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The Correspondence of an Old Scotch Factor
 


NO Scotsman, we suppose, needs to be reminded of the high place which the House of Gordon has always held among the great families of Scotland. It never was one of the governing families, perhaps, in the sense that the Douglases or the Argylls, or many others less distinguished, whom the favour of a monarch, or a lucky turn of Fortune's wheel brought into brief and brilliant prominence, were governing families. Natural barriers, in the shape of Drum Albau and the Mounth secluded the Gordons from taking that leading-part in Lowland politics to which, from their estates, their abilities, their ambition, and their position as chiefs of a great clan, they were apparently entitled. But from the Grampians to the Moray Firth, from Aberdeenshire on the east, to Inverness-shire on the west, the head of the House of Gordon— whatever might be the title he bore—was the ' Cock of the North,' and no one—hardly even the Crown itself,—was able to dispute his power. The old house of the Huatlys, in the middle of the Bog o' Gight, with its tall grey tower, its causeway, and its drawbridge, was the centre of all authority 'be-north the Tay' fur generations before its name was changed to Gordon Castle, and it became the ' world of a house ' that we see it now and the Highland home of a powerful Duke. And it never lost anything of its prestige. Political tempests might rage, the forces of faction and religious prejudice might combine against it, it weathered every storm, it emerged uninjured from every attack. It came safe through the Seylla and Charybdis of the Rebellions of 1715 and 1745. The legislation which resulted from them and which brought down its neighbours on every side, left it untouched. Its territorial, and consequently its social importance—for the ' Gudeman o' the Bog' was not only a great feudal lord, but the head of a powerful Highland clan—was too great to be annihilated by any mere Act of Parliament. In 1700 the number of the Duke of Gordon's vassals in Aberdeen, Banff, and Moray, amounted to no less than 107, and twenty-seven of these were his clansmen. In the list is to be found a large proportion of the best and oldest blood in the north. Lumsdens, Maitlands, Fortieses, Baillies, Macintoshes, Macphersons, Camerons, Grants, all owed allegiance to the head of the Gordon clan. Nor were they likely to repudiate it. For all, but a very small minority, claimed kinship with him as well; and with the Gordons, blood was ever thicker than water. No Duke of Gordon was ever known to oppress his vassals or his tenants, or to take advantage of the necessities of his friends. 'The Duke,' says a private letter written in 1800, by one who had ample opportunities of knowing, would have lent money to any Gordon who wanted it from the purest motives of kindness and generosity. His father, Duke Alexander, was better fitted for the rough times in which he lived, but I do not recollect that he bought the estate of any Gordon.' No doubt the chivalrous loyalty to a superior which underlay the feudal system,—and for the matter of that the clan system of the Highlands as well—and which is one of the very rare instances where a mere sentiment has been converted into a legal obligation, contributed largely to the maintenance of the dignity and importance of the house. But more—far more than is generally believed—depended upon the personal qualities of its chiefs.

The proof of this is to be seen in every page of the correspondence from which we purpose in the present paper to make copious extracts. And we venture to think that while amply instructing this deduction, the correspondence now before us will also throw not a little interesting light on the social characteristics and daily life of the community over which the Gordons exercised such willing and undisputed sway, as well as on the modes adopted to extend their family and gentilitian influence over all the north of Scotland.

In the middle of the eighteenth century, William Tod, 'tacksman' of Auchenhalrig—a farm of 134 acres, between two and three miles from the gates of Gordon Castle—was factor for Alexander, fourth Duke of Gordon for the Enzie district of Banffshire, as well as for his Highland estate on Speyside. He came of an old and respectable stock, which had been settled in Moray and Banffshire for many generations, and many members of which had, like himself, been in the service of the Gordon family. His great-great-grandfather, Robert Tod, was minister of Rothes in 1642;2 and in 1643 had signed the Solemn League and Covenant in the Kirk of Rothes along with his parishioners. His son—also a Robert—married Janet Anderson, portioner of Nether Dallachy. Alexander, the eldest son of this marriage, acted for some time as the Duke of Gordon's Baron Bailie ; married a daughter of Leslie of Balnageith and 'conquest' a considerable amount of property in his day. He purchased the lands of Finfan, and held Auchenhalrig m wadset from the Duke, and these, along with his feu at Nether Dallachy, he left to his son Alexander, who married his full cousin, a Leslie of Balnageith also. Of the twenty children of this marriage, only three survived. The eldest of them, Alexander,—father of William Tod,—was, like his son, factor for the Duke for the Enzie, and died in 1705 in the fiftieth year of his age. William Tod's mother died—a very aged woman—in 1809, and among his papers we find several memoranda showing the expense of her interment. The wright's charge for the coffin is a guinea; the requisite furnishings—flannel, screws, coffin handles, 'laceing,' ropes, rosin, tallow and piper, come l 7s. 8d. Three shillings were paid for the use of the mortcloth, and there is also a charge of five shillings for the bellman. William was born in 1745 and died in 1821. But of the incidents of his long eventful life we know very little. He seems to have lived in and for his factorial duties only, and there is no positive evidence that he was ever beyond the limits of his native district. He married a sister of Professor Ogilvie of King's College, Aberdeen, who was proprietor of the neighbouring little property of Pittensair, and by her he had a family of seven sons and seven daughters. The sons, many of whom received commissions in the army through the Gordon interest, all, more or less, prospered in life. One was lieutenant-colonel of the 29th Foot; another was captain and paymaster of the 40th Regiment; a third, 'Dr. Robert,' was surgeon in the 4th Light Dragoons; a fourth was a W. S. in Edinburgh; a fifth had an appointment in the Dublin Police; a sixth was a captain in a cavalry regiment; and the seventh was a judge in India, and on his return home purchased the estate of Findrassie near Elgin. They were all exceedingly tall, handsome men, and it is said people used to stand and look after them as they walked down Regent Street.

Mrs Tod died in 1801, and her husband, who seems to have been greatly attached to her, preserved all the letters of condolence he received.

In 1805, finding his years beginning to tell heavily upon him, he resigned the Enzie factory, and in 1806 the Highland one also; but he continued to act as one of his Grace's Commissioners, at any rate for some years longer. About this time too, he seems to have got into difficulties, and Auchenhalrig had to be given up. It was let to a Mr. Bruce in 1809, for 420 per annum, apparently without the Duke's knowledge; for, in 1808, we find Sir George Abercromby writing to him by the Duke's orders, that if his friends would buy back the lease, his Grace would allow him to remain in possession to his death, rent free. But this arrangement was not carried out, and for the remainder of his life he resided first in the village of Fochabers, and afterwards in that of Garmouth at the mouth of the Spey. But his heart was always at Auchenhalrig, where 'he himself, his father and his grandfather were born, and lived so many years;' and more than one indirect effort was made to recover possession of it. The last of these was in 181G. In a scroll memorandum of that year, he gives the following pathetic reason why he wished his son 'Dr. Robert,' who was at that time in Scotland, to open negotiations with Mr. Bruce with this object.

'Mr. Tod himself ' he says, 'never can propose his own residing there again. The lease on this place [Garmouth] still endures for four years, a period which Mr. Tod has no chance of surviving. But he should like much, if such is the good pleasure of heaven, to have it in his power to die there, in the house, in the possession of some of his family—among other reasons, to save his friends the trouble of carrying his remains from Garmouth to the churchyard of Bellie.'

But in a docquet to the above he adds :—

"The Doctor not appearing to relish the within proposed commission to Mr. Bruce, nor to have the same kind of liking to the family duchcis4 that I have, I have for the present declined mentioning the subject to Mr. Bruce. I. however, went along with Dr. Robert yesterday to make his call on Mr. Mathieson at Auchenhalrig, in order to take one other look at it—probably the last. We afterwards all three dined with Miss Rabie Stuart at Boggs, along with Miss Charlotte Tod [his daughter], who happened to have been her guest for some days preceding; and in the afternoon I shook hands in silent sorrow, and parted for ever with Miss Rabie, the most intimate, the earliest, and the dearest friend I ever had.'

But if we know little of his life, the voluminous correspondence he has left behind, gives us a fair insight into his character. He was a jovial, warm-hearted, kindly-natured person of very attractive manners: devoted to the Duke's interest: like his master, strictly just and upright in all his dealings with the tenantry; a good husband: a father who put himself to infinite trouble to secure the advancement of his sons; a loyal friend; a universally respected man. He was not averse to the good things of this life, either in eating or drinking : and he was an invariable and always welcome guest at the 'salmon dinners' which were then, and, we rejoice to say, still are amongst the most jovial 'ploys' of hospitable Speyside. Here is a characteristic invitation to one of these 'feasts':—

'Miss Steinson with best compliments to Mr. Tod, requests the pleasure of his company in Laird Leaslie's Barracks on Tuesday next at four o'clock, to partake of a salmon dinner and such good cheer as those concerned can afford.

'Garmouth. Wednesday, 17th May, 1815.'

In the following year he appears to have been bidden to this same young lady's marriage—an invitation which he answers thus:—

'Mr. Tod returns best compts. to Mr. and Mrs. Steinson, and wishes them much joy of this same marriage. On every occasion for these 50 years back, Mr. Tod has tried to get drunk on the marriage of any neighbour's daughter, and he shall certainly, if health allows him, have the pleasure of shaking hands with Mr. and Mrs. Steinson on Thursday.'

Here is another of the many summonses, we find amongst his papers, to the social board. The writer was apparently an old ship captain, and notwithstanding his defective education, a man of good family as we see from the coat-of-arms which seals his large sheet of Bath post:—

'Garmouth, 19th May, 1792.

'Dear Sir,

'I Dined at Kingston port to Day when you was expected to eate part of a leage of Englas mutton, and to Drinke Porter and D Beare ; and at the same time he showed me your note whereon you engaged him to dine with you at Mr. Innesses One Monday Next. Mr. Innes will expect to see you with Mrs. Tod and with Miss Tod. I will send you the Carrag, it will be at the Boat of Bogg against Twelve o'Clock, Monday, furst to waite your Pleasure—

'and I am, Dear Sir, your

'most humble servt.,

'Alex. Innes.'

From the Duke of Gordon, Mr Tod and his family received much attention, and often dined at the castle. Sometimes the Duke's invitations were only sent down in the morning—like this :—

'The Duke of Gordon's compts. to Mr. and Mrs. Tod, Mrs. Miller, and and Miss Margaret, and begs the favor of their company at dinner to-day to eat some fine venison.'

At others, they were of a more formal, although equally comprehensive character:—

'The Duke of Gordon's Compts. to Mr. Tod, and requests the pleasure of his company here on Wednesday next at dinner, with as many members of his family, male and female, as will do him the honor to come, to meet Mr. Gordon of Cluny, and his family.

'Gordon Castle,
Monday night.'

But these were the days of magnificent and open-handed hospitality—hospitality which often did not count the cost, to the infinite detriment of many a constitution and of many a purse which was not as deep as a duke's. An old wine bill, incurred by His Grace to Bailie Innes of Elgin, shows that in 1794 the price of a hogshead of 'Lafitte, high growth claret,' was 38; that Chateau Margaux, 2nd growth, was thirty shillings a dozen ; old red port, • bottles included,' was a guinea a dozen ; and ' champaign,' a wine then only to be found on ducal tables—no less than three pounds, fifteen shillings for the same quantity. Nor was this hospitality confined to dinners and weddings, and similar occasions of legitimate merry-making. It extended to funerals as well. When the old Laird of Balnageith died, his son, the Rev. William Leslie of Lhanbryde—one of the most estimable and original of men, of whom many stories are still current in the district—ordered the arrangements of his funeral thus :—

'I have prepared to have the funeral on Monday, setting out with a few friends to attend the hearse from this, and to breakfast at Mr. Peary's5 by nine. I have requested our friends eastward to meet us at Elgin precisely by eleven, and to return to dine at Elgin about three. ... I am not very solicitous that you should come to Elgin to go all the way from that to Rothes, but yon must manage so as to meet us somewhere near Rothes on the road. And as I cannot manage the concerns of the table at Dinner without your support, I am very anxious that you return with us to Elgin where I expect we will be about three hours sooner than we got there from Dollas, and I have bespoke corn and wine at Mr. Causy's at Rothes, which, if his inn does not afford, I have asked Mr. Peary to send up.'

Whether Mr. Tod shared his countrymen's partiality for funerals we do not know. But he has carefully preserved all the invitations to them which he received, as well as the intimations of the death of his friends. Some of them sound somewhat odd in these more decent, at least, more reticent days. Take this for example :—

'Dumgalvie, 30th January 1802.

'Dear Sir,

'I came from Inverness with some fatigue to witness the Interment of your attached friend, my father Baillie Donald M'Pherson, who died here on the 23rd, and was Interred on the 25th in the Old Church of Kingussie. As I was a stranger, I put myself entirely under the Protection and guidance of Mr. Anderson and Capt. Clarke, and I have every reason to Believe his Interment was conducted with as much Propriety as any in this country for many years back. He was born at Ruthven 18th Feby. 1725. Mr. Anderson, Capt. Clarke, Cap. Donald M'Pherson, and Doctor Stewart was present when he expired, and I am Informed lie spoke to them with Solitude and Resignation untill about 15 minutes before his Death. As now the Protection of my Sister devolves on me, I Beg you Intercede with the Duke of Gordon to Continue this Farm with my younger sister Margaret for whom I shall be Bound in the Regular payment of the Rent. I also Beg that yon apply for my Fathers Commission in the Belvill Volunteers Company either in my own name or my Son John Munro M'Pherson, as it may give him further Rank in the Army. I already lost my Eldest son Malcolm Ross M'Pherson, an ensign in the army, in the service of his King and Country. My elder Brother Lewis lost his life by Fatigue as a Major of Militia in Jamaica— my younger Brother John Lewis as a Lieut, in the 2nd North British Militia, and I am Bred to Military Tackticks in the Light Company of the Edinburgh Highland Volunteers, where I have some pleasure in seeing your son Hugh.

'I remain, with respect.

Dear Sir,

Your most hbIe serv'.

'Alec. Macpherson

fWriter, Inverness.'

'I have resumed my Practice in the Sheriff Courts of Inverness, Ross, Cromarty, and Nairn, and I undertake to serve 50 per cent, below their present charges. Poor persons bringing a certificate of their Poverty will have Advice, Paper, Pens, and Ink gratis.'

In the early years of the present century, the fear of a French invasion had set the whole country ablaze with military ardour, and Morayshire, never behind other counties, had, of course, its own regiment of Fencibles. Originally raised in 1793 by Sir James Grant of Grant, who had been member for the County, it had, largely through his exertions as its colonel, attained to a high degree of efficiency. And the annexed list of fines exacted from its officers, shows, at least one of the modes by which this efficiency was maintained. In it we grieve to see the name of the kind-hearted factor for Enzie. But a sense of justice impels us to add that the penalty exacted from Captain Tod, and Captain Thomson, was not too severe for such a heinous military offence. The paper bears no date, but is probably of or about the year 1805 ; and it is headed :—

FINEST PORT WINE.

'Captain Cameron, Guard-mounting—12 minutes wanting. Capt. Kay for playing on Scrimger—[the Adjutant]. Lieut. Ord, and Ens"' Smith for drawing sword in messroom. Col, Grant for exciting a [political discussion],

Capt Tod and Thomson for standing as Field Officers and overseeing [overlooking] Guard, (Lieut. Eddie) for not wearing uniform. Captain Thomson for noise at Guard-mounting when a superior officer was arrivate.

Scrimger for Dismounting on Field day. Lieut. Ord for presenting several songs. Lieut. Gun for trouble to Adjt- &c. The Major for not being mounted &c.

Do. Umphrey for leaving mess and going to Sharp's [probably a tavern]. Peary for afrounting Umphrey.

Do. Cumming for being on one side too politicale and positive. Captain Cameron and Lieut. Cobbra [Cockburn ?] for dressing like Dutch and Irish smugglers in pursuit of their prey, when off duty.'

The factor, hard-headed man of business as he was, was a great lover of poetry; and many transcriptions of songs and verses are found among his papers. We half suspect him of occasionally dallying with the muses himself. There are some ' lines written on tablets in the bowers on the banks of the North Esk, October, 1817,' whose authorship we have been unable to trace—which, if not his own, were, at any rate, much admired by him. But as their poetical merit is not high, we spare inflicting them on our readers.

Though from his periodical visits to Kingussie and its vicinity, he was probably acquainted with ' Ossian ' Macpherson, there are no letters of his to be found among his correspondence. But he naturally took a great interest in the controversy as to the authenticity of the Ossianic poems, and he has carefully preserved any letters which he received bearing on the subject. Imitations of Ossian were then as fashionable as imitations of Scott a quarter of a century later ; and we have a favourable specimen of these literary frivolities in the lines which ' one who loved her memory ' composed on the death of the celebrated Jean, Duchess of Gordon,7 who died at Kinrara in 1812, and who, we are told, admired the works of the sou of Fingal beyond those of every other poet. They run thus :—

' Weary after the chace, I sat down under the shade of a spreading birch, by the grey rock of Kinrara. Around hovered the ghosts of the night. Near were the green graves of their nest. In the vale rolled -the blue waters of the Spey, murmuring through the misty cloud. The moon, in full crescent, travelled along the sky. The stars rejoiced in her course. The still sound of the forest, and the murmur of the stream, wandered on the wind of the desert. The spirits of the Bards, with their harps, leaned forward from the mossy rock. The shadowy children of the tomb lifted up their voice. Their song was of the tales of their people,—of the deeds of the days of other years. The melody of their song closed my eyelids in sleep. I dreamed. It was not the dream of night. All was solemn and awful. I awoke ; and at once ceased the song of the departed. By the skirts of the wood appeared a Form, soft as the moon shining on the still waters—beautiful as the morning sun rising on the mountains. Her path was to the green grave at Kinrara. She leaned over the half-raised mould, where the mossy stone had been rolled away. She looked around with dignity and grace, and at once the spirits of the night again raised their voices.

' Is it thou, O Sulmora 1 Dost thou, so early, seek the bed of thy long repose ? Lovely wast thou among thousands ! The young, in thy presence, rejoiced. The Aged blessed the benevolence of thy soul. Thy voice in the Hall was like the shower of the Spring. The heart like a beam of comfort to the children of the unhappy. Who hath seen the cloud of pride gathering on thy brow, and who hath not beheld the tear of pity swelling in thine eye ? With thee dwelt the great and the good, but who was like the generous Sulmora 1 Thy lovely daughters and the son of thy soul mourn at thy departure. The children of thy bounty look, through their tears, for their Sulmora in vain. In vain do they sigh for thy return : but thy praises will soothe the anguish of their souls. Dark, 0 Sulmora, is the house of thy rest; but bright is the cloud prepared to bear on high thy spirit ! Come, 0 Sulmoi-a, let us welcome thee from the land of many woes W

'The day was breaking in the East. The aerial choir disappeared; and the spirit of Sulmora ascended on the clouds of heaven.'

A masquerade at Gordon Castle in 1791, gives Sir Robert Sinclair, of Murkle—the Duke's son-in-law—an opportunity of making a little good-matured fun at Mr. Tod's political proclivities, as follows :—

'Tho' all with whom you are concerned

Are Pittites here this dajr, We all still know and can decern [discern] Your heart's another way.

But still you're right, we all allow—

You should here make a stand A Tod and Fox we must all know Ought to go hand in hand.

But why so strong for revolution—

Why so great a fuss— Perhaps, if such a thing there was You, first, would lose your brush ! '

Local events are, strange to say, but sparingly alluded to in Mr. Tod's correspondence. There is, however, a characteristic letter from Duchess Jean, referring to her connection with the erection of the great bridge across the Spey on the road from Fochabers to Elgin, which at that time was one of the engineering marvels of the age. The letter, which is dated 27th May 1809, is in these terms :—

'I shall rejoice to see myself distinguished in Mr. Leslie's Annals as the mother of the Bridge of Spey. I never crossed it but once, and it was an [illegible] day to me. He may also add with truth that eighteen years ago I laid before Mr. Pitt and L. Grenville the plan of the Caledonian Cannal [sic],—in consequence of a letter I saw from that true patriot Mr. Dempster. It was forgot for many years, and now like the Phenix springs up from the ashes.

There are several letters from the Duke with reference to the plans for the church at Fochabers—now the parish church of Bellie,—and a list of the heritors to whom were allotted seats in its area. The church itself was opened on 29th October 1797, and Mr. Tod notes that the Rev. Mr. Gordon concluded the first sermon he preached in it with the words, 'And may this house be to us and to generations yet unborn, the gate of heaven!'

Rarer still are documents illustrating the history of his times. This is the more to be regretted as we feel that there is so much information—especially about the risings of 1715 and 1745—which it was in his power to have given us, either from his own recollections or from the experience of his friends. In proof of this we need only refer to a memorandum furnished by him in answer to an enquiry from John Home, the author of Douglas, who was then engaged in his history of the Rebellion of 1745, as to the composition of the celebrated Glenbucket Regiment, which played such a prominent part in the army of the Young Pretender. Writing to Mr. Charles Gordon, W.S., the Duke's law agent in Edinburgh, from 'North Hanover Street, Edinburgh,' on ' 24th April 1793,' Mr. Home says:— ' My dear Sir,

' Having occasion (often) in the manuscript memoirs that are in my hands to read of General Gordon of Glen Bucket, who had a Regiment of men in the army of Charles, I am at a loss to know of whom that Regiment consisted. If yon can procure me any information about them or their number, I shall be much obliged to you.

' I beg leave to present my best compliments to Mrs. Gordon, and am, k Your most obedient servant,

J. Home.'

In reply, Mr. Tod was able to give the names of every officer included in it before it joined Lord Lewis Gordon's men, and merged its individuality in the Gordon Brigade. His list was as follows :—

' General, John Gordon of Glenbucket.

Lieut'. Col1., John Gordon, Yr. thereof.

Major, Peter Gordon of Strom, Badenoch.

Captains, Macdonald of Forlundy.

Wm. Gordon, son of Glenbucket.

Tlios. Gordon of Todderletter, Strathaven.

John Gordon of Minmore.

Gordon Stuart of Drummin.

Lieutenants, John Grant of Inverlochie, Adjutant.

Mr. M'Alpin, Standard-bearer.

John Gordon of Clashnoic.

Alex. Grant of Newie,—killed at Culloden.

James Grant of Blairfindy.

Mr. Forbes of Edendiack, Secretary to the General.

'The men from Badenoch, Kincardine, Strathaven, Glenlivat, Glen-rinnes, and Anchindown to the number of about 500.'

In our factor's youth, the navy was not the popular service that it is now, and impressment had to be largely resorted to. A petition by Alexander Tod, his father, shows the system in practical operation. It is a qualification of the doctrine of the liberty of the subject, which we of the present day may have some difficulty in comprehending. And yet it is only a hundred and thirty years old!

Unto the Right Honourable the Earl of Findlaterre and Seafield, Yice Admirall of Scotland.

The petition of Alexander Tod in Auchenhalrig, Factor to the Duke of Gordon upon the Lordship of Enzie. Most humbly sheweth :—

That whereas John Forbes in Farnachty of Birkenbush, James Johnston, son to Donald Johnston, late fisher to the said Duke of Gordon att shoar of Buckie, James Anderson in Upper Dallachy, George Scot in Culreach, are or have been all seafaring men and therefor proper for serving as sailers in His Majesty's Navy, and are scnlking and hideing themselves from thee said services.

May it Therefor Please your Lordship to grant Warrant to Arthur or James Sivewrights in Fochabers to apprehend the said persons and confine them in the next adjacent lawfull prison untill they can be delivered over to the proper officer appointed to receive such persons.

Alexr. Todd.

Then follows the warrant:—

At Cullen House February seventh Seventeen hundred and fifty seven years, I, James, Earl of Findlater and Seafield, Yice Admiral of Scotland, having considered the above petition, find the desire thereof reasonable, and grant warrant accordingly.

Findlater & Seafield.

An interesting correspondence of the years 179G, 1797, and 1798 throws some curious light on the early history of one of the most distinguished regiments in the British service—the Gordon Highlanders. After the Rebellion of 1745, many of the Highland chieftains who had, in greater or less degree, coquetted with the Pretender, hit upon an ingenious plan to put themselves right with the Government. They raised at their own expense independent companies,10 generally of Eencibles, whose constitution very much resembled that of the irregular corps with which we were familiar during the Indian Mutiny. These companies were the nucleus of more than one of our Highland regiments. In 1790, for example, the Marquis of Huntly—Duke Alexander's eldest son, and subsequently fifth and last Duke of Gordon, before the revival of the title in 1876, in the person of its present holder, the Duke of Richmond and Gordon—had raised an independent company, with which he joined the 42nd or Royal Highlanders, the following year. And in 1793, when orders were issued from the War Office for the embodiment of seven regiments of Scottish Fencibles, the Duke, his father, not only raised the Gordon Fencibles, but, through his son the Marquis, made offer to furnish a regiment for more extended service. This offer was accepted. Through the personal exertions of the Duke, the Duchess, and the Marquis, a regiment was raised in the short space of three months. It was embodied at Aberdeen on 24th June 1793, and, as a matter of course, the Marquis of Huntly was appointed its Lieutenant-Colonel Commandant. Its number on the roll of Regulars was at first the 100th. Six years later, however, it became the 92nd. But it is as the Gordon Highlanders that it has won its fame. And it may be mentioned that when General Moore was made a K.C.B., 'and obtained a grant of supporters for his armorial bearings, he took a soldier of the Gordon Highlanders in full uniform, as one of these supporters, and a lion as the other,' to commemorate the distinguished gallantry of the regiment in the great action at Bergen on the 2nd October 1799.

During the war with France a rumour got abroad that the regiment, which was then at Gibraltar, was to be drafted for foreign service. Mr. Tod contradicted it in emphatic terms, in a letter to Bailie Cameron, Fort William.

'Fochabers, lltli Feby., 1797.

'Dear Sir,

'As I was about to seal my other letter to you of this date, I received yours of the 7th. The story of Lord Huntly's regiment being drafted into 42, is an infamous falsehood, and you'll see it contradicted in all the papers by authority. Some of his Lordship's rivals in the recruiting line have thought such a tale might be of service to them, but I can assure you that Ld. Huntly has the most positive assurances from the highest authority that his regiment shall not be drafted during the war.

 I am, &c.,

'William Tod.'

The factor was justified in being emphatic, for the authority on which his statement was based, was no less a personage than Harry Dundas, the Lord-Advocate, of Scotland, then all powerful in Scottish affairs. Writing to the Marquis from Wimbledon on the 3rd December, 1796, he says:—

'Dear Huntly,

'I should have wrote to you sooner on the subject of this letter, but different interruptions have prevented me. You know that your Regiment is considerably beyond the line of those which are kept up on the limited establishment. The latest number not drafted is the 90th, and the only exemptions is your Regt., and one at the Cape, which we could not spare from that quarter at present. Your Regt. will still be continued undrafted, and at Gibraltar, till the peace, but you will recollect that the only ostensible ground of doing so is that it is a Regt. raised by your family which it would therefore be hard to draft, as the same exertions which raised it, were able to keep it at its full compliment [sic]. In consequence of a conversation I had with the Duke of York, I think it right to mention these particulars to you, with the view that you will omit no exertions on your own bottom to keep your Regt. complete, to its full establishment. I need not tell you that in a Regt. circumstanced as yours is, it is impossible to give to it any of the men levied under the Act of Parlt. It being, however, a material part of the garrison of Gibraltar, it is very essential that you should exert yourself both for your own credit, and to prevent your Regt. from being drafted ; and allow me to add, to prevent any reflections being cast on those, who, it may be said, ought to have drafted yours at the same time they did the others below the number, 90. Give my best regards to the Duke, and believe me, &c.,

' Harry Dundass.'

And the Marquis followed this advice; for the next document bearing on this subject is an ' advertisement' by order of the Marquis of Huntly, which, according to a certificate appended to it, ' was read at the Kirk door of Kingussie, Laggan, and Advie on Sunday the 22nd day of January, 1797 years.' It ran :—

'His Lordship being anxious to have a few young, handsome Fellows to complete his Regiment, entreats and expects the assistance and support of his friends in Badenoch. He can assure such young men as are willing to go along with him, that the Regiment is not to be drafted during the war, and that they may depend on every attention from him while they continue in service ; and that on their return to the countrj-, they and their relations will have preference upon equal terms, from the Duke of Gordon, for such farms on his estate as they are inclined to settle upon. His Lordship will be found at Aviemore during the whole of the day on Monday.'

How his ' friends ' supported him ou this occasion, and what were the inducements offered to recruits, the following letter to Mr. Tod from old ' Cluny ' very clearly indicates :—

'Cluny, 22nd Feby., 1797.

'Dear Sir,

'My namesake, Thomas Macpherson, the refractory fellow in Ballgown, has at last come to his senses, and brought his son Malcolm here this morning, a volunteer for the Marquis's Regiment. His terms are as moderate as could be expected (and I have promised him they should be granted), as he only asks what Lord Huntly offers to every other person, vizt., a half aughteen part of land (free of services) where he at present resides, or in the place of Gorstial, with as much land contiguous to it, as will make up an half aughteen part ; the latter of the two he much prefers, and I think by far the most eligible situation for him, as our friend Mr. Grant has already two pensioners saddled upon him, and in my opinion it would be a hardship to burden him with any more. I shall accommodate his eldest son with an half aughteen part at Gaskimloan, near the farm which his father wishes to get. I need not mention that the place of Gorstian and Bloragiebeg, is part of the farm of Delchullie, at present occupied by subtenants of which Mr. Mitchell is manager, as factor for Parson Robert's son, and I make no doubt he will readily provide for Thomas Macpherson on your applying to him, for he is a very good tenant, altho' he happened to forget himself upon the present occasion. With respect to Bounty money, the father leaves that matter totally to his Lordship. I mentioned to Lord Huntly at Gordon-hall that as the Boy was young and weak, I wished his Lordship to take him into his own service, but as he had no way for him at the time, he promised to write to your son to employ him, or to get one-of his brother officers to take him as a servant ; I must, therefore, my good Sir, beg your attention to this matter, and procure a proper letter for the Boy. His father requested of me to say that he hoped you would have the goodness to antidate [sic] his attestation, and as the Boy attends school, he hopes Lord Huntly will indulge him with remaining in the country as long as any of his other recruits. If the Marquis is at the Castle, pray make my best respects to him, and tell him, that I have not forgot my Toast when we were all so tipsy at Pitmain, and I can with truth assure you that few of his Lordships' friends has a higher esteem for Gillidow Glenamore than your humble servant. With compliments to Mrs. Tod, I remain,

Very sincerely yours,

'D. Macpherson.'

A scroll letter from the Duke to Lochiel, dated 11th June, 1791, in Mr. Tod's handwriting, but corrected by his Grace, illustrates another phase of the system of recruiting which prevailed in connection with the Highland companies and regiments.

Gordon Castle, 11th June, 1798.

'Dear Lochiel,

'I reed, your letter of the 8th along with one of the same date from the Lord Advocate acquainting me of his having received the Duke of York's approbation of your offer to raise a corps of Fencibles, and wishing me to allow you some assistance from my Regt. I have every inclination to do what is agreeable to you and the Lord Advocate. But I really can't think of parting with so many men as you propose. The situation and circumstances are very different now from what they were in 1795, when I gave some aid to Col1. Baillie at the particular request of Mr. Dundas, and he paid down five guineas for each man given over to him. The strength of my Regt. was much superior then to what it is now, and the men were then easier replaced. At present I do not consider myself at liberty to comply with your request to such an extent, as it would be in a great measure annihilating the Regiment, as I could not undertake to get others in their place at present, when almost all the young men are engaged in the Militia and Volunteer Companies, and I think it of great consequence to have my Regiment as complete as any other Fencible Company in Scotland. I shall, however, make you welcome to thirty of the men you brought to the Regt., including such as may be non-commissioned officers, which number you must be sensible is more than I can well spare, and I hope will be sufficient to furnish you with drills. However, I must beg leave to stipulate no man to be taken from either of the flank companies without the approbation of the Lt.-Col1. Wishing you much success, ' I have the honour to be, &c.,

'Gordon.'

One other extract, and we are done with the historical part of this correspondence. It has reference to the No Popery riots in London, in 1780, in which the Duke's brother, Lord George Gordon took such an active part, that they have ever since borne his name. One Sunday, towards the end of February or beginning of March, 1781, Mr. Tod was attending divine service in the church of Bellie when a messenger from Gordon Castle put the accompanying letter into his hand from Mr. Menzies, at that time the Duke's chamberlain or cashier.11' Dear Sir,

'We have an express a few minutes ago with the happy news of LcI. Gordon's being honourably acquitt and at liberty—of which I thought it my duty to acquaint you, as Mr. Ross is out walking. I congratulate you upon this occasion. And in haste (being busy forwarding this agreeable intelligence to all the Duke's friends to the west).

'I am, D. Sir, yours Ac.,

'J. Menzies.

'Fochabers, Sunday forenoon, noon.'

Mr. Tod rose from his seat, and handed the letter to the Rev. Mr. Gordon, the officiating clergyman, who, thereupon, as Mr. Tod records on the endorsement of the letter, 'returned public thanks on the occasion.'

As was to be expected, letters from the Duke himself, bulk largely in our factors correspondence. But as these relate principally to business matters, they cannot be published here. In one—of the year 1784—His Grace refers to the fact that he has received his patent as Earl of Norwich—a title which had been originally conferred on his great-great-grandfather, Henry, Duke of Norfolk in 1672 ; and from this time, all his letters written from England are franked ' Norwich,' Avhile those from Scotland—of which country he wTas a representative peer—are franked as before, viz., ' Gordon,' But beyond this, there is little of general interest in their contents.

Letters from the Marquis of Huntly12 are also numerous; but they too, are chiefly concerned with purely personal matters. The communications of both father and son are full of the warmest expressions of friendship and confidence in their correspondent.

One of the most, amiable traits in Mr. Tod's character was his sympathy with, and interest in youth : and some of the most amusing letters in his correspondence are from a young-soldier, in whose career he ever took the warmest interest. If the factor thought, with the Latin poet that—

Magna reverentia debetur pueris,

the sentiment was not reciprocal. This is how the graceless young cornet hectors and lectures his reverend friend, in the 1792.

'Uxbridge, Novr. Gth, Sunday.

'Dear Sir,

'I received a letter a few days ago from our friend Captain Macpherson of Invereshie, giving a very good account of all friends in Badenoch, and rejoicing that you had left the county, he proposing then to lead a sober, regular, and a religious life. I have written a long letter to him to-day (to thank him for some potted moorfowl that he has sent up for me), and I told him that I should write you a lecture on morality ; but as I do not now think myself equal to work miracles upon so old a sinner, I believe I must turn you over to your neighbour, the minister. There is only one essential thing I have to beg, and that is, that you do not tarry at Invereshie any time till I have the pleasure of meeting you there. If you do, I think I stand but a bad chance of seeing the Captain next summer, and have already layed out that as a pleasure to come, being now second for leave of absence, and which I most certainly expect to get without anything very extraordinary happens. I have in my letter condoled with him for the loss of the aimable [sic] Colonel Thornton, who, I understand, has left a blind man to look after his wooden house. What an excentric [sic] devil he is ! Who but himself would have thought of such a scheme ? Your son and I have exchanged two or three visiting cards but have not had the pleasure of meeting till yesterday, when he did me the pleasure to breakfast with me in town—and gave me some account of a masquerade you have had at the Castle. He is in very good health—I thought grown fatter than when in Scotland, but he would not allow it. I made out my journey to this place very well by the 21st of September. The same day that I left you snoring at Invereshie I slept at Blair. The next night at Kinross, and the third day at Edinr. When I got to Perth I found a letter from my Major prolonging my leave for a few days, but as it was only a very short time, and as I had sent all my shooting apparatus to Pit-main, I thought it most prudent to pursue my jouruey and not to have to take leave of my friends in Badenoch a third time. You were so good as to say that you would undertake the care of my boxes. James Gordon, the fiddler, was to take them to Pitir.ain ; and I conclude they are now in Mf. Hoy's dark hole at Gonfc Castle. I hope to make a good plan for an inn at Huntly before the winter is over. When can they begin to build i I don't undertake the granary. Mr. Hoy must plan that. Pray give my best compt to Mrs. Todd and all your family—likewise all friends and your neighbours in Fochabers, and believe me always,

'Dear Sir,

'Yours most sincerely,

'George Gordon.'

This letter is especially interesting- in its allusion to an Englishman, who was, at that time, creating a great sensation in Badenoch. This was Colonel Thornton of Thornville Royal, in Yorkshire—a man of great wealth and greater profusion, whose Sporting Tour through the Northern Parts of England and, great part of the Highlands of Scotland, published in 1804,f is one of the rarest, and, to a Scotchman, most entertaining of books. The preparations which he made for his ' expedition ' as he calls it, were on a more magnificent scale than would now be considered necessary for a voyage of discovery into the heart of Africa. Two vessels, the Ville de Paris and the Gibraltar, were sent on to await him in the north,, while he himself with a friend, an artist, hounds, hawks, carriages, riding horses, baggage horses, tents, guns, fishing tackle, and full apparatus for camping out, set off for his destination by land. That destination was Raits, near Kingussie, a property better known as Belville—a name conferred on it by ' Ossian' Macpherson, who subsequently purchased it from, we believe, Mr. Macintosh of Borlum. With Raits as his headquarters, he made excursions in all directions, naming cataracts after himself, recording his sport clay by day, noting the peculiarities of the 'natives,' and now and again naively expressing his astonishment to find them not quite the savages he seems to have thought they ought to have been. In one of these excursions he visited Gordon Castle, where he met Lord Monboddo, and was kindly entertained. The Duchess he found polite and affable; the Duke a finished gentleman and sportsman.14 As for the style of life at the castle,—its hospitable ta, its evening adjournments to the ballroom, where ' reels, strathspeys, and country dances' formed the diversion before supper, its unstinted and admirable sport, its gardens, especially the kitchen garden, ' affording, in the true old style, plenty of everything'—seemed to him a perfect terrestrial paradise. There was only one thing he did not admire, and that was the women he saw at church. 'It is astonishing,' he says, 'how plain the country women are here ; I did not discover one that was tolerable, except a very pretty girl we met on our return from the moors the day before; and, as many of them were the daughters of mechanics who live decently, I am much at a loss to account for this scanty distribution of beauty.' We are sorry for the Colonel's bad taste.

But to return from this digression. Two letters from Lord Cardross to Mr. Tod's brother-in-law, Professor Ogilvie, of the years 1764 and 1765, presenting to the University of Aberdeen three specimens of' the famous stone of so singular property in electricity, call'd Tourmalins or Ashstones, found in the island of Ceylon only, and sent me by the late governor of that settlement, the ingenious Mr. John Gideon van Lolen, a member of the Royal Society,' which, by the way, turned out to be very inferior specimens—are too lengthy to be reproduced here. The last of these, which is dated 'Little llalinghury, near Sawbridge-worth, Herts, June 7th, 1765,' is a long and learned treatise on these pseudogemmata and their literature, from which, as a specimen of his lordship's academic style, and to justify ourselves, in our readers' eyes, for not having* printed them, we give a single paragraph :—

'I now after a long, too long a Silence, make use of that charming Privilege which the Invention of Visible Characters to express our Thoughts has afforded us, a Privilege which like the light of Day, the verdure of the fields, the Azure of the Sky, and the Rest of the more familiar Providences of Almighty Benevolence are too little attended too, and Impinge more feebly on our Hearts and UndeBandinaSthen more Unusual tho' not more Pretious Enjoyments. I gave you likewise in my former letter my Opinion of Doctor Reid's Essay on the Human Mind, a work which now Justly meets with Universal Approbation. I mentioned it to the famous Mr. Melmoth, the Translator, the Elegant Translator of Pliny's Epistles ; who resides in our neighbourhood in Somersetshire, and I was glad to find a Coincidence in our Opinion of It which Strengthened Mine.'

Want of space—certainly not want of material—prevents our quoting many other curious documents, which have found their way into this interesting collection. But we cannot refrain from transcribing one letter more. It is the copy of a communication from Sir Hew Dalrymple of North Berwick to Sir Lawrence Duudas, the ancestor of the present Earls of Zetland, who in 1766 bought the estates and rights of the old Earldom of Orkney and Zetland.

'Edinbr., 14th May, 1775.

'My dear Sir Lawrence,

'Having spent a long Life in Pursuit of Pleasure and Wealth, I am now retired from the World, in Poverty, and with the Gout, so joining with Solomon that all is Vanity and Vexation of Spirit, I go to Church, and say my Prayers. I assure you that most of us religious People reap some little Satisfaction, in hoping that you weali.hy Voluptuaries have a fair Chance of being damned to all Eternity, and that like Dives you shall then call out for Water to Lazarus, one Drop of which you never tasted while you had the 12 Apostles15 in your Cellar. Now, Sir, this Doctrine laid down I wish my Friend a Loop Hole to escape thro'. Going to Church last Sunday as usual, I saw an unknown face in the Pulpit, and rising up to Prayer, as others do upon the like Occasion, I looked round to see if there was any pretty Girl there, when my attention was attracted by the most pathetic Prayer I ever heard. This made me all attention to the Sermon; a finer Discourse never came from the Lips of Reasoning, conveyed by the most elegant expressions. I immediately thought of what Agrippa said to Paul, "Thou almost persuadest me to be a Christian." I sent to ask the holy man of God to honour mv Roof and dine with me, I asked his Country and what not, I even asked if his Sermons were of his own Composition. He answered me they were. I told him I believed him for no man had ever spoke or wrote so well; my name is Dishington said he ; I am assistant to a lunatick Preacher in the Orkneys, who enjoys a fruit-full Benefice of 50 St. per annum, out of which I am allowed 20 for preaching to, and instructing 1200 People who live in two separate Islands, out of which I pay 1 5/ St. to the Boatman who transports me from one Island to the other by turns. I should be happy could I continue in that terrestial Paradise ; But we have a great Lord who has many little People soliciting him for what he can do, and for what he cannot do. and if my Minister dies, his Succession is too great a Prize, not to raise up a great many powerfull People, Rivals, to baulk my hope of Preferment ; I asked him if he possessed any other Wealth ; Yes, Sir, says he, I married the prettiest girl in the whole Island, she has blessed me with three fine children, and as we are both young we may expect many more ; besides. I am so beloved. I shall hare all my Peats brought me Carriage free; this is my storj7. Nov!, to the Prayer of the Petition ; I never before envytd you the Possession of the Orkneys, which I now do, only to provide for this elegant, innocent Apostle. The Sun has refused your barren Islands his Kindly Influence,—do not deprive them of so pleasant a Preacher. Let not so great a Treasure be lost to that unhospitable Country, for I assure you were the Archbishop of Canterbury to hear him or his merit, he could do no less than make him an Arch-Deacon. This man has but one weakness,—that of preferring the Orkneys to all the earth. This way you have a Chance for Salvation. Do the man good and he will pray for you. This will be a better Purchass than your Irish Estate, or the Orkneys, and I think will help me well forward too, since I am the man who told you of this man, so worthy, so deserving, so pious, and so eloquent, and whose Prayers may do much. Till I hear from you on this head, I bid you farewell. Yours in all meekness, Love, and Benevolence,

'H. D.

'Edinbr., 14 May, 1775.

'P.S.—I think what an unspeakable Pleasure it will be to look down from Heaven, and to see Rigby, Masterton, and Campbell, and all the Nabobs swimming in Fire and Brimstone, while you are sitting with White-field and his good old Women looking beautifull and frisking and singing. All this you may have by settling this man after the Death of the present Incumbent.'

It is satisfactory to think that the recommendation was duly given effect to. Mr. Dishington obtained the benefice in Orkney referred to, when it became vacant, and he held it till his death. His memory is still revered in these bleak and distant isles to which he consecrated all his time and all his talents.

Charles Rampini.

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