« AnteriorContinuar »
Society and manners
NORTH OF IRELAND,
A SERIES OF LETTERS
· WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1818.
BY JOHN GAMBLE, Esq.
“ NORTHERN IRISH TALES,” &c.
As some lone miser visiting his store,
A GREAT proportion of the inhabitants of the North of Ireland are the descendants of Scotchmen, settled here after the accession of James the First to the throne of England. In some of the maritime counties opposite to Scotland, the Irish were almost entirely expelled; the inhabitants, therefore, retain their Scotch manners in more primitive freshness. In this part of the country subjugation of the unfortunate native was equally complete, but expulsion was by no means so general; the new comers took possession only of the valleys and fertile spots, and kindly left the native the bogs and mountains. By degrees, 'as fear abated and rancour subsided, he crept slowly down, and the lowly Presbyterian, who was now become of consequence enough to have another to do for him, what he was once happy to have to do himself, allowed him to labour the land which he once possessed ; and when his spirit was fairly broken to his fortunes, treated his humble hewer of wood, and drawer of water, with something that resembled kindness.
In the progress of time, the two nations were in some degree intermingled ; — Irish vivacity enlivened Scotch gravity; - Irish generosity blended with Scotch frugality, and a third character was formed, it would be presuming in me to say better than either, but .certainly different from both. It is of this people, so peculiar, and until lately so little known, that I again venture to write; and by brief tale, by slight sketch, by occasional dialogue, and passing observation and recollection, endeavour to make better known...,
For the few letters written from London, and on my way hither, some apology may be necessary; but having in early life lived much in the former, and often travelled over the latter, they presented scenes which I could not pass over without lingering; yet even in the midst of them, I did not altogether lose sight of my intended object. Perhaps amidst no scenes could I altogether lose sight of it, nor probably by the most elaborate dissertation, could I better describe my countrymen, than by an unreserved display of my own feelings, and by shewing myself as I am. On this subject let me remark, that these letters are, in many parts, transcripts of real ones written to a distant and very dear friend, and therefore that some interminglement of self was unavoidable. Of importance too, as man ever is to himself, he is apt to think that he is so to others, and possibly I fattered myself that the public might not be unwilling to know something of one, who, though in an humble degree, had