« AnteriorContinuar »
fances. In other respects, we can cheerfully praise Dr. Garnett. His descriptions are clear and intelligible, without the obscurity, we had almost said the cant, of the picturesque tourist. . On the same spot, we receive clearer and more difcriminated ideas from our author, than even from Mr. Gilpin. To his merit as a mineralogist he adds that of a botanist; and, though more concise than Mr. Pennant as an an. tiquary, or than St. Fond as a mineralogist, his information is fufficiently minute and interesting. In thort, had he gleaned onlv, we could have followed him with pleasure : as the copyist, we have yawned over his pages, as over a tale twice told.
Dr. Garnett begins with spots equally interesting and beau · tiful: the grand dignity of Dunbarton, the beauties of Inve. rary and Loch Lomond, and the majestic scenery of the passes which lead to the Highlands, arrelt very early the reader's attention. The lakes on the west, the projected canal of Cri. nan, and the distresses occasioned by a mistaken policy of go. vernment in the western islands, instanced in that of Mull, furnish scenes and speculations of a very different kind. On his return from Mull, he proceeded northward along the lakes to Inverness, passing the lines forıned by Fort William and Fort Augustus, and then returned, after a short excurfion westward to Loch Tay, to Perth. He next proceeded to Loch Leven ; and, crossing the Forth at Stirling, returned westward, near his former line, in the neighbourhood of Benloinond. He closed his tour at Glasgow, after extending it a little to Moffat.
Curious travellers will at once perceive, that, in this toute, Dr. Garnett visited the most interesting scenes which the Highlands offer; nor can they doubt, that, with the affiftance of his predecessors, though he has often too closely fol. lowed their steps, many valuable observations must have been collected.
In this tour, the great improvements, by means of canals, first offer themselves to our notice. That which joins the Forth to the Clyde is a most ftupendous work, not well understood in this country. It furnishes a communication, across the whole island, not less important in a political than in a commercial view. Perhaps, to have enlarged it, might have rendered the undertaking too vast, as a part of the canal is still raised on aqueducts; but it cannot escape even ordinary observers, that it must have been a work of still greater importance, if it would have admitted a vessel of war., The canal of Crinan, intended to pass froin the western coasts of Argyle bire to the Clyde, without doubling the Mull of Cantire, will be of the greatest importance to the laborious Hebridian. The chain of lakes, however, which we have
hanal from ih ufficient furnis already of on. Through in by
described as Dr. Garnett's northern boundary, may perhaps with more advantage be adopted as the warlike coinmunication between the eastern and weltern oceans. These lakes, surrounded by higher grounds, form a deep glen, known by a Gaelic name which bears this fignification. Through a great part of the way, the water is already of a considerable depth, and there is a sufficient supply for the remaining part of the canal from the adjacent hills; nor is there any reason to think, that a very great difference in the level exists, except what arises from the greater elevation of the eastern above the western seas, which is supposed to amount only to about ten feet.
These are the leading principles of the great changes that have been proposed, or have taken place in the country, in order to facilitate the communication between the different parts ; changes, which inust greatly improve the face of this part of the iland when they have fully taken effect ; nor can we suppose, from the public spirit which pervades all ranks, and the fostering hand of government, that these improvements will be very diftant. The completion of the canal of Crinan, on a lower, but not less useful scale, will not, we truft, be long delayed. It is now stopped, we are informed, for want of supplies.
The description of the canal joining the Clyde with the Forth, which led us to these speculations, we will add froin the work.
• This canal displays, in a striking view, what can be effected by the art and perseverance of man. Its extrenie length, from the Forth to the Clyde, is thirty-five miles, beginning at the mouth of the Carron on the east, and ending in the Clyde near Kilo patrick, on the west coast of Scotland. It rises and falls 160 feet, by means of thirty-nine locks, twenty of which are on the east side of the summit, and nineteen on the west; for the tide does not ebb so low in the Clyde as in the Forth 'by nine feet. There are eighteen draw-bridges, and fifteen aqueduct-bridges of considerable fize. About five miles from Kilpatrick, the canal crosses the river Kelvin, and is carried over a valley by means of an aqueduct-bridge, consisting of four archts, fixty-five feet high, and four hundred and twenty in length. The situation of this bridge is very picturesque, and exhibits a striking effort of human ingenuity and labour.
• Vessels of very considerable size, for instance those drawing eight féet water, and not exceeding nineteen feet beam, and feventy-three in length, can pass with great ease along this canal.
• This amazing work will unquestionably be found of great national utility; by means of it, a tedious and dangerous navi. gation, north about, from the eastern to the western coast, is avoided, which is at all times desirable ; but in winter, and in time of war, a very important object. It will likewise contribute very confiderably to the improvement of the country through which it passes, by giving an easy and cheap carriage to its produce, and will greatly conduce to the establishment of manufactures, by affording so excellent a conveyance of the raw material and manufactured goods, as well as coal, without which it is alinost impossible for any manufacture to be carried on to a great extent.' Vol. i. p. 3.'
"To supply such a canal with water, was itself a great work ; for this purpose, one reservoir has been formed, which is twentyfour feet deep, and covers fifty acres; there is another in the neighbourhood of Kilsyth, the depth of which is twenty-two feet, and which extends over a space of seventy acres. This last reservoir was formed at an inconsiderable expence, in comparison of the surface and quantity of water which it contains; the engineer having taken advantage of an extensive hollow, which seemed as if scooped out on purpose by the hand of nature. At one part only of this hollow, there was a deep opening 100 feet wide at the bote tom, and 200 yards at the top; by filling up this to the height of about twenty-five feet, the work was at once completed; and by leaving a sluice in the center, it can be filled and emptied at plea. sure. The whole is ornamented with plantations, and finished in a neat and masterly manner, and forms perhaps one of the largest and most beautiful artificial sheets of water in the kingdom.' Vol. i, P. 5.
The rock of Dunbarton is a black stone, which Dr. Garnett, after St. Fond, describes as a basaltic lava : but these gentlemen may be said to have volcanic eyes, which see every thing in this peculiar light. Staffa is, indeed, partly volcanic; but we cannot admit that the columns of Staffa, or those of Antrim, are wholly the effect of fire; and it is remarkable, that, in the comparative analygis of basaltes and lava, copied from Bergman, there is no mention of the proportion of air. Lava, we know, affords a very small quantity ; that basaltes is equally deficient in this respect has not been shown ; but we know that Bergman confidered basaltes as a kind of trap, not the production of fire. Since Mr. Kirwan's arguments have been fully considered, the igneous origin of basaltic columns has been doubted; and Dr. Garnert eludes the objections in a curious way. While he confiders basaltic columns as volcanic, he still fuppofes che figure to be the effect of refraction, on the conversion of the substance to a solid, from a state of fluidity; comparing it to the prismatic forms of starch. but this retraction he explains from a previous folution of the substance, in caloric. The curved columns seem to us strongly
adverse to the igneous system. We can easily suppose that they may assuine this form in drying ; but, when a substance is sufficiently heated to crystallise, it must be too near a state of fluidity to admit a permanent curvature; and, when crystallised, it will be at once solid. Curved crystals, in any of the regular processes of crystallisation, have never, we believe, been noticed.
From Dunbarton, the author crossed the Leven. We ought not to omit mentioning the column erected to the memory of Dr. Smollett, the parent and the earliest active supporter of this journal. He might regret, with Dr. Garnett, the loss of the pastoral scenery of his native vale, and the change which it has experienced from those sources of immorality and dissipation, manufactures and commerce; but he could not lament the change from gloomy discontent, uncultivated mountains, and frequent famine, to cheerfulness, smiling verdure, and regular supplies : such, in many parts of Scotland, is the true reflexion of the altered features.
Loch Lomond's beautiful scenery, the splendor of the cartle, and the whole of the country round, are known from various descriptions. We need not fill our pages with what is found in every descriptive tour. Benlomond, the neighbouring mountain, is granite, interspersed with quartz, and occasionally with micaceous schistus; and we may add, that almost the whole of the western part of Scotland consists of granite. Some of the islands, particularly Icolmkill, afford marble. The view from Benlomond we select as a specimen of our author's descriptive talents.
• Having breakfasted early the next morning, and the appearance of the weather being favourable, we set out for the top of Benlomond, accompanied by a son of our landlord, a civil and intelligent young man, who serves as a guide to those that visit the mountain. He took with him some biscuits and a bottle of whisky, a precaution absolutely necessary to enable a person to climb a steep ascent of fix miles. We consumed near three hours in ascending, as I wished to examine the vegetable productions in our way. When we had got about four miles up the fide, which is two thirds of the way, we faw clouds floating below us on the lake, which sometimes obscured a great part of its surface; and we several times found ourselves involved in light fleecy clouds, which however did not feel sensibly damp.
• At length we gained the summit, and were fortunate in finding scarce a cloud within our extensive horizon. The view from the mountain is beyond conception grand and interesting : at the bottom is seen the beautiful lake, stretched out like a map, its islands having lost their rugged forms, and appearing as fat forfaces amid the bright expanfe. The banks of the lake are seen,
ornamented with gentlemen's seats and cultivated grounds. Looking towards the east, the rich plains of Lothian and Stirling (hire are diftin&tly spread out to the fight : casting our eyes from thence to the south, and pursuing the view towards the west, the high grounds of Lanerkshire, the vales of Renfrew hire, with the Firth of Clyde, and the wide Atlantic with its isands, are clearly discerned; while the Inle of Man and the coast of Ireland, blend as it were with the sky, being scarcely discernible. But to one unaccustomed to highland scenery, the most striking view is undoubt. edly on the north fide, which may with truth be termed horribly or fearfully sublime. The eye, from where it first discerns the Ochil Hills, near the east, ranging along the north, till it comes near the western ocean, fees nothing but mountain upon mountain, elevating their fummits in almost every variety of mape. In this ftupendous range our guide pointed out to us Benevis, the highest hill in Britain, Benlawers, Benvorlich, and Cruachan to the north ; and to the south-west, Goatfield, a high hill in the Isle of Arran, and the Paps of Jura. To the north-east, in the vallies between the mountains, we perceived several of the lakes in Perthshire like embossed mirrors. Among these were Loch Catharine, Lochard, and Loch-Monteith,
• From the north fide of Benlomond, fprings the famous Forth; here an inconsiderable rill, that a child might step over ; very soon, however, the torrents constantly pouring down from the moun. tains, increase it to the size of a small brook, which winds its way through the valley, now and then expanding into a little lake. What is remarkable in this river, is, that even at its origin it winds just in the same manner, as, when become more majestic, it passes through the Carse of Stirling.' Vol. i. P: 54.
We were not long permitted to indulge in the contemplation of the fublime scenery around us; we had scarce been half an hour on the summit of the mountain, when we saw clouds rolling majesti, cally far below us; now covering the surface of the lake, and now hiding the surrounding mountains ; dark streams of rain poured down from them into the vallies, and the whole formed as sublime a scenę as is poflible to contemplate, unless when in addition you fee the lightning's fash, and bear the thunder roll under your feet; which not unfrequently is the case. In a Mort time the air, which had been comfortably warm, became suddenly chill: dark black cloud from the western niountains came Dowly towards us, and in a few minutes began to precipitate upon us its contents, in the form of hail, Neet, and heavy rain. We sheltered ourselves as well as we could under the fhelvings of some rocks, but still were completely wet. The cold grew intense, and I willed that I had taken a thermometer with me, to have ascertained the degree of it. When the form was over, we descended by a route somewhat dif, tugeot, with a view of botaniling. While on the top of the moun