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he enjoyed himself till nine o'clock, at which hour the party uniformly broke up, and the husbands went home to their families.
'The wife gave tea at home in her own bed-room, receiving there the visits of her
cummers,” and a great deal of in:ercourse of this kind was kept up, the gentlemen seldom making their appearance at these parties. This meal was termed the “four hours.” Families occasionally supped with one another; and the form of the invitation, and which was used to a late period, will give some idea of the unpretending nature of these repasts. The party asked was invited to eat an egg with the entertainer; and when it was wished to say that such a one was not of their society, the expression used was, that he had never cracked a hen's egg in their house.
* This race of burghers, living in this manner, had from time to time connected themselves with the first families in the country. Intermarriages with the neighbouring gentry had been frequent in the preceding century; and early in this, Robert Bogle and Peter Murdoch married daughters of Sir Michael Stewart of Blackhall, and Peter Bogle married a daughter of the Viscount Garnock.
The people were in general religious, and particularly strict in their observance of the Sabbath, --some of them, indeed, to an extent that was considered by others to be extravagant. There were families who did not sweep or dust the house, did not make the beds, or allow any food to be cooked or dressed on Sunday. There were some who opened only as much of the shutters of their windows as would serve to enable the inmates to move up and down, or an individual to sit at the opening to read. Influenced by this regard for the Sabbath, the magistrates employed persons termed compurgators” to perambulate the city on the Saturday nights; and when, at the approach of twelve o'clock, these inquisitors happened to hear any noisy conviviality going on, even in a private dwelling-house, they entered it, and dismissed the company. Another office of these compurgators was to perambulate the streets and public walks during the time of divine service on Sunday, and to order every person they met abroad not on necessary duty to go home, and, if they refused to obey, to take them into custody. The employment of these compurgators was continued till about the middle of the century, when, taking Mr. Peter Blackburn (father of Mr. Blackburn of Killearn) into custody for walking on Sunday in the Green, he prosecuted the magistrates for an unwarranted exercise of authority, and, prevailing in his suit in the Court of Session, the attempt to compel this observance was abandoned.
“The wealth introduced after the Union, by opening the British Colonies, gradually led to a change of the style of living. About 1735 several individuals built houses to be occupied solely by themselves, in place of dwelling on a floor entering from a common stair, as they hitherto had done. After the year 1740 the intercourse of society was by evening parties, never exceeding twelve or fourteen persons, invited to tea and supper; they met at four, and after tea played cards till nine, when they supped. The gentlemen attended these parties, and did not go away with the ladies after supper, but continued to sit with the
landlord, drinking punch, to a very late hour. The gentlemen frequently had dinner-parties in their own houses, but it was not till a much later period that the great business of visiting was attempted to be carried on by dinner-parties. The guests at these earlier dinner parties were generally asked by the entertainer upon 'change, from which they accompanied him, at the same time sending a message to their own houses that they were not to dine at home.
• Up to the middle of the century, commercial concerns, whether for manufactures or foreign trades, were in general carried on by what might be termed joint stock companies of credit : six or eight responsible individuals having formed themselves into a company, advanced each into the concern a few hundred `pounds, and borrowed on the personal bonds of the company whatever further capital was required for the undertaking. It was not till at a later period that individuals, or even companies, trading extensively on their own capital were to be found. The first adventure to Virginia, after the trade had been opened by the Union, was sent out under the sole charge of the captain, acting also as supercargo. This person, although a shrewd man, knew nothing of accounts; and when he was asked, on his return, for a statement of how the adventure had turned out, told them he could give none, but there were its proceeds ; and threw down upon the table a large “hoggar" (stocking) stuffed to the top with coii. The adventure had been a profitable one; and the company conceived that if an uneducated, untrained person had been so successful, their gains would have been still greater, had a person versed in accounts been sent out with it. Under this impression they immediately despatched a second adventure, with a supercargo, highly recommended for a knowledge of accounts, who produced to them on his return a beautifully made-out statement of his transactions, but no “hoggar.”
* Prior to the American war, the “Virginians," who were looked up to as the aristocracy, had a privileged walk at the Cross, which they trod in long scarlet cloaks and bushy wigs; and when any of the most respectable master tradesmen had occasion to speak to a tobacco lord, he required to walk on the other side of the street till he was fortunate enough to meet his eye, for it would have been presumption to have made up to him. Such was the practice of the Cunninghams, the Spiers, the Glassfords, the Dunmores, and others; and from this servility the Langs, the Ferries, the Claytons, and others, who were at the head of their professions, and had done much to improve the mechanical trade of the city, were not exempt. About this period, profane swearing among the higher classes of citizens was considered a gentlemanly qualification ; dissipation at entertainments was dignified with the appellation of hospitality and friendship; and he who did not send his guests from his house in a state of intoxication was considered unfit to entertain genteel company. Latterly, the rising generation of the middle class, better educated than their fathers, engaged extensively in trade and commerce; and by honourable dealing and correct conduct procured a name and a place in society which had been hitherto reserved for the higher grades. Since the opening of the public coffee
room in 1781, the absurd distinction of rank in a manufacturing town has disappeared.
Families, who were formerly content to live in the flat of a house in the Old, have now princely self-contained houses in the New Town. Persons who formerly gave supper-parties and a bowl of punch are now in the way of sumptuous dinners, entertaining with the choicest wines, and finishing with cold punch, for which Glasgow is so celebrated. [We suspect this also has disappeared.] The value of the table-service, and the style of the furniture in the houses of many of the Glasgow merchants, are inferior to none in the land. In drinking there is a mighty improvement; formerly, the guests had to drink in quantity and quality as presented by their hosts ; now every person drinks what he pleases, and how he pleases,-after which he retires to the drawing-room, and drunkenness and dissipation at dinner-parties are happily unknown. Profane swearing in good society is never heard. The working classes are better lodged, clothed, and fed than formerly; and since the formation of the water companies they are more cleanly in their houses and healthy in their persons.:-(New Statistical, Lanarkshire, pp. 228-233.)
No doubt there is a large class of decently-lodged and decentlyclad artizans in Glasgow-but it is strange that Mr. Bannatyne omits all allusion to the enormous and awfully degraded lower population now accumulated around and ainongst the streets of princely houses' in which he exults. The progress of this acute gentleman's city, as of his country in general, during the last century has been rapid and steady beyond European example, but there are many checks and many mischiefs that must also be taken into account. Scotland has been subject to the periodical revulsions which attend on all commercial enterprise, where the very prosperity and success tempt to overtrading, and out of the superabundance of health comes the malady. It would seem that no warning, no example can guard against these. Other evils— the evils of bad seasons—though more manifestly the act of God, may be better provided against. Of old, before foreign trade existed, one bad harvest and much more a succession of suchused to produce dearth and famine in Scotland, and these again brought pestilence in their train. We must not hope that we are exempt from such visitations, though now rarer. An improved agriculture has done much, and will do more. The trade of Britain saves us from faminc in seasons of only partial failure of crops; but for Britain and for Ireland it is wise to look to such possibilities, and to note what has happened before. One of the subjects of inquiry in the Old Statistical Account regarded the occurrences of two bad years.'
Early in the summer of 1782 it became evident that the crop over a great part of Scotland was to be very deficient; and in the
various counties Committees were formed to estimate the probable produce, the stocks in hand, and what food might be required to meet the want of the people, and also to provide the means of supplying it as far as possible. The landlords and kirk-sessions (parish-vestries) laid in stores of meal, partly purchased out of their common funds, and partly paid by voluntary contributions, voluntary assessments, and by money lent to the kirk-session on loan generally free from charge of interest. Meal purchased at a distance was brought home by the farmers free of charge. The meal so stored was sold at reduced prices to those who could buy it, for money or on credit, and distributed gratis to the poorest. The kirk-sessions also advanced money to small country dealers to enable them to provide stores, and to such as chose to buy in the market for themselves.
The harvest was a very late one. Old men describe the shearing of oats at Christmas in Strathmore and other fertile districts; wading among the snow, they cut off the tops of the corn, bleached by the frost, but not ripened. Grouse, driven from the hills, were found in the corn-fields and woods of the Low country, and even in the gardens of gentlemen's houses.
As the corn had not ripened, it was unfit for seed; and though great efforts were made to provide seed-corn for the people from other countries, these were ineffectual. The spring and summer of 1783 proved wet and stormy, and the prospect of the next winter was still more gloomy. The pressure now became extreme; Government was applied to for a loan, on the security of assessments to be imposed upon the land; and Mr. Dempster, then one of the most active and influential of the Scotch members, brought in a bill for an assessment of fourteen per cent. on rents. Government also made a small grant, which was intrusted to the sheriffs of counties for distribution among the kirksessions. Subscriptions were raised in the South of Scotland and in England; many Scotchmen, merchants in London, and elsewhere, sent ship-loads of provisions for the supply of the poor. Among these the house of Phyn and Ellice was conspicuous. The concluding of a general peace in 1783 set at liberty the stores collected for the Navy, and these were placed at the disposal of the sheriffs, but only to be sold. Government also purchased provisions, and sent them down for sale at prime cost. Among other supplies, large quantities of bad white peas were sent down to the North, which were unpalatable even in that time of famine. The rule was, to give as little as possible; but what was sold by the kirk-sessions was, to a great extent, on credit. The barvest was as bad as was anticipated ; in many
instances the people ate their stock sheep and cattle, which, in the winter,
it became impossible to feed. In some Highland parishes the population broke loose, and seized the cattle and sheep of their neighbours; but the instances of this were very few. In general, the patience of the people was great, and every one exerted himself in his own sphere to meet the evil. Their efforts were so far successful. All accounts agree in stating that not an individual died of absolute want during the long-continued famine, though many fell victims to the diseases which spring from insufficient food, or food of bad quality. The clergy record with just pride the efforts made by all classes, and the honesty of the people in repaying the advances of meal or money to the uttermost farthing. Some with difficulty could do this in seven or eight years, but the accounts agree that not a penny of the money
brit was paid at length. We know instances where gentlemen advanced meal and seed-corn to their poorer hill tenantry; and not only was this all repaid, but for years afterwards the tenants used to send presents of honey, mountain-berries, and other trifles in token of their gratitude.
It was fortunate and remarkable that, during nearly the whole time of distress, employment was plenty in the Low country and wages good, owing greatly to an increased activity in the linen trade. As always happens, the pressure was severest in the Highlands; and the old North Country shepherd still speaks with dismay of the year of the white peas.'
Even in better years it was not uncommon, within easy memory, to see harvest, in high districts, in November, and even in December; and it is needless to say the corn was hardly worth reaping; but that has altered, and is altering daily. While cultivation is creeping along the swampy moss and up the rocky hill, into climates formerly unfit for tillage--a new system of drainage has given the means of labouring the land a full fortnight earlier in spring, and brings the corn three weeks sooner to the sickle; indeed, it has visibly improved the climate of whole districts.
When we speak of the progress of Scotland in prosperity and happiness, we must make one large exception. Our remarks are applicable only to the low country and the central and northern Highlands-and not to the long range of western seaboard, indented with its countless lochs, nor to that archipelago of isles among whose fastnesses have retreated the last pure remnants of the aborigines. We cannot conclude this imperfect sketch without in a few words adverting to the recent history of these less fortunate districts. At the period when the general improvement began, the old motives which induced the Highland laird to crowd the land of the clan with an idle population, ready for any wild enterprise, were scarcely gone by. It was still honourable and