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Sketches of Perthshire
By the Rev.P. Graham, D.D., second edition, (1812)


The county of Perth, throughout its whole extent, has been long admired and justly celebrated for the sublimity and the beauty of its scenery. But that portion of it which is situated upon the south-western frontier, together with the adjoining district of Stirlingshire, which stretches along the eastern shore of Lochlomond, (of which it is also proposed to offer some account) has, of late years, attracted the particular attention and admiration of travellers.

This most interesting scenery has, indeed, for some time past, been the favourite resort of strangers from every quarter of the united kingdom. This has arisen partly from the intrinsic charms which they are pleased to ascribe to it, and partly from the present exclusion of Britons from the continent, in consequence of the rigours of a savage and jealous despotism.

To these causes of increasing resort to this quarter of Scotland, may be added another of recent occurrence Mr.
Walter Scott, by adopting it as the scene of the transactions of his justly admired poem. The Lady of the Lake, has rendered it classic ground. At present, the topography of this region,

"From lone Glenartney’s hazel shade,”

on the north-east,

"E’en to the pass of Bealmaha,”

on the south-west, including an ample range of country, adorned with woods, lakes, and rivers, with fertile vales, and lofty mountains, has become as interesting to the admirers of Mr Scott’s popular poem, as that of the Troad is to the admirers of Homer.

These “Sketches, descriptive of Picturesque Scenery on the southern Confines of Perthshire, including the Trosachs, Lochard, &c.” were first published in 1806, and were honoured, even in the defective state in which they then appeared, by the favourable reception of the public. Mr Scott, by citing them repeatedly in flattering terms, in the notes to his celebrated poem, has contributed much to the credit of that little volume; and the edition being exhausted, the author takes the liberty of offering another, which, he hopes, will be found freed from several imperfections, and supplied with many subjects which were desiderated in the former.

This edition has, particularly, the advantage of a map, delineated by the author’s friend, the Reverend William Stirling, minister of Port. In this map reference is had to the topography of the Lady of the Lake ; and the several routes are set down, to enable the stranger the more advantageously to direct his course. The recent delineation of this region by Mr Arrowsmith, which is, in general, extremely accurate, together with his scale, is adopted. Some alterations are made from local knowledge, and from the communications of intelligent friends. In particular, it is presumed that the Archipelago of Lochlomond will be found more faithfully pourtrayed in this map than it has been in any other; indeed, from Mr Stirling’s having taken the trouble to superintend the execution of the map himself, it is hoped that it will be considered as the very best specimen of North British geographic engraving now extant.

By the suggestion of several intelligent tourists, it was intended to have enriched this edition with some beautiful drawings in perspective, of the most remarkable scenes described in the volume. The drawings were actually furnished by Mr Stirling, who sometimes relieves his professional occupations with the elegant and permissible amusement of the pencil. Circumstances have interfered to prevent the present publication being enriched with these drawings. It is probable, however, that Mr Stirling will soon publish them upon his own account; and the public will then have it in their power to add the delineations of the pencil to the descriptions of the pen.

The author presumes to add, that a circumstance occurred to him several years ago, which, without any merit on his part, may be considered as qualifying him, in some slight degree, for this undertaking. When the Messrs Boydells of London, in 1792, proposed to publish the description of the four rivers, the Thames, the Severn, the Forth, and the Clyde, from their sources to the sea, they employed the ingenious Mr Farrington of the Royal Academy, to execute the drawings of the adjacent scenery. The author of these Sketches had the happiness to attend that accomplished artist for several days, whilst he was employed in the quarter which it is now proposed to describe; and it was his office to accompany the delineations of the pencil with a verbal description, which Mr Farrington regularly revised.

The proposed work of the Boydells having been long ago abandoned, the writer now considers himself at liberty to employ the notes which he took down on those occasions for Mr Farrington ; and he even hopes that they may be found of some service, to young artists at least, by suggesting the points of view which were chosen by so eminent a master, as well as the mode by which he constructed his outline.

As few districts in Scotland present a more fertile field to the botanist than this, the rarer native plants are enumerated ; and the labour and uncertainty of finding them is lessened by pointing out the particular places of their growth. Some account is given of the animals and minerals of the neighbourhood. These Notices of Natural History are thrown into a separate section ; and it is hoped that the general reader will forgive them, for the sake of the admirers of an elegant and useful science, numbers of whom are attracted hither every summer. Occasional remarks are offered on the soil, the climate, and meteorology of this part of the Highlands; some account is given of the language, the manners, and history of the country, and of the popular superstitions which still prevail.

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