Historical description of Scotland

SCOTLAND, or NORTH BRITAIN, the northern division of the Island of Great Britain, is situated between 54º 38' north latitude, and between 1º 47' and 6º 7' west longitude of Greenwich : according to other calculations the north latitude is 54º 37'. This does not include the Orkney, Shetland, and many of the Western Islands. The kingdom is surrounded on all sides by the sea, respectively known as the German Ocean, the Northern Sea and Pentland Frith, the Atlantic, and the North Channel; except on the south, where the Tweed and other streams partly form the boundary with England, and partly by a line supposed to be drawn along the Cheviots and other mountains in that direction. This line extends from the debouch of the Tweed on the north-east, to the Solway Frith on the south-west.

EXTENT.–The length and breadth of the mainland of Scotland are variously stated, but the difference is generally a few miles. The greatest breadth is admitted to be between Buchanness, on the coast of Aberdeenshire, and the Rowanmoan Point, on the west coast of Ross-shire; but there are points where it is not much less, if not greater. The Friths of Forth and Clyde considerably peninsulate the country, and reduce the breadth, between Alloa and Dunbarton, where it is only 32 miles. The same observation applies to the Dornoch Frith and Loch-Broom, the breadth between which is less than 30 miles. According to Arrowsmith's map, the mainland contains 25,520 square miles, and 494 square miles of fresh water lakes. The same authority computes the Orkney, Shetland, and Western Islands to comprise 4224 square miles, of which 144 square miles are covered by fresh water lakes. This gives a total, including the lakes, of 30,238 square miles. Another, and probably more accurate calculation, is, that the length of the mainland, from the Mull of Galloway, in lat. 54º 39' N., to Dunnet-Head, in lat 58º 40' N., is 278 miles; the breadth from Buchanness, in long. 1º47' W., to the most westerly point in Ross-shire, in long. 5º 52' W., is 150 miles, and the area, including the Orkneys, Shetland, and the Western Islands, 32,167 square miles, or 20,586,880 acres ; of which 5,485,000 are estimated to be cultivated, 6,662,000 uncultivated, and 9,039,930 unprofitable. From the several other different statements which could be adduced, it appears that no accurate survey of the entire kingdom has ever been made, and the task would be attended with no ordinary difficulty and labour.

POPULATION.–Scotland, since the Revolution, has greatly increased in population, or probably the increase should be dated as commencing after the suppression of the enterprise of 1745, when the attention of the Government was seriously turned to the state of the country, which had been too long neglected. In this respect, that romantic and chivalrous insurrection was most beneficial. Previous to the Union in 1707, the whole population did not exceed 1,050,000. In 1755, the population amounted to 1,265,38O; in 1791, to 1,514,999. The following table shows the increase during the decades of 1801,1811,1821,1831, and 1841.

COUNTIES.
1801.
1811.
1821.
1831.
1841.
Aberdeen
123,082
135,075
155,387
177,657
192,387
Argyll
71,859
85,585
97,316
100,973
97,371
Ayr
84,306
103,954
127,299
145,055
164,356
Banff
35,807
36,668
43,561
48,604
49,679
Berwick
30,621
30,779
33,385
34,048
34,438
Bute
11,791
12,033
13,797
14,151
15,740
Caithness
22,609
23,419
30,238
34,529
36,343
Clackmannan
10,858
12,010
13,263
14,729
19,155
Dumbarton
20,710
24,189
27,317
33,211
44,296
Dumfries
54,597
62,960
70,878
73,770
72,830
Edinburgh
122,954
148,607
191,514
219,345
225,454
Elgin, or Moray
26,705
28,108
31,162
34,231
35,012
Fife
93,743
101,272
114,556
128,839
140,140
Forfar
99,127
107,264
113,430
139,606
170,520
Haddington
29,986
31,164
35,127
36,145
35,886
Inverness
74,292
78,336
90,157
94,797
97,799
Kincardine
26,349
27,439
29,118
31,431
33,075
Kinross
6,725
7,245
7,762
9,072
8,763
Kirkcudbright
29,211
33,684
38,903
40,590
41,119
Lanark
146,699
191,752
244,387
316,819
426,972
Linlithgow
17,844
19,451
22,685
23,291
26,872
Nairn
8,257
8,251
9,006
9,354
9,217
Orkney & Shetland
46,824
46,153
53,124
58,239
61,065
Peebles
8,735
9,935
10,046
10,578
10,499
Perth
126,366
135,093
139,050
142,894
137,390
Renfrew
78,056
92,596
112,175
133,443
155,072
Ross & Cromarty
35,343
60,853
68,828
74,820
78,685
Roxburgh
33,682
37,230
40,892
43,663
46,025
Selkirk
5,070
5,889
6,637
6,833
7,990
Stirling
50,825
58,174
65,376
72,621
82,057
Sutherland
23,117
23,629
23,840
25,518
24,782
Wigtown
22,918
26,891
33,240
36,258
39,195
Total
1,599,068
1,805,618
2,093,456
2,365,114
2,620,184

If to the above population of 2,620,184 be added those connected with the Army and Navy, as well as the thousands which must necessarily escape the notice of the most vigilant statists, the entire population at that census may be estimated at 2,800,000.

SURFACE.–The greater part of Scotland is rugged and mountainous, and lofty chains or ridges extend, some of them, such as the Grampians, from sea to sea. With the exception of the tracts along the principal rivers, comparatively little of the surface is flat, level, or what would be regarded as productive. Mr Macculloch, in his "Statistical Account of Great Britain," observes–– " To such a degree is this the case, that, estimating the whole extent of the country, exclusive of lakes, at 19,000,000 of acres, it is doubtful whether so many as 6,000,000 acres be arable; whereas, taking the extent of England and Wales at 37,000,000 acres, the arable land certainly exceeds 29,000,000;so that, while in Scotland the proportion of the cultivable to the entire land is less than one-third, in England it exceeds three-fourths. With the exception, indeed, of a few tracts of rich alluvial land, Scotland has no very extensive vales; the surface of the rest of the country being, even where most level, considerably varied with hill and dale." Scotland is divided into HIGHLANDS and LOWLANDS, both inhabited by distinct races, the former by the lineal descendants of the ancient Celtic inhabitants, the latter by those of Saxon origin. It is difficult to define the line which separates the Highlands from the Lowlands; but, assuming it to commence at Dunbarton, it will proceed northward by Crieff, Dunkeld, and Blairgowrie, through the Forest of Morven, to Carron in Banffshire, from which it stretches almost due west by Darnaway, in Morayshire, to the towns of Nairn and Inverness, and terminates on the south side of the Dornoch Frith. North of this, the country, with the exception of the shores of the German Ocean on the east side of Sutherland and Caithness, is altogether Highland. West of this line the Hebrides or Western Islands are included. In some of the southern and western counties, however, are also Highlands–immense mountains, in districts thinly peopled and sufficiently wild, though generally green to their summits, and having less of that romantic, desolate, and rugged aspect which distinguish the North and Western Highlands.>

SOIL.–The soil is of every possible description, from the richest alluvial and carse land to the most barren, muirish, and unproductive : but, as this head forms a prominent feature in the present Work, as well as the state of agriculture, it is unnecessary to dwell on it in this outline.

CLIMATE.–The climate of Scotland, from its insular situation and high latitude, is cold, humid, and cloudy. It is in a great measure modified by the waters of the Atlantic. The extremes of intense heat and cold are never felt, the mean annual temperature being about 46 1/2 or 47�. In many districts the effect of the sea is most perceptible in mitigating the rigour of the cold in winter, and the heat in summer. The proximity to the sea, and to the hilly districts, also materially affects the quantity of rain. The average of rain throughout the country is stated to be 31 inches; of the eastern counties 26 1/2, of the western 37 inches; at Edinburgh it is 23 1/4, while at Glasgow it is 29-65 inches; but Dr Cleland proves, on the authority of Professor Thomson, of the University of Glasgow, that, notwithstanding the rainy celebrity of that city, the quantity which falls is rather less than at Edinburgh. The Western Coast probably differs more from the Eastern in the mode of distribution of the rain throughout the year, than in the quantity. The prevailing winds are from the west and south-west, but the Eastern coast often suffers severely from east and north-east winds, locally called haars.

COUNTIES.–Scotland comprises thirty-three counties, including the Orkney and Shetland Islands, which are considered as one county. These counties are enumerated in the Table of Population. The average rent per acre of land in Scotland in 1810 was 5s. 1 1/2d,; the ascertained rental for that year of all the counties was L.4,851,404, including the mines, fisheries, &c. Since that period, the value of the land, the produce, and the rental, have increased in a remarkable manner. In 1840, the value of the gross produce of the soil was considerably upwards of L.21,000,000, including gardens, pasture, and mountain pasture land. The lands of Scotland were valued about the middle of the 17th century, to ascertain the proportion of the land-tax to be paid by each county, and this valuation, known as the valued rent, was, in 1667, established by an act of the Scotish Convention, and it is still the standard by which the counties are assessed for payment of the land-tax, and all local imposts on the land. The valued rent of the whole Scotish counties in 1674 was only L.3,804,221 Scots, or L.317,018 sterling. By the act of Union, the land-tax was limited to L.48,000, deducting all expenses. In 1797, it was limited to L.47,954, and made perpetual, but liable to be redeemed by the proprietors for stock in the Three Per Cents., equal in annual value to one-tenth more than the tax. The entire rental of Scotland is supposed not to have exceeded L.1,200,000 in 1770 ; in 1795, it was believed to be L.2,000,000, and, since that period to 1840, it has increased to nearly L.6,000,000. Leases are now general in Scotland, extending to 15, 19, and 21 years, and it was not uncommon, during the 18th century, for the proprietors to grant liferents, or leases for twice nineteen years, and even longer, which was peculiarly favourable to improvement on the part of the tenants. In Scotland a lease is heritable, and descends entire to the eldest son of the tenant, or his heirs-at-law. There are no tenants at will as in England, and, with the exception of a few districts in the Highlands and Islands, the system of small farms is altogether abandoned, and the farms are often of great extent, rented by persons of capital, intelligence, and enterprise. So large, indeed, are many of the farms, that, without including those proprietors who cultivate their own estates, or portions of them, called home farms, it is supposed there are not more than 40,000 tenants in Scotland.

REVENUE.–At the Union the revenue of Scotland, including taxes then imposed, was only L.160,000 : net revenue for 1804, L.1,934,276 : in 1813, including the property-tax, and other war taxes, L.4,155,599: for 1822. after the repeal of the property and war taxes, L.3,436,642: for 1836, L.4,592,797 : for 1838, L.4,692,724.

MANUFACTURES.–These are minutely specified in the present Work. In 1838, the number of cotton-mills in active operation was 192, and only six were empty; the total horse power, whether by steam engines or water wheels, was 8340; persons employed, 35,576. In the same year the number of woollen-mills was 112; empty, 5 ; total horse power, 1823 ; persons employed, 5076. The flax-mills were 183 ; empty, 7 ; total horse power, 4845 1/2; persons employed, 17,897. – The silk-mills were 5 ; total horsepower, 15,156 1/2; persons employed, 59,312. In 1837, the quantity of hard and soft soap manufactured was 12,958,856 Ibs., of which only 450,956 were exported. In 1838, the quantity of whisky produced was 6,124,035 gallons, of which 2,215,329 gallons were exported to England, at a duty of 7s. 6d. per gallon, and 861,069 gallons to Ireland, at a duty of 2s. 4d. Previous to 1830, the quantity of strong ale brewed, on an average of five years, amounted to 119,551 barrels annually, the duty being 9s. lOd. per barrel; and of table beer, during the same average of years, 250,698 barrels, the duty being 1 s. 11 1/2d. The duty was repealed in 1830, and there are no later accounts of the quantity brewed. Since the reduction of the duty on barilla and salt, the kelp manufacture may be said to have ceased, and the poverty of the Highlanders and Islanders not a little increased.

FISHERIES.–Scotland is celebrated for its valuable fisheries, and its rivers and the seas which surround it contain sources of inexhaustible wealth. The salmon fishery in the Tweed is the most considerable in the British Empire. The herring, cod, and ling fisheries have long been carried on, and an immense capital is invested in them.

STEAM-VESSELS.–The number of steam-vessels registered in the several ports of Scotland was, in 1838, 106; tonnage, exclusive of engine room, 13,399.SHIPPING.–In 1707, the number of vessels was only 215 ; tonnage, 14,485: in 1837, 3244; tonnage, 334,870; number of men, 24,292.

ECCLESIASTICAL STATE.–In ancient times, and indeed previous to the Resolution, Scotland was divided into two Archbishoprics, those of St Andrews and Glasgow, the former of which was the Primacy, and the Bishoprics of Aberdeen, Ross, Moray, Caithness, Orkney, the Isles, Argyll, Brechin, Galloway, Dunkeld, Dunblane, and Edinburgh, the last erected in 1633. At the Revolution, the present Presbyterian Establishment supplanted the Episcopal Church of Scotland, but the Dissenters are remarkably numerous. The Episcopal Church, which may be considered the remains of the former Establishment, contains six Dioceses: the Roman Catholics divide the country into the Eastern, Western, and Northern Districts, each superintended by resident bishops, who have the titles of foreign sees, and are designated Vicars Apostolic. The Presbyterian Dissenters from the Establishment are, the United Associate Synod, or Seceders, a numerous and influential body, composed of between 300 and 400 congregations, the Relief Synod, the Original Burghers Associate Synod, the Associate Synod of Original Burghers, the Reformed Presbyterian Synod, commonly known as Cameronians. The other Dissenters are Independents, Baptists, Methodists, Quakers, Glasites, Unitarians, Irvingites, Swedenborgians, and a considerable number of sects which are chiefly found in such towns as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Paisley, and Dundee.The greater part of the revenues and endowments of the legal incumbents of the Presbyterian Establishment, viz. the ministers of quoad civilia parishes, is derived from the parsonage teinds, and in the present Work the average annual amount of the stipends for seven years, from 1827 to 1835, is taken from the Ninth Report by the Commissioners of Religious Instruction, published in 1838. But besides these teinds, some of the parish ministers have a right to vicarage and fish teinds, which in great part are not paid in money; others are entitled to pasture a certain number of cattle and sheep, within the specified limits of hills and commons, to fuel, to digging or cutting peats, foggage, teal, and divot, to grass of churchyard, and various other immunities particularly enumerated by the Commissioners. In certain cases funds are mortified for the support of the incumbents. In quoad civilia parishes, if the stipend from its various sources does not amount to L,150, it is made up to that sum by a payment from the Exchequer. In the sums paid out of the teinds in the name of stipend is included an allowance to each incumbent for providing Communion Elements, which may generally be stated to vary from L.8, 6s. 8d. or L. 10, to L.20, and even higher in extensive town parishes ; but in those parishes where the Communion Elements are not provided by the incumbent, he has no such allowance, Except in a few peculiar cases, the incumbents of quoad civilia parishes having landward or country districts are entitled to manses and glebes, or receive an allowance in place of either, or both. In each of the parishes having small stipends, or L.150, these are augmented by an allowance from the Exchequer to L.200, where the incumbent is entitled to neither manse nor glebe, and to L.180, where he has a right to the one, but not to the other. The total number of incumbents, exclusive of all assistants and successors, temporary assistants, and missionaries, except the assistant minister of Colonsay, is 1072, and the annual amount of their stipends is as follows :–

From parsonage teinds,......................L. 179,393 10 3
From vicarage teinds.........................712 9 8
From other sources.............................51,345 5 0
 L.231,451 4 11

The average stipend of each incumbent of the Presbyterian Establishment, if the above sum were equally divided, would be about L.216, exclusive of the manses, glebes, and other sources of emolument. The annual value of the glebes alone, as estimated by the incumbents themselves, is L.19,168. These facts prove that the Scotish Establishment, with respect to stipends, is richer than the Church of England, the endowments of which, if equally divided, would give to each incumbent only L.180.

In parishes where Government or Parliamentary churches are erected, each incumbent has a fixed allowance of L.120 from the Exchequer, a house or manse, and half an acre of ground for a garden. Many of them are also supplied with small glebes by the heritors. The seat-rents in the quoad sacra parishes, and the collections at the church doors, are almost entirely appropriated to the. payment of the stipends of such ministers. According to the Report of the Commissioners, the amount of seat-rents in places of worship connected with the Establishment, for one year, was L.38,901 ; of ordinary collections, L.44,394; of extraordinary collections, L.13,726.

PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS.–According to the Educational Returns in 1834, the amount of salaries of the Parochial Schoolmasters was L. 29,642, 18s. 11d.; of their fees, L.20,717,12s. 4d.; of their emoluments, L.4976,5s. 9d. : total amount, L.55,339, 17s., total number of endowed parochial schools, 1047 : total number of pupils under five years of age, according to the census of 1831, 16,283, from five to fifteen years of age, 114,626. In 1834, the number of unendowed schools in Scotland was 3995; the pupils varying from 78,316, and 87,087, to 147,811, and 154,160.

BANKS.–In 1841, the number of Banks in Scotland was 31 : the oldest is the Bank of Scotland, established in 1695.

NORTHERN LIGHTHOUSES.–Receipts in 1837 :–Duties, L.41,134 ; miscellaneous, L.1016; total, L.41,150; total payments, L. 24,625 ; leaving a balance of L.17,525.

PEERAGE.–In 1841, the Peerage of Scotland consisted of seven Dukes, four Marquises, forty-two Earls, six Viscounts, twenty-three Barons, and one Baroness. Of these thirty-seven are also Peers of the United Kingdom, and two Peers of Ireland. The Scotish Peers elect sixteen of their number to represent them in the House of Peers, who are chosen every Parliament.

REPRESENTATION.–By the Reform Bill, the counties, cities, and burghs of Scotland, return fifty-three members to the House of Commons. Among the alterations in the political arrangements, Bute returns one member; Orkney and Shetland were conjoined; Caithness returns its own member; Selkirk and Peebles shires each returns a member, but the royal burghs of Selkirk and Peebles vote in their respective counties; the parishes of Tulliallan and Culross, forming a detached portion of Perthshire, are conjoined with the small counties of Clackmannan and Kinross, and return a member. The burghs made Parliamentary in 1833 were Airdrie, Falkirk, Greenock, Hamilton, Kilmarnock, Leith, Musselburgh, Oban, Paisley, Peterhead, Port-Glasgow, and Portobello. Of these, Greenock, Leith, and Paisley, each return a member, Perth returns one member, and the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, each two members.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales, 1894-5