IN A LETTER TO THE
Whereof himelf was Ear and Eye-witnes.
[I thought fit to adjoyne [it] hereunto, that I might not be thought ingular in this Diquiition; that the Mater of Fact might be undenyably made out; and that I might, with all Submiion, give Annotations, with Animadverions, on his uppoed Caues of that Phenomenon, with my Reaons of Dient from his judgement.]
I HEARD very much, but beleived very little, of the Second Sight; yet its being aumed
by everall of great Veracity, I was induced to make Inquirie after it in the Year 1652, being then confin'd to abide in the North of Scotland by the Englih Uurpers. The more generall Accounts of it were, that many Highlanders, yet far more Ilanders, were qualified with this Second Sight; that Men, Women, and Children, inditinctly, were ubject to it, and Children, where Parents were not. Some times People came to age, who had it not when young, nor could any tell by what Means produced. It is a Trouble to mot of them who are ubject to it, and they would be rid of it any Rate if they could. The Sight is of no long Duration, only continuing o long as they can keep their Eyes teady without twinkling. The hardy therefore fix their look, that they may ee the longer; but the timorous ee only Glances, their Eyes always twinkles at the firt Sight of the Object. That which generally is een by them, are the Species of living Creatures, and of inanimate Things, which was in Motion, uch as Ships, and Habits upon Perons. They never ie the
the Species of any Peron who is already dead. What they foirie fails not to exit in the Mode, and in that Place where it appears to them. They cannot well know what Space of Time hall interveen between the Apparition and the real Exitance: But ome of the hardiet and longet Experience have ome Rules for Conjectures; as, if they ie a Man with a hrowding Sheet in the Apparition, they will conjecture at the Nearnes or Remotenes of his Death by the more or les of his Bodie that is covered by it. They will ordinarily ie their abent Friends, tho at a great Ditance, ome tymes no les than from America to Scotland, itting, tanding, or walking in ome certain Place; and then they conclude with a Aurance that they will ie them o and there. If a Man be in love with a Woman, they will ordinarily ie the Species of that Man tanding by her, and o likewie if a Woman be in love; and they conjecture at their Enjoyments (of each other) by the Species touching (of) the Peron, or appearing at a Ditance from her (if they enjoy not one another.) If they ie
the Species of any Peron who is ick to die, they ie them covered over with the hrowding Sheet.
THESE Generalls I had verified to me by uch of them as did ie, and were eteemed honet and ober by all the Neighbourhood; for I inquired after uch for my Information. And becaue there were more of thee Seers in the Iles of Lewis, Harris, and Uit, than in any other Place, I did entreat Sir James M'Donald (who is now dead) Sir Normand M'Loud, and Mr. Daniel Morion, a verie honet Peron, (who are till alive,) to make Inquirie in this uncouth Sight, and to acquaint me therewith; which they did, and all found ane Agriement in thee Generalls, and informed me of many Intances confirming what they aid. But though Men of Dicretion and Honour, being but at 2d Hand, I will chooe rather to put myelf than my Friends on the Hazard of being laughed at for incredible Relations.
I WAS once travelling in the Highlands, and a good Number of Servants with me, as is uuall
there; and one of them going a little before me, entering into a Houe where I was to tay all Night, and going haitily to the Door, he uddenly tept back with a Screech, and did fall by a Stone, which hit his Foot. I aked what the Matter was, for he eemed to be very much frighted. He told me very eriouly that I hould not lodge in that Houe, becaue hortly a dead Coffin would be carried out of it, for many were carrying of it when he was heard cry. I neglecting his Words, and taying there, he aid to other of his Servants, he was orry for it, and that urely what he aw would hortly come to pas. Tho no ick Peron was then there, yet the Landlord, a healthy Highlander, died of ane appoplectick Fit before I left the Houe.
In the year 1653, Alexander Monro (afterward Lieut. Coll. to the Earl of Dunbarton's Regiment,) and I were walking in a Place called Ullabill, in Lochbroom, on a little Plain, at the Foot of a rugged Hill. There was a Servant working with a Spade in the Walk before us; his Back was to us, and his Face to
the Hill. Before we came to him, he let the Spade fall, and looked toward the Hill. He took Notice of us as wee paed neer by him, which made me look at him; and perceiving him to tair a little trangely, I conjectured him to be a Seer. I called at him, at which he tarted and miled. What are you doing? aid I. He anwered, I have een a very trange Thing; ane Army of Englihmen, leeding of Hores, coming doun that Hill; and a Number of them are come down to the Plain, and eating the Barley, which is growing in the Field neer to the Hill. This was on the 4th May, (for I notted the Day,) and it was four or fyve Days before the Barley was own in the Field he poke of. Alexander Monro aked him how he knew they were Englihmen? He aid, becaue they were leeding of Hores, and had on Hats and Bootts, which he knew no Scot Man would have there. We took little Notice of the whole Storie, as other than a foolih Viion; but wihed that ane Englih Partie were there, we being then at Warr with them, and the Place almot unaccelable for Hore-
men. But in the Beginning of Augut therafter, the Earle of Midleton (then Lieut. for the King in the Highlands) having occaion to march a Party of his toward the South Highlands, he ent his Foot thorow a Place called Inverlawell; and the Fore-partie which was firt down the Hill, did fall off eating the Barley which was on the litle Plain under it. And Monro calling to mynd what the Seer told us, in May preceiding, he wrote of it, and ent ane Expres to me to Lochlin, in Ros, (where I then was) with it.
I HAD Occaion once to be in Companie where a Young Lady was, (excue my not naming of Perons,) and I was told there was a notable Seer in the Companie. I called him to peak with me, as I did ordinarly when I found any of them; and after he had anwered me to everal Quetions, I aked if he knew any Peron to be in love with that Lady. He aid he did, but he knew not the Peron; for during the two Dayes he had been in her Company, he perceaved one tanding neer her, and his Head leaning on her Shoulder; which he aid
did fore-tell that the Man hould marrie her, and die before her, according to his Obervation. This was in the Year 1655. I deired him to decribe the Peron, which he did; o that I could conjecture, by the Decription, of uch a one, who was of that Ladyes Acquaintance, tho there were no thought of their Marriage till two Years thereafter. And having Occaion, in the Year 1657, to find this Seer, who was ane Ilander, in Company with the other Peron whom I conjectured to have been decribed by him, I called him aide, and aked if that was the Peron he aw beide the Lady near two Years then pat. He aid it was he indeed, for he had een that Lady jut then tanding by him Hand in Hand. This was ome few Months before their Marriage, and that Man is ince dead, and the Lady till alive.
I SHALL trouble you but with one more, which I thought mot remarkable of any that occurred to me. In January 1652, the above mentioned Lieut. Coll. Alex. Monro and I happened to be in the Houe of one Wm. M'Cleud of Ferrinlea, in the County of Ros.
[paragraph continues] He, the Landlord, and I were itting in three Chairs neir the Fire, and in the Corner of the great Chimney there were two Ilanders, who were that verie Night come to the Hous, and were related to the Landlord. While the one of them was talking with Monro, I perceaved the other to look oddly toward me. From this Look, and his being ane Ilander, I conjectured him a Seer, and aked him, at what he tair'd? He anwered, by deiring me to rie from that Chair, for it was ane unluckie one. I aked him why. He anwered, becaue there was a dead Man in the Chair nixt to me. Well, aid I, if it be in the nixt Chair, I may keep mine own. But what is the Liknes of the Man? He aid he was a tall Man, with a long Grey Coat, booted, and one of his Legs hanging over the Arme of the Chair, and his head hanging dead to the other Side, and his Arme backward, as if it were brocken. There were ome Englih Troops then quartered near that Place, and there being at that Time a great Frot after a Thaw, the Country was covered all over with Yce. Four or Fyve of the Englih ryding by
this Houe ome two Hours after the Viion, while we were itting by the Fire, we heard a great Noie, which prov'd to be thoe Troopers, with the Help of other Servants, carrying in one of their Number, who had got a very micheivous Fall, and had his Arme broke; and falling frequently in wooning Fits, they brought him into the Hall, and et him in the verie Chair, and in the verie Poture that the Seer had propheied. But the Man did not die, though he recovered with great Difficulty.
AMONG the Accounts given me by Sir Normand M'clud, there was one worth of pecial Notice, which was thus. There [was] a Gentleman in the Ile of Harris, who was always een by the Seers with ane Arrow in his Thigh. Such in the Ile who thought thoe prognotications infalliable, did not doubt but he would be hot in the Thigh before he died. Sir Normand told me that he heard it the Subject of their Dicoure for many Years. At lat he died without any uch Accident. Sir Normand was at his Buriall, at St Clement's Church in the Harris. At the ame Time, the Corps of another
another Gentleman was brought to be buried in the ame verie Church. The Friends on either Side came to debate who hould firt enter the Church, and in a Trice from Words they came to Blows. One of the Number (who was arm'd with Bow and Arrows) let one fly among them. (Now everie Familie in that Ile have their Buriall-place in the Church in Stone Chets, and the Bodies are carried in open Biers to the Buriall-place.) Sir Normand having appeaed the Tumult, one of the Arrows was found hot in the dead Man's Thigh. To this Sir Normand was a Witnes.
IN the Account which Mr Daniel Morion, Paron in the Lewis, gave me, there was one, tho it be hetergeneous from the ubject, yet it may [be] worth your Notice. It was of a young Woman in his Parih, who was mightily frightned by eeing her own Image till before her, alwayes when he came to the open Air; the Back of the Image being alwayes to her, o that it was not a reflection as in a Mirrour, but the Species of uch a Body as her own, and in a very like Habit, which appeared to herelf
continually before her. The Paron keept her a long whyle with him, but had no Remedy of her Evill, which troubled her exceidingly. I was told afterwards, that when he was four or fyve Years elder he aw it not.
THESE are Matters of Fact, which I aure yow they are truely related. But thee, and all others that occurred to me, by Information or otherwie, could never lead me into a remote Conjecture of the Caue of o extraordinary a Phænomenon. Whither it be a Quality in the Eyes of ome People into thee Pairts, concurring with a Quality in the Air alo; whither uch Species be every where, tho not een by the Want of Eyes o qualified, or from whatever other Caue, I mut leave to the Inquiry of clearer judgements than mine. But a Hint may be taken from this image which appeared till to this Woman abovementioned, and from another mentioned by Aritotle, in the 4th of his Metaphyicks (if I remember right, for it is long ince I read it;) as alo from the common Opinion that young Infants (unullied with many Objects) do ie Appearitions, which were
not een by thoe of elder Years; as like wife from this, that everalls did ie the Second Sight when in the Highlands or Iles, yet when tranported to live in other Countreys, epecially in America, they quite loe this Qualitie, as was told me by a Gentleman who knew ome of them in Barbadoes, who did ee no Viion there, altho he knew them to be Seers when they lived in the Iles of Scotland.
Thus far my Lord Tarbett.