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government of the Scottish nation, from the original thereof unto the year 1571," gathered by Raphael Holinshed, and continued from 1 1571 to 1580, by Francis Boteville, ulias Thin,
and others. The third volume begins with "Duke William, the Norman, commonly called the Conqueror; and descends by degrees of years to all the kings and queens of England;" first compiled by R. Holinshed, and by him extended to 1577; augmented and continued to 1586, by John Stow, Fr. Thin, Abraham Flemming, and others.
The following account of the diet, &c. of our predecessors, is taken from “ Harrison's Description of Britain," and is curious as indicating the state of society, and particularly of Manners :
Of the Food and Diet of the English.
Book 2.- Chap. 6. Our tables are oftentimes more plentifully garnished than those of other nations, and this trade hath continued with us even since the very beginning. For before the Romans found cut and knew the way unto our country, our predecessors fed largely upon flesh and milk, whereof there was great abundance in this isle, because they applied their VOL. 11.
chief studies unto pasturage and feeding. After this manner also did our Welsh Britons order themselves in their diet so long as they lived of themselves, but after they became to be united and made equal with the English, they framed their appetites to live after our manner, so that at this day there is very little difference between us in our diets.
In Scotland likewise, they have given themselves (of late years to speak of,) unto very ample and large diet, wherein as for some respect nature doth make them equal with us : so otherwise they far exceed us in over much and distemperate gormandize, and so ingross their bodies, that divers of them do oft become unapt to any other purpose than to spend their times in large tabling and belly cheer. Against this pampering of their carcasses doth Hector Boetius, in his description of the country, very sharply inveigh in the first chapter of that treatise. Henry Wardlaw also, bishop of St. Andrews, noting their vehement alteration from competent frugality into excessive gluttony, to be brought out of England with James I. (who had been long time prisoner there under the fourth and fifth Henries, and at his return carried divers English gentlemen into his country with him, whom he very honourably preferred there) doth vehemently exclaim against the same in open parliament, holden at Perth, 1433, before the three estates, and so bringeth his purpose to pass in the
end, by force of his learned persuasions, that a law was presently made there for the restraint of superfluous diet. Amongstother things baked meats, (dishes never before this man's days seen in Scotland,) were generally so provided for by virtue of this act, that it was not lawful for any to eat of the same under the degree of a gentleman, and those only but on high and festival days; but alas ! it was soon forgotten.
In old times these North Britons did give themselves universally to great abstinence, and in time of wars their soldiers would often feed but once, or twice at the most, in two or three days, (especially if they held themselves in secret, or could have no issue out of their bogs and morasses, through the presence of the enemy,) and in this distress they used to eat a certain kind of confection, whereof so much as a bean would qualify their hunger above common expectation. In woods, moreover, they lived with herbs and roots, or if these shifts served not, thorough want of such provision at hand, then used they to creep into the water, or said moorish plots, up unto the chins, and there remain a long time, only to qualify the heats of their stomachs by violence, which otherwise would have wrought and been ready to oppress them for hunger and want of sustenance. In those days likewise it was taken for a great offence over all, to eat either goose, hare, or hen, because of a certain superstitious opinion which
they had conceived of those three creatures : howbeit, after that the Romans (I say) had once found an entrance into this island, it was not long ere open shipwreck was made of this religious observation, so that in process of time, so well the North and South Britons, as the Romans, gave over to make such difference in meats as they had done before.
From thenceforth also unto our days, and even in this season wherein we live, there is no restraint of any meat, either for religion's sake, or public order in England; but it is lawful for every man to feed upon whatsoever he is able to purchase, except it be upon those days whereon eating of flesh is especially . forbidden by the laws of the realm, which order is taken only to the end our numbers of cattle may be the better increased, and that abundance of fish which the sea yieldeth, more generálly received. Beside this there is great consideration had in making of this law for the preservation of the navy, and maintenance of convenient numbers of sea-faring men, both which would otherwise greatly decay, if some means were not found whereby they might be increased. But howsoever this case standeth, white meats, milk, butter, and cheese, which were never so dear as in my time, and wont to be accounted of as one of the chief stays throughout the island, are now reputed as food appertaining only to the inferior sort; while such as are more wealthy, do feed upon the
fiesh of all kinds of cattle accustomed to be eaten, all sorts of fish taken upon our coasts and in our fresh rivers, and such diversity of wild and tame fowls as are either bred in our island, or brought over unto us from other countries of the main.
In number of dishes and change of meat, the nobility of England, (whose cooks are for the most part musical headed Frenchmen and strangers), do most exceed, sith there is no day in manner that passeth over their heads, wherein they have not only beef, mutton, veal, lamb, kid, pork, cony, capon, pig, or so many of these as the season yieldeth: but also some portion of the red or fallow deer, beside great variety of fish and wild fowl, and thereto sundry other delicates wherein the sweet hand of the sea-iaring Portingale is not wanting : so that for á man to dine with one of them, and to taste of every dish that standeth before him, (which few used to do, but each one feedeth upon that meat him best liketh for the time, the beginning of every dish notwithstanding being reserved unto the greatest personage that sitteth at the table, to whom it is drawn
up still by the waiters as order requireth, and from whom it descendeth again even to the lower end, whereby, each one may taste thereof,) is rather to yield unto a conspiracy with a great deal of meat for the speedy suppression of natural health, than the use of a necessary mean to satisfy himself with a