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There are in $ky neither rats nor mice, but the weasel is so frequent, that he is heard in houses rattling behind chests or beds, as rats in England. They probably owe to his predominance that they have no other vermin; for since the great rat took poffeffion of this part of the world, scarce a ship can touch at any port, but some of his race are left behind. They have within these few years began to infest the ifle of Col, where being left by fome trading veffel, they have increased for want of weasels to oppose them.
The inhabitants of Sky, and of the other isands, which I have seen, are commonly of the middle staa ture, with fewer among them very tall or very short, than are seen in England; or perhaps, as their numbers are small, the chances of any deviation from the common measure are neceffarily few. The tallest men that I saw are among those of higher rank. In regions of barrenness and scarcity, the human race is hindered in its growth by the same causes as other animals.
The ladies have as much beauty here as in other places, but bloom and softness are not to be expected among the lower classes, whose faces are exposed to the rudeness of the climate, and whose features are sometimes contracted by want, and sometimes hardened by the blasts. Supreme beauty is seldom found in cottages or workshops, even where no real hardships are suffered. To expand the human face to its full perfection, it seems necessary that the mind should co-operate by placidness of content, or consciousnesi of fuperiority,
Their strength is proportionate to their fize, but they are accustomed to run upon rough ground, and therefore can with great agility skip over the bog, or clamber the mountain. For a campaign in the wastes of America, foldiers better qualified could not have þeen found. Having little work to do, they are not willing, nor perhaps able, to endure a long continuance of manual labour, and are therefore considered as habitually idle,
Having never been fupplied with those accommodations, which life extensively diversified with trades affords, they fupply their wants by very insufficient shifts, and endure many inconveniencies, which a little attention would easily relieve. I have seen a horfe carrying home the harvest on a crate. Under his tail was a stick for a crupper, held at the two ends by twists of straw. Hemp will grow in their islands, and therefore ropes may be had. If they wanted hemp, they might make better cordage of rushes, or perhaps of nettles, than of straw.'
Theis method of life neither fecures them perpetual health, nor exposes them to any particular diseases. There are physicians in the islands, who, I believe, all practise chirurgery, and all compound their own me. dicines.
It is generally supposed, that life is longer in places where there are few opportunities of luxury: but I found no instance here of extraordinary lons gevity. A cottager grows old over. his oaten cakes, like a citizen at a turtle feaft. He is indeed seldom incommoded by corpulence. Poverty preserves him from finking under the burden of himself, but
he he escapes no other injury of time. Instances of long life are often related, which those who hear them are more willing to credit than examine. To be told that any man has attained a hundred years, gives hope and comfort to him who stands trembling on the brink of his own climacterick.
Length of lífe is distributed impartially to very dife ferent modes of life in very different climates ; and the mountains have no greater examples of age and health than the low lands, where I was introduced to two ladies of high quality; one of whom, in her ninetyfourth year, presided at her table with the full exercise of all her powers; and the other has attained her eighty-fourth, without any diminution of her vivacity, and with little reason to accuse time of depredations on her beauty.
In the islands, as in most other places, the inhabitants are of different rank, and one does not encroach here upon another. Where there is no commerce nor manufacture, he that is born poor can scarcely become rich; and if none are able to buy estates, he that is born to land cannot annihilate his family by selling it. This was once the state of these countries. Perhaps there is no example, till within a century and half, of any family whose estate was alienated otherwise than by violence or forfeiture. Since money has been brought amongst them, they have found, like others, the art of spending more than they receive'; and I saw with grief the chief of a very ancient clan, whose island was condemned by law to be sold for the fatisfaction of his creditors,
The name of highest in dignity is Laird, of which there are in the extensive ifle of Sky only three, Macdonald, Macleod, and Mackinnon. The laird is the ori- . ginal owner of the land, whose natural power must be very great where no man lives but by agriculture; and where the produce of the land is not conveyed through the labyrinths of traffick, but pafses directly from the hand that gathers it to the mouth that eats it. The lạird has all those in his power that live upon his farms. Kings can, for the most part, only exalt or degrade. The laird at pleasure can feed or starve, can give bread, or withhold it. This inherent power was yet strengthened by the kindness of consanguinity, and the reverence of patriarchal authority. The laird was the father of the clan, and his tenants commonly bore his name. And to these principles of original comınand was added, for many ages, an exclusive right of legal jurisdiction.
This multifarious and extensive obligation operated with force scarcely credible. Every duty, moral or political, was absorded in affection and adherence to the chief.
Not many years have passed since the clans knew no law but the laird's will. He told them to whom they should be friends or enemies, what king they should obey, and what religion they should profess.
When the Scots first rose in arms against the suce cession of the house of Hanover, Lovat, the chief of the Frasers, was in exile for a rape. The Frasers were very numerous, and very zealous against the government. A pardon was sent to Lovat.
came to the English camp, and the clan immediately deserted to him.
Next in dignity to the laird is the Tacksman ; a large taker or lease-holder of land, of which he keeps part as a domain in his own hand, and lets part to under-tenants. The tackfınan is necessarily a man capable of securing to the lai:d the whole rent, and is commonly a collateral relation. These tacks or subordinate possessions, were long considered as hereditary, and the occupant was distinguished by the name of the place at which he resided. . He held a middle station, by which the highest and the lowest orders were connected. He paid rent and reverence to the laird, and received them from the tenants. This tenure still subfists, with its original operation, but not with the primitive stability. Since the islanders, no longer content to live, have learned the desire of growing rich, an ancient dependent is in danger of giving way to a higher bidder, at the expence of domestick dignity and hereditary power. The stranger, whose money buys himn preference, considers himself as paying for all that he has, and is indifferent about the laird's honour or fafety. The commodiousness of money is indeed great; but there are some advantages which money cannot buy, and which therefore no wise man will by the love of money be tempted to forego.
I have found in the hither parts of Scotland, men not defective in judgment or general experience, who consider the tacksman as a useless burden of the ground, as a drone who lives upon the product of an estate, without the right of property, or the