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regions of Scotland. There, Hardyng tells us, is such abundance of corn and cattle that an army would find more than enough to satisfy all its wants. 51 Leslie, writing in the middle of the sixteenth century and Lithgow in the beginning of the seventeenth, use almost the same language in their descriptions of Clydesdale. It is, says Lithgow, “the best mixed country for corns, meads, pasturage, woods, parks, orchards, castles, palaces, divers kinds of coal and earth fuel that our Albion produceth and may justly be named the paradise of Scotland." Later in the seventeenth century John Ray, the naturalist, bore the same testimony to the pleasantness of Clydesdale. “The country all thereabout,” he says, with special reference to the neighbourhood of Hamilton," is very pleasant and in all respects for woods, pastures, corn, etc., the best we saw in Scotland. 52

We need not delay over Stirlingshire—the general testimony of the time being that it rivalled Lothian in fertility and the number of its countryseats. Fife, however, we cannot pass over, as strangers and natives alike concurred in regarding it as a veritable land of Goshen. If we may believe Pitscottie, Mary of Lorraine, on her arrival in Fife in 1538, was greatly impressed by the evidences of comfort and prosperity which she saw around her. “She never saw in France," she told James V., whose queen she was about to become, “she never saw in France, nor no other country, so many good

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faces in so little room as she saw that day in Scotland. For,” she said, “it was shown to her in France that Scotland was but a barbarous country, destitute and void of all commodities that used to be in other countries, but now she confesses she saw the contrary, for she saw never so many fair personages of men and women and also young babes and children as she saw that day in those bounds where she had been.” 53 Mary of Lorraine's eulogy was doubtless coloured by her own happy circumstances and by her national turn for saying pleasant things, but sober evidence shows that they need not have been so over-strained as we might think. James VI.'s picturesque simile is well known. Fife, he said, was “a grey cloth mantle with a golden fringe.” An Englishman, who rode through Fife in 1598, speaks of it as “a pleasant little territory of open fields,” and elsewhere he says that it “yields corn and pasture and sea-coals, as the seas no less plentifully yield (among other fish) store of oysters and shell-fishes, and this country is populous and full of noblemen's and gentlemen's dwellings, commonly compassed with little groves.” 54 Half a century later (1655), we have some interesting remarks on Fife by one whose evidence is of special value.

This was Thomas Tucker, a commissioner sent to Scotland by the Protectorate to settle the Excise and Customs. By the date when Tucker wrote, it should be said that Fife had fallen somewhat from its ancient prosperity, so that we must heighten his picture when we think of the times of Mary. “For," he says, “although this be the bounds of one of the best and richest counties of Scotland, yet the goodness and riches of the country, arising more from the goodness and fertility of the soil and lands than any traffic, hath made it the residence and seat of many of the gentry of that nation, who have wholly driven out all but their tenants and peasants even to the shore side." 55 The prosperity of Fife was mainly due to three sources-to the fertility of its soil, the manufacture of salt, and the abundance of coal. Of these industries something will afterwards be said, and here it may be sufficient to note that Fife not only exported coal to foreign countries, but, according to Bishop Leslie, supplied all the east coast to the north of the Tay with that commodity.56

If an invading army crossed the Tay, there were still many tracts of fertile country where it could find victual for the lifting. From the earliest times the Carse of Gowrie had been cultivated like a garden. There, I warrant you, says Hardyng, you will find abundance of corn and cattle and every needful commodity; and Lithgow, in his description of the Carse fairly surpasses himself. He speaks of it as “the diamond-plot of Tay, or rather the youngest sister of matchless Piedmont" -the only drawback to this earthly paradise being that its inhabitants were so uncivil that they went

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by the name of the “Carles (churls) of the Carse.” 57 If the invader made his way to Perth, he would find a booty which would reward him for his protracted march, since even at the close of the seventeenth century Perth was spoken of as the second city in the kingdom. “A very pretty place," a Frenchman writes in 1548; and Bishop Leslie, some thirty years later, expatiates on its bustling trade and delectable situation. 58

To the fertility of Angus and the Mearns there is concurrent testimony at least from the fifteenth century; but of all parts of the country it was Moray that had the greatest name for the fecundity of its soil and its high cultivation. When strangers came to Scotland, they were told that they must go to Moray to see what the country could produce. “So abundant is this district in corn and pasturage,” writes Buchanan, “and so much beautified, as well as enriched, by fruit trees, that it may truly be pronounced the first county in Scotland ;” 59 and Leslie descants with equal emphasis on its wholesome air, the absence of swamps and mosses, its extensive woods, and the variety of its products. 6o

The place which the Highlands filled in the economy of the country has already been indicated, but a passage from the preamble of an Act of Privy Council, under the date 1566, will show how clearly it was recognised that Highlands and Lowlands formed the natural complement of each other. “Since it is not only needful,” the passage runs,


" that good neighbourhood and abstinence from all displeasure and invasion be observed among all the lieges, but that either of them sustain and relieve other's necessities by the interchange of the excrescence and superfluous fruit-growing in the Highlands and Lowlands, so that necessarily markets must be kept open, etc.” 61 Timber, as we have seen, was the chief commodity which the Highlands supplied to the low country. It is known to every one, runs another entry in the Privy Council Register, “that in all times bygone the use and consuetude has been that indwellers of the Highlands have brought and conveyed timber to the burghs next adjacent, by the rivers, waters, and lochs, having their course to the same, as may be seen by St Johnston (Perth), Inverness, and divers other burghs.” 6 As we learn from the same authority, however, this trade in timber was carried on under considerable difficulties. As the floats conveying the cargoes had occasionally to pass through the territories of successive clans, the voyage was apt to be a veritable running of the gauntlet. From the Act just quoted, for example, we learn that Fraser of Lovat refused to allow the men of Glengarry to convey timber to Inverness—for which he was duly called to account by the Council, though apparently to little purpose.

The rearing of cattle, also, was a general industry in the Highlands, and in that commodity they did an active trade with the neighbouring lowland towns.

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