Notices of the Proceedings at the Meetings of the Members of the …, Volume 13 (Google Books)

Friday, January 29, 1892.

Sib James Cbichton-bbowne, M.D. LL.D. F.B.S. Vice-President and Treasurer, in the Chair.

Sib Gboboe Douglas, Bart. M.A.
Tales of the Scottish Peasantry.

It is only within comparatively recent years that the homely stories in the mouths of the common people have been constituted a branch of learning, and have had applied to them, as such, the methods and the terminology of science. A noteworthy gain to knowledge has, beyond a doubt, resulted from this treatment; but, side by side with this gain to knowledge, is there not involved in the said method of treatment a loss to the stories themselves? Classified, tabulated, scientifically named, they are no longer the wild free product of Nature that we knew:—no doubt they are still very interesting—the study of them is full of instruction; but their poetry, their brightness, the fragrance which clung about them in their native air, their native soil, is gone. So that,—with all due recognition of the value of the labours of the scientific folk-lorist, the comparative mythologist,— there yet remains room, I believe, to regard these stories from another point of view, namely, the literary, or critical one. I hope the time has not yet come when the old tales shall have entirely ceased to charm; and I believe that there are persons in existence who would regard it as a real and personal loss could they bo made to believe that the ideal hero of their childhood, as he falls in a bloody battle wounded to the death, is in reality a myth, or figure, for the setting of the sun; and who would even feel themselves aggrieved could they Vol. XIII. (No. 86.) 2 L

be brought to realise that the bugbear of their baby years is common also to the aborigines of Polynesia. So powerful is the spell of early association.

I suppose that most nations, whilst their life has remained primitive, Lave practised the art of story-telling; and certaiuly the Scotch were no exceptions to the rule. Campbell of Isla, who wrote about thirty years ago, records that in his day the practice of story-telling still lingered in the remote western islands of Barra; where, in the long winter nights, the people would gather in crowds to listen to those whom they considered good story-tellers. At an earlier date, but still at that time within living memory, the custom of storytelling survived at Pool-Ewe, in Ross-shire ; where the young people were used to assembleat night to hear the old ones recite the tales which they had learned from their forefathers. Here, and at earlier dates in other parts of the country also, the demand for stories would further be supplied by pedlars, “gaberlunzie men,” or pauper wandering musicians and entertainers, or by the itinerant shoemaker or tailor,— both of which last were accustomed to travel through thinly-populated districts, in the pursuit of their calling, and put up for the night at farm-houses,—where, whilst plying their needles, they would entertain the company with stories. The arrival of one of these story-tellers in a hamlet was an important event. As soon as it became known, there would be a rush to the house where he was lodged, and every available seat would quickly be appropriated. And then, for hours together, the story-teller would hold his audience spell-bound. During his recitals, the emotions of the reciter were occasionally very strongly excited, as were also those of his listeners,— many of whom, no doubt, firmly believed in all the extravagances narrated. And such rustic scenes as these have by no means been without their marked effect upon Scottish literature.

Perhaps the most characteristic of the Highland tales are those which deal with heroes and giants. But these are generally very long, and, truth to tell,—with all the repetitions of dialogues, all the reproductions of what is practically the same situation, which distinguish them,—they are apt to appear to us wearisome. The shortest kind of popular tales are those which the Folk-Lore Society calls Beast Tales,—the stories, namely, which are concerned with the dumb animals. The Highlands, in particular, are rich in such stories; and it is easy to understand how the common country-people—living so near to nature as they do—may come to have an insight into, and an appreciation of, the characters of the brute animals, and a sympathy with them in their tussle for existence, which is not attainable by those who lead a more artificial life. Some of the fables and traits of animal life in which this knowledge and appreciative sympathy have been embodied are decidedly naive and quaint. Nor are they without a human application.

The class of stories which we may consider next—the Fairy Tales —display a higher degree of fancy. And it would be a mistake to imagine that this quality of fancy is anything less than a characteristic attribute of the minds of many of the Scottish peasantry. It displays itself, for instance, in its simplest form, in their nomenclature—in the names which they have given either to natural objects, or to places which are characterised by some striking natural feature. For example: a waterfall in Dumfriesshire, where the water, after pouring dark over a declivity, dashes down in white foam among rocks, is known as The Grey Mare’s Tail; twin hills in Roxburghshire, which have beautifully-rounded matched summits, have been christened Maiden’s Paps. Then, the cirrus, or curl-cloud, is in rustic speech “goafs hair “; the phenomenon of the Northern Lights, among the fishermen of Shetland, is the “Merry Dancers “; the Pleiads are the “Twinklers “; the constellation of Orion, with its star iota pendant as if from a girdle, is the ” King’s Ellwand,” or yard-measure; the noxious froth which adheres to the stalks of vegetation at midsummer is the ” witches’ spittle.”

There is a root of poetry, I think, in this aptitude for giving names; and, as a matter of fact, in the Lowlands of Scotland, rustic poets and rhymesters are far from uncommon. Nor are the peasantry, in their name-giving, wanting in literary allnsiveness—allusiveness, that is, to the only book which has ever obtained universal currency among them. Thus, among the fishermen of the East Coast, the black mark below the gills of a codfish, or haddock, is “Peter’s Thumb;” whilst a coarse field-plant called by botanists Polygonum persicaria, which has its leaves strangely clouded and stained, as with droppings of some dark liquid, is locally known on the Borders as the ” Flower that grew at the Foot of the Cross.”

Perhaps the deepest thinkers among a people who have their philosophers as well as their dreamers, are to be found among the hill-shepherds. And it is chiefly through the instrumentality of one of these that we can now enter the Fairyland of the Scottish peasant. James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd, was one of those common men, plus genius, who every now and then in the history of literature give to a whole world of floating thought, tradition, fancy, a permanent substantial form. No man in literature is his master in the weird tale. No man but Shakespeare, not even excepting Drayton, has written so well of the fairies. Hogg was born in the Arcadia of Scotland, Ettrick Forest—where, as Scott tells us, the belief in fairies lingered longer than elsewhere—about the year 1770. As he grew up, the spirit of emulation was stirred in his breast by the example of the poet Burns. And so, as he wandered through the pastoral solitudes keeping his sheep, he carried an ink-horn slung from his neck, and taught himself to write, and so committed to paper his first poem. And as he thus wandered and mused, he tells us that he one day fell asleep upon a green hill-side, to dream the dream of Kilmeny, and to bear her image in his heart for ever after.

The story of Kilmeny is that of a girl of poetic temperament, a lover of solitude, who, wandering alone at twilight, disappears in a

wild glen among the hills. She is sought for by her parents ; but no trace of her is found. Years pass, and the mystery remains unsolved. But at the close of the seventh year, in the same twilight hour in which she had vanished, Kilmeny returns to her home. She haa been rapt away by fairies, with whom the intervening years have been spent. But in the midst of Fairyland, her heart still yearns tenderly to her home; and when seven years have expired, and the fairies have no longer power to detain her against her will, she chooses to leave the life of pleasure which she leads among them to return to the common world. This is an outline of the story; but the story is the least part of the poem. Its charm lies in its exquisitely flowing and melodious verse, in its suggestion of the twilight world and of a world of shadows—a land ” where all things are forgotten,”—in its wistful tenderness; in one word, in the unique and perfect aptness of the style to the subject. So magical, indeed, are the fairy touches throughout the writings of the Ettrick Shepherd, that one might almost be tempted to dream that the experience with which tradition credits Thomas the Rhymer had been shared by this rhymer of a later day.

As in England, tales of fairies caught sight of on the country green, at twilight or by moonlight, of services rendered by mortals to fairies and gratefully and gracefully repaid, find a place among the fables of the Scottish peasantry. But it is by no means in such airy, gracious, and harmless if not beneficent, creations as this that the genius of the Scottish nation finds its fancy’s most congenial food. That genius is, upon the whole, essentially a sombre one,—relieved, indeed, by a rough humour; but tending most to an affinity with gloom. The malevolence, the hostility, of Nature, its permanence as contrasted with the transient character of man, its victoriousness in the never-ending battle waged against it by man,—a battle in which he fights for life, in which he gains a few trifling and temporary advantages, but in which he must recognise from the first that he fights against impossible odds: these are facts which a barren soil and a bleak and stormy climate have thrust forcibly upon the Scottish popular imagination, and which have impressed themselves deeply upon it. This gloomy view of Nature has tinged the superstitious beliefs of the peasantry, and through them their stories. And upon the back of this gloomy view of Nature, has come a sense— stronger perhaps than is felt by any other nation—of fate and doom, of the mystery of life and death, of the cruelty of the inevitable, the pain of separation, the darkness which enshrouds the whole. In this sense the Scotch are a nation of pessimists. They have found their religiouti vocation in Calvinism; and the spirit which embraced Calvinism like a bride informs their mythology and their fireside tales. Their tendency to devil-worship, to the propitiation of evil spirits, is illustrated by the hideous usage of the Good-man’s Croft,— a plot of ground near a village which was left untilled—set apart for, and dedicated to, the Powers of Evil, in the hope that their malignity might be appeased by the sacrifice, and that so they might bo induced to spare the crops on the surrounding fields. Of the state of superstitious dread in which some Scotchmen passed their lives, Mrs. Grant of Laggau gives a curious illustration when she tells us that in the Highlands of her day, to boast, or to congratulate a friend, was to rashly court retribution; to praise a child upon tho nurse’s arm was to incur suspicion of wishing to bring down ill upon its head.

Holding these beliefs, it is not to be wondered at if, in their stories, the Scotch are the past-masters of the weird. And, as a matter of fact, their very nursery-tales—many of them—would appear to have been conceived with a view to educating, for some strange purpose or other, the passions of horror and of sorrow in the child to whom they are told. Such rhymes, for instance, as ” The Tempted Lady,” and “The Strange Visitor,” are uncanny to a degree. In the former, the Evil One himself appears, in specious guise. The Strange Visitor is Death. The nursery ballad of “The CroodinDoo”* is as full of combined piteousness and sinister suggestion of underhand wickedness as any little tragedy of its length could well be. The suggestion is that of a man’s childless lawful wife bearing a bitter grudge against his child borne by another woman. The babe returns from a day’s outing, and is questioned by his slighted mother as to where he has been and what he has done. But he is tired, and cries out to be put to bed. The jealous woman, however, persists in her interrogatory, in the course of which she asks him what he had for dinner. He replies that he dined off ” a little four-footed fish.” (The eft, or newt, is, like the toad, in the common superstition, venomous). “And what was done with the bones of this singular fish ?” asks the woman. They were given to the lap-dog. And what did the dog do? After eating them, he “shot out his feet and died.” There, with admirable art, the ballad ends. Its effect is immensely heightened by a burthen, or refrain, in which, at the close of every verse, the child, with wearisome iteration and with child-like importunity, cries out to his mother to ” make his bed soon.” This ballad of childlife is queer fare to set before a child.

Stoddart, the tourist, long ago remarked the contrast between the fairies of the English popular mythology and those of the Scotch; and certainly the delicate, joyous, tricksy, race of moonlight revellers whom we meet in Shakespeare are scarcely to be recognised as belonging to the same family with the soul-less, man-stealing, creatures of the Scottish peasant’s fancy. The effect exercised upon popular superstition by the ruling passion of Calvinistic religion is one of the most striking things in Scottish folk-lore. The belief in fairies, for example, did not cease to exist. It was not even universally discountenanced by the Church; for we find recorded instances of Ministers of the Gospel combining with their parishioners to take measures for the restitution of infants which the fairies had changed at nurse, or for the recovery of women who had been spirited away. And certainly

* A term of affection applied to a child.

two of the most curious pieces of composition known to mo are, a pamphlet on the Second Sight written by a Minister of Tiree, and an article on the Fairies written by a Minister of Aberfoyle,—both in the Seventeenth Century. Both writers were firm believers in the superstitions upon which they wrote; and in both cases the gross ignorance and darkness of the writer’s mind is only equalled by the authoritative weight and pedantry of his style.

The fairies, however, and that rough, grotesque, humoursome, but good-natured figure, the Brownie, occupy but a small space in the popular mythology in comparison with such shapes of awe, of terror, or of ill-omen, as the ghosts, “more real than living men,” which the Highland Ezekiel saw borne past him on the wind in Morven, or as the witch, the wraith, the “warning,” the water-kelpie, the man or woman who has the second-sight.

The characteristic rough humour of the Scotch peasant, as it affects the creations of the fancy, embodies itself almost exclusively in the Brownie. The Brownie was a wild, half-human, creature, whose custom it was to devote himself to domestic service in a particular family. But he worked from perfectly disinterested motives; and so strained was his sense of self-respect that, on the slightest attempt to recompense his services, he would disappear for ever. The Brown Man of the Moors is another of these twilight, or half-seen, creations; but he is not of a domestic character. Wanderers upon lonely moors might, on rare occasions, catch a glimpse of him lurking in a hollow,— a short, squat, powerful figure, earth-coloured, or of the tint of the surrounding ling. “Shellycoat” dwelt in the waters. His coat was hung with shells, which clattered as he moved; and his delight was in mischief,—such as, for instance, like Will-o’-the-Wisp, in leading travellers astray. “Nuckelavee,” the Sea-Devil of the Orkney Islanders, a more formidable phantom, seems to be shaped like a man above and like a horse below; and his peculiar horror lies in the fact that, being skinless, his raw red flesh is exposed to view. Then there is the River Horse, a supernatural being supposed to feed, in the shape of a horse, on the shores of Loch Lochy, and when disturbed to plunge into its waters. The River Bull it is who emerges from the lake to visit the cow-pastures; and cow-herds pretend that they can distinguish the calves of which he is the sire. But a more awe-inspiring water-spirit than any of these was the Kelpie; whose appearances were generally timed either to give warning of death by drowning, or to lure men to a watery grave; and who illustrates the feeling—as I have already observed, so insistent throughout Scottish mythology—of the inveterate hostility of Nature. The elements are our enemies, and wage an internecine war.

Perhaps the most valuable element in the peasant-tales, considered from the poetic standpoint, is the human element. The juxta-position of the supernatural brings out in extraordinary strength certain traits of the human. For instance: the strangest, the most startling, and to us the most incomprehensible, of all the Scotch superstitions is that which prescribed a belief in the periodical return of the dead to their former homes—not as night-walking spectres encountered only by those who were alone and in the dark—but as social beings, come back to join the family circle and share in its festivities,—in short, in the old phrase, come back ” to dine and dance with the living.” How anything so incredible should ever have come to be believed, we may well be at a loss to understand. Yet believed it seems to have been. There are two of the old ballads which are concerned with the belief, and they are two of the finest which have come down to us. The fragment entitled “The Wife of Usher’s Well” tells how a thriving country-woman made provision for her three sons by sending them to sea. But they have not been long away from her, when she hears that they have perished in a storm. Then, in the madness of her grief, she puts up a blasphemous prayer to Heaven,—praying that the conflict of wind and wave may never cease until her sons come home to her in their likeness as she knew them of old. Her prayer is heard; and answered. When the long dark nights of Martinmas come round, the sons return to their home. In outward seeming they are unchanged; but the hats they wear, as we are told, are of a birk, or birch-tree, which is not of earthly growth. Rising to a height of simple, unconscious, tragic irony, the ballad goes on to detail the preparations which are made by the mother to fc’te the home-coming of her sons. In a fever of happiness, she issues her orders to her maids. The fatted calf is slain; and a brief hour of joy goes by. Then, as it grows late, the young men betake themselves to rest. The mother has prepared their bed with her own hands. But the dawn draws near—the period of their sojonrn is almost up. The cock crows. They recognise the signal which binds them under penalty to return whence they came, and with a few touching words of leave-taking they depart as they had come. In this case the superstition of the return of the dead to their homes, to visit their friends, is complicated with the idea of punishment for a rash utterance or impious prayer. But in ” The Clerk’s Twa Sons of Oxenford “—the other ballad which deals with the same theme—in which the home-coming of the dead is timed at Christmas, the fundamental idea appears in its simplest form. These two tales are perhaps the wildest in the whole range of Scottish popular story; but, wild as they are, they contain, I think, a distinct and deep human significance. It will be observed that, in either case, the return of the dead to their homes is fixed at a season of relaxation and festivity. At such seasons the thoughts of the working-people, being set free from their daily occupations, are at liberty to wander; and it is a fact that the annual recurrence of such landmarks in time, with their familiar accompaniment of usages and ceremonies, brings bygone years before the mind with a peculiar clearness—or, at least, brings them before the minds of people who lead simple monotonous lives with few events to mark them. Nothing is commoner at such seasons than to hear the country-people refer to the friends whom they have lost since that time last year, dwelling upon particular acts of theirs, and upon their ways and characters generally. Well, from this peculiar vividness of mental realisation, it is, for a bold and poetic imagination, but a single step to conjure up the actual bodily presence of the departed. Hence may have arisen these wild stories; and hence, no doubt, arose the fancy—a beautiful and touching one—of the dead returning to their homes at a season of festivity, ” to dine and dance with the living.”

To sum up;—the more striking characteristics of the Scottish peasant-tales generally would appear to be: First, an ever lively and inventive fancy. Secondly, a powerful imagination. The Scottish peasant story-teller is, like Homer, ei^avratrtWos—” qui sibi res, voces, actus, secundum verum, optime fingit,” as Quintilian renders it. And this powerful imagination is apt to be gloomily affected, and at times distempered, by the natural features and conditions of the country, and by the broodings of the national mind. Thirdly, a love of humanity, coupled with a keen sense of the hardness of its lot,— manifesting itself in a poignant pathos. Of course, in a country of mixed races like Scotland, the general characteristics of the stories differ widely in the different parts of the country. In general terms, it may perhaps be said that the Highland tales display a more inexhaustibly luxuriant fancy, whilst those of the Lowlands have the more clearly denned outline and enjoy a monopoly in depth of human significance.

To glance now at the effect which has been exercised upon literature by these tales. The Tales of the Scottish Peasantry have enjoyed particular advantages in the fact that the rich mine which they afford has been well and admirably worked by modern Scottish writers. Indeed, from the date of Smollett’s death onward, the Scottish prose belles-lettres may be said to have been largely “a growth of the soil.” And the Scottish writers who have worked the field of popular tradition have not worked in the spirit of such Qeraran authors as, for instance, Musteus, Tieck, and Fouque,—making the popular tale a mere foundation upon which to rear their own structures of philosophy and fancy, and often transforming it almost, if not quite, beyond recognition. Neither have they worked upon the lines of such a writer as Theophile Gautier, who, though he would sometimes use the popular tale as material to work upon, was guided in his choice of subject by a purely artistic instinct. The Scottish writers are, in the first place, objective; and, in the second, national.

Foremost amongst these writers is, of course, Sir Walter Scott. In comparison with his other works, his ” Border Minstrelsy ” has been neglected; yet, in all probability, he produced no more highly characteristic book; whilst, of that great literature of fiction of which he afterwards became the author, the best and most vital parts may, I think, truly be said to have their roots in the hearts of the people. And the further he departs from that source of his inspiration, the less valuable his work becomes. Although not born in the peasant class, Sir Walter knew the Scottish peasantry, in his own way, as

few men have known them; and he lived on terms of friendly intimacy with his valued Tom Purdies and others, and of close literary confidence with snch men as William Laidlaw. The two writers who rank next in the group were, however, peasants born. I have already spoken of James Hogg. Allan Cunningham, born in 1784, was a son of the land-steward on the estate on which Robert Burns occupied a farm,—a fact which no doubt had its effect in stimulating the poetic impulse that was in him. His “Traditional Tales of the English and Scottish Peasantry” is perhaps the best of the many books which he wrote, and is especially distinguished by the sweetness of his style, and by the picturesque traits of old-fashioned country life, and the delightful touches of fresh nature-painting in which it abounds. After Cunningham, comes Campbell of Isla, born in 1822. He was of gentle birth, but understood and sympathised with the peasantry. He spoke the Gaelic language, and travelling on foot through the West Highlands, was able to get the people to tell him stories, which he accurately noted down. In his collection, therefore, we get the stories as nearly as possible in the words in which they were told. Then, among lesser writers in the same class, there are, Dougal Graham, the chap-book writer, who has been called the Scottish Rabelais; Robert Chambers, whose fame as a publisher has somewhat obscured his well-earned fame as an author ; besides many others, some of them of merely local reputation.

Literature takes the life of tradition, and then embalms the dead body. To-day the old stories, which introduce the supernatural, have ceased to be believed or told. But, in their place, there is still to be found a body of genuine peasant-tales which do not tax credulity quite too far. And it is a fact worthy of attention that, though these stories may and do deal in horrors, yet they never descend to the merely “sensational”; being invariably raised by some touch of fancy, of character-painting, of the picturesque, into the region of poetic fiction.

In conclusion, what is there in these “old wives’ tales” to justify their withdrawal, even for an hour, from the limbo of forgotten things? They have a place, though it be a very humble one, in the history of the workings of the human mind. They are the manifestation, in one of its simplest forms, of the literary or art impulse; and nothing that has been thus generated, and that has stood the test of time as these tales have stood it, can ever, I believe, bo unworthy of our study. These simple stories were the outcome of faint stirrings in the human breast of two passions—the Love of Beauty, and the Thirst for Fame. “One touch of Nature makes the whole world kin “; and the lapse of centuries does not prevent our entering into the feelings of the peasant story-teller. Art is not only a thing of bound volumes and of exhibitions; and perhaps the Scottish peasant has shown as keen a sense of it—of the story-teller’s art, at least—as his mental development and the conditions of his existence would admit. [G. D.]

Cassell’s old and new Edinburgh, Volume 2 (Google Books)

The loch must have abounded in some kind of fish, as the Council Register refers to an eel-ark set therein, at ten merks yearly, for the benefit of the Trinity Hospital; and in February, 1655, Nicoll records that in consequence of the excessively stormy weather, some thousands of dead eels were cast -.pon its banks, “to the admiration of many.”

On the 11th February, 1682, three men were drowned in the loch by the ice giving way. “We have a proverb,” says Lord Fountainhall, under whose windows perhaps the accident occurred, “that the fox will not set his foot on the ice after Candlemas, especially in the heat of the sun, as this was, at two o’clock; and at any time the fox is so sagacious as to lay his ear on the ice to see if it be frozen to the bottom, or if he hear the murmuring and current of the water.”

In 1715, when the magistrates took measures for the defence of the city, the sluice of the loch was completely dammed up to let the water rise, a precaution omitted by their successors in 1745. In Edgar’s plan, twenty years later, the bed of the loch is shown as ” now devised,” measuring 1,700 feet in length, from the foot of Ramsay Garden to the foot of Halkerston’s Wynd, and 400 feet broad at the foot of the gardens below the Advocate’s Close. From the upper point to the West Church the bed is shown as “bog or marsh.”

“Yet many in common with myself,” says Chambers, “must remember the by no means distant time when the remains of this sheet of water, consisting of a few pools, served as an excellent sliding and skating ground in winter, while their neglected, grass-grown precincts too frequently formed an arena whereon the high and mighty quarrels of the Old and New Town cowlies were brought to lapidarian arbitration;” and until a very recent period woodcocks, snipe, and waterducks used to frequent the lower part of the West Princes Street Gardens, attracted by the damp of the locality.

“The site of the North Loch,” says a writer in the Edinburgh Magazine for 1790, “is disgusting below as well as above the bridge, and the balustrades of the east side ought to be filled up like those of the west, as they are only meant to show a beautiful stream, not slaughter-houses.”

The statute for the improvement of the valley westward of the mound was not passed until 1816; but Lord Cockburn describes it as being then an impassable fetid marsh, “open on all sides, the receptacle of many sewers, and seemingly of all the worried cats, drowned dogs, and blackguardism of the city. Its abomination made it so solitary that the volunteers used to practise ball-firing across it. The men stood on its north side, and the targets were set up along the lower edge of the castle hill, or rock. The only difficulty was in getting across the swamp to place and examine the targets, which could only be done in very dry weather and at one or two places.”

In the maps of 1798 a “new mound” would seem to have been projected across it, at an angle, from South Castle Street to the Ferry Road, by the western base of the castle rock—a design, for

tunately, never carried out. One of the greatest mistakes committed as a matter of taste was the erection of the Earthen Mound across the beautiful valley of the loch, from the end of Hanover Street to a point at the west end of Bank Street. It is simply an elongated hill, like a huge railway embankment, a clumsy, enormous, and unremovable substitute for a bridge which should have been there, and its creation has been deplored by every topographical writer on Edinburgh.

Huge as the mass is, it originated in a very accidental operation. When the bed of the loch was in a state of marsh, a shopkeeper, Mr. George Boyd, clothier, at Gosford’s Close, in the old town, was frequently led from business or curiosity to visit the rising buildings of the new, and accommodated himself with “steps” across this marsh, and he was followed in the construction of this path by other persons similarly situated, who contributed their quota of stone or plank to fill up, widen, and heighten what, in rude compliment to the founder, was becoming known as “Geordie Boyd’s Mud Brig.” The inconvenience arising from the want of a direct communication between the old town and the new began to be seriously felt about 1781, when the latter had been built as far west as Hanover Street .

Hence a number of residents, chiefly near the Lawnmarket, held a meeting in a small publichouse, kept by a man called Robert Dunn, and called in burlesque, “Dunn’s Hotel,” after a fashionable hotel of that name in Princes Street, and subscriptions were opened to effect a communication of some kind; but few were required, as Provost Grieve, who resided at the corner of Hanover Street, in order to fill up a quarry before his house, obtained leave to have the rubbish from the foundations of the various new streets laid down there. From that time the progress of the Mound proceeded with rapidity, and from 1781 till 1830 augmentations to its breadth and height were continually made, till it became the mighty mass it is. By the latter date the Mound had become levelled and macadamised, its sides sown with grass, and in various ways embellished so as to assume the appearance of being completed. It is upwards of 800 feet in length, on the north upwards of 60 feet in height, and on the south about 100 feet. Its breadth is proportionally much greater than its height, averaging about 300 feet. It is computed to contain more than 2,000,000 of cartloads cf travelled earth, and on the moderate supposition that each load, if paid for, was worth 6d., must have cost the large sum of ^50,000.

It was first enclosed by rough stone walls, and North Loch ]

The closest to the old school

Scots is like English in the same way Portuguese’s like Spanish. Very similar but also different. I actually regard Scots as the more Germanic counterpart to English. It’s not entirely free of Romance influence but it did preserve some features lost in contemporary English just as some Scots dialects (most notably Doric, Orcadian and Shetlandic) are heavily influenced by Nordic languages. This makes sense as Scotland itself was subjected to Nordic influence before, moreso with Shetland and Orkney as they used to be Norwegian territory!

It can be considered a form of colonial lag in that both English and Scots derive from Old English but only Scots has preserved the more archaic or old-fashioned features and moreso with some dialects. The fact that the Normans never invaded Scotland, so whatever Latin/Romantic influence there is in Scotland is somewhat more modest than with English at the very least. Scots isn’t necessarily entirely free of Romance influence but closer to its Germanic roots than English is.

Women Writers: Their Works and Ways: First Series[-second Series], Volume 1 (Google Books)

D’ the last ninety years, we must all admit that a

vast improvement has taken place in the writing of novels. The stilted and artificial language which delighted our forefathers has long ago disappeared. Even ordinary stories are more coherent and better put together than some of the best novels of former days, the descriptions are more graphic and picturesque, and the conversations more easy and natural; and yet those who wrote novels ninety years ago had one immense advantage over us—they had a large mine of materials to draw from, which is now almost exhausted. Odd people, full of strange eccentricities in dress, conversation, and habits, were then constantly to be found, and supplied a stock of comedy which we cannot expect to see in these modern times of rapid travelling, penny postage, and cheap literature. Our friends are now ashamed of being peculiar, and the sharp corners of even the most inveterate stayer at home gradually become fined down and smoothed away. Far different was it in the beginning of the nineteenth century; then queer folks were as plenty as blackberries—fire-eating squires, primitive spinsters, Scotch lairds who had never gone beyond their own county, abounded. Such a harvest was an irresistible temptation to a novelist; it was impos. sible not to put these human curiosities into a book and show them up with all their foibles and hobbies fresh upon them. Miss Burney had already given some startling types in Madame Duval, the Broughtons, and Mr. Briggs; Maria Edgeworth followed suit with Sir Kit and Sir Condy, Lady Clonbrony and King Corny of the Black Islands. Sir Walter Scott brought up a host of oddities—Jonathan Oldbuck, Dominie Sampson, Meg Dods, Old Mortality, &c., &c.; while Miss Ferrier came closely on his track, and confining herself to her native Scotland, introduced us to the family at Glenfern Castle, to the three aunts, Miss Jacky, Miss Grizzy, and Miss Nicky, together with their five nieces, Belle, Becky, Betty, Baby, and Beeny, tall frightened girls with sandy hair and great purple arms—girls whose “walk lay amongst threads and pickles, and whose sphere extended from the garret to the pantry.” Miss Ferrier’s special talent lay in representing the life of Scottish lairds and their families, during the transition period of their history, when the age of half-savage chivalry, of midnight forays and border warfare, was over, and when Highland chieftains were fast dwindling down into imitation squires. In the Noctes Ambrosiana of Christopher North (Professor Wilson) there is a very interesting conversation on Miss Ferrier’s novels. Tickler says: “They have no doubt many defects: their plots are poor, their episodes disproportionate, and the characters too often caricatures, but they are all thick-set with such specimens of sagacity, such happy traits of nature, such flashes of genuine satire, such easy humour and sterling good sense, and, above all (God knows where she picked it up), perfect knowledge of the world, that I think we may safely anticipate for them a different fate than what awaits even the cleverest of juvenile novels.” Miss Ferrier has


been called the Scotch Jane Austen ; but life in the Highlands, which she described so well, had broader shades and stronger lights than we find in the English shires with Miss Austen’s Thorpes, and Bennetts, and Elliots. Inch Orran, the Scotch laird in Destiny, a “little meagre sickly-looking man with a sharp, bitter face, a pair of fiery, vindictive eyes, and a mouth all puckered up as if to keep in the many cutting things which would otherwise get out,” is a more dramatic sketch than Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice, not perhaps so delicately finished, but full of satire and strength. Miss Ferrier’s satire is more cutting than Jane Austen’s; her writing is not so uniformly good, but it has capital bits. The inimitable Miss Pratt, who will even take advantage of an empty hearse to bring her to Rossville Castle out of a snowstorm, the faithful though sorelysnubbed Molly Macaulay, and testy Uncle Adam, are all vivid pictures of Scotch character, which we cannot afford to lose. A few glimpses are all we can get of Susan Ferrier’s quiet life; such as they are, we give them here :Mr. James Ferrier, Writer to the Signet, and his wife, lived in a flat of one of those gigantic houses in the old town of Edinburgh, which seems overflowing with romance and history. In this house, at “Lady Stair’s Close,” ten children, six sons and four daughters, were born. Susan was the youngest daughter, and her birthday was the 7th of September, 1782. The Ferriers were not rich, but they had a tolerable pedigree. Mr. Ferrier’s father had been the last laird of Kirklands in Renfrew, a property subsequently sold to Lord Blantyre; and Mrs. Ferrier, née Coutts, had been a celebrated beauty, and before her marriage, lived at Holyrood Palace with her aunt, the Hon. Mrs. Maitland, widow of a younger son of Lord Lauderdale. Mrs. Maitland was badly off, and had charge of the apartments at Holyrood, which then belonged to the Duke of Argyll. But Mr. Ferrier was even more mixed up with the Argyll family than his wife : he had been brought up in the office of his cousin, Mr. Archibald Campbell, and in time became the manager of the Argyll estates, and was appointed Principal Clerk of the Sessions. John, Duke of Argyll, was always Mr. Ferrier’s friend and patron, and helped him on in the world in various ways.

Mr. Ferrier is described as somewhat brusque and testy in manner, and was the unconscious prototype of Uncle Adam in The Inheritance—“as cross as two sticks,” and full of biting sarcasms for his niece, Bell, who has designs on his pocket. After years perhaps smoothed down the asperities of Mr. Ferrier’s temper. His daughter Susan was really fond of him, and proved the stay and comfort of his old age; but while his children were young he was certainly a bugbear to them, as will be seen by the following anecdote, which also shows Susan’s early talent for mimicry:—One evening her brothers and sisters returned home from a ball very hungry, and took refuge in her bedroom. They supposed that she was asleep, and began talking over the events of the evening, while at the same time they discussed a nice little supper which, unknown to their father, they had smuggled upstairs. “Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant”—so, no doubt, they found; but just as the feast was at its height an alarm was given, the dreaded sound of Mr. Ferrier’s loud voice was heard scolding and storming in the lobby outside. Away flew the culprits, upsetting chairs and tables in their confusion, while little Susan chuckled to herself under the bedclothes, for it was she who had so successfully imitated the harsh accents of her irate father. She considered that her brothers and sisters had richly deserved their fright, for not only had they invaded her territory, but had never offered her a share of their supper. She also mimicked old Miss Peggy Campbell (sister to Sir Islay Campbell, President of the Court of Session) so exactly, that her father actually came into the room where she was amusing her hearers, thinking that Miss Peggy had certainly arrived.


Among her school companions and playfellows was the great Lord Brougham, but school-going does not seem to have occupied much of her time. Her three sisters married early, and at the age of fifteen she lost her mother. In the same year (1797) she went with her father to pay her first visit at Inverary Castle, the Duke of Argyll’s place on the banks of Loch Fyne. A girl’s first friendship is almost as important an event in her life as her first love. So it proved with Susan Ferrier. Among the numerous visitors at Inverary Castle was a very beautiful and elegant little girl, Miss Clavering, daughter of Lady Augusta Clavering, and niece to the Duke of Argyll. The two young ladies immediately struck up a never-dying attachment. Susan Ferrier wanted a companion, and Miss Clavering was lively and animated. There was, besides, so much to amuse and observe at the Castle, that by dint of laughing and joking the two friends became inseparable. Inverary Castle was the great rallying point for the clan Campbell. Red-haired, high cheek-boned Highland chieftains, sneezing, snuffing, and anathematising everything that was not Scotch, came and went every day. Lady Frederick Campbell, widow of Earl Ferrers, and original of Lady MacLaughlan in Marriage, was there, with her thousand and one ointments, lotions, and cough tinctures; the three Miss Edmonstones, one of whom was Susan Ferrier’s god-mother, probably put in an appearance, and unwittingly sat for their portraits as the three Miss Douglasses in Marriage. Then there were plenty of silly, selfish fashionable ladies from London—like Lady Juliana Douglas and Lady Elizabeth Malcolm—who favoured the Duke with a visit, bringing with them their parrots, lap-dogs, macaws, and physicians. Such a collection of human curiosities was not thrown away upon Susan Ferrier and her friend; they laughed over their bedroom fires at the many amusing things they had heard and seen during the day, and at last Miss Clavering said, “Why don’t you make a book of them?” During subsequent visits this

plan matured, and Miss Clavering promised to help. Each was to write a few pages, then show it to the other, and consult about further progress. All this was to be done under the pledge of profound secrecy, and so the first idea of Marriage originated. The two friends wrote long letters about their new undertaking. Plot they had little or none, but they had plenty of actors, drawn or suggested from real life, and fitting scenes lay close at hand. Dunderawe Castle, on Loch Fyne, was in Susan Ferrier’s mind when she drew the sketch of Glenfern Castle—a tall, thin, grey house, with a small sallow-looking lake below, and behind, a chain of rugged, cloud-capped hills, with some faint attempts at plantation on them. “I do not recollect,” she writes to her confidante, “ever to have seen the sudden transition of a high-bred English beauty (Lady Juliana) who thinks she can sacrifice all for love, to an uncomfortable solitary Highland dwelling, among tall, red-haired sisters and grim-faced aunts. Don’t you think this would make a good opening for the piece? Suppose each of us try our hand on it The moral being to warn all young ladies against runaway matches. I expect it will be the first book every wise matron will put into the hands of her daughter, and even the reviewers will relax of their severity in favour of the morality of the little work. Enchanting sight! Already do I behold myself arrayed in an old mouldy covering, thumbed and creased and filled with dog’s-ears. I hear the enchanting sound of some sentimental miss, the shrill pipe of some antiquated spinster, or the hoarse grumbling of some incensed dowager, as they severally inquire for me at the circulating libraries, and are assured by the master that ’tis in such demand, that though he has thirteen copies, they are quite insufficient to answer the call upon it, but that each of them may depend upon having the very first that comes in | | | Child, child, you had need to be sensible of the value of my correspondence. At this moment I’m squandering mines of wealth upon you, when I

* MARRIAGE.” 233

might be drawing treasures from the bags of time. But I shall not repine, if you’ll only repay me in kind. Speedy and long is all that I require. . . . One thing let me entreat of you : if we engage in this undertaking, let it be kept a profound secret from every human being. If I was suspected of being accessory to such foul deeds, my brothers and sisters would murder me, and my father bury me alive.” One great difficulty the friends had to struggle against was the expense of postage—no trifling matter in those days. “I suppose,” writes Susan Ferrier, in her usual bright, lively style, “that we’ll be pawning our flannel-petticoats to bring about our heroine’s marriage, and lying on straw to give her Christian burial.” Very soon, however, Miss Clavering was left out of the running, the only part of Marriage to which she can lay any claim being that dull and prosy chapter called “The History of Mrs. Douglas.” Nevertheless, she was quite willing to appreciate her friend’s superior talents. She writes from Inverary Castle, December, 1810 :—

“And now, my dear Susannah, I must tell you of the success of your firstborn. I read it to Lady Charlotte, in the carriage, when she and I came from Ardnacaple. I never, in my existence, saw Lady C-laugh so much as she did from beginning to end; seriously, I was two or three times afraid she would fall into a fit. Her words were, ‘I assure you, I think it without the least exception the cleverest thing that was ever written, and in wit far surpassing Fielding. The whole conversation of the aunties made her screech with laughing. I am sure you will be the first author of the age.”

The book was still in MS., and Susan Ferrier began to feel twinges of remorse lest some of her friends might recognise their portraits, Lady MacLaughlan in particular. “If I was ever to be detected, or even suspected,” she writes to Miss Clavering, “I would have nothing for it but to drown myself.” But her confidante wrote back that it must all go forth into the world. “You must not think of altering Lady MacLaughlan, neither must the ‘misses’ on any account be changed. . . . Make haste and print it, lest one of the Miss Edmonstones should die, as then I should think you would scarce venture for fear of being haunted.” Yet Miss Ferrier was in no hurry to rush into print. Years passed, and Marriage still peacefully slumbered on in MS. During the autumn of 1811 she went with her father on a visit to Sir Walter Scott, who was then at Ashestiel. The journey was attended with some difficulty. Though Ashestiel was only thirty miles from Edinburgh, still the coach stopped ten miles off, and a ford beneath Ashestiel had to be crossed :— “Generally very passable,” writes Sir Walter, then Mr. Scott, to his brother of the Signet; “but we will have a boat in readiness, in case Miss Ferrier prefers it, or the water should be full.” Dinner was to be at five o’clock. Terry, the comedian, was on a visit to Ashestiel, and “read aloud to us,” says Scott, “after coffee in the evening.” We catch a pleasant glimpse of the little party assembled round the fire, on the October evening, the Ferriers just arrived, Scott full of vigour and anecdote, and Susan Ferrier quick to note and observe all that passed. It was not till 1819, when she was thirty-seven, that she gave Marriage to the world. She received £150 for it, and when it began to be successful, no one was so much astonished as she was herself. In a subsequent preface she says, “It was published in the belief that the author’s name would never be guessed at, or the work heard of beyond a very limited sphere.” Her friends may have had their suspicions as to the authorship of the book, but they were obliged to be silent. Even Scott—the great unknown (for his secret had not yet oozed out)—alludes to Marriage in his preface to one of the Tales of my Landlord as follows:– “There remains not only a great harvest [of Scotch manners and character] but labourers capable of gathering it in. More


than one writer has of late displayed talents of this description, and if the present author, himself a phantom, may be permitted to distinguish a brother, or perhaps a sistershadow, he would mention in particular the author of that very lively work entitled Marriage.” There are many serious faults in this notable novel; too many characters that have nothing to do with the story are introduced. The interest, which begins with silly, selfish Lady Juliana who runs away with a handsome Scotch captain, and is disgusted to find herself in a dull Highland castle, where there is not even loaf-bread, where she is half-poisoned with coarse Scotch broth, swimming with leeks, greens, and grease, where she is deafened by bagpipes and bewildered with aunts and sisters-in-law—is very soon diverted from her to her twin daughters, and especially to the Scotch-bred lassie, Mary, who finally ends by marrying a Scotchman. Of course, such a blissful lot favourably contrasts with that of her sister Adelaide, who captivates a prosy, solemn English duke. A change of heroines is always confusing; one generation is enough for a book, and a story that begins with the mother and ends with the daughters is a mistake which only the supreme excellence of Miss Ferrier’s “oddities” can redeem. Blunt Lady MacLaughlan, good at heart, but always administering personalities and rude speeches to her little husband, Sir Sampson, and to her friend, Miss Grizzy, is enough to keep any story going. Notwithstanding the success of her first book, Miss Ferrier was slow in writing another. Popular authors, nowadays, think nothing of running up a story in a few months, but Miss Ferrier was six years putting her second novel—The Inheritance—into form and shape. She wrote it in secret, at Morningside House, old Mr. Ferrier’s summer retreat, near Edinburgh, and complained that the house was so small, it was very ill-calculated for concealment. She still wished to keep her light under a bushel, and said, “I never will avow myself, and nothing can hurt or offend me so much as any of my friends doing it for me. I could not bear the fuss of authorism.” The Inheritance was considered a hundred miles above Marriage, and Blackwood gave £1,000 for it. In The Inheritance Miss Pratt takes the comic part, which Lady MacLaughlan took in Marriage. Miss Pratt is a real creation—“the very ribbons on her bonnet seemed to vibrate with impatience;” she forced herself in everywhere, often uninvited, interrupted the Earl of Rossville in his stateliest speeches, and made herself at home wherever she Went. “Everybody wearied of her, or said they wearied of her, and everybody abused her, while yet she was more sought after and asked about than she would have been had she possessed the wisdom of a More or the benevolence of a Fry. She was, in fact, the very heart of the shire, and gave life and energy to all the pulses of the parish. She supplied it with streams of gossip and chit-chat in others and subject of ridicule in herself. Even the dullest laird had something to tell of Miss Pratt, and something bad to say of her. Her eyes were not by any means fine eyes—they were not reflecting eyes—they were not soft eyes—they were not melting eyes—neither were they restless eyes, nor rolling eyes, but they were active, brisk, busy, vigilant, immovable eyes, that looked as if they could not be surprised by anything, not even by sleep. They never looked angry, or joyous, or perturbed, or melancholy, or heavy, but morning, noon, and night they shone the same, and conveyed the same impression to the beholder, viz., that they were eyes that had a look—not like the look of Sterne’s monk, beyond this world, but a look into all things on the face of this world. Her ears might evidently be classed under the same head with the eyes; they were something resembling rabbits’—long, prominent, restless, vibrating ears, for ever listening and never shut by the power of thought.” The story of The Inheritance is better imagined, and has a stronger plot than that of Marriage.


Gertrude St. Clair, supposed to be the heiress of her uncle, Lord Rossville, is brought by her mother to live at the Earl’s castle. The Earl is a petty, benevolent tyrant, full of little thoughts, little plans, little notions, little prejudices, little whims. He sits “behind the teapot like a cackling hen,” so Miss Pratt says, and his firm determination is that Gertrude should marry Mr. Delmour, the next heir-male to the Rossville estates. But Gertrude, of course, falls in love with the wrong man—with Mr. Delmour’s brother, the colonel. Just as the confusion caused by this obstinacy is at its height, the Earl dies, and Gertrude finds herself a countess. Yet all the time a mysterious, vulgar individual called Levitson keeps hovering about demanding money. In the end he forces himself into the Castle and announces that he is in reality Gertrude’s father, that she is the daughter of a nurse, whom her mother, having no children, has passed off as her own. Colonel Delmour immediately decamps at the news. Gertrude loses her “Inheritance,” but only to find another, as she is taken up by testy Uncle Adam with his £70,000, and at length marries Edward Lyndsay, an excellent but rather mild young man.

There are even more comic scenes in The Inheritance than in Marriage. There is the Black family, eleven in all. The young masters and misses, “fine, stout, blooming, awkward creatures with shining faces and straight-combed, though rebellious-looking hair, while a smart cap, red eyes, and sour face bespoke the sufferings of the baby.” The eldest, Miss Bell Black, is soon to be Mrs. Major Waddell.

“Miss Bell had no toilette duties to perform, for she was dressed for the Major, in a fashionable gown made by Miss Skrimpskirt, of Tattleton, from a pattern of Miss Gorewell’s, in Edinburgh, who has had hers direct from Madame Chefd’oeuvre, of Paris. Miss Bell, therefore, felt no disheartening doubts as to her appearance, but firmly relying on the justness of her proportions and the orthodox length of her waist, and breadth of her shoulders, and strong in the consciousness of being flounced and hemmed up to the knees, she boldly entered, followed by her betrothed. Major Waddell was a very passable sort of person for a nabob. He had a dingy bronze complexion, tawny eyes, tolerable teeth, and a long wrinkled baboonish physiognomy.” Miss Bell, when she develops into Mrs. Major Waddell, becomes still more ridiculous. “‘Oh! now, Major, you know if you haven’t changed your stockings, I shall be completely wretched. Good gracious ! to think of your keeping on your wet stockings. I never knew anything like it.’ “‘I assure you, my dear Bell— began the Major. “‘Oh? now, my dearest Major, if you have the least regard for me, I beseech you put off your stockings this minute. Oh! I’m certain you’ve got cold already. How hot you are !’ taking his hand; “and don’t you think his colour very high 7 Now, I’m quite wretched about you.’”

Such a scene must surely have been a study from life. The Inheritance was translated into French under the title of L’Heretière. It was also dramatised and produced at Covent Garden, but had a very short run. “I have since learned with regret,” writes Mrs. Gore to Miss Ferrier, “that the play is the production of a certain Mr. Fitzball, the author of The Flying Dutchman.” Miss Pratt ought certainly have done well on the stage.

Old Mr. Ferrier died at his house, 25, George Street, Edinburgh, January, 1829, aged eighty-six, and after his death his daughter removed to a smaller house in Nelson Street. She was always welcome at Sir Walter Scott’s townhouse in George Street, and Fanny Kemble mentions having met her at breakfast there. Sir Walter personally liked Miss Ferrier. He had known her as a girl, and their intimacy has ripened into friendship. He calls her a gifted personage, having, besides her great talents, conversation the least exigeante

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of any author, male or female, that I have ever met. She is simple, full of humour, and exceedingly ready at repartee, and all this without the least affectation of the “bluestocking.” Destiny, Miss Ferrier’s third novel, was dedicated to Scott, and he writes: “I know a little the value of my future god-child, since I had a peep at some of the sheets when I was in town during a great snowstorm. So far, I must say, that what I have seen has had the greatest effect in making me curious for the rest.” Great part of Destiny was written at Stirling Castle, where Miss Ferrier was on a visit with her sister Jane, Mrs. Graham, whose husband, General Graham, was governor of the garrison. Amidst the romantic surroundings of Stirling, with the winding Forth twisting in and out, Susan Ferrier’s thoughts went back to her favourite Argyleshire, and she imagined the Highland chief, Glenroy, proud, prejudiced, and profuse, with his never-failing friend and companion, sleepy-headed and absent Benbowie, who chewed tobacco, slobbered when he ate, walked up and down with a pair of creaking shoes, and drummed upon the table with a snuffy hand. The elegant and fastidious Lady Elizabeth, Glenroy’s second wife, and widow of an English Honourable, cannot banish Benbowie; and, after a short trial of the Highlands, she and her beautiful little girl, Florinda, take their departure. Glenroy’s two children, Norman and Edith, together with their cousin, Reginald, grow up together. Edith was put under the care of Mrs. Molly Macaulay, “who was one of those happily-constituted beings who seem to have been born sans nerves, sans spleen, sans bile, sans everything of an irritable or acrimonious nature, but with all these wants there was no want of a heart, a good stout, sound, warm heart, which would cheerfully have given itself and its last drop for the honour and glory of the race of Glenroy.” Destiny will have it that Edith and Reginald, brought up together, should become attached. Destiny, too, decrees that Reginald should meet his former playfellow, Florinda, on the Continent, and that she should banish simple Scotch Edith from his thoughts. Destiny ordains that Reginald’s struggles against his infatuation for the fascinating Florinda, who, with her mother, suddenly appears at Glenroy Castle, should be in vain, and in spite of his sense of honour, Edith sees herself supplanted. The old chief’s obstinacy for the match is all in vain, and Edith, an orphan, finds a retreat in a little vulgar citizen’s box near London, where Mr. Ribley watches the poulterers’ and butchers’ boys going their rounds, and speculates on the scrag of mutton for Miss Mudge and the noble sirloin for Mr. Claridge. Destiny, after all, has a happy ending, for Edith finds her fate in her cousin Ronald, who was supposed to have been lost at sea, and was left an estate by the testy old chief, Inch Orran. The scene in the early part of the book, when Ronald returns, finds his parents enjoying the estate, supposing him to be dead, and resolves to conceal his existence, is a touch of pathos which Professor Wilson considers worthy of Sterne or Goldsmith. “Generally,” he says, “Miss Ferrier fails almost as egregiously as Hook does in the pathetic. She appears habitually in the light of a hard satirist; but there is always a fund of romance at the bottom of a true woman’s heart.” Destiny was Miss Ferrier’s greatest pecuniary success. By Sir Walter Scott’s influence, it was published by Cadell, who gave her £1,700 for it. Praise flowed in from all sides— from Joanna Baillie, who found the Scotch minister, Mr. MacDow, hateful, though very amusing; and from Sir J. Mackintosh, who, on the day of the dissolution of Parliament, between twelve and three, was employed in reading the second volume, and was so completely occupied in the colony at Argyleshire, that he did not throw away a thought on kings or Parliament. Fanny Kemble also notes in her Diary: “Finished Miss Ferrier’s novel of Destiny, which I like very much. Besides being very clever, it leaves a pleasant taste in one’s mind’s mouth.” It was some time after the publication of Destiny that Miss Ferrier went to Abbots


ford to cheer and amuse Sir Walter Scott during his failing years. In Lockhart’s Life of Scott we find the following:—

“His daughter had invited his friend, the authoress of Marriage to come out to Abbotsford; and her coming was serviceable, for she knew and loved him well, and she had seen enough of affliction akin to his to be well skilled in dealing with it. She could not be an hour in his company without observing what filled his children with more sorrow than the rest of the case. He would begin a story as gaily as ever, and go on, in spite of the hesitation in his speech, to tell it with highly picturesque effect; but, before he reached the point, it would seem as if some internal spring had given way ; he paused and gazed around him with the blank anxiety that a blind man has when he has dropped his staff. Unthinking friends would give him the catchword abruptly. I noticed the delicacy of Miss Ferrier on such occasions. Her sight was bad, and she took care not to use her glasses when he was speaking; and she affected also to be troubled with deafness, and would say, ‘Well, I am getting as deaf as a post; I have not heard a word since you said so-and-so,’ being sure to mention a circumstance behind that at which he had really halted. He then took up the thread with his habitual smile of courtesy, as if forgetting his own case entirely in the consideration of the lady’s infirmity.”

Such little traits show rare tact and unselfishness. Miss Ferrier had a deep sense of religion along with a chastened resignation to the ills of life. The world seemed to her, as she says in Destiny, “no bower of paradise, but something better, the abode of faith and hope.” Many pages in her novels, which most readers skip for the sake of the story, show that religion had become a part of herself. After 1831 she wrote no more. A London publisher offered £1,000 for anything from her pen; but she was contented with her three bantlings. She made two attempts to write something, but could not please herself, and would not publish

anything. During her later days she lived a very retired

life, only seeing her intimate friends. For years she suf. fered with her eyes, and became quite blind of one. “I can say nothing good of myself,” she writes; “my cough is very severe, and will probably continue so—at least, as long as this weather lasts; but I have many comforts, for which I am thankful. Amongst them I must reckon silence and darkness, which are my best companions at present.” A friend who visited her was astonished at her wonderful vivacity in the midst of the darkness and pain which she had suffered for so many years. She had so much wit, humour, and honesty of character, as well as Christian submission, that everybody who knew her tried to do something to alleviate the tedium of her days. One friend, who read aloud to her, said, “I never left her darkened chamber without feeling that I had gained something better than the book we might be reading, from her quick perception of its faults and beauties, and her unmerciful remarks on all that was mean or unworthy in conduct or expression.” Miss Ferrier died in 1854, aged seventy-two. Scotch, thoroughly Scotch to her finger-tips, we can hardly imagine Susan Ferrier out of Scotland. She went to London in 1831, to consult an oculist, and also paid a visit to Isleworth in order to see a villa belonging to Lord Casilis, which subsequently figures in Destiny as Lady Waldegrave’s rural retreat near London, and there her wanderings ended. The land of brown heath was always most congenial to her. “Scotland,” she says, “with all its faults, will ever be to its own children the land of our love, our father’s home.” And Scotch people may well be proud of Susan Ferrier. She has not flattered them, certainly; she has put them down as she found them to be, with their faults and their virtues, their crotchets and their prejudices; and yet with that strong, sturdy independence and true-heartedness, which, in spite of individual exceptions, make the Scotch nation what it has proved itself to be.

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British Cats

Not that it’s any better either to whatever degree for whatever reason but I partly suspect the real reason why cat ownership’s relatively higher in the United Kingdom (if I’m not mistaken, higher in Scotland) than in Ireland’s that cats are still valuable and practical. Especially when it comes to keeping vermin down in not just churches and farms (the old-fashioned way) but also ships and distillery.

It’s not that Britons necessarily like cats more (though social attitudes would’ve changed and aren’t even necessarily universal nor consistent) but because they tolerate them more. Especially when it comes to industries that still rely on working cats that I think partly explains why would more Scottish people* own cats than Irish people do.

Both of them have a shared history, famines and agriculture. But there are big differences with Ireland being this heavily rocked by serious social upheavals and famines that whatever prior tolerance they have for cats like they did in medieval times would’ve declined as much as Rwandan tolerance for dogs did.

Not to mention with Ireland achieving independence from Britain much sooner, it can be said that Scottish dependence on Britain’s something of a blessing in disguise socioeconomically speaking.

*I could be misremembering things but I also forgot the actual link so.

A Scottish archer indeed

I think the biggest consequence of making Dinah Lance/Black Canary into Tim Drake’s biological aunt’s that it brings in the inevitable Donald Duck comparisons. Dinah herself would be Grandma Duck and her husband Oliver’s Scoorge McDuck. This makes way too much sense as Oliver, Tim and Scoorge all seem to be culled from Charles Dicken’s works.

Another smoking gun’s that their ancestry (Dinah and Oliver) would be retconned to be Scottish if because Donald Duck’s own uncle is of Scottish descent himself. If I’m not mistaken, Queen could possibly be a Scottish surname itself. In fact, the late fashion Alexander McQueen’s father’s stated to come from Skye, which is from the Hebrides.

If Scrooge McDuck’s from Glasgow, this would make Oliver Queen the Hebridean counterpart. Batman’s also stated to come from Scotland, the biggest difference isn’t just a matter of temperament and politics. But in being the WB analogue to Scoorge McDuck, Oliver wouldn’t necessarily be stingy but I half expect his connection to Scottish culture to be much stronger.

After all Scoorge McDuck still acts and sounds stereotypically Scottish even he’s moved to America a long time ago. It shouldn’t be surprising if Oliver Queen would have a stronger tie to Scotland than his relatives would.

Titan; a monthly magazine.. v.2 (Sept. 1845-Feb. 1846).

Titan; a monthly magazine.. v.2 (Sept. 1845-Feb. 1846).

THE constancyofnature is taught by universal experience,
and even strikes the popular eye as the most character-
istic of those features which have been impressed upon
her. It may need the aid of philosophy to learn how
unvarying nature is in all her processes—how even her
seeming anomalies can be traced to a law that is inflexible
—how what might appear at first to be the caprices of her
waywardness, are, in fact, the evolutions of a mechanism
that never changes—and that the more thoroughly she is
sifted and put to the test by the interrogations of the
curious, the more certainly will they find that she walks
by a rule which knows no abatement, and perseveres with
obedient footstep in that even course from which the eye
of strictest scrutiny has never yet detected one hair-
breadth of deviation. It is no longer doubted by men of
science that every remaining semblance of irregularity
in the universe is due, not to the fickleness ofnature, but
to the ignorance of man—that her most hidden move-
ments are conducted with a uniformity as rigorous as fate
—that even the fitful agitations of the weather have their
law and their principle—that the intensity of every breeze,
and the number of drops in every shower, and the forma-
tion of every cloud, and all the occurring alternations of
storm and sunshine, and the endless shiftings of tempera-
ture, and those tremulous varieties of the air which our
instruments have enabled us to discover but have not
enabled us to explain—that still they follow each other
by a method of succession, which, though greatly more
intricate, is yet as absolute in itself as the order of the
seasons, or the mathematical courses of astronomy. This
is the impression of every philosophical mind with regard
to nature, and it is strengthened by each new accession
that is made to science. The more we are acquainted
with her, the more are we led to recognise her constancy;
and to view her as a mighty though complicated machine,
all whose results are sure, and all whose workings are
But there is enough of patent and palpable regularity
in nature, to give also to the popular mind the same im-
pression of her constancy. There is a gross and general
experience that teaches the same lesson, and that has
lodged in every bosom a kind of secure and stedfast con-
fidence in the uniformity of her processes. The very child
knows and proceeds upon it. He is aware of an abiding
character and property in the elements around him—and
has already learned as much of the fire, and the water,
and the food that he eats, and the firm ground that he
treads upon, and even of the gravitation by which he
must regulate his postures and his movements, as to prove
that, infant though he be, he is fully initiated in the doc-
trine that nature has her laws and her ordinances, and
that she continueth therein. And the proofs of this are
ever multiplying along the journey of human observation:
insomuch, that when we come to manhood, we read of
nature’s constancy throughout every department of the
visible world. It meets us wherever we turn our eyes.
Both the day and the night bear witness to it. The silent
revolutions of the firmament give it their pure testimony.
Even those appearances in the heavens at which super-
stition stood aghast, and imagined that nature was on the
eve of giving way, are the proudest trophies of that sta-

bility which reigns throughout her processes—of that un-
swerving consistency wherewith she prosecutes all her
movements. And the lesson that is thus held forth to
us from the heavens above, is responded to by the earth
below; just as the tides of ocean wait the footsteps of the
moon, and, by an attendance kept up without change or
intermission for thousands of years, would seem to con-
nect the regularity of earth with the regularity of heaven.
But, apart from these greater and simpler energies, we
see a course and a uniformity everywhere. We recognise
it in the mysteries of vegetation. We follow it through
the successive stages of growth, and maturity, and decay,
both in plants and animals. We discern it still more
palpably in that beautiful circulation of the element of
water, as it rolls its way by many thousand channels to
the ocean—and, from the surface of this expanded reser-
voir, is again uplifted to the higher regions of the atmo-
sphere—and is there dispersed in light and fleecy maga-
zines over the four quarters of the globe—and at length
accomplishes its orbit, by falling in showers on a world
that waits to be refreshed by it. And all goes to impress
us with the regularity ofnature, which in fact teems,
throughout all its varieties, with power, and principle,
and uniform laws of operation—and is viewed by us as a
vast laboratory, all the progressions of which have a rigid
and unfailing necessity stamped upon them.
Now this contemplation has at times served to foster
the atheism of philosophers. It has led them to deify
nature, and to make her immutability stand in the place
of God. They seem impressed with the imagination that
had the Supreme Cause been a Being who thinks, and
wills, and acts as man does, on the impulse of a felt and
a present motive, there would be more the appearance of
spontaneous activity, and less of mute and unconscious
mechanism in the administrations of the universe. It is
the very unchangeableness ofnature, and the stedfastness
of those great and mighty processes wherewith no living
power that is superior to nature, and is able to shift or to
control her, is seen to interfere—it is this which seems to
have impressed the notion of some blind and eternal fata-
lity on certain men of loftiest but deluded genius. And,
accordingly, in France, where the physical sciences have
of late been the most cultivated, have there also been the
most daring avowals of atheism. The universe has been
affirmed to be an everlasting and indestructible effect;
and from the abiding constancy that is seen in nature
through all her departments, have they inferred that thus
it has always been and that thus it will ever be.
But this atheistical impression that is derived from the
constancyofnature is not peculiar to the disciples of phi-
losophy. It is the familiar and the practical impression
of every-day life. The world is apprehended to move on
steady and unvarying principles of its own; and these
secondary causes have usurped, in man’s estimation, the
throne of the Divinity. Nature, in fact, is personified into
God: and as we look to the performance of a machine
without thinking of its maker, so the very exactness and
certainty wherewith the machinery of creation performs
its evolutions, has thrown a disguise over the agency
of the Creator. Should God interpose by miracle, or
interfere by some striking and special manifestation of
ºil. then man is awakened to the recognition of
him. But he loses sight of the Being who sits behind
these visible elements, while he regards those attributes
ofconstancy and power which appear in the elements
themselves. They see no demonstration of a God, and
they feel no need of Him, while such unchanging and
such unfailing energy continues to operate in the visible
world around them; and we need not go to the schools of
ratiocination in quest of this infidelity, but may detect it
in the bosoms of simple and unlettered men, who, un-
known to themselves, make a god ofnature, and just
because of nature’s constancy; having no faith in the
unseen Spirit who originated all and upholds all, and that
because all things continue as they were from the begin-
ning of the creation.
Such has been the perverse effect of nature’s constancy
on the alienated mind of man: but let us now attend to
the true interpretation of it. God has, in the first instance,
put into our minds a disposition to count on the uniformity
ofnature, insomuch that we universally look for a recur-
rence of the same event in the same circumstances. This
is not merely the belief of experience, but the belief of
instinct. It is antecedent to all the findings of observa-
tion, and may be exemplified in the earliest stages of
childhood. The infant who makes a noise on the table
with his hand for the first time, anticipates a repetition
of the noise from a repetition of the stroke, with as much
confidence as he who has witnessed for years together the
unvariableness wherewith these two terms of the suc-
cession have followed each other. Or, in other words,
God, by putting this faith into every human creature, and
making it a necessary part of his mental constitution,
has taught him at all times to expect the like result in
the like circumstances. He has thus virtually told him
what is to happen, and what he has to look for in every
given condition—and by its so happening accordingly, he
just makes good the veracity of his own declaration.
The man who leads me to expect that which he fails to
accomplish, I would hold to be a deceiver. God has so
framed the machinery of my perceptions, as that I am led
irresistibly to expect that everywhere events will follow
each other in the very train in which I have ever been
accustomed to observe them—and when God so sustains
the uniformity ofnature, that in every instance it is
rigidly so, he is just manifesting the faithfulness of his
character. Were it otherwise, he would be practising a
mockery on the expectation which he himself had in-
spired. , God may be said to have promised to every
human being that nature will be constant—if not by the
whisper of an inward voice to every heart, at least by the
force of an uncontrollable bias which he has impressed
on every constitution. So that, when we behold nature
keeping by its constancy, we behold the God ofnature
keeping by his faithfulness—and the system of visible
things, with its general laws, and its successions which
are invariable, instead of an opaque materialism to inter-
cept from the view of mortals the face of the Divinity,
becomes the mirror which reflects upon them the truth
that is unchangeable, the ordination that never fails.
Conceive that it had been otherwise—first, that man
had no faith in the constancyofnature—then how could
all his experience have profited him P. How could he have
applied the recollections of his past to the guidance of his
future history P And what would have been left to signal-
ize the wisdom of mankind above that of veriest infancy P
Or suppose that he had the implicit faith in nature’s con-
stancy, but that nature was wanting in the fulfilment of
it—that at every moment his intuitive reliance on this
constancy was met by some caprice or waywardness of
nature, which thwarted him in all his undertakings—that
instead of holding true to her announcements, she held
the children of men in most distressful uncertainty by the
freaks and the falsities in which she ever indulged her-
self—and that every design of human foresight was thus
liable to be broken up, by ever and anon the putting forth
of some new fluctuation. Tell us, in this wild misrule of
elements changing their properties, and events ever flitting
from one method of succession to another, if man could
subsist for a single day, when all the accomplishments
without were thus at war with all the hopes and calcula-
tions within. In such a chaos and conflict as this, would
not the foundations of human wisdom be utterly sub-
verted P. Would not man, with his powerful and perpetual
tendency to proceed on the constancyofnature, be tempted
at all times, and by the very constitution of his being, to
proceed upon a falsehood P It were the way, in fact, to
turn the administration ofnature into a system of deceit.
The lessons of to-day would be falsified by the events of
to-morrow. He were indeed the father of lies who could
be the author of such a regimen as this—and well may we
rejoice in the strict order of the goodly universe which we
inhabit, and regard it as a noble attestation to the wisdom
and beneficence of its great Architect.—Dr Chalmers.

Theology appropriates to itself a large proportion of the
literature of every country into which Christianity has
been introduced. This province of ‘the republic of let-
ters’ has been generally abandoned to those who are pro-
ſessionally engaged in the study of religion; and it is
right that an intimate acquaintance with its stores should
be held as an indispensable part of the professional educa-
tion of all who have consecrated their lives to the defence
and diffusion of Christian truth. Yet there is no reason why
it should not be explored by the general reader: on the
contrary, it appears most irrational that an educated per-
son, who would be ashamed to avow his ignorance of the
literature of philosophy, or history, or criticism, or fic-
tion, should not scruple to avow his ignorance of another
department, not inferior in excellence, merely because it
is chiefly cultivated by a class to which he does not belong.
Apart from the bearing of its subjects on individual happi-
ness in the present or in the future world, theology must
always draw toward itself, by the attraction of its own
grandeur and sublimity, no inconsiderable number of the
higher order of minds. British genius has nowhere reared
– a nobler monument of its own greatness than our theo-
logical literature affords; and if ever its glory should
depart, the inquirer of other times will nowhere discover
more incontestable evidence of its ancient triumphs.
There are not, in any language, finer specimens of pro-
found disquisition, of subtle argumentation, of brilliant
description, of high-toned eloquence, of seraphic eleva-
tion, of devotional address, than you may cull from the
writings of our divines.
Biblicalliterature is not co-extensive with theological.
Its special object is the illustration of the Bible. It in-
cludes biblical criticism, or the investigation of the sacred
text; Hermeneutics, or the laws of interpretation; and
Exegesis, or the application of these laws to the exposi-
tion of particular passages or books. These three names
designate a vast cxtent of territory, which furnishes con-
stant employment to a regularly increasing body of la-
bourers. The philologist who examines the structure and
laws of the original languages; the geographer who identi-
fies and describes the localities of the ancient world; the
antiquarian who deciphers the hieroglyphics on an Egyp-
tian pyramid or the inscription on a Roman coin; the
chronologist who assigns to events their true position in
the course of time; the traveller who observes the stereo-
typed manners and customs of eastern countries; the
natural historian who explains the nature of minerals,
vegetables, and animals different from our own; the phi-
| losopher who ascertains the peculiarities of Jewish and
| Pagan science—all these contribute to the advancement
of Biblicalliterature, because they enable us to read the
Bible with greater intelligence.
There are several considerations which would have led
us to anticipate that this department of literature would
flourish inScotland.
The Bible has hitherto been inScotland a household
book. Multitudes cannot remember the time when they
were initiated into the knowledge of its leading facts and
doctrines. Before they are able to read they are familiar
with the story of Eve and the serpent, of Noah and the
ark, of Joseph and his coat of many colours, of Moses and
the bush, of David and the giant of Gath, of Jonah and
the whale, of Daniel and the lions, of Jesus in Bethlehem,
in Nazareth, in the wilderness, in the garden, on the
cross. As most schools have a Bible-class, the school-
room carries on what the nursery has commenced: so
that, whatever may be thought of the propriety of em-
ploying the sacred volume as a text-book in seminaries of
elementary instruction, all who learn to read, read more
or less of the Bible. Wherever the practice prevails,
which has been so touchingly described by Burns in ‘The
Cottar’s Saturday Night,’ and the family are accustomed,
in Scottish phrase, ‘to take the books,’ the younger mem-
bers insensibly imbibe a reverence for ‘the Book of books,’
and acquire an acquaintance with its contents; for along
with ‘the big ha’ Bible,” which is reserved for the use of
the priest of the household, there are produced sundry
other volumes, of various dimensions, and in various de-
grees of preservation, on which the schoolmaster of the
village has written the names of the brothers and sisters
in his best hand. Then there is reason to believe that
the private perusal of the Scriptures is at least as frequent
here as in any other country. Is it not natural to expect
that Scotland should be fertile in scholars, eminent for
their illustration of what may be called without flattery
* The Scotchman’s own book?”
Exposition of the Scriptures is a regular part of the
course of religious instruction in the Scottish pulpit.
Ministers of all denominations are accustomed to deliver
an expository discourse (‘a lecture,” as it is usually called)
on the forenoon of each Sabbath. This practice is almost
peculiar to Scotland; at least we are not aware that there
is any part of the world where it is adopted with so few
exceptions. On its manifold advantages this is not the
place to dilate; how it conveys to the hearer accurate
and comprehensive views of scriptural truth, how it yields
to the preacher opportunities of adverting to topics which
could not be properly treated in a separate discourse, and
how it checks the undue love of excitement which might

otherwise be generated. The point before us is, how it
compels every teacher of Christianity to become a student
of biblicalliterature. In preparing his exposition, he
must consider all the questions suggested by the passage
which forms its groundwork; and as this process is re-
peated each successive week, he must, if his ministry be
extended over the average duration, examine in detail no
small part of the Bible. One would suppose that, in a
country where thousands are daily practising an art which
renders them conversant with biblicalliterature, many
would become masters of it, and that Scotland should
have produced hosts of biblical scholars, were it only by
chance. Yet it is strange how few even of these expository
discourses themselves have found their way to the press;
so that we have scarcely half-a-dozen books which can be
recommended as models for the lecturing of a Scottish
clergyman. When we think, however, of the solid merits
of such works as Lawson on Proverbs, Wardlaw on Ec-
clesiastes, M’Crie on Esther, Dick on Acts, Chalmers on
Romans, and M’Lean on Hebrews, we cannot but regret
that so many a goodly commentary should slumber in the
portfolio of its author.
The philosophy of Scotland is not calculated to hinder,
if it do not facilitate, the progress of biblical litera-
ture. To what degree our philosophy may affect our in-
terpretation of the Bible, is either a very easy or a very
difficult question, as we choose to view it. Viewed as a
question of duty, nothing can be easier; what can be more
undeniably improper than that the principles of a philo-
sophy which was unknown to the sacred writers should
be assumed as tests by which to determine their meaning.
Viewed as a question of fact, it is far from being easy; it
is the tendency of all interpreters to look at the Bible
through the medium of spectacles which they have pur-
chased or pilfered in the schools. There are few so su-
erior to the fascination of ‘the idols of the theatre’ as to
e able to divest themselves of all preconceived opinions,
and to sit down in the attitude and in the spirit of a child
to inquire ‘what saith the Scripture.’ Hence they fail
to distinguish between what they bring to and what they
bring from the book they profess to explain; so that many
of the feuds which have exercised the pen of the ecclesi-
astical historian are as much philosophical as theological.
The great controversy between Calvinists and Arminians,
which, with some modifications of form, has disturbed the
church for more than a thousand years, belongs essenti-
ally to philosophy; when the metaphysicians settle the
claims of liberty and necessity, the theologians will soon
cease to wrangle about the divine decrees. Robert Hall
used to say, that when a person professed Arminianism,
he inferred that he was not a good metaphysician, but not
necessarily that he was not a good Christian; and with-
out deciding whether the preponderance of philosophy is
really on the side which he espoused, we gladly shelter
our own opinion under the authority of this prince of mo-
dern preachers. It is impossible to exaggerate the evils
which arise from applying a false system of philosophy to
the interpretation of the sacred writings; nor can we be
sufficiently grateful that inScotland we are all but
strangers to its baleful influence. Suppose that some of
the theories which are now struggling to obtain for them-
selves ‘a local habitation and a name’ in the science of
this country—such as phrenology, and mesmerism, and
phreno-mesmerism—suppose that some of these theories
should be patronized by a school of interpreters, contend-
ing that the writings of the Evangelists and Apostles
should be construed in accordance with these discoveries
of the nineteenth century, and bringing into requisition all
the apparatus of critical torture for the purpose of recon-
ciling the contradictions between what is written and what
should have been written—would it not ‘fright the isle
from its propriety P’ Something allied to this supposition
has happened in Germany, which far outstrips all other
countries in the cultivation of biblicalliterature. The
philosophy of Kant, and Fichte, and Hegel, has succes-
sively gained the ascendency; and each, in its turn, has
been employed to explain the Scriptures, till it is no ex-
travagance to say, that if Matthew the publican, and
Luke the beloved physician, and John the fisherman ºf
Galilee, and Saul the lion-hearted disciple of Gamaliel,
could be served with a copy of some German commen-
taries, they would scarcely be able to recognise their owt
inimitable common sense amid the clouds of transcen-
dental jargon by which it has been obscured. We lear:
from the preface to the American edition of “Coleridge’s
Aids to Reflection,’ that the philosophy of that gifted but
erratic sage is used by many of the clergy in the Unite:
States as the only key with which to unlock the store-
house of sacred truth. The colleges are swarming with
apes of Coleridge, mimicing, of course, his eccentricity
rather than his genius; and the churches are illuminate.
with sermons moulded according to his definition of “La-
ture’ and ‘reason’ and kindred terms. Bush’s Anas-
tasis, a work in which a professor of Hebrew explairs
away the cardinal doctrine of the resurrection of the bed
is a sufficient index of the natural result of this deferette
to ‘science falsely so called.’ What is generally knºwl
as the Scottish school of philosophy has little sympathy
with a spirit of visionary speculation. There is notifs
in the writings of Reid, or Stewart, or Brown, which ar-
rays itself in avowed hostility to the authority of the
Bible; and within these few years several works have
been published on intellectual and moral philosophy
which leave to an enlightened Christian little to deside-
rate in this matter. We allude to Ballantyne’s ‘Examini-
tion,’ Abercrombie’s ‘Intellectual Faculties and Moral
Feelings,’ Chalmers’ “Mental and Moral Philosophy,
Wardlaw’s ‘Christian Ethics,” and Douglas’ “Philosºphy
of the Mind.” The most profound study of the Scottish
system of metaphysics, especially as it is developed in
the pages of these authors, so deeply imbued with a
diviner philosophy, is no detriment, but rather a safe-
guard, to those who have in prospect the study of the
logy. The training appears so excellent, that there is
ample cause of wonder that these who have passed
from the class-rooms of the professors of logic and moral
philosophy, in our universities, to the divinity halls ºf
our various religious denominations, have not done mºre
to extend the interests of biblicalliteratureinScotland.
There has not been inScotland any of that flagram:
abuse of biblical science which elsewhere has awakened a
prejudice against its cultivation. In Germany, it has
urged its speculations to an excess so daring and so in-
pious, that the friends of revelation are strongly tempte.
to abhor its very name. The system of interpretatiº
introduced by Semler, has been followed out to its legiti-
mate consequences by his disciples, till they have ex-
punged from the Old and New Testament every trace ºf
the supernatural, and treated a book which carries in is
front so many marks of a divine origin with a degree ºf
insult and indignity they would not have dared to shºw
toward the most contemptible of the Greek or Roman
classics. On a review of the ravages which have thºs
been wrought, a pious German might be excused fir
wishing that those giants in sacred literature, who have
extended so widely the intellectual fame of his fatherlani
had never been. The wish would not be wise, for the
same era which the rationalists disfigure is adorned with
the names of Tittman, Lucke, Olshausen, and Tholuck.
of whom any country may be proud. The common sets
which is allowed to form a leading feature of our national
character, has preserved our biblical scholars from follow-
ing their continental associates in their career of extraº-
gance. Dr Geddes, indeed, who about the end of last
century published a translation of part of the Bible, sº-
companied with critical remarks, propounded some ºf:
nions to which the author of “The Age of Reason’ might
have affixed his name; but he has had no followers. The
worst effect that has flowed from the increased attentiºn
to biblical study inScotland (and it is a minor ill) is ”
deviation from the familiar phraseology of the olden time
in speaking and writing on certain subjects. This change
must have been observed by all who have been accustome
to read books and hear discourses for a quarter of a cell-

tury. Abraham, who was then a patriarch, is now an
Arabian Emir; Joseph, who rode in the second chariot
of Egypt and married the daughter of the priest of On, is
a young Hebrew promoted to the rank of an Egyptian
Mufti, and strengthening his influence by a matrimonial
alliance with the sacerdotal caste; the Israelites, instead
of being forty years in the wilderness, are now in a no-
madic condition; the period of the Judges has become
the heroic age of the Jewish nation; the Psalms of Ko-
rah have been converted into Korahite or Korahitic; it is
discovered that the Epistles of Paul, his sentiments, and
his style, are all Pauline; a clause that explains another
is exegetical; a noun without an article is anarthrous;
– || and we are not sure if the innocent conjunction “that’ is
not suspected of having sometimes a telic and sometimes
an echatic sense. . We do not object to the adoption of
these more classical forms of speech, provided it be under-
stood that a mere change of terms throws no light on
;| the subject. But we do not like our understanding to be
iſ insulted by our being addressed as if we were so dull as
| not to be capable of distinguishing between words and
– Po RT R.A.I.T. G. A. L. L. E R Y.
T H O M A S M O O. R. E.
To be the poet par ercellence of Ireland, the cleverest
man in the cleverest nation in the world, is to hold no mean
position, and that position we claim for Thomas Moore. We
do not of course mean that he is by many degrees the great-
estpoet at present alive; but for sparkle, wit, and brilliance,
his country’s qualities, he is unsurpassed. The bard of the
butterflies, he is restless, gay, and gorgeous as the beauti-
ful creatures he delights to depict. It would require his
own style adequately to describe itself. Puck putting 2
girdle round about the globe in forty minutes—Ariel doing
his spiriting gently—the Scotch fairy footing it in the
moonlight, the stillness of which seems intended to set
off the lively and aerial motion—any of these figures may
faintly express to us the elegant activities of Moore’s mind
and fancy. We are never able to disconnect from his
idea that of minuteness. Does he play in the ‘plighted
clouds?’ It is as a ‘creature of the element,’ as tiny as
he is tricksy. Does he flutter in the sunbeam P. It is as
a bright mote. Does he hover over the form and face of
beauty P It is as a sylph-like sprite, his little heart sur-
charged and his small wings trembling with passion.
Does he ever enter on a darker and more daring flight?
It is still rather the flight of a fire-fly than of a meteor
or a comet. Does he assail powers and potentates? It is
with a sting rather than a spear—a sting small, sharp,
bright, and deadly.
Thomas Moore is a poet by temperament, and by intel-
lect a wit. He has the warmth and the fancy of the
poet, but hardly his powerful passion, his high solemn
imagination, or his severe unity of purpose. His verses,
therefore, are rather the star-dust of poetry than the
sublime thing itself. Every sentence he writes is poetical,
but the whole is not a poem. The dancing lightness of
his motion affects you with very different feelings from
those with which you contemplate the grave walk of di-
dactic or the stormy race of impassioned poetry. You are
delighted, you are dazzled; you wonder at the rapidity
of the movements, the elegance of the attitudes, the per-
fect self-command and mastery of the performer; you
cry out “encore, encore,’ but you seldom weep; you do
not tremble or agonize; you do not become silent. Did
the reader ever feel the blinding and giddy effect of level
winter sunbeams pouring through the intervals of a rail-
ing as he went along? This is precisely the effect which
Moore’s rapid and bickering brilliance produces. Our
mental optics are dazzled, our brain reels, we almost
deep earnestness and of high purpose. Not more trivial
is the dance of a fairy in the pale shino of the moon, than
are the majority of his poems. And though he did belong
to that beautiful family, he could not in his poetry meddle
less with the great purposes, passions, and destinies of
humanity. What to him are the ongoings and future
prospects of what Oberon so finely calls the “human mor-
tals?” He must have his dance and his song out. We
believe that Thomas Moore is a sincere lover of his kind,
and has a deep sympathy with their welfare and progress,
but we could scarcely deduce this with any certainty from
his serious poetry. Indeed the term serious, as applied
to his verse, is a total misnomer. Byron’s poetry has
often a sincerity of anguish about it which cannot be mis-
taken; he howls out, like the blinded Cyclops, his agony to
earth and heaven. The verse of Wordsworth and Cole-
ridge is a harmony solemn as that of the pines in the
winter blast. Elliott’s earnestness is almost terrific.
But Moore flits, and flutters, and leaps, and runs, a very
Peri, but who shall never be permitted to enter the para-
dise of highest song, and to whom the seventh heaven of
invention is shut for ever.
It were needless to dilate upon the beauties which he
has scattered around him in this unprofitable career. His
fancy is prodigious in quantity and variety, and is as
elegant as it is abundant. Images dance down about us
like hailstones, illustrations breathlessly run after and
outrun illustrations, fine and delicate shades melt into
others still finer and more delicate, and often the general
effect of his verse is like that of a large tree alive with
bees, where a thousand sweet and minute tones are
mingled in one hum of harmony. Add to this his free
flow of exquisite versification, the riches of his luscious
descriptions, the tenderness of many of his pictures, and
the sunny glow, as of eastern day, which colours the
whole, and you have the leading features of his poetical
But it is as a wit and a satirist that Moore must sur-
vive. There is no ‘horse play in his raillery.’ It is as
delicate as it is deadly. He carves his foeman as a “dish
fit for the gods, hot hews him as a carcass meet for
hounds.” Such a gay gladiator, such a smiling murderer
as he is . How small his weapon—how elegant his
flourishes—how light but sinewy his arm—and how soon
is the blow given—the deed done—the victim prostrate
His strokes are so keen that ere you have felt them you
have found death. He is an aristocratic satirist not only
in the objects but in the manner of his attack. Coarse
game would not feel that fine tremulous edge by which
he dissects his highbred and sensitive foes to the quick.
We notice, too, in his sarcastic vein, and this very pro-
bably explains its superiority, a much deeper and heartier
earnestness. When he means to be serious he trifles,
when he trifles it is that he is most sincere. His work is
play, his play is work. All his political feeling—all the
moral indignation he possesses—all the hatred which as
an Irishman and a gentleman he entertains for insincerity,
humbug, and selfishness in high places—come out through
the veil of his witty and elegant verse. Of a great satir-
ist, only one element seems wanting in Moore, namely,
that cool concentrated malignity which inspires Juvenal
and Junius. He hates, they loathe. He tickles his op-
ponent to death, they tear him to pieces. His arrows are
polished, theirs are poisoned. His malice is that of a
man, theirs is that of a demon. His wish is to gain a
great end over the bodies of his antagonists, their sole
object is to destroy or blacken the persons of their foes.
His is a public and gallant rencounter, theirs a sullen and
solitary assassination.
Moore may be regarded under the four phases of an
amatory poet, a narrative poet, a satirical poet, and a
prose writer. As an amatory poet he assumed, every one
knows, the nom-de-guerre of Tommy Little, and as such
sicken of the monotonous and incessant splendour, “dis-
tinct but distant, clear, but ah, how cold!’
Our great quarrel with Moore’s poetry, apart from its
do not his merits and demerits live in the verse of Byron
and in the prose of Jeffrey P. These poems, lively, gay,
shallow, meretricious, were the sins of youth; they were
early sins against morality and good taste, is its want of not, like Don Juan, the dºerate abominations of guilty

and hardened manhood. Their object was to crown vice,
but not to deny the existence of virtue. They were un-
justifiably warm in their tone and colouring, but they did
not seek to pollute the human heart itself. It was re-
served for a mightier and darker spirit to make the
desperate and infernal attempt, and to include in one “wide
waft’ of scorn and disbelief—the existence of faithfulness
in man and of innocence in woman. Little’s lyrics, too,
were neutralized by their general feebleness; they were
pretty, but wanted body, unity, point, and power. Con-
sequently, while they captivated idle lads and lovesick
misses, they did comparatively little injury. It is indeed
ludicrous, looking back through the vista of forty years,
and thinking of the dire puddle and pother which such
tiny transgressions produced among the critics and moral-
ists of the time: they seem actually to have dreamed that
the morality of Britain, which had survived the dramatists
of Queen Elizabeth’s day, the fouler fry of Charles II.’s
playwrights, the novels of Fielding and Smollett, the
numerous importations of iniquity from the Continent,
was to fall before a few madrigals and double-entendres.
No, like “dew-drops from the lion’s mane,” it shook them
off, and pursued its way without impediment or pause.
Yºr mischief was intended, little we are sure was
As a narrative poet, Moore aimed at higher things,
and, so far as praise and popularity went, with triumph-
ant success. His Lalla Rookh came forth amid a hum of
general expectation. It was rumoured that he had written
a great epic poem; that Catullus had matured into Ho-
mer. These expectations were too sanguine to be realized.
It was soon found that Lalla Rookh was no epic—was not
a great poem at all—that it was only a short series of
Oriental tales, connected by a slight but exquisite frame-
work. Catullus, though stripped of many of his voluptu-
ous graces, and much of his false and florid taste, remained
Catullus still. And the greatest admirer of the splendid
diction, the airy verse, the melodramatic incident, the
lavish fancy of the poem, could not but say, if the com-
parison came upon his mind at all—‘Ye critics, say how
poor was this to Homer’s style.” The unity, the com-
pactness, the interest growing to a climax, the heroic
story, the bare and grand simplicity of style—all the qua-
lities we expect in the epic, were wanting in Lalla Rookh.
It was not so much a poem, indeed, as a rhymed romance.
Still its popularity was instant and boundless. If it did
not become a great still stedfast luminary in the heaven of
song, it flashed before the eye of the world brief, beauti-
ful, gorgeous, and frail—
—‘A tearless rainbow, such as spun
The unclouded skies of Perisuan.”
And even yet, after the lapse of twenty years, there are
many who, admiring the fine moral of Paradise and the
Peri, or melted by the delicate pathos of the Fireworship-
pers, own the soft seductions of Lalla Rookh, and in their
hearts, if not in their understandings, prefer it to the
chaster and more powerful poetry of the age.
The Loves of the Angels was a bolder but not a more
successful flight.
and there is nothing certainly, in these wondrous ‘thousand
and one nights,’ so rich, beautiful, and dream-like in its
imagination and pathos, as in those impassioned stories.
But it was only a castle in the clouds after all—one of those
brilliant but fading pomps which the eye of the young
dreamersees ‘for ever flushing round a summer’s sky.’ Its
angels were mere winged dolls compared to the “celestial
ardours’ whom Milton has portrayed, or even to those proud
and impassioned beings whom Byron has drawn. In fact,
the poem was unfortunate in appearing about the same
time with Byron’s Heaven and Earth, which many besides
us consider his finest production as a piece of art. Mere
atoms of the rainbow fluttering round were the pinions
of Moore’s angels compared to the mighty wings of those
burning oues who came down over Ararat, drawn by the
loadstars which shone in the eyes of the daughters of
men,’ and for which, without a sigh, they ‘lost eternity.’
|* what comparison between the female characters in
It was a tale of the ‘Arabian heaven,’
the one poem and the two whom we see in the other,
waiting with uplifted eyes and clasped hands for the de-
scent of their celestial lovers, like angels for the advert
of angels? And what scene in Moore can be named beside
the deluge in Byron ; with the gloomy silence of suspense
which precedes it, the earnest whispers heard among the
hills at dead of night, which tell of its coming, the waters
rising solemnly to their work of judgment, as if conscious
of its justice and grandeur—the cries heard of despair, of
fury, of blasphemy, as if the poet himself were drowning
in the surge—the milder and softer wail of resignation
mingling with the sterner exclamations—the ark in the
distance—the lost angels clasping their lost loves, and
ascending with them from the doom of the waters to what
we feel and know must be a direr doom P
We have spoken already of Moore’s character as a
witty poet, and need only now refer to the titles of his
principal humorous compositions, such as the Fudre
Family in Paris; the Twopenny Post-Bag ; Cash, Cort,
Currency, and Catholics, &c. They constitute a perfe-
gallery of fun without ferocity, without indecency, ari
without more malice than serves to give them poignalcy
and point.
From Moore’s Life of Sheridan we might almost fancy
that, though he had lisped in numbers, and early obtaired
a perfect command of the language and versification ºf
poetry, yet that he was only beginning, or had but recently
begun, to write prose. The juvenility, the immaturity,
the false glare, the load of useless figure, the ambitix:
and effort of that production, are amazing in such a man
at such an age. It contains, of course, much fine and
forcible writing ; but even Sheridan himself, in his mºst
ornate and adventurous prose, which was invariably his
worst, is never more unsuccessful than is sometimes his
biographer. Perhaps it was but fitting that the life ºf
such a heartless, faithless, though brilliant charlatin
should be written in a style of elaborate falsetto and
We have a very different º indeed of his life of
Byron. It is not, we fear, a faithful or an honest record
of that miserable and guilty mistake—the life of Byron.
We know that Dr MacGinn, by no means a squeamish
man, who was at first employed by Murray to write his
biography, and had the materials put into his hands, re-
fused, shrinking back disgusted at the masses of falsehood.
treachery, heartlessness, malignity, and pollution whici
they revealed. The same materials were submitted tº
Moore, and from them he has constructed an image ºf
his hero, bearing, we suspect, as correct a resemblance tº
his character as the ideal busts which abound do to his
face. When will biographers learn that their business,
their sole business, is to tell the truth or to be silent?
How long will the public continue to be deceived by such
gilded falsehoods as form the staple of obituaries and
memoirs P. It is high time that such were confined to the
corners of newspapers and of churchyards. We like
Moore’s Byron, not for its subject or its moral tone, but
solely for its literary execution. It is written throughout
in a clear, chaste, dignified, and manly manner; the
criticism it contains is eloquent and discriminating, and
the friendship it discovers for Byron, if genuine, speaks
much for its author’s generosity and heart.
We must not speak of his other prose productions—his
Epicurean, History of Ireland, &c. The wittiest thing
of his in prose we have read is an article in the Edinburst
Review on Boyd’s Lives of the Fathers, where, as in Gib-
bon, jests lurk under loads of learning, double-entendrºs
disguise themselves in Greek, puns mount and crackle
upon the backs of huge folios, and where you are at a lºss
whether most to chuckle at the wit, to detest the cº-
mus, or to admire the erudition.
We had nearly omitted, which had been unpardonable,
all mention of the Irish Melodies—those sweet and lusci-
ous strains which have hushed ten thousand drawing-
rooms and drawn millions of such tears as drawing-rooms
shed, but which have seldom won their way to the breasts
of simple unsophisticated humanity—which are to the
songs of Burns what the lute is to the linnet—and which,
in their title, are thus far unfortunate that, however me.
lodious, they are not the melodies of Ireland. It was not
Moore but Campbell who wrote Erin Mavourneen. “He,’
says Hazlitt, “has changed the wild harp of Erin into a
musical snuff-box.’
Such is our ideal of Thomas Moore. If it do not come
up to the estimate of some of his admirers, it is faithful
to our own impressions, and what more from a critic can
be required? We only add, that admired by many as a
poet, by all as a wit, he is as a man the object of universal
regard; and we believe there is not one who knows him
but would be ready to join in the words—
‘Were it the last drop in the well,
‘Tis to thee that I would drink;
In that water as this wine,
The libation I would pour
Would be peace to thee and thine,
And a health to thee Tom Moore.”

No. 51.
PRICE 13d.
S C O T L A N D.
We formerly stated several considerations which would
have led us to expect that biblical science would be culti-
wated inScotland with distinguished success. In this, as
in many other instances, the facts do not coincide with
the conclusions to which a process of general reasoning
seems to conduct us. The number of “illustrious Scotch-
men’ who have won their laurels on this ‘holy ground”
is miserably small. Without pretending to trace ‘the
succession of sacred literature’ in this part of the island,
we shall introduce to our readers a few of the leading
names—regretting that so few can be adduced to show (as
Galgacus would have said) ‘what sort of men Caledonia
has reserved for herself.’
We would have been happy to give the first place to
the name of John Knox, to whom, under God, we owe a
debt of everlasting gratitude for so many of our privileges.
His special vocation did not require, if indeed it admitted
of this sort of excellence. He was called not so much
to grapple with the difficulties of criticism as to secure
‘the liberty of prophesying’ to future generations; and
when, at the distance of three centuries, we are still en-
joying the benefit of his labours, it may appear ungene-
rous to complain that he was not a scholar as well as a
reformer. Yet we own we would not have admired him less,
if, instead of ‘A Blast against the Monstrous Regiment of
Women,” he had bequeathed to us a commentary or a
treatise on interpretation. The name of Knox brings to
our recollection, by a natural association, that of George
Buchanan. Besides his eminent services as a political
author, in assailing “the right divine of kings to govern
wrong,’ Buchanan was a powerful auxiliary to the cause of
the Reformation: he sustained, in fact, much the same re-
lation to Knox and his work inScotland as Erasmus did to
Luther and his work in Germany. He is confessedly the
most successful writer of Latin poetry who has appeared
in modern Europe, displaying in his Latin style all the
purity and elegance of a Roman in the Augustan age.
His only contribution to our biblicalliterature is a poeti-
cal version of the book of Psalms, which has been generally
admired for its classic beauty and finish. Had Andrew
Melville girt himself to compete for literary distinction,
there were few men of his age from whom he would not
have carried off the palm. Before his twenty-first year
he had acquired an intimate knowledge of Greek, which
was then a rare study in his native land; he was so
fond of Hebrew that he often travelled with a Hebrew
Bible “slung to his belt; he strived to communicate a
literary impulse to the mind of the rising generation; as
principal of a university, he was officially intrusted with
the interests of sacred literature. But there was an utter
disproportion between his qualifications and his perform-
ance; for, besides a few Latin poems on scriptural sub-
jects, he has left behind him only a poetical paraphrase,
still in manuscript, of the epistle to the Hebrews, which,
we can readily believe, is unworthy of his name. We must
seek our biblical scholars among men who do not fill so
large a space as these in the pages of Robertson or Tytler.
Robert Rollock, the first Principal of the University of
Edinburgh, published several volumes of commentary
which are still extant. Their number and their merits
surprise us when we remember that their author did not
long survive his fortieth year. Although strongly tinged
with the scholastic spirit of the age, they display much
native vigour of mind, an accurate acquaintance with the
subjects, and extensive erudition. He appears to have
been enthusiastically addicted to literary pursuits, and
should always be remembered as one of the earliest pa-
trons of learning inScotland.—John Cameron was a man
of European reputation. He occupied the pulpit and the
professorial chair in Sedan, Saumur, Glasgow, and Bour-
deaux. His fame rests principally on his extraordinary
proficiency in the Greek language, with which he was
so familiar that he could speak it with all the fluency
and facility of a native. This exquisite degree of scholar-
ship has left its impress on almost every page of his writ-
ings. He was not a mere retailer of critical wares,
endeavouring to give them, by an artificial gloss, the
appearance of novelty. He was an independent thinker.
He anticipated many of the conclusions to which the re-
search of subsequent inquirers has conducted them—an
unequivocal mark of true genius.-Robert Boyd of Troch-
rig, although much inferior to Cameron both in learning
and in taste, reached a highly respectable station in the
ranks of Greek scholarship. The largest and best of his
productions, few of which have seen the light, is a folio
commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians. It has
merit enough to have preserved its value till the present
day, if it had not been constructed so closely upon the
model of the Dutch school, where a commentary was evi-
dently regarded as a mausoleum in which an author might
be entombed.—John Row surpassed all his cotemporaries
in the knowledge of the original language of the Old
Testament. If such tastes can be transmitted from sire to
son, his predilection for this venerable tongue must have
been hereditary. His father is reported to have evinced
a taste for it in the fourth year of his age, and his grand-
father has the honour of being the first who taught it in
Scotland. In 1643 he published a Hebrew Vocabulary,
and in 1644 a Hebrew Grammar, to the latter of which

were prefixed copies of commendatory verses by Alexander
Henderson, Samuel Rutherford, and John Adamson, per-
sons well known in ecclesiastical history, and with whom it
is interesting to meet as patrons of learning as well as of
religion. These were excellent manuals for the times in
which they were composed; although, we presume, the
student who is conversant with Lee, and Stuart, and Nord-
heimer, and Gesenius, need not regret having never seen
them.—There were three brothers to whom the infancy
of our sacred learning was greatly indebted—the three
Simpsons. One of them wrote a treatise on the animals
of Scripture, which has been superseded by the great work
of Bochart, now the standard one on that subject; and
another claims the distinction of being the first of his
countrymen who published (in 1617) a work on Hebrew
philology.—There was one Weemse, who made a nearer
approach to what would now be considered a complete
course of biblicalliterature than any who has yet been
mentioned. In 1623 he published ‘The Christian Syna-
gogue,” where he unfolds the laws of biblical criticism
as it then existed; and, ten years after, “An Exposition
of the Laws of Moses,’ in which he discusses with great
ability the various questions that have been agitated con-
cerning the origin of the Mosaic code.
But we must close this list of authors, who are known
only by report even to multitudes who have grown rich in
the gleanings of many “biblical hours,” and proceed to
mention a few with whose writings all may be familiar.
Thomas Boston has long been admired as a writer on
doctrinal and experimental divinity. “The Fourfold
State’ and “The Crook in the Lot,’ are found along with
“Rutherford’s Letters,’ and ‘Guthrie’s Great Interest,’
and ‘Erskine’s Gospel Sonnets,’ on the shelf of many a
cottage into which the cheap literature of our day has not
yet penetrated. It is not so well known that the minister
of Ettrick could ‘think with the learned as well as speak
with the vulgar. He could plead “not guilty’ to the
charge of “neglecting learning,’ which has so often been
brought against the champions of evangelical religion.
His Latin treatise on Hebrew points and accents proves
that he had tasted the marrow of modern criticism as well
as “the marrow of modern divinity.”—There are two
writers who are frequently named together, as if there
were a sort of literary kinsmanship between them, Prin-
cipal Campbell of Aberdeen and Dr Macknight of Edin-
burgh. Campbell was undoubtedly the abler man. His
“Philosophy of Rhetoric’ and his answer to Hume, show
how acutely he could analyze the most complex pheno-
mena of mind and how skilfully he could unravel the
most tangled web of sophistry. His “Translation of the
Four Gospels’ is not a very felicitous effort: nor would it
be easy to rival the noble simplicity which pervades the
authorized version of this part of the New Testament.
But he has prefixed twelve dissertations, which amply
compensate for whatever degree of failure may be sup-
posed to attach to his main design. The stamp of a mas-
ter’s hand is on them, and all succeeding writers have
extolled his critical acumen, even when they have been
obliged to dissent from some of the opinions which he has
propounded. Macknight is the author of a translation of
all the apostolic epistles. Thirty years of his life were
spent in its preparation; eleven hours were the measure
of his daily study; the whole work was transcribed five
|- with his own hand. It is not unworthy of this Her-
culean toil; for although it is often false in its theology,
and fanciful in its criticism, and fallacious in its reasºn-
ing, it is a storehouse of valuable information. It is ºne
of those volumes which are always slighted and yet always
used. Everybody censures it; everybody consults it –
Gerard’s “Institutes of Biblical Criticism’ is a work which
all praise. It has no pretensions to originality. But
it is an able and judicious summary of biblical science as
it existed at the beginning of the present century; ari
if the skeleton were filled up from the stores which have
since been accumulated, it might still be profitably en-
º as a text-book.-John Brown of Haddington with
is Dictionary, and Wilson with his Hebrew Grammar,
and Ewing with his Greek Lexicon, and Paxton with his
Illustrations, press on our notice along with others ºf
higher or humbler pretensions, who, if they have nºt
greatly advanced the interests of biblicalliterature, have
at least assisted in keeping its claims before the public
mind; but our limits forbid us to attempt any estimate
of their services.
These historical notices, slight as they are, prove th:
the cause of biblicalliterature has not greatly flourished in
Scotland. A few hints respecting its improvement raj
form an appropriate sequel to a sketch of its progress.
Among candidates for the ministry of all denomini-
tions, a love of biblical pursuits is already far more pre-
vailing than it was even a few years since. The in-
pression had been growing, that in this branch of pre-
fessional knowledge they were inferior to the theological
students of Germany, of America, and even of EnglaLd:
and a strong desire was felt in many quarters to wiſe
off this dishonour. A simultaneous passion for exegeir
theology seized all parties; so that there is now searce’ſ
a sect, however small, which has not a professor wh:
gives prelections on that department alone. The Prº-
fessors are, we believe, worthy of their responsible office:
some of them so learned, that “they could find their
way to the wall of China without an interpreter,’ all ºf
them men with whom the interests of biblicalliterature
can be safely intrusted. The disappointment of the church
will not be small, if there be not formed under their .
auspices a race of scholars equal to the race of preachers ,
formed under ‘the old regime.” They should be greatly
assisted in their labours by the societies which have been
organized for the purpose of translating the best works &
the greatest biblical scholars of many lands. Mr Clarke
of this city “ has done the state some service’ in this re-
spect, having commenced his ‘Biblical Cabinet’ at a time
when there was little demand for books of that descrip. ;
tion; and now, when there is a competitor in the firić.
we may anticipate a double amount of benefit. Let their
choice embrace the whole range of sacred literature-le:
them select the best books in each department—let ther
intrust them to none but qualified translators; and, abºve
all, let them sell them at the cheapest rate possible. 1; ºr
might hazard an opinion, we would say, that the chief ºt-
stacles to the cultivation of biblical science among tº
ministers of the Gospel inScotland are two—the want ºf
time and the want of money. Dr Chalmers has somewhere
asserted, that a Scottish clergyman, if conscientious in the
discharge of his duties, is “the hardest wrought man intº
parish. Lord Brougham knows as well as any man in Grea.
Britain what it is to make a speech, and he has expressed
his wonder that any class of men should be able to Pre:
pare two discourses a-week. His wonder would be raises
to a higher pitch, if he reflected on their attendance ºn
sessions, presbyteries, synods, and general assemblies ºf
their frequent visitation of their flocks, on their week;
meetings for the instruction of the young, on their cal;
to appear at religious, benevolent, and scientific assº
tions. With these incessant demands on their time, it *
perhaps impossible that, as a body, they should beº
eminent scholars; for without an almost total isolatiº
from all other pursuits, the most moderate degree of erº
dition can scarcely be attained. If the two sorts of exº
lence cannot be combined—if scholarship cannot begain.”
but by the sacrifice of the duties of the pastorate—then

have made Scotland what it is.
with all our zeal for biblical study, we say decidedly—
Giveus the hard-working pastors, for they, and they only,
But were these pastors
able to “redeem time’ from their multifarious avocations
for the prosecution of sacred literature, they would soon
encounter another difficulty. There can be no learning
without books: learning is nothing else than the know-
ledge of what has been written by “the mighty dead’
and the mighty living. There can be no books without
money: books for the few necessarily bear a higher
price than books for the million. It is not with any
feeling of disrespect we allude to the comparative poverty
of many of the teachers of religion. We honour them
as the servants of Him who had not ‘where to lay his
head,’ and we believe, that if they are “faithful unto death,’
honours are in reserve for them which money cannot pur-
chase. Yet we must ask, How is any man who does not
pay the income-tax to furnish such a library as is indis-
pensable to a biblical scholar P He may hear of Chry-
sostom, and Calvin, and Rosenmuller; he may see them
on the counters of metropolitan or provincial booksellers;
he may borrow them from a public library; but how he
is ever to have them in his possession or to call them
his own, it is beyond our capacity to discover. Not even
professional students can devote themselves to biblical
literature as they ought, till the necessary books are more
There is nothing in this branch of knowledge which
should render it the exclusive property of professional
students. Those who would make themselves masters of
it, indeed, cannot dispense with the study of Hebrew,
Greek, and Latin; and if this were essential to the lowest
as well as to the highest degree of attainment, there would
be a perpetual interdict against the masses who ‘let all
the foreign tongues alone.’ Is it essential P Is it utopian
to speak of “biblicalliterature for the people P’ Has the
time not arrived when an attempt should be made to po-
pularize biblical knowledge, corresponding to that which
has already been made to popularize scientific knowledge?
As we have natural philosophy without mathematics,
might we not have sacred hermeneutics without Hebrew
and Greek P. The working-classes are now discussing topics
with intelligence, on which very lately no man would
have dared to open his mouth who had not been several
sessions within the walls of a university: if some spirited
publisher were working out this idea, they might soon
be discussing with equal intelligence topics which are now
unknown beyond the precincts of theological institutions.
Let there be a grammar of the Old and New Testament
for the people: let there be a lexicon of the Old and
New Testament for the people: let there be a manual of
Scriptural interpretation for the people : let there be a
biblical cyclopædia for the people: let there be commen-
taries on the various books of Scripture for the people.
Give the people the opportunity of acquiring this sort of
information, and we are sure that they will not only
cheerfully avail themselves of the privilege, but nobly
improve it. There would soon be hundreds at the loom,
at the forge, and at the plough, who would be intimately
conversant with the literature of the Bible, although they
could not distinguish Aleph from Ain, or Omieron from
Omega. How vastly will the popular mind be expanded
when the Bible shall become the subject of universal
study : Viewed as a mere instrument of intellectual
training, there is no book, or collection of books, at all
to be compared to it. Were twenty young men educated
according to the course of instruction which has now been
suggested, they might safely challenge comparison with
any equal number who had passed from the forms of a
classical school, or from the benches of a scientific institu-
tion. Not that we undervalue either the beauties of an-
cient literature, or the wonders of modern science: we
highly prize both. More highly do we prize the Bible;
nor would we conceal that we prize it not only as an in-
strument for the education of his intellect, but, which is
of far higher moment, the salvation of his soul. We have
no sympathy with men, however intelligent and enter-
prising and philanthropic, who exclude God and immor-
tality from their page, and then boast that their writings
are not sectarian. Religion is not sectarian : natural re-
ligion is not sectarian: revealed religion is not sectarian:
evangelical religion is not sectarian : if it be, we hold it
no dishonour to belong to the religious sect. “This I con-
fess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy
so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things
which are written in the law and the prophets.”