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State of the BAROMETER in inches and decimals, and of Farenheit's THER MOMETER in the open air, taken in the morning before fun-rife, and at noon; and the quantity of rain-water fallen, in inches and decimals, from January 1ft to 31, within one mile of the Caftle of Edinburgh.

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THE

EDINBURGH MAGAZINE,

O R

LITERARY MISCELLANY,
FOR JANUARY 1796.

DESCRIPTION OF THE VIEW.

LORD OLIPHANT's Caftile is fituated in the parish of Morlach, and upper district of Banff-fhire. On the north there is a circular fweep of hills, whofe declivities fall down into a deep bottom, in the midst of which there is a fmall lake formed by the ftreams that trickle down the fides of the hills; the borders of the lake are enriched with extenfive plantations, which make a pleafing inclo fure to the piece of water called Loch Park. The rivulet running from this loch gives the name of Strath-Isla to a very fertile and valuable diftrict of the country; in which, increafing its waters as it winds along, and gli ding through the barony of Keith, it is at length poured over the rocks near to the most precipitous parts of which the remains of Lord Oliphant's Caftle ftands, and forms the picturefque cafcade, of which fome idea is given in the annexed plate. The fituation of Milltown, on the adjacent banks of the rivulet, is altogether romantic, and forms a pleafing village; the advantages of level fields, and command of water for mills, bleaching, &c. has raifed the neighbouring town of Keith into fome confiderable importance, as a place where the thread and linen manufactures are carried on with fuccefs. When admiring the situation of the tower and its demelnes, Lord Oliphant feems

to demand great credit as a man of taste, for placing his refidence in fo wildly rural a scene: but on perceiv ing that it is not the flight fimple edifice of a country feat, open around, and eafy of accefs; but a fpecies of fortrefs walled about with jealous care, placed on peninfulated precipices, constructed with these fmall embrazures, from which they might fearless annoy approaching enemies, and prevent the affailants attack, the illufion of the fancied choice vanifhes, and lefs pleafing motives are feen to have determined the place of abode.

In the reign of Alexander the Second, most of the lands in the barony of Keith were devoted, at the instance of that monarch, to fupport and add fplendor to the establishments of the See of Moray; and Bricius, the then celebrated bishop, employed the revenue arifing from them accordingly; chapels were endowed, to accommodate the feveral parts of the district with the evangelical inftitutions. The prefent kirk of Keith occupies the walls of a Catholic building. When adding, fome years ago, to the altar end of it, they dug up many tombftones, which had lain for centuries buried in the ground; on one was fculptured a mitred abbot, unknown; for either no infcription had been added to the effigy, or is now irrecoverA 2

ably

ably blended in the mafs of the moul- been authorized by law, as a fupreme dering ftone.

From the feveral periods of the. fixteenth century, when, in the changes of government, the fluctuating councils of adminiftration more or lefs countenanced the Prefbyterian plea for a reform of the religious inftitutions are to be dated various peculiar revolutions of property, which took place as the interefts of Epifcopacy role or fell in the political fcale.

While it was in agitation, that the hierarchy of the epifcopal communion fhould be abrogated in Scotland, the extenfive territories which had been devoted by princes and nobles to the church, opened a spacious field of intereft in the reform, where the ambition of numbers failed not to regale their hopes of acquiring additional fortunes, by the fupreffion of the dignified clergy. Many of the barons, therefore, readily catched the spirit of the prevailing zeal, and warmly efpoufed the expediency of reducing religion to a fimpler form than was found in the expenfive eftablishment of cathedrals and collegiate churches: accordingly, during the minority of James VI. we find the fchemes of the facrilegious avarice nearly completed; and while the infatiable Morton directed the councils of administration, the greatest part of the revenues of the church were alienated to fecular purposes, and to indulge the wishes of his favourites. It is true, that when the above monarch afcended the throne of these united kingdoms, and faw how far the ftability of his crown was to be maintained by the influence of the fpiritual lords, by royal authority the lands and revenues of the church were to be restored, and the Bishops of Scotland ordained to refume their feats iu Parliament, as fome balance to the turbulent fpirit and encreafing power of the barons. The General Affembly, which had

council for confulting the interefts of religion, joined their voice of approbation to the decrees of the king, and concurred in the expediency of thefe measures: but the barons, who had once tafted the comfort of enjoying the ecclefiaftical emoluments, and thereby finding their fortunes more unembarraffed and free, reluctantly gave up their claim to the poffeffion, foon profited anew of the opportunities which the fucceeding diftractions of government offered them, and favoured the popular remonftrances of the hardships they suffered from the alledged tyranny of the bishops.

Laurence the fourth Lord Oliphant, who ferved heir to his father in 1566, is reprefented in memorials of the times as a man of fingular merit, a great loyalift, adhering firmly to the interefts of Queen Mary during all the time of the civil wars. His fon married a daughter of the Earl of Morton. Few families had made a greater figure in Caledonian ftory than his. The race is traced up to a Noble Dane, who came over in the reign of Donald VI. One of the defcendants is found witness to a charter of a priory granted by King David II. Another, a man of great intereft and power, inarried Lady Elizabeth Bruce, daughter of the immortal King Robert.

Charles the feventh Lord Oliphant, who, in the end of last century, married a young lady of the family of Ogilvie of Miltown, built this caftle, which ftill retains his name. Their only fon died when young; and their lands in the barony of Keith were recognized, by adjudication, to be then the property of the Earls of Findlater. They had been of old in the poffeffion of that family; and after various fortune reftored, continue annexed to the extenfive territories, which conftitute their prefent fo valuable eftate.

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