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Chesterfield to find how soon all its laws are discovered, and with what delicacy and exactness they are practised, even among those who pass under the appellation of savages. The same rejection of all direct contradiction,-the same avoidance of all topics that are personally painful to any of the hearers,-the same temperance in raillery, the same patient listening, and more than the same deference to age, that are prescribed by the veteran observer of courtly manners, are practised and enforced, not merely in the cottage of the Highlander, but in the tent of the wandering Arab, and the wigwam of the American Indian.


Such seem to be the chief circumstances which have a tendency, in all rude societies, to confer on the lower orders a certain degree of dignity and intelligence, which they are not found to attain in the more advanced stages of national prosperity,—and which may seem to make it doubtful, whether the great improvement which society has made in wealth, splendour, and power, is not accompanied with some diminution of the happiness of the larger body, as it undoubtedly is, with a great falling off in the polish of their manners, and the elevation of their sentiments. In this hasty sketch, we have spoken only of the lower orders,—and of the origin of that awkwardness, brutishness, and self-abase. ment, in which their vulgarity consists; and this we have done, both because it was with reference to the absence of this quality in that class of persons that the discussion was suggested,-and because, in reality, the description and the genealogy of vulgarity is one and the same, whether we take our examples from among the rich, or the poor. Its essence consists in ignorance and narrowness of mind-in conscious inferiority,-and in habitual inattention to the pains and pleasures that may be occasioned by the ordinary intercourse of society: and, where these have grown into habit, the possession of wealth will only render them more conspicuous, and more offensive. If a man's education have been neglected, and his whole mind contracted by a constant attention to some mechanical process, it can make no great difference as to his manners, whether he has bestowed this attention as a journeyman or a master--whether, for example, he daily takes account of the packing of ten thousand nails, or is merely employed in hammering out fifty. In both cases, there will be the same blank in the understanding, and the same palsy in the imagination--the same incapacity to interest or amuse by the varied exercise of the fa culties--and the same awkwardness and conscious inferiority in the presence of those who possesses these qualifications. Instead of running to the alehouse, like his journeyman, he may seek to amuse the heavy intervals of his leisure by more costly voluptuousness--or by domineering over his servants, or insult ing his dependants; but his pleasures will be equally sensual and

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sordid in the main, and his conversation equally regardless of the feelings of those around him. The only difference probably will be, that he may endeavour to disguise his awkwardness and inward sense of inferiority, by a ludicrous imitation, or an affected contempt of the elegance which he despairs of attaining ;-producing, on the one hand, that miserable affectation which renders so much of middle life both wretched and ridiculous,-and, on the other, that coarse and purse-proud insolence which now and then overcomes us with a still worse abomination. Opulent vulgarity, indeed, is not often met with in perfection, except among those who have recently acquired their wealth by some mechanical employment: and there, it is not wonderful that it should appear what indeed it is the vulgarity of an ordinary tradesman, magnified and illuminated by its situation.

It would be easy, in like manner, to show, that the politeness by which the higher ranks are distinguished, arises almost entirely from their possessing, though no doubt in a higher degree, those very advantages which seem in earlier times to have belonged to the whole community--the self-estimation produced by the consciousness of being on a level with what is highest in society--the variety of occupation which enriches and enlivens the faculties--the leisure which enables, and indeed compels them to seek amusement in society--their dependance upon the esteem of their associates for all that is left them to desire-and the impossibility of obtaining, by the help of law or public authority, those objects that are most essential to their happiness.-But it is more to the purpose to apply all this to the character of our Highlanders.

While they lived under the pure and undecayed influence of their clannish institutions, they not only enjoyed all those advantages which we have enumerated as common to tribes in that stage of civilization, but several others that were in some degree peculiar to themselves. Mrs. Grant insists a great deal upon their having been, from the first of time, an unconquered nation, and a nation that had made great but effectual sacrifices for the preservation of their freedom. We are not disposed to ascribe a great deal to this. The Highlanders, if not conquered, were at least driven from the field; nor is a nation apt to feel degraded, because its ancestors were in ancient times overcome by superior force. The descendants of Caractacus, like the descendants of Hector, Cato, or Brutus, have at least as much reason to be proud of their lineage as the issue of their conquerors. It is however of far greater and more substantial importance to observe, that the Highlanders have preserved, more unbroken and entire than any subsisting nation, the genealogies of their clans, even in their humblest ramifications. Having been fixed for innu

merable centuries in the same spots, and without the intermixture of colonists or conquerors, their family histories have been preserved for a period which would appear incredible to the mongrel inhabitants of the plains: nor is it a mere catalogue of names that is thus repeated, to feed the pride of their descendants.

"In their conversations," says Mrs. Grant," the heroic actions, the wise or humorous sayings, the enterprises, the labours, the talents, or even the sufferings of their ancestors, are perpetually remembered. These are so often, and so fondly descanted on, where all the world abroad is shut out, that the meanest particulars become hallowed by their veneration of the departed, and are carried on from father to son with incredible accuracy and fidelity. I must be supposed to mean such anecdotes as did honour to the memory of their ancestors. Departed vice and folly sleep in profound oblivion. No one talks of the faults of conduct, or defects in capacity of any of his forefathers. They may be, perhaps, too faithfully recorded by some rival family; but, among a man's own predecessors, he only looks back upon sages and heroes.

"And even among the lowest classes, a man entertains his sons and daughters in a winter night, by reciting the plaintive melody, or mournful ditty, which his great grandmother had composed on the death of her husband, who had lost his life crossing an overswelling stream, to carry, in time of war, an important message for his chief; or of her son, who perished in trying to bring down the nest of an eagle, which preyed on the lambs of the little community-or who was lost in the drift, while humanely searching for the sheep of a sick or absent neighbour." I. 20, 21.


Now, of all the practices that could be devised to exalt the characters, and expand the minds of an illiterate peasantry, we cannot form a conception of any so powerful as this perpetual commemoration of the virtues and exploits of their ancestorsthis early discipline of pride and ambition engaging them to look both before and after,-connecting them at once in an honourable manner with the past and the future, and leading them to value themselves both as sustaining the reputation of men distinguished in their generation, and destined to be remembered by their terity either with triumph or with shame :-These are the feelings which the pride of ancestry is, in other countries, supposed to raise in the breasts of the noble and exalted; but in the Highlands of Scotland, they seem to have possessed that of the most obscure individual, and probably produced the most powerful effects upon those who were reduced, by the homeliness of their external circumstances, to look oftenest back upon this soothing remembrancer of their individual importance. In other countries, a man of the lower orders can seldom look back beyond his grandfather, and never looks forward beyond his son. He

has no conception of acting up to the character of his ancestors, and no anxiety for the name he may transmit to his posterity. He feels nothing strongly but his own insignificance, and the selfish and debasing propensity to seek only the present gratification of a being that seems born to be forgotten.


This self-estimation of the Highlanders, however, is further stimulated and fostered, as it appears to us, by his rivalry, or rather by his jealousy and scorn of his neighbours in the low country. When men know no other manners than those that belong to their own society, they look upon them merely as natural, and never think of referring to them as subjects either of shame or exultation. If their habits lead them to be brave, and active, and ingenious, they do not imagine that there is any greater merit in their possessing these qualities, than in their possessing each two eyes and two hands: But if they have in their vicinity a race who are deficient in the accomplishments they value most highly, and who pretend to undervalue them for defects which produce no inconvenience, they immediately begin to rate themselves considerably higher, and to cultivate, with double assiduity, the qualifications which minister most to their pride; at the same time that they insensibly borrow a little from their despised neighbours, and correct, by their example, some of the most obvious defects in their own institutions. Mrs. Grant has represented in strong, and, we believe, in just colours, the mutual antipathy of these contiguous races.

"No two nations ever were more distinct, or differed more completely from each other, than the Highlanders and Lowlanders; and the sentiments with which they regarded each other, was at best a kind of smothered animosity.

"The Lowlander considered the Highlander as a fierce and savage depredator, speaking a barbarous language, and inhabiting a gloomy and barren region, which fear and prudence forbid all strangers to explore. The attractions of his social habits, strong attachments, and courteous manners, were confined to his glens and to his kindred. All the pathetic and sublime charms of his poetry, and all the wild wonders of his records, were concealed in a language difficult to acquire, and utterly despised as the jargon of barbarians by their Southern neighbours.

"If such were the light in which the cultivators of the soil regarded the hunters, graziers, and warrior of the mountains, their contempt was amply repaid by their high spirited neighbours. They again regarded the Lowlanders, as a very inferior mongrel race of intruders; sons of little men, without heroism, ancestry, or genius; mechanical drudges, who could neither sleep out on the snow, compose extem. pore songs, recite long tales of wonder or of wo, or live without bread and without shelter, for weeks together, following the chase. Whatever was mean or effeminate, whatever was dull, slow, mechanical, or

torpid, was in the highlands imputed to the Lowlanders, and exempli fied by some allusion to them; while, in the low country, every thing ferocious or unprincipled-every species of awkwardness or igno rance-of pride or of insolence, was imputed to the Highlanders." I. p. 27—29.

The most powerful, however, of all the causes that contributed to give an air of dignity and refinement to the whole Highland population, is no doubt the great abundance and the lofty character of their popular poetry. We would not, upon any account, take such an occasion as the present to enter into the controversy as to the authenticity of some celebrated works, purporting to be translations from their poetry ;-but, that poetry has existed in great quantities, from a very remote antiquity, in those regions, and possessing the same general tone that characterizes these translations, is a fact perfectly notorious to all who have conversed with the natives, and which might indeed have been anticipated from a well known part of their institution. We allude now to the regular establishment, not only of Senachies or genealogists, but of Bards or poets, in all considerable families,—an establishment suggested naturally by their pride of ancestry, and their delight in the praises of their illustrious progenitors. These circumstances, too, would naturally determine the character of the poetry that was produced. Being intended primarily to celebrate the virtues and exploits of departed chiefs and warriors, it would treat principally, and with the customary exaggerations, of feats of arms and generosity; and be prolonged into eloquent lamentations for departed heroes, invocations to their ghosts, and exhortations to their descendants. It would assume, therefore, an heroic, and enthusiastic, and melancholly tone: and, without allowing any thing for the ardent temperament of the people, or the inspiration of their adventurous way of life, and the sublime aspects of the regions they inhabited, it is impossible to doubt that, in the course of ages, these national epics must have accumulated and been diffused in very extraordinary abundance.

Consider now the prodigious effects that must have been produced on the character of a people so circumstanced, by the prevalence of such a body of poetry. In the first place, it is to be observed, that it was almost all preserved by oral tradition, and published and diffused among the descendants of those whom it celebrated, by those extraordinary recitations which are still known to form the favourite entertainment of a Highland winter evening. Among a people fond of society, and abounding in leisure, it was diffused, therefore, much more universally than any written poetry can ever be, even in the most improved and cultivated socie ties. In these, there must always be many who cannot read, and many who will not; and of those who both can and will, a great

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