A FRENCH TRAVELLER IN SCOTLAND.*
THE Voyage en Angleterre, en .Lcosse, et aux Iles des Hebrides was originally published at Paris in 1797; an English translation appeared in 179.9 ; Mayor's British Tourists, pub- lished in 1814, contained an abridgment of that translation, with an introductory statement to the effect that the work "had already become scarce." Mr. Hugh Hopkins, of Glasgow, has acted wisely, and in the best sense patriotically, in pub- lishing a new translation of this book, and in securing the editorial and biographical co-operation of Sir Archibald Geikie. The translation has been revised and improved; many valuable notes have been added; the plates in the French edition have been reproduced; and there appears a portrait of the author from a print preserved in the Museum d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris. Altogether, this book in its present form has all the charm of a new work. Its scientific value is not slight, for the author was above all things a geologist. But it is also interesting as giving us an admirable picture of an eminently able and benevolent eighteenth-century Frenchman, who, if he scanned his brother man more gently than Arthur Young, was a keen and sagacious observer, and kept his head, in more senses than one, during the Revolution.
Barthelemy Faujas de Saint-Fond was born in 1741 at Montelimar, in the Rhone Valley. Of a good French family possessed of the lands of Saint-Fond in Dauphine, he studied law at Grenoble, and even passed as an avocat ; but coming under the personal influence of Buffon, he devoted his life to the study of natural history. He filled various posts, and finally obtained the Professorship of Geology in Paris from
• A Journey through England and Scotland to the Hebrides in 1784. By B. Faujas de Saint-Fond. With Memoir by Sir Archibald Geikie. a vols. Glasgow: Hugh Hopkins. [21s. net.]
the National Convention. This be held till 1818, when he retired to his estate of Saint-Fond. A year later he died in his seventy-ninth year. He was a naturalist of what Sir Archibald Geikie terms the "broad type." Above all things a mineralogist and a geologist, he dabbled in chemistry and physics, and in 1783-84 published a two- volume treatise on balloons. He was an eminently practical man of science. In 1775, while rambling through the mountainous French valley of the Veiny, he was struck
by the resemblance of a certain material in the bills of Chenavary to some of the volcanic deposits which in Italy and elsewhere have from time immemorial been used for making the best kinds of cement. At his own expense he had the deposit opened up, and having analysed it chemically and found it to agree closely in composition with the famous Italian pozzuolana, he brought it to the notice of the Government of the day, and in the end he had the satis- faction of seeing it used by the authorities in the con- struction of the harbour of Toulon and other public works. As the result of years of wandering, Faujas prepared and published in 1778 a magnificent folio volume, which appeared at a time when an active controversy was afloat in Europe as to whether basalt is a product of volcanic action or has been formed as a chemical precipitate in water. This volume, says Sir Archibald Geikie, "is now one of the prized classics of 'geological literature." Six years after its publication, Faujas undertook the journey described in these volumes. "The island of Staffa, with its marvellous columnar cliffs and caves, had been first brought to notice in 1772 by Sir Joseph Banks's account of it, which, together with his plates of the scenery, was published in Pennant's Tour in Scotland. Faujas's curiosity was evidently keenly excited by this publication, and he determined to undertake what at that time was by no means an easy journey, and to make his way across England and Scotland to the now famous isle set in the silver sea." The scientific results and value of his journey may be given in the words of his editor, whose opinion as that of the first of living Scottish geologists is of the greatest weight :— " He saw, and was the first to see, the volcanic nature of the basalt in the Inner Hebrides of the terraced hills of Lorne, of the Ochil Hills near Perth, of the rocks on the coast of Fife at Kin g- horn, and of Arthur's Seat at Edinburgh. It was an important event in the history of science at a time when the battle was raging over the origin of basalt that an experienced observer from the cones and craters and lava-streams of the Vivarais and Velay should visit this island and recognise some of the same proofs of former volcanic activity with which he was familiar in
the south of France Fan* was one of the first who clearly recognised the volcanic nature of some of the rocks around Oban, but he regarded as aqueous deposits others that are as thoroughly lavas as those which were so called by him. He came to the right conclusion that some of the lavas had been poured out under water, but his grounds for this inference were rather feeble. He missed the important fact that the lavas are inter- calated among true sedimentary deposits While he stood up as a stout upholder of the volcanic nature of basalt, Faujas was as convinced a neptunist as Werner himself with regard to the aqueous origin of the so-called trap-rocks."
Faujas, as has been hinted, was a kindly observer of men and of national and racial habits. Thus sociologists will find it profitable to compare his views of the Hebrides with those of Johnson; he gives a delightful picture of a hospitable family of the name of liacnab. He had introductions to many Englishmen of note, and describes at length both the scientific and the prandial habits of the naturalists and physicists of Great Britain. Here is a bit of photography which is surprising, if not disappointing :—
" Buxton is notable for its mineral waters, which attract a con- siderable number of visitors in the fine season. Buxton, however, is situated in the midst of the most dismal and cheerless country that I know. Its waters may be excellent, but most certainly the air that one breathes is impregnated with sorrow and melancholy. The houses, almost all uniform, but solidly built, look like hospitals or rather monkish dwellings."
On the whole, Faujas is more sympathetic with Scotsmen than with Englishmen, although at Birmingham he was much
attracted by the benignity of Priestley. Of James Watt he writes :— " Mr. Watt is a man of large conceptions. Nature has endowed him with an excellent judgment and a strong head, and to such happy qualities he joins a gentle and winning character which makes him most engaging and well deserving of the affection of all who meet him even for the first time. He is a Scotsman by birth. Scotland has long been
able to supply England with men who honour it the most in every way.'
He was hospitably received by Adam Smith, who played a mild practical joke upon him by taking him to a bagpipe competition. Smith thus characterised two of his chief contemporaries :— "Voltaire sought to correct the vices and the follies of man- kind by laughing at them, and sometimes even getting angry with them ; Rousseau, by the attraction of sentiment and the force of conviction, drew the reader into the heart of reason. His Contrat Social will in time avenge him for all the persecu- tions he suffered."
Faujas's experience with the eminent Edinburgh physician, Dr. Cullen, at whose house he saw punch drunk, is notable in view of present-day discussions on alcohol :-
"He said to me with a smile that this drink was not only suited to his age, but that a long experience had convinced him that, taken in moderation, it was very salutary for the inhabitants of Scotland, particularly towards the end of autumn and in winter, when the cold damp, which then generally prevails in this climate, prevents the equilibrium of the perspiration. 'Punch,' he told me, 'is a warm stimulant which operates wonderfully in maintaining or re-establishing that
wonderful secretion.' In vain I took exercise, in vain I tried to divert myself pleasantly in the enquiries and occupations suited to my tastes; I found that the mists, the frequent rains, the daily winds, passing suddenly from heat to cold, a certain sharpness in the air which one feels better than one can describe it; above all, the disappearance of the sun, which fogs or clouds constantly eclipse at this season, plunged me into an involuntary melancholy which I should not have been able to endure for long. . . . . . Tired to find myself in this condition, I at last adopted the regimen of Doctor Cullen. Each day after dinner I took a glass of punch, composed of rum, sugar, lemon juice, a little nutmeg, and boiling water, and I soon found myself quite well."
From the scientific point of view he preferred Edinburgh to Glasgow :—
" Natural history is not so much cultivated in Glasgow as it is at Edinburgh. Commerce, which is here very considerable, appears to absorb everything. The University and printing houses, however, have enjoyed a high reputation, and the city has produced various learned men. We were told of a cabinet formed by Mr. Anderson in the University ; we went to see it, but we found there only a collection of the most commonplace philo- sophical instruments and a few minerals which were in general little interesting."
Of the Glasgow women, however, in spite of their bare heads and bare feet, he says gallantly :—
" They are in general tall, well made, and of a charming figure. They have a bright complexion and very white teeth. It is not to be inferred because they walk bare-legged that they are neglectful of cleanliness, for it appears that they wash frequently, and with equal facility bathe their feet and their hands. In a word, the women of Glasgow will be always seen with pleasure by the lovers of fair Nature.'
One of the most interesting portions of this work is that which describes the visit of Faujas and his party—it included a draughtsman—to John (fifth) Duke of Argyll in Inveraray Castle. At Luss, on Loch Lomond, the only house in any sense available was occupied by a Judge on circuit, and the landlady would have nothing to do with them, saying: "No noise don't disturb his lordship's sleep ; respect for the law. May you be happy, and be off !" At the Castle, fortunately, they met the Judge, and the incident was dissolved in laughter. Faujas gives a long account of the habits—including the drinking—of a Scotch country house in the end of the eighteenth century. Here is a part of it :— "Each person rose in the morning at any hour he pleased. Some took a ride, others went to the chase. I started off at sun- rise to examine the natural history of the neighbourhood. At ten o'clock a bell gives warning that it is breakfast-time ; we then repair to a large room ornamented with historical pictures of the family ; among which there are some by Battoni, Reynolds, and other eminent Italian and English painters. Here we find several tables covered with tea-kettles, fresh creams, excellent butter, rolls of several kinds, and, in the midst of all, bouquets of foyers, newspapers, and books. There are besides in the room a bilhard- table, pianos and other musical instruments. After breakfast some walk in the parks, others employ themselves in reading or in music, or return to their rooms until half-past four, when the bell makes itself heard to announce that dinner is ready ; we all go to the dining-room, where the table is usually laid for twenty- five or thirty covers."
Faujas makes so few mistakes in dealing with historical fact that one associated with an experience in St. Andrews is worth giving :—
" In a church we saw a large mausoleum of white marble repre- senting an archbishop EIS large as life kneeling and an angel placing a martyr's crown on his head. A large 1;as-relief, at the
foot of this monument, exhibits the same archbishop attacked by some men in the garb of Scottish Highlanders who are killing him. A young girl in tears, detained by some other persons, near a coach which they have stopped, struggles to go to the assist- ance of the archbishop, in whom she seems to have the most tender interest It would appear that the relations of Cardinal Beaton had no wish to conceal that the holy archbishop was a father, since his daughter is represented in tears with her arms stretched towards her father and held back by two of the con- spirators, at the moment when the others accomplish the murder."
The mausoleum which was shown to Faujas commemorated, of course, the assassination, not of Cardinal Beaton by Protestants, but of the Episcopal Archbishop Sharp by Covenanters at Magus Moor.