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cairn was composed of whin stones, collected from the surface of the ground, and not a vestige of free stone was to be found in the whole mass.In the centre of this cairn was found a Kisti Vaen (stone coffin) of the rudest workmanship. It consisted of six flat whin stones, viz. a bottom, a cover, two sides, and two ends. It was exactly five feet long, and two wide, and contained nothing but a kind of fat mouldering earth.
The stone coffin and circular cairn seem clearly to point out this tumulus as a Gaelic sepulchre. On the other hand, the urns seem to intimate, that the Romans had made an addition to the Tumulus, and buried some of their dead there, during their stay in Angus, under Agricola, or his successor. If this hypothesis is not well founded, I am totally at a loss to account for the contradictory phenomena of this tumulus.
Immediately to the west of Brienton lies Balmuillie Mill. Balmuillie, i. e. Bal Muillin, literally signifies the House of the Mill, or rather the Mill Town. How long this mill has existed may be difficult to determine, but we are well authorised to pronounce it of great antiquity. As it still retains its Gaelic name, it must have been a mill before the Gaelic ceased to be the colloquial language of Angus.
The next object deserving attention is the Kirktown of Inverkillor, and that solely on account of the name. I have before mentioned that the streamlet Killor, at its entrance into the German ocean, takes the name of Inverkillor, and has given name to the parish, Inverkillor or Invergilior (for C and G are promiscuously used by the Gael, neither have they the letter K, but supply its place by always pronouncing Chard,) i. e. Inver Gilor, i. e. the entrance of the Clear Water into the Sea, or, more briefly, the Mouth of the Clear Water. Nor need we at all be surprised if ancient names do not always
correspond to the modern situation of things. When this corner was overgrown with heath and furze, of which there are at the present day evident traces, this marsh and streamlet were no doubt the gayest and most glittering objects amidst the contiguous scene, though the hand of art and cultivation has now softened, or perhaps totally reversed the contrast.— Lochor, i. e. the Clear Loch, in Galloway, though its waters are as black as pitch, still deserves the name, for it is the gayest object in the surrounding Groupe. Sometimes, however, our ancestors, without adverting to the surrounding scenery, denominated waters merely from their colour. Thus, about five miles beyond Stonehaven, we have Gillie Brand, i. e. Gil Brandh, i. e. the Black Water.
Having passed Inverkillor, we arrive at Lunan Water. Lunan, i, e. Lonan, is the diminutive of Lon, i. e. a marsh: Lunan therefore signifies the little marsh. It takes its name at its very rise in the neighbourhood of i Restennot. The epithet Lunan, i. e. the little marsh, (tho' it has also given name to the river,) appears to have been originally intended merely to distinguish the marsh whence the river issues, from some neighbouring or contiguous marsh of more extensive dimensions. Lunan, at its entrance into the German ocean, takes the name of Inverlunan. 7th Dec. 1809.
A Vindication of BRUCE. To the Editor.
his palanquin, from one extremity of India to the other, and attended by his Soontaburdars, his Rigmutgars, his Hircarrahs, together with all the apparatus of lazy magnificence. On finding this to be the case, I felt the strongest inclination possible to accompany his Lordship in his map. Nothing could have deprived me of this indulgence, but the frequent introductions to Indian nabobs, and the minute and interesting particularity with which his Lordship records the number of shawls, &c. which were given and received on these important occasions. This is a never-ending source of entertainment, and cannot fail to be highly gratifying to the lovers of etiquette, and the admirers of state formality; and even they who are most insensible to such charms, will readily pronounce his Lordship to be eminently qualified to act as master of ceremonies at the divan of an Eastern satrap. I am sorry to attend his Lordship from these. scenes of pomp and luxury, in which he is so well qualified to shine, to the rade shores of Abyssinia, where he endeavours to establish his fame, by attacking the reputation of another. He wished to have the credit of a trip to Abyssinia, but wisely declined the danger attending such an enterprise. He therefore dispatched Mr Salt, one of his attendants, who, tutored by his Lordship, immediately commences his attack upon Bruce, whom he continues to persecute with the most persevering, tho' impotent malignity. Let us examine a little in. to the justice of their united strictures. In the first place, Lord Valentia is very severe on Bruce, for what he calls his exaggerated account of the dangers which he encountered at Massowah, and at last comes to this rational conclusion, that Bruce wished to deter others from following his steps, lest they should detect his false hoods. As to the difficulty of penetrating into Abyssinia, there never has
been but one opinion. When Browne was in Egypt, he learned that an English gentleman had attempted it by the way of Massowah, who had been treated with the utmost indignity, and at last. murdered, as was generally supposed, as he had never more been heard of. At that time, there had been no communication between Egypt and Abyssinia for nine years; several priests of the propaganda had been murdered in attempting the journey, and one who had penetrated as far as the Sennaar, under the character of a physician, had at last been assassinated between that place and Teawa. Besides, Bruce's account of the dangers to which he was exposed at Massowah, is completely confirmed by the route which he preferred on his return. He never would have chosen to return through an immense burning and pathless desert, had he thought that he could trust himself safely at Massowah.But how, it may be asked, did Lord Valentia's suite find it so easy to penetrate by this route? In the first place, the prest Nayib is a very different man from him whom Bruce had to deal with; he is the grandson, I believe, of Bruce's friend, and is allowed to be a man of a mild and peaceable disposition: and, in the second place, an armed vessel was lying in sight, threatening to blow the town about his ears, if any violence was offered to Mr Salt and his party. Yet, notwithstanding all these advantages, let us attend to Mr Salt's account, and I am mistaken if we find a journey to Abyssinia, by the way of Massowah, to be very inviting. He was repeatedly cheated and insulted; every possible obstacle was thrown in his way, and even after he had commenced his journey, he was frequently in danger of his life, from the ferocity and licentiousness of the persons who were appointed to attend him.
Mr Salt seems to have had particu
lar directions to mark every circumstance that could tend to bring discredit on the testimony of Bruce: let us see how he succeeds. He takes an early opportunity of manifesting his hostility. When the party had reached Hamhammou, they were stopt by a violent storm. Mr Salt remarks, that Bruce was also exposed to a storm in the same place, which, however, he describes," says he, "with some exaggeration.” Now,
how in the name of wonder could Mr Salt know that Bruce's description of the storm was exaggerated? Was it the identical storm which Bruce describes, that Mr Salt witnessed? or did the spirit of the storm appear to him to complain to him of misrepresentation? It is only by admitting one or orher of these suppositions that this traveller can be freed from the charge of illiberal petulance. In fact, every step that he takes confirms the minute accuracy of Bruce. When he arrives at Tubbo, he is forced to say "Bruce has well described this place." Bruce says, that between Shillokeeb and Hamhammou, he first observed the dung of elephants. It is curious. enough, that when Mr Salt comes to the same place, he makes the very same observation. Bruce, however, is by far the most accurate Coprologist of the two; for he informs us, that the dung which he observed was filled with the indigested branches of trees, which gives us some insight into the habits of the elephant; but Mr Salt passes on, satisfied with barely introducing his readers to this elegant phenomenon. He passes the tribe of the Hazorta, whose residence he admits to be admirably described by Bruce, and at last reaches the famous mountain of Taranta, when he commences his grand attack. Bruce was part of two days in passing this mountain Mr Salt and his party cleared the principal pass, I believe, in about three or four hours, for I am writing from memory; and he says it is im
possible to reconcile this with Bruce's account, unless we suppose the road to be greatly mended. But had he not eyes in his head to see that it had been greatly mended. Bruce describes it as so completely cut up by the torrents, and filled with fragments which had fallen from the neighbouring rocks, that it was scarcely possible to scramble over them. Mr Salt found no such impediments, and therefore the natural conclusion is, that the road had been much improved. By way of sneering at the difficulty which Bruce had in carrying up his quadrant, he tells, that his principal box, containing all the dollars, and many other valuable articles, was carried up the steep without difficulty by a boy of thirteen years of age! In truth, they must have been scantily supplied with dollars, when they were so easily carried. I should like to know the size of this prineipal box; I suppose it must have been such as a man might carry in his greatcoat pocket: indeed Mr Salt confesses afterwards, that they were lamentably deficient in dollars; it was very inconsistent, therefore, to make any great account of their weight on this occasion. But what a paltry object is this box when put in comparison with Bruce's quadrant, which eight men were usually employed to carry a number which Lord Valentia found sufficient to carry his precious person over the gauls of India ! Bruce mentions particularly the principal cause of his delay; the asses were unable to travel up the steep and rugged path with the burdens, and therefore the party was obliged to carry them with their own hands. The animals perceiving themselves at liberty, and finding it much easier to descend than to climb the mountain, immediately took to their heels, and never stopt till they had reached the encampment of the Hazorta. This caused a general halt, and obliged them to take up their residence in the
middle of the mountain till the asses were recovered. I will venture to affirm, that nothing but the strongest propensity to unfairness could have made Mr Salt blind to these circumstances, and induced him to throw out unfounded insinuations against the most meritorious of modern travellers. Mr Salt makes another sneer at Bruce, when he says, 66 we passed on without observing Traglodytical caves, or being disturbed by hyenas."— What a pity that travellers have not better memories, or a little more foresight! he had said only a few pages before, "we passed a cave inhabited by a family of the natives;" and he tells us afterwards, that the usual mode of building is to chuse a projecting rock, and after raising two side walls, to lay on a roof, level with the rock above, which gives the houses all the appearance of caves: many of their churches also he confesses to be more than half caves, the greater part of them being cut out of the solid rock. And as to the hyenas, they had not proceeded far, till they were all kept awake by the barking of the dogs, on account of the near approach of these ravenous animals. Bruce describes admirably the appearance of Taranta, covered on the sides with the Kolquall, and on the top with the berry bearing cedar: Mr Salt confirms this account in every particular, but falls infinitely short of the graphic stile of his predecessor.
Mr Salt makes the most direct attack upon Bruce for his description of the ruins of Axum. Now I grant, that this is the most elaborate part of Salt's work, and the most deficient of Bruce's. It is evident that the former has bestowed the most time and attention on these ruins; still, how ever, I see no reason for impeaching either the veracity or the accuracy of the latter. Mr Salt says that we can form no conception of the obelisk from Bruce's drawing. Upon this, I turned to compare the two plates, and
found them executed in a very different stile, but substantially the same. The difference consists in this, that Bruce, as he expressly tells us, does not give a drawing, but merely an elevation of the obelisk, and a servile copy of the figures on one side; these, as far as they go, correspond with Mr Salt's; but Bruce carries them no farther than the middle of the obelisk, leaving the upper part blank, whilst Mr Salt carries them to the top. Mr Salt contradicts both Poncet and Bruce, with regard to the inscription on the pedestal of the king's seat at Axum; he denies that any such is to be found. It was so extremely defaced in Bruce's time, that he could only give a conjectural emendation of it, and may now, perhaps, be entirely effaced, or the stone may be removed: this is the more probable supposition; for Bruce says expressly, that it was freestone, and Mr Salt denies that there is now any stone of that description to be found there.
I am the more surprised that Mr Salt should have questioned the accuracy of Bruce's drawings in this instance, since he unequivocally acknowledges their excellence on all other occasions. He mentions the Abou Gumba, the Ashkoko, the black eagle, the Wanza tree, &c. &c. as drawn by Bruce, to be extremely correct.
Let us now attend Mr Salt to a Brind feast, which excited the wonder and incredulity of the public so much, on the publication of Bruce's book. He denies expressly that the flesh is eaten whilst the animal is alive, and yet both he and Capt. Rudland who accompanied him, declare expressly, that the flesh quivered all the time they were eating it. Bruce says, that it was not fashionable for people of distinction to feed themselves; this Mr Salt denies: but Capt. Rudland, who kept a separate journal whilst Mr Salt was absent at Axum, says expressly that they fed one ano, ther, as boys do magpies in Eng 4,
and that the Ras, by way of showing his attention, sometimes stuffed him till he was like to burst. Mr Salt declares it as his opinion, that the lasci vious scenes which Bruce describes, as taking place at the Brind feasts, had no existence but in his own imagination; and yet both he and Capt. Rudland say expressly, that they often heard such conversation, and witnessed such scenes, even in the presence of the Ras and his ladies, as decency would not permit them to describe. I am sorry that Capt. Rudland has not favoured us with more of his observations. He appears to be a man of enterprize, and to have possessed exactly such accomplishments as rendered Bruce such a favourite with the Abyssinians. He was very much pressed to remain ; and I think he has reason to be thankful that he was not detained by force.
Notwithstanding Mr Salt's incessant carping at Bruce, he confesses that his account of the transactions in Abyssinia, whilst he was there, is true in the minutest particular: and he says that he shall never forget the astonishment expressed by the natives at the knowledge he displayed of their history. They looked upon him as a superior being when he exhibited Bruce's drawings of Gondar.
Salt and his party never were at Gondar and they were only about three months in the country altogether. All the persons whom Bruce mentions were well known; many of them were alive, and spoke of him with great affection. They all agreed that he was a great favourite of the King, of the Iteghe, and of Azoro Esther. Mr Salt omitted no opportunity of enquiring about Bruce, though evidently with the worst intentions. He met with the person who was sent to recover his baggage, when he was robbed in his first attempt to reach the sources of the Nile; and also with an old chieftain who was present at
the hunting match at Teher-Kin, when Bruce was on his way to Sennaar.All the persons whom he conversed with respecting Bruce, agreed in saying that he had visited the sources of the Nile; but that he never was governor of Ras-el-Feel; and he mentions particularly Hadjè Hamed, his interpreter, and who was well acquainted with Bruce, as giving him this information. From these testimonies, Mr Salt thinks himself authorised to conclude that Bruce has told a direct falsehood. I must submit to the public, a specimen of Abyssinian evidence on this subject, and shall leave Lawyers and Logicians to draw the conclusion only premising, that Bruce tells us expressly that he never took possession of the government of Rasel-Feel, in person, but administered it by deputy. "At Suez, March: 66 1793," says Browne in his preface to his travels, "I met arr Armenian "merchant, who had formerly traded "to Abyssinia, and seemed a man of "intelligence. He told me that he 66 was at Gondar when Bruce was "there; and that Yakub was univer"sally talked of with praise. This "merchant narrated of his own accord "the story of shooting a wax candle
through seven shields; but when I "asked if Bruce had been at the A"byssinian source of the Nile, he af"firmed that he never was there. "He observed that Bruce had been ap"pointed governor of Ras-el-Feel, a province where Arabic was spoken.
"In Dar-Fur," continues the same traveller, "I met a Bergoo merchant "named Hadje Hamed, who had long "resided at Sennaar, and was in "Bruce's party from Gondar to Sen