Beyond this is the Methuel, a little town, but a very safe and good harbour, firmly built of stone, almost like the Cobb at Lime, though not wholly projecting into the sea, but standing within the land, and built out with two heads, and walls of thick strong stone: It stands a little on the west side of the mouth of the River Leven; the salmon of this river are esteemed the best in this part of Scotland.
Here my Lord Weemys brings his coal, which he digs above two miles off, on the banks of the River Leven, and here it is sold or shipped off; as also what salt he can make, which is not a great deal. Nor is the estate his lordship makes from the said coal-works equal to what it has been, the water having, after an immense charge to throw it off, broken in upon the works, and hindered their going on, at least to any considerable advantage. The people who work in the coal mines in this country, what with the dejected countenances of the men, occasioned by their poverty and hard labour, and what with the colour or discolouring, which comes from the coal, both to their clothes and complexions, are well described by their own countryman Samuel Colvil, in his famous macaronick poem, called, Polemo Midinia; thus,
Cole-hewers Nigri, Girnantes more Divelli. Pol. Mid.
They are, indeed, frightful fellows at first sight: But I return to my progress from the Methuel; we have several small towns on the coast, as Criel or Crail, Pitten-Ween, Anstruther, or Anster, as 'tis usually called: these are all Royal Burghs, and send members to parliament, even still upon the new establishment, in consequence only that now they join three or four towns together to choose one or two members, whereas they chose every town for itself.
Over against this shore, and in the mouth of the Forth, opposite to the Isle of the Bass, lyes the Isle of May, known to mariners by having a light-house upon it; the only constant inhabitant; is said to be the man maintained there by the Government, to take care of the fire in the light-house.
Here (you may observe) the French fleet lay with some assurance, when the Pretender was on board: And here the English four-a-clock-gun, on board their approaching squadron, unhappily gave them the alarm; so that they immediately weighed, got under sail, and made the best of their way, the English pursuing them in vain, except only that they took the Salisbury, which was a considerable way behind the fleet, and could not come up with the rest; the story is well known, so I need not repeat it.
The shore of the firth or frith ends here, and the aestuarium or mouth opening, the land of Fife falls off to the north, making a promontory of land, which the seamen call Fife-Ness, looking east to the German ocean, after which the coast trends away north, and the first town we saw there was St Andrew's, an ancient city, the seat of an archbishop, and an university.
As you must expect a great deal of antiquity in this country of Fife, so you must expect to find all those ancient pieces mourning their own decay, and drooping and sinking in ashes. Here it was, that old limb of St. Lucifer, Cardinal Beaton, massacred and murthered that famous sufferer and martyr of the Scots Church, Mr. William Wishart, whom he caused to be burnt in the parade of the castle, he himself sitting in his balcony to feed and glut his eyes with the sight of it.
The old church here was a noble structure; it was longer than St. Paul's in London, by a considerable deal, I think, by six yards, or by twenty-five foot. This building is now sunk into a simple parish church, though there are many plain discoveries of what it has been, and a great deal of project and fancy may be employed to find out the ancient shape of it.
The city is not large, nor is it contemptibly small; there are some very good buildings in it, and the remains of many more: The colleges are handsome buildings, and well supplyed with men of learning in all sciences, and who govern the youth they instruct with reputation; the students wear gowns here of a scarlet-like colour, but not in grain, and are very numerous: The university is very ancient as well as the city; the foundation was settled, and the public buildings appointed in the beginning of the fifteenth century by King James I. 'Tis true, they tell us here were private schools set up many ages before that, even as far back as 937; but I see no evidence of the fact, and so do not propose it for your belief, though 'tis very likely there was some beginnings made before the king came to encourage them, so far as to form an university.
There are three colleges in all; the most ancient, and which, they say, was the public school so long before, is called St. Salvadore. How it was made to speak Portuguese, I know not, unless it might be that some Portuguese clergymen came over hither as the first professors or teachers; in English it is St. Saviour's, in Spanish it would be called Nostra Seigniora, or Our Lord; and so St. Mary's would be called Nostra Dame de St. Andrew, or Our Lady of St. Andrew's. This college of St. Mary's is called the New College, and the middle-most (for age) is called St. Leonard's College.
The old college, as I have said, though it was a school, as they affirm, above 200 years before, was turned into a college, or founded as such by James Kennedy, the son of the Lord Kennedy by Mary, daughter of King Robert III. This James Kennedy was a clergyman of great fame in those days, and rose by the reputation of his wisdom, prudence, and beneficence to all mankind, to the highest posts of honour in the state and dignity in the Church; for he was Lord Chancellor of Scotland under James II. and archbishop of this See of St. Andrew's. He was a great lover of learning, and of learned men; and was the first who encouraged men of learning from abroad, to come there and take upon them the governing and instructing the youth in the great school, which, as I say above, had been there so long, as that it was then called the ancient school of St. Andrew. These learned men put him upon founding and endowing a college, or rather turning the school into a college or academy, which he did.
The building is ancient, but appears to have been very magnificent considering the times it was erected in, which was 1456. The gate is large, and has a handsome spire over it all of stone. In the first court, on the right side as you go in, is the chapel of the college, not extraordinary large, but sufficient. There is an ancient monument of the archbishop the founder, who lyes buried in the church of his own building. Beyond the chapel is the cloister, after the ancient manner, not unlike that in Canterbury, but not so large. Opposite to this are offices, and proper buildings for the necessary use of the colleges. In the second court are the schools of the college, on the same spot where stood the ancient grammar school, mentioned above, if that part is to be depended upon. Over these schools is a very large hall for the public exercises, as is usual in other universities; but this is a most spacious building, and far larger than there is any occasion for.
In the same court are the apartments for the masters, professors, and regents, which (as our fellows) are in sallary, and are tutors and governors to the several students; were this college supported by additional bounties and donations, as has been the case in England; and were sufficient funds appointed to repair and keep up the buildings, there would few colleges in England go beyond it for magnificence: But want of this, and other encouragements, causes the whole building to seem as if it was in its declining state, and looking into its grave: The truth is, the college wants nothing but a good fund to be honestly applyed for the repair of the building, finishing the first design, and encouraging the scholars. Dr. Skeen, principal of this college, shewed the way to posterity to do this, and laid out great sums in repairs, especially of the churches, and founded a library for the use of the house.
They tell you a story here of nine maces found under the archbishop's tomb, after the restoration of King Charles II. But to me the story does not tell well at all. First, it does not appear of what use, or to what purpose so many maces were made and kept there, the like not being known to be used in any cathedral or college in other countries: And in the next place how came they to rummage the good founder's grave, and that in King Charles the IId's time too; if it had been in Oliver Cromwell's domination, it would have seemed rational to expect it; but after the Restoration to ravage the monuments of the dead, is something extraordinary: But be that as it will, there are three maces kept in the college; whether they were found in the king's tomb or not, that I leave to tradition, as I find it. One of these maces is of very fine workmanship, all of silver, gilt, and very heavy, of fine imagery, and curious workmanship, made at Paris by the archbishop's special directions, as appears by an inscription on a plate, fastened to the mace by a little chain, and preserved with it.
The story of St. Andrew and of his bones being buried here; of the first stone of the cathedral church being laid upon one of St. Andrew's legs or thigh-bone, and of those bones being brought from Patras in the Morea, near the Gulph of Lepanto; these things are too ancient, and sound too much of the legend for me to meddle with.
In the second college, which is called St. Leonard's, is a principal, who must be a Doctor of Divinity by the foundation; but the present Church Government insisting upon the parity of the clergy, are pleased to dispense with that part: There are also four Professors of Philosophy, to whom the late Sir John Scot, a bountiful benefactor to this college, has added a Professor of Philology, and has settled a very handsome stipend upon the professor: Also the same gentleman augmented the college library with several valuable books to a very considerable sum. And since that Sir John Wedderburn, a gentleman of a very ancient family, and a great lover of learning, has given a whole library, being a great and choice collection of books, to be added to the library of this college.
The revenue of this college is larger than that of the old college; it has also more students. It was founded and endowed by the Earl of Lenox, being before that a religious house, of the Order of St. Benedict, as appears by the register and Charter of the Foundation.
It is not so large and magnificent as St. Salvador originally was; but 'tis kept in much better repair. It has but one court or square, but it is very large. The old building of the monastery remains entire, and makes the south side, and the old cells of the monks make now the chambers for the students: The chapel takes up the north side, and a large side of more modern apartments on the west, which are nevertheless old enough to be falling down; but they are now repairing them, and adding a great pile of building to compleat the square, and join that side to the north where the chapel stands.
This college has large yards, as they call them, that is to say gardens, or rather orchards, well planted, and good walks in them as well as good fruit.
This college has many benefactors, which makes it flourish much behond the first; and they talk of a large gift yet to come from a noble family, which, if it falls, will enable them to put the whole house in compleat repair.
The new college, called St. Mary's, was founded by Cardinal Beaton Archbishop of St. Andrew's, and is very singular in its reserved and limited laws. Here are no scholars at all; but all those scholars who have passed their first studies, and gone through a course of philosophy in any of the other colleges, may enter themselves here to study Hebrew and the mathematicks, history, or other parts of science.
It was in this college King Charles I held a parliament; the place is called the Parliament Room to this day, and is a very large, spacious room, able to receive 400 people, placed on seats to sit down; the form is reserved very plain, and the place, where the tables for the clarks and other officers were set, is to be seen. There is a library also to this college, but not very valuable, or so well furnished as that of St. Leonard's. Here are, however, two Professors of Divinity; one is called the Principal Professor of Theology, and the other barely the Professor of Theology: To these was afterwards added a Professor of the Mathematicks; and he that was the first who enjoyed the place. Dr. Gregory, obtained an observatory to be erected, and gave them abundance of mathematical and astronomical instruments: But it is not now made use of, for what reason I know not.
In the new church in this city lyes the body of the late Archbishop Sharp, who was assassinated upon a moor or heath, as he was coming in his coach home to this city from the Court. There is a fine monument of marble over his grave, with his statue kneeling on the upper part, and the manner of his murther is cut in bass relief below. This murther is matter of history, but is so foolishly, or so partially, or so imperfectly related by all that have yet written of it, that posterity will lose both the fact and the cause of it in a few years more. It would require too large a space in this work to give a fresh and impartial account of it, and for that reason I cannot enter upon it, though I have the most exact account that, I believe, is left in the world, which I had from the mouth of one of the actors, and have since had it confirmed from several others, thoroughly acquainted with the particulars of it.
I shall only say here, that the archbishop had been a furious and merciless persecutor, and, indeed, murtherer of many of the innocent people, merely for their keeping up their field-meetings, and was charged in particular with two actions; which, if true will, though not justify, yet take off much of the black part, which the very murther itself leaves on the memory of the actors.
- The keeping back the reprieve, which was sent down by King Charles IId's express order, and which was actually received for stopping the execution of twelve persons, under sentence of death; I say keeping it back in his pocket till they were executed. I know Bishop Burnet charges this upon another hand; but these men were assured the archbishop was the man, perhaps, the other might be consenting.
- The shipping 200 poor men on board a vessel, on pretence of transportation to the English colonies in the West-Indies; but ordering the ship to be run on shore and lost. I say it is said to be ordered, and generally so believed, because, when the ship was bulged upon the rocks, the master and seamen, and the officers, appointed to confine the banished people, all got on shore, but locked all the rest down under the hatches, and would not suffer one of them to come out, by which means they every one perished.
These two things they charged directly on the archbishop, besides many other cruelties, which they called murthers; and if they were acted, as is related by others as well as they, I must acknowledge they could be no other.
Now 'tis as certain that these men knew nothing of meeting with the archbishop at that time; but being themselves outlawed men, whom any man that met might kill, and who (if taken) would have been put to death: They always went armed, and were, at that time, looking for another man, when unexpectedly they saw the bishop coming towards them in his coach, when one of them says to the other, we have not found the person we looked for; but lo, God has delivered our enemy, and the murtherer of our brethren into our hands, against whom we cannot obtain justice by the law, which is perverted: But remember the words of the text, If ye let him go, thy life shall be required for his life.
In a word, they immediately resolved to fall upon him, and cut him in pieces; I say they resolved, all but one: Hackston of Rathellet, who was not willing to have his hand in the blood, though he acknowledged he deserved to die: So that when they attacked the bishop, Hackston went off, and stood at a distance: nor did he hold their horses, as one has ignorantly published; for they attacked him all mounted; nor could they well have stopped a coach and six horses, if they had been on foot. I mention this part, because, however providence ordered it, so it was, that none of the murtherers ever fell into the hands of justice, but this Hackston of Rathellet, who was most cruelly tortured, and afterwards had his hands cut off, and was then executed at Edinburgh.
I have not time to give the rest of this story, though the particulars are very well worth relating, but it is remote from my purpose, and I must proceed. The city of St. Andrew's is, notwithstanding its many disasters; such as the ruin of the great church, the demolishing its castle, and the archbishop's palace, and Oliver Cromwell's citadel; yet, I say, it is still a handsome city, and well built, the streets straight and large, being three streets parallel to one another, all opening to the sea.
They shew among other remains of antiquity the apartments of the palace where Cardinal Beaton stood, or sat in state to see the martyrdom of Mr. Wishart, who, at the stake, called aloud to him, and cited him to appear at the bar of God's justice within such a certain time, within which time he was murthered by the famous Norman Lessley, thrown into the square of the court, and his body dragged to the very spot where the good man was burned at the stake, and also they shew us the window where they threw him out; which particular part of the building seems to have been spared, as if on purpose to commemorate the fact, of which, no doubt, divine justice had the principal direction.
The truth is, Cardinal Beaton was another Sharp, and A. B. Sharp was a second Beaton, alike persecutors for religion, alike merciless in their prosperity, and alike miserable in their fall, for they were both murthered, or killed by assassination.
From St. Andrew's we came to Cowper, the shire town, (as it would be called in England) where the public business of the country is all done. Here are two very agreeable seats belonging to the present Earl of Leven; one is called Melvile, and the other Balgony. Melvil is a regular and beautiful building, after the model of Sir William Bruce's house at Kinross, described before. Balgony is an ancient seat, formerly belonged to the family of Lessly, and if not built, was enlarged and repaired by the great General Lessly, who was so famed in Germany, serving under the glorious king of soldiers Gustavus Adolphus.
The River Leven runs just under the walls, as I may say, of the house, and makes the situation very pleasant; the park is large, but not well planted, nor do the avenues that are planted thrive, for the very reason which I have mentioned already.
From hence we went north to Cowper above-named, and where, as I said, the Sheriff keeps his Court. The Earl of Rothess is hereditary sheriff of the shire of Fife, and the Duke of Athol was chancellor of the university of St. Andrew's, in the times of the Episcopal Government; but that dignity seems now to be laid aside.
We now went away to the north east part of the county, to see the ruins of the famous monastery of Balmerinoch, of which Mr. Cambden takes notice; but we saw nothing worth our trouble, the very ruins being almost eaten up by time: the Lord Balmerinoch, of the family of Elphingston, takes his title from the place, the land being also in his possession; the monastery was founded by Queen Ermengred, wife of King William of Scotland.
Hence we came to the bank of another firth or frith, called the Firth of Tay, which, opening to a large breadth at its entrance, as the Firth of Edinburgh does, draws in afterwards as that does at the Queens-Ferry, and makes a ferry over at the breadth of two miles to the town of Dundee; and then the firth widening again just as that of the Forth does also, continues its breadth as four to six miles, till it comes almost to Perth, as the other does to Sterling.
This River Tay is, without exception, the greatest river in Scotland, and of the longest course, for its rises out of the mountains, on the edge of Argyle Shire; and running first north into the shire of Bradalbin, there receiving many other rivers, it spreads itself into a large lake, which is called Lough Tay, extending for forty miles in length, and traversing the very heart of Scotland, comes into the sea near this place: Now, as I design to keep in this part of my work to the east coast of the country, I must for the present quit the Tay itself, keeping a little on the hither side of it, and go back to that part of the country which lies to the south, and yet east of Dunbarton and Lenox shires; so drawing an imaginary line from Sterling. Bridge, due north, through the heart of the country to Inverness, which I take to lye almost due north and south.
In this course then I moved from the ferry, mentioned above, to Perth, lying upon the same River Tay, but on the hither bank. It was formerly called St. Johnston, or St. Johns Town, from an old church, dedicated to the evangelist, St. John, part of which is still remaining, and is yet big enough to make two parochial churches, and serve the whole town for their public worship.
The chief business of this town is the linnen manufacture; and it is so considerable here, all the neighbouring country being employed in it, that it is a wealth to the whole place. The Tay is navigable up to the town for ships of good burthen; and they ship off here so great a quantity of linnen, (all for England) that all the rest of Scotland is said not to ship off so much more.
This town was unhappily for some time, the seat of the late rebellion; but I cannot say it was unhappy for the town: For the townsmen got so much money by both parties, that they are evidently enriched by it; and it appears not only by the particular families and persons in the town, but by their public and private buildings which they have raised since that; as particularly a new Tolbooth or Town-hall.
The salmon taken here, and all over the Tay, is extremely good, and the quantity prodigious. They carry it to Edinburgh, and to all the towns where they have no salmon, and they barrel up a great quantity for exportation: The merchants of this town have also a considerable trade to the Baltick, to Norway, and especially, since as above, they were enriched by the late rebellion.
It seems a little enigmatic to us in the south, how a rebellion should enrich any place; but a few words will explain it. First, I must premise, that the Pretender and his troops lay near, or in this place a considerable time; now the bare consumption of victuals and drink, is a very considerable advantage in Scotland, and therefore 'tis frequent in Scotland for towns to petition the government to have regiments of soldiers quartered upon them, which in England would look monstrous, nothing being more terrible and uneasy to our towns in England.
Again, as the Pretender and his troops lay in the neighbourhood, namely at Scone, so a very great confluence of the nobility, clergy, and gentry, however fatally, as to themselves, gathered about him, and appeared here also; making their court to him in person, and waiting the issue of his fortunes, till they found the storm gathering from the south, and no probable means to resist it, all relief from abroad being every where disappointed, and then they shifted off as they could.
While they resided here, their expence of money was exceeding great; lodgings in the town of Perth let for such a rate, as was never known in the place before; trade was in a kind of a hurry, provision dear: In a word, the people, not of the town only, but of all the country round, were enriched; and had it lasted two or three months longer, it would have made all the towns rich.
When this cloud was dispersed, and all the party fled and gone, the victors entered, the general officers and the loyal gentlemen succeeded the abdicated and routed party; but here was still the head quarters, and afterwards the Dutch troops continued here most part of the winter; all this while the money flowed in, and the town made their market on both sides; for they gained, by the Royal Army's being on that side of the country, and by the foreigners being quartered there, almost as much, tho' not in so little time as by the other.
The town was well built before, but now has almost a new face; (for as I said) here are abundance of new houses, and more of old houses new fitted and repaired, which look like new. The linnen trade too, which is their main business, has mightily increased since the late Act of Parliament in England, for the suppressing the use and wearing of printed callicoes; so that the manufacture is greatly increased here, especially of that kind of cloth which they buy here and send to England to be printed, and which is so much used in England in the room of the callicoes, that the worsted and silk weavers in London seem to have very little benefit by the Bill, but that the linnen of Scotland and Ireland are, as it were, constituted in the room of the callicoes.
From Perth I went south to that part of the province of Fife, which they call Clackmanan, lying west from Dumfermling, and extending itself towards Sterling and Dumblain, all which part I had not gone over before, and which was anciently accounted to be part of Fife.
From Perth to Sterling there lyes a vale which they call Strathmore, and which is a fine level country, though surrounded with hills, and is esteemed the most fruitful in corn of all that part of the country: It lies extended on both sides the Tay, and is said to reach to Brechin north east, and almost to Sterling south west. Here are, as in all such pleasant soils you will find, a great many gentlemen's seats; though on the north side of the Tay, and here in particular is the noble palace of Glames, the hereditary seat of the family of Lyon, Earls of Strathmore; and as the heir in reversion now enjoys the title and estate, so it very narrowly escaped being forfeited; for the eider brother, Earl of Strathmore, having entertained the Pretender magnificently in this fine palace, and joined his forces in person, and with all his interest, lost his life in that service, being killed at the battle of Sheriff-Moor; by his fall, the estate being entailed, descended to the second son, or younger brother, who is now Earl of Strathmore.
Glames is, indeed, one of the finest old built palaces in Scotland, and by far the largest; and this makes me speak of it here, because I am naming the Pretender and his affairs, though a little out of place; when you see it at a distance it is so full of turrets and lofty buildings, spires and towers, some plain, others shining with gilded tops, that it looks not like a town, but a city; and the noble appearance seen through the long vistas of the park are so differing, that it does not appear like the same place any two ways together.
The great avenue is a full half mile, planted on either side with several rows of trees; when you come to the outer gate you are surprised with the beauty and the variety of the statues, busts, some of stone, some of brass, some gilded, some plain. The statues in brass are four, one of King James VI one of King Charles I booted and spurred, as if going to take horse at the head of his army; one of Charles II; and one of King James VI/I after the pattern of that at Whitehall.
When the Pretender lodged here, for the Earl of Strathmore entertained him in his first passage to Perth with great magnificence: There were told three and forty furnished rooms on the first floor of the house; some beds, perhaps, were put up for the occasion, for they made eighty beds for them, and the whole retinue of the Pretender was received, the house being able to receive the court of a real reigning prince.
It would be endless to go about to describe the magnificent furniture, the family pictures, the gallery, the fine collection of original paintings, and the nobly painted ceilings of the chapel, where is an organ for the service after the manner of the Church of England. In a word, the house is as nobly furnished as most palaces in Scotland; but, as I said, it was at the brink of destruction; for had the earl not been killed, 'tis odds but it had been gutted by the army, which presently spread all the country; but it was enough, the earl lost his life, and the present earl enjoys it peaceably.
From hence I came away south west, and crossing the Tay below Perth, but above Dundee, came to Dumblain, a name made famous by the late battle fought between the army of King George, under the command of the Duke of Argyle, and the Pretender's forces under the Earl of Marr, which was fought on Sheriff-Moor, between Sterling and Dumblain: The town is pleasantly situated, and tolerably well built, but out of all manner of trade; so that there is neither present prosperity upon it, or prospect of future.
Going from hence we took a full view of the field of battle, called Sheriff-Muir, and had time to contemplate how it was possible, that a rabble of Highlanders armed in haste, appearing in rebellion, and headed by a person never in arms before, nor of the least experience, should come so near to the overthrowing an army of regular, disciplined troops, and led on by experienced officers, and so great a general: But when the mistake appeared also, we blessed the good Protector of Great Britain, who, under a piece of the most mistaken conduct in the world, to say no worse of it, gave that important victory to King George's troops, and prevented the ruin of Scotland from an army of Highlanders.
From this place of reflection I came forward in sight of Sterling bridge, but leaving it on the right hand, turned away east to Alloway, where the Earl of Marr has a noble seat, I should have said had a noble seat, and where the navigation of the Firth of Forth begins. This is, as I hinted before, within four miles of Sterling by land, and scarcely within twenty by water, occasioned by those uncommon meanders and reaches in the river, which gives so beautiful a prospect from the castle of Sterling.
This fine seat was formerly called the castle of Alloway, but is now so beautifyed, the buildings, and especially the gardens, so compleat and compleatly modern, that no appearance of a castle can be said to remain. There is a harbour for shipping, and ships of burthen may come safely up to it: And this is the place where the Glasgow merchants are, as I am told, erecting magazines or warehouses, to which they propose to bring their tobacco and sugars by land, and then to ship them for Holland or Hamburgh, or the Baltick, or England, as they find opportunity, or a market; and I doubt not but they will find their advantage in it.
The gardens of Alloway House, indeed, well deserve a description; they are, by much, the finest in Scotland, and not outdone by many in England; the gardens, singly described, take up above forty acres of ground, and the adjoining wood, which is adapted to the house in avenues and vistas, above three times as much.
It would be lessening the place to attempt the description, unless I had room to do it compleatly; 'tis enough to say it requires a book, not a page or two: There is, in a word, every thing that nature and art can do, brought to perfection.
The town is pleasant, well built, and full of trade; for the whole country has some business or other with them, and they have a better navigation than most of the towns on the Firth, for a ship of 300 ton may lye also at the very wharf; so that at Alloway a merchant may trade to all parts of the world, as well as at Leith or at Glasgow.
The High Street of Alloway reaches down to this harbour, and is a very spacious, well built street, with rows of trees finely planted all the way. Here are several testimonies of the goodness of their trade, as particularly a large deal-yard, or place for laying up all sorts of Norway goods, which shews they have a commerce thither. They have large warehouses of naval stores; such as pitch, tar, hemp, flax, two saw milis for cutting or slitting of deals, and a rope-walk for making all sorts of ropes and cables for rigging and fitting of ships, with several other things, which convinces us they are no strangers to other trades, as well by sea as by land.
It is a strange testimony of the power of envy and ambition, that mankind, blessed with such advantages, for an easy and happy retreat in the world, should hazard it all in faction and party, and throw it all away in view, and even without a view of getting more: But I must not phylosophise, any more than launch out into other excesses; my business is with the present state of the place, and to that I confine myself as near as I can.
From Alloway, east, the country is called the Shire of Clackmannan, and is known for yielding the best of coal, and the greatest quantity of it of any country in Scotland; so that it is carried, not to Edinburgh only, but to England, to Holland, and to France; and they tell us of new pits, or mines of coal now discovered, which will yield such quantities, and to easy to come at, as are never to be exhausted; tho' such great quantities should be sent to England, as the York-Buildings company boast of, namely, twenty thousand ton a year; which, however, I take it as it is, for a boast, or rather a pretence to persuade the world they have a demand for such a quantity; whereas, while the freight from Scotland is, as we know, so dear, and the tax in England continues so heavy, the price of these coals will always be so high at London, as will not fail to restrain the consumption; nor is it the interest of Scotland to send away so great a quantity of coal as shall either make a scarcity, or raise the price of them at home.
On this shore of the firth, farther down, stands the town of Culross, a neat and agreeable town, lying in length by the water side, like Kirkcaldy, and being likewise a trading town, as trade must be understood in Scotland. Here is a pretty market, a plentiful country behind it, and the navigable firth before it; the coal and the linnen manufacture, and plenty of corn, such exportations will always keep something of trade alive upon this whole coast.
Here is a very noble seat belonging to the Bruces, Earls of Kincairn, and is worth description; but that I have named so many fine houses, and have yet so many to go over before I go through the whole tour of Scotland, that it is impossible to give every fine house a place here, nor would it do any thing but tire the reader, rather than inform him; as I have done therefore in England I must be content to name them, unless I should make my journey a meer visit to great houses, as if Scotland had nothing else worth notice.
This calling at Culross, called vulgarly Cooris, finishes my observations upon the province of Fife. They told me of mines of copper, and of lead, lately discovered in Fife, and of silver also: But I could not learn that any of them were actually wrought, or, as they call it in Darbyshire, at work. It is, however, not improbable, but that there are such mines, the country seeming very likely for it by many particular tokens.
The two Lomons in this province are two remarkable mountains, which particularly seem to promise metal in their bowels, if they were thoroughly searched. They rise up like two sugar-loaves in the middle of a plain country, not far from Falkland, and give a view of the Firth of Edinburgh South, and the Firth of Tay North, and are seen from Edinburgh very plain.
Having made this little excursion to the south from Perth, you may suppose me now returned northward again; and having give you my account of Perth, and its present circumstances, I now proceed that way, taking things as well in their ordinary situation as I can; we could not be at Perth and not have a desire to see that ancient seat of royal ceremony, for the Scots kings, I mean of Scone, where all the kings of Scotland were crowned.
Scone lyes on the other side of the Tay, about a mile north west from Perth; it was famous for the old chair in which the kings of Scotland were crowned, and which Edward I King of England, having pierced through the whole kingdom, and nothing being able to withstand him, brought away with him. It is now deposited in Westminster, and the kings of Scotland are still crowned in it, according to an old Scots prophecy, which they say, (mark it, I do but tell you they say so) was cut in the stone, which is enclosed in the lower part of the wooden chair in which the kings are crowned.
Ni fallat fatum, Scoti quocunque
Inveniunt Lapidem, regnare tenentur ibidem.
Or Fates deceived, and Heaven decrees
Or where this Stone is found, the Scots shall reign.
This palace was in those days a great monastery, and famous on occasion of this stone in the chair; the monks appropriating to themselves not the custom only, but the right of having all the kings crowned on it, as if it had been a sacred right, and instituted in heaven; and that the kings would not prosper if they were crowned any where else.
Process of time raised it from a monastery to a royal palace, in honour of the ceremony, and of King Kenneth, who, having fought a bloody battle there with the Picts, and given them a great overthrow, sat down to rest him upon this stone, after he had been tired with the slaughter of the enemy, upon which his nobles came round about him to congratulate his success, and, in honour to his valour, crowned him with a garland of victory; after which he dedicated the stone to the ceremony, and appointed, that all the kings of Scotland should be crowned sitting upon it as he had done, and that then they should be victorious over all their enemies.
But enough of fable, for this, I suppose, to be no other; yet, be it how it will, this is no fable, that here all the kings of Scotland were crowned, and all the kings of Great Britain have been since crowned on it, or in the chair, or near it ever since.
The palace of Scoon, though ancient, is not so much decayed as those I have already spoken of; and the Pretender found it very well in repair for his use: Here he lived and kept his court, a fatal court to the nobility and gentry of Scotland, who were deluded to appear for him; here I say, he kept his court in all the state and appearance of a sovereign, and received honours as such; so that he might say he reigned in Scotland, though not over Scotland, for a few days: But it was but a few (about twenty) till he and all his adherents were obliged to quit, not the place only, but the island, and that without fighting, though the royal army was not above ten thousand men.
The building is very large, the front above 200 foot in breadth, and has two extraordinary fine square courts, besides others, which contain the offices, out-houses, etc. The royal apartments are spacious and large, but the building, the wainscotting, the chimney-pieces, etc. all after the old fashion.
Among the pictures there, the Pretender had the satisfaction to see his mother's picture, an original, done in Italy, when she was Princess of Modena only, and was marryed by proxy, in the name of King James VII then Duke of York, represented by the Earl of Peterborough. Here is the longest gallery in Scotland, and the ceiling painted, but the painting exceeding old.
From Scoon to Dunkel is so little a way we desired to see it, being the place where the first skirmish was fought between the forces of King William, after the Revolution, and the Laird of Claverhouse, after called Viscount Dundee, and where the brave Lieutenant-Colonel Cleeland was killed: but Dundee's men, tho' 5,000, were gallantly repulsed by a handful, even of new raised men.
The Duke of Athol has an old house here, and it was in one of the courts of that house that part of the action was; and the gentleman above-named was shot from out of a window, as he was ordering and encouraging his men; we were almost tempted to go on this way, to see the field of battle, between the same Dundee and the great Leiutenant-General Mac-Kay, wherein the latter, though with regular troops, was really defeated by the Highlanders: But Dundee being killed by an accidental shot after the fight, they could not improve the victory, and the resistance ended soon after; whereas, indeed, had not that accident happened, Dundee, who was a bold enterprising man, had certainly marched southward, and bid fair to have given King William a journey into the north, instead of a voyage to Ireland; but providence had better things in store for Great Britain.
But our determined rout lay up the eastern shore, and through the shires, adjacent on that side, as particularly Angus, Mearns, Marr, Aberdeen, Buchan or Bucquhan, etc. So as I laid it out before to Inverness.
Mr Cambden tells us, that the Firth of Tay was the utmost bounds of the Roman Empire in Britain. That Julius Agricola, the best of generals under the worst of emperors, Domitian, though he pierced farther, and traversed by land into the heart of the Highlands, yet seeing no end of the barbarous country, and no advantage by the conquest of a few Barbarian mountaineers, withdrew and fixed the Roman eagles here; and that he frequently harassed the Picts by excursions and inroads, and destroyed the country, laying it waste, to starve them out of the fertilest part of it, but always returned to his post, making the Tay his frontier.
But our English Caesars have outgone the Romans; for Edward I as is said, passed the Tay, for he rifled the Abbey at Scoon; and, if we may believe history, penetrated into the remotest parts, which, however, I take to be only the remotest parts of what was then known to the English; for as to the Highlands, the mountains of Loquhaber, Ross, Murray, Sutherland, and Caithness, we read nothing of them: And from these retreats the Scots always returned, with double strength after every defeat, till in the next reign they overthrew his successor Edward II at Bannockbourn, and drove the English out of the whole country; nay, and followed them over Tweed into England, ravaging the countries of Northumberland and Cumberland, and paying them in their own kind of interest.
Oliver Cromwell, indeed (according to the motto of a noble house in Scotland, (Ride through), rode through; he penetrated to the remotest part of the island, and that he might rule them with a rod of iron in the very letter of it, he built citadels and forts in all the angles and extremes, where he found it needful to place his stationary legions, just as the Romans did; as at Leith, at St. Andrew's, at Inverness, Irwin, Innerlochy, and several other places: and just now we find King George's forces marching to the remotest corners, nay, ferrying over into the western, and north-western islands; but then this is not as a foreigner and conqueror, but as a sovereign, a lawful governor and father of the country, to deliver from, not entangle her in the chains of tyranny and usurpation.
But where armies have marched, private travellers may certainly pass; and with that assurance we chearfully passed the Tay, trusting very much to that natural, known civility, which the Scots, in the remotest parts, always shew to strangers.
We left Strathern therefore, with the little country of Menteith, for our return, and went down into Angus, on the northern banks of Tay to Dundee, a pleasant, large, populous city, and well deserves the title of Bonny Dundee, so often given it in discourse, as well as in song (bonny, in Scots, signifying beautiful).
As it stands well for trade, so it is one of the best trading towns in Scotland, and that as well as foreign business as in manufacture and home trade. It has but an indifferent harbour, but the Tay is a large, safe, and good road, and there is deep water and very good anchor-hold almost all over it.
It is exceedingly populous, full of stately houses, and large handsome streets; particularly it has four very good streets, with a large market-place in the middle, the largest and fairest in Scotland, except only that of Aberdeen. The Tolbooth, or Town-Hall is an old, but large and convenient building.
The inhabitants here appear like gentlemen, as well as men of business, and yet are real merchants too, and make good what we see so eminently in England, that true bred merchants are the best of gentlemen. They have a very good and large correspondence here with England, and ship off a great deal of linnen thither, also a great quantity of corn is sent from hence, as well to England as to Holland. They have likewise a good share of the Norway trade; and as they are concerned in the herring-fishery, they consequently have some east country trade: to Dantzick, Koningsberg, Riga, and the neighbouring parts. They send ships also to Sweden, and import iron, copper, tar, pitch, deals, &. from the several trading ports of that kingdom.
These several trades occasion a concourse of shipping at the port; and there are not a few ships belonging to the place. The country behind them called the Carse, or the Carse of Gowry, with the vale mentioned above of Strathmoor; for Strath, in their dialect, signifies a vale, or level country; I say, all that country abounds in corn, and the port of Dundee ships off great quantities, when a plentiful crop allows it, to the great advantage of the gentlemen as well as farmers; for as the gentlemen receive all their rents in kind, they would find a great difficulty sometimes to dispose of it, if the merchant here did not ship it off, either for London or Amsterdam.
The town of Dundee stands at a little distance from the Tay, but they are joined by a causeway or walk, well paved with flat freestone, such as the side-ways in Cheapside and Cornhil, and rows of trees are planted on either side the walk, which makes it very agreeable. On one part of this walk are very good warehouses for merchandises, especially for heavy goods; and also granaries for corn, of which sometimes they have a vast quantity laid up here; and these being near the harbour are convenient, as well for the housing of goods, when landed, as for the easy shipping off what lies for exportation.
The great church was formerly collegiate, being the cathedral of the place, and was a very large building; but part of it was demolished in the Civil War; the remainder is divided, like as others are at Edinburgh, Glasgow, etc. into three churches for the present use of the citizens.
They have also a meeting-house or two for the episcopal worship; for you are to take it once for all, that north by Tay, there are far more of the episcopal perswasion than are to be found in the south; and the farther north, the more so, as we shall see in its order.
The tower upon the great church here is a handsome square building, large, and ancient, but very high, and is a good ornament to the city; it resembles the great tower upon the cathedral of Canterbury, but not quite so high. There is a fine and well endowed hospital for decayed townsmen of Dundee, where they are well taken care of, and provided for. The Pretender was in this city soon after his landing, and staid here some time before he advanced to Scoon; the Laird of Claverhouse of the name of Graham, who was killed, as has been said, at the Battle of Gillecranky, was made Viscount of Dundee by King James VII; but enjoyed it not long. His seat of Claverhouse is not far off, and he had the estate annexed to the Constabulary of Dundee, given him with the title, but 'tis now in the Duke of Douglass.
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