William Thomson.

A tour in England and Scotland, in 1785 online

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rapid improvement. In this tract of coun-
try, there is much corn land j and, about
Carlifle, there is a great extent of rich
grazing land, on both fides of the river
Eden, which runs by the town.

Sunday, i9th June. Carlifle is a city of
confiderable extent, furrounded by a wall
thirty feet high, which is going faft to decay.
At the north end of the town {lands the
caflle, the rudeft heap of flones that were ever
piled together by the induftry of man.
There are four old invalids who take care
of the ammunition kept in it, of which
there is a confiderable quantity, and 500
Hand of arms. On the walls are mounted
thirty guns, from fix to twenty-four poun-
ders, and among thefe the guns with which
the town was reduced in 1745, by the Duke
of Cumberland. The ditch around the


cattle is a filthy ftagnated pool. Between the
old citadel or caftle, and the walls and
mote by which it is feparated from the
town, is a declining bank, on which there
is a row of trees, planted by the hands of
the unfortunate Mary Queen of Scots, when
a prifoner in Carlifle. There are many
very good houfes in this tpwn, though,
in general, it is very ill built, and exceflively
dirty, from the circumftances of its being
furrounded by a wall, and having only a few
outlets. Over the river, which is pretty
large, are thrown two very elegant bridges.
The cathedral is an handfome old building, in
the Gothic ftyle ; the ftone of a brick-dun:
red, like the cathedral of Litchfield. Near
this edifice there is a very modern church,
which looks on the outfide more like a ball-
room than a place of worfhip.

Dine at Carlifle, and in the afternoon,
croffing the fands at the tipper end of Sol-
Firth, enter Scotland, and pafs on to
E 3 Annan,

( 7 )

Annan, which is dLftant from Carlifle eigh-
teen miles.

The land between the Solway Sands
and Annan, is very poor, being chiefly a
black gravel, and bog, producing nothing
but heath. The country here is for many
miles low and flat, but the road exceedingly
good. The town of Annan is finall, but
very neat. It is fituated on an eminence
above the river of that name, which winds
prettily through the meadows below the
town. Thefe, near the banks of the river,
produce good grafs. Immediately on crof-
iing the Solway Firth, we found the children,
and even many of the men and women,
without either fhoes or (lockings. The cot-
tages are miferable huts, made of mud, in-
termixed fometimes with round ftones, (fuch
as are found in the beds of rivers, and as
you meet with in tracls that have, in the
lapfe of time, fuffered the influence and
agency of water) and covered with turf.


( 7' )

Sleep at Annan, where there are two very
good inns, particularly the Queenfherry
Arms ; and after dinner,

On Monday, the 2oth June, ride in the
afternoon, eighteen miles, to Dumfries. On
the road from Annan to this place, as from
the Solway Sands to Annan, the cottages are
built of mud, and covered with turf or thatch,
the pooreft habitations that can be imagined,
and extremely dirty. The inhabitants are
turned yellow with the fmoke of the turf,
which is their only fuel. A fimilar effecl,
I have been informed, is produced, by the
fame caufe, on the inhabitants of North
Holland. The connection between climate,
foil, food, vegetable effluvia, and other phy-
fical caufes, and the complexions or colours
of man, and other animals, is for the moft
part as myfterious as it is various ; but
here it is abundantly manifeft. Till you
ome within two miles of Dumfries, the
Jand is fo exceedingly bad, that it muft baffle
cyerv effort towards cultivation. It feems to
E 4 pro-

( 72 )

produce nothing but peat, which is cut here,
in large quantities, and fupplies all the coun-
try round. Dumfries is a pretty large town,
and very clean. It is fituated in a low vale.
The lands about it are tolerably well culti-
vated. About three miles from it there is a
fmall houfe of the Duke of Queenfberry's,
with fome large plantations of fir, which
appear to thrive extremely well.

Tuefday, 2ift June. Leave Dumfries in
the morning ; pafs Lord Hopetoun's houfe,
around which we find fome tolerable woods ;
but the adjacent country is very barren.
The farm houfes are in general miferable
huts, the people very poor, and the lower
clafs of females exceedingly dirty. The old
women, frightful enough of themfelves, are
rendered ftill morefo by their drefs, the outer
garment being a long dirty cloak, reaching
down to the ground, and the hood drawn
over their heads, and moft of them without
fhoes and Blockings. Others among them
wear what they call buggers, that is, flock-

( 73 )

ings with the feet either worn away by
long and hard fervice, or cut from them on
purpofe : fo that the leg is covered by thefe
uncouth teguments, while the foot, that
bears the burden, and is expofed to brakes
and {tones, is left abfolutely ba~e. In
the winter, efpecially in the highland and
mountainous parts of Scotland, which in-
clude extenfive regions on its fouthem bor-
ders, the old women and men very generally
wear a kind of boots or hofe formed of a
coarfe thick woollen cloth, or ferge, which
they call plaiding, and which they roll in
folds, one above another, for the fake of
heat. In the Low Country of Scotland,
there are many diftrifts, where the old men
yet wear around their loins leathern belts or
girdles, fattened by an iron or brafs buckle,
which, as we learn from fculpture and paint-
ing, fo late as towards the end of the laft
century, were very commonly worn even by
the Scottish gentlemen. Near Lord Hope-
toun's is a remarkable arch thrown over a


( 74 )

deep glen, a very rapid river precipitating
itfelf about fixty feet beneath, through large
rocks, which, in winter, cannot fail to make
a tremendous appearance. Between Dum-
fries and Moffat, a fpace pf twenty-one
miles, there is not an houfe in which you
can find any accommodation that is to-

Dine at MofFat, a very fmall town, witfy
feme tolerable houfes in it, which are let to
invalids who come to this place for the be-
nefit of the water. Here are two fprings,
one of them the ftrongeft mineral in Britain,
and of a very bracing quality. It is about
four miles from the town. The other,
which is of a milder nature, and now com-
monly ufed, is about a mile diitant, and iffues
out of a rock about thirty feet high, by the
fide of a deep glen, at the bottom of which
there runs a ftrons: ftream. The former


fpringhas been greatly injured by the admif-
fion of another ftream into it, which has
deprived it of two thirds of its qualities.


( 75 )

Moffat is furroundedby high hills, and wa-
tered by the river Annan, here only a fmall
flream . The land, except that near the tops of
the hills, feems very capable of cultivation, and,
fuchas by induftry, might produce good corn ;
for, wherever an attempt has been made, it
feems to have been attended with fuccefs : but
their chief attention, in this part of the coun-
try, is beftowed on the rearing of fheep,
which is done with lefs trouble, and with
greater certainty of profit or fuccefs. But,
I fhould think, that the culture of grain and
the breeding of iheep might be happily united ;
and that the land in thefe parts might be
made more profitable, than it is in its pre-
fent flate, both to the landlord and tenant,
by enclofmg the lower parts of the hills, and
fcreening them from the rudenefs of the cli-
mate by trees. For in this barren tra<5t, there
is fcarcely a tree or wood of any kindtobefeen,
except a plantation of firs to the north of the
town, which are yet in their infancy, but which
clearly prove that trees will grow, if the in-

( 76 )

habitants will only take the trouble to plant
them. There is a good houfe here, belong-
ing to Lord Hopetoun ; and the next beft
is the inn, where there is good accom-
modation, and an ordinary, as at Matlock
and Buxton.

Wednefday, 22d June. Leave Moffat,
and afcend an hill, which is nearly three
miles in height. From this height you
have a moft extenfive and dreary pro-
fpec~l of the Weft Highlands, without fo,
much as one fingle tree or fhrub to be feen,
which ever way you turn your eye, for thir-
ty miles around.

Ride fifteen miles to Elvan-foot, with this
dreary wafte on every fide. Crofs a bridge
over the River Clyde, and arrive at a mife-
rable cottage, called an inn, where, notwith-
(landing its appearance, we got a tolerable
dinner, and fome very good wine. There is
an houfe here, belonging to Mr. Irvine,
which is falling faft to ruin. This inn, and
a blackfmith's fhop, are the only habitations


( 77 )

to be feen in all this country, except a few
temporary fhepherds huts. This place may
fuit the tranfient purpofes of a traveller, on a
fine fummer's day, which this happened to be;
but in winter, it cannot be better defcribed
than by the following lines :

Wou'd Heaven, to punifti fome abandon'd wretch,
Turn the dread vengeance to its utmoft ftretch,
Let him, in cold October's wintry ftorm,
Where fullen heaths the fulky hills deform,
To bleak Drumlanrig * on an hack repair.
Delug'd with floods of rain, and flicker there ;
Or Ihould this curfed doom be too feverc,
Let the vile mifcreant find a refuge here.

Among thefe mountains, and only two or
three miles from each other, the Annan, the
Clyde, and the Tweed, the principal rivers in
the fouth of Scotland, derive their fource.
Moft of the mountains are covered, even to
their fummits, with tolerable grafs. But
they feed nothing upon them but iheep, and
thefe, by no means in proportion to the ex-

* The Duke of Queenlberry's feat.

tent of the country. The proprietors of
land in the North and Weft Highlands of
Scotland have of late converted large tracts
to the rearing of fheep, that had in all former
times been given up to the breed of black
cattle. It is for the land-holders and tenants
in the South Highlands of Scotland to con-
fider, whether it would not be for their inte-
reft, in like manner, to employ certain por-
tions of their pafture lands, in the breed of
horned cattle, efpecially as they have a great
advantage over the farmers of the north and
the weft parts of the country, in their vicinity
to England. At Elvan-foot is an handfome
bridge over the Clyde.

In the afternoon ride to Douglas-Mill,
through the fame kind of wild country, four-
teen miles. At this place there is a tolerable
inn. About two miles from Douglas-Mill,
ftands the antient Caftle of Douglas, fitu-
ated on a fmall river of the fame name. Of
the old caftle there remands only part of one
turret. Near the fame fpotlthere is a new


( 79 )

caftle, which, however, is not completely
finifhed. This, I fuppofe, was intended to
be like the old one ; but three turrets only,
and part of the body of the caftle, is all that
is completed. Many of the rooms -are fpa-
cious and lofty, but not well executed. The
turrets are circular, and have handfome
rooms in them, on each ftory, which, in the
upper ftory, are very convenient, being con-
verted to the purpofe of drefling-rooms for
the bed-chambers. If this houfe, or caftle,
were finifhed, it would be a magnificent
building : but 1 do not find that Mr. Dou-
glas ever intends to live in it. The park,
which is nearly three miles round, is well
tt^ planted, and many of the trees are very
old. But all the country around, far and
near, is open, and, for the moft part, no-
thing but fheep-ground. About a mile
from the caftle is the village of Douglas.

Thurfday, June 23d. Leave Douglas-
Mill, and go to Lanerk. Having travelled


about three miles, we fall in with the Clyde,
the banks of which are under tolerable cul-
tivation, and in fome places prettily adorned
with hanging woods. In this ride, the coun-
try improves every mile, and begins to be
enriched by feveral gentlemen's feats, with
plantations about them, which, after the
wide waftes and dreary folitudes lately tra-
verfed, affords a pleafmg relief to the eye,
and wears the appearance of comfort. On
the right hand, about five miles from Lanerk,
is a feat of Lord Hyndford. A mile fur-
ther, crofs a very elegant bridge, of five
arches, over the Clyde. Nearly two miles
from Lanerk, we get out of the chaife, and
walk about a mile out of the road, to an
houfe called Corra Lynn,* belonging to Sir
John Lockhart Rofs - 3 clofeby which are the


* It is to this fcene that Allan R.amfay alludes, as to the
>greateft poflible hyperbole, when, in his Elegy on John
Cowper, a burlefque poem, he fays,

O ! could my tears like Clyde down rin,

And make a noife like Corra Lynn.

( 8i )

Falls of the Clyde, which exhibit the firft
fcene of this kind in Great Britain. Many
circum fiances concur to render thefe fublime
falls beautifully picturefque : woody banks,
the romantic face of the country, and the
form of the rocks over which they dafli, fo
varied, as to give the aweful torrent the grand-
eft, as well as the mofl diverfified appear-
ance. At the Corra Lynn, the river, which
is very large, is precipitated over a folid rock,
not lefs than 100 feet; and, at Stone -Byers,
about a mile higher up the Clyde, there is
another fall, of about fixty feet, where the
river, confined within a narrow bed, makes
one entire ihoot over the rock. At both
thefe places, this great body of water, rufh-
ing with horrid fury, feems to threaten de-
ftruclion to the folid rocks that enrage it by
their rcfiftance. It boils up from the ca-
verns which itfelf has formed, as if it were
vomited out of the infernal regions. The
horrid and inceilant din with which this is
accompanied, unnerves and overcomes the
F heart.

heart. In vain you look for cefTation or reft
to this troubled fcene. Day after day, and
year after year, it continues its furious
courfe 5 and every moment feems as if wea-
ned nature were going to general wreck.

At the diftance of about a mile from this
aweful fcene, you fee a thick fmoke afcending
to Heaven over the {lately woods. As yo*j.
advance you hear a fullen'noife, which, foon
after, almoft fluns your ears. Doubling, as
you proceed, a tuft of wood, you are ftruck
at once with the aweful fcene which fuddenly
burfts upon your aftoniftied fight. Your
organs of perception are hurried along, and
partake of the turbulence of the roaring wa-
ters. The powers of recollection remain
fufpended, for a time, by this fudden fhock ;
and it is not till after a confiderable time,
that you are enabled to contemplate the fub-
lime horrors of this majeftic fcene.

It is a certain truth, that fuch falls of
water as thefe, exhibit grander and more in-
terefting fcenes than even any of thofe out-

rageous appearances that are formed by
florms, when unrefifted by rocks or land, in
the troubled ocean. In the fea, water rolls
heavily on water, without offering to our
view any appearance of inherent impetuofity :
we defideratc the contraft of the rocky (hores,
and there is not any fuch horrid noiie.

The cafcade at the Corra Lynn, though it
falls from the greateft altitude, and in one
uninterrupted fheet, is narrow in proportion
to its height : that at Stone-Byers, though
not much more than half the height of the
other, has fomewhat in it of greater gran-
deur. It is three times as wide ; its mafs is
more diverfified ; its eddies more turbulent
and outrageous ; and, without being divided
into fuch a number of parts as might take
any thing from its fublimity, it exhibits a
variety of forms that give a greater appear-
ance .both of quantity and of diforder.

In the Corra Lynn, juft where the water
begins to fall down the horrid deep, there
Jftands on a pointed rock a ruined caftle,


( 84 )

which about fifty years ago was inhabited.
In floods, the rock and caftle fhake in fuch a
manner as to fpill water in a glafs. Imagi-
nation can fcarcely conceive a fituation more
awefully romantic, or, before the ufeof gun-
powder, more impregnable. Sir John Lock-
hart Rofs has an houfe on the verge of this
matchlefs fcene.

On the edge alfo of this ftupendous fall
of water, flands a mill, whofe feeble wheel
feems ready to be dalhed in pieces, even by
the fkirts of its foam,

The walk between the higher and the
lower falls, is extremely beautiful and ro-
mantic. The rocks, on each fide of the
river, are an hundred feet high, and covered
with wood. It runs alfo over a bed of foJid
rock, in many places broken, and worn into
large cavities by the violence of the water,
which, from a variety of interruptions, af-
fumes a variety of directions, and in other
places forms numberlefs inferior cafcades.
The two principal falls, when the river is


full, are tremendous beyond defcription. In
the fummer months, the quantity of water
which it contains, is not generally fo great
as to prevent the curious traveller from
making fo near an approach, as may enable
him to take a minute and accurate furvey of
its beauties.

From the Corra Lynn the Clyde con-
tinues to run for feveral miles, between
high rocks covered with wood ; and on
either fide are feveral good houfes, very
pleafantly fituated, and the land about them
well improved. We dined at Lanerk, which
is delightfully fituated on the brow of an hill
above the Clyde, which commands a very
pleafing profpect. Lanerk is a borough
town, but fmall and ill built j and the inha-
bitants appear to be rather in a ftate of po-
verty. In the evening go to Hamilton, a
neat well-built town, with fome very good
houfes in it. The inn here, where we flept,
Js a very good one. It is kept by a Mr.
Clarke, from London. At the end of this
F 3 town

. ( 86 )

town is the Duke of Hamilton's houfe,
which forms three fides of a quadrangle,
placed in a very low filtration. Some of the
rooms in it are large and fpacious, but in ge-
neral, not well furniihed. Among the pic-
tures which adorn this place, there is one
which is indeed capital, namely, Daniel in
the Den of Lions. On a hill in front of the
houfc, is a fanciful building in the (Hie of a
caflle, where there are two or three fitting
rooms, which command a very pleafant
profpecl. The reft of the building is allot-
ted to fervants, and other purpofes. Here
the Duchefs has a very pleafant flower-gar-
den, and notwithstanding the height of the
fpot, every thing in it was very forward at
this time, and all the flowers of the feafon in
full bloom. From this building is a delight-
ful ride of eight miles, on the verge of a fine
wood, which hangs over the River Clyde.
In a part of this ride we palled by a number
of oaks, of much greater antiquity than any
we had feen iince we entered Scotland. Near


thefe venerable trees, and on the top of a
rock which hangs over the river, are the
ruins of the old caille of the Hamiltons.
Of this ilruclure little now remains, except
the gateway. Here we were fhewn fome of
the original cattle of the country, lineally
defcended from the wild ones, but which,
like their prefent mailers, have now grown
tame and civilized. At the Duke's houfe is
a moil excellent garden of feven acres, well
flocked The walls are covered with fruit
trees, which are in a very flouriming flate,
and which exhibit not any fymptoms of the
bad climate complained of in this country.
Cherries and ilrawberries were at this time
quite ripe ; and moil other fruits were brought
to maturity, in their proper feafon, without
the aid of art, which was not the cafe at the
Duke of Devonshire's, in Derbyihire. At
the Duke of Hamilton's there is alfj a good
hot-houfe and green-houfe.

Saturday, the 25th of June. Leave Ha-
milton, and proceed to Glafgow, a very plea-
F 4 fant

( 88 )

fant ride, through a well improved country,
of eleven miles, part of it on the banks of
the Clyde. About three miles from Hamil-
ton is Bothwell-Bridge, where a famous
battle was fought in 1651, between the Loy-
alifts and Scotch Covenanters. About two
miles from this is Both well Caftle, belonging
to the Douglas family, which is a great an-,
tient tower, exactly in the ftile, as well, as
correfponding in magnitude, to the old
Welch catties. The walls of this large ftruc-
ture, .a great part of which is ftill Handing,
were fixty feet high, and fifteen thick. This
enormous mafs, in one part, crufhed its
foundation, and rock and cattle, in one place,
fell down together in the Clyde. This
breach in the foundation was afterwards
filled up, and the wall that had fallen re-
built. This caflle formed an oblong fquare,
or internal quadrangle, with a round turret
at each corner, three of which are ftill entire;
but all the internal part is demolifhed. In
the centre of the building flood the citadel,


or keep, which was the moft inacceflible part
of the caftle. The windows were placed very
high, the hottoms of them being at leaft fifteen
feet from the ground j and all of them looked
into the fqnare, or area. The elevated fitu-
ation of the windows, as well as their inter-
nal afpect towards the great court, were pre-
cautions, we may prefume, againfl the arrows
or other mifTile weapons which might be
thrown into them by an enemy. Qn the fame
principle we may account for the elevated
pofition, as well as the narrownefs of the
windows, in all other antient edifices. On
the oppofite fide of the river, are to be feen
the remains of the beautiful Caftle of Blan-
tyre, belonging to the nobleman of that
name. Between this monastery and Both-
wcll-Caftle, there was a fecret and fubter-
raneous communication, below the bed of
the Clyde : fo that the antient Douglafles
were fecurcd by the architecture, and the re-
ligion of the times, as well as the valour of
their arms . Near this Mr. Douglas has lately


( 9 )

"built a very commodious as well as elegant-
houfe, in the modern ftile, on a fite that
commands a view of both the Clyde and the
old caftle.

Dine at Glafgqw, a large and well built
city, containing about 50,000 inhabitants.
'A confiderable trade has been carried on here,
in tobacco and rum, from the Weft Indies
and Virginia j but it is now confiderably di-
mrnifhed. The capitals, however, the mercan-
tile habits, and the adventurous fpirit of the
people are ftriking with fuccefs into new paths
of induftry. The cotton manufactures, par-
ticularly, are increafmg here daily, and efpe-
cially thofe of nankeens, which are of as
good a fabric as thofe of China.

The college of Glafgovy is about the fize
of the fmalleft at Oxford, and is capable of
admitting a confiderable number of ftudents,
although only eight or ten live in it, the reft
being difperfed in private lodgings in the city.
There are -profeilbrs here, of all the fciences,
many of whom, as Simfon, Hutchinlpn, Smi.tli,


( 9' )

Muir, Millar, and Reid, arc celebrated in the
republic of letters. The difperfion of the
(Indents in private quarters, here as at E-
dinburgh, prevents that monafric difcipline
which is flill preferved, in fome degree, in the
two other Scottifh univerfities of inferior
renown. But, to balance this difadvantage,
if it be a difadvantage, in Edinburgh and
Glafgow , the faculties have flill fome regard
to decency, and to the name and dignity
of their refpective univerfities, in granting
literary degrees.

The principal of the college of Glafgow
enjoys an annual falary of 500!. The other
profeflbrs have from 2 to 3005 but the pro-
filer of divinity has nothing; though he is
always provided for by fome other confident
and collateral office, either in the church or
univerfity, or both. In the other Scotch
univerfities, fmall falaries are allowed to the
profeflbrs of divinity, as well as houfes and
gardens : but, then, they are uot permitted,


( 92 )

Jike the profeflbrs of literature and philofo-
phy, to take any fees from their pupils;
which, according to the nice and delicate
feelings of the Scottifli reformers, would be
a fpecies ofjimony, or felling the Holy Ghofl
for money.

The college garden is pleafant, though not
very extenfive. The library, which is a to-
lerable room, contains about 3,000 volumes.

In the city of Glafgow there are eleven
kirks, befides fundry conventicles and meet-
ing houfes. The Eighty-five Societies, or fel-
low (hip-meetings of the handicraftfmen of
Glafgow, and chiefly the weavers, in which
they inftrudt one another in metapyfical no-
tions in theology, are celebrated by the peti-
tions prefented to parliament by Lord G. Gor-
don. In fuch, and fo extenfive a city, lying
in the fouth- weft quarter of Scotland, it is not

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Online LibraryWilliam ThomsonA tour in England and Scotland, in 1785 → online text (page 4 of 16)