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fore from Rothesay to Cil-chattan, is red grit, mixed with pebbles; from the first tranfverfe to Scalpay-bay, is a bed of flate, which feems to be a continuation of that fpecies of ftone rifing near Stonehive, on the eastern fide of Scotland, and continued, with fome interruptions, to this ifland; but is of a bad kind both in its origin and termination. In the fouth end is fome lime-ftone; and fpotted flone, not unlike lava,'
The quadrupeds are hares, polecats, weefels, otters, moles, and feals; among the birds, grous and partridge are fometimes found. The latter certainly imply a compliment to the agricultural improvements of the island.
The cultivation of a great tract on this eaftern fide, is very confiderable; in the article of inclofure, it has the ftart of the more fouthern counties of this part of the kingdom: the hedges are tall, thick, and vigorous; the white thorns and wicken trees now (June 17) in full flower; and about 2000 acres have been thus improved. The manures are coral and fea fhells, fee-weeds, and lime. I ob- ́ ferved in many places, whole ftrata of corals and fhells of a vaft thicknefs, at prefent half a mile from the fea: fuch loffes has that element fuftained in these parts.
The produce of the ifland is barley, oats, and potatoes.Turneps and artificial graffes have been lately introduced with good fuccefs: fo that the inhabitants may have fat mutton throughout the year. A great number of cattle are alío reared here. The rent-roll of the island is about 4000 1. a year. Lord Bute poffeffes the much greater fhare; and two or three private gentlemen own the reit.—
When the prefent Earl came to his eftate, the farms were poffeffed by a fet of men who carried on, at the fame time, the profeffions of bufbandry and fishing; to the manifeft injury of both. His Lordship drew a line between thefe incongruent employs, and obliged each to carry on the bufinefs he preferred, diftinct from each other.This, with the example given by his Lordship, of inclofing;-by the encouragement of burning lime, for fome; and by tranfporting gratis to the nearest market, the produce of all; has given to this fland its prefent flourishing afpect:-Such indifputable talents has his Lordship for the government of little islands.'
Rothefay, the capital, is a fmall town, containing about 200 families, and is within thefe few years much improved. The females fpin yarn; the men fupport themfelves by fishing. The town has a good pier; and lies at the bottom of a fine bay. Here is fufficient depth of water, a fecure retreat, and a ready navigation down the Firth, for an export trade: magazines, fays Mr. Pennant, for goods for foreign parts, might moft advantageously be eftablifhed here.
Rothefay caftle is of high but unknown antiquity; and was, in later times, a royal refidence. Mr. Pennant has given a brief hiftory of its various revolutions: illuftrated with an engraving, which exhibits a view of it, in its prefent ftate.
Our Author introduces a brief biftory of the Hebrides, partly taken from Dr. Macpherfon's learned effay on this fubject;
with additional obfervations. We fhall not enter into any particulars of this curious part of the work; nor of his very entertaining descriptions of the other ifles: although some of them afford abundant matter to gratify the geographer, the hiftorian, and the antiquary. We here refer, especially, to Arran, Iflay, Oranfey, Iona; and Skie, which is the largest of all the Hebrides, being 60 miles long. The account of Staffa will prove a very high gratification to the naturalift; who will here fee a new Giant's Causeway, far exceeding, in height and fplendor, the celebrated rocks of that name, in Ireland*. Our Author was favoured with the description of this hitherto unnoticed WONDER, by Jofeph Banks, Efq; who alfo, with the liberality of a true lover of the arts, and of philofophic researches, permitted Mr. Pennant's artift to copy as many of the beautiful drawings in his collection, as would be of ufe in the prefent work. The engravings relative to this matchlefs curiofity,' are, alone, a most valuable prefent to the Public; and well deferved the handfome acknowledgments made by our grateful Author, in his dedication of this book, to that public fpirited gentleman.
I think myself, fays he, fo much indebted to you, for making me the vehicle for conveying to the Public the rich discovery of your last voyage, that I cannot difpenfe with this address the usual tribute on fuch occafions. You took from me all temptation of envying your fuperior good fortunet, by the liberal declaration you made, that the Hebrides were my ground, and yourself, as you pleafantly expreffed it, but an interloper.'
This ftupendous rocky phenomenon must have made an appearance equally ftriking and beautiful, to the aftonished eyes of our voyagers, on their near approach: rifing amidft the waves, with columns of double the height of the Giant's Causeway in Ireland; gloffy and refplendent, from the beams of the eaftern fun.'
To fuch of our Readers as have not feen the Giant's Caufeway, or the beautiful paintings of that heretofore singular curiolity (as many deemed it) by Mifs Drury, a very ingenious
The Giant's Caufeway lies on the coaft of Antrim, nearly oppofite to Port Patrick in Scotland. It has been fuppofed (we know not by what method of computation) to contain about 30,000 pillars.
+ This alludes, if we mistake not, to Mr. Pennant's being unable to land on Staffa. His words are, I wished to make a nearer approach, but the prudence of Mr. Thompson (the captain of the veffel hired for this voyage) who was unwilling to venture in these rocky feas, prevented my farther fearch of this wondrous ifle. I could do no more than cause an accurate view to be taken of its eaftern fide, and of those other picturefque islands then in fight.'
lady of that country; or who have not feen the engraved views of Staffa in the book now before us; it will be very difficult for us to convey any tolerable idea of fuch aftonishing productions. What words can do, however Mr. Banks hath done; but his elegant drawings are an illuftration not lefs neceffary than ornamental. We fhall attempt a brief abftract of his verbal description; referring our Readers to the book itself for farther fatisfaction.
The little ifland of Staffa lies on the weft coaft of Mull, about three leagues N. E. from lona. Its greateft length is about a mile, and its breadth about half a one. Mr. B. and his company arrived there Auguft 12, at nine in the evening, when it was too dark to fee any thing. They therefore carried their tent and baggage near the only houfe on the island, and began to cook their fuppers, in order to be prepared for the earlieft dawn, to enjoy that fight of which, from the converfation of the neighbouring gentlemen who had informed them of this curiofity (fome of whom kindly accompanied them as guides) they had now the highest expectations.
"The impatience, fays Mr. Banks, which every body felt, to fee the wonders we had heard fo largely defcribed, prevented our morning's rett. Every one was up and in motion before the break of day, and with the first light arrived at the S. W. part of the island, the feat of the most remarkable pillars; where we were ftruck with a scene of magnificence which exceeded our molt fanguine expectations: the whole of that end of the island fupported by ranges of natural pillars, moftly above 50 feet high, ftanding in natural colonnades, according as the bays or points of land formed themfelves. On a firm bafis of folid unformed rock, above thefe, the ftratum which reaches to the foil or surface of the island, varied in thickness, as the island itself formed into hills or valleys; each hill which hung over the columns below, forming an ample pediment, fome of these above 60 feet in thickness, from the bafe to the point, formed by the floping of the hill on each fide, almost into the shape of those used in architecture."-Of this particular appearance there is a good engraving.
Compared to this, what are the cathedrals or the palaces buift by man? mere models or play-things! imitations as diminutive as his works will always be, when compared to thofe of Nature. Where is now the boast of the archite&! Regularity, the only part in which he fancied himself to exceed his mistrefs. Nature, is here found in her poffeffion, and here it has been, for ages, undescribed *.
↑ Copies of thefe paintings, in two large prints, were published about 20 years ago.-There were allo engravings of the Giant's Caufeway, published long unce in the Phil. Tranfactions.
Staffa is taken notice of, indeed, by Buchanan (obferves Mr. P:) but in the flighteft manner; and among the thousands who have na
Is not this the school where the art was originally ftudied, and what had been added to this, by the whole Grecian fchool? a capital to ornament the column of Nature, of which they could execute only a model; and for that very capital they were obliged to a bush of Acanthus how amply does Nature repay those who study her works!
"With our minds full of fuch reflections we proceeded along the fhore, treading upon another Giant's Cauferway, till we arrived at the mouth of a cave, the most magnificent, I fuppofe, that has ever been defcribed by travellers +.
"The mind can hardly form an idea more magnificent than fuch a space, fupported on each fide by ranges of columns; and roofed by the bottoms of thofe which have been broke off in order to form it; between the angles of which a yellow ftalagmitic matter has exuded, which ferves to define the angles precifely; and at the fame time vary the colour with a great deal of elegance; and to render it ftill more agreeable, the whole is lighted from without; fo that the fartheft extremity is plainly feen from the entrance: and the air within being agitated by the flux and reflux of the tides, is perfectly dry and wholesome, free entirely from the damp vapours with which natural caverns in general abound."-Mr. B. has given an elegant perfpective view of this wonderful place.
This beautiful cavern is called, by the people of the neighbouring ifles, Fingal's Cave; but it feems, to us, to be a prevailing notion with them, that the principal places of this kind, in feveral of the western islands, were the haunts of this celebrated hero; for Mr. Pennant gives an account of another Fingal's Cave, in the isle of Arran; and which evidently had afforded fhelter to hunters, or pirates, in former times.,
Having finished his encomium on the beauties of Staffa, Mr. Banks proceeds to a more philofophical description:
"On the weft fide of the ifland is a fmall bay, where boats generally land a little to the fouthward of which the first appearance of pillars is to be obferved; they are fmall, and instead of being placed upright, lie down on their fides, each forming a fegment of a circle: from thence you pass a small cave, above which, the pillars, now grown a little larger, are inclining in all directions. In one place, in particular, a fmall mass of them very much refembles the ribs of a fhips. From hence having paffed through the cave, you come to the first ranges of pillars, which are, ftill, not above half as large
vigated these feas, none have paid the leaft attention to its grand and ftriking characteristic, till this prefent year 1772.-This island is the property of Mr. Lauchlan Mac-Quarie, of Ulva, and is now to be difpofed of."
This cave runs into the rock in the direction of N. E. by E. the water flowing all the way up, to the length of 371 feet 6 inches. The height of the arch, at the mouth, is 117 feet 6 inches.
The Giant's Caufe way in Ireland has alfo its bending or leaning pillars. Mr. Banks has given a fine print of the bending pillars in
as thofe a little beyond. Over against this place is a fmall island called, in Erfe, Boo-ha-la, feparated from the main, by a channel not many fathoms wide: this whole island is compofed of pillars without any ftratum above them; they are fmall, but by much the neateft formed of any about the place."-There is an elegant view of this beautiful appendage to Staffa.
"The firft divifion of Boo-tha-la, for at high water it is divided into two, makes a kind of cone, the pillars converging together toward the centre: on the other, they are in general laid down flat, and in the front next to the main, you fee how beautifully they are packed together; their ends coming out fquare with the bank which they form all these have their tranfverfe fections exact, and their furfaces fmooth, which is by no means the cafe with the large ones, which are cracked in all directions. I much question, however, if any one of this ifland, Boo fha-la, is two feet in diameter.
"The main island, oppofite to Boo fha-la, and farther toward the N. W. is fupported by ranges of pillars pretty erect, and though not tall (as they are not uncovered to the bafe) of large diameters; and at their feet is an irregular pavement, made by the upper fides of fuch as have been broken off, which extends as far under water as the eye can reach. Here the forms of the pillars are apparent; these are of 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 fides; but the numbers of 5 and 6 are by much the most prevalent. The largest I measured was of feven; it was 4 feet 5 inches in diameter."
Our accurate Obferver proceeds to give the measurement of the fides of this pillar, which are unequal; with that of fome. other forms which he met with: but for these measurements we refer to the book.
"The furfaces of thefe large pillars, in general, are rough and uneven, full of cracks in all directions; the tranfverfe figures in the upright ones never fail to run in their true directions: the furfaces on which we walked were often flat, having neither concavity nor convexity: the larger number, however, were concave, though fome were evidently convex *.
"Proceeding to the N. W. you meet with the highest ranges of pillars, the magnificent appearance of which is paft all defcription. Here they are bare to their very bafis, and the ftratum below them is alfo vifible: in a fhort time it rifes many feet above the water, and gives an opportunity of examining its quality. Its furface rough, and has often large lumps of fione iticking on it, as if half immerfed; itself, when broken, is compofed of a thousand heterogeneous parts, which together have very much the appearance of a
The ftones of which the pillars of the Giant's Caufeway confift, are not always jointed together by even furfaces, as in buildings erected by human art, but, in general are faid to be formed, one with a convexity in the center, and another with an exactly correfponding concavity to receive it. Vid. PHIL. TRANS. No. 212 and 241, or Lowthorp's Abridgment, vol. ii. p. 515. Whether or not the fpecimens in the British Mufeum are of this form, we do not recolle&t.
REY. Dec. 1774•