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The Jacobite Rebellions (1689-1746)

The following is from The Jacobite Rebellions (1689-1746) by J. Pringle Thomson, M.A.:

England and Scotland Contrasted (1725)

Source--A Journey through Scotland, in familiar Letters from a Gentleman here, to his Friend Abroad, p. 269, by J. Macky. Second edition (London: 1729)

There is no nation where a man hath fairer play for his liberty, than in Scotland: Here are no Sheriffs Officers, and Marshal's men, that will whip you off the street at London, and run you into a spunging-house at once; but here if you owe money, you are summoned to show cause why you don't pay it; which if you don't do, you have six days allowed you before a caption comes out against your person; which is executed by these messengers only, who are all put in by the Lord Lion [The Lyon King-at-Arms], and wear a greyhound on a green ribbon, as a badge, when they are in the execution of their office.

The ladies dress as in England, with this difference, that when they go abroad, from the highest to the lowest, they wear a plaid, which covers half of the face, and all their body. In Spain, Flanders, and Holland, you know the women go all to church and market, with a black mantle over their heads and body: But these in Scotland are all striped with green, scarlet, and other colours, and most of them lined with silk; which in the middle of a church, on a Sunday, looks like a parterre de fleurs.

I have been at several consorts of musick, and must say, that I never saw in any nation an assembly of greater beauties, than those I have seen at Edinburgh. The ladies are particular in a stately firm way of walking, with their joints extended, and their toes out: But I cannot say, that the common people are near so clean or handsome as the English. The young ladies are all bred good housewives; and the servant-maids are always kept at some work here: The spinning-wheels, both for woollen and linnen, are always going in most houses; and a gentleman of a good estate is not ashamed to wear a suit of cloaths of his lady's and servants' spinning. They make a great deal of linnen all over the Kingdom, not only for their own use, but export it to England, and to the Plantations. In short, the women are all kept employed, from the highest to the lowest of them.

But the men here are not so usefully employed as in England: There the production of every county is improved by joint-stocks amongst the inhabitants of the several counties. Iron-works, lead-works, manufactories, and every thing else that may conduce to the common welfare of the nation, are set on foot, and carried on. But here, although their rivers plentifully abound with salmon for exportation, their coasts with white fish and herrings, more than any other in Europe; yet the gentry, or landed men, never concern themselves about it, as a thing below them; and leave those improvements to burghers of towns, who, for want of a sufficient stock, are not able to carry it on.

Indeed, the nobility have of late run into parking, planting, and gardening, which are great improvements of their estates; but what is this to the bulk of a nation, which (if encouraged) hath as many natural commodities for exportation as any whatsoever, and more than South-Britain? But a finer education than what is necessary for trade, hath been, in imitation of the French, the misfortune of this kingdom; but perhaps the union with England may open their eyes to their own interest.

The language of the Low-Countries of Scotland is the same with that which is spoken all over England; only an Englishman will understand a Scotchman better by his writing than speaking; for the difference in the pronunciation of the vowels, which are the same in writing, makes a great alteration in speaking.

The Scots pronounce the five vowels, a, e, i, o, u, just as the French, Germans, and Italians do; and the English, according to that pronunciation, make them [oe], i, y, o, u. This difference of sound in the vowels, makes a great one in the pronunciation.

The Highlanders have a language of their own, which the Irish own to be the purest of that Irish which they spake in the province of Ulster in Ireland; which is also spoken in the greatest purity in the Western Islands that lie between Scotland and Ireland: They being an unmixed people, have preserved that language and the dress better than the Irish have done, who have been over-run with Danes, English, etc.

The Malt Tax (1725)


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