Version classiqueVersion mobile

Scotland and the Scots, 1707-2007

 | 
Christian Auer

III. Religion

18. Good Morals, 1799

Texte intégral

1This is another extract of the Statistical Account of Scotland. See introduction to text 17.

2John Sinclair, The Statistical Account of Scotland, Drawn up from the Communications of the Ministers of the Different Parishes, vol. 21, Edinburgh: 1799, p. 458-460.

Parish of Wamphrey

Morals. I am not disposed to give ill-grounded praise on this important subject, and I hope I shall not unjustly blame: There is, however, too much ground to complain, as to morals, in all places; yet the general turn of the people, in this quarter, is towards sobriety and decency. We have not, at present, a single noted drunkard in this parish. Grossly immoral behaviour is not frequent; and if there be vice, it hides its head as ashamed. Perhaps the common bane of country parishes, a censorious spirit, is not altogether wanting in Wamphray; but it is not general: the generality of the people are industrious, and the idle are commonly in the list of the censorious.

  • 5 [The just man who is resolute] will not be turned from his purpose by the rage of the crowd.

We look in vain for innocence, in any society. It will be granted, however, that virtuous men are more frequent in the walks of agriculture, than any where else: and when any fatality leads a people to neglect and undervalue agriculture, a door is opened to every vice and calamity that can be named. […] Whence do we look for those dreadful commotions which break in upon society, and overturn all that experience and order have established in it? Whence is that civium ardor prava jubentium5, which tramples upon law, disregards justice, and drowns the cry of injured innocence, with the rude clamours of rooted prejudices? It is well known, that generally speaking, these things originate in cities, among the vicious, the profane, the dissipated, and chiefly among those who have learnt the art of carting off the fear of God. The country may be misled; but it is not naturally disposed to wickedness–, and good morals thrive better in the field than in the city. It is wise in any government to encourage agriculture: it adds to our domestic resources and independence, and it strengthens our sinews of war. But Government has now become so weighty and so intricate, that it requires an unusual degree of magnanimity to overlook established prejudices, and to restore the culture of the soil, and of the mind, husbandry, and education, those most important arts, to the notice and honour to which they are justly intitled.

  • 6 Ebenezer Erskine (1680-1754), minister of Stirling, formed a Secession Church in 1733. The Seceder (...)
  • 7 Cameronian was a name given to a section of the Scottish Covenanters who followed the teachings of (...)

Dissenters.—The relief congregation, who have a church and minister in this parish, is composed of some out of each of the ten or twelve parishes next to us. We have a few Antiburgers6; and two or three Cameronians7, the oldest sect of the Seceders. I regret that party spirit and prejudices have not yet disappeared. Were these to cease, a dissenting society might be of service to the church and receive service from her; they might be mutually instrumental to provoke ‘to love and to good works’. Let us be candid and forbearing. The apostles themselves were not always unanimous on certain points connected with religion.

Notes

5 [The just man who is resolute] will not be turned from his purpose by the rage of the crowd.

6 Ebenezer Erskine (1680-1754), minister of Stirling, formed a Secession Church in 1733. The Seceders split in 1747 over the issue of the Burgess Oath introduced in 1745 at the time of the Jacobite rebellion to prevent Catholics from holding public office. The Antiburghers (in the text the word is spelled without an ‘h’) refused to submit to the oath since it implied recognition of the Established Church; those who were willing to take it became known as the Burghers.

7 Cameronian was a name given to a section of the Scottish Covenanters who followed the teachings of Richard Cameron (1648-1680). They became a separate church after the religious settlement of 1690, taking the official title of Reformed Presbyterians in 1743.

© Presses universitaires de Strasbourg, 2013

Conditions d’utilisation : http://www.openedition.org/6540

Rechercher dans OpenEdition Search

Vous allez être redirigé vers OpenEdition Search