button to main menu  Clarke's Survey of the Lakes, 1787

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Page 9:-
[mem]bers to Parliament. It is very like Cumberland in its soil and climate, and similarity of manners is every where to be found in both. Dr Falconer, in a learned and elegant paper, published in the Memoirs of the Literary Society of Manchester, has proved almost to demonstration, that the scenery of a country has the greatest share in forming the manners of its inhabitants: but to this I must add another source equally powerful, the necessities of situation.
The contemplation of barren heaths, bleak, rocky mountains, and almost impassable swamps and mosses, will naturally fill the mind with gloomy and uncomfortable ideas; but when the inhabitant has his daily sustenance to collect from these dreary wilds, he will alternately starve and gluttonize. If he is one day pinched with hunger, he will, if the next affords him a prey, fall to with the voracity of a wolf. Can we then wonder, that people so situated should have frequent quarrels with their neighbours? Can we wonder that they should, by every species of cruelty, endeavour to terrify their neighbours from attacking them, where we must be sensible that they have only the dreadful alternative to massacre their invaders, or perish by hunger? When necessity has thus begun the practice of cruelty, a spirit of revenge keeps it alive, till custom rivets it too fast to be easily removed.
In every country where this is not the case, a spirit of humanity in general keeps time with martial ardour. The vanquished yielding enemy is considered as not only entitled to mercy, but protection: the valour he has that day shewn, though at the expence of the noblest blood of the victors, increases the respect shewn him; and no one ever thinks of revenging at that time the death of a father, a son, or a brother. The Israelites were perhaps the only civilized nation that ever massacred a vanquished enemy in cool blood; nor were they contented with death alone, for they tortured them in the most cruel manner; "they hewed them to pieces with axes, and tore them with harrows." It is true, they pretended a divine mandate for this; but what age has not produced some crafty, designing priest, of art and impudence sufficient to gloss over the blackest crimes! The situation of the countries I am here describing is such, that they are extremely beautiful in Summer, and equally cold, bleak, and uncomfortable in Winter; and as we know that agriculture has been very lately improved, or ever introduced here, we may conclude that the necessities of them were much varied. In Summer, the inhabitants would live pleasantly and plentifully enough by hunting and fishing; but in Winter, (before the art of preserving meat by the means of salt was discovered,) their fare must have been very precarious. This would naturally enough introduce the desire of those conveniences their neighbours might chance to enjoy; and among people where legislature is very imperfect, as theirs was till very lately, the next step is plunder. The consequences of these primeval habits are scarcely yet worn out. We find, very late in the annals of history, the inhabitants of these northern counties marked as despising danger to a great degree: most of their ways of speaking of it are ludicrous; and whoever has seen them engaged in their favourite amusement, the Foot-ball, will perceive that even their diversions were hazardous. With all this ferocity, there was, however, a strong tincture of generosity; history, tradition, and the old popular ballads confirm it by numerous instances. Even among the inhabitants of the debateable ground there was a kind of principle of honour mixed with their thefts; for, though outlaws from both kingdoms, and punished with death when taken, they seldom or never did violence to the person of the traveller, and have even been known to do actions of the highest generosity to those whose misfortunes needed such assistance. This is, as far as I can determine, the real character of the northern counties: I shall only add, that the spirit of these people, though changed from its original channel, is not lost; for now it breaks out in obstinate lawsuits, as the learned counsellors who attend this circuit can avouch.
Near to Eamont Bridge is Mayburgh, or Mayborough, a singular and astonishing piece of antiquity, nothing similar to it appearing either in this or any other country that I can hear of. This curious monument of former ages is a circle, consisting of a
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