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mit to the obligations of faith, you must divest yourself of your natural reason and common sense, and captivate the dictates of your own conscience to the impositions of an authority which hath. not any pretence to oblige or advise you. If you will not, with freedom, communicate the doubts which occur to you, to those near you, of whose learning and piety you have had much experi, ence, let me conjure you to impart them to me, and to expect my answer, before you suffer them to prevail over you.
God bless you
A MODERN ACCOUNT OF
Being an exact Description of the Country, and a true Character of the People
and their Manners.
the account of its antiquity, why should Scotland be neglect. ed, whose wrinkled surface derives its original from the chaos ? The first inhabitants were some stragglers of the fallen angels, who rested themselves on the confines, till their captain Lucifer provided places for them in his own country. This is the conjecture of learned criticks, who trace things to their originals; and this opinion was grounded on the devil's brats yet resident amongst them (whose foresight, in the events of good and evil, exceeds the oracles at Delphos) the supposed issue of those pristine inhabitants.
Names of countries were not then in fashion'; those came not in till Adam's days; and history, being then in her infancy, makes no mention of the changes of that renowned country. In that ina terval betwixt him and Moses, when their Chronicle commences, she was then baptised (and most think with the sign of the Cross) by the venerable name of Scotland, from Scota, the daughter of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Hence came the rise and name of these present inhabitants, as their Chronicle informs us, and is not to be doubted of, from divers considerable circumstances; the plagues of Egypt being entajled upon them, that of lice (being a judgment unrepealed) is an ample testimony, these loving animals accompa. nied them from Egypt, and remain with them to this day, never forsaking them (but as rats leave a house) till they tumble into their graves. The plague of biles and blains is hereditary to them, as a distinguishing mark from the rest of the world, which (like the devil's cloven hoof) warns all men to beware of them. The judgment of hail and snow is naturalised and made free denison here, and continues with them from the sun's first ingress, into Aries, till he has passed the thirtieth degree of Aquary.
The plague of darkness was said to be thick darkness, to be felt, which most undoubtedly these people have a share in, as the word Exotis, darkness, implies; the darkness being appliable to their gross and blockish understandings (as I had it from a scholar of their own nation). Upon these grounds this original is undeniably allowed them, and the country itself (in pyramids) resembles Egypt, but far exceeds them both in bulk and number; theirs are but the products of men's labours, but these are nature's own handy-work; and, if Atlas would ease a shoulder, here he may
be fitted with a supporter.
Italy is compared to a leg, Scotland to a louse, whose legs and engrailed edges represent the promontories and buttings out into the sea, with more nooks and angles than the most conceited of my lord mayor's custards. Nor does the comparison determine here, A louse preys upon its own fosterer and preserver, and is productive of those minute animals called nits; so Scotland, whose proboscis joins too close to England, has sucked away the nu. triment from Northumberland, as the country itself is too true.a testimony, and, from its opposite a —, has calved those nitty islands, called the Orcades and the Shetland (quasi Shite-land) islands.
The arms of the kingdom was anciently a Red Lion rampant in a field of gold, but, anno domini 787, they had the augmentation of the double Tressure, for assisting the French king; but his majesty's arms in Scotland is a mere hysteron proteron, the pride of the people being such, as to place the Scots arms in the dexter quarter of the escutcheon, and make the unicorn the dexter supporter, with the thistle at his heel, with a suitable motto, Nemo me impune lacessit, true enough; whoever deals with them shall be sure to smart for it. The thistle was wisely placed there, partly to shew the fertility of the country, nature alone producing plenty of these gay flowers, and partly as an emblem of the people, the top thereof having some colour of a flower, but the bulk and substance of it, is only sharp, and poisonous pricks.
Woods they have none; that suits not with the frugality of the people, who are so far from propagating any, that they destroy those they had upon this politick state maxim, that corn will not grow on the land pestered with its roots, and their branches harbour birds, animals above their humble conversation, that exceeds not that of hornless quadrupedes. Marry, perhaps, some of their houses lurk under the shelter of a plump of trees (the birds not. daring so high a presumption) like Hugh Peters's puss in her majesty, or an owl in an ivy-bush. Some fir-woods there are in the high-lands, but so inaccessible, that they serve for no other use than dens for those ravenous wolves with two hands, that prey upon their neighbourhood, and shelter themselves under this covert; to whom the sight of a stranger is as surprising as that of a cockatrice. The vallies for the most part are covered with beer, or bigg, and the hills with snow; and, as in the northern coun. tries the bears and foxes change their coats into the livery of the
soil, so here the moor-fowl, called Termagants, turn white, to suit the sample, though the inhabitants still stand to their Egyptian hue.
They are freed from the charge and incumbrance of inclosures, the whole being but one large waste, surrounded with the sea. Indeed, in many places you may see half a rood of land divided with an earthern bank, into many differing apartments, according to the quality of beasts that are to possess them.
The whole country will make up a park, forest, or chace, as you will please to call'it; but, if you desire an account of parti. cular parks, they are innumerable, every small house having a few sodds thrown into a little bank about it, and this for the state of the business, forsooth, must be called a park, though not a pole of land in it.
If the air was not pure and well refined by its agitation, it would be so infected with the stink of their towns, and the steams of the nasty inhabitants, that it would be pestilential and destructive. Indeed, it is too thin for their gross senses, that must be fed with suitable viands, their neat not affecting their distem pered palates, without having a damnable hogoe; nor musick their ears, without loud and harsh discord, and their nostrils (like a Jew's) chiefly delight in the perceptible effluviums of an old Sir R.
Fowl are as scarce here as birds of paradise, the charity of the inhabitants denying harbour to such celestial animals, though gulls and cormorants abound, there being a greater sympathy betwixt them. There is one sort of ravenous fowl amongst them, that has one web-foot, one foot suited for land, and another for water; but, whether or no this fowl, being particular to this country, be not a lively picture of the inhabitants, I shall leave to wiser conjectures.
Their rivers, or rather arms of the sea, are short, few places in Scotland being above a day's journey from the sea ; but they are broad, deep, and dangerous, pestered with multitudes of porpoises, or sharks (some of them, perhaps, amphibious too, that live more on land than water) and destroy their salmon, the great commodity of this country; which, being too good for the inhabitants, are barreled up, and converted into merchandise, &c. The banks and borders of these rivers, especially near their towns, are adorned with hardy amazons, though inverted, their valour being chiefly from the waist downwards; which parts they readily expose to all the dangers of a naked rencounter. The exercise of their arms (I should say, feet) is much about linnen ; sheets are sufferers; a fit receiver is provided (not unlike a shallow pulpit to mind them of their idol sermons) wherein foul linnen is laid to suffer persecu. tion; so they turn up all, and tuck them about their waists, and bounce into a buck-tub; then go their stock, and belabour poor lint, till there be not a dry thread on it: Hence came the invențion of fulling-mills ; the women taught the men, and they put in practice.
The country is full of lakes and loughs, and they well stocked with islands ; so that a map thereof looks like a pillory coat bea spattered all over with dirt and rotten eggs, some pieces of the shells, floating here and there, representing the islands.
Their cattle are only representatives, of what are in other coun: tries ; these being so epitomised, that it is hard to know what class they relate to. Their horses are hardy, and not without gall, as some say, other horses are, using both tooth and nail to mischief you; that they may not use more state than their masters, they go bare-foot, which preserves them from the gout; and, if Hudibrass's horse had been of this ráce, he had not needed a corn-cutter. Their furniture or harness, is all of the same matter, all wood from head to tail, bridle, saddle, girth, stirrups, and crupper, all wood; nothing but a withy will bind a witch, and, if these be called witches, I shall not oppose it, since, by their untoward tricks, one would guess the devil to be in them. Their bridles have not bits, but a kind of musroll of two pieces of wood; their crupper is a stick of a yard's length, put a-cross their docks, both ends thereof being tied with woven wood to the saddle. Their bed and board too, is all of the same dry straw, and when they have it up, whip on harness, and away. Their neat are hornless, the owners claiming sole propriety in those ornaments, nor should I deny them their necklace too, for methinks that hoisted wood would mightily become them. Their sheep too have the same preferment, they are coupled together, near their master's palace. Some animals they have by the name of hogs, but more like porcupines, bristled all over, and these are likewise fastened to the free-hold by the former artifice; all their quadrupedes, dogs only excepted, in which sort they much abound, are honoured with wooden bracelets, about their necks, legs, or arms, &c.
Their cities are poor and populous, especially Edinburgh, their metropolis, which so well suits with the inhabitants, that one cha. racter will serve them both, viz. High and dirty. The houses mount seven or eight stories high, with many families on one floor, one room being sufficient for all occasions, eating, drinking, sleeping, and shit- The most mannerly step but to the door, and nest upon the stairs. I have been in an island, where it was dif. ficult to tread without breaking an egg; but to move here, and pot murder a t-, is next to an impossibility; the whole pavement is pilgrim-salve, most excellent to liquor shoes withal, and soft and easy for the bare-foot perambulators. The town is like a double comb, an engine not commonly known amongst them, one great street, and each side stocked with narrow allies, which I mistook for common-shores; but, the more one stirs in a t-, the more it will stink. The other cities and towns are copies from this original, and therefore need no commentators to explain them. They have seven colleges, or rather schools, in four universities. The regents wear what coloured cloaths, or gowns, they please, and commonly no gowns at all; so that it is hard to distinguish a scholar, from an ordinary man, since their learning shines not out of their poses. The younger students wear scarlet gowns, only in
term time; their residence is commonly in the town, only at school-hours they convene in the college, to consult their oracle Buchanan. Their chief studies are for pulpit-preferment, to prate out four or five glasses, with as much ease, as drink them; and this they attain to in their stripling years, commencing Mr. of Arts (that is meant only Mr. of this Art) before one would judge them fit for the college; for as soon as they can walk as far as the school, which they will do very young, for like lap-wings they run, with shells on their heads, they are sent thither, where they find no benches to sit on (only one for the Mr.) but have a little heath and fadder strewed for them to lie upon, where they litter together, and chew the cud on their fathers horn-books, and, in good time, are preferred to the Bible. From this petty school, away with them to the grammar-school, viz. the college, where, in three or four year's time, they attain to (their ne plus ultra) the degree of A. M. that is, they can, extempore, coin graces and prayers
for all occasions. If you crack a nut, there is a grace for that; drink a dish of coffee, ale, or wine, or what else, he presently furnishes
with a grace for the nonce ; so if you pare your nails, go to stool, or any other action of like importance, he can as easily suit you with a prayer, as draw on a glove; and the wonder of all, is, that this prayer shall be so admirably framed, that it may indifferently quadrate with any occasion, an excellency no where so common, as in this country. Thus you see the young man has commenced, and got strength enough to walk to the kirk, and enter the chair; where we shall find him anon, after we have viewed the out-sides of their kirks, some of which have been of ancient foundations, and well and regularly built; but order and uniformity is in perfect antipathy to the humour of this nation, these goodly structures being either wholly destroyed (as at St. Andrews and Elgin, where, by the remaining ruins, you may see what it was in perfection) or very much defaced. They make use of no choirs, those are either quite pulled down, or converted into an. other kirk; for it is common here to have three, four, or five kirks under one roof, which, being preserved intire, would have made one good church, but they could not then have had preach. ing enough in it. Out of one pulpit now they have thirty sermons per week, all under one roof, plenty of spiritual provision, which gusts much better with a mixture of the flesh; as you may guess by their stools of repentance in every kirk, well furnished with whore-mongers and adulterers of both sexes. In Venice, the shadows only of curtezans are exposed to publick view only in effigie ; but here the whore, in person, has a high place provided her in the view of the whole congregation, for the benefit of stran. gers, who, some think, need not this direction, but may truck for all commodities with the first they meet with. They use no service-book, nor whore of Babylon's smock, as they term a sur. plice, por decency, nor order in their divine or rather contumeli. ous service. Would a king think himself honoured by subjects, that petiționed bim with buonet veiled, but cocked his
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