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the dignity of thinking beings., Far from me and from my friends besuch 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,
We came too late to visit monuments : fome care was necessary for ourselves. Whatever was in the island, Sir Allan could demand, for the inhabitants were Macleans ; but having little, they could not give us much. He went 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 require. Our lodging was next to be provided. We found a barn well ftocked with hay, and made our beds as soft as we could.
In the morning we rose and surveyed the place, The churches of the two convents are both standing, though unroofed. They were built of unhewn stone, but folid, and not inelegant. I brought away rude measures of the buildings, such as I cannot much'trust myself, inaccurately taken, and obscurely noted. Mr. Pennant's delineations, which are doubtless exact, have made
unskilful description less necessary. The episcopal church consists of two parts, separated by the belfry, and built at different times. The original church had, like others, the altar at one end,
and tower at the other ; but as it grew too small, another building of equal dimension was added, and the tower then was necessarily in the middle.
That these edifices are of different ages seems evident. The arch of the first church is Roman, being part of a circle ; that of the additional building is pointed, and therefore Gothick or Saracenical ; the tower is firm, and wants only to be floored and covered.
Of the chambers or cells belonging to the monks, there are some walls remaining, but nothing approaching to a complete apartment.
The bottom of the church is so encumbered with mud and rubbish, that we could make no discoveries of curious inscriptions, and what there are have been already published. The place is said to be known where the black ftones lie concealed, on which the old Highland chiefs, when they made contracts and alliances, used to take the oath, which was considered as more sacred than any other obligation, and which could not be violated without the blackest infamy. In those days of violence and rapine, it was of great importance to impress upon savage minds the fanctity of an oath, by some particular and extraordinary circumItances. They would not have recourse to the black stones, upon small or common occasions, and when they had established their faith by this tremendous fanction, inconstancy and treachery were no longer feared.
The chapel of the nunnery is now used by the in: habitants as a kind of general cow-house, and the bote tom is consequently too miry for examination. Some
of the stones which covered the later abbefles have infcriptions, which might yet be read, if the chapel were cleansed. The roof of this, as of all the other buildings, is totally destroyed, not only because timber quickly decays when it is neglected, but because in an island utterly destitute of wood, it was wanted for use, and was consequently the first plunder of needy rapacity.
The chancel of the nuns' chapel is covered with an arch of stone, to which time has done no injury; and a small apartment communicating with the choir, on the north side, like the chapter-house in cathedrals, roofed with stone in the fame manner, is likewise entire.
In one of the churches was a marble altar, which the superstition of the inhabitants has destroyed. Their opinion was, that a fragment of this stone was a defence against thipwrecks, fire, and miscarriages. In one corner of the church the bason for holy water is yet unbroken.
The cemetery of the nunnery was, till very lately, regarded with such reverence, that only women were buried in it. These reliques of veneration always produce some mournful pleasure. I could have forgiven a great injury more easily than the violation of this imaginary fanctity.
South of the chapel stand the walls of a large room, which was probably the hall, or refectory of the nunnery. This apartment is capable of repair. Of the rest of the convent there are only fragments.
Besides the two principal churches, there are, I think, five chapels yet standing, and three more re7
membered, does declared
membered. There are also crosses, of which two bear the names of St. John and St. Matthew.
A large space of ground about these consecrated edifices is covered with grave stones, few of which have any inscription. He that surveys it, attended by an insular antiquary, may be told where the kings of many nations are buried, and if he loves to footh his imagination with the thoughts that naturally rise in places where the great and the powerful lie mingled with the dust, let himn listen in submissive Gilence ; for if he asks any questions, his delight is at an end.
Iona has long enjoyed, without any very credible attestation, the honour of being reputed the cemetery of the Scottish kings. It is not unlikely, that, when the opinion of local sanctity was prevalent, the chieftains of the isles, and perhaps some of the Norwegian or Irish princes, were reposited in this venerable inclosure. But by whom the subterráneous vaults are peopled is now utterly unknown.
The graves are very numerous, and some of them undoubtedly contain the remains of men, who did not expect to be so foon forgotten.
Not far from this awful ground may be traced the garden of the monastery: the fishponds are yet discernible, and the aqueduct which supplied them is still in use.
There remains a broken building, which is called the Bishop's House, I know not by what authority, It was once the residence of some man above the common rank, for it has two stories and a chimney, We were shewn a chimney at the other end, which was only a niche, without perforation, but so much does antiquarian credulity, or patriotick vanity prevail, that it was not much more safe to trust the eye of our instructor than the memory.
There is in the island one house more, and only one, that has a chimney; we entered it, and found it neither wanting repair nor inhabitants; but to the farmers, who now possess it, the chimney is of no great value ; for their fire was made on the floor, in the middle of the room, and notwithstanding the dignity of their mansion, they rejoiced, like their neighbours, in the comforts of smoke.
It is observed, that ecclefiaftical colleges are always in the most pleasant and fruitful places. While the world allowed the monks their choice, it is surely no dishonour-that they chose well. This island is remarkably fruitful. The village near the churches is faid to contain seventy families, which, at five in a family, is more than a hundred inhabitants to a mile, There are perhaps other villages; yet both corn and cattle are annually exported.
But the fruitfulness of lona is now its whole profperity. The inhabitants are 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 Tead.
The people are of the clan of Maclean; and though Sir Allan had not been in the place for many years, he was received with all the reverence due to their chieftain. One of them being sharply reprehended by him, for not fending him some rum,