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The castle of Scalloway (to borrow the words of Mr. Giffard, of Busta) “ has been a very handsoine tower-house, with fine vaulted cellars and kitchen, with a well in it; a beautiful spacious entry, with a turret upon each corner, and large windows" It was built above two centuries ago. The erection of such a building, in so poor a country, must have been attended with the most oppressive eactions of services and contributions. The memory of the founder Earl Patrick Stewart, is, for this reason, still held in detestation by the natives. The whole edifice has been long unroofed, and is now in a state of irremedia le decay. The stair seems to have been taken away by the inhabitants of Scalioway when in want of stones for building. Had not the building been originally very strong, it could not so long have withstood the vicissitudes of a Sheiland climate, pp. 86, 87.
The beverage of China, it seems, is quaffed by the cottagers of these secluded islands.
• The families of the Shetland cottars or little farmers, however poor, are very partial to tea. Happening to enter on a Sunday evening, a miserable boothie, or cottage, about two miles from Lerwick; I was surprised to observe an earthen-ware tea-pot,of small dimensions, simmering on a peat-fire ;— while in this very cottage, they told me, they had not tasted any kind of bread for two months ! Considering the indigestible and poor quality of their common food, (dried fish, often semi-putrescent, and coarse red cabbage), it is to be regretted that they are not encouraged to spend their scanty pittance of money on some more substantial and nutria tive delicacy.' pp. 91, 92.
Timber appears to be a commodity of which some Britisk subjects have very indistinct ideas.
• Trees -There are none in Shetland. Trunks and branches, however, are found in the peat-mosses; and the remarks formerly made on the practicability of raising wood in Orkney, are equally applicable to Shetland. Shetlanders who have never been from home have no idea of trees. Lately, a native, who had hitherto spent his days in his own island, having occasion to visit Edinburgh,--when trees were first pointed out to him on the coast of Fife, said they were very pretty ; " but,” added he, with great simplicity, “ what kind of grass is that on the top of them ?"-meaning the leaves ; for the term grass or girse is, in Shetland, applied to all herbs having green leaves.'p. 93.
The vast abundance of fir-trees in Norway, and the kind of soil which they affect, seem to promise the success of plantations in Shetland and Orkney, Seeils would probably thrive better than saplings. They should apparently be sown in extensive inclosures, on the western side of the islands, under sheiter of high grounds to the East. But how they could be guarded against the frequent gales, and destructive spray, from the West, we know not.
There is no light-house in Shetland. Our author recommends one on the Skerries of Ilhalscy, for the east coast; and one on Papa Slout, for the west.
Our readers will certainly not expect an account of mailcoaches in Shetland : but they will perhaps hear, with surprise, of the post being so badly managed, that one of the trading sloops which was sent to Aberdeen for letters, came away without them. The mails for two or three months, sometimes arrive together.
Neither civil nor political privileges appear to be in high estimation at Shetland. There was not a justice of peace in the islands; nor had any one of the freeholders ever qualified himself to vote for a representative in parliament. Personal liberty seems to be nearly as little prized. The poor inhabitants are so habituated to a state of vassalage, that in one island, the owner of which designed to improve their condition, they intreated, after trying for some months, a state of independence, to be restored to their former bondage. They are, notwithstanding, according to the most authentic statements that we have seen, subjected to inordinate taxations, and unreasonable exactions, compared with their gains. The restraint of laws is rarely felt; and the advantage of religious instruction, is in some islands nearly unknown. It was not till the close of 1805, that there was any parochial school at Unst, which contains 2000 people. Of the inhabitants of Foula, Dr. Traill remarks (Appendix, p. 160), that
• They see the parson only once a year ; when he stays with them some weeks, officiates, baptizes children, and collects his dues.'
That the natives of any spot in the British Archipelago should have so little attention paid to their spiritual concerns, seenis to us a serious evil. If the Kirk' of Scotland cannot supply their wants, we think that some of the Scotch Missionary Societies should interpret this statement as a request " Come over to Foula and help us !"
At the close of the paper which occasioned the preceding remark, we have an observation on the Geography of Shetland and Orkney.
• Preston's chart of the Shetland islands, is the only tolerable one we have ; but it is inaccurate in the northern part, which, I have been told, he did not live to survey. The southern parts of Shetland were laid down by himself, and are extremely accurate ; but the northern parts were carelessly added by some inferior hand at his death. I have even seen a small island or rock that is always uncovered, which is not in the chart at all. Mr. Jameson's small map is pretty correct. It would certainly be worth the attention of Government to cause a nautical survey of these islands to be made, with the same minuteness and accuracy that the Orkneys are laid down in the admirable charts of Murdoch Mackenzie. Pinkerton, in his Geography, seems to have supposed, that the Orkney coasts are as ill laid down as those of Shetland. He says, “ We have better charts of the coasts of New Holland than of the Isles of Orkney and Shetland.”.
Strange, that he should be unacquainted with Mackenzie's Charts, which every vessel that sails the North Sea invariably carries !' pp. 172,173.
Dr. Traill's account, however, chiefly relates to the Mineralogy of the islands. It is followed by another valuable, though brief article on their political and economical state, by Sir Alexander Seton, who suggests very sensible hints for improvements. Another paper in the Appendix, is supplementary to Dr. Barry's catalogue of Orkneian plants, by Mr. Neill, who every where pays suitable attention to natural history. Dr. B. had enumerated 312 species, of which Mr. N. considers about half a dozen as spurious. He adds 156, and supposes it likely that 100 more species might be found. He subjoins a list of the popular names of more than fifty of the principal birds found in Orkney and Shetland, affording some corrections of Dr. B.'s account.
On our author's return from Shetland, he says,
• We passed at no great distance the lofty and precipitous Fair Isle, on which, it is generally believed, the Duke de Medina Sidonia, in the Aagship of the Invincible Armada, was wrecked in 1588, in attempting to return to Spain by sailing north round the Orkneys. p. 90.
We think it probable, that this insulated spot (which is about half way between the two Groupes), might be the Thule seen from Agricola's feet, when Britain was first circumnavigated.
In many instances there appears a strong resemblance between the islands of Orkney and Shetland : in some, they differ, more than might be expected from their vicinity. The extent of the latter is well known to be by much the greater. It is also better secured against hostile attacks. It has some superior elegancies, attached to the residence of principal proprietors; and the lower classes, notwithstanding their abject vassalage, doubtless derive advantage from this circumstance,
There is room, however, and great necessity, for improvement in numerous respects. We wish that the benefits of an Agricultural Society may be extended to Shetland; and are inclined likewise to hope for this, as we learn that an institution of that nature has lately been established in the Orkneys. But the judgement which we formerly expressed concerning the latter groupe, is confirmed respecting both: that it is chiefly by encouraging the inexhaustible fisheries on their coasts, that the essential amelioration of the inhabitants will be promoted.
Mr. Neill has furnished much useful and acceptable information by his northern tour. We regret that it is so much detached and dispersed, and alloyed with so much acrimonious controversy. To a future topographer of Shetland, whom we rather wish, than expect, to meet with, his remarks may
doubtless be of considerable service.
Art. XII. Memoirs of Adj. Gen. Ramel ; containing certain Facts ré.
lative to the Eighteenth Fructidor; his Exile to Cayenne, and Escape from thence with Pichegru, Barthelemi, Willot, Aubry, Dossonville, Larue, and Le Tellier. Translated from the French Edition, pubJished at Hamburgh, 1799, by C. L. Pelichet, late of the Prince of Wales's Fencible Infantry. 8vo. pp. 243. Price 78. Norwich. Kitton.
1806. IT will be difficult for history to determine, with regard to
some of the actors in the French Revolution, whether they were royalists or republicans, patriots or usurpers, advocates for freedom or devotees only of private aggrandizement. We know not whether the hero of this narrative may not, with too much reason, be classed among this dubious order of generals and politicians. However, he was grossly injured, and had a right to complain : he was highly unfortunate, and has claims to our commiseration; and though his history has often been before the public, in various mutilated forms, this memoir, orginally written by hiniself, will undoubtedly interest the E:glish reader.
A few words concerning the translator, may not be unacceptable; an amiable modesty has not permitted him to obtrude himself upon the public notice.
Mr. P. was one of the brave Swiss guards, who, to the last, devoted their lives for the unfortunate Louis. He saw a brother fall by his side. He providentially e:caped himself, though utterly destitute, and found an asylum in the bosom of this country. The addition to his name on the title-page, demonstrates his willingness to requite that protection which he enjoys. He publishes this translation under the sanction of a respectable list of subscribers, to alleviate the inevitable distresses of exile.
It will not be necessary to dwell very long on the subject of the memoir. The fate of our hero was intimately twisted with the thread of Pichegru, whose history is well known, Ramel and bis fifteen companions were arrested by the Di. rectory on the memorable 18th Fructidor, and transported as prisoners of state to Cayenne, without any of the formalities of a trial. One of the esiles, Willor, had been commandant at Bayonne; when the vessel in which they sailed was built, he had himself named her,--and was now chained in the hold to the bare planks. They suffered dreadful hardships and indignities in their passage. Atier being flattered, on their arrival, with hopes of lenity from the inhuman governor, Jeannet, they are trans. ported to a loathsome, infectious prison, in the solitary forests of Gujana, where the only sounds they hear, are the croakings of enormous toads, the hissing of serpents, the howlings of tigers,—or ilie menaces of republican tyranny: After a few months (fur dates are not accurately discriminated in this
Pelichet's Translation of the Memoirs of Gen. Ramel. 347 rough but animated journal of a soldier, Ramel and seven others, among who was Pichegru, risk their lives for their liberty. Having seized a little canoe, eluded the guards, who were intoxicated, and braved the ocean for eight days and nights, almost without either food or cloathing, they reach the Dutch settlements in Surinam. The generous Dutchmen re. lent at their misfortunes, and, in spite of threats from Cayenne, refuse to violate the claims of justice and hospitality. A British cruiser took them on board at Demarara, and at length thev arrived on the soil of genuine freedom.
Ramel published this narrative at Hamburgh, in 1799, from his journal. The translation is, in general, not ill executed.--We will content ourselves with giving a short extract or two, though we could select many details that would interest the reader.
In the beginning of May, Tronçon du Coudray and Lafond, who messed together, were both taken ill almost at the same time : a few hours after, they began to vomit violently, and the most alarming symptoms appeared in both. They were in excruciating and incessant pain. We immediately wrote to Jeannet, to request a favour that was never denied even to the vilest criminals ; but he refused to have our friends removed to the hospital. We had at first no answer to our application, and the danger was increasing. We urged our petition a second time. Tronçon du Coudray, already swoln, and almost unable to stir, wrote to Jeannet. That monster, at last, condescended to give an answer, and wrote to Lieutenant Aimé as follows: “ I cannot conceive why those gentlemen are constantly troubling me : they ought to know that they were not sent to Sinamary to live for ever.”
• The two victims, of whose recovery we had already lost all hopes, were in the same hut, lying on their death-beds, opposite each other. The cries which their pains extorted from them were heard all over the place; nothing could abate their dreadful vomitings. Lafond, especially, shrieked with all his might, raised his hands towards heaven, and loudly called upon his wife and children.
• This state of torment lasted twenty-five or thirty days ; and whenever I recal to my mind that woeful period, my heart sinks with grief.'
Poor Du Courray expired with the following expression : " I have always believed in God, and trusted in his justice."
We agree with the General, that there are some things in this narrative which wear the face of improbability ; but as we cannot bring experience, or contrary testimony, to disprove them, we are silent. Else, as he says, “ To live 8 days without food, and only a few drops of rum to support the existence of & men--nec puteri credeni.”
There is one thing remarkable in this memoir; and we wish it could be regarded only as a defect in the recollection of the memorialist. These grey-headed statesmen and war