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Character of Lord Dundee, and the Highlanders: from Sir John Dalrymple's Memoirs of Great Britain and Ireland.


O mark the fingular features of fingular characters, is one of the chief provinces of hiftory. Dundee had inflamed his mind from his earlieft youth, by the perufal of ancient poets, hiftorians, and orators, with the love of the great actions they praife and defcribe. He is reported to have inflamed it ftill more, by liftening to the ancient fongs of the highland bards. He entered into the profeffion of arms with an opinion, that he ought to know the fervices of different nations, and the duties of different ranks: with this view, he went into several foreign fervices; and when he could not obtain a command, ferved as a volunteer. At the battle of Seneffe, he faved the Prince of Orange's life. Soon after, he afked one of the Scotch regiments in the Dutch fervice. The Prince being pre-engaged, refufed his request. Upon this, he quitted the Dutch fervice, " faying, The foldier who has not gratitude cannot be brave." His reputation, and his fervices against the covenanters, obtained him a regiment from Charles II. and a peerage, and high command in the army from his fucceffor. In his exploits against thefe men, his behaviour had been fullied by the imputation of cruelty: he excufed himself by faying, "That, if terror ended or prevented war, it was true mercy." VOL. II.


Dundee had orders from his mafter not to fight M'Kay, until a large force which was promised from Ireland, fhould join him: hence he was kept during two months, cooped up in the mountains, furious from restraint. He was obliged continually to fhift his quarters by prodigious marches, in order to avoid or harrafs his enemy's army, to obtain provifions, and fometimes to take advantages: the firft meffenger of his approach, was generally his own army in fight: the first intelligence of his retreat, brought accounts, that he was already out of his enemy's reach. In fome of those marches, his men wanted bread, falt, and all liquors, except water, during feveral weeks; yet were ashamed to complain, when they obferved, that their commander lived not more delicately than themselves. If any thing good was brought him to eat, he fent it to a faint or fick foldier: if a foldier was weary, he offered to carry his arms. He kept thofe who were with him from finking under their fatigues, not fo much by exhortation, as by preventing them from attending to their fufferings. For this reafon he walked on foot with the men; now by the fide of one clan, and anon by that of another: he amufed them with jokes: he flattered them with his knowledge of their genealogies: he animated them by a recital of the deeds of their ancestors, and of the verfes of their bards. It was one of his maximis, that no general should fight with an irregular army, unless he was acquainted with every man he commanded, Yet, with thefe habits of fa miliarity,


caftle of the chieftain was a kind of palace, to which every man of his tribe was made welcome, and where he was entertained according to his station, in time of peace, and to which all flocked at the found of war. Thus the meaneft of the clan, knowing himself to be as well-born as the head of it,revered in his chieftain his own honour; loved in his clan his own blood; complained not of the difference of ftation into which fortune had thrown him, and refpected himfelf: the chieftain in return bestowed a protection, founded equally on gratitude, and the consciousness of his own intereft. Hence the highlanders, whom more favage nations called Sa

The army he commanded was moft-vage, carried, in the outward expreffion ly compofed of highlanders from the of their manners, the politeness of interior parts of the highlands: a peo- courts without their vices, and, in their ple untouched by the Roman or Saxon bofoms, the high point of honour withinvafions on the South, and by thofe of out its follies. the Danes on the Eaft and Weft skirts of their country: the unmixed remains of that Celtic empire, which once ftretched from the pillars of Hercules to Archangel. As the manners of this race of men were, in the days of our fathers, the most fingular in Europe, and, in those of our fons, may be found no where but in the records of hiftory, it is proper here to describe them.

In countries where the furface is rugged, and the climate uncertain, there is little room for the ufe of the plough; and, where no coal is to be found, and few provifions can be raised, there is ftill lefs for that of the anvil and fhuttle. As the highlanders were, upon thefe accounts, excluded from extenfive agriculture and manufacture a-like, every family raised juft as much grain, and made as much raiment as fufficed for itself; and nature, whom art cannot force, destined them to the life of shepherds. Hence, they had not that excefs of industry which reduces man to a machine, nor that total want of it which finks him into a rank of animals below his own.


miliarity, the severity of his difcipline was dreadful: the only punishment he inflicted was death: "All other pu"nishments," he faid, " difgraced a a gentleman, and all who were with "him were of that rank; but that "death was a relief from the confci"oufnefs of crime." It is reported of him, that, having feen a youth fly in his first action, he pretended he had fent him to the rear on a meffage: the youth fled a fecond time: he brought him to the front of the army, and faying, "That a gentleman's fon ought not to fall by the hands of a common executioner," shot him with his own piftol.

The highlanders were compofed of a number of tribes called Clans, each of which bore a different name, and lived upon the lands of a different chieftain. The members of every tribe were tied one to another, not only by the feudal, but by the patriarchal bond: for, while the individuals which compofed it were vaffals or tenants of their own hereditary chieftain, they were alfo all defcended from his family, and could count exactly the degree of their defcent: and the right of primogeniture, together with the weakness of the laws to reach inacceffible countries, and more inacceffible men, had, in the revolution of centuries, converted these natural principles of connection between the chieftain and his people, into the moft facred ties of human life. The

They lived in villages built in vallies and by the fides of rivers. At two feafons of the year, they were bufy; the one in the end of fpring and beginning of fummer, when they put the plough into the little land they had capable of receiving it, fowed their grain and laid in their provifion of turf for the winter's fewel; the other, just before winter, when they reaped their harvest: the reft of the year was all their own for amufement or for war.

If not engaged in war, they indulged themselves in Summer in the most delicious of all pleasures, to men in a cold climate and a romantic country, the enjoyment of the fun, and of the Summer-views of nature; never in the houfe during the day, even fleeping often at night in the open air, among the mountains and woods. They spent the winter in the chafe, while the fun was up; and, in the evening, affembling round a common fire, they entertained themselves with the fong, the tale, and the dance: but they were ignorant of fitting days and nights at games of fkill, or of hazard, amufements which keep the body in inaction, and the mind. in a state of vicious activity!

The want of a good, and even of a fine ear for mufic, was almoft unknown amougft them; because it was kept in continual practice, among the multitude ⚫ from paffion, but by the wifer few, becaufe they knew that the love of mufic both heightened the courage, and foftened the tempers of their people. Their vocal mufic was plaintive, even to the depth of melancholy; their inftrumental either lively for brifk dances, or martial for the battle. Some of their tunes even contained the great, but natural idea of a history described in mufic: the joys of a marriage, the noise of a quarrel, the founding to arms, the rage of a battle, the broken diforder of a flight, the whole concluding with the folemn dirge and lamentation for the flain. By the loudnefs and artificial jarring of their war inftrument, the bag-pipe, which played continually during the action, their fpirits were exalted to a phrenzy of courage in battle.

They joined the pleafures of hiftory and poetry to those of mufic, and the love of claffical learning to both. For, in order to cherish high fentiments in the minds of all, every confiderable family had an hiftorian who recounted, and a bard who fung, the deeds of the clan, and of its chieftain: and all, even the lowest in station, were fent to school in their youth; partly because they

had nothing elfe to do at that age, and partly becaufe literature was thought the distinction, not the want of it the mark of good birth.

The leverity of their climate, the height of their mountains, the distance of their villages from each other, their love of the chafe and of war, with their defire to vifit and be vifited, forced them to great bodily exertions. The vaftnefs of the objects which furrounded them, lakes, mountains, rocks, cataracts, extended and elevated their minds: for they were not in the state of men, who only know the way from one market town to another. Their want of regular occupation led them, like the ancient Spartans, to contemplation, and the powers of converfation: powers which they exerted in ftriking out the original thoughts which nature had fuggefted, not in languidly repeating thofe which they had learn ed from other people.

They valued themfelves, without undervaluing other nations. They lov ed to quit their own country to fee and to hear, adopted eafily the manners of others, and were attentive and infinuating where-ever they went: but they loved more to return home, to repeat what they had obferved; and, among other things, to relate with astonifhment, that they had been in the midft of great focietics, where every individual made his fenfe of independence to confift in keeping at a distance from another. Yet they did not think themfelves entitled to hate or despise the manners of ftrangers, because they differed from their own. For they revered the great qualities of other nations; and only made their failings the fubject of an inoffenfive merriment.

When ftrangers came amongst them, they received them not with a ceremony which forbids a fecond vifit, not with a coldnefs which caufes repentance of the firft, not with an embaraffment which leaves both the landlord and his guest in equal mifery, but with the moft pleafing of all politeness, the A 2 fimplicity

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