The Cottagers of Glenburnie

The Cottagers of Glenburnie  (1808) 
by Elizabeth Hamilton (1756-1816)

THE

COTTAGERS

OF

GLENBURNIE;

A TALE

FOR THE FARMER'S INGLE-NOOK.


BY

ELIZABETH HAMILTON,

AUTHOR OF THE ELEMENTARY
PRINCIPLES OF EDUCATION
, MEMOIRS OF MODERN
PHILOSOPHERS
, &c. &c. &c.





SECOND EDITION.

EDINBURGH:
PRINTED BY JAMES BALLANTYNE AND CO.
FOR MANNERS AND MILLER, AND S. CHEYNE, EDINBURGH;
T. CADELL AND W. DAVIES, STRAND, AND WILLIAM
MILLER, ALBEMARLE-STREET, LONDON.


1808.

page

TO

HECTOR MACNEILL, Esq.



dear sir,

Independently of all considerations of esteem or friendship, I know not to whom the Cottagers of Glenburnie could be with such propriety inscribed, as to the Author of the Skaith of Scotland.

To the genius displayed in that admired production of the Scottish Muse, this humbler composition of dull prose has indeed no pretensions; but if it shall be admitted, that the writers have been influenced by similar motives, I shall be satisfied with the share of approbation that must inevitably follow. Had I adhered to the plan on which those sketches were originally formed, and published them as separate pieces, in form and size resembling the tracts in the "Cheap Repository," I should have had no apprehensions concerning the justice of the sentence to be passed upon them; for then they would have had little chance of falling into other hands than those of the class of persons for whose use they were intended. This exclusive perusal is, however, a happiness which no author has a right to expect; and which, to confess the truth, no author would very highly relish. For though we were to be assured, that of the number of readers in this reading age, one half read only with the intention of gratifying their vanity, by shewing their skill in picking out the faults, yet who would not prefer going through the ordeal of this soi-disant criticism, to the mortification of not being read at all?

Of the mode of criticism now in vogue, I believe your opinion coincides exactly with my own. We do not consider it as originating in the pride, or spleen, or malignity of the persons by whom it has been most freely exercised, but in a mistaken notion of the species of vigour and energy attached to the censorial character, and essential to the dignity of the critic's office. It is under this misconception that persons of highly cultivated talents sometimes condescend to make use of the contemptuous sneer, the petty cavil, the burlesque representation,—though modes of criticism in which they may easily be outdone by the vulgar and illiterate. But surely when men of genius and learning seem thus to admit, that the decisions they pronounce stand in need of other support than the justice and good sense in which they are founded, they forget the consequences that may follow. They forget, that the tone of ill nature can never be in unison with the emotions that arise from the admiration of what is beautiful; and that as far as they, by the influence of their example, contribute to give this tone to the public mind, they corrupt the public taste, and give a bias that is inimical to its progress in refinement. But however the prevalence of this style of animadversion may, in a general view, be lamented, it is not by authors of such trifling productions as the present, that it ought to be condemned: for, is it not some consolation to reflect, that let the meanest performance be judged with what asperity, or spoken of with what contempt it may, it cannot be more severely judged, or more contemptuously treated, than works acknowledged to possess merit of the highest order? Let then the critics do their worst; I have found a cure for every wound they can inflict on my vanity. But there are others besides professed critics, concerning whose opinion of the propriety or tendency of this little work I confess myself to be most anxious, and those are the well-wishers to the improvement of their country.

A warm attachment to the country of our ancestors naturally produces a lively interest in all that concerns its happiness and prosperity; but though in this attachment few of the children of Caledonia are deficient, widely different are the views taken of the manner in which it ought to be displayed.

In the opinion of vulgar minds, it ought to produce a blind and indiscriminating partiality for national modes, manners, and customs; and a zeal that kindles into rage at whoever dares to suppose that our country has not in every instance reached perfection. Every hint at the necessity of further improvement is, by such persons, deemed a libel on all that has been already done; and the exposition of what is faulty, though with a view to its amendment, an unpardonable offence. From readers of this description, you will soon perceive, I cannot hope for quarter. Nor is it to readers of this description alone, that the intention with which my Cottage Tale is written, will appear erroneous or absurd.

The politician, who measures the interests of his country by her preponderance in the scale of empire, regards all consideration for individual happiness as a weakness; and by the man who thinks riches and happiness synonymous, all that does not directly tend to increase the influx of wealth, is held in contempt. Each of these dictates to the opinions of numbers. In the school of the former, the political value of the various classes in society is judged of by their political influence; and in that of the latter, their importance is appreciated by their power of creating wealth. It is the few by whom these privileges are possessed, that are objects of consideration in the eyes of both. The great mass of the people are, in their estimation, as so many teeth in the wheels of a piece of machinery, of no farther value than as they serve to facilitate its movements. No wonder if, in their eyes, a regard to the moral capacities and feelings of such implements should appear visionary and romantic. Not less so, perhaps, than to the war-contriving sage, at the time he coolly calculates how many of his countrymen may, without national inconvenience, be spared for slaughter!

Happily, there are others, to whom the prosperity of their country is no less dear, though its uiterests are viewed by them through a very diflerent medium. iNational happiness they consider as the aggregate of the sum of individual happiness, and individual virtue. The fraternal tie, of which they feel the influence, binds them, not exclusively to the poor or to the affluent—it embraces the interests of all. Every improvement in the arts, which tends to give additional grace to the elegant enjoyments of the wealthy; every discovery made by their countrymen in science; every step attained in the progress of literature, or philosophy—is to them a subject of heartfelt gratulation. But while they delight in observing the effects of increasing prosperity with which they are surrounded, they forget not the claims of a class more numerous than that of the prosperous. They forget not that the pleasures of the heart, and of the understanding, as well as those of the senses, were intended by Providence to be in some degree enjoyed by all; and therefore, that in the pleasures of the heart and the understanding, all are entitled to participate. Persons of this mode of thinking do not fancy the whole duties of charity to be comprised in some efforts towards prolonging the sensitive existence of those who, without such relief, must perish; nor do they consider extreme indigence as the only object on which their benevolence ought to be exerted, nor the physical wants of the lower orders, as the only wants that ought to be supplied. Nothing by which the moral habits, or domestic comforts of their brethren of any rank, can be materially injured or promoted, can to such minds be indifferent. Precious in their eyes are the gleams of joy that illumine the poor man's cottage; sacred the peace that reigns in it; doubly sacred the virtues by which alone that peace can be established or secured. By minds such as these, my motives will not be misinterpreted. By one such mind, at least, I assure myself they will be judged of, with the indulgence due to so many years of friendship.

May this be accepted as a testimony of the sincerity with which that friendship has ever been returned by,

Dear Sir,
Your obedient and faithful
humble servant,

George-Street, May 5, 1808.


page

CONTENTS.



Page
CHAP. I.
An Arrival
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
1
CHAP. II.
Dissertation on Dress—Antiquated Precepts—History of Mrs Mason's Childhood
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
16
CHAP. III.
History of Mrs Mason continued
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
42
CHAP. IV.
History of Mrs Mason continued
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
70
CHAP. V.
Mrs Mason's Story concluded
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
98
CHAP. VI.
Domestic Sketches—Picture of Glenburnie—View of a Scotch Cottage in the last century
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
114
CHAP. VII.
A peep behind the Curtain — Hints on Gardening
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
141
CHAP. VIII.
Family Sketches
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
157
CHAP. IX.
Domestic Rebellion
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
189
CHAP. X.
Containing a useful Prescription
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
212
CHAP. XI.
An escape from earthly Cares and Sorrows
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
232
CHAP. XII.
The Doctrine of Liberty and Equality stripped of all seditious import
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
246
CHAP. XIII.
The force of Prejudice
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
255
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
275
CHAP. XV.
A Marriage and a Wedding
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
292
CHAP. XVI.
An unexpected Meeting between old Acquaintances
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
322
CHAP. XVII.
Receipt for making a thorough Servant—Thoughts on Methodism
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
342
CHAP. XVIII.
Hints concerning the Duties of a Schoolmaster
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
362
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391
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401

This work was published before January 1, 1926, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.