« ПредишнаНапред »
nor rabbits in the island, nor was there ever known to be a fox, till last year, when one was landed on it by some malicious person, without whose aid he could not have got thither, as that animal is known to be a very bad swimmer. He has done much mischief. There is a great deal of fish caught in the sea round Rasay ; it is a place where one may live in plenty, and even in luxury. There are no deer ; but Rasay told us he would get some.
They reckon it rains nine months in the year in this island, owing to its being directly opposite to the western coast of Sky, where the watery clouds are broken by high mountains. The hills here, and indeed all the heathy grounds in general, abound with the sweetsmelling plant which the Highlanders call gaul, and (I think) with dwarf juniper in many places. There is enough of turf, which is their fuel, and it is thonght there is a mine of coal. Such are the observations which I made upon the island of Rasay, upon comparing it with the description given by Martin, whose book we had with us.
There has been an ancient league between the families of Macdonald and Rasay. Whenever the head of either family dies, his sword is given to the head of the other. The present Rasay has the late Sir James Macdonald's sword. Old Rasay joined the Highland army in 1745, but prudently guarded against a forfeiture, by previously conveying his estate to the present gentleman, his cldest son. On that occasion, Sir Alexander, father of the late Sir James Macdonald, was very friendly to his neighbour. "Don't be afraid, Rasay,” said be, “I'll use all my interests to keep you safe ; and if your estate should be taken, I'll buy it for the family." AM he would have done it.
Let me now gather some gold dust, some more fragments of Dr Johnson's conversation, without regard to order of time. He said, " he thought very highly of Bentley ; that no man now went so far in the kinds of learning that he cultivated ; that the many attacks on him were owing to envy, and to a desire of being known, by being in competition with such a man ; that it was safe to attack bim, because he never answered his opponents, but let them die away. It was attacking a man who would not beat them, because his beating them would make them live the longer. And he was right not to answer ; for, in his hazardous method of writing, he could not but be often enough wrong ; so it was better to leave thing to their general appearance, than own bimself to have erred in particulars." He said, “Mallet was the prettiest dressed puppet about town, and always kept good company. That, from his way of talking, he saw and always said, that he had not written any part of the Life of the Duke of Marlborough, though perhaps he intended to do it at some time, in which case he was not culpable in taking the pension. That he imagined the Duchess furnished the materials for her Apology, which Hooke wrote, and Hooke furnished the words and the order, and all that in which the art of writing consists. That the Duchess had not superior parts, but was a bold frontless woman, who knew how to make the most of her opportunities in life. That Hooke got a large sum of money for writing her. Apology. That he wondered Hooke should have been weak enough to insert so profligate a maxim, as that to tell another's secret to one's friend is no breach of confidence ; though perhaps Hooke, who was a virtuous man, as his History shows, and did not wish her well, though he .wrote her Apology, might see its ill tendency, and yet iusert it at her desire. He was acting only ministerially.” I apprehend, however, that Hooke was bound to give his best advice. I speak as a lawyer. Though I have had clients whose causes I could not as a private man, approve ; yet, if I undertook them, I would not do anything that might be prejudicial to them, even at their desire, without warning them of their danger.
ign in all the editions, but the eastern coast of Sky is nex* to Rasay.-C.
Saturday, Sept. 11.—It was a storm of wind and rain, so we could not set out. I wrote some of this journal, and talked awhile with Dr. Johnson in his room, and passed the day, I cannot well say how, but very pleasantly. I was here amused to find Mr. Cumberland's comedy of the “Fashionable Lover," in which he has very well drawn a Highland character, Colin Macleod, of the same name with the family under whose roof we now were.
Dr. Johnson was much pleased with the Laird of Macleod,' who is indeed a most pro
1 The late General Macleod, born in 1754. In 1776, he entered the army, raising, thưa, an Independent company, and a 1780, the second battalion of the forty-second. vhich he led to
mising youth, and with a noble spirit struggles with difficulties, and endeavours to preserve his people. He has been left with an incum. brance 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.” Such was the honorable eulogium on this young chieftain, pronounced by an accurate observer, whose praise was never lightly bestowed.
There is neither justice of peace nor constable in Rasay. Sky has Mr. Macleod of Ulinish, who is the sheriff substitute, and no other justice of peace. The want of the execution of justice is much felt among the islanders. Macleod very sensibly observed, that taking away the heritable jurisdictions had not been of such service in the islands as was imagined. They had not authority enough in lieu of them. What could formerly have been settled at once, must now either take much time and trouble, or be neglected. Dr. Johnson said, “A country is in a bad state, which is governed only by laws; because a thousand things occur for which laws cannot provide, and where authority ought to interpose. Now destroying the authority of the chiefs sets the people loose. It did not pretend to bring any positive good, but only to cure some evil ; and I am not well enough acquainted with the country to know what degree of evil the heritable jurisdictions occasioned." I maintained hardly any ; because the chiefs generally acted right, for their own sakes. Dr. Johnson was now wishing to move.
There was not enough of intellectual entertainment for him, after he had satisfied his curiosity, which he did, by asking questions, till he had exhausted the island : and where there was so numerous a company, mostly young people, there was such a flow of familiar talk, so much noiso, and so much singing and dancing, that little opportunity was left fo. his energetic conversation. He seemed sensible of this ; for when I
India, where he served with great distinction. On his return home, he became M.P. for the county of Inverness, as his grandfather had been ; but so far from extinguishing the debt on his estate, he increased it; for though he had sold a great tract of land in Harris he left v klo death, in 1801, the original debt of £50,000 increased to £70,000 -C.
told him how happy they were at having him there, he said, " Yet we have not been able to entertain them much." I was fretted, from irritability of nerves, hy M Cruslick's too obstreperous mirth. I complained of it to my friend, observing we should be better if he was gone. “No, Sir," said he. "He puts something into our society, and takes nothing out of it." Dr. Johnson, however, had Boveral opportunities of instructing the company; but I am sorry to say, that I did not pay sufficient attention to what passed, as his discourse now turned chiefly on mechanics, agriculture, and such subjects, rather than on science and wit. Last night Lady Rasay showed him the operation of wawking cloth, that is, thickening it in the same manner as is done by a mill. Here it is performed hy women, who kneel upon the ground, and rub it with both their hands, singing an Erse song all the time. He was asking questions while they were performing this operation, and, amidst their lond and wild howl, his voice was heard even in the room above.
They dance here every night. The queen of our ball was the eldest Miss Macleod, of Rasay, an elegant well-bred woman, and celebrated for her beauty over all those regions, by the name of Miss Flora Rasay. There seenied to be no jealousy, no discontent among them : and the gaiety of the scene was such, that I for a moment doubted whether unhappiness bad any place in Rasay. But my illusion was soon dispelled, by recollecting the following lines of my fellow-traveller :
“Yet hope not life from pain or danger free,
Or think the doom of man reversed for thee!"
She had been some time at Edinburgh, to which she again went, and was married (1777) to my worthy neighbour, Colonel Mure Campbell, now Earl of Loudoun; but she died soon nerwards, leaving one daughter.-B.
dall to Portree in Sky-Discourse on Death-Lord Elibank-Ride to Kingsburgh-Flora Mao
donald-Adventures of Prince Charles Edward Stewart-Einigration-Dunvegan-Femak Chastity-Dr. Cadogan-Preaching and Practice-Good Humour-Sir George Mackenzie Burke's Wit, Knowledge, and Eloquence-Johnson's Hereditary Melancholy-His "Seraylio "-Polygamy.
Sunday, Sept. 12.— It was a beautiful day, and although we did not approve of travelling on Sunday, we resolved to set out, as we were in an island from whence one must take occasion as it serves. Macleod and Tairsker sailed in a boat of Rasay’s for Sconser, to take the shortest way to Dunvegan. M'Cruslick went with them to Scenser, from whence he was to go to Slate, and so to the main land. We were resolved to pay a visit at Kingsburgh, and see the celebrated Miss Flora Macdonald, who is married to the present Mr. Macdonald of Kingsburgh ; so took that road, though not so near, All the family, but Lady Rasay, walked down to the shore to see as depart. Rasay himself went with us in a large boat, with eight oars, built in his island ; as did Mr. Malcolm Macleod, Mr. Donald M'Queen, Dr. Macleod, and some others. We had a most pleasant sail between Rasay and Sky; and passed by a cave, where Martin says fowls were caught by lighting fire in the mouth of it. Malcolm remembers this. But it is not now practised, as few fowls come into it.
We spoke of Death. Dr. Johnson on this subject observed, thai the boastings of some men, as to dying easily, were idle talk, pro ceeding from partial views. I mentioned Hawthornden's Cypress Grove, where it is said that the world is a mere show ; and that it is unreasonable for a man to wish to continue in the show-room after he was seen it. Let him go cheerfully out and give place to other spectators. Johnson. "Yes, Sir, if he is sure he is to be well