.

Tennyson, Lord, 249, 294.

Thomson, James, 57, 63.

Thrale, Mrs., 1, 23, 168, 199, 292.

Thrale, Miss, 156, 224.

Tobermory, 216-18.

Toland, John, 175.

Toll-gates, 87.

Topham, Edward, 9, 42, 47, 50, 182, 261.

Towns, their oddness, 51.

Tranent, 69.

Transportation, 116.

Trapaud, Governor, 161.

Trees, 16, 32-4, 149, 190, 227, 232, 249, 275, 288, 296, 302.

Trevelyan, Sir George, 135, 253.

Turk’s Head Coffee-house, 23, 292.

Turnips, 35.

Tytler, A. F., 277, 304.

Ulinish, 204.

Ulva, 4, 218-221.

Union, 15, 39, 236.

Universities, 83, 99, 120-22, 265.

_Up streets_, 53, _n._ 3.

_Utensils_, 176.

Vails, 48.

Vegetables, 35, 44.

Venice, 16.

Vested interests, 237.

Village communities, 177.

Vitrified forts, 148.

Voltaire, 22, 123, 280.

Wade, General, 147, 150.

Waggons, 87.

Wales, 85.

Walker, Rev. George, 289.

Wallace, Rev. Robert, D.D., 9.

Wallace, Sir William, 294.

Waller, Edmund, 121.

Walpole, Horace, 37, 64, 127, 132, 215, 248, 250, 296-97, 303.

Walpole, Sir Robert, 231.

Walton, Isaac, 102.

Washing, 137.

Washington, George, 188.

Watson, Professor Robert, 63, 89.

Watts, Mr., the painter, 229.

Wellington, Duke of, 301.

WESLEY, JOHN, Aberbrothick, 105;
  Aberdeen, 119;
  arrested, 56;
  Edinburgh dirt, 47;
  freeman of Perth, 117;
  funerals, 241;
  Glasgow, 264-65;
  Holy Rood House, 85;
  inns, 49;
  Inverness, 145, 149, 163;
  Johnson’s Tour, 17;
  meals, 44;
  mountain scenery, 28;
  Nairn, 135;
  preaching to the Scotch, 40;
  reforming mobs, 94;
  Spey, 130;
  St. Andrews, 89, 99;
  towns, 51.

Wheaten bread, 44, 161, 257.

Whigs, 282.

Whisky, 245.

White Horse, 69.

Whitefield, Rev. George, 76.

Wia, 205.

Wilkes, John, 66.

William III., 274.

Wilkie, William, D.D., 10.

Wilson, John, 77.

Windows, 47.

Wishart, George, 93.

Witches, 90.

Wolfe, Major-General James, 25, 41, 47, 142-43, 145, 154, 171, 254.

Worcestershire Volunteers, 265.

Wordsworth, William, 28, 32, 135, 254.

Writers to the Signet, 222.

Yew Tree Island, 258.

Zoffany, John, 188, 195.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: FOOTSTEPS OF D^{R.} JOHNSON

_George Philip & Son_
Sampson Low & Co, Limited, London.]

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *


[1] John Knox’s _Tour through the Highlands_, pp. 77, 132.

[2] Croker’s _Boswell_, p. 314.

[3] Croker’s _Correspondence_, ii. 33; Croker’s _Boswell_, p. 409.

[4] Johnson’s _Works_, ix. 36.

[5] Johnson calls this mountain “Ratiken;” Boswell, “the Rattakin.”
It is known as Mam-Rattachan. _Mam_ signifies _a mountain pass_ or
_chasm_. See Blackie’s _Etymological Geography_ (ed. 1875), p. 112.

[6] Johnson’s _Works_, ix. 63.

[7] “The peats at Dunvegan, which were damp, Dr. Johnson called ‘a
sullen fuel.’ Here a Scottish phrase was singularly applied to him.
One of the company having remarked that he had gone out on a stormy
evening, and brought in a supply of peats from the stack, old Mr.
M’Sweyn said, ‘that was _main honest_.’”—Boswell’s _Johnson_, v. 303.

[8] See Boswell’s _Johnson_, v. 214, for Boswell’s account.

[9] Boswell’s _Johnson_, v. 258.

[10] My informant placed the scene of this story at the house of a
Captain or Colonel Campbell in Mull. There was a Mr. Campbell, one of
the Duke of Argyle’s tacksmen, or chief tenants, in that island, who
furnished Boswell and Johnson with horses; but it is not mentioned that
they went to his house—they certainly did not pass a night there. See
Boswell’s _Johnson_, v. 332, 340.

[11] Johnson’s _Works_, ix. 142.

[12] Boswell’s _Johnson_, v. 341.

[13] See _Les Confessions_, bk. iii.

[14] Boswell’s _Johnson_, ii. 256.

[15] _Piozzi Letters_, i. 138.

[16] Boswell’s _Johnson_, v. 337.

[17] See _Letters of David Hume to William Strahan_, pp. 56, 114, 132.

[18] Boswell’s _Johnson_, v. 20.

[19] _Scots Magazine_, 1773, p. 133.

[20] _Ib._ 1784, p. 685.

[21] Boswell’s _Johnson_, v. 406.

[22] _Ib._ ii. 305-6.

[23] Croker’s _Correspondence_, ii. 34.

[24] Boswell’s _Johnson_, ii. 306.

[25] _Ib._ ii. 303-5.

[26] _Letters from Edinburgh_, 1774-5, London, 1776, published without
a name, but written by Captain Edward Topham, pp. 137-140. Arnot,
in his _History of Edinburgh_, p. 361, after ridiculing Topham’s
statement, that golf is played on the top of Arthur’s Seat, continues:
“These letters are written with spirit and impartiality. But the
facts and criticisms contained in them are for the most part equally
ill-founded. Yet so candid is the author amidst his errors, that it is
hard to say whether he is more erroneous when he speaks in praise or
censure of the Scottish nation.” It is possible and perhaps probable
that he has exaggerated the ill-will against Johnson. The passage which
he puts in quotation marks is not in the _Journey_.

[27] Knox’s _Tour_, p. lxvii.

[28] Burton’s _Life of Hume_, ii. 31.

[29] Boswell’s _Johnson_, i. 396.

[30] Walpole’s _Journal of the Reign of George III._ (ed. 1859), ii.
17, 483.

[31] Boswell’s _Johnson_, ii. 307.

[32] Johnson’s _Works_, ix. 19.

[33] Boswell’s _Johnson_, ii. 308.

[34] Macaulay’s _Miscellaneous Writings_, ed. 1871, p. 390.

[35] _Remarks on Dr. Johnson’s Journey to the Hebrides_, pp. 263-7.

[36] _Remarks on Dr. Johnson’s Journey to the Hebrides_, p. 270.

[37] Johnson’s _Works_, ix. 8.

[38] Boswell’s _Johnson_, v. 71.

[39] _M’Nicol_, p. 287.

[40] _Piozzi Letters_, i. 114.

[41] _M’Nicol_, p. 273.

[42] See _ante_, p. 5.

[43] _M’Nicol_, p. 266.

[44] Boswell’s _Johnson_, iv. 183.

[45] _Ib._ ii. 435, _n._ 1, and Forbes’s _Life of Beattie_, p. 218.

[46] Boswell’s _Johnson_, ii. 306.

[47] _Ib._ ii. 301.

[48] _Ib._ v. 20.

[49] _Ib._ ii. 307.

[50] _Ib._ ii. 296.

[51] _Works_, ix. 158.

[52] _Ib._ p. 154.

[53] _Ib._ p. 116.

[54] Boswell’s _Johnson_, v. 128.

[55] _Ib._ v. 248.

[56] _Works_, ix. 24. Hottentot—“a respectable Hottentot”—was the
term which for more than a hundred years was supposed to have been
applied to Johnson by Lord Chesterfield. I have proved, however, that
it was not Johnson, but the first Lord Lyttelton who was meant. See my
_Dr. Johnson: His Friends and his Critics_, p. 214, and my edition of
Boswell’s _Johnson_, i. 267.

[57] Forbes’s _Life of Beattie_, p. 217.

[58] _Works_, ix. 76.

[59] _Ib._ p. 86.

[60] _Works_, ix. 86.

[61] _Ib._

[62] _Ib._ p. 112.

[63] _Ib._ p. 47.

[64] _Ib._ p. 115.

[65] _Ib._ p. 3. Johnson, it should be remarked, does not write “the
ruffians of the Reformation.” He uses the word as South does, when
he speaks of “those times which had reformed so many churches to the
ground” (South’s _Sermons_, ed. 1823, i. 173). No man upheld the
Reformed Church of England more strongly than South.

[66] _Works_, ix. 6.

[67] Boswell’s _Johnson_, v. 61.

[68] _Works_, ix. 61.

[69] _Ib._ p. 4.

[70] _Ib._ p. 7.

[71] Boswell’s _Johnson_, ii. 306.

[72] Wesley’s _Journal_, iv. 74. He repeats this statement five years
later (_Ib._ p. 207).

[73] Boswell’s _Johnson_, ii. 290.

[74] _Works_, ix. 161.

[75] _Ib._ p. 159.

[76] _Ib._ p. 1.

[77] _Ib._ p. 3.

[78] _Works_, p. 11.

[79] _Works_, p. 14.

[80] _Ib._ p. 10.

[81] _Ib._ pp. 30, 159.

[82] _Ib._ p. 102.

[83] _Ib._ p. 54.

[84] Boswell’s _Johnson_, v. 288.

[85] _Works_, ix. 118.

[86] _Ib._ p. 25.

[87] _Ib._ p. 32.

[88] _Ib._ pp. 50, 97.

[89] _Ib._ p. 62.

[90] _Ib._ p. 67.

[91] _Works_, p. 63.

[92] Boswell’s _Johnson_, ii. 318.

[93] _Ib._ iii. 236.

[94] _Works_, ix. 19, 51.

[95] _Ib._ p. 52.

[96] Boswell’s _Johnson_, v. 146.

[97] _Piozzi Letters_, i. 137.

[98] _Ib._ pp. 127, 165.

[99] _Ib._ p. 182.

[100] Boswell’s _Johnson_, v. 262.

[101] _Ib._ v. 283.

[102] _Piozzi Letters_, i. 167.

[103] _Works_, ix. 117.

[104] Boswell’s _Johnson_, v. 283, _n._ 1.

[105] Francis’s Horace, _Odes_, IV. ix. 26.

[106] Boswell’s _Johnson_, v. 14.

[107] From the original, in the possession of Mr. W. R. Smith, of
Greatham Moor, West Liss.

[108] Boswell’s _Johnson_, v. 344.

[109] _Ib._ 392.

[110] “Through various hazards and events we move.” Dryden, _Æneid_, i.

[111] “Long labours both by sea and land he bore.” _Ib._ i. 3.

[112] Boswell’s _Johnson_, ii. 268.

[113] Boswell’s _Johnson_, i. 450.

[114] _Ib._

[115] He was sixty-four.

[116] Boswell’s _Johnson_, v. 278.

[117] _Piozzi Letters_, i. 158.

[118] _Ib._ i. 120.

[119] _Ib._ i. 188.

[120] Boswell’s _Johnson_, v. 324.

[121] _Ib._ iv. 199.

[122] _Ib._ v. 377.

[123] _Tour in Scotland_ (ed. 1776), ii. 59. The Bruar is near

[124] Johnson’s _Works_, ix. 84.

[125] Troil’s _Letters on Iceland_ (3rd ed.), p. 288. There is a notice
of the discovery in the _Gentleman’s Magazine_ for 1772, p. 540, and in
the _Annual Register_ for the same year, i. 139.

[126] Boswell’s _Johnson_, i. 348.

[127] Topham’s _Letters from Edinburgh_, p. 233.

[128] He was stationed there with his regiment. Wright’s _Life of
General Wolfe_, p. 271.

[129] Boswell’s _Johnson_, v. 141.

[130] _Ib._ iii. 303.

[131] Gray’s _Works_, iv. 57.

[132] _Ib._ ii. 78.

[133] _George Selwyn and his Contemporaries_, ii. 319.

[134] Camden’s _Description of Scotland_ (ed. 1695), p. 137.

[135] _Letters from a Gentleman in the North of Scotland_, ii. 339.

[136] _Ib._ p. 13.

[137] James Ray’s _History of the Rebellion of 1747_ (ed. 1752), pp.
365, 383.

[138] Gray’s _Works_, iv. 150.

[139] Walpole’s _Letters_, v. 501.

[140] _An Excursion to the Lakes_, p. 157.

[141] Wesley’s _Journal_, iii. 336, 465.

[142] _Tour in Scotland_, i. 222.

[143] Beattie’s _Essays on Poetry and Music_, p. 169.

[144] _Voyage en Angleterre_, etc., ii. 201.

[145] _Piozzi Letters_, i. 154, and Boswell’s _Johnson_, v. 231.

[146] Croker’s _Boswell_ (ed. 1835), iv. 327.

[147] Boswell’s _Johnson_, iii. 302.

[148] Johnson’s _Works_, ix. 25.

[149] _Piozzi Letters_, i. 138.

[150] _Works_, ix. 78, 153.

[151] _Ib._ p. 153.

[152] _Ib._ p. 156.

[153] _Ib._ p. 150.

[154] _Ib._ p. 35.

[155] _Piozzi Letters_, i. 135.

[156] _Works_, ix. 73.

[157] _Ib._ p. 156.

[158] _Piozzi Letters_, i. 169.

[159] _Works_, ix. 25.

[160] _Ib._ p. 36.

[161] Lockhart’s _Life of Scott_, iii. 239.

[162] Goldsmith’s _Traveller_, l. 319.

[163] Wordsworth’s _Works_, ii. 284.

[164] _The Traveller_, l. 125.

[165] Wordsworth’s _Works_, iv. 99.

[166] _Scotland and Scotsmen in the Eighteenth Century_, ii. 99.

[167] Kames’ _Sketches of the History of Man_, i. 274.

[168] Boswell’s _Johnson_, ii. 77. The superiority of the gardeners
was most likely due to the superiority of the education of the poorer

[169] _Ib._ ii. 78.

[170] W. Gilpin’s _Observations relative to Picturesque Beauty_ in the
year 1776, i. 117, 123, 141.

[171] Boswell’s _Johnson_, iii. 248.

[172] Forster’s _Life of Goldsmith_, i. 433.

[173] _Gentleman’s Magazine_, 1754, p. 119.

[174] Knox’s _Tour through the Highlands of Scotland_, p. 5.

[175] _Piozzi Letters_, i. 120.

[176] _Works_, ix. 17.

[177] Boswell’s _Johnson_, v. 120.

[178] _Letters from Edinburgh_, p. 230.

[179] Cockburn’s _Life of Lord Jeffrey_, i. 348.

[180] Gray’s _Works_, iv. 59.

[181] Pennant’s _Tour in Scotland_, ii. 21.

[182] Defoe’s _Tour through Great Britain: Account of Scotland_, iii.

[183] _Scots Magazine_, 1772, p. 25.

[184] Croker’s _Boswell_ (8vo. ed.), p. 285.

[185] Croker’s _Correspondence_, ii. 34.

[186] Boswell’s _Johnson_, v. 319.

[187] Topham’s _Letters from Edinburgh_, p. 366.

[188] Tytler’s _Life of Lord Kames_, i. 112.

[189] _Scotland and Scotsmen of the Eighteenth Century_, ii. 212, 227,
228, 231, 272, 277.

[190] Johnson’s _Works_, ix. 121.

[191] _Wealth of Nations_, i. 309.

[192] _Piozzi Letters_, i. 116.

[193] Pennant’s _Tour in Scotland_, ii. 138.

[194] _Piozzi Letters_, i. 121.

[195] Arnot’s _History of Edinburgh_, p. 347.

[196] _Letters from Edinburgh_, p. 229.

[197] _Humphry Clinker_, ii. 233.

[198] E. D. Dunbar’s _Social Life_, ii. 147.

[199] Defoe’s _Tour through Great Britain: Account of Scotland_, vol.
iii. p. 6.

[200] _Humphry Clinker_, ii. 212.

[201] _Ib._

[202] Defoe’s _Tour through Great Britain_, vol. iii. p. vii.

[203] _The Present State of Scotland_, pp. 39, 42, 112, 114, 119.

[204] _A Journey through part of England and Scotland with the Army._
By a Volunteer. P. 53.

[205] _Scots Magazine_, 1772, p. 24.

[206] _Letters from Edinburgh_, p. 40.

[207] _Memoirs of the Reign of George III._, iv. 328.

[208] _Humphry Clinker_, ii. 176. See my edition of _Letters of David
Hume to William Strahan_, pp. 56-64, for the violence of feeling
between the English and Scotch at this time.

[209] Boswell’s _Johnson_, i. 425.

[210] _Works_, ix. 158.

[211] Boswell’s _Johnson_, v. 248.

[212] _Works_, ix. 24.

[213] Smollett’s _History of England_, ii. 99.

[214] _Humphry Clinker_, iii. 7.

[215] _Wealth of Nations_, i. 308.

[216] Hume’s _History of England_, vii. 438.

[217] _Past and Present_ (ed. 1858), p. 80.

[218] _Works_, ix. 23.

[219] _Humphry Clinker_, iii. 83.

[220] Wesley’s _Journal_, iv. 13.

[221] _Ib._ p. 272.

[222] _Ib._ iv. 229.

[223] _Ib._ ii. 412.

[224] _Ib._ iii. 179.

[225] _Humphry Clinker_, iii. 44.

[226] _Ib._ iii. 83.

[227] Kames’s _Sketches of the History of Man_, ii. 333.

[228] _Wealth of Nations_, i. 222.

[229] Wright’s _Life of Wolfe_, p. 276.

[230] Kames’s _Sketches of the History of Man_, i. 265.

[231] _Humphry Clinker_, ii. 213.

[232] _Letters from Edinburgh_, pp. 279, 361.

[233] _Gentleman’s Magazine_, 1766, p. 209.

[234] _Wealth of Nations_, i. 100. See also Arnot’s _History of
Edinburgh_, p. 557, and Knox’s _Tour_, p. cxviii.

[235] Arnot’s _History of Edinburgh_ (ed. 1779), p. 353.

[236] Boswell’s _Johnson_, i. 294, _n._ 8.

[237] Johnson’s _Works_, ix. 9.

[238] _Humphry Clinker_ (ed. 1792), iii. 5.

[239] _Scots Magazine_, 1772, p. 636, and 1773, p. 399.

[240] _Humphry Clinker_, iii. 5.

[241] Dr. Alexander Carlyle’s _Autobiography_, p. 64.

[242] Kames’s _Sketches of the History of Man_ (ed. 1807), i. 507.

[243] _London Magazine_ for 1778, p. 198.

[244] _Scotland and Scotsmen in the Eighteenth Century_, ii. 64. George
Drummond of Blair, of whom this story is told, did not succeed to his
estate till 1739 (_ib._ p. 112), so that this rude mode of eating came
down nearly to the date of Johnson’s visit, even in the houses of
gentlemen. In the houses of “the substantial tenants” it continued till
much later (_ib._ p. 64).

[245] Wesley’s _Journal_, iv. 418.

[246] _Scotland and Scotsmen in the Eighteenth Century_, ii. 70, 71,

[247] _Humphry Clinker_, iii. 28.

[248] Knox’s _Tour_, p. 199.

[249] _Scotland and Scotsmen in the Eighteenth Century_, ii. 65.

[250] _Gentleman’s Magazine_ for 1771, p. 543.

[251] Boswell’s _Johnson_, v. 172. There are inns in the Hebrides where
the same deficiency is still found.

[252] Gray calls Geneva “neat,” and the repast which was set before him
at the “Grande Chartreuse” “extremely neat.” Gray’s _Works_, ed. 1858,
ii. 62, 63.

[253] _Humphry Clinker_, ii. 221, and Arnot’s _History of Edinburgh_,
p. 241.

[254] _Reekiana_, by Robert Chambers, p. 227: “The house was situated
at the head of Dickson’s Close, a few doors below Niddry Street.”
I have found all these names, except Stirling’s, in the recent
interesting reprint of the _Edinburgh Directory_ for 1773-4, published
by William Brown, Edinburgh, 1889.

[255] “Stenchel. An iron bar for a window.” Jamieson’s _Scottish

[256] _Tirlesing_ is not given by Jamieson.

[257] _The City Cleaned and Country Improven_, Edinburgh, 1760, p. 5.

[258] _The City Cleaned and Country Improven_, pp. 6, 8.

[259] _Humphry Clinker_, ii. 227. _Gardy loo_ is a corruption of
_gardez l’eau_, a cry which, like so many other Scotch customs and
words, bears witness to the close connection which of old existed
between Scotland and France.

[260] Burt’s _Letters from a Gentleman, etc._, i. 21.

[261] Topham’s _Letters from Edinburgh_, p. 152.

[262] _Humphry Clinker_, ii. 221.

[263] Wesley’s _Journal_, iii. 54.

[264] Wright’s _Life of General Wolfe_, p. 137.

[265] Gray’s _Works_, iv. 52.

[266] _Ib._ p. 61.

[267] This arrangement is still not uncommon in country places.

[268] Johnson’s _Works_, ix. 18.

[269] Boswell’s _Johnson_, v. 306.

[270] _Letters from Edinburgh_, p. 141.

[271] _Works_, ix. 18.

[272] Lockhart’s _Life of Scott_, i. 108.

[273] Boswell’s _Johnson_, ii. 78. Sheridan, in his _Life of Swift_,
records an earlier abolition of vails in Ireland (Swift’s _Works_, ii.

[274] Thicknesse’s _Observations on the Customs and Manners of the
French_, 1766, p. 106.

[275] Lord Hervey’s _Memoirs_, ii. 50.

[276] Arnot’s _History of Edinburgh_, p. 376.

[277] _Edinburgh Chronicle_ for 1760, p. 495.

[278] _Ib._ pp. 503, 518, 583, 623. The Scots Hunters were, I suppose,
the same as the Royal Hunters—a body of gentlemen volunteers who were
raised at the time of the Rebellion of 1745, and served under General

[279] Walpole’s _Memoirs of the Reign of George III._, ii. 3, and
_Letters of the First Earl of Malmesbury_, i. 108-9.

[280] Boswell’s _Johnson_, ii. 452.

[281] Wesley’s _Journal_, ii. 228, 285.

[282] _Present State of Polite Learning_, ch. xii.

[283] Arnot’s _History of Edinburgh_, p. 658.

[284] _Ib._ pp. 352-4.

[285] _Humphry Clinker_, ii. 214.

[286] _Letters from Edinburgh_, p. 18.

[287] “The Pleasance consists of one mean street; through it lies the
principal road to London.”—Arnot’s _History of Edinburgh_, p. 328.

[288] Arnot’s _History of Edinburgh_, p. 353.

[289] _Voyage en Angleterre, etc._, i. 200, 229, ii. 309.

[290] Boswell’s _Johnson_, v. 23.

[291] _Piozzi Letters_, i. 109.

[292] _Works_, ix. 18.

[293] Wesley’s _Journal_, ii. 228.

[294] Defoe’s _Tour through Great Britain; Account of Scotland_ (ed.
1727), iii. 29, 30, 33.

[295] J. Macky’s _Journey through Scotland_, p. 65.

[296] _Letters from Edinburgh_, p. 8.

[297] _Humphry Clinker_, ii. 220.

[298] _Tour in Scotland_, i. 52.

[299] Carlyle’s _Reminiscences_, ii. 5.

[300] See _Marmion_, note in the Appendix on Canto V., Stanza 25.

[301] _Letters from Edinburgh_, p. 28.

[302] _Guy Mannering_, ii. 101.

[303] _Letters from Edinburgh_, p. 233. The young Englishman, perhaps,
in this account does not aim at the strictest accuracy. The large
prayer-books were, I suppose, psalm-books or Bibles.

[304] “_To go up streets_” is an Edinburgh phrase for “_to go up the
street_.”—_Scotticisms by Dr. Beattie_ (published anonymously), p. 82.

[305] Arnot’s _History of Edinburgh_, p. 223. I assume that “the
Prince’s colours” mentioned by Arnot was the flag described in
_Waverley_, ii. 139.

[306] _Letters from Edinburgh_, pp. 58-62.

[307] According to Arnot, for many years preceding 1763, the average
number of executions for the whole of Scotland was only three. There
were four succeeding years in which the punishment of death was not
once inflicted. By 1783, however, the English severity seems to have
crept in, for in that year, in Edinburgh alone, in one week there were
six criminals under sentence of death.—_History of Edinburgh_, p. 670.

[308] The guard consisted of seventy-five private men.—_Ib._ p. 506.

[309] Arnot’s _History of Edinburgh_, pp. 502, 658, and _Letters from
Edinburgh_, pp. 355-60. By the year 1783, says Arnot, in his second
edition, p. 658, their number and their character had greatly sunk. See
also _Humphry Clinker_, ii. 240.

[310] _Scots Magazine_ for 1772, p. 636.

[311] John Erskine, quoted in Tytler’s _Life of Lord Kames_, vol. i.
app. x. p. 74, and in Arnot’s _History of Edinburgh_, p. 299.

[312] Howard’s _State of the Prisons_, p. 17.

[313] Arnot’s _History of Edinburgh_, p. 300.

[314] Wesley’s _Journal_, vol. iv. p. 17.

[315] Croker’s _Boswell_, p. 387.

[316] _Scots Magazine_ for 1769, p. 110; _The Speeches in the Douglas
Cause_ (most likely Boswell), p. 391; and Boswell’s _Johnson_, ii. 230.

[317] _Scotland and Scotsmen in the Eighteenth Century_, vol. i. p. 173.

[318] Ruskin’s _Lectures on Architecture and Painting_, p. 2.

[319] Boswell’s _Johnson_, iii. 360, v. 68.

[320] _Letters from Edinburgh_, p. 12.

[321] Arnot’s _History of Edinburgh_, p. 653.

[322] Cockburn’s _Memorials of his Time_, p. 183.

[323] _Scots Magazine_ for 1768, p. 115.

[324] Arnot’s _History of Edinburgh_, p. 314.

[325] Arnot’s _History of Edinburgh_, p. 654, and W. Creech’s _Letters
to Sir John Sinclair_, p. 9. Creech gives the number of cartloads at
eighteen hundred.

[326] Arnot’s _History of Edinburgh_, and Francis Douglas’s _General
Description of the East Coast of Scotland_, 1782, p. 9.

[327] Burton’s _Life of Hume_, ii. 458.

[328] _Ib._ ii. 462.

[329] _Letters of David Hume to William Strahan_, p. 227.

[330] _Early Life of Samuel Rogers_, p. 92.

[331] Cockburn’s _Life of Jeffrey_, i. 157.

[332] Boswell’s _Johnson_, ii. 265.

[333] Hume’s _Letters to Strahan_, p. 320.

[334] Mostyn Armstrong’s _Survey of the Post Roads, etc., in 1777_ (ed.
1783), p. 6; and Twiss’ _Life of Lord Eldon_, i. 39.

[335] It was three hours longer on the return journey from Edinburgh to
London.—Arnot’s _History of Edinburgh_, p. 539.

[336] _Gentleman’s Magazine_ for 1746, p. 209.

[337] _Redgauntlet_ (ed. 1860), ii. 77.

[338] W. Creech’s _Letters to Sir John Sinclair_, p. 11.

[339] Paterson’s _British Itinerary_, ii. 602.

[340] Cockburn’s _Life of Jeffrey_, i. 157.

[341] Boswell’s _Johnson_, v. 57, _n._ 3. See also _ib._ pp. 58, 80.
Johnson’s _Works_, ix. 157, and Tytler’s _Life of Lord Kames_, i. 5.

[342] _Gentleman’s Magazine_ for 1766, p. 167.

[343] Boswell’s _Johnson_, ii. 363, _n._ 3.

[344] In the speech which he made in 1824 on the opening of the New
Edinburgh Academy.—Lockhart’s _Life of Scott_, vii. 271.

[345] Arnot’s _History of Edinburgh_, p. 437.

[346] Boswell’s _Johnson_, i. 437, ii. 272, and Hume’s _Letters to
Strahan_, p. 275.

[347] Boswell’s _Johnson_, iii. 257.

[348] _Scotland and Scotsmen in the Eighteenth Century_, i. 169.

[349] Johnson’s _Works_, viii. 464.

[350] _Scotland and Scotsmen, etc._, ii. 63.

[351] Forbes’ _Life of Beattie_, p. 243.

[352] _Letters from Edinburgh_, p. 55.

[353] Hume’s _Letters to Strahan_, p. 6.

[354] _Scotland and Scotsmen, etc._, i. 211, ii. 544; and Tytler’s
_Life of Lord Kames_, ii. 240.

[355] _Scotland and Scotsmen, etc._, i. 167-170, ii. 543.

[356] Boswell’s _Johnson_, ii. 159. Lord Jeffrey was accused “of having
lost the broad Scotch at Oxford, and of having gained only the narrow
English.”—Cockburn’s _Life of Jeffrey_, i. 46.

[357] _Works_, ix. 159.

[358] _Piozzi Letters_, i. 109.

[359] Boswell’s _Johnson_, ii. 159.

[360] Hume’s _Letters to Strahan_, p. 155.

[361] _Ib._ pp. xxx. 15.

[362] Boswell’s _Johnson_, iii. 98.

[363] _The Author’s Earnest Cry and Prayer._

[364] Walpole’s _Reign of George II._, iii. 280.

[365] Dr. Alexander Carlyle’s _Autobiography_, pp. 399, 419.

[366] Andrew Henderson’s _Consideration on the Scots Militia_ (ed.
1761), p. 26.

[367] Boswell’s _Johnson_, iii. 1.

[368] Boswell’s _Johnson_, ii. 431. See also _Annual Register_ for
1776, i. 140.

[369] Dodsley’s _London and its Environs_, iii. 124, and Boswell’s
_Johnson_, iv. 330.

[370] Arnot’s _History of Edinburgh_, p. 598.

[371] _Ib._ p. 662.

[372] For a penny a cadie was obliged to carry a letter to the remotest
part of the town.

[373] Dr. Carlyle’s _Autobiography_, p. 275.

[374] _Gentleman’s Magazine_ for 1766, p. 168.

[375] Topham’s _Letters from Edinburgh_, p. 66.

[376] Knox’s _Tour_, p. 9.

[377] _Letters of Boswell to Temple_, p. 203.

[378] This house for many years—not much less than seventy, I was
told—has been occupied as a tailor’s shop. By the kindness of the
heads of the firm, Messrs. Lauder and Hardie, I was shown over the
building. Though it has been a good deal altered for the purposes of
business it is still substantially the same solid stone house which
Hume in his prosperity built for the closing years of his life. The
rooms are lofty, being about fourteen feet high. The kitchen and the
cellars were evidently contrived for a man who intended to boast with
justice of his dinners and his wine. From the windows of every floor
there must have been an uninterrupted view of the shores of Fife,
across the Firth of Forth, and of the house in Kirkaldy, where Adam
Smith was living.

[379] Boswell’s _Johnson_, ii. 441.

[380] _Ib._ iii. 381.

[381] _Eight days_ is, I suppose, one of Hume’s Gallicisms.

[382] _Letters of Hume to Strahan_, p. 116.

[383] Gibbon’s _Miscellaneous Works_, ii. 110.

[384] _Letters of Boswell to Temple_, p. 151.

[385] Dr. Carlyle’s _Autobiography_, p. 276.

[386] Hume’s _Letters to Strahan_, p. xl.

[387] If we can trust the description of one of Hume’s autograph
letters (No. 1105) in Messrs. Puttick and Simpson’s catalogue for July
30, 1886, Johnson was once Hume’s guest. The compilers of auction
catalogues, however, are not infallible as editors, and often make
strange mistakes.

[388] Boswell’s _Johnson_, ii. 453.

[389] The charge for a chaise and pair was ninepence a mile; in some
districts more. There was a duty on each horse of one penny per mile.
The driver expected a shilling or eighteen pence for each stage of ten
or twelve miles, and always found good reasons for asking for more. The
tolls paid at the turnpikes amounted to a considerable sum in a long
journey. The duty was subsequently increased. See Mostyn Armstrong’s
_Actual Survey, etc._, p. 4, and Paterson’s _British Itinerary_, vol.
i. preface, p. vii.

[390] See the Table of Weather in the _Gentleman’s Magazine_ for 1774,
p. 290.

[391] Dr. Alexander Carlyle’s _Autobiography_, p. 137. The tree still
remains the solitary memorial of the fight.

[392] It was not till 1799 that by 39 Geo. III. c. 56, they were
declared free. Cockburn’s _Memorials_, p. 78, and Boswell’s _Johnson_,
iii. 202, _n._ 1.

[393] Dodsley’s _London and its Environs_, vi. 316. In March, 1747, one
Mr. Williams, master of the White Horse Inn, Piccadilly, was kicked out
of a feast of the Independent Electors of Westminster, because he was
discovered to be taking notes of some Jacobite toasts. _Gentleman’s
Magazine_ for 1747, p. 151.

[394] Chambers’s _Traditions of Edinburgh_, p. 190.

[395] _Gentleman’s Magazine_ for 1771, p. 544.

[396] _Gentleman’s Magazine_ for 1771, p. 543.

[397] J. and H.’s Storer’s _Descriptions of Edinburgh_. Dr. Chambers,
in his _Traditions of Edinburgh_, p. 187, says that “the date is
deficient in the decimal figure 16—3.”

[398] Croker’s _Boswell_, 8vo. ed. p. 270.

[399] Chambers’s _Traditions of Edinburgh_, p. 191. Perhaps this was
Jeremy Bentham’s father, who two years earlier had married for the
second time: what was his wife’s Christian name I have not been able to
ascertain. The son did not visit Edinburgh in 1768. Dr. Chambers gives
on p. 318 a list of the great people living in the Canongate about the
year 1769. According to it there were two dukes, sixteen earls, two
countesses, seven barons, seven lords of session, thirteen baronets,
and four commanders-in-chief. The _Edinburgh Directory_ for 1773-4
contains, however, the names of only about a dozen peers and peeresses.

[400] Lockhart’s _Life of Scott_, ix. 244.

[401] He died on January 28, 1836.

[402] _Humphry Clinker_, ii. 224. Lodging-house keepers are entered in
the _Edinburgh Directory_ as _Room-Setters and Boarders_. Some were
both, others only _Room-Setters_.

[403] Johnson repeated these lines with great emotion at the excellent
inn at Chapel-House in Oxfordshire. Boswell’s _Johnson_, ii. 452.

[404] Since writing the above I have learnt with great pleasure that
this interesting but ruinous old building will not only be preserved,
but preserved to good uses. It has been purchased by Dr. A. H. F.
Barbour and his sister Mrs. Whyte, and by them presented to the
Edinburgh Social Union. It will be put into a state of thorough repair,
and let out to poor tenants on the plan followed by Miss Octavia Hill
in London. I am informed that the two sides of the Close had been
repaired by the Social Union before my visit, and that the pleasant
outside staircases and open galleries which caught my eye were its work.

[405] Chambers’s _Traditions of Edinburgh_, p. 68.

[406] Pringle seems to have kept on a house in Edinburgh though he was
for the most part living at this time in London. See Hume’s _Letters to
Strahan_, p. 117.

[407] The Scotch called each set of rooms on every floor a _house_,
and each block a _land_. Thus Hume had once lived in Jack’s Land, in
the Canongate. A _land_ of thirteen stories, such as was shown to
Johnson at the foot of the Post-house Stairs would contain twenty-six
houses—two on every floor.

[408] _Marmion._ Introduction to Canto iv.

[409] Mr. Alexander Grieve. I find a bookbinder of the same name living
in Bell’s Wynd in 1773. _Edinburgh Directory for 1773-4_, Appendix, p.

[410] For my authorities for some of the statements in this note see my
_Letters of David Hume to William Strahan_, pp. 116-9.

[411] See _ante_, p. 52.

[412] _Heart of Mid-Lothian_, ed. 1860, i. 247.

[413] _Redgauntlet_, ed. 1860, i. 253.

[414] Cockburn’s _Memorials_, p. 106, and _Heart of Mid-Lothian_, ii.

[415] Lockhart’s _Scott_, vii. 124.

[416] _Reminiscences_, by Thomas Carlyle, ii. 5.

[417] Cockburn’s _Memorials_, p. 69.

[418] _Court and City Register for 1769_, p. 142.

[419] From 1808 the judges began to sit in two separate chambers.
Cockburn’s _Memorials_, pp. 100, 244.

[420] Hume’s _Letters to Strahan_, p. xxvi.

[421] Mr. Gladstone restored it in 1885.

[422] Cockburn’s _Life of Lord Jeffrey_, i. 182.

[423] _Tour in Scotland_, i. 233.

[424] _Humphry Clinker_, iii. 5.

[425] _The Tale of a Tub_, section xi.

[426] Defoe’s _Tour through Great Britain: Account of Scotland_, iii.
43, and Pennant’s _Tour in Scotland_, ii. 249.

[427] Chambers, quoted in Croker’s _Boswell_, p. 276.

[428] Lockhart’s _Scott_, iii. 269. The quotation no doubt was,
“Superfluous lags the veteran on the stage;” the line with which Scott
concluded the brief Appendix to _Castle Dangerous_.

[429] _Scots Magazine_, 1768, p. 113; 1789, pp. 521-5.

[430] J. Macky’s _Journey through Scotland_, p. 69.

[431] _Scotland and Scotsmen in the Eighteenth Century_, ii. 307.

[432] See p. 52 of this pamphlet. _Panado_ is defined by Johnson as _a
food made by boiling bread in water_.

[433] _Regulations for the Workhouse of Edinburgh_, 1750, p. 30.

[434] Wesley’s _Journal_, iv. 181.

[435] Boswell’s _Johnson_, v. 362.

[436] _An Address to Edinburgh._

[437] Johnson’s _Works_, ix. 152.

[438] _Reminiscences_, i. 113.

[439] _Hume’s Letters to Strahan_, p. 115.

[440] _Humphry Clinker_, ii. 249.

[441] Ray’s _History of the Rebellion of 1745-6_, p. 284.

[442] Dr. A. Carlyle’s _Autobiography_, p. 331.

[443] Lord Kames’s _Sketches_, iii. 483.

[444] _Hume’s Letters to Strahan_, p. 353, and Boswell’s _Johnson_, iv.
24, _n._ 2.

[445] _Reminiscences_, i. 102-4.

[446] Saint-Fond’s _Voyage, &c._, ii. 253.

[447] Burnet’s _History of His Own Time_, ed. 1818, ii. 82. Balfour of
Burley, the leader, is known to the readers of _Old Mortality_.

[448] Lockhart’s _Scott_, i. 72.

[449] Macky’s _Journey through Scotland_, p. 83.

[450] _Early Letters of Thomas Carlyle_, ed. 1886, i. 187.

[451] Macky’s _Journey through Scotland_, p. 87.

[452] Wesley’s _Journal_, iv. 77.

[453] _Scotland and Scotsmen in the Eighteenth Century_, i. 268. The
popular rector was Archibald Campbell, the victim of the Rev. Dr.
Innes’s literary fraud described in Boswell’s _Johnson_, i. 360, and
the father of “Lexiphanes.” _Ib._ ii. 44.

[454] _St. Andrew’s As it was and as it is_, p. 161.

[455] Lockhart’s _Life of Scott_, i. 175.

[456] _Humphry Clinker_, ii. 246.

[457] _Tour in Scotland_, ii. 189. The population he estimated at about
two thousand. _Ib._ p. 196.

[458] _Poems of G. M. Berkeley_, Preface, p. lxi.

[459] _Ib._ p. lxii.

[460] _Voyage en Angleterre, &c._, ii. 238.

[461] My informant is Dr. John Paterson, of Clifton Bank, St. Andrews,
to whose extensive knowledge as a local antiquary and most friendly
assistance I am indebted.

[462] Froude’s _History of England_, ed. 1870, vi. 233.

[463] Wesley’s _Journal_, iii. 397.

[464] Translated by Boswell:

    “Let youth in deeds, in counsel man engage;
    Prayer is the proper duty of old age.”

[465] Her descent from Knox is not fully established, though,
says Carlyle, “there is really good likelihood of the genealogy.”
_Reminiscences by Thomas Carlyle_, ii. 103.

[466] Lockhart’s _Life of Scott_, ix. 126.

[467] _Voyage en Angleterre, &c._, ii. 232.

[468] Macky’s _Journey through Scotland_, p. 93.

[469] Pennant’s _Tour in Scotland_, ii. 197.

[470] Stockdale’s _Memoirs_, i. 238.

[471] Boswell’s _Johnson_, vi. xxx.

[472] G. M. Berkeley’s _Poems_, p. cccxcvi.

[473] Topham’s _Letters from Edinburgh_, p. 208.

[474] G. M. Berkeley’s _Poems_, p. cccxlix.

[475] Wesley’s _Journal_, iv. 77.

[476] _Tour through Great Britain: Account of Scotland_, iii. 154.
Defoe calls it St. Salvadore’s, and wonders “how it was made to speak
Portuguese.” Boswell gives it the same name, though he spells it
differently—St. Salvador’s. By 1807 I find it called in Grierson’s
_Delineations of St. Andrews_, as it is at present, St. Salvator’s.

[477] _St. Andrews as it was and as it is_, p. 157.

[478] Wesley’s _Journal_, iv. 77.

[479] Berkeley and his friend, the young Laird of Kincaldrum, raised “a
very noble subscription” for the poor lad.

[480] G. M. Berkeley’s _Poems_, p. cccxlviii.

[481] “On my observing to Dr. Johnson that some of the modern libraries
of the university were more commodious and pleasant for study (than
the library of Trinity College), as being more spacious and airy, he
replied, ‘Sir, if a man has a mind to _prance_, he must study at Christ
Church and All Souls.’” Boswell’s _Johnson_, ii. 67, _n._ 2.

[482] _Scotland and Scotsmen in the Eighteenth Century_, i. 269, 547.
The youngster was Jerome Stone, the author of a poem called _Albin and
the Daughter of Mey_, mentioned by Boswell in his _Life of Johnson_, v.

[483] It was probably a sycamore, for, as was pointed out by a writer
in the _Gentleman’s Magazine_ for 1837, p. 343, what the Scotch call
sycamores we call planes.

[484] The other tree, according to Sir Walter Scott, was probably the
Prior Letham plane, measuring about twenty feet round. It stood in a
cold exposed situation apart from every other tree. Croker’s _Boswell_,
p. 286.

[485] G. M. Berkeley’s _Poems_, p. ccxii.

[486] This piece of information I owe to the kindness of Mr. J.
Maitland Anderson, the Librarian of the University.

[487] In G. M. Berkeley’s _Poems_, p. lvi, a story is told of some
people who were at St. Andrews for only one night, and who, rather than
miss the ruins, saw them “by the light of an old horn lantern.”

[488] Written in 1889.

[489] Boswell’s _Johnson_, iii. 405.

[490] Paterson’s _Itinerary_, ii. 567, 581.

[491] Or _Aberbrothock_, as it is called in Southey’s _Ballad of the
Inchcape Bell_. The name is now written _Arbroath_, in accordance with
the pronunciation.

[492] Wesley’s _Journal_, iii. 397.

[493] Defoe’s _Tour_, p. 179.

[494] James Ray’s _History of the Rebellion_, p. 288.

[495] _Scots Magazine_, 1772, p. 25.

[496] Pennant’s _Tour_, ii. 278.

[497] Chalmers’s _Life of Ruddiman_, p. 24.

[498] This information I owe to the kindness of my friend Mr. Arthur

[499] _Ancient Metaphysics_, iv. 45.

[500] _Ib._ p. 48.

[501] _Ib._ p. 55.

[502] Hannah More’s _Memoirs_, i. 252.

[503] _Ancient Metaphysics_, vi. 212.

[504] _Origin of Language_, v. 274.

[505] _Scots Magazine_, 1799, pp. 729-731.

[506] _Ancient Metaphysics_, v. 307.

[507] Croker’s _Boswell_, p. 288.

[508] This anecdote I had from Lord Monboddo’s great grandson, Captain
Burnett, of Monboddo House, to whose courtesy I am much indebted.

[509] “In Scotland judges on the circuit are obliged to stay five
nights at every town where they open their commission.” Howard’s _State
of Prisons_, ed. 1777, p. 103.

[510] _Scots Magazine_, Oct. 1773, 556.

[511] F. Douglas’s _General Description of the East Coast of Scotland_,
p. 91.

[512] F. Douglas’s _General Description, &c._, p. 89.

[513] G. M. Berkeley’s _Poems_, p. cclxxiv.

[514] Vol. ii. p. 99.

[515] _Gentleman’s Magazine_, 1766, p. 210.

[516] Cox’s _Recollections of Oxford_ (ed. 1868), p. 156.

[517] Wesley’s _Journal_, iii. 461.

[518] Pennant’s _Tour_, i. 121.

[519] _Early Letters of J. W. Carlyle_, p. 45.

[520] _A Journey through Part of England, &c._, p. 134.

[521] Wesley’s _Journal_, iii. 461. The lessons were _Numbers_ xxiii.,
xxiv., and _Matthew_ i. In these chapters _Balak_ and _begat_ come over
and over again.

[522] Chambers’s _History of the Rebellion of 1745_ (ed. 1827), ii. 339.

[523] _Scotland and Scotsmen in the Eighteenth Century_, i. 525-8.

[524] Arnot’s _History of Edinburgh_, p. 227.

[525] G. M. Berkeley’s _Poems_, p. dxxxviii.

[526] _Scots Magazine_ for 1788, pp. 250, 357.

[527] Dunbar’s _Social Life in Former Days_, i. 10.

[528] A Scotch merk was about thirteen pence of English money.

[529] Dunbar’s _Social Life in Former Days_, i. 7.

[530] Forbes’s _Life of Beattie_, p. 160.

[531] Northcote’s _Life of Reynolds_ (ed. 1819), i. 300.

[532] Johnson’s _Works_, viii. 479.

[533] In 1786 the post despatched from Aberdeen on Monday reached
London on Saturday. Travellers could reach Edinburgh in a day and a
half by the Aberdeen and Edinburgh Fly, which set out from the New Inn
at four o’clock in the morning, and arrived at Edinburgh next day to
dinner; fare, £2 2_s._ _Scottish Notes and Queries_, i. 31.

[534] _Piozzi Letters_, i. 387.

[535] Ray’s _History of the Rebellion_, p. 310.

[536] Lockhart’s _Life of Scott_, iv. 186.

[537] Bound up with them were some interesting and unpublished
autograph letters and documents connected with many generations of the
earls of Errol. It is greatly to be desired that the present earl, to
whose courtesy I am much indebted, would have them edited.

[538] Chambers’s _History of the Rebellion_, ed. 1869, p. 309.

[539] Forbes’s _Life of Beattie_, Appendix D. At the time of the
rebellion of 1745 the Errol title was held by a woman.

[540] Walpole’s _Letters_, iii. 438.

[541] Forbes’s _Life of Beattie_, Appendix D.

[542] Walpole’s _Letters_, ii. 38.

[543] _Bouilloire._ According to Dr. Murray the word is connected with
“the Swedish _buller_, a noise, roar. But,” he adds, “the influence of
_boil_ is manifest.” I remember when I visited the place in my youth I
heard it also called Lord Errol’s Punch-bowl. The tale was told that
a former earl had made a seizure in it of a smuggling ship laden with
spirits, and had had the kegs emptied into the water.

[544] Lockhart’s _Life of Scott_, iv. 188.

[545] Dun Buy means the Yellow Rock. It gets its name, it is said, from
the colour given to it by the dung of the sea-birds.

[546] James Ray’s _History of the Rebellion of 1745_, p. 311.

[547] Wesley’s _Journal_, iii. 182.

[548] This account I owe to the kindness of Mr. Lachlan Mackintosh, of
Old Lodge, Elgin, who has copied it from a manuscript in his possession
which was written at least as early as the year 1837. To him also I am
indebted for the sketch of the old piazzas.

[549] Dunbar’s _Social Life in Former Days_, i. 276.

[550] Defoe’s _Tour through Great Britain: Account of Scotland_, iii.

[551] _The Elgin Courant and Courier_, Aug. 23, 1889.

[552] Walpole’s _Letters_, vii. 484. It was only one ship that was
lost, though in it the lead of two cathedrals was conveyed.

[553] Boswell’s _Johnson_, vi. xxxiii.

[554] The language of the Highlanders is generally called Erse by the
English writers of this period; sometimes Irish and Celtic. M’Nicol
objected to the term _Erse_. “The Caledonians,” he says, “always called
their native language Gaelic.” _Remarks on Johnson’s Journey_, p. 432.
Macpherson, in the title-page of _Ossian_, calls it Galic.

[555] Murray’s _Handbook for Scotland_, ed. 1867, p. 308.

[556] Wesley’s _Journal_, iii. 182.

[557] _Life of Lord Macaulay_, ed. 1877, i. 6.

[558] Boswell’s _Journal_, ed. by Carruthers, p. 96.

[559] Pennant’s _Tour in Scotland_, i. 155.

[560] _Hudibras_, iii. 1, 1477.

[561] Boswell’s _Hebrides_, ed. by R. Carruthers, p. 85.

[562] Wright’s _Life of Wolfe_, p. 178.

[563] _Scots Magazine_, 1775, p. 26.

[564] Johnson’s _Works_, ix. 86.

[565] Lockhart’s _Life of Scott_, i. 24.

[566] Wright’s _Life of Wolfe_, 1864, pp. 84-5, 179.

[567] _Gentleman’s Magazine_, 1746, p. 263.

[568] _Ib._, p. 324.

[569] _Gentleman’s Magazine_, 1746, p. 429.

[570] Michael Hughes’s _Plain Narrative of the Rebellion_, p. 56.

[571] Henderson’s _History of the Rebellion_, p. 117.

[572] _Scots Magazine_, 1747, p. 649. According to Smollett the number
executed was eighty-one. _History of England_, ed. 1800, iii. 188.

[573] _Gentleman’s Magazine_, 1747, p. 246.

[574] _Marchmont Papers_, i. 196.

[575] _Gentleman’s Magazine_, 1753, p. 391.

[576] My informant is the late Rev. Alexander Matheson, minister of

[577] _Gentleman’s Magazine_, 1771, p. 544.

[578] Wright’s _Life of Wolfe_, pp. 182, 195.

[579] Wesley’s _Journal_, iii. 181.

[580] Defoe’s _Account of Scotland_, p. 196.

[581] Wright’s _Life of Wolfe_, p. 177.

[582] _Letters of Horace Walpole_, ii. 288.

[583] M. Hughes’s _Plain Narrative_, p. 51.

[584] E. Dunbar’s _Social Life in Former Days_, i. 133.

[585] _Ib._, p. 89.

[586] _Scotland and Scotsmen in the Eighteenth Century_, i. 164.

[587] _Scotland and Scotsmen in the Eighteenth Century_, ii. 88.

[588] Pennant’s _Tour in Scotland_, i. 196.

[589] Wesley’s _Journal_, iv. 275.

[590] Ray’s _History of the Rebellion_, p. 362.

[591] M. Hughes’s _Plain Narrative_, p. 53. _Alps_, I suppose, he uses
as Milton does for lofty mountains in general.

[592] In a _Survey of the Province of Moray_, published at Aberdeen
in 1798, on pp. 333-34, the following table is given of the distances
along the road which Johnson was following:—“From Inverness to
the General’s Hut, 17 miles 6 furlongs. From General’s Hut to Fort
Augustus, 14 miles 2 furlongs. From Fort Augustus to Unach [? Anoch], 9
miles. From Unach to Rattachan, 25 miles 5 furlongs. From Rattachan to
Bernera, 9 miles.”

[593] Croker’s _Boswell_, 8vo, ed. p. 307.

[594] Walpole’s _Letters_, v. 501.

[595] Ray’s _History of the Rebellion_, p. 325.

[596] _Ib._, p. 362.

[597] I adopt Boswell’s spelling. Johnson calls it Glenmollison. It is
now generally written Glenmoriston.

[598] Wright’s _Life of Wolfe_, p. 279.

[599] Henderson’s _History of the Rebellion_, p. 122.

[600] Smollett’s _History of England_, iii. 183.

[601] He means Mr. and Mrs. Thrale and their eldest daughter.

[602] Johnson is quoting Parnell’s _Hymn to Contentment_. Pope, in
_Donne’s Satires Versified_ (iv. 185), calls “solitude the nurse of

[603] _Letters from a Gentleman in the North of Scotland_, ii. 179.

[604] Johnson calls them _pails_. In his time pails were only made of
wood, if we can trust his definition of the word in his Dictionary.

[605] J. Knox’s _Tour through the Highlands in 1786_, p. 255.

[606] T. Garnett’s _Observations, &c._, ii. 12.

[607] W. Sacheverell’s _Account of the Isle of Man, &c._, p. 128.

[608] _Lay Sermon_, ed. 1870, p. 427.

[609] Wesley’s _Journal_, iv. 275.

[610] See _ante_, p. 2. Boswell calls the mountain _Rattakin_, Johnson
_Ratiken_. Its name I was told is properly written _Rattagan_.

[611] _Voyage to the Hebrides_, ed. 1774, p. 336.

[612] _Ib._, p. 345.

[613] _Tour through the Highlands in 1786_, pp. cxx, 103. I do not know
whether an earlier instance can be found of the expression “notorious
job” than the above.

[614] Boswell calls the place Broadfoot.

[615] Johnson’s _Works_, ix. 47.

[616] The _philibeg_, or _fillibeg_, is defined as “the dress or
petticoat reaching nearly to the knees.”

[617] _An Act to Amend the Disarming Act of the 19 Geo. II., made in
the 21 Geo. II._ Edinburgh, 1748, p. 15.

[618] Henderson’s _History of the Rebellion_, p. 99.

[619] Johnson’s _Works_, ix. 94.

[620] Wright’s _Life of Wolfe_, pp. 216-18.

[621] _Humphry Clinker_, iii. 20.

[622] _Gentleman’s Magazine_, 1782, p. 307.

[623] Croker’s _Boswell_, p. 316.

[624] Martin’s _Description of the Western Islands_, pp. 206-7.

[625] Croker’s _Boswell_, p. 364.

[626] Gray’s _Works_, iv. 55.

[627] _Letters from a Gentleman in the North of Scotland_, ii. 142.

[628] _Voyage to the Hebrides_, ed. 1774, p. 291.

[629] _Scotland and Scotsmen in the Eighteenth Century_, ii. 410, 415.

[630] Page 164.

[631] Johnson seems to use this word in much the same sense as Caliban
does when he speaks of Prospero’s “brave utensils” (_The Tempest_, act
iii. sc. 2). In his _Journey_, he says that in the Hebrides “they use
silver on all occasions where it is common in England, nor did I ever
find a spoon of horn but in one house.”

[632] This was Johnson’s estimate, based on the number of men who took
part in the Rebellion of 1745. The population in 1881 was 750.

[633] _Lectures on the Early History of Institutions_, ed. 1875, p. 101.

[634] E. Topham’s _Letters from Edinburgh_, p. 264.

[635] I am much indebted to Mr. A. E. Stewart, of Raasay, for his
kindness in showing me whatever there was to see, and for his present
of the photograph of the old castle.

[636] Croker’s _Boswell_, p. 826.

[637] _Letters from Edinburgh_, pp. 33, 37.

[638] “With virtue weighed what worthless trash is gold.”

[639] Knox’s _Tour through the Highlands_, p. 142.

[640] “In the year seventy-one they had a severe season remembered
by the name of the Black Spring, from which the island has not yet
recovered. The snow lay long upon the ground, a calamity hardly known
before.” Johnson’s _Works_, ix. 74.

[641] Croker’s _Boswell_, ed. 1835, iv. 322-9.

[642] _Croker Correspondence_, ii. 33.

[643] Croker’s _Boswell_, p. 334.

[644] _Ante_, p. 3.

[645] Knox’s _Tour_, p. 152.

[646] _Scotland and Scotsmen of the Eighteenth Century_, i. 173.

[647] Knox’s _Tour_, p. 143.

[648] Swift’s _Voyage to Brobdingnag_, chap. vii.

[649] Croker’s _Boswell_, p. 340.

[650] Lockhart’s _Scott_, iv. 302.

[651] Lockhart’s _Scott_, iv. 305.

[652] Pennant’s _Voyage to the Hebrides_, 1774, p. 295.

[653] Lockhart’s _Life of Scott_, iv. 304.

[654] See _ante_, p. 3.

[655] See _post_ in the chapter on Lochbuie for an account of the
hereditary jurisdictions.

[656] Martin’s _Western Islands_, p. 297.


    “Your friends forgetting by your friends forgot.”

    Francis’s _Horace_, _Epistles_, i. xi. 9.

[658] Buchanani _Opera Omnia_, ed. 1725, i. 40.

[659] Martin’s _Western Islands_, p. 170.

[660] Knox’s _Tour_, p. 139.

[661] For his services and for many other acts of kindness, I am
indebted to the Rev. Roderick Macleod of Macleod.

[662] M. Martin’s _Western Islands_, p. 150.

[663] Pennant’s _Voyage to the Hebrides_, ed. 1774, p. 289.

[664] _Gentleman’s Magazine_, 1782, p. 595.

[665] Knox’s _Tour_, p. 140.

[666] _Voyage to the Hebrides_, ed. 1774, p. 291.

[667] _Gentleman’s Magazine_, 1774, p. 394.

[668] Walpole’s _Letters_, v. 512.

[669] W. Sacheverell’s _Account of the Isle of Man_, ed. 1702, p. 126.

[670] Martin’s _Western Islands_, p. 253.

[671] _Humphry Clinker_, iii. 57.

[672] _History of England_, ed. 1870, xii. 443.

[673] Lockhart’s _Life of Scott_, iv. 338.

[674] _Account of the Isle of Man_, p. 130.

[675] Croker’s _Boswell_, p. 826.

[676] Croker’s _Boswell_, p. 384.

[677] Pope. _Eloisa to Abelard_, l. 135.

[678] _Life of Sir James Mackintosh_, ii. 257.

[679] _Humphry Clinker_, iii. 27.

[680] J. L. Buchanan, _Travels in the Western Highlands from 1782 to
1790_, p. 5.

[681] _History of Edinburgh_, p. 445.

[682] See Johnson’s _Works_, ix. 149. Pennant, however, gives the
number of inhabitants as only one hundred and fifty. Pennant’s _Tour_,
ed. 1774, p. 243.

[683] _An Account of the Isle of Man_, p. 136.

[684] Pennant’s _Tour_, ed. 1774, pp. 243, 246.

[685] T. Garnett’s _Observations, &c._, i. 244, 265.

[686] Lockhart’s _Life of Scott_, iii. 285; iv. 324.

[687] Dr. T. Garnett’s _Observations, &c._, i. 148.

[688] _Voyage en Angleterre, &c._, ii. 86.

[689] The name is now commonly written Lochbuie.

[690] See _ante_, p. 5.

[691] _An Essay upon Feudal Holdings, Superiorities, and Hereditary
Jurisdictions in Scotland_, London, 1747, p. 16.

[692] “Baro dicitur qui gladii potestatem habet, id est imperium merum;
apud nos furcæ et fossæ nomine significamus.”—Craig, _De Feudis_, i.
12, 16, quoted in Arnot’s _History of Edinburgh_, p. 224.

[693] _An Essay upon Feudal Holdings, &c._, pp. 18, 28.

[694] Dunbar’s _Social Life, &c._, ii. 141.

[695] Pennant’s _Voyage to the Hebrides_, ed. 1774, p. 221.

[696] _Letters from a Gentleman in the North of Scotland_, i. 54.

[697] Smollett’s _History of England_, ii. 79.

[698] _An Act for Abolishing the Heritable Jurisdictions_, 1747, p. 19.

[699] Boswell’s _Johnson_, iii. 202, _n._ 1.

[700] _Scotland and Scotsmen, &c._, ii. 94.

[701] _Old Mortality_, ed. 1860, ii. 14.

[702] _An Act for Abolishing, &c._, p. 17.

[703] Boswell’s _Johnson_, v. 292.

[704] _History of the Rebellion in Scotland_, ed. 1827, ii. 293.

[705] _Scots Magazine_, 1759, p. 441.

[706] Smollett’s _History of England_, iii. 206.

[707] Johnson’s _Works_, ix. 91.

[708] _Marchmont Papers_, i. 234, 248.

[709] _Scots Magazine_, 1747, p. 587, and 1748, p. 136.

[710] Macgibbon and Ross’s _Architecture of Scotland_, iii. 127.

[711] _Scotland and Scotsmen, &c._, ii. 430.

[712] Wesley’s _Journal_, iv. 14.

[713] T. Garnett’s _Observations, &c._, i. 145.

[714] Knox’s _Tour_, p. 44.

[715] Johnson’s _Works_, ix. 52.

[716] _Voyage en Angleterre, &c._, i. 369-373.

[717] _Tour in Scotland_, ed. 1774, i. 218.

[718] Walpole’s _Letters_, ix. 358.

[719] Boswell’s _Johnson_, v. 353, _n._ 1.

[720] Horace Walpole’s _Letters_, ii. 281, 285.

[721] _Ib._ p. 293.

[722] “I went to renew my lease, but my Lord’s _Chamberlain_ was not
at home.—Steward. The person who receives the rents and revenues of
some corporations is still called chamberlain; as the chamberlain of
London.”—Beattie’s _Scotticisms_, p. 24.

[723] _Voyage en Angleterre, &c._, i. 290.

[724] He gives the following curious account of an accommodation
which we should scarcely have expected to find in the dining-room
of Inverary: “Si, pendant les libations, le champagne mousseux fait
ressentir son influence appéritive, le cas est prévu, et sans quitter
la compagnie, on trouve dans de jolies encoignures, placés dans les
angles de la salle, tout ce qui est nécessaire pour satisfaire à ce
petit besoin.” _Voyage en Angleterre, &c._, i. 294.

[725] _Life of Lord Macaulay_, ed. 1877, i. 7.

[726] Commissioners for Highland Roads and Bridges.

[727] Wright’s _Life of General Wolfe_, p. 269.

[728] _Voyage en Angleterre, &c._, i. 268.

[729] Cockburn’s _Life of Jeffrey_, ed. 1852, ii. 180.

[730] Rossdhu.

[731] J. Irving’s _Book of Dumbartonshire_, ii. 242. See _ib._ p.
257, where it is stated that it was in 1774 (the year after Johnson’s
visit), that “a removal was made from the old castle to the centre

[732] Johnson spells the name as it was pronounced _Cohune_.

[733] Inch Galbraith.

[734] Irving’s _Book of Dumbartonshire_, i. 347.

[735] I have intentionally altered the names.

[736] Topham’s _Letters from Edinburgh_, p. 299, and Arnot’s _History
of Edinburgh_, p. 491.

[737] _Humphry Clinker_, iii. 17, 39.

[738] Irving’s _Book of Dumbartonshire_, ii. 200.

[739] Pennant’s _Tour in Scotland_, ed. 1774, i. 228.

[740] _Gentleman’s Magazine_, 1771, p. 545.

[741] Knox’s _Tour_, pp. cli-iii.

[742] _Wealth of Nations_, ed. 1811, iii. 335.

[743] Tytler’s _Life of Lord Kames_, ii. 230.

[744] Burton’s _Life of Hume_, i. 351.

[745] Camden’s _Description of Scotland_, 2nd ed. p. 81.

[746] Defoe’s _Tour through Great Britain: Scotland_, p. 83.

[747] J. Macky’s _Journey through Scotland_, ed. 1723, p. 295.

[748] Wesley’s _Journal_, ii. 410.

[749] _Humphry Clinker_, iii. 14, 33.

[750] _Voyage to the Hebrides_, ed. 1774, p. 127.

[751] _Scots Magazine_, 1749, p. 202.

[752] _Scots Magazine_, 1749, p. 253.

[753] Mr. Frederic Hill, late Assistant-Secretary to the Post Office.

[754] Dr. A. Carlyle’s _Autobiography_, pp. 71, 74.

[755] Wesley’s _Journal_, ii. 286.

[756] Pennant’s _Voyage to the Hebrides_, ed. 1774, p. 136.

[757] Dr. A. Carlyle’s _Autobiography_, p. 69, and Johnson’s _Boswell_,
v. 68.

[758] Boswell’s _Johnson_, ii. 27.

[759] Dr. A. Carlyle’s _Autobiography_, pp. 68, 83.

[760] Boswell’s _Letters to Temple_, p. 98.

[761] To prate.

[762] Shirt-collars.

[763] Macgibbon and Ross’s _Castellated and Domestic Architecture of
Scotland_, i. 167, 171.

[764] _Description of Scotland_, 2nd ed. p. 68.

[765] R. Chambers’s _Traditions of Edinburgh_, ed. 1869, p. 217.

[766] R. Chambers’s _Traditions of Edinburgh_, ed. 1869, p. 217.

[767] Macgibbon and Ross’s _Castellated Architecture of Scotland_, ii.

[768] _Letters of Boswell to Temple_, p. 255.

[769] _Ib._, p. 215.

[770] _Correspondence of Boswell and Erskine_, ed. 1879, p. 26.

[771] _Scotland and Scotsmen of the Eighteenth Century_, i. 161.

[772] _Scotland and Scotsmen of the Eighteenth Century_, i. 161, 173.

[773] Temple’s _Works_, ed. 1757, i. 160.

[774] _Scotland and Scotsmen_, i. 161. The Earl of Chesterfield,
writing to his son in the year 1751, says: “I do not indeed wear
feathers and _red heels_, which would ill suit my age; but I take care
to have my clothes well made.” _Letters to his Son_, ed. 1774, iii. 227.

[775] _Historical Manuscripts Commission_, 1874, p. 531.

[776] _Scotland and Scotsmen, &c._, i, 170; ii. 556.

[777] Boswell’s _Johnson_, v. 382, _n._ 2.

[778] _Scotland and Scotsmen, &c._, ii. 543.

[779] _Ib._ i. 166.

[780] _Letters of Boswell to Temple_, pp. 216, 219.

[781] _Scotland and Scotsmen, &c._, i. 166.

[782]        “The peace you seek is here—where is it not?
        If your own mind be equal to the lot.”


[783] _Memoirs of Dr. Burney_, ii. 191-4.

[784] Madame d’Arblay’s _Diary_, ed. 1843, v. 166.

[785] Boswell’s _Correspondence with Erskine_, ed. 1879, p. 36.

[786] Boswell’s _Johnson_, i. 11; iii. 362; v. 52.

[787] _Scots Magazine_, 1797, p. 292.

[788] Tytler’s _Life of Lord Kames_, ii. 228.

[789] _Scotland and Scotsmen_, i. 176.

[790] Crazy.

[791] _Loup_ is a cognate word with _leap_, and signifies _to run_. A
_landlouper_ is a _runagate; one constantly shifting from one place to

[792] Johnson’s _Works_, ix. 158.

[793] _Quarterly Review_, No. 71, p. 225.

[794] _Ib._

[795] _Garrick Correspondence_, i. 436.

[796] _Letters of Boswell to Temple_, p. 156.

[797] _Scotland and Scotsmen, &c._, i. 172. _Tout is the blast of a

[798] Davies’s _Life of Garrick_, ii. 115.

[799] Cromwell’s _Letters and Speeches_, ed. 1857, ii. 209.

[800] Croker’s _Boswell_, 8vo. ed. p. 826.

[801] _Letters of Boswell to Temple_, p. 207.

[802] _Quarterly Review_, No. 71, p. 209.

[803] Croker’s _Correspondence_, ii. 32.

[804] Lockhart’s _Life of Scott_, v. 336.

[805] C. Rogers’s _Modern Scottish Minstrel_, 1870, p. 158.

[806] Lord Cockburn’s _Memorials_, pp. 380, 392, and Lockhart’s
_Scott_, vii. 33.

[807] Rogers’s _Boswelliana_, p. 195, and _Notes and Queries_, 3rd
Series, vii. 197.

[808] _Letters of Boswell to Temple_, p. 315.

[809] Croker’s _Boswell_, p. 620.

[810] Lockhart’s _Life of Scott_, vii. 33.

[811] Macaulay’s _Miscellaneous Writings_, ed. 1871, p. 369.

[812] Johnson imagines Burke falling into chance conversations on two
occasions; once on shunning a shower under a shed, and another time
on stepping aside to take shelter from a drove of oxen.—_Life of
Johnson_, iv. 275; v. 34.

[813] “JOHNSON. I remember once being with Goldsmith in Westminster
Abbey. While we surveyed the Poets’ Corner I said to him,

    ‘Forsitan et nostrum nomen miscebitur istis.’

When we got to Temple Bar he stopped me, pointed to the heads upon it,
and slily whispered me,

    ‘Forsitan et nostrum nomen miscebitur _istis_.’”

    _Ib._ ii. 238.

[814] See Boswell’s will in Rogers’s _Boswelliana_, p. 185.

[815] _Carlyle’s Reminiscences_, ed. 1881, i. 178.

[816] _Gentleman’s Magazine_, 1771, p. 545.

[817] _Humphry Clinker_, iii. 85.

[818] Boswell’s _Johnson_, iii. 212, 216.

[819] _Scotland and Scotsmen_, &c., i. 398.

[820] _Traditions of Edinburgh_, ed. 1825, ii. 161.

[821] _Scotland and Scotsmen_, &c., i. 397, 407.

[822] Boswell’s _Johnson_, ii. 383, iii. 404.

[823] Gibbon’s _Miscellaneous Works_, ed. 1814, i. 232.

[824] Hume’s _Letters to Strahan_, p. 74.

[825] _Scotland and Scotsmen_, &c., i. 402.

[826] Burke’s _Correspondence_, iii. 301.

[827] A Scotticism for _out of the window_. See _ante_, p. 46.

[828] _Scotland and Scotsmen_, &c., i. 394.

[829] _Scotland and Scotsmen_, &c., i. 411.

[830] Burnet’s _History of his own Time_, ed. 1818, ii. 443.

[831] _Scotland and Scotsmen_, &c., i. 409.

[832] Boswell’s _Johnson_, ii. 364.

[833] Smollett’s _History of England_, iii. 169.

[834] Walpole’s _Letters_, i. 407.

[835] _Scotland and Scotsmen_, &c., i. 407.

[836] _Ib._, p. 413.

[837] Chambers’s _Traditions of Edinburgh_, ed. 1869, p. 145.

[838] Darnhall is at present Lord Elibank’s seat; but in Paterson’s
_British Itinerary_ (ed. 1800, i. 227; ii. 557) it is described as the
seat of the Hon. George Murray, while Ballencrieff is mentioned as Lord
Elibank’s. Murray is the family name of the Elibanks.

[839] _Humphry Clinker_, ii. 219.

[840] Walpole’s _Letters_, ii. 32.

[841] _Quarterly Review_, No. 71, p. 199.

[842] Walpole’s _Letters_, ii. 40.

[843] Home’s _Works_, i. 54.

[844] Dr. A. Carlyle’s _Autobiography_, p. 298, and D. Stewart’s _Life
of Robertson_, ed. 1802, p. 5.

[845] _History of England_, ed. 1773, v. 504.

[846] Robertson’s _Works_, ed. 1802, v. 46.

[847] Dr. A. Carlyle’s _Autobiography_, p. 267.

[848] Horace Walpole’s _Letters_, ix. 103.

[849] When I had the honour of meeting Mr. Gladstone in his visit to
Oxford early this year, he quoted this passage in his strong deep
voice, and praised it highly.

[850] At Ballencrieff there is no river, but perhaps Johnson was
thinking of the Firth of Forth.

[851] This interesting tradition comes to me from my friend General
Cadell, C.B., of Cockenzie House, to whom I am indebted for the
accompanying sketch of the trees.


    “From thence our travels to Brundusium bend,
    Where our long journey and my paper end.”

    FRANCIS’S _Horace_, i. Sat. v. 103.

[853] _Letters of Boswell to Temple_, p. 168.

[854] Walpole’s _Letters_, v. 441.

[855] _Letters of Hume to Strahan_, pp. 174, 265.

[856] Boswell’s _Johnson_, ii. 210.

[857] Dr. A. Carlyle’s _Autobiography_, p. 437.

[858] _Tour in Scotland_, ed. 1776, ii. 259, 260.

[859] Twiss’s _Life of Lord Eldon_, ed. 1846, i. 57, and the
_Gentleman’s Magazine_, 1771, p. 543.

[860] Boswell’s _Johnson_, ii. 268.

[861] The original letter of which a facsimile is given is in my
possession. See Appendix B.

       *       *       *       *       *


The following corrections have been made within this text:

Page 90: withcraft to witchcraft—“burnt to death for witchcraft”.

Page 109: Boswells to Boswell—“Boswell calls this a ludicrous

Page 158: chieftans to chieftains—“There were among them four

Page 171: repeated word ‘as’ removed—“to serve as a soldier”.

Page 209: Gentlemen’s to Gentleman’s—“In the _Gentleman’s Magazine_
for December”.

Page 217: acccount to account—“gives the following account”.

Page 255: repeated word ‘the’ removed—“it was the time”.

Page 257: befel to befell—“befell one of his descendants”.

Page 268: Cuninghame to Cunninghame—“rich district of Cunninghame”.

Page 309: Bellhaven to Belhaven—“Belhaven, Lord, 39, 79.”

Page 312: Eglington to Eglintoune—“Eglintoune, Dowager Countess of,

Page 312: Fergusson to Ferguson—“Ferguson, Dr. Adam, 9, 63, 65.”

Page 312: Gardenstone to Gardenston—“Garden, Francis (Lord
Gardenston), 109.”

Page 312: Gardenstone to Gardenston—“Gardenston Arms, 109.”

Page 313: Dalyrymple’s to Dalrymple’s—“Dalrymple’s _Memoirs_, 303.”

Page 313: harasssed to harassed—“harassed by invitations, 292;”.

Page 314: Kirkcaldy to Kirkaldy—“Kirkaldy, 87-8.”

Page 317: Smollet to Smollett—“Smollett, Commissary, 260.”

Footnotes 166, 189, 482: Scotchmen to Scotsmen—“Scotland and Scotsmen”.

Footnote 295: Mackie’s to Macky’s—“J. Macky’s _Journey through

Footnote 430: Mackay’s to Macky’s—“J. Macky’s _Journey through

Footnote 642: _Croker Correspondence_ to Croker’s
_Correspondence_—“Croker’s _Correspondence_, ii. 33.”

Footnote 767: Architectecture to Architecture—“Castellated
Architecture of Scotland”.

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