« السابقةمتابعة »
tains runs another pretty level ftrath, in a direction often nearly parallel to the former.
Thus it happens, that the inhabitants of each of these ftraths or vallies, the only habitable parts of the country, may always have the conveniency of a level road to the fea, which is ufually at no great distance; by means of which, the produce of the country might eafily be emitted, and the goods they might want from abroad be brought to them with the greatest facility.
On each fide of thefe ftraths the mountains afcend to a great height, rifing from the plain with a very confiderable angle of elevation, being only acceffible by flocks and herds, or the wild animals of the defert; fo that it is a matter of very great difficulty to form a paffable road directly from the one to the other; the only free access to each being by the fea: fo that those who want to pafs from the one to the other are under the neceffity of going along their own valley towards the fea, and after having turned the cape, if we may fo name the head-land that divides them, returns through the neighbouring ftrath, upon level roads. On this account it can never be an agreeable place for those who wish to fly through a country in a poft-chaife, which makes it but little attended to by modern travellers; but if it is commodious for the inhabitants, this inconvenience may be eafily difpenfed with.
From the hills on each fide of these ftraths defcend innumerable rills, ftreaming from rocks, o'erhung with fhrubby brushwood; which gives a convenient opportunity of erecting whatever kind of mills may be neceffary, and of carrying on every kind of manufac ture that may require the affiftance of running water. And as fine turf, or peat, abounds in every corner, the inhabitants have every thing that is neceffary for carrying on the woollen manufacture in all its branches to the utmoft perfection: nor would it be diffi cult to fupply them with coals from the coaft, fhould that be found neceffary.
From this fingular conformation of the country arife many confequences that have not been as yet remarked.-And by attending to it, we shall be able to explain, in a fatisfactory manner, feveral peculiarities remarked by travellers, that tend to perplex the mind of the uninformed reader.
It is ufual for those who wish to form an idea of the degree of elevation of different parts of the country, to look at a map, and obferve the courfe of the rivers, always concluding, that thofe places are the highest parts of the country where the rivers take their rife, But however just this may be in general, it would be far from giving a true idea of the elevation of many parts of the Highlands. For however paradoxical it may appear, there is no doubt but the land is there fometimes higher within a fmall diftance of the part where a river empties itself into the fea, than where it firft takes its rife; becaufe the mountains fometimes rife to a much greater height above the vallies near the coaft, than they do in the inland parts of the country, thefe hills gradually finking lower as you recede from the fea, fo as fometimes to defcend almost to a level with the plains in the internal part of the country.
And although it is certain, that the bed of the river must always be higher at its fource than at its mouth; yet this declivity is in many places fo inconfiderable as to amount only to a very few feet in feveral miles. So that although the fmall rills that defcend by a fhort courfe from the mountains, are rapid to an aftonishing degree, the large rivers for the most part are smooth and gentle in their courfe. This is the reason, that when a fudden rain falls, the waters pouring down from the mountains on each fide with great impetuofity, foon fill the bed of the river, which flowing more gently forward, cannot give it vent fo quickly as it comes to it ;fo that, like the Nile in the level plains of Egypt, the river overflows its banks, and fills the whole valley from fide to fide; appearing rather like a fea than a river. And, like the Nile too, being gentle in its courfe, it leaves a rich flime behind, that greatly fertilizes the meads on each fide the river; which by a little indufiry properly to draw off the returning waters, would form as rich pafture-fields as any in the world. But as these fields are liable to be overflowed at all feafons, they ought to be applied to pafturage alone; although the inhabitants too often at prefent attempt to
turn them into corn.
You will probably be much furprised to find me give such a different idea of the rivers in this country from what you have ever been accustomed to hear; and probably may produce as an exception the river Spey, fo much noted for its uncommon rapidity. You will, however, advert, that I fpeak here in general, and do not deny that examples of the contrary may fometimes be met with; but they are rare. Nor will the Spey be readily admitted as a proper one.-Towards its mouth, indeed, this river is extremely rapid, and continues fo for fome miles up the country;-but beyond that it differs not from other Highland rivers, flowing on with a calm and fluggish motion. As a striking proof of the level direction of this river in the upper part of its courfe, I fhall only obferve. that near Inverifhie, fome miles above Castle Grant, the river paffes between two great rocks, which approaching pretty near together at one place, confine it into a narrow channel, fo as to form a fort of cataract when the river is much swelled with rain;-but as this interrupts the course of the water a little at these times, the river is made to ftagnate backwards for feveral miles, overflowing its banks on every fide, and forming a temporary lake of very great extent; which, from a fmall ifland in the midst of it, has obtained the name of Loch Info; inf you know being the common Scotch word for a small island.
It is, therefore, a general rule that admits of few exceptions, that the large rivers which flow through a confiderable tract of country in the Highlands are not of a rapid courfe; and that, on the contrary, the smaller rivers that run but for a fhort way, are rapid almoft beyond conception, frequently shooting over rocks of a prodigious altitude, and forming cafcades of amazing beauty when rain falls in abundance ;-but during the dry weather in fummer they are mean and inconfiderable.This diftinction between the different kinds of rivers, ought never to be loft fight of by those who want to form a proper idea of that country.
It fometimes happens, however, that thefe furrows, as we have termed the hollows between the hills, are interrupted in their course before they reach the fea, by fome rock or other impediment running across the valley, which topping the current of the river, makes it regorge backwards, forming a lake that fills the whole valley, till the furface of the water in it, rifes to the fame level with the top of the object that bars the valley; over which the river at length forces its way, and ufually flows from thence with a current more rapid
than is common towards the fea.
And as thefe vallies are ufually very narrow, and of great length, the lochs affume the fame form, running backwards till the bottom of the valley comes to be above the level of the water. Thefe, therefore, will be long in proportion to the height of the obstructing bar, and the horizontal pofition of the bottom; fo that, on account of the general flatness of the country, thefe lochs are ufually of very great length in proportion to their breadth ;-a circumstance which could not happen, were the general flope of the country confiderable in any direction.
The most remarkable of these lakes is that called Loch-Nefs, which occupies, for twenty four miles in length, one of the most remarkable furrows of this kind in Scotland, which runs quite across the island. The weft end of it being deeper than the furface of the fea, and without any bar, extends quite into the Atlantic ocean, forming that long and narrow inlet called Loch Oyl,-that part of the furrow at the west end of Loch-Nefs being filled up for a fhort way by fome low earth; bat it foon finks again into another bason of confiderable length, called Losh Lochy, which is only prevented from joining Loch-Oyl by a small low bar that rifes near Fort Willam; nor is either it or the bar that feparates Loch-Nefs from the fea at the east end, elevated to any considerable height above the level of the fea.
Another of the fame form, and nearly of the fame length, is called Loch Shin.-Numberless other of the fame kind, although of lefs note than thefe, might be mentioned, which it would be tedious here to enumerate. I have only taken notice of them here to induce you to remark, of what infinite benefit thefe would be to the country in facilitating the carriage of weighty goods through it, fhould extenfive manufactures ever chance to be established among them; because from each of these lochs, other ftraths branch off, running ftill farther into the heart of the country, and terminating in this as their
Such is the fituation of these countries, fo little known to other nations, and fo feldom furveyed by the difcerning eye of philofophic attention. To a man who had a full idea of the vast importance of the advantages that might refult from the particular formation of thefe countries, I cannot think of a picture that would afford more pleasure, than an accurate terreftrial chart (if I may ufe that term) and map of that country, on which should be delineated the courses of the feveral rivers, with their correfponding fraths, and circumjacent mountains; marking all along the courfe of the rivers, the elevation above the level of the fea, as well as the altitude of the feveral ridges of mountains around them, in the fame way as the ‹ Rev. Ápr. 1778. T foundings
foundings on a fea-chart are marked. How often have I traced in my own mind the idea of fuch a chart !-how often wished that it might be executed!-But, in my humble fphere, you know an ineffectual wifh is all that can be expected.
This hydro-geographical sketch of the country was neceffary, to enable you to form a diftinct idea of the manifold advantages that it enjoys for carrying on the woollen manufacture, which you will now be able to perceive with the greatest facility.
You will have remarked already, that whatever advantage the parish of Hallifax poffeffes, in confequence of the abundance of running water, is enjoyed in an equal, if not fuperior dege, through all that country.
Their fewel is in equal abundance, and as eáfily procured; many. of the hills being covered with inexhaustible ftores of fine peat, which might be easily brought down to their feveral habitations.
With refpect to provifions, the advantage is greatly in favour of Scot nd. For there, beef and mutton could at all times be had in prodigious abundance; and, on account of the remoteness of their fituation, at a much lower price than in Yorkshire. Potatoes and garden-iluff of all forts could be reared to the greatest perfection, and in great abundance, at a fmall expence; the foil, although fteep, being in many places exceeding fertile, and at prefent of hardly any value at all. The neighbouring feas and lochs fwarm with the finest fish of all forts, which could be caught at all feasons, and fold to the inhabitants at a price that would be reckoned nothing at all in almost any part of England. And oat or barley meal, the only kinds of grain at prefent ufcd by the inhabitants, could be obtained by fea from the neighbouring low countries of Scotland or Ireland at a very moderate price.-On all which accounts it must be allowed, that the inhabitants might live at a much smaller expence than in Yorkshire, an advantage of no fmall importance to a manufacturing part of the country.
But the circumstance in which thefe countries have the most decided advantage over Yorkshire, and perhaps every other part of the world poffeffing the other advantages they enjoy, is the facility of carriage, not only for their manufactures and provifions, but for their raw materials of every fort; together with the choice of markets that they would enjoy on this account. For, as few of these
From the month of January falmon are caught in vast abundance in every river there, and are often fold for a penny or three, halfpence per pound fresh taken.-From Auguft till the middle of December herrings are caught in fuch abundance on all the arms of the fea on the west coast, as to be fold from a halfpenny to a penny. per fcore.-Haddocks and whitings are caught in vait abundance at all feafons, and are the largest and beft that are feen on any coaft; but a fish called Seys are ftill more abundant than either of these.Cod and ling fwarm on the west coast, and could be caught in any quantities, were there a conftant market for them fresh;-but their climate is not the most favourable for drying these large fish ;—the only way that the inhabitants of thefe coafts can difpofe of them at prefent.?
Places are above ten or fifteen miles from fome of thefe arms of the fea on either fide, or fresh-water lochs, to which they could always have access by plain and level roads, every article they had to buy or fell in any part of the world, could be tranfported at an expence fcarce perceptible.And as fome of the friths on the east coast run up fo far as to be within a few miles of meeting others on the weft, the road between the two being carried through a level ftrath of only eight or ten miles extent, they could have it in their choice to fend their goods either to the eaftern or western markets; and thus, by an ealer and fafer navigation than from the Humber, could hip their goods for the Baltic, Germany, or Holland; and with equal facility to Spain, Portugal, Italy, the Levant or North' America; fo that they are open to either fea, can take advantage of every wind, and have it in their power to trade to any country on the globe,
This could even be done almost in the prefent fituation of affairs. But if commerce had introduced opulence among the inhabitants of these regions, there might easily be opened different modes of communication between diflant places, by means of the lakes and level ftraths, that have not as yet been drained off.'
This account is picturefque, and
warmth of our Author's amor patriæ. Thole who have the im- at heart/
provement of that country at heart, will furely deem themfelves fingularly fortunate in finding one, who together with fuch ardent zeal for his country, poffefles fuch extenfive knowledge, part your and foundnefs of judgment.
This is particularly the cafe between Loch-Nefs and LochOyl, fituated between the frith of Dornoch and Loch Broom, and, although at a little greater distance, between the head of the bay of Cromarty at Dingwall, and the west coast. Roads are not yet made
in other places.' (To be concluded in our next.) Buricola.
ART. III. Conjectures on the Tyndaris of Horace, and fome other of his
FR. Whitfeld complains exceedingly of the unfuccefsfulnefs. of the commentators upon Horace, and regrets that he fill Tuffers even under the ableft hands. And still, alas! we fear he muft fuffer, unless fome abler hand than Mr. Whitfeld appears to refcue him. It is not by fuch conjectures as are here offered, that the obfcurities of the ancients are to be removed, or their beauties ciucidated. The following will, we apprehend, be thought a curious fpecimen of Mr. Whitfeld's abilities in conjecture: