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Agriculture, in most places capable of ime provement, has made rapid progress of late years. The Highlands are chiedy destined for pasture.
The cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow would do honour to any country. In each there is an old and new town, which form a pleasing contrast.
There are other towns, where trade and industry are daily increasing : such as Aberdeen, Dundee, Montrose, &c.
The law of Scotland differs essentially from that of England, being founded in a great measure upon the civil law. It partly consists of statute law; but many of the ancient statutes never having been enforced, the chief rule of this sort arises from the decisions of the session, which are carefully preserved and published as precedents. The session, consisting of a president and fourteen senators, is the highest court of justice; they are all appointed for life by his Majesty. In civil matters there are no juries as in England; criminal causes are determined by the majority, not by the unanimity of the jury, as in England.
The progress of the regal power was much more slow in Scotland than in England, owing to the nature of the country, in many parts inac cessible, which enabled chieftains to establish and maintain an independent authority. The prince was rather a general than a king; his military command was extensive; his civil jurisdiction almost nothing; his revenues were scanty ; he had no standing army. The king's demesnes or his crown lands furnished subsistence for his court.
The parliament, from the time of Macolm II. appears to have been composed of ecclesiastical and lay barons, each of whom claimed a separate vote. After the creation of royal boroughs, the king was induced to require these corporations to send deputies for making a bargain with regard to the taxes demanded of them.
It is remarkable that the boroughs formed a peculiar court for promoting their common interest. A late author attributes this institution to court infuence: it has more the appearance of a republican league, such as the Hanseatic, and that of other Inperial towns in Germany, for their mutual protection. The convention of the boroughs still exists: but seems to have little power or utility. In the more opulent towns, ehambers of commerce have the preference,
There have been of late many discussions about the burgh reform. The evil complained of is, that the old magistrates elect the new, they are not responsible to the burgh at large for the manageinent of their funds. Members of parliament for the boroughs are elected by the council only.
The Scottish parliament always sat in one house. By this union, it was visible that the inje fluence of the great nobility must always predominate. The lords of the articles prepared and digested bills in such a manner, that nothing more than the mere assent or dissent of the meeting should be wanting; and that thus, in a day or two at most, its deliberations might be ended.
Such persons were the usual ministers of the crown, and therefore favoured the prerogative.
The gentry, or small vassals of the crown, were coinmanded by James I. to attend in parliament, as he had observed during his captivity) was done in England. As the poverty of that class of vassals was so great, they disobeyed the order. By another statute, James excused them from personal attendance, but required them to send representatives : but it was a full century afterwards before this measure was made effectual. s In the famous manifesto drawn up by parliament in 1320, and addressed to the pope, they plainly intimate, that Robert Bruce had been advanced by their authority, and that if ever they should abandon their cause, they would expel him and chuse another.
When Robert Bruce ventured in parliament a little inconsiderately to question some of the nobility by what title they held 'their estates, they drew their swords : “ By these," said they,
have acquired them, and we will maintain them.”
The Scots Parliament assumes a dictatorial tone: no petitions to the sovereign but rules. Thus in a statute made in the reign of James I. it is said,
“ The parliament has determined and ordained that our lord the king shall gar (cause to) mend his money.” The Scottish house of parliament had the uncontrouled power of legislation. It imposed taxes, and regulated the application of them; it determined peace or war, regulated forces, appointed governors, &c.; it put an end to its own meetings, appointed others to be held at particular times and places ; it even interfered
in in the domestic concerns, and in the marriage of the sovereign.
Since the revolution of 1688, the ecclesiastical government of Scotland is of the presbyterian form, an establishment long opposed by its monarchs as unfavorable to the royal influence, Experience bas shewn that the prejudice was unfound.' ed; but violent commotions happened before the presbyterian system triumphed. To the general assembly laymen also are admitted under the name of Ruling Elders, and constitute about one third of this venerable body. All clerical matters are discussed in this court, which admits of no appeal but to the British' parliament. In general, the present clergy deserve the greatest praise, as men of enlightened minds and moderate conduct. Dissenters, however, are very numerous. The şeceders, who separated from the church in 1732, were themselves divided soon after into two bodies, the burghers and antiburghers. The methodists have a great many followers, the quakers and unitarians but few. Among the higher orders, the church of England and the episcopal church of Scotland is the prevailing religion. There are but few Roman catholics, and these chiefly in the north, and in the remote Ilighlands.
The Scottish language in the Lowlands is the Anglo Saxon, blended with the ancient Scandina. rian.
In the Highlands it is the Gaelic or Erse, a dialect of the Celtic. English, however, is understood every where, and even spoken by all people of education. , A distinction of dress still prevails in the dialects, which, after the last attempt of the Stuart race, (1745), was prohibited VOL. XXI.
by the British parliament. But this act has very prudently never been put in force.
The national characters bestowed upon the inhabitants of different countries, must be received with large allowances for exaggeration and prejudice.
The shrewdness, cunning, and selfishness imputed to the people of Scotland, are merely the unfavorable aspect of that sagacity which enables them to discover their own interest, to extricate themselves from difficulty, and to act upon every occurrence with decision and prudence.
The national spirit of Scotchmen has been much taken notice of, insomuch, that they are supposed to be all in a confederacy to commend and extol one another. We may remark, that as candidates for fame, or for profit in the London market, they are greatly the minority, and it is not surprising, that in such a situation they should feel a common bond of union, like that of strangers in a hostile country.
The deficiency of Scottish authors in every department connected with wit and humor, has been universally admitted. This may have proceeded from the difficulty they meet with in attaining such a command of the English language as must be requisite for the forcible and humorous delineation of ordinary life and manners *.
As the common people were extremely dependent upon the higher classes, they becamo
A noted literary character has waggishly observed, in speaking of the learning of Scotland, "that every one has a mouthful, but nobody a bellyful."