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rule of thumb, under every disadvantage and inconvenience, and is always in a state of terror and hurry, which is incompatible with good work and the best results. He begins by purchasing inferior barley, which, as a rule, is imperfectly malted. He brews without more idea of proper heats than dipping his finger or seeing his face in the water, and the quantity of water used is regulated by the size and number of his vessels. His setting heat is decided by another dip of the finger, and supposing he has yeast of good quality, and may by accident add the proper quantity, the fermentation of his worts depends on the weather, as he cannot regulate the temperature in his temporary bothy, although he often uses sacks and blankets, and may during the night kindle a fire. But the most fatal defect in the smuggler's appliances is the construction of his still. Ordinary stills have head elevations from 12 to 18 feet, which serves for purposes of rectification, as the fusel oils and other essential oils and acids fall back into the still, while the alcoholic vapour, which is more volatile, passes over to the worm, where it becomes condensed. The smuggler's still has no head elevation, the stillhead being as flat as an old blue bonnet, and consequently the essential oils and acids pass over the alcohol into the worm, however carefully distillation may be carried on. These essential oils and acids can only be eliminated, neutralised, or destroyed by storing the spirits some time in wood, but the smuggler, as a rule, sends his spirits out new in jars and bottles, so that the smuggled whisky, if taken in considerable quantities, is actually poisonous. Ask anyone who has had a good spree on new smuggled whisky, how he felt next morning. Again, ordinary stills have rousers to prevent the wash sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning. The smuggler has no such appliance in connection with his still, the consequence being that his spirits frequently have a singed, smoky flavour. The evils of a defective construction are increased a hundred-fold, when, as is frequently the case, the still is made of tin, and the worm of tin or lead. When spirits and acids come in contact with such surfaces, a portion of the metal is dissolved, and poisonous metalic salts are produced, which must be injurious to the drinker. Paraffin casks are frequently used in brewing, and it will be readily understood that however carefully
cleaned, their use cannot improve the quality of our inuchpraised smuggled whisky. Again, the rule of thumb is applied to the purity and strength of smuggled spirits. At ordinary distilleries there are scientific appliances for testing these, but the smuggler must guess the former, and must rely for the latter on the blebs or bubbles caused by shaking the whisky. On this unsatisfactory test, plus the honesty of the smuggler, which is generally an unknown quantity, the purchaser also must rely. This is certainly a happy-go-lucky state of matters which it would be a pity to disturb by proclaiming the truth. Very recently an order came from the South to Inverness for two gallons of smuggled whisky. The order being urgent, and no immediate prospect of securing the genuine article, a dozen bottles of new raw grain spirit were sent to a well-known smuggling locality, and were thence despatched South as real mountain dew. No better proof could be given of the coarseness and absolute inferiority of smuggled whisky.
But the physical injury caused by drinking an impure, immature whisky, and the pecuniary loss sustained by purchasing a whisky of inferior quality and unknown strength at the price of good, honest spirit, are nothing compared to the moral aspect
Let me quote again from Stewart of Garth (1821), “I must now advert to a cause which contributes to demoralise the Highlanders in a manner equally rapid and lamentable. Smuggling has grown to an alarming extent, and if not checked will undermine the best principles of the people. Let a man be habituated to falsehood and fraud in one line of life, and he will soon learn to extend it to all his actions. This traffic operates like a secret poison on all their moral feelings. They are the more rapidly betrayed into it, as, though acute and ingenious in regard to all that comes within the scope of their observation, they do not comprehend the nature or purpose of imports levied on the produce of the soil, nor have they any distinct idea of the practice of smuggling being attended with disgrace or turpitude. The open defiance of the laws, the progress of chicanery, perjury, hatred, and mutual recrimination, with a constant dread and suspicion of informers—men not being sure of nor confident in their next neighbours—which results from
of the case.
smuggling, and the habit which it engenders, are subjects highly important, and regarded with the most serious consideration and the deepest regret by all who value the permanent welfare of their country, which depends so materially upon the preservation of the morals of the people."* This is a terrible picture, but I am in a position to vouch that it is only too true. The degradation, recklessness, and destitution which, as a rule, follow in the wake of illicit distillation are notorious to all. I know of three brothers on the West Coast. Two of them settled down on crofts, became respectable members of the community, and with care and thrift and hard work even acquired some little means. The third took to smuggling, and has never done anything else; has been several times in prison, has latterly lost all his smuggling utensils, and is now an old broken-down man, without a farthing, without sympathy, without friends, one of the most wretched objects in the whole parish. Not one in a hundred has gained anything by smuggling in the end. I know most of the smugglers in my own district personally. With a few exceptions they are the poorest among the people. How can they be otherwise? Their's is the work of darkness, and they must sleep through the day. Their crofts are not half tilled or manured; their houses are never repaired; their very children are neglected, dirty, and ragged. They cannot bear the strain of regular steady work even if they feel disposed. Their moral and physical stamina have become impaired, and they can do nothing except under the unhealthy influence of excitement and stimulants. Gradually their manhood becomes undermined, their sense of honour becomes deadened, and they become violent law-breakers and shameless cheats. This is invariably the latter end of the smuggler, and generally his sons follow his footsteps in the downward path, or he finds disciples among his neighbours' lads, so that the evil is spread and perpetuated. Smuggling is, in short, a curse to the individual and to the community. (To be continued.)
Dealing with the subject of smuggling, Buckle, in his “ History of Civilisation,” says :“The economical evils, great as they were, have been far surpassed by the moral evils which this system produced. These men, desperate from the fear of punishment, and accustomed to the commission of every crime, contaminated the surrounding population, introduced into peaceful villages vices formerly unknown, caused the ruin of entire families, spread, whenever they came, drunkenness, theft, and dissoluteness, and familiarised their associates with those coarse and swinish debaucheries which were the natural habits of so vagrant and so lawless a life.”
TRAGIC FULFILMENT OF A CAITHNESS
ABOUT the year 1612 Lord Maxwell of Nithsdale had a quarrel with a neighbouring Border chief, Sir James Johnstone, and, happening to meet one day, the dispute was renewed, until from words they came to blows, when Maxwell unfortunately ran Sir James through the body and killed him on the spot. Horror-stricken at the tragic result of the quarrel, and fearing the vengeance of the murdered man's relatives, Maxwell took to fight, and made his escape to France. He soon, however, returned, and concealed himself for some considerable time in the wilds of Caithness, trusting to the well-known generosity of the natives not to betray him. A price was set on his head, but he was safe enough so far as the common people were concerned, who scorned to betray even a stranger who trusted himself to them. These fine sentiments were not, however, held by their leader, Colonel George Sinclair, who, on hearing of the fugitive lord, determined to curry favour with the Government by giving him up. Accordingly, he pursued him, and at length secured him near the boundary of the county, and at once sent him to Edinburgh, where the unfortunate gentleman was executed.
Tradition states that when Lord Maxwell was taken prisoner by Colonel Sinclair he upbraided him in no measured terms for his treachery, and told him that he would never prosper after such a deed, but would soon meet with a violent death himself. The Colonel laughed at this ominous prophecy; but he soon had cause to remember it, for, finding that his neighbours, and even his clansmen, resented his violation of the rules of hospitality, he determined to leave Caithness for a while, and entered the service of Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden, to assist him in his war against Denmark and Norway.
Having raised a body of 900 men, he embarked, accompanied by his young and beautiful wife, who could not bear to be left behind, and who, to avoid publicity, dressed herself in man's clothes and went as her husband's page. Colonel Sinclair found
he could not land at Stockholm, as the Baltic was in possession of a strong Danish fleet. He therefore determined to land in Norway, and fight his way at the head of his men across the country until he could reach Sweden and join the King's army. He accordingly began his march, laying waste the country, and ill-treating the peasantry in a most cruel manner. This brutality at last so aroused the people that they were nerved to make some attempt at retaliation.
The "budstick,” (answering to the Fiery Cross of the Highlands) was sent round. The people assembled, armed with muskets and axes, to the number of 500, and placed themselves under the leadership of one of their number, named Berdon Seilstad, who, seeing he could not compete with the invadersin numbers, had recourse to stratagem. Sinclair's movements were carefully watched by spies, until he arrived at a place considered favourable for attack. This was a narrow defile between a precipitous rock on one side and a deep and rapid stream on the other. While Sinclair was deliberating whether to pass this dangerous gorge, or try to find another road, he espied a young countryman, who he at once took prisoner, and by threats and promises compelled him to act as his guide. The lad seemed very simple and stupid, but agreed to act as guide if they would not hurt him. Having obtained a promise to this effect, he led them farther through the difficult pass, until, at a certain spot he suddenly stopped, and firing a pistol which he had hitherto kept concealed, leaped among the rocks, and at once disappeared. Before the report of the pistol shot had died away, Sinclair's party heard the blowing of a horn, and in a moment the rocks which overhung the narrow path, were alive with the enraged natives, who poured a terrific volley on the devoted heads of the entrapped Caithness-men. Those of the peasants who had no firearms, hurled down fragments of rock and large stones, which proved as destructive as the muskets of the others. The erstwhile guide was among the foremost of the enemy, with all his assumed stupidity thrown off, and was seen to be pointing out Colonel Sinclair to Berdon Seilstad, the leader of the Norwegians, who, having heard that Sinclair bore a charmed life not to be injured by ordinary shot, pulled off one of the silver buttons of