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used to speak of their good fortune in thus accidentally meeting; for they had much instructive conversation, which is always a most valuable enjoyment, and, when found where it is not expected, is peculiarly relished.

I have now completed my account of our Tour to the Hebrides. I have brought Dr. Johnson down to Scotland, and seen him into the coach which in a few hours carried him back into England. He said to me often, that the time he spent in this Tour was the pleasantest part of his life, and asked me if I would lose the recollection of it for five hundred pounds. I answered I would not; and he applauded my setting such a value on an accession of new images in


mind. Had it not been for me, I am persuaded Dr. Johnson never would have undertaken such a journey; and I must be allowed to assume some merit, from having been the cause that our language has been enriched with such a book as that which he published on his returna book which I never read but with the utmost admiration, as I had such opportunities of knowing from what very meagre materials it was composed.

But my praise may be supposed partial; and therefore I shall insert two testimonies, not liable to that objection, both written by gentlemen of Scotland, to whose opinions I am confident the highest respect will be paid--Lord Hailes, and Mr. Dempster.



Newhailes, 6th Feb. 1775. "SIR-I have received much pleasure and much instruction from perusing “The Journey” to the Hebrides.

“ I admire the elegance and variety of description, and the lively picture of men and manners. I always approve of the moral, often of the political reflections. I love the benevolence of the author.

They who search for faults may possibly find them in this, as well as in every other work of literature.

“For example, the friends of the old family say that the æra of planting is placed too late, at the Union of the two kingdoms. I am known to be no friend of the old family, yet I would place the æra of planting at the Restoration, after the murder of Charles I. had been expiated in the anarchy which succeeded it.

“Before the Restoration few trees were planted, unless by the monastic drones; their successors (and worthy patriots they were) the barons, first cut down the trees and then sold the estates. The gentleman at St. Andrews, who said that there were but two trees in Fife, ought to have added, that the elms of Balmerino were sold within these twenty years to make pumps for the fire-engines.

“In J. Major de Gestis Scotorum, L. i. C. 2, last edition, there is a singular passage :

“ Davidi Cranstoneo conterraneo, dum de primà theologiæ licentiå foret, duo ei consocii et familiares, et mei cum eo in artibus auditores, scilicet Jacobus Almain Senonensis, et Petrus Bruxcellensis, Prædicatoris ordinis, in Sorbonæ curiâ die Sor

bonico commilitonibus suis publice objecerunt, quod pane avenaceo plebeii Scotr, sicut a quodam religioso intellexerant, vescebantur, ut virum, quem cholericum noverant, honestis salibus tentarent, qui hoc inficiari tanquam patrice dedecus nisus est."*

“Pray introduce our countryman Mr. Licentiate David Cranston, to the acquaintance of Mr. Johnson. The syllogism seems to have been this :—They who feed on oatmeal are barbarians ; but the Scots feed on oatmeal ; ergo.—The licentiate denied the minor.-I am, sir, your most obedient servant,


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Dunnichen, 16th February, 1775. "MY DEAR BOSWELL, I cannot omit a moment to return you my best thanks for the entertainment you have furnished me, my family, and guests, by the perusal of Dr. Johnson's Journey to the Western Islands'-and now for my sentiments of it. I was well entertained. His descriptions are accurate and vivid. He carried me on the Tour along with him. I am pleased with the justice he has done to your humour and vivacity. “The noise of the wind being all its own,' is a bon mot, that it would have been a pity to have omitted, and a robbery not to have ascribed to its author.

“There is nothing in the book, from beginning to end, that a Scotchman need to take amiss. What he says of the country is true, and his observations on the people are what must naturally occur to a sensible, observing, and reflecting inhabitant of a convenient metropolis, where a man on thirty pounds a-year may be better accommodated with all the little wants of life than Col or Sir Allan. He reasons candidly about the second-sight; but I wish he had inquired more before he ventured to say he even doubted of the possibility of such an unusual and useless deviation from all the known laws of nature. The notion of the second-sight I consider as a remnant of superstitious ignorance and credulity, which a philosopher will set down as such till the contrary is clearly proved, and then it will be classed among the other certain though unaccountable parts of our nature, like dreams, and—I do not know what.

* In regard to the language, it has the merit of being all his own. Many words of foreign extraction are used, where, I believe, common ones would do as well, especially on familiar occasions. Yet I believe he could not express himself so forcibly in any other style. I am charmed with his researches concerning the Erse language, and the antiquity of their manuscripts. I am quite convinced, and I shall rank Ossian, and his * Fingals' and 'Oscars' amongst the nursery-tales, not the true history of our country in all time to come.

“ Upon the whole, the book cannot displease, for it has no pretensions. The author neither says he is a geographer, nor an antiquarian, nor very learned in the History of Scotland, nor a naturalist nor a fossilist. The manners of the people and the face of the country are all he attempts to describe, or seems to have thought of. Much were

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* It appears from Major's statement that David Cranston, Licentiate in Theology was objected to jocularly by two of his intimate friends, James Almain, of Sens, and Peter of Brussels, in the senate-house of the Sorbonne, on the ground that the ple beian Scots fed on oat bread ; and that they did this as a joke on Cranston, whom they knew to be a choleric man, and who attempted to deny the statement as a disgrace to his country. The quotation would have amused Johnson; but the best retort on his definition of oats being the food of men in Scotland and of horses in England is that of Lord Elibank, given by Sir Walter Scott in one of his notes to Mr. Croker: “ Yes," said he," and where will you find such men and such horses ?"-Ev.

it to be wished that they who have travelled into more remote, and of course more curions regions, had all possessed his good sense. Of the state of learning, his observations on Glasgow University show that he has formed a very sound judgment. He understands our climate too, and he has accurately observed the changes, however slow and imperceptible to us, which Scotland has undergone, in consequence of the blessings of liberty and internal peace. I could have drawn my pen through the story of the old woman at St. Andrews, being the only silly thing in the book. He has taken the opportunity of ingrafting into the work several good observations, which I dare say he had made upon men and things before he set foot on Scotch ground, by which it is considerably enriched.* A long journey, like a tall Maypole, though not very beautiful in itself, yet pretty enough, when ornamented with flowers and garlands: it furnishes a sort of cloak-pins for hanging the furniture of your mind upon; and whoever sets out upon a journey, without furnishing his mind previously with much study and useful knowledge, erects a May-pole in December, and puts up very useless cloak-pins.

“I hope the book will induce many of his countrymen to make the same jaunt, and help to intermix the more liberal part of them still more with us, and perhaps abate somewhat of that virulent antipathy which many of them entertain against the Scotch who certainly would never have formed those combinations which he takes notice of, more than their ancestors, had they not been necessary for their mutual safety, at least for their success, in a country where they are treated as foreigners. They would find us not deficient, at least in point of hospitality, and they would be ashamed ever after to abuse us in the mass.

“So much for the Tour. I have now, for the first time in my life, passed a winter in the country; and never did three months roll on with more swiftness and satisfaction. I used not only to wonder at, but pity, those whose lot condemned them to winter anywhere but in either of the capitals. But every place has its charms to a cheerful mind. I am busy planting and taking measures for opening the summer campaign in farming; and I find I have an excellent resource, when revolutions in politics perhaps, and revolutions in the sun for certain, will make it decent for me to retreat behind the ranks of the more forward in life.

“I am glad to hear the last was a very busy week with you. I see you as counsel in some causes which must have opened a charming field for your humorous veins. As it is more uncommon, so I verily believe it is more useful than the more serious exercise of reason; and, to a man who is to appear in public, more éclat is to be gained, sometimes more money too, by a bon mot, than a learned Speech. It is the fund of natural humour which Lord North possesses, that makes him so much the favourite of the House, and so able, because so amiable, a leader of a party.

“I have now finished my Tour of Seven Pages. In what remains, I beg leave to offer my compliments, and those of ma très chere femme, to you and Mrs. Boswell. Pray unbend the busy brow, and frolic a little in a letter to-My dear Boswell, your affectionate friend,


* Mr. Orme, one of the ablest historians of this age, is of the same opinion. He said to me, “There are in that book thoughts which, by long revolution in the great mind of Johnson, have been formed and polished, like pebbles rolled in the ocean!"Boswell.

+ Every reader will, I am sure, join with me in warm admiration of the traly patriotic writer of this letter. I know not which most to applaud-that good sense and

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I shall also present the public with a correspondence with the Laird of Rasay, concerning a passage in the “Journey to the Western Islands," which shows Dr. Johnson in a very amiable light :


Rasay, April 10th, 1775. "DEAR SIR, -I take this occasion of returning you my most hearty thanks for the civilities shown to my daughter by you and Mrs. Boswell. Yet, though she has informed me that I am under this obligation, I should very probably have deferred troubling you with making my acknowledgments at present, if I had not seen Dr. Johnson's

Journey to the Western Isles,” in which he has been pleased to make a very friendly mention of my family, for which I am surely obliged to him, as being more than an equivalent for the reception you and he met with. Yet there is one paragraph I should have been glad he had omitted, which I am sure was owing to misinformation ; that is, that I had acknowledged Macleod to be my chief, though my ancestors disputed the pre-eminence for a long tract of time.

“I never had occasion to enter seriously on this argument with the present laird or his grandfather, nor could I have any temptation to such a renunciation from either of them. I acknowledge the benefit of being chief of a clan is in our days of very little significancy, and to trace out the progress of this honour to the founder of a family, of any standing, would perhaps be a matter of some difficulty.

“The true state of the present case is this: the Macleod family consists of two different branches; the Macleods of Lewis, of which I am descended, and the Macleods of Harris. And though the former have lost a very extensive estate by forfeiture in King James the Sixth's time, there are still several respectable faniilies of it existing, who would justly blame me for such an unmeaning cession, when they all acknowledge me head of that family; which though in fact it be but an ideal point of honour, is not hitherto so far disregarded in our country, but it would determine some of my friends to look on me as a much smaller man than either they or myself judge me at present to be. I will therefore ask it as a favour of you to acquaint the Doctor with the difficulty he has brought me to. In travelling among rival clans such a silly tale as this might easily be whispered into the ear of a passing stranger; but as it has no foundation in fact, I hope the Doctor will be so good as to take his own way in undeceiving the public, I principally mean my friends and connexions, who will be first angry at me, and next sorry to find such an instance of my littleness recorded in a book which has a very fair chance of being much read. I expect you will let me know what he will write you in return, and we here beg to make offer to you and Mrs. Boswell of our most respectful compliments. I am, dear sir, your most obedient humble servant,

“JOHN MACLEOD."* liberality of mind which could see and admit the defects of his native country, to which no man is a more zealous friend, or that candour which induced him to give just praise to the minister whom he honestly and strenuously opposed.-Boswell.

[Mr. Dempster opposed Lord North in the contest with the American colonies. Ho sat in Parliament as representative of the Fife burghs for twenty-eight years, and was indefatigable in promoting every scheme for the extension and improvement of the Scottish manufactures and fisheries. In his old age he took to agriculture, and displayed the same enthusiastic and manly spirit in his new pursuit that he had evinced on public and political questions. He died February 13, 1818, aged eightyfour.-ED.)

* Mr. Skene, in his “ Highlanders of Scotland," disputes the Norwegian descent of the Clan Leod, although the family acquired large estates in Skye by marriage with



London, May 8, 1775. "DEAR SIR, — The day before yesterday I had the honour to receive your letter, I immediately communicated it to Dr. Johnson. He said he loved your spirit, and was exceediugly sorry that he had been the cause of the smallest uneasiness to you. There is not a more candid man in the world than he is, when properly addressed, as you will see from his letter to you, which I now inclose. He has allowed me to take a copy of it, and he says you may read it to your clan, or publish it if you please. Be assured, sir, that I shall take care of what he has intrusted to me, which is to have an acknowledgment of his error inserted in the Edinburgh newspapers. You will, I dare say, be fully satisfied with Dr. Johnson's behaviour. He is desirous to know that you are ; and therefore, when you have read his acknowledgment in the papers, I beg you may write to me; and if you choose it, I am persuaded a letter from you to the Doctor also will be taken kind. I shall be at Edinburgh the week after next.

“Any civilities which my wife and I had in our power to show to your daughter, Miss Macleod, were due to her own merit, and were well repaid by her agreeable company. But I am sure I should be a very unworthy man if I did not wish to show a grateful sense of the hospitable and genteel manner in which you were pleased to treat me. Be assured, my dear that I shall never forget your goodness, and the happy hours which I spent in Rasay.

“You and Dr. Macleod were both so obliging as to promise me an account in writing of all the particulars which each of you remember concerning the transactions of 1745-6. Pray do not forget this, and be as minute and full as you can; put down everything; I have a great curiosity to know as much as I can, authentically.

“I beg you to present my best respects to Lady Rasay, my compliments to your young family, and to Dr. Macleod; and my hearty good wishes to Malcolm, with whom I hope again to shake hands cordially. I have the honour to be, dear sir, your obliged and faithful humble servant,


Advertisement written by Dr. Johnson, and inserted by his desire in the

Edinburgh newspapers : referred to in the foregoing letter. * “The author of the 'Journey to the Western Islands,' having related that the Macleods of Rasay acknowledge the chieftainship or superiority of the Macleods of Sky, finds that he has been misinformed or mistaken. He means in a future edition to correct his error, and wishes to be told of more, if more have been discovered.”

the daughter of Macraild or Macrailt, one of the Norwegian nobles of the Isles. The original possession of the Macleods was Glenelg, of which district David II. granted & charter to Malcolm, son of Tormod Macleod, the reddendo being to keep a galley with thirty-six oars for the use of his Majesty. Mr. Skene thinks that Macleod of Glenelg (and of Harris, &c.) was of old the proper chief of the entire clan, and that the marriage of a younger son of that family with the heiress of Assynt and Lewis gave rise to the family of Macleods of Lewis, the oldest cadets of the clan, and represented by Macleod of Rasay. Mr. Gregory, in his “ History of the Western Islands," seems to regard the Siol (or race of) Torguil (Rasay) and the Siol Tormod (Glenelg, Harris, &c.) as two distinct and powerful clans of equal rank, although descended from one common ancestor. Their armorial bearings are different; that of Lewis boing a burning mount, that of Harris a castle. See “Wilson's Voyage Round Scotland."-Ed.

* The original MS. is now in my possession.-BOSWELL.

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