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“The Highlanders," writes an early English traveller, "are not without considerable quantities of corn, yet have not enough to satisfy their numbers, and therefore yearly come down with their cattle of which they have greater plenty, and so traffic with the Lowlanders for such proportions of oats and barley as their families or necessities call for." 63 From these data it will be seen that the relations between Highland and Lowland were not, as we are apt to imagine, solely confined to cattle-lifting, on the one hand, and blackmail, on the other. As far back as history carries us, we find a regular commercial intercourse between the two regions, and each deriving mutual benefit from the other.
The Western Islands did not play such a prominent part during the reign of Mary as during the reigns of her immediate predecessors. happens, however, that we know more of the general appearance of these islands at the period with which we are dealing than of any other the kingdom A few words regarding them, therefore, may fitly conclude this general survey of the country. Our authority is Donald Monro, who held the office of High Dean of the Western Islands under the pre-Reformation Church. In 1549 he made a pastoral visitation of the Islands, and wrote a "Description" of nearly two hundred of them, specifying their size, the nature of their soil, the number of their churches, and the occupa
part of tions of their inhabitants. From what he says of a few of the larger islands we may form some notion of them as a whole ; and it will be seen that their present inhabitants might be justified in regarding the sixteenth century as the golden age of their country. 64
Speaking of Bute, Monro describes it as an island eight miles long by four broad, very fertile, especially for oats, and possessing two castles and two parish churches. Jura possessed a fine deer forest, was well cultivated along the coast, and abounded in “noble colts." Islay was "fertile, fruitful, and full of natural grassing, with many great deer, many woods, with fair games of hunting beside every town.” Mull is described as “a great rough isle, but not the less fertile and fruitful.” It was well clad with wood, and afforded excellent hunting, was noted for the size and number of its martens, and possessed three castles and seven parish churches. Iona was "fertile and fruitful of corn and store, and good for fishing." In Skye there were twelve parish churches; the island was well peopled and cultivated; oats were specially good and plentiful; the pasture excelled that of all the other islands; and there were abundant woods and forests. Uist had five churches and was a fertile island, clad with forests on the east coast, but under cultivation on the north-west. Monro embraced even the far St Kilda in his visitation. He describes it as "abundant in corn and grass
ing,” so far as it was brought under cultivation-its sheep being the finest reared in the islands.
Its inhabitants were “simple, poor people, scarce learned in any religion.” Once a year the steward of M'Leod of Harris, to whom the island belonged, visited it for the purpose of baptizing the children born in the interval. On these occasions, we are told, the steward was wont to brew a vat of ale, of which men, women, and children greedily partook with immediate and disastrous consequences.
From this survey of the Scotland of Mary Stewart it will be seen that in spite of the monotony of landscape arising from the lack of all manner of fences and the general absence of timber the country by no means presented the aspect of a mere wilderness. Broadly speaking it may be said that the most fertile parts of the country now under cultivation at the present day were largely under cultivation then. 65 It would seem, indeed, that visitors from England were impressed by the fact that Scotland was emphatically a grain-producing country. As we have seen, the principal crops reared were barley and oats—the straw of which was generally used for the feeding of cattle. Peas and beans were largely grown, but little wheat. There was no lack of pasture, but, according to the sarcastic Weldon, the word hay was heathen Greek to the Scots—their custom being to sell such grass as was grown. Hemp was cultivated in considerable quantities, and by the middle of the seventeenth
» 67 and a
century became the chief agricultural industry. Of hemp, we are then told, the Scots had “mighty burdens,” and produced from it “the most noted and beneficial manufacture of the Kingdom. Fruits had been reared from the early Middle Age in Scotland, but at first this had been mainly in connection with the religious houses. In course of time, however, orchards must have become general, as we have frequent legislation against persons who were in the habit of robbing them. Still, even in
, the seventeenth century, fruits were a rarity in Scotland. “As for fruit,” says Weldon, "for their grandsire Adam's sake they (the Scots) never planted any,
more friendly observer, writing in 1579, declares that of flowers or fruit there are little or none in Scotland. 68 In the course of the next century fruit-growing must have become a more general industry as is proved by the following interesting passage.
“Orchards they (the Scots) have few,” says the writer, who visited Scotland in 1689. “ And their apples, pears, and plums are not of the best kind; their cherries are tolerably good. And they have one sort of pear, large and well-tasted, but seldom had. Wall-fruit is very rare. But of gooseberries, currants, strawberries and the like, they have of each but growing in gentlemen's gardens, and yet from thence we sometimes meet with them in the markets of their burghs.
GENERAL APPEARANCE OF THE VILLAGES AND
AVING described the general appearance
ch Scotland presented in the time of Mary, let us now glance at the villages and towns -in their case, also, specially noting the peculiarities that struck the traveller from other countries. In the year 1584 Scotland was visited by a personage who appears to have been an early specimen of the
globe-trotter." This was Lupold von Wedel, a Pomeranian noble who, in the course of his travels, had visited Egypt, the Holy Land, the greater part of Europe, as well as England and Scotland. Von Wedel kept notes of what he saw in the course of his peregrinations, but in the case of Scotland these notes are unfortunately not so full as we could have wished. In a few words he thus gives his impression of Scottish villages in the sixteenth century. “The villages,” he says, “look
” very poor, the houses having stone walls not as high as a man, upon which the roofs are erected and covered with sod.”: Even at the present day we are familiar with Scottish villages, or, at least, parts of them, which might be described in the