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gently rising and covered with a finer verdure than I expected to see in this climate, and the scene is enlivened by a Dumber of little clear brooks.
Sir Alexander Macdouald having been an Eton scholar,1 and being a gentleman of talents, Dr. Johnson had been very well pleased with him in London. But my fellowtraveller and I were now full of the old Highland spirit, and were dissatisfied at hearing of racked rents, and emigration; and finding a chief not surrounded by his clan. Dr. Johnson said.3 " Sir, the Highland chiefs should not be allowed to go farther south than Aberdeen. A strongminded man, like Sir James Macdonald, may lie improved by an English education; but in general they will be tamed into insignificance." 3
We found here Mr. Janes of Aberdeenshire, a naturalist. Janes said he had been at Dr. Johnson's in London, with Ferguson the astronomer. Johnson. "It is strange that, in such distant places, I should meet with any one who knows me. I should have thought I might hide myself in Sky."
Friday, Sept. 3.—This day proving wet, we should have passed our time very uncomfortably, had we not found in the house two chests of books, which we eagerly ransacked. After dinner, when I alone was left at table with the few Highland gentlemen who were of the company, having talkedi with very high respect of Sir James Macdonald, they were all so much affected as to shed tears. One of them was Mr. Donald Macdonald, who had been lieutenant of grenadiers in the Highland regiment, raised by Colonel Montgomery, now Earl of Eglintoune, in the war before last; one of those regiments which the late Lord Chatham prided himself in having brought from " the mountains of the north ;" by doing which he contributed to extinguish in the Highlands the remains of disaffection to the present royal family. From this gentleman's conversation, I first learnt how very popular his colonel was among the Highlanders; of which I had such continued proofs, during the whole course of my Tour, that on my return I could not help telling the noble Earl himself, that I did not before know how great a man he was.
1 See his Latin verses addressed to Dr. Johnson, in the Appendix.
'In the first edition, p. 166, Dr. Johnson is reported to have said also, '' It grieves me to see the chief of a great clan appear to such disadvantage. This gentleman has talents, nay, some learinng, but he is totally unfit for this situation." -Editor.
3 I meditated an escape from this house the very next day, but Dr. Johnson resolved that we should weather it out till Monday. (First edition, ibid.).—Editor.
'Here, in the first edition, was a hat cancelled, which, no doubt, contained some strictures on Sir Alexander Macdonald's want of hospitality and spirit, still stronger than those which were permitted to appear.— Croker.
For this statement Mr. Croher gave no authority, which we ever saw, or can find.—Editor.
We were advised by some persons here to visit Rasay, in our way to Dunvegan, the seat of the Laird of Macleod. Being informed that the Rev. Mr. Donald M'Queen was the most intelligent man in Sky, and having been favoured with a letter of introduction to him, by the learned Sir James Foulis,11 sent it to him by an express, and requested he would meet us at Rasay; and at the same time enclosed a letter to the Laird of Macleod, informing him that we intended in a few days to have the honour of waiting on him at Dunvegan.
Dr. Johnson this day endeavoured to obtain some knowledge of the state of the country; but complained that he could get no distinct information about any thing, from those with whom he conversed,
Saturday, Sept. 4.—My endeavours to rouse the Englishbred chieftain, in whose house we were, to the feudal and patriarchal feelings, proving ineffectual, Dr. Johnson this morning tried to bring him to our way of thinking. JohnSon. ""Were I in your place, Sir, in seven years I would make this an independent island. I would roast oxen whole, and hang out a flag as a signal to the Macdonalds, to come and get beef and whisky." Sir Alexander was
1 Sir James Foulis, of Collinton, Bart., was a man of an ancient family, a good scholar, and a hard student j duly imbued with a large share both of Scottish shrewdness and Scottish" prejudice. His property, his income at least, was very moderate. Others might have increased it in a voyage to India, which he made in the character of a commissioner; but Sir James returned as poor as he went there. Sir James Foulis was one of the few Lowlanders whom Highlanders allowed to be well skilled in the Gaelic, an acquaintance which he made late in life.— Waller Scott.
still starting difficulties. Johnson. "Kay, Sir; if you are born to object, I have done with you. Sir, I would have a magazine of arms." Sib Alexander. "They would rust." Johnson. "Let there be men to keep them clean. Your ancestors did not use to let their arms rust."'
We attempted in vain to communicate to him a portion of our enthusiasm. He bore with so polite a good-nature our warm, and what some might call Gothic, expostulations on this subject, that I should not forgive myself were I to record all that Dr. Johnson's ardour led him to say. This day was little better than a blank.
Sunday, Sejpt 5.—I walked to the parish church of Slate, which is a very poor one. There are no church bells in the island. I was told there were once some; what was become of them, I could not learn. The minister not being at home, there was no service. I went into the church, and saw the monument of Sir James Macdonald, which was elegantly executed at Rome, and has an inscription, written by his friend, George Lord Lyttelton:
To the memory
Of Sie JAMES MACDOXALD, Bart.
AVho in the flower of youth,
Had attained to so eminent a degree of knowledge
In Mathematics, Philosophy, Languages,
And in every other branch of useful and polite learning,
As few have acquired in a long life
Wholly devoted to study:
Yet to this erudition he joined
What can rarely be found with it,
Great talents for business,
Great propriety of behaviour,
Great politeness of maimers!
His eloquence was sweet, correct, and flowing;
His memory vast and exact;
His judgement strong and acute;
1 Dr. Johnson seems to hare forgotten that a Highlander going armed at this period incurred the penalty of serving as a common soldier for the first, and of transportation beyond sea for a second offence. And as for "calling out his elan," twelve Highlanders and a bagpipe made a rebellion.—Walter Scott.
All which endowments, united
With the most amiable temper
And every private virtue,
Procured him, not only in his own country,
But also from foreign nations,
The highest marks of esteem.
In the year of our Lord
The 25th of his life,
After a long and extremely painful illness,
Which he supported with admirable patience and fortitude,
He died at Rome,
Where, notwithstanding the difference of religion,
Such extraordinary honours were paid to his memory,
As had never graced that of any other British subject,
Since the death of Sir Philip Sydney.
The fame he left behind him is the best consolation
To his afflicted family,
And to his countrymen in this isle,
For whose benefit he had planned
Many useful improvements,
Which his fruitful genius suggested,
And his active spirit promoted,
Under the sober direction
Of a clear and enlightened understanding.
Reader, bewail our loss,
And that of all Britain.
In testimony of her love,
And as the best return she can make
To her departed son,
For the constant tenderness and affection
Which, even to his last moments,
He shewed for her,
His much afflicted mother,
The LADY MARGARET MACDONALD,
Daughter to the Eabl Of Egi.intouse,
Erected this Monument,
1 This extraordinary young man, whom I had the pleasure of knowing intimately, having been deeply regretted by his country, the most minute particulars concerning him must be interesting to many. I shall
Dr. Johnson said, the inscription should have been in Latin, as every thing intended to be universal and permanent should be.
therefore insert his two last letters to his mother, Lady Margaret Macdonald, which her ladyship has been pleased to communicate to me.
"Rome, July 9th, 1766. "My Dear Mother,
"Yesterday's post brought me your answer to the first letter in which I acquainted you of my illness. Your tenderness and concern upon that account are the same I have always experienced, and to which I have often owed my life. Indeed it never was in so great danger as it has been lately; and though it would have been a very great comfort to me to have had you near me, yet perhaps I ought to rojoiee, on your account, that you had not the pain of such a spectacle. I have been now a week in Rome, and wish I could continue to give you the same good accounts of my recovery as I did in my last: but I must own that, for three days past, I have been in a very weak and miserable state, which however seems to give no uneasiness to my physician. My stomach has been greatly out of order, without any visible cause; and the palpitation does not decrease. I am told that my stomach will soon recover its tone, and that the palpitation must cease in time. So I am willing to believe; and with this hope support the little remains of spirits which I can be supposed to have, on the forty-seventh day of such an illness. Do not imagine I have relapsed;—I only recover slower than I expected. If my letter is shorter than usual, the cause of it is a dose of physick, which has weakened me so much to-day, that I am not able to write a long letter. I will make up for it next post, and remain always
"Your most sincerely affectionate son,
He grew gradually worse; and on the night before his death he wrote as follows from Frescati:
"my Dear Mother,
"Though I did not mean to deceive you in my last letter from Rome, yet certainly you would have very little reason to conclude of the very great and constant danger I have gone through ever since that time. My life, which is still almost entirely desperate, did not at that time appear to me so, otherwise I should have represented, in its true colours, a fact which acquires very little horror by that means, and comes with redoubled force by deception. There is no circumstance of danger and pain of which I have not had the experience, for a continued series of above a fortnight; during which time I have settled my affairs, after my death, with as much distinctness as the hurry and the nature of the thing could admit of. In case of the worst, the Abbe Grant will be my executor in this part of the world, and Mr. Mackenzie in Scotland, where my object has been to make you and my younger brother as indppendent of the eldest as possible."