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the practical statesman, whose merit does not consist more in their being ingenious in a great degree, than in their being honest in a very small one.

So mixed a thing is poor human nature, however, that though the statement of Junius has never yet been fairly controverted, no possible estimate of character could be more unjust. The Scotch Agent, whatever the nature of his services to the Duke of Grafton, was in reality a high-minded, and, what is more, a truly patriotic man; so good a person, indeed, that, in a period of political heats and animosities, his story, fairly told, may well teach us a lesson of charity and moderation. I wish I could transport the reader to where his portrait hangs, side by side with that of his friend the Lord Chief-Justice, in the drawing-room of Cromarty House. The air of dignified benevolence impressed on the features of the handsome old man, with his gray hair curling round his temples, would secure a fair hearing for him from even the sturdiest of the class who hate their neighbours for the good of their country. Besides, the very presence of the noble-looking lawyer, so much more like the Murray eulogised by Pope and Littleton, than the Mansfield denounced by Junius, would of itself serve as a sort of guarantee for the honour of his friend.

George Ross was the son of a petty proprietor of EasterRoss, and succeeded, on the death of his father, to the few barren acres on which, for a century or two before, the family had been ingenious enough to live. But he possessed besides what was more valuable than twenty such patrimonies -- an untiring energy of disposition, based on a substratum of the soundest good-sense; and, what was scarcely less important than either-ambition enough to turn his capacity of employment to the best account. Ross-shire, a century ago, was no place for such a man; and as the only road to preferment at this period was the road that led south, George Ross, when very young, left his mother's cottage for England, where le spent nearly fifty years amongst statesmen and courtiers, and in the enjoyment of the friendship of such men as President Forbes and Lord Mansfield. At length he returned, when an old gray-headed man, to rank among the greatest capitalists and proprietors of the county; and purchased, with other lesser properties in tie neighbourhood, the whole estate of Cromarty. Perhaps he had come to rest him ere he died; but there seems to be no such thing as changing one's natural bent, when confirmed by the habits of half a lifetime; and the energies of the Scotch Agent, now that they had gained him fortune and influence, were as little disposed to fall asleep as they had been forty years before. As it was no longer necessary, however, that they should be employed on his own account, he gave them full scope in behalf of his poorer neighbours. The country around him lay dead. There were no manufactories, no trade, no knowledge of agriculture, no consciousness that matters were ill, and, consequently, no desire of making them better; and the Herculean task imposed upon himself by the Scotch Agent, now considerably turned of sixty, was to animate and revolutionise the whole. And such was his statesman-like sagacity in developing the hitherto undiscovered resources of the country, joined to a highminded zeal that could sow liberally in the hope of a late harvest for others to reap, that he fully succeeded.

He first established in the town an extensive manu- · factory of hempen cloth, which gave employment to about 200 persons within its walls, and fully twice that number without. He next built an ale brewery, which, at the time of its erection, was by far the largest in the north of Scotland. He then furnished the town, at a great expense, with an excellent harbour, and set on foot a trade in pork, which, for many years, has been carried on by the people of the place to an extent of from about L.15,000 to L.20,000 annually. He set himself, too, to initiate his tenantry in the art of rearing wheat; and finding them wofully unwilling to become wiser on the subject, he tried the force of example, by taking an extensive farm under his own management, and conducting it on the most approved principles of modern


agriculture. He established a nail and spade manufactory; brought women from England to instruct the young girls in the art of working lace; provided houses for the poor; presented the town with a neat substantial building, the upper part of which serves for a council-room, and the lower as a prison; and built for the accommodation of the poor Highlanders, who came thronging into the town to work on his land and in his manufactories, a handsome Gaelic chapel. He built for his own residence an elegant house of hewn stone; surrounded it with pleasuregrounds, designed in the best style of the art; planted many hundred acres of the less improvable parts of his property, and laid open the hitherto scarcely accessible beauties of the hill of Cromarty, by crossing and recrossing it with well-nigh as many walks as there are veins in the human body. He was proud of his exquisite landscapes, and of his own skill in heightening their beauty, and fully determined, he said, if he but lived long enough, to make Cromarty worth an Englishman's while coming all the way from London to see it.

When Oscar fell asleep, says the old Irish bard, it was impossible to awaken him before his time, except by cutting off one of his fingers, or flinging a rock at his head; and wo to the poor man who disturbed him ! The Agent found it every whit as difficult to awaken a sleeping country, and in some respects almost as unsafe. I am afraid human nature is nearly the same thing in the people that it is in their rulers, and that both are alike disposed to prefer the man who flatters them the man who merely does them good. George Ross was by no means the most popular of proprietors-he disturbed old prejudices, and unfixed old habits. The farmers thought it hard that they should have to break up their irregular map-like patches of land, divided from each other by little strips and corners not yet reclaimed from the waste, into awkward-looking rectangular fields, and that they durst no longer fasten their horses to the plough by the tail-a piece of natural harness evidently formed for the express purpose.

The towns-people


deemed the hempen manufactory unwholesome; and found that the English lace-women, who, to a certainty were tea-drinkers, and even not very hostile, it was said, to gin, were in a fair way of teaching their pupils something more than the mere weaving of lace. What could be more heathenish, too, than the little temple covered with cockle-shells, which the laird had just reared on a solitary corner of the hill, but which they soon sent spinning over the liff into the sea, a downward journey of 100 yards. And then his odious pork-trade! There was no prevailing on the people to rear pigs for him, and so he had to build a range of offices in an out-of-the-way nook of his lands, which he stocked with hordes of these animals, that he might rear them for himself. The herds increased in size and number, and, voracious beyond calculation, almost occasioned a famine. Even the great wealth of the speculatist proved insufficient to supply them with food, and the very keepers were in danger of being eaten alive. The poor animals seemed departing from their very nature, for they became long and lank, and bony as the griffins of heraldry, until they looked more like race-horses than pigs; and as they descended with every ebb in huge droves to browse on the sea-weed, or delve for shell-fish among the pebbles, there was no lack of music befitting their condition, when the large rock-crab revenged with his nippers on their snouts the injuries inflicted on him with their teeth. Now all this formed a fine subject for joking to people who indulged in a half-Jewish dislike of the pig, and who could not guess that the pork-trade was one day to pay the rents of half the widows' cottages in the county. But no one could lie more open than George Ross to that species of ridicule, which the men who see further than their neighbours, and look more to the advantage of others than to their own, cannot fail to encounter. He was a worker in the dark, and at no slight expense; for, though all his many projects were ultimately found to be benefits conferred on his country, not one of them proved remunerative to himself. But he seems to have known

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mankind too well to have expected a great deal from their gratitude; though on one occasion, at least, his patience gave way.

The town, in the course of years, had so entirely marched to the west, that the town's cross came at length to be fairly left behind, with a hawthorn-ledge on the one side, and a garden-fence on the other; and when the Agent had completed the house which was to serve as council-room and prison to the place, the cross was taken down from its stand of more than two centuries, and placed in front of the new building. That people might the better remember the circumstance, there was showy procession got up; healths were drunk beside the cross in the Agent's best wine, and not a little of his best crystal broken against it; and the evening terminated in a ball. It so happened, however, through some cross chance, that though all the gentility of the place were to be invited, threo young men, who deemed themselves quite as genteel as the best of their neighbours, were passed over-the dignified manager of the hemp-manufactory had received no invitation, nor the clever superintendent of the nail-work, nor yet the spruce clerk of the brewery; and as they were all men of spirit, it so happened that, during the very next night, the cross was taken down from its new pedestal, broken into three pieces, and carried still further to the west, to an open space where four lanes met; and there it was found in the morning-the pieces piled over each other, and surrounded by a profusion of broken ale bottles. The Agent was amazingly angry--angrier, indeed, than his acquaintance had deemed him capable of becoming; and in the course of the day, the town's crier went through the streets, proclaiming a reward of ten pounds in hand, and a free room in Mr Ross's new buildings for life, to any one who would give such information as might lead to the conviction of the offenders.

In one of his walks a few days after, the Agent met with a poor, miserable-looking Highland woman, who had been picking a few withered sticks out of one of his

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