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A MORNING JOURNAL OF LITERATURE, FINE ARTS, FASHION, &c.
GLASGOW, THURSDAY, MARCH 15, 1832.
LAW, LAWYERS AND LITIGANTS.
We have strict Statutes, and most biting laws.
MEASURE FOR MEASURE.
In this mercantile community, every third man in any business, of ordinary extent, is engaged in some legal dispute, and must of necessity have recourse to the services of a lawyer; yet, no where are lawyers and every thing relating to the legal profession, more sneeringly, and unfeelingly talked of than in our own good city. It is impossible to account for this, except on the score of prejudice; for, in no other profession is there more learning, more ability, or men, in any walk of life, of higher honour and integrity, or who by the zealous and laborious discharge of their duties, confer more lasting and important benefits on those, who timeously ask their assistance. And yet, it is not uncommon to see many an ignorant dealer in ginghams, lawns, and lappets, rum puncheons and tobacco, raise his small voice against a profession, embracing men, of whose learning, ability and honour, he may not be capable of forming even a conception.
The "glorious uncertainty of the law," an expression first introduced by the lamented Canning, has been much used, and used too, as an expression of reproach against the profession—yet, the law is not uncertain. As a science, it embodies the principles of the most exalted morality, and its study, so far from being dry and uninteresting, as is generally and vulgarly believed, is perhaps more instructive, and better calculated, than any other branch of human knowledge, to impress upon the mind of the student, the principles of justice, equity and truth. It is no doubt true, that there is a great degree of uncertainty, attending the result of every legal dispute, but this does not arise from the law itself. It arises from the facts of every individual case as they may be brought out in evidence, and from the light in which these established facts may be viewed, by the presiding judge, as either supporting or not supporting, the legal arguments raised by the parties. The untrue statements, too, made by the litigants themselves, the concealment sometimes of part of the truth, the breaking down of evidence, on which the parties confidently relied; these and other causes, which we might enumerate, serve to throw a great share of uncertainty around the result of every legal fight, while the law itself, and its principles of right and wrong, as applicable to all the various and intricate transactions of men, stand free of all mystery, uncertainty or doubt. The conflicting and opposite opinions of judges is a matter of every-day occurrence. Those in the provinces give judgement one way, those of the supreme court give it another way, while last of all, the Lord Chancellor may give it a third way; but, all this difference of opinion does not prove the uncertainty of the law as a judicial code, or as a branch of science, but merely the different impressions, made upon the minds of different judges, by the same evidence, or by the same arguments used by the same parties. There is no way of helping this; for it is impossible to force men, conscientiously, to view the same thing in the same light. "As a question becomes more complicated and involved," says Dr. Johnson, •" and extends to a greater number of relations, disa
greement of opinion will always be multiplied, not because we are irrational, but because we are finite beings, furnished with different kinds of knowledge, exerting different degrees of attention, and one discovering consequences which escape another." So long, therefore, as the minds of men are differently constituted, so long must difference of opinion exist—so long must different views be taken of the same subject, and so long must there be uncertainty, as to the issue of every legal dispute, without attaching to the law itself, or to those of the profession, the slightest degree of blame or discredit.
It is a common remark, but not the less true, that no man can judge soundly, or disinterestedly, in his own cause; for the feelings of self-interest bias his judgment, which, in any matter betwixt other parties, might be firm, decided and impartial. Lawyers, generally, are fully sensible of this, and, accordingly, even the most intelligent of them entrust their personal cases to the more cool and dispassionate judgment of some professional brother. But there are litigants, and that too a numerous class, who do not follow the same wise example, but who, contrary to the advice of those whom they consult, push on every legal question to which they are parties, while the injustice of their pleas, and the monstrous absurdity of their demands, are obvious and plain to every one but themselves. A litigant of this description (an enthusiast in a cause which he cannot estimate dispassionately) soon learns, to his cost, the ruinous result, and wonders at a termination so very opposite to his most sanguine expectations. Unable to account for the accuracy of the decision, and believing it impossible that he could have been wrong, or that he could have been asking any thing unjust, or resisting any thing fair and proper, his only resource is, to impute his discomfiture in Court to the stupidity of the Judge, to the carelessness or want of ability on the part of his advisers, or to the absurdity and injustice of the principles of law on which the case may have been decided. All this very frequently occurs. It occurs too, sometimes, with persons who, in every thing but their own law pleas, have sound, vigorous and well-informed minds, and probably one half of the idle and vulgar abuse directed against the legal profession originates in the way we have mentioned, and, from the chagrin of litigants thus defeated through the absurdity and injustice of their own demands, and who, through obtuseness and obstinacy, despised the advice of their counsel, and would, right or wrong, litigate to the last.
But there are another description of litigants more entitled to sympathy, although their conduct is far from being either prudent or blameless. We allude to those who generally resort to legal advice when it is too late, and who, like the victim of some malignant disease, in place of resorting to medical aid when the malady was in its opening bud, has allowed it to fester and increase, until all chance of cure and recovery has been lost and abandoned. How many broken hearts might have been prevented, how many virtuous and industrious men might have been saved from ruin and dishonour, had they timeously resorted for advice to some honourable and disinterested lawyer? We have observed men who have risen themselves in, the world, much to their own honour, by their own merit and exertion, and others, who have risen by some lucky stroke in the wheel of fortune, which they little deserved, become puffed up with such notions of their own ability and importance, and with such a conviction of their own infallibility, that they have played
"Such fantastic tricks before high Heaven,
And, believing it impossible to err, or that any thing to which they put their hand, should not prosper—we have seen these persons, with a recklessness perfectly distressing, become parties to legal obligations, without either being able or disposed to estimate, fairly, their legal nature, import, or tendency. Had they only paused at the threshold of this vortex of ruin, for legal advice, and for a little sober reflection, how much after regret, misery, and pain, might have been avoided. Yet, there is a vulgar prejudice against applying early for legal opinion, and it is only when difficulties begin to draw around certain individuals, and when they begin to see how they have been over-reached and duped, by those who had an interest to do so, that they resort to those legal consultations which they formerly held so cheap. But, alas! they come for counsel, at the twelfth hour. They come when they are bound, hand and foot, and when no legal ability or learning can relieve them from the grasp of their merciless opponent; and, if a legal question is raised in such cases, it is raised not with any chance of success, but merely to put off the evil hour. Tired and sickened with discussion, defeated and vanquished in all their attempts to soften their legal obligations, this description of litigants, in the bitterness of their sorrow, curse all law and all lawyers; and to this state of feeling not a little of the abuse, to which we have alluded, is to be attributed.
"The law's delay" seems to have been a subject of complaint, even in the days of the immortal Shakespeare, for in one of the finest of Hamlet's soliloquies, it is mentioned as one of the many ills " that flesh is heir to." That there is delay, and great expense too, is not to be denied, but it is equally undeniable that these cannot be attributed to those of the profession, but to the tedious forms and modes of procedure observed in our courts, which can only be remedied by a legislative enactment. The day for these and other improvements is fast approaching. The present enormous expense is occasioned by extravagant fees paid to useless servants, and understrappers of court, and this state of things is nearly as prejudicial to the profession itself, as to the litigants themselves. There is no lawyer of respectability, therefore, but who would willingly lend a helping hand to remove " the law's delay, the insolence of office," and the present profuse and extravagant payment to useless officers and supernumeraries, whose services are not necessary to the fair administration of justice betwixt man and man.
We have heard it stated as a ground of charge, against lawyers, that they are obliged, at times, to use all their ingenuity in defence of what is wrong, and that this indiscriminate justification of every thing, either good, bad, or indifferent, destroys all moral principle, and degrades those of the profession as passive instruments in the hands of the unworthy and the knavish. But we believe that there is no honourable lawyer (and it is of them, only, that we speak) who would, willingly, deceive any client, or who would hold out any chance of success in a suit, which he sincerely and privately believes to be essentially bad, either as to fact, law, or equity. There are cases litigated, which, no doubt, are considered to be hopeless, but this is done as before explained, at the request of the party himself. And, even in cases totally bad, it is proper for counsel to make a stand, were it for nothing else than to keep the court and the jury (if there be one) in check, and from trespassing beyond all law and all justice. For example, at the trial of Burke, that prince of murderers, the first counsel at the bar appeared for the defence, and these great men did so,
not to screen the criminal from justice, but to shew to the world that a monster, guilty of crimes before unheard of, should have a fair and honourable trial, so far as their ability could secure it, and that the public voice, which cried aloud for vengeance, should not be allowed to overstep the strict letter of the law, so far as the first talent in the country could prevent it. In a bad case, this is all that the lawyer can do. He can only watch that no unfair or improper advantage is taken of the guilty party, and that there is no departure from the law on the part of the judge. He can do nothing more, and those who talk of the indiscriminate defence of right or wrong, as destructive of all moral principle on the part of the lawyer, talk of what never occurs, and of that which is not known.
In thus, briefly, pointing out some of the sources from which the common abuse of the legal profession arise, we do not mean to say, that it has not its quacks, and its bad men, like every other profession and occupation. But, quackery, in the law, is but a poor business. These gentry are soon discovered, and soon crushed by the court; and, it so happens, that the existence of legal quacks is but short lived, and never profitable, and, that they are not nearly so numerous as political, clerical, and medical quacks, or any other description of such persons.
As a profession, the law has both its pains and its pleasures. It demands uncommon industry, perseverance, and a fair share of talent; and, no young lawyer, who has these, coupled with honourable, and independent feelings, may be afraid, however humble, at the commencement of his career, of ultimate success, and of lasting honour. Of all things, he must be studious, honourable, and independent. He must not allow his opinion to be moulded by the influence, the whim, and the caprice of " the blown-up fool above him," nor must he turn a deaf ear to "the abject wretch beneath him." He must neither be oppressive to the poor, nor obsequious to the rich. He must do his duty, which is often painful, fairly, firmly, and honourably to all. In short, to be a good and successful lawyer, he must be a good man, and, although his reward may be distant, still, it will be sure ; for, in the words of old John Kemble, "study and honourable feeling will always work wonders."
THE STAMMERING PARVENU.
The following is part of a long communication, sent us by a correspondent. The subject of the story is, a very sensitive young man, who labours under the double misfortune of an awkward manner, and a stammering pronunciation. By a piece of fortune, which proves to him any thing rather than a service, he has been raised from a humble situation in life, to the possession of great wealth; and the miseries to which this change exposed him are very pathetically described. Among other things, he mentions, that, if it fell to his lot to carve any thing, at a dinner table, his awkwardness was so extreme, that, after puffing and toiling till he had helped every one, he would lay down his knife and fork, not daring to help himself. This is, certainly, a suffering which no epicurean would, willingly, endure, but it is only the first of the inconveniences to which our friend was exposed. Sometimes, when he was walking in the street, he would meet some friend who would ask him to dinner, and, often, his hesitation was so great, that, instead of saying no, he would say yes. The consequence was, that, when the dinner hour arrived, he would leave home, with the purpose of going, but, before he could get half way, he would, almost invariably, return again, for fear of meeting people whom he did not know. Even this does not exhaust the catalogue of his dining disasters; for, when he was obliged to visit, he would always go, either half an hour too soon, or as much too late; and, often, when the latter occurred, if told the company had already sat down to dinner, he would stand for ten minutes in the lobby, disputing with the servants, whether or not he would enter the room. When, at length, he did enter, his face would be as red as fire, with the perspiration running, in streams, down his cheeks, and his hair standing on end, with perfect fear. In his way to his chair, he would almost knock over the servants, and he'd rush past the landlord, (who kindly rose to welcome him,) so great was his anxiety to reach his seat. If, at last, he settled himself on his chair, without any accident, he was sure to spill a tumbler of beer, or to break a wine glass, which would draw all eyes upon him, and, amongst them, the vigilant ones of the hostess, who would half kill him with a frown. His first words, if he sat next a lady, were, here's a fine d-d-day, m-mem, and, after a pause of about half an hour—w-w-will ye d-do me the honour to-to d-drink a glass of w-wine with me? Having done that, he would relapse into silence, and seldom open his mouth the whole night. These discouragements oblige our friend to quit society, but, after putting himself under the training of a dancing master, he supposes himself sufficiently improved to venture again into a dinner party. We shall let our correspondent detail the sequel of his own adventure.
There being a fine neighbouring estate, belonging to my Lord D , in the market, I made up
my mind to purchase it; and, now, gentle reader, behold me, John Elliot, Esq. of Mannershall. Being a county gentleman, I kept my horses, my carriages, and my dogs, and received visits and invitations from the surrounding proprietors. Amongst these was the
Marquis of , who, one morning, sent me a note,
requesting the pleasure of my company to dinner that day. Thinking that now I was able to trust myself in company, I accepted the invitation, and, at the time appointed, set off in my gig. Unfortunately, for me, the horse was a young one, and something having frightened him, he set off at full gallop, and, as fortune would have it, overturned me in a ditch, at the entrance gate to the Castle Comfit. Fortunately, I escaped unhurt, and, being so near the castle, I was prevailed upon to enter it. The servants ushered me into the drawing room, a splendid room, blazing with lights; but, I had no sooner stepped in, than I started back—I thought I saw a vision—I rubbed my eyes; when, oh, heavens, to my horror, it was my own figure I saw, reflected in a mirror, at the opposite side of the room ; and, what a figure? There I was, my white pantaloons covered with mud, my face black with dirt, and, in fact, more like a chimney sweeper than a gentleman. I gave a loud shriek, and sunk down, senseless, on the floor. When I recovered, I found myself lying on a splendid ottoman, in the room, with one or two gentlemen standing round me; I started up, and said to my host, whom I recognised, goo-goo-goo-good evening, m-m-m-my Lord Ma-ma-marquis; and, notwithstanding his remonstrances, I sallied out of the house, and pursued my comfortless way home. Next morning I resolved on quitting Scotland, and, accordingly, in the space of two days, I was on my way to England. Having been told that the only method, of getting into good society, was purchasing an estate. I immediately secured the first that offered, and soon had plenty of acquaintances. Among others, was the
old Earl of V , who called on me, and stated that
he was proud of the acquisition which the county had gained, in having me as a landholder. To all this, I made no other reply, than with bows and grimaces. But, upon his at length saying, Mr. Elliot, as colonel
of the troop of yeomanry, I shall be proud if you
will permit me to present you with a captain's commission, my gratitude burst out with, m-m-my Lord,
accept th-th-th the th-thanks of . But, before I
could conclude, he interposed, and, laughingly, said, Captain Elliot, you are a mimic, I perceive. Not understanding him rightly, I merely bowed, and replied, m-m-m-my Lord you fl-fl-flater m-me, and, soon after,
he took his leave. Without any delay, I ordered my uniform, and, with what pride it was, that I surveyed myself, in the well polished mirror—I thought myself the handsomest of the handsome, and the bravest of the brave. Next day was the first drill day of the regiment, and I, as Captain, was obliged to take the command of my troop, for the first and last time. In giving the word of command, I, unfortunately, could not speak quick enough, and, when the whole regiment were going on with the drill, I was mouthing out, d-d-draw s-sh-swords. Again, when I was going through the sword exercise, on account of my awkwardness, in making cut, No. 3, I nearly severed one of my brother officer's legs, with a blow of my sabre, and, not content with that, as the word charge was given, not being fully up to the management of my horse, he set off with me, and, forgetting my spurs, I clung the closer with my heels, which made the unruly animal fly the faster, till, at length, making a leap over a hedge, I lost my hold, and fell into the midst of it; whilst, I heard, at a distance, the cheers and laughter of my companions. This was the climax of my misfortunes—I left the yeomanry next day—I sold my estates, and retired from the world, a melancholy misanthrope.
Childhood, and other Poems, by J. Norval. Glasgow, 1832.
It is a singular fact in the literary history of this city that, during the last twelve months, there have been more books and reprints published in Glasgow than in the modern Athens. One publisher alone, here, has, in fact, sent forth no less than seventeen books, ten of which, have been written by Glasgow pens, and printed by Glasgow printers. Since the commencement even of this year, a considerable number of very respectable volumes have issued from our press, and here comes another, which, in point of appearance, at least, does the greatest credit to publisher and printer, and, what is more to the purpose, to the talents of its author.
The characteristics of Mr. Norval's poetry seem to be simplicity, sweetness and good taste. There is a fine moral feeling generally found to pervade the whole of the poems before us, while, in many of them, there is exhibited a warmth and tenderness of expression, which indicate a kindly and well-constituted heart. There is none of that straining after effect which, we regret to think, is the prevailing vice of the poets of the age.
We observe Mr. Norval has one or two imitations of Scottish poetry, but he has followed a bad model, though a friend of our's, namely, the Ettrick Shepherd. Had he been a constant reader of The Day, he would have avoided this error.
As a key to the style and feeling of the volume, we select the following poem, which, although not the best, is best fitted for our limits.
WELCOME TO THE SWALLOW.
Thou art come from a land that is brightening all the year,
I have seen thee on the land, and thy flight across the sea;
Now the winter storm is gone, thou art welcome back again;
I Hold that whatever cheers us in the arduous path of life, and flings a flower over its dreariness, whatever innocently employs and safely recreates, whatever gives an object or an amusement, "soberly," is worth cultivating, even although it be but a taste
fur toys Lady Morgan.
"Whenever," said Madame de Stael, " I see Mr. S., I feel the same pleasure that I receive from looking at a fond couple; he and his self-love live so happily together."
This is to be a day of bustle in Glasgow, and the evening will be one of high spirits and light heels. This is the day for haberdashers and peruquiers, milliners and tailors, shoemakers and glovers. How many French kids will be torn on dainty hands, revealing through their rents a skin of snow-white purcness! How many frills of Brussels lace will be divided asunder by negligent ladies' maids! How many satin gowns will be spoiled in the hurry of preparation! And, alas! how many Fanny curls will be rudely dishevelled by low-roofed sedans! How many Denmark satins will be too tight! How many stay laces too frail! How many mantua-makers too late '. Misery of all miseries! Joy of all joys! An assembly is to be prepared for. An assembly is to be attended. And, before Glasgow is a day older, the ranks of her silks will be increased by young and beautiful debutantes.
Assemblies are of old date in Glasgow; but the fashionable dances and the fashionable dresses were, long ago, very different from those now in vogue. Upon one occasion, when all the elite of the city had come together to turn out their toes, under the direction of the Duchess of D , the room happened to be so crowded,
that sufficient space could not be got for dancing a minuet. Her Grace, upon perceiving the gentleman and lady in the middle of the floor vainly endeavouring to perform their graceful motions, immediately resolved to free them from the incumbrance of the bye-standers. It was at that time the custom for ladies to wear large hoops, and that of the noble directress was so amazingly fashionable, that it occupied no inconsiderable portion of the room. Indeed, one who saw her bustling through the saloon, might have been tempted to exclaim, with the monarch of Peter Pindar's fable, "how did she get in." With great presence of mind, her Grace thought of a method for turning this rather unwieldy ornament to account. Turning from the gentleman whom she was addressing, she backed into the middle of the room, obliging every body to give way to her, till she had fairly established her hoop in the place she desired; and when this was accomplished, she walked off with all her native majesty, desiring the minuet dancers to seize the space which she had vacated.
Memoirs of William Sampson, an Irish Exile, written by himself, is in the press.
T. Keyworth is preparing for publication "The Juvenile Philosopher.
Filial Solicitude, a Mezzotint, by S. Euoell, from a painting hy Lzscot, is forthcoming.
We seldom visit the Theatre except upon extraordinary occasions. We were induced, however, to go the other evening to see our old friend Mr. Weekes.
On entering, we were gratified to find the house so respectably filled. The drama of Henri Quutre was well got up, and the addition of several new and splendid dresses, for this piece, which the Manager has made to his wardrobe, is a great improvement. We are inclined to think from this, that he is bestirring himself to meet the approbation of the public, and that our suggestions have been attended with a favourable result. The character of Captain O'Donnell was most ably sustained by Mr. Weekes, whose delineation of Irish character is a rich treat to the connoisseur. Of bis singing we could say much, but it is already well known to most of our readers. The other characters were kept up with much spirit. We have seldom seen Mr Alexander, himself, to better advantage, than last night, in Moustache.
In the after-piece of English, Irish, and Scotch, Mr Weekes, in the character of Patrick O'Shocknessey, kept the house in a roar of laughter, and delighted us with the song of Paddy Carey, which he gave with his usual taste and feeling. It is needless to say, that he was loudly encored.
We were, also, much pleased with Misses Mason and Philips, in their respective characters, which they performed with great vivacity, especially the former. We would, therefore, recommend, to such of our readers as are admirers of true Irish character and music to pay an early visit to Dunlop Street, as we learn Mr. Weekes's engagemeut closes on Saturday.
The following sketch of this remarkable woman, who was sacrificed during the Reign of Terror, is extracted from a posthumous work of Etienne Dumont of Geneva, lately published in Paris.
"Madame Roland, to a very beautiful person, united great powers of intellect; her reputation stood very high, and her friends never spoke of her but with the most profound respect. She was in character a Cornelia, and, if she had had sons, would have brought them up in the same manner as the Gracchi. I saw, at her house, several committees of ministers and the principal Girondists. A female at such meetings appeared rather out of place, but she took no part in the discussions. She was generally at her desk, writing letters, and seemed not to notice what was going on,—of which, however, she did not lose a word. The simplicity of her dress did not detract from her natural grace and elegance, and, though ber pursuits were more adapted to the other sex, she adorned them with all the charms of her own. I reproach myself with not having personally known all her good qualities; but I had imbibed a prejudice against female politicians; and I found in her, besides, too much of that tendency to mistrust which results from ignorance of the world.
"Claviere and Holand, after seeing the King, had abandoned their prejudices, and gave him credit for sincerity; but she did not cease warning them against the illusions of the court; she could not believe in the good faith of a prince educated with the opinion that he was superior to other men. She maintained that they were dupes, and the most satisfactory assurances were, with her, only snares. Servan, who had a sombre character, and the most splenetic pride, appeared to her energetic and incorruptible; she mistook his passions for elevation of mind, and his hatred of the court for republican virtue. Louvet, who had the same prejudices, became her hero. He had, it is, true, wit, courage, and vivacity; but I am surprised how a virtuous woman could look upon the author of ' Faublas' as a severe republican. Madame Roland excused every fault in those who declaimed against courtiers, and believed that virtue was confined to hovels. She exalted very mediocre personages, such as Lanthenus and Pache, merely because they were of this opinion. I confess that all this was anything but attractive in my estimation; and it prevented me from cultivating an intimacy, which I should have sought with eager ness, had I then known her as well as I did after her death.
"Her personal memoirs are admirable. They are an imitation of Rousseau's Confessions, and often worthy of the original. She exposes her innermost thoughts, and describes herself with a truth and force not to be found in any other work of the same description. A more extensive knowledge of the world was wanting to her Intellectual developement, aud perhaps a more intimate acquaintance with men of sounder judgment than her own. None of those who visited her were raised above vulgar prejudices; she was always, therefore, encouraged in a disbelief of the possibility of an alliance between monarchy aud freedom. She looked upon a king with the same horror as Mrs. Macaulay, whom she considered as being superior to her sex. Had Madame Roland been able to communicate to her party her own intrepidity and strength of mind, royalty would have been overthrown, but the jacobins would not have triumphed."
Recovery Of Lander's Prayer Books.—It is a curious fact, that two prayer books, belonging to the enterprising travellers wbo lately discovered the source of the Niger, and lost by them in the interior of Africa, at which they always had expressed much regret, have within these few days found their way to England.
NOTICES TO CORRESPONDENTS. "Sigma" is sent to our poetical critic.
"M. R.'s" communication, we regret, wants point for our columns. It also might give our detractors a plea for supposing, that we had only one striug to harp upon.
We are always happy to find that our contemporaries of the Press pay us the compliment of making extracts from our columns. Last week The Scotsman, The Glasgow Courier, Herald, and Scots Times, enriched their columns with 11 Love's Diet," but it is generally the custom to pay the courtesy of saying whence they draw their nourishment.
i|3F -AH communications for the Editor of " TasDir" art requested to be left with the Publisher, Mr. John Finlay, No- 9, Miller Street.
Published, every Morning, Sunday excepted, by John Finlay, at No. 9, Miller Street; aud Sold by John Wylie, 97, Argyle Street; David Robertson, and W. R. M'phun, Glaser ; Thomas Stevenson, and the other Booksellers, Edinburgh ; D»Vid Dick, and A. Gardner, Booksellers, Paisley: A. Luse, Greenock; and J. Glass, Bookseller, Rothsay.
PRINTED BY JOHN GRAHAM, MELVILLE PLACE.
A MORNING JOURNAL OF LITERATURE, FINE ARTS, FASHION, &c.
GLASGOW, FRIDAY, MARCH 16, 1832.
ON THE HIGHLAND CHARACTER.
Notwithstanding the thirst for emigration, which is almost universal throughout the Highlands, perhaps there does not exist, any class of people, who hold, in higher estimation, the customs, pursuits and localities of their ancestors. Every hill has some favourite charm—every glen, some peculiar attraction. The bleak heath, on which they were wont to tend their fleecy treasures, or chase the antlered stag—the crystal fount from which they drew the wholesome draught—the hillocks around which they gamboled in their childhood—the music to which they were accustomed to listen in their youth—the games which they contested in their riper years—the language which they were taught to believe could only be uttered by a hero or a bard, and the sepulchre in which they had hoped to mingle with the dust of their fathers; these, and such as these, are the objects which bind the Highlander to his country; these are the associations from which he parts with regret.
Of late, this interesting portion of our country has acquired very general notice. Who are they who had it in their power and havefailed to visit its romantic valleys, its alpine hills, its picturesque lakes and its projecting shores? The gallant conduct which our Highlanders manifested in the late wars has raised them to an eminence which may be looked to with pride. Courage has ever been their distinguishing trait, as appears by the annals of their country, hospitality is stamped upon every threshold, honour on every bosom, freedom has planted her standard on every hill, patriotism and friendship hold a banquet at every hearth, benevolence and generosity beam in every eye, while religion and morality smile approbation on the whole.
Where is the country to which the Mistress of the world did not send her conquering legions? Spain bent her neck to the galling yoke. France steeped her lilies in the best blood of her nobles. Even Britain quailed before the foe, the eagle, flapped her wings over the mangled corpses of the heroes of the south, and soared aloft with piercing eye, to discover a sanctuary among the hills of the north in which she might foster her rapacious brood ; but her highest flight was to the rocky fastnesses of our intrepid Highlanders, who met the enemy with their claymores unsheathed, nor returned them to their scabbards till their country was free, and their invaders repelled.
But, too long have the Highlanders passively worn the shackles of tyranny, though not from a foreign enslaver. Ruled by the iron sceptre of domestic faction, prostrate beneath the despotic sway of feudal chieftainship, their energies were cramped, their minds were enshrouded, submission and devotion to their ceann cinneadh* were the lessons inculcated from their birth. The talents which they possessed were wasted in a life of indolence and inertion, and, although at times their souls could not brook the inglorious thraldom, but burst the net which policy had woven around them, it was like the electric flash which, for a moment, dazzles the benighted, or the meteor which startles the wanderer on his way.
The early part of the history of the Highlands is vague and uncertain, which may be easily accounted for, when we consider their limited intercourse with their more civilized neighbours, and the small attention which was paid to the cultivation and acquisition of literary attainments. Every clan had its bard, who rehearsed the deeds of their ancestors, the success of their arms, the power of their chief and the strength of his clan; and, finding it their interest to conciliate the favour of those whose protection they enjoyed, it is no wonder that their details are not always characterized by a strict and stedfast adherence to truth. Independent of the privilege which the poet enjoys of taking an occasional flight into the world of fiction, the petty jealousies which were nurtured and observed among the Highland clans, with the most scrupulous prejudices, prevented them from saying any thing favourable of the foe of their patron ; and, while we admire the genuine spirit of poetry attendant on the Celtic Muse, which, in some instances, may yet faintly be traced, we feel a degree of pity and abhorrence when we consider the sycophantish servility to which that spirit sometimes pandered.
Since the dispersion of the clans, in 1746, the features of this country have assumed a very different aspect. Few who will read of the treatment, to which they were at that period subjected, but will censure, in the severest terms, the measures which were used to enforce their obedience. The same degree of leniency was shewn to the misguided vassal and his ambitious leader. The purest blood of the Highlands manured the field on which they fell, or stained the ignominious scaffold. The unhallowed conflagration which consumed the cottage of the peasant, and the palace of his lord, caused the heavens to blush at the inhuman transactions. Rapine, plunder and bloodshed, followed the steps of the persecuting barbarians, while mercy and humanity hid their faces in dismay.
Much as we may regret the severity of the antidote, it may be safely allowed, that to it, may, in a great measure, be ascribed the advanced scale to which this portion of our country has now attained. The act, which forced the Highlanders to discontinue their native costume, did away with part of the prejudice with which they viewed the less hardy Lowlander. From an assimilation, and, even, partiality to their dress, they became converts to their enterprise and industry. English manners were imbibed with avidity, and cultivated with success : knowledge of the world, and the pleasures of a refined education, opened up to them a new source of enjoyment. A taste and opportunity to learn are now diffused amongst every class. The darkness of ignorance, which, for many years, brooded over their native hills, is, now, to a great degree, removed. The shepherd, in the most remote glen, may now be found, not only studying the volume of nature, but weighing the various grades of degeneracy and disscntion which contributed to the fall of Athens and of Rome. The display, which we daily behold, of the successful energies of our Highland youth, when divested of their native rust, are proofs which substantiate our statement. Their honesty and fidelity have become proverbial. We find them shine in the pulpit, in the senate, and at the bar; and, if the day comes, when the lion shall again be forced to raise