Page images
PDF

the distance from materials, the fituation of the parish as a thoroughfare for the country, and especially from the passage upon them for coal and lime from a great part of East Lothian. The county, however, have at last turned their attention to these particulars, and have this year allocated a confiderable sum for one, and erected a toll-bar upon another of the great roads; by means of which, it is expected they will be put into good repair, and prove, in that event, of much utility to the country. Notwithstanding the bad state in which the roads in general are, much has been done for them by Sir AND REw LAUDER, on the south fide of the Tyne. From his accurate reports, given in annually to the justices of the peace, it appears, that, besides the faithful application of the statute money, he has, from the year 1770 to this present date (February 1794), expended 5ool. and in proportion for other roads, besides those on his own estate ; and there is reason to believe, that a similar expenditure may be expected from him for the future. Commendation is here by no means necessary, but a wish may perhaps be expressed, that proprietors in general would shew a like attertion to that obvious fačt, that good roads are the first and most beneficial improvement to a conntry.

Millages.—There are 4 villages, viz. Eyster and Wesler Pencaitland, Winton, and Nisbet. In these all the trades people reside. In the village of Nisbet there are 2 weavers, who employ 8 looms for country work. They are the only weavers in the parish who are independent of the farmers, and consequently employ additional hands. This little fact, perhaps, deserves notice. In the formation of villages, proprietors have too generally favoured the introdućtion of trades people, from the sole confideration of raising their rent-roll, by letting a very few acres at a much higher rate than farmers could pay for them. It would be better policy, as well as more gratifying to every liberal mind, to permit this necessary and important class of people, to fit at very easy rents, and free from every servitude to the farmers. In this way. they would feel themselves comfortable, and be pleased with their situation. Farmers, and consequently landholders, would reap effential advantages from the increase of their numbers, and their thriving condition; and there would be no necessity for their retiring to the great towns, and increas. ing there, the mass of an unhealthy and debauched rabble. The above 4 villages contain only 512 souls; but it is better that this number should occupy 4 villages than one. There is a fallacy in the idea, that villages in the country are in a more thriving state the more populous they become; for in the same proportion as they contain above 200 souls, they will be found to be declining, often in industry, and always in morals. Proprietors, therefore, in the country, who have proper stations for villages, would consult utility as well as ornament, by the erection of two smaller, instead of one large village. And while they give every reasonable encouragement and security to villagers, they should be equally cautious relative to feus, as the proprietors of them, when necessarily removed, are too apt, rather than sell their property, to let

it to any beggar or vagabond.

Provisions and Wages.—Provisions of all kinds have risen

in their price one third completely, during the last 20 years. A hen costs 1 s. a chicken 6 d. eggs 4 d. per dozen, butter 9 d. per pound, cheese 6 d. The rise of wages has been proportional during the above period. A labourer receives daily 1o d. in winter, and 1 s. in summer. A young man fit for farm work, receives maintenance and 7 l. for the year. A farm servant, who lives in his own house, has an annual incoln& come of 141. The wages of an able workman at the limekilns are 15 d. and, at piece work, he may earn 2 s. 6d. The colliers are paid by the quantity of coal they throw out, and have a free house, together with coals for fuel. A collier, with a bearer, at the rate of working 4 or 5 days in the week, earns 65 l. annually. These great profits, as might be expe&ted, are, in general, thrown away in a very injudicious manner, which tends not a little to produce a scarcity, and to raise the price of coals at the pit. It were, therefore, to be wished, now that they have got their liberty, that some measure could be taken, from which they might find it necessary to use it with more discretion. This general stricture applies by no means to the colliers on the estate of Fountainhall, some of whom are decent in their morals, and in affluent circumstances. Perhaps the smallness of their number preserves them, in some degree, from that diffipation which so generally charaćterises that class of people, and on account of which alone, can they be deemed, by the public, unworthy of their great earnings.

Bleachfields and Mills, &c.—There is one bleachfield, and there are I lint, 1 starch, I thread. 4 barley, and 4 corn mills. There are several threshing mills, and one in particular built lately on the estate of Fountainhall, which is wrought by water, and, it is said, performs some additional operations above any other hitherto ere&ted. A considerable improvement is evidently obtained by these threshing mills, when they are driven by water; but when horses must be employed, it is not to be rated high. In this distrićt there are many circumstances favourable to the introdućtion and success of manufactures; but here, as in the Lothians in general, this important national objećt meets with less attention than in other parts of Scotland, where difficulties, that do do not exist here, are encountered, and happily overcome *.

Eccofoffical State.—Mrs HAMILton of Belhaven is patroness.-The value of the living is 9ol.—The glebe is small, but of excellent soil. The church is in good repair, and fitted up in a decent manner. No where are the people more regular in their attendance upon public worship; and, as the example of superiors is never without its effect, this is to be ascribed, in a great measure, to the attention which the residing heritors have paid to the public institutions of religion. Their condućt, in this respećt, is richly entitled to much praise, both in a political and moral view. The higher classes, may ačt from a principle of honour, the lower never did, nor ever will. If these, therefore, are set free from the influence of a religious principle, no regulations which this age, enlightened as it is, may be pleased to substitute in its room, will command that subordination, without which there is an end of all order and happiness in society. Without the consolations to be derived from their prospects of future hap

Vol. XVII. F piness,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

* It is somewhat remarkable, that during the incumbency of the late Mr George AN Derson, a period of 36 years, not one individual of his parishioners left the established church. This faët, though not without a parallel, is to be accounted for, without doubt, from the prudence of his deportment, and the moderation of his principles, in conjunction with the example of the heritors. Indeed it will be generally found, that every clergyman, of a iimilar description, if aided by the attendance of the residing heritors upon the public ordinances of religion, will lead his hearers, in the space of a few years, into the same train of thinking with himself. This, it unay be hinted, is the measure to be employed for checking the Secession, rather than having 1ecourse to schisin overturer, or inquiries concerning the growth of schison, which have agitated the public mind at different times, and were better calculated, than any thing which the Seceders themselves could have devised, for promoting the growth of schism. -

« PreviousContinue »