"The northern extremity of Bute projects into the district of Cowal, Argyllshire; and the water divisions between the island and the latter is often so slender that vessels find a difficulty in navigating the straits, which 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 fifteen 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 being cultivated so as to produce fine crops of barley, oats etc. 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 Kames and Kilmore 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 rochy, 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 Stuart, an elegant modern mansion, lies on the woody slope facing the entrance to the Clyde."
[From Slater's Directory of Scotland, with Topographical and Postal Information, Volume II, 1878]
"BUTE, island in Firth of Clyde. It is separated from Argyleshire by the narrow channel called Kyles of Bute; it extends 16 miles south-south-eastward, with a breadth of from 2 to 5 miles; it has mostly a rochy coast, with intervention of fine beachy bays; it comprises 4 districts, separated by nearly parallel dingles; it exhibits a pleasing variety of hill, rising ground, slope, and vale; it rises to a height of nearly 1000 feet in the north, and to heights of more than 500 feet in the middle and the south; it contains a lake of fully 388 acres, and 6 smaller lakes; it gives the titles of early and marquis to a branch of the family of Stuart, and it contains the Marquis's magnificent re-constructed seat of Mount Stuart. Pop. 10,998."
[From The Gazetteer of Scotland by Rev. John Wilson, published by W. & A. K. Johnston, Edinburgh, 1882]