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was the King for its success, that the This experiment was first made at sheriffs of many counties were com- Stornoway, in the Isle of Lewis ; but, manded, under the penalty of twenty before they had time to know what pounds, to compel every idle man would be the effect, the inhabitants, found within their bounds to serve in mistaking the design of the colony, these busses for reasonable wages, or became dissatisfied; they considered suffer the pain of banishment; James them as intruders, and, in a rage, took IV. Parl. 4. cap. 49.
arms, and compelled them to leave the James the Fifth was still more an- place. In 1603, James being called xious than his father to encourage the to the English throne, the herring herring fishery; he wished, if possi- fishery was neglected until the reign ble, to extend its good effects to the of Charles the First, nearly 38 years Western Isles. For this purpose, he after. This unfortunate prince did sailed with tive ships around the north- every thing in his power to complete ern coast by Orkney, and at the same the plans of his ancestors; he granttime employed a person to draw charts ed a commission for appointing a geof the coast, that he inight be able to neral committee to manage the fishefix upon proper and convenient places ries, of which the following is a copy : for harbours. These charts were com “Our Sovereign Lord ordains a completed, by the order of the King of mission to be expede under his MaFrance, in 1583, from which Mr A. jesty's great seal of the kingdom of dair drew his in 1688. Drawing Scotland, making mention, that wherecharts of the coast at that early period as his Majesty, by his two several affords us sufficient proof of Janes's charters under the great seal of his zeal for the good of his subjects, and kingdoms of Scotland and England for the improvement of his kingdom. respectively, hath ordained an assoIf he had lived longer to carry on
ciation to be of both the said kingthese improvements, we have every doms, comprehending Ireland under reason to think that he would have the said kingdom of England, for a been successful in establishing a her- general fishing within the haill seas ring fishery on the western coasts, and coasts of his Majesty's kingdoms, and of introducing trade among the except such as are reserved in the said inhabitants, to the great advantage of several charters ; and, for the governthe nation. Scotland at this period ment of the said association, hath ore was in a prosperous and flourishing dained that there should be a standstate, -trade was carried on with ing committee chosen and nominated other nations to a large amount,-the by his Majesty, and his successors royal navy was considerable for that from time to time, of equal number of age,-the fishing vessels and mer- both the said kingiloms, comprehendchant ships were numerous ;—but the ing Ireland under the kingdom of sudden and unexpected death of the England, as said is, whereof the oneKing put a stop to all these excellent halt shall be Scotsmen and the other plans, and the civil discord of the suc to be English and Irish. And his ceeding reigns prevented the govern- Majesty being perfectly informed of ment from finishing any of them. the stability and good affection of his
In 1602, James the Sixth turned Majesty's subjects of either of the his attention to the fisheries, and, 60 said kingdoms after specified, to unyears after his grandfather's death, dergo the charge of the said general attempted to complete his plans. The committee for the fishing, therefore towns of Campbeltown, Fort Wil- his Majesty hath given, and by these liam, and Stornoway, were ordered to presents gives, full power and combe built for the accounmodation of the inission to the said persons after folfishermen, and for promoting trade. lowing,” &c.---(Signed) Tuomas He promised to confer the privileges Hope. of royal burghs on all the inhabitants Besides this, in order to encourage who should settle in them. Finding the Company, the King agreed to that this promise had no effect to en- purchase from them fish for the use courage the natives to engage in the of the army and navy; he also proherring fishery, he sent a colony of hibited the importation of fish into experienced fishermen from the towns the kingdom. Under such patronage, in Fife to instruct them in the art of the Company had every prospect ot fishing, and to encourage industry. Success ; they fixed on two fishing
stations, the one in the island of Here encouragement a capital of L. 12,000 matra, the other in the island of Loch was soon advanced, and it was as soon Madie, both of which lie near North exhausted in building busses, and fitUist. On these islands they built ting them out. These busses were houses for the accommodation of the not all exclusively employed in the fishermen, and for the other purposes herring fishery, some were also emof the establishment. But, before they ployed in cod fishing, and so great had time to give the measure a full was their success in the first year, trial, the civil war began, which put that one buss alone brought home an end to all their prospects of wealth 32,000 cod fish. Such a prosperous from the fisheries.
beginning might naturally enough be In 1654, some wealthy gentlemen supposed to have a powerful effect in in London began the herring fishery, inducing others to advance capital, and the commonwealth encouraged and this would certainly have been them to proceed, by exempting them the case, had not an unforeseen event from paying duty on salt, and other ruined the Company. As the greater articles used in it. Stornoway in the number of the busses were built in Isle of Lewis was the place fixed on Holland, and manned with Dutch for the fishing station, and great pre- fishermen, the French, who were parations were made for beginning at then at war with Holland, captured the approaching season. But it hap- almost the whole of them on the pened soon after that Cromwell was pretence that they belonged to the victorious over the Scots, and his arms Dutch. extended to the Western Isles, where, After the Revolution, another Comin revenge on Scotland, he destroy- pany was formed, with a capital of ed every thing belonging to the fish- L. 300,000, but it is supposed, that, ery.
through King William's partiality to After the Restoration in 1661, the Dutch, it did not succeed. Charles II., the Duke of York, Lord George II, in 1749, at the meetClarendon, and some other noblemen, ing of Parliament, recommended the engaged in the herring fishery with propriety of encouraging the herring greater spirit than ever was done be- fishery, in consequence of which, a fore. Good laws were enacted by the committee was appointed by the House parliaments of England and Scotland, of Commons to inquire into the state for conducting the business properly; of the fisheries. A Company was insalt, and all other necessaries used in corporated for 21 years under the the fishery, were granted free of duty. name of the Society of the Free British Several Dutch families were invited Fishery, with a capital of L. 500,000. to settle at Stornoway, to teach the With this large capital the Company fishermen the art of curing the her- expected soon to excel the Dutch in rings. In this it would appear that the art of fishing ; in this, however, they had been successful, as the her- they found themselves mistaken, as rings gave general satisfaction ; a bar- this capital was yearly diminished, rel sold for L. 1, 10s., a high price in without bringing any dividend to the those days. This establishment, of all subscribers. A high bounty of L.2, 165. others, was the best conducted, and per ton was at last given by Governit continued in a flourishing state for ment to prevent the Company from a considerable time, until Charles be- ruin, but without effect. came embarrassed for want of money,
Such have been the various attempts which obliged him to withdraw his to establish a fishery on the coast of subscription, at which the nobility Scotland. Some of them have been were so much displeased, that the frustrated by causes which it was not Company was soon after dissolved. in the power of man to foresee nor
In 1677, another Company was es prevent; others, by the carelessness tablished, of which the Duke of York and unskilfulness of the fishermen, and the Earl of Derby were extraordi- and by the fraudulent practices of nary directors. This Company en persons entrusted with the managejoyed all the privileges of the former, ment of the Company's affairs. By and a premium of L. 20 was promised these misfortunes should not deter the to be paid for every new buss they British Government from using means should build for seven years. On this to recover the fisheries from the Dutch
CUSTOMS AND SUPERSTITIONS OF THE
and other foreigners who enrich them- ding: I shall now endeavour to fol. selves at our expence.
low up his lively picture with some Might not Government employ ma notices respecting births and burials; ny of those unfortunate families in without, however, dwelling on the the herring fishery who are obliged to many absurd, and sometimes unseemleave their native country for want of ly, ceremonies which were practised by employment ? Few, I am persuaded, the “ canny wives” and gossips, when would emigrate to America, if they attending at“ inlyings or accouchcould find encouragement to carry on ments. a fishing trade on their native shores. Great apprehensions were formerly They are every way qualified by tem- entertained of the malignant influence perance and sobriety for so laborious and interference of the fairies, with a business.
both mother and child. Fairies were It is the opinion of many who are supposed to have a peculiar anxiety to well skilled in the fisheries, that in- procure women capable of being wet dividual exertions, with assistance, nurses; and to exercise all their inunder proper regulations, would be genuity to steal and carry them off to more successful than those of charter- Fairyland for this purpose ; they were ed companies ; experience confirms this also accused of stealing unchristened opinion in the case of the Dutch and children, and leaving urchins in lieu. others.
For this reason, a child was always If you think this narrative worth a considered in imminent danger until place in your Magazine, I may per- baptized, and was spoken of as being haps continue it down to the present uncanny, as its presence rendered the time, and conclude with a view of the house liable to the visits of these une present state of our fisheries. A. earthly intruders. To prevent their
machinations, it was common for both mother and child to be watched; still
the deed was often accomplished if the SCOTTISH PEASANTRY, AT BIRTHS drowsy centinel happened to sleep for
a moment on her post. ME EDITOR,
Among the many extraordinary
stories of this kind, which I have heard Having read with much interest related by an old nurse, were the folthe communications of some of your lowing: former correspondents upon the po In the olden times, when it was the pular customs and superstitions of fashion for gentlemen to wear sworils, Scotland, (particularly those from the Laird of Balmachie went one day Clydesdale and the How of Angus,) I to Dundee, leaving his wife in the have been induced also to draw up a straw ; riding home in the twilight, few pages of a similar description, for he had occasion to leave the high the honour of my native district, road, when crossing through between which I now transmit for your in- some little romantic knoils, called the structive Miscellany; and which, if Cur-hills, in the neighbourhood of approved of, I shall follow up with a Carlungy, he encountered a troop of second and concluding article.—You fairies supporting a kind of litter, and your readers will, I trust, pardon upon which some person seemed to be defects of style, as I am not in the borne. Being a man of dauntless habit of writing for the press ; my courage, and, as he said, impelled by only object is to assist in preserving some internal impulse, he pushed his those peculiar traits of our national horse close to the litter, drew his character and customs which are so sword, laid it across the vehicle, and speedily wearing out under the all- in a firm tone exclaimed, “ In the pervading influence of commerce and name of God, release your captive !" civilization, but which, however rus- The tiny troop immediately disaptic or ridiculous, we still love to as- peared, dropping the litter on the sociate with many pleasing and de- ground. The laird dismounted, and lightful remembrances.
found that it supported his own wife, Your Angus-shire correspondent has dressed only in her night clothes. given, in a late Number, an excellent Wrapping his great coat around her, description of a Scotch Penny Wed- he placed her on the horse before
him, and having scarcely two miles to ed, “ Lord preserve us !” upon which ride, arrived safely at home.
her unwelcome visitor immediately Placing her in another room, under disappeared. My narrator was reckonthe care of an attentive friend, he im- ed a respectable woinan, and was ne mediately went to the chamber where ver known to be guilty of wilful falsehe had left her in the morning, and hood. This short relation of hers, there to appearance she still lay, very therefore, shows how potent an insick of a fever, incident to women in fluence these superstitions must have her situation, and here termed a weed. hac upon the mind; for, I have no She was fretful, discontented, and doubt that she believed what she told complained much of having been ne as having actually happened. It may, glected in his absence, at all which he I think, be accounted for, by keeping affected great concern, and pretending in view, that from the nursery she much sympathy, insisted upon her had so often heard these legends and rising to have her bed made. She was superstitions related, that they were unable, but the laird was peremptory, impressed upon her mind with and having ordered a large wood fire firmation strong as holy writ;" that to warm the room, he lifted the im on the night in question, her imaginapostor from the bed, and bearing her tion had been conjuring up spirits unacross the floor, as if to a chair, which seen, before she sunk asleep, and that was previously prepared, he threw she then dreamed something similar her the fire, from which she to what she afterwards related ; and bounced up like a skyrocket, went not being careful, or capable, at a futhrough the ceiling, and out at the ture period, of investigating the matroof of the house, leaving a hole a ter, it continued to gain complete cremong the slates.
He then brought in dence in her own mind ; and as her his cwn wife, a little recovered from good sense in other matters was known her alarm, who told, that sometime to all her neighbours, and her veracity after sunset, the nurse having left her unquestioned, she was well adapted for the purpose of preparing a little for disseminating such strange tales caudle, a multitude of elves came in among the vulgar, and confirming the at the window, thronging like bees superstitions, the outlines of which from a hive; that they filled the room they had imbibed at an early period and even the bed, froin which she of life. was lifted, carried out at the window, Janet told also of a beautiful girl, and she recollected nothing farther, with a skin so purely white and transtill she saw her husband standing parent, that her veins appeared through over her on the Cur-hills, at the back it like silver streams, and her cheeks of Carlungy. The hole in the roof, like “ the bonnie blushing rose leaf." by which the female fairy macle her She was famed all over the country escape, was mended, but could never under the appellation of “ the Beauty be kept in repair, as a tempest of wind of Balumbie ;" being envied by her happened always once a year, which own sex, and caressed by the other, uncovered that particular spot, with- she, in an unguarded hour, fell a out injuring any other part of the victim to the arts of some rustic Loveroof.
lace, before the close of her 15th year, Respecting the kidnapping of and was delivered of a child, lovely as children, the same creditable clii wo- its mother. Her conduct gave so man told, that, upon one occasion, great offence to an old maiden aunt, when she was a haflin' cummer, about with whom she lived, that the poor sixteen years of age, she was left with erring girl was expelled from her the charge of an unchristened wean house, and obliged to live by herself during the night; while watching, in a small hovel, afforded by the kindshe was all at once seized with a su ness of a neighbour. She was so far pernatural drowsiness, and dropt recovered as to be able to walk out asleep; something tapped her on the with her child, of which she appeared shoulder, which awaked her, and look- remarkably fond; one day she did ing up, she saw a wee woman clad in not appear, and her door continued green, rocking the cradle with her shut; her neighbours began to be foot, and very busy untying the child, alarmed, they lifted the latch, and which she had nearly accomplished, found the door fast"; upon endeavourwhen Janet, in great affright, exclaiıné ing to enter, they saw a hole in the
root, by which they gained access into boy whom she believed to be her the house, for there was no window own; but, continuing their conversathat would admit them. When with- tion, she discovered that it was no in, they found the door barred on the child of her's that she had so fondled inside ; the infant dead in the bed, and adored. According to her acwith the appearance of having been count, she passed a night of dreadful strangled ; no mother there, and her anxiety for the fate of her own child, clothes lying by her bed-side, as if but was somewhat relieved when they she had put them off upon going to told her next morning that she would sleep. Strange and various were the be permitted to revisit the earth, upconjectures about her most extraordi- on being sworn not to reveal the senary disappearance. One party main- crets of her present abode. Being tained that she had become insane, now returned, fully aware of the danmurdered her child, and made her ger to which she was exposed, and escape by the roof'; for, from the con- the snares that would be laid for her, struction of the windows, and the door she was determined, by the grace of being fastened on the inside, all egress God, to resist them all; for she was any other way was impossible. Ano- better armed than the fairy people ther, and by far the most numerous were aware of, or in any degree susparty, most firmly believed, that she pected; for, while in that country, had been carried to Fairyland, as it she had received a box of very fino was known that she had taken no scented ointment, with which she was clothes with her, and had never been instructed to anoint the eyes of her heard of, either dead or alive. About nurslings, under pretence that they seven years after, she returned to the were tender, but was cautioned not to village, late of an evening; and re- permit it to touch her own, for it had lated that she and her child (as she the quality of making mere mortals supposed) were carried away from her blind. Notwithstanding this admoown house, in what manner she could nition, impelled by that curiosity nanot tell ; but that she recollected of tural to her sex, she determined upbeing borne through the air to the back on running the hazard, and, accordof the hill of Duntrune; that, as they ingly, one day touched one of her passed, there was light in the house eyes with the ointment. The pain of Duntrune, and some of the fairies was so excessive, that she firmly beexpressed a fear of being discovered lieved the prediction of the fairies was by the lady, who, it seems, had power about to be fulfilled ; but it abated, over them; but another answered, and she soon discovered that she could that Puck had given one of the maids see many things in Fairyland which a colic, and the lady was attending her were before invisible. Ever since her in a low room on the other side of the return, she always saw the fairies house. That they then entered the when they chose " to walk the earth,” hill, and came to a grand palace, the although invisible to others. particulars of which she was not at She had lived thus, courted and ca. liberty to describe. That she conti- ressed, always " wooed but never. nued to nurse the boy, whom she still won," and many a time saw the fairies imagined her own, and had since that mingling in the affairs of men, when time nursed other six to the King and one day, happening to be in a fair, Queen of Fairyland ; the milk hav- she met King Oberon in a juggler's ing never left her breast until about booth. Less upon her guard than ua month before her return, when she sual, she asked him how he did, and understood, from overhearing a private was proceeding to inquire after her conversation, that she would have no infant charge, (for whom she still acmore milk till she was again a mother. knowledged having an attachment,) It was therefore privately agreed upon when Oberon asked her how she knew among the fairies that she should be him, as he did not think she could allowed to return to earth, when they have seen him. She unthinkingly rewould contrive to lead her into such plied, that she saw him with her left temptations among her old acquaint- eye. Upon which he blew something ance, as she should not be able to like dust into it, and blasted its sight resist.
for ever. The hapless girl returned In the mean time, they knew that from the fair, with one eye minus, and she would not depart and leave the her future views of Fairyland and its