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ing the spirit of emigration to mere capricious restlessness, they deprecate in it the loss of the nursery of soldiers that has hitherto been found in the Highlands, not adverting to the decay of those causes from which that advantage was derived. They see the possibility of employing great numbers in works of productive industry, and overlook the distinctions which render these unsuitable to a great proportion of the actual inhabitants.

To these have in some instances been superadded mistaken views of private interest. Some proprietors, accustomed to the advantageous facility of recruiting, would wish to preserve this power, at the same time that they profit by the advance of their rents. A few individuals have perceived the incompatibility of these objects, and, unwilling to relinquish the antient splendour of a numerous train of dependants, have frankly resolved to make an adequate pecuniary sacrifice: but in a much greater number of instances this incompatibility has been overlooked, or seen indistinctly; and the conse

quence has been a train of inconsistent management, vibrating between contradictory


The ideas of the Highland gentry have also perhaps been influenced by the very unjust cry that has been prevalent against themselves, and the unfavourable impressions, as to the tendency of their conduct, which the public have been led to entertain. The long continued indulgence of the landlords, the sacrifice of rent to which they submitted for so many years to preserve their people, are little known beyond their immediate neighbourhood. It would be difficult to find a proprietor in other parts of the kingdom, who to please his tenants would accept a rent not half the value of his land. This has been done by many in the Highlands, and yet these gentlemen have been generally reputed severe landlords.

The old system of the Highlands, so long established and deeply rooted, could not be broken up without a great degree of popular odium. When any proprietor grew tired of

the loss of rent he sustained, and resolved to enjoy the full value of his estate, the clamours of the tenantry were loud against his unjust and oppressive conduct (as they deemed it), and were re-echoed from distant parts of the kingdom. When a populous valley was converted into sheep-walks, the author of the change was held up as an enemy of the public, who, for a sordid interest, promoted the desolation of his country; and the remote consequences through which these " partial evils" terminate in "universal good," were not to be seen by superficial observers.

The gentlemen of the Highlands might have repelled these aspersions, by appealing to the undeniable general right of landed proprietors to manage their property for their own advantage: but this argument was too much at variance with the established prejudices of their neighbourhood to be well received. Conscious, therefore, of the unpopularity of their conduct, and sore under these impressions, they acted as if


diffident of the justice of their own cause, and, instead of meeting the question on fair and manly grounds, recriminated with accusations of capricious discontent on the part of the people, excited only by the artifices of men who had an interest to delude them.

Such motives of pique, and a remnant of the feudal pride which a numerous clan was calculated to inspire, have perhaps more influence than any view of pecuniary interest, in exciting a jealous antipathy against emigration in the minds of the more considerable proprietors of the Highlands; and this may account for a singular contradiction that has been frequently observed. Many of these gentlemen have, in their cooler moments, acknowledged, that the over-population of their estates was a loss to them, and expressed a wish that a great proportion could be removed, and have nevertheless been warmed, even to indignation, when any of their own tenantry showed a disposition to emigration. When their feelings

have been roused, the phantom of antient prejudice has put to flight every sober consideration of interest.

These impressions among the greater proprietors are sometimes perhaps strengthened by the clamour of certain persons among their dependants, or their neighbours of an inferior order; some of whom have an aversion against emigration, founded on motives not altogether so honourable, though more active, as arising more immediately from views of pecuniary interest.

Among the few branches of business which furnish more or less employment for labouring people in the Highlands, is the manufacture of kelp, which, in some instances, constitutes a great part of the value of property. The sea-weed from which this article is made is cut on rocks along the shore, which are sometimes annexed to the adjoining farms. In most cases, however, these rocks are reserved by the landlords, who let them from year to year, or rather employ labourers to make the kelp at a stipu

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