Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

In speaking of the same island, verty and irretrievable dependance, in after expressing my approbation of which, by a variety of unfavourable the great improvement of allowing circumstances, the great body of the the tenant to prosecute the fishery Shetlanders are certainly involved. on his own account, I have stated, that 2. Mails.- In the Magazine for “ even the tenant of Noss, however, August last, p. 578., in treating of has not been able to procure a lease the irregularity of the arrival of the of that endurance that would encou, post-office mails at Lerwick, I by rage him to make permanent improve. mistake mentioned Leith, instead of ments ; and that iwo or three years Aberdeen, as the port from which bound the lease." I have since been the packet sails. Were the packets informed that I have here fallen into obliged, under a sufficient sanction, a mistake ; for that the tenant of to sail regularly from this latter Noss forms a noted exception to the port, it perhaps might be a prefera: Shetland tenants in general, and that ble station to either Leith or Huna. he holds a lease of the island for his 3. Commission of the Peace.--I for, own lifetime, and two years to his merly remarked that there were no family after his death. This is bet. Justices of the Peace in Shetland. ter than I formerly understood : but I am happy to hear that two gentlem I cannot help remarking, that if the men hape lately qualified. At their period of the certain duration of the first sessions, above a hundred delina lease (after the expiry of its contin- quents (it is said) were convened gent subsistence by the principal before them, chiefly, however, for lessce's death) were extended only making malt in private. It is belieto ten or twelve years, there can be ved that the Board of Excise urged no doubt that it would prove even- this first establishment of Justices, as tually more beneficial both to land- they found that a quarter-sessions at lord and tenant. The tenant would Lerwick was indispensable to the not probably scruple to incur some suppression of practices inimical to expence in improving, if he foresaw the revenue. It will be fortunate that his heirs at least would reap for Shetland if similar motives should some of the advantage : and indeed speedily lead to the establishment of the landlord might, in that case, most Justices in the detached islands, where properly stimulate the tenant's exer there are at present no kind of mations, by stipulating for the erection gistrates, to give decreet for trifling of inclosures, offices, &c.

debes, to call for the statute-labour *, Very few leases of any consider- to awe the turbulent, or curb the able duration are to be found in the petty offender. It was in this sense whole of Shetland. Two or three that I affirmed there was no magis. years in general limit them. For trate in Shetland but the Sheriff-submost of the small farms, there are no stitute ; and I was correct. I am written leases. But this, I am told, aware that the Admiral and Comis, in many cases, owing to the poor misssary may also be accounted Mapeople themselves, who are terrified gistrates in the extensive meaning of at pen and ink, and often tell their the word; but certainly these judges, lairds, in a whining style, “ They whose jurisdiction is very limited, “ will take the ground for the time; and who hold their sittings in Ler. " God only knows if they will live

wick, s to the year's end," &c.

I am unable to trace this stupid apathy,"

* This, it is to be hoped, will now (for such I must call it,) to any other speedily be done. As yet there is caly cause than the state of hopeless po. one made road in Shetlaud. Feb. 1806.

wick, do not in any degree supersede hundred-weight, costs the landlord, the necessity of Justices of the in all 118. 3d. The fish is sold at Peace in the scattered islands of Shet. 195. or 208. per cwt. or at a profit land,

of above 70 per cent., besides 38. per 4. Profits of Landlord and Tenant cwt. of Government bounty upon on the fisheries, &c.-In my remarks exportation; making, in all, a profit of on the state of the common peor nearly cent. per ceni. But I must add, ple, after quoting a severely chiding that the fish is often sent, on com: passage from Ni Pennant, I added : mission, for retail in the Leith or * In confirmation of his remark Edinburgh market t, when it brings of Mr Pennant, it has been sţa. 285. or zos. per cwi. or about 150 ted, that, after deducting the per cent. from which the expence of expence of salting and drying, the conveyance, &c. is to be deducted. landlords of Shetland, at this day,

The landlords have besides, a proexport their fish at a profit, (inclu. fit on boats, lines, sails, &c. which ding the bounty from Government) does not, I believe, (on an average,) of above 400 per cent.It will be exceed 20 per cent. On some articles observed, that I was here narrating it is probably considerably less ;only what “ had been stated." For and some gentlemen, I have been in. the arithmetical accuracy of Mr Pen- formed, furnish hooks and lines to nant, Mr Morrison, or perhaps o. their tenants nearly at prime cost. thers, I am not answerable. I my. The hairds have a large profit also, self am inclined to think that, in gene on every article of produce raised by ral, the prefits of the landlords on their the tenant's industry, butter, wool, fishers and fish do not nearly amount hides, oil, &c. to the enormous per centage above Let us now contrast with these mentioned. It has even been affirm- various profits, (the aggregate a. ed to me, that " they have commonly mount of which I shall not pretend only 20 per cent.This, however, to estimate,) the advantages which is, I am convinced, running to the the tenant derives from the summer's opposite extreme : their protits must fishings, as stated by the Rev. Mr “ commonly" be triple that, in some Morrison of Delting (Stat. Acci cases six times that amount. I vol. i. p. 389,); and declared to be must here enter more into detail, and accurate, by the Rev. Mr Jack of specify the data on which I proceed. Northmavine (vol. xii. p. 360.).I shall first examine the profits of “ How far the people in general are the landlords, and then those of the benefited by the fisheries, (says Mr tenants *.

Morrison, apparently with a speer It requires ( I understand ) 2; of generous indignation,) will appear cwt. of wet fish to make i cwt. of from the following statement." He dry. The hundred-weight of

states the total annual expence of a fish

38.

60. The whole expence six-cared boat to be, on an average, of splitting, salting, drying, &c. does L.19:5:10; and the total annual not exceed 28. 6d. per cwt. , or, the returns, only L.19:10:6;—so that

there

green

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

* The task is, to me, irksome, and + The fish imported from Shetland I am aware that it may seem invidious: into Leith, pays tithe to the minister of but it is rendered necessary by the North Leith, amounting to about 5 per conduct of some of the landlords of Shet. cent, or the twentieth fish ; a most une land; and I shall strictly abstain from gracious tax, considering that the fish personal allusions,

had already paid tithe in Shetland,

***

1,

there remains of free profits the in- Straits whale-fishery for the summer, significant pittance only of 4s. 8d. the cottar family to which he be. Sterliog! which if it be divided a. longs inist påy to the landlord one mong six sharers in a boat, amounts guinea of fine or of additional rent. to the sum of ninepence farthing I have been challenged for making Sterling to each man, as the free pro this statement without havng prefits of the summer's fishing ! But viously examined all the “ landmails in the above calculation, wages are legers” of the country, (by which, I included in the annual expence, and presume, are meant the rental-books:) these are averaged at L.1:13: 4 tu 1 adhere to my former statement ; each man for the season ; so that if and yet am ready to believe, that, if the terant himself be the fisher, as he the whole land-mails legers of the generally is, this sum falls to be ad-country were examined, no trace of ded to bis 9 d. of summer gainings, the exaction might be found. This making in all L.1:14:17. “ But; would not prove that the evil does Gadds Mr Morrison,) the fishers car. not exist, but only that, if it does ry many articles from their own hou- exist, the landlords who practise ses to the fishing-stations, such as it are not insensible to its flagrancy. butter, milk, &c. on which no value These gentleman may perhaps deny is here prit*.”

that it is either a finet, or an exaction, 5.Runrig.--I have stated (Mag. for or an additional tent. Let it, tben, Aug last, p. 579.), that the herding- be called a bargain, to which they act and the act for dividing runrig pro. surely cannot object. I give them perty, have been much neglected in the option of the name; for the name Shetland. I have since been assured will not alter the spirit of the trans. that, in some parts of the country, action. As an indubitable proof the latter aci has been almost com that it does exist, and that it is aot a pletely carried into effect. These, private bargairrwith the tenant, but an however, are only praise worthy ex. arbitrary and fluctuating imposition, ceptions ; for it is unquestionable, I have now to state, on the best au: that runrig lands are still to be found, thority, that advertisements were, last in greater or smaller quantities, in al- spring, (1805,) affixed to some of most every corner of Shetland.

the parish-church doors of Shetland, 6. Whale-fishing exaction.--I for- informing the poor Shetlanders bemerly stated (Magazine for August

longing last, p. 580,) that for every lad who goes to the Greenland or Davisa

* Fines, I must observe, appear to

be avowedly exacted on other occa. I observe that Mr Thomson, in his sions. The tenant is, taken bound to report of Walls and Sandness (Stat. Acc. deliver all his produce to his landlord vol. XX. p. 103.) makes the profit on a at a stipulated low rate; "and as he six-oared boat aboutL.6.sterling, or L. I « knows that he cannot obtain the same to each man (exclusive of wages.) But I “ price from his master for the articles also observe that he omits to take into * he has to dispose of, that another account the expence of the boat itself, " would give him, he is often tempted an expensive and perishable article. It to trespass his contract; and when costs above L.8, and lasts about six « found out (which is most frequently years. Hence the average annual ex " the case) he is fined at discretion, or pence on the article of boat is about “ has a summons of removal immediLI 75. which mu t be deducted from ately executed against him. This is the alleged 1.6 f profits. If I have “ subversive of every virtuous princi. misunderstoou either MrThomson or Mr “ ple, and introduces a low cunning and Morrison, I shall be happy to be cor " chicanery in the transactions of the zected.

6 people.” Stat. Acc. vol. XX. p. 116.

}

longing to particular estates, that no which, they assume (erroneously per. permission would henceforth be haps) as having been awarded to granted them to go to the whale. them by the Committee of the House fishery, under three guineas, instead of Commons in 1785: of one! This dictatorial method of not help remarking, that the act pasannouncing a rise of price, is quite sed next year (1786, ) for establishing inconsistent with the notion of a the Society for improving the Scotish previous fair bargain with a tenant. fisheries, mentions the want of public It proves, on the contrary, the pre. stores, where the islanders might freely vious existence of the smaller exaction purchase the implements of fishing, of one guinea, as I had formerly sta. as one evil to be remedied; and that ted. Such an advertisement, pasted it states the essence of the evil to be, on the church-doors, could only be that, in whole districts, there were directed to men who were consider. “ only a few private stores, where ed as adsı ripti glebæ, or, at least, as “ some articles are dealt out for the abjectly and inevitably dependant.- “ fisheries, on condition of selling the Whether this advertisement be en. fifh to the owners of the flores at their grossed in any of the “ land-mails

own prices." Is not this the ex. legers” of Shetland, I know not : but

act state of matters in Shetland at its existence and authenticity will this day, and one principal evil still not, I am certain, be called in ques to be remedied? tion. It may

be proper

here to re. peat, what I formerly hinted, that

Edinburgh; ?

P. N. several of the Shetland landlords have

if Nov. 1805. disdained, at all times, to make the unequal bargain in question with their poor and dependant tenantry.

7. Dunrossness. - I have been Answer to Thule's Strictures, found fault with for founding on the late Rev. Mr Mill's Statistical Ac. SINCE the preceding supplement count of his parish, which is alleged was prepared, some very severe to be inaccurate. Till this alleged in- strictures on my tour have appeared accuracy be exposed, I was certain, in this Magazine *. Having already ly at liberty to quote it ; as the mi. disclaimed any secret understanding nister of the parish was surely to be with former writers on the state of presumed to have good means of in. Shetland, or any knowledge even of formation, and was not to be presu. their publications, I now proceed to med, à priori, either to conceal or a dispassionate review of some of disguise the truth.

these Strictures. I may observe in To conclude : In my former re the entry, however, that it seems marks I rather sindicated the land. strange that a production teeming lords of Shetland from the unquali. with palpable blunders (as Thule fied charges of severity and oppres. is pleased to affirm) and the most sion brought against them by Mr glaring self-contradictions,--from an Pennant, in his Introduction to the obscure and humble pen,-should atArctic Zoology ; by Tompson, in tract the slightest attention : it seems Bath Papers, vol. vi. ; and by the passing strange that it should call up writer in the 2d volume of the Trans- cries of vengeance even from the exactions of the Highland Society,

tremities But I cannot certainly agree to that unlimited approbation, to which * In the numbers for December 180 1 yoderstand they lay claim, and and January 1806.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Gremities of the earth, the Ultima be " drawn up from the communican Thule; that it should be honoured, in " tions of Thomas Mouat, Esq of short with so laboured an invective, Garth, and the Rev. J Barclay , by way of refutation, from the great that is, the principal landholder and est critics of Hethlandia!

the clergyman of the island. 1. Unft Schol. It is alleged that I this account, it is said, “ Rats, mice, had said, that “ there is no school in " frogs, toads, and adders, are unUnst," and that I had “ quibbled 6 known here *." “ myself into the mistatement."

Quoth Fudibras, “ I smell a rat; The quibbling is all on the side of

* Landlord f, thou dost prevaricate !*** the Zetland critic. He himself

BUTLER. admits that there is no parochial school ; and it must be evident to any 3. Cafle of Scallomay.--Thale is person who reads the whole passage*, pleased to assume that I lave dethat I was speaking of established scribed the Castle of Scalloway as parochial schools only, and not of forming a geometrical square, cand uncertain and occasional schools, kept this assumption be successfully reby persons totally unqualified, viz. futes. But I used the word square illiterate old men and old women. as an'adjective, not as a substantive; In a subsequent passage , I speak my words being, “ It is a lofty, of there having hitherto been no square, and turreted building." The " public school in Unst; but add, epithet square, therefore, ought in that at last a school-house is building fairness to be understood merely as

2. The author, foreseeing that he implying that the building is corner. must yield my position that there is ed or not round. Of the justness of no parochial school in Unst, searches this interpretation, Thule may saout a more serious blunder, and accu tisfy himself by having recourse to ses me, in the next place, of credu. Johnson's Dictionary. He says that lity in believing—what? (Parturiunt the castle vever has had more than montes, nascitur ridiculus mur)--that one arched storey ; but he must adthere are

no mice in Unst, tri. mit that it has once had upper floors umphantly declaring that these little whether arched or not . He most çreatures have not been wanting in unfairly adds, that I have “mistated Unst “ during the memory of man.” everything about the castle exA controversy on such a subject is

cept the circumstance of its being mighty pleasant : it tends to enliven 66 turreted :" Whereas, it is cerone's spirits in wading through gravetain that I have stated. a variety disquisitions on oppression and paro. of circumstances about this castle, io chial schools. But I cannot yield

which even the point about the mice. I have great authorities against Thule, * Statistical Account of Scotland, though, for the sake of the feline vol. v. p. 188. race of Unst (the parties chiefly in + In the same way that Thule has terested in this part of the dispute) endeavoured to prove a connection I shall not be sorry to find that between Vindicator and P N., it would my authorities are paught. The

be very easy for me to infer the privity

of Thule with the principal author of the Statistical account of Unst bears to

statisticalreport of Unst, and of the Letter to the Highland Society in 1892.

| He twits me with my Scoticisms, * Scots Magizine for May 1805. (flat for storey), as if his own style

were immaculati.
P. 352
# Magazine for August 1805, P. 58,

s Magazine for June 1805, p. 433.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »