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THE Islands of Bute, Arran, Great and Little Cumbray (or Cumbrae), Holy Isle, Pladda, and Inch-Marnoch, compose this
shire, which comprises 225 square miles of land, or 148,997 acres. Though for separated from the properly denominated Western
Islands, those of Bute statistically constitute a portion of the Hebrides. The northern extremity of Bute projects into the district of Cowal,
Argyllshire ; and the water division between the island and the latter is often so slender that the vessels find a difficulty in navigating the
straits, wbich have obtained the title of " the Kyles of Bute." The southern part forms the western shores of the Firth of Clyde. About the
middle it is narrowed by the indention of bays on either side. The length of the island is about eighteen and its breadth averages five miles.
Towards Cowal it is bleak and mountainous, but on the southern parts it consists of green fertile eminences or low hills, either affording
excellent pasture, or capable with low grounds of being cultivated so as to produce fine crops of barley, oats, &c. The island altogether is
distinguished for picturesque beauty, and both the botanist and the geologist will find it a rich field for their respective researches. The
antiquary, also, will discover many relics of bygone days existing in the- island ; among others, the interesting ruins of Rothesay, East and
West Karnes and Kilinory Castles. Here, as on all the west coast of Scotland, there is little or no extent of sea beach, in comparison with
other shores ; the marine border is in most places rocky, with several good natural harbours. On the south-eastern side, the island is clothed
with fine plantations, raised by the taste of the late Marquis of Bute, and the family seat, Mount Stewart, an elegant modern mansion,
lies on the woody slope facing the entrance to the Clyde.
The Climate of Buteshire is eminently salubrious— neither mists nor noxious fogs, so prevalent in tho east of Scotland, infest it ; snow
rarely lies on the hills, and the only qualification to its general genial character is a liability to severe and sudden rains. In the interior, in a
secluded situation, the late celebrated tragedian, Edmund Eeane, erected a cottage, to which he purposed retiring from public life. The
view of the island from the sea is enlivened by several other cottages on the different green declivities. Bute has for many years been the
place of summer resort, for seabathing and ruralization, of the fashionable mercantile gentry of the west, who congregate chiefly in and
about Rothesay, its capital, and contribute materially to the vivacity of the place.
Tho large island of Arran lies five miles south-west of Bute, and between the peninsular of Can tyre and Ayrshire ; in form it approaches
an oval, extending from north to south twenty miles, and in breadth twelve. While Bute is mostly low and green, Arran is lofty and brown,
with many heathy mountains, some of which exceed three thousand feet in altitude. A small portion of the lower grounds are cultivated,
but the whole is essentially and characteristically pastoral. There are several remarkable caves ; the most distinguished is that on the west,
opposite to Campbeltown, called "the King's Cave," from its having afforded shelter to Robert Bruce before he discomfited Baliol, and
ascended the throne of Scotland ; it is one hundred and twenty feet in length, sixty in height, and forty-eight in width. Arran belongs
principally to the Duke of Hamilton, who has on the island an ancient though somewhat modernised seat, called Brodick Castle ; it furnished
the title of Earl to the chief of the house of Hamilton, who was regent during the minority of Mary Queen of Scots. The island compre-
hends two parishes, and its villages are Lamlash and Brodick. It was formerly famous for the excellence of its whisky; and coal, freestone,
and ironstone are said to lie beneath the surface of the soil. The beautiful little island of Inch Marnoch, rising a few miles south-west of
Bute, is about a mile in length ; near its eastern shore are the ruins of a chapel dedicated to Saint Marnoch. The Combrays are two small
islands, lying in the Firth of Clyde, betwixt the Isle of Bute and Ayrshire ; the greater Cumbray lies highest up the Firth, and is two miles
and a half in length, by a breadth of one and a half, distant from tho coast of Ayrshire about two miles. The capital, and only town on the
island, is Millport, a neat little place on the north side, with a harbour. The island forms a parish, to which the lesser Cumbray is
attached ; this latter island is about a mile in length by half a mile in breadth. These Cumbrays once belonged to the Norwegians, and were
frequently the objects of contest with the Scots. Two- thirds of the larger Cumbray belong to the Earl of Glasgow, and the remainder is the
pronerty of the Marquis of Bute. The Earl of Eglingtoun is the owner of the lesser Cumbray.
The island of Bute at one time contained ten or twelve parish churches, and about thirty heritages of religious men ; the island has now
but three parishes, and the shire altogether only seven. The only royal burgh is Rothsay ; the county is represented in Parliament by one
member, the present member being Charles Dalrymple, Esq. Bute gives the title of Marquis to the family of Stuart, a branch of the royal
family of Scotland. The Marquis of Bute is descended in a direct line from Sir John Stuart, a son of Robert II., who by his father's
grant became possessed of the island of Bute, with the heritable jurisdiction of the county, in which he was confirmed by a charter of his
brother, Robert III. The family was elevated to an earldom in the person of Sir James, a privy councillor of Queen Anne, in 1703. The lord
lieutenant of the county is Lieut.-Colonel J. F. D. Crich ton- Stuart. The parliamentary constituency for 1884-85 was 1,561. According to
the returns presented to Government in 1871, the population of the shire was 16,997, and by those for 1881, 17,657.

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