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Wednesday, 6th October.
After a sufficiency of sleep, we assembled at breakfast. We were just as if in barracks. Every body was
We went and viewed the old castle of Col, which is not far from the present house, near the shore, and founded on a rock. It has never been a large feudal residence, and has nothing about it that requires a particular description. Like other old inconvenient buildings of the same age, it exemplified Gray's picturesque lines,
“ Huge windows that exclude the light,
It may however be worth mentioning, that on the second story we saw a vault, which was, and still is, the family prison. There was a woman put into it by the laird, for theft, within these ten years; and any offender would be confined there yet; for, from the necessity of the thing, as the island is remote from any power established by law, the laird must exercise his jurisdiction to a certain degree.
We were shewn, in a corner of this vault, a hole, into which Col said greater criminals used to be put. It was now filled up with rubbish of different kinds. He said, it was of a great depth. “Ay, (said Dr. Johnson, smiling,) all such places, that are filled up, were of a great depth.” He is very quick in shewing that he does not give credit to careless or exaggerated accounts of things. After seeing the castle, we looked at a small hut near it. It is called Teigh Franchich, i. e. the Frenchman's House. Col could not tell us the history of it. A poor man with a wife and children now lived in it. We went into it, and Dr. Johnson
gave them some charity. There was but one bed for the whole family, and the hut was very smoky. When he came out, he said to me, “ Et hoc secundum sententiam philosophorum est esse beatus.”-Boswell. philosophers, when they placed happiness in a cottage, supposed cleanliness and no smoke."-Johnson. “Sir they did not think about either.”
We walked a little in the laird's garden, in which endeavours have been used to rear some trees; but, as soon as they got above the surrounding wall they died. Dr. Johnson recommended sowing the seeds of hardy trees, instead of planting.
Col and I rode out this morning, and viewed a part of the island. In the course of our ride, we saw a tur. nip-field, which he had hoed with his own hands. He first introduced this kind of husbandry into the Western islands. We also looked at an appearance of lead, which seemed very promising. It has been long known; for I found letters to the late laird from Sir John Areskine and Sir Alexander Murray, respecting it.
After dinner came Mr. M‘Lean, of Corneck, brother to Isle of Muck, who is a cadet of the family of Col. He possesses the two ends of Col which belong to the Duke of Argyll. Corneck had lately taken a lease of them at a very advanced rent, rather than let the Campbells get a footing in the island, one of whom had offered nearly as much as he. Dr. Johnson well observed, that, “landlords err much when they calculate merely what their land may yield. The rent must be in a proportionate ratio of what the land may yield and of the power of the tenant to make it yield. A tenant cannot make by his land, but according to the corn and cattle which he has. Suppose you should give him twice as much land as he has, it does him no good,
unless he gets also more stock. It is clear then, that the Highland landlords, who let their substantial tenants leave them, are infatuated; for the poor small tenants cannot give them good rents, from the very nature of things. They have not the means of raising more from their farms." Corneck, Dr. Johnson said, was the most distinct man that he had met with in these isles; he did not shut his eyes, or put his fingers in his ears, which he seemed to think was a good deal the mode with most of the people whom we have seen of late.
Thursday, 7th October.
Captain MʻLean joined us this morning at breakfast. There came on a dreadful storm of wind and rain, which continued all day, and rather increased at night. The wind was directly against our getting to Mull. We were in a strange state of abstraction from the world : we could neither hear from our friends, nor write to them. Col had brought Daille on the Fathers, Lucas on Happiness, and More's Dialogues, from the Reverend Mr. M‘Lean's, and Burnet's History of his own Times from Captain M'Lean's; and he had of his own some books of Farming, and Gregory's Geometry. Dr. Johnson read a good deal of Burnet, and of Gre. gory, and I observed he made some geometrical notes in the end of his pocket-book. I read a little of Young's Six Weeks Tour through the Southern Counties; and Ovid's Epistles, which I had bought at Inverness, and which helped to solace many a weary hour.
We were to have gone with Dr. Johnson this morning to see the mine ; but were prevented by the storm.
While it was raging, he said, “We may be glad we are not damnati ad metalla."
Friday, 8th October.
of our pre
Dr. Johnson appeared to day very weary sent confined situation. He said, “I want to be on the main land, and go on with existence. This is a waste of life.”
I shall here insert without regard to chronology, some of his conversation at different times. “ There was a man some time
who was well received for two years, among the gentlemen of Northamptonshire, by calling himself my brother. At last he grew so impudent as by his influence to get tenants turned out of their farms. Allen the Printer, who is of that county, ca me to me, asking, with much appearance of doubtfulness, if I had a brother; and upon being assured I had ncne alive, he told me of the imposition, and immediately wrote to the country, and the fellow was dismissed. It pleased me to hear that so much was got by using my name. It is not every name that can carry double ; do both for a man's self and his brother (laughing). I should be glad to see the fellow. However, I could have done nothing against him. A man can have no redress for his name being used, or ridiculous stories being told of him in the news-papers, except he can shew that he has suffered damage.-Some years ago a foolish piece was published, said to be written
by S. Johnson. Some of my friends wanted me to be very angry about this. I said, it would be in vain ; for the answer would be, S. Johnson may be Simon Johnson, or Simeon Johnson, or Solomon Johnson;' and even
if the full name, Samuel Johnson, had been used, it might be said ; it is not you ; it is a much cleverer fellow.'
“ Beauclerk and I, and Langton, and Lady Sydney Beauclerk, mother to our friend, were one day driving in a coach by Cuper's Gardens, which were then unocpied. I, in sport, proposed that Beauclerk and Langton, and myself should take them ; and we amused ourselves with scheming how we should all do our parts. Lady Sydney grew angry, and said, “ an old man should not put such things in young people's heads. She had no notion of a joke, sir; had come late into life, and had a mighty unpliable understanding.
“ Carte's Life of the Duke of Ormond is considered as a book of authority ; but it is ill-written. The matter is diffused in too many words; there is no animation, no compression, no vigour. Two good volumes in duodecimo might be made out of the two in folio.”
Talking of our confinement here, I observed, that our discontent and impatience could not be considered as very unreasonable ; for that we were just in the state of which Seneca complains so grievously, while in exile in Corsica. “ Yes, (said Dr. Johnson,) and he was not farther from home than we are." The truth is, he was much nearer.
There was a good deal of rain to-day, and the wind was still contrary. Corneck attended me, while I amused myself in examining a collection of papers belonging to the family of Col. The first laird was a younger son of the Chieftain M‘Lean, and got the middle part of Col for his patrimony. Dr. Johnson having given a very particular account of the connection between this family and a branch of the family of Camerons, called