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The Northern Highlands in the Nineteenth Century
No. 10


The year 1834 was one of great political stress in Parliament. Earl Grey’s administration got into difficulties over the Irish Church question and the renewal of the Irish Crimes Act. Besides the reduction of the Irish Episcopate, they had to consider a scheme for putting an end to the tithe war, and proposals for dealing with the surplus of Irish Church funds. One section of the Government was in favour of applying the surplus to general philanthropic purposes; another desired to reserve it for strictly ecclesiastical purposes. The adherents of the latter view, namely, the Duke of Richmond, Mr Stanley (afterwards Earl of Derby), Sir James Graham, and the Earl of Ripon, resigned. It was at first thought that their secession would break up the administration, but their places were filled by the Marquis of Conyngham, who became Postmaster-General; the Earl of Carlisle, Privy Seal; Lord Auckland, First Lord of the Admiralty; and Mr Spring Rice, Colonial Secretary. The aspect of political affairs, however, continued to be very unsettled.

During the summer and autumn misunderstandings arose in connection with an Irish Coercion Bill. Earl Grey, wearied with the difficulties of his position, resigned office as Prime Minister, and Lord Melbourne was called to the head of the Government. During the same time the Lord Chancellor, Brougham, had been subjected to relentless criticism by the London papers for his restlessness, irritability, and generally domineering conduct.

When Parliament rose, Brougham paid a visit to Scotland, where he was entertained at great houses and received with unbounded enthusiasm by the populate, who knew him by reputation rather than at first hand. They were proud of his ability and public services, and unaware of his peculiarities or indifferent to them. At Inverness, Brougham delivered a speech which excited a storm by the remark that the Government had done "too much rather than too little." Seeing that he had made a mistake, the Chancellor endeavoured at other meetings to retrieve himself by going on an opposite tack. "Using Radical language at one place, employing Conservative arguments at another, he amazed and alarmed the friends who were not merely amused at his eccentricity." Suddenly, in November, King William dismissed his Whig Ministers, and asked the Duke of Wellington to form an administration. Wellington sent for Sir Robert Peel, who was at Rome, and Peel, on his return advised a dissolution of Parliament. The country, however, resented the action of the Sovereign, and failed to return a Conservative majority.

From the "Inverness Courier."
1834.

January 1.—A dinner in the Macdonell Arms at Invergarry was held to celebrate the marriage of young Glengarry to Miss Bennet, niece of the late Bishop of Cloyne. Mr Grant of Glenmoriston presided.

January 1 and 8.—An atrocious murder was perpetrated near Elgin on Saturday, 28th December. An industrious man named Ritchie, residing at Lhanbryde, was killed by a blow from a bludgeon as he was on his way home from the town. The motive was evidently robbery. His murderer turned out to be a deserter named Noble, who after the crime re-enlisted under another name, and was apprehended at Fort-George.

January 8.—The question of admitting reporters and the public to the meetings of the new Town Councils was discussed in many places. Some Councils opened their doors, some did not. "When the present Town Council of Inverness came into office," says the editor, "the question of open meetings was canvassed. We confess we thought the Council might safely open their doors, for very few would have time or inclination to attend; but it was deemed best, for some time at least, till the members were familiarised with municipal business and details, to exclude even reporters for the local papers. It was agreed, however, to let the Council books be open for inspection at the Town Clerk’s office, and we accordingly transfer the minutes of the respective meetings to our columns. Perhaps this is as much as the public will tolerate. If we were disposed and enabled to give the conversation that passes around the Council table, we are confident that it would be read by none but the members themselves." These were the municipal and editorial views of 1834.

January 15.—An Inverness vessel, the "Oak," went to Portmahomack to load grain, and when lying in the bay during rough weather, lost one of her boats, and was afterwards driven ashore. Five lives were lost.

January 22.—"In looking over some old business letters lately we were surprised, under so late a date as 1805, to find a gentleman in Ross-shire write in the following strain: —‘I expect to be in Inverness on my way South on Monday, and should be glad if you could fall in with travelling companions for me, either to go in a chaise or on horseback, as it is dull travelling alone.’ We have now four coaches running South—the Mail, the Defiance, and the Star, daily, and the Caledonian coach by the Highland Road, thrice every week in summer and twice in winter."

January 29.—"The fine lordship of Lochaber, which from the associations of song and music seems part of the classic ground of Scotland, has, we understand, been disposed of in the following manner :—The first portion that was sold (which is the second in point of value) was purchased by Mr Walker of Crawfordtown, Dumfries-shire; the next lot was disposed of to Lochiel and Sir Duncan Cameron of Fassifern; and the largest and best lot was sold last week to Lord Aboyne." A paragraph in another issue says that the town of Fort-William was part of the lot that fell to Sir Duncan Cameron.

Ibid.—Died, at Geanies House, Ross-shire, on the 21st curt., Donald Macleod, Esq. of Geanies, late Sheriff of Ross and Cromarty, in the 89th year of his age. A paragraph says— "This respected gentleman held the office of Sheriff-Depute of the counties of Ross and Cromarty during a period of 59 years; that of Convener of Ross-shire during 40 years, and that of Vice-Lieutenant of the same county while lord Seaforth was Lord-Lieutenant. His energetic activity and sound judgment were remarkably conspicuous at those periods when the public safety required the measures of the Government to be promptly and strictly executed; and the Militia, Volunteers, and local Militia forces were successively embodied under his immediate superintendence. He himself commanded a body of a thousand men distinguished by their fine appearance and discipline.’"

Ibid.The idea of having a University established at Inverness, with the possible aid of the Mackintosh, Bell, and other endowments, was at this time broached by the Town council. Now and again the same idea has since been revived, but has never come to anything.

Ibid.The Rev. Wm. Mackenzie of Tongue, in Sutherland, died on the 5th inst., at the age of 96, and in the sixty-seventh year of his ministry. He was a native of Kilmuir, in Ross-shire, and was settled in Tongue in 1769. A co-Presbyter contributes an account of his character and labours. Mr Mackenzie was an earnest and zealous preachers and had laboured with great success in Tongue. During the last seven or eight years of his life he was totally blind, but he would not give up preaching. Even within four weeks of his death be preached sitting in his arm-chair in his dining-room.

February 5.—A native of Skye, Mr Donald Macdiarmid, who died in South Carolina, sent during his lifetime £1000 to be devoted to education in Portree, and bequeathed a second sum of £1000 for the same purpose.

February 5 and 12.There are notices in these two issues of the Rev. Thomas Fraser, senior minister of Inverness, who died on the 3rd inst. He was a native of the parish of Kirkhill, and in his sixty-ninth year. Mr Fraser was appointed to the third charge of Inverness in 1801 and to the first in 1821. "During all this period he discharged the duties of his office with unremitting diligence, not only preaching regularly in his turn, but catechising his people, visiting the sick, superintending the schools, assisting in the management of the other public institutions, and attending particularly to the poor, whom he had the greater access to know from his having acted many years as Kirk-Treasurer. The leading features of his mind were a just and practical judgment, uncompromising integrity, and a delicate sense of justice."

February 12."Died, at Dochnalurg, near the banks of Loch-Ness, on Sunday last, Mr Alexander Fraser, tacksman of that places and of various salmon fishings in this neighbourhood. Mr Fraser was author of a treatise on the natural history of the salmon, published lately, which contains a great deal of curious and valuable matter, gleaned from the observation of a long course of years." The deceased, it is stated, acquired the esteem of all who knew him by his active exertions and his honest, upright, character. "Many a person whom business or pleasure led to visit the beautiful scenery amidst which Mr Fraser’s lot was cast, will sigh to think that their intelligent and kind entertainer is at length summoned to his final rest. Mr Fraser was in his 71st year." This gentleman was the father of the late Dr Fraser-Mackintosh, M.P. [See brief bio of Charles Fraser-Mackintosh, M.P. (1828-1901) at http://www.electricscotland.com/canada/fraser/abduction.htm]

Ibid.—A paragraph is quoted from an Elgin paper under the heading "unexampled economy worthy of imitation." The two senior bailies of the burgh went on behalf of the town to Lossiemouth to meet the gentlemen appointed to stake off the ground for a proposed new harbour. The worthy Magistrates walked the whole distance, five miles out and five miles home, and only spent one shilling! This expenditure consisted of sixpence for whisky and the other sixpence to the waiter.

March 5.—On the motion of Mr Sinclair, M.P. for Caithness, the House of Commons appointed a Select Committee to consider the past and present state of the law of Church patronage in Scotland.

March 19.—"The subject of Church patronage is at present exciting much interest in Scotland. So far as we have been able to ascertain the sentiments of the people in this Northern part of the Kingdom, a general wish appears to be entertained for some modification of the present system, without, however, rushing to the opposite extreme of popular election." The Ministers of the Crown were supposed to be in favour of a veto on the rights of patrons. The Inverness Town Council adopted a series of resolutions suggesting that presentations should be made by delegates representing the heritors, the Kirk-Session, and male heads of families.

Ibid.—"The street lamps of this town [Inverness] being superseded by gas, were, of course, thrown aside. But keep a thing, says the proverb, seven years, and it will come of use. The good folks of Nairn have purchased part of the disused illuminants, and thirty more have been sent to enlighten the inhabitants of Tain."

March 26.—"The expense of executing criminals condemned to death at the Circuit Court has hitherto been a burden on this burgh." This is the text of a letter from the Provost of Inverness to the Lord Advocate. The Provost urges that the expense should be borne by the Exchequer or by the county where the crime was committed.

Ibid.—A committee of the farming societies of Easter and Wester Ross resolved to hold a joint show at Invergordon.

April 2.—"Died, at Dumfries, on Wednesday, the 26th ult., Mrs Robert Burns, widow of our great national poet. Her health was considerably injured by a serious illness about twelve months ago, from which, however, she gradually recovered. On Saturday last she had a paralytic attack which deprived her of speech and hearing; but she remained perfectly sensible, and knew the relations and friends who zealously ministered to her comfort." Mrs Burns had survived her husband thirty-eight years.

April 9.—There is an article on steam navigation in the North, explaining a scheme to establish a vessel to ply between the Moray Firth and London. There is also a suggestion for steam communication between Inverness and Liverpool, to connect with the coach at the latter port. By this route, it is stated, the mails could be carried in 57 hours. "Now the mail which leaves London at 8 o’clock p.m. on Monday does not reach Inverness until 9 o’clock p.m. on Thursday, or in 73 hours, sixteen more than might be occupied if the giant steam were brought into the field."

April 16.—"The workmen on the Inverness Castlehill have, at the distance of about ten feet below the surface, come upon part of the ancient foundations of the Castle. Another skull has been dug up."

April 23.—At the Synod of Moray a motion was carried, by 28 votes to 9, that the presentation of Mr Grant to the parish of Petty should be sustained. The case had created a good deal of local excitement.

April 30.—The following were the wages at the half-yearly feeing market :—Able, experienced ploughmen, from £3 10s to £4 10s; half-grown men for working odd horses, 50s to £3; herd boys from 26s to 30s; women for dairy and out-work from 25s to 30s.

May 7.—"Friday last was a grand gala day in Inverness. Two public edifices have been contemplated here for some time—the County Buildings, including Court-House, Sheriff-Clerk’s office, and depository for county records; and the United Charities School, intended to accommodate the Infant School and the ladies’ Work Society. When the plan was fully matured, designs obtained and contracts completed, it was resolved to gratify the lieges with a Masonic procession on occasion of laying the foundation-stone of the two structures. The brethren in the North entered into the scheme with the zeal and cordiality which distinguish the fraternity, and the Provincial Grand Master, William Brodie, Esq. of Brodie, willingly took upon himself the honourable duty of officiating at the imposing ceremony." The procession started from the Academy Park, and included the Provost and Magistrates, the Academy teachers and scholars (the latter carrying white wands), the friends of the Infant School charity, the county gentlemen, officials connected with the buildings, the Sheriff, Sheriff-Substitute, and Procurator-Fiscal, and the brethren of Masonic lodges. Brodie, as Provincial Grand Master, first laid the foundation-stone of the County Buildings on the Castle Hill, and then, the procession having been reformed, laid the foundation-stone of the United Charities School, on the eminence near the reservoir (opposite Viewhill). The ceremonies concluded with a dinner in the Caledonian Hotel, Sheriff Tytler in the chair.

Ibid.—"The Northern Institution was established at Inverness in 1825, for the promotion of science and literature in general, and more particularly with the view of investigating the antiquities and civil and natural history of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. A museum was collected, and has been enriched by many valuable contributions from all parts of the world, in natural history as well as scarce books and manuscripts. The funds of the institution have, however, been declining for some years, and nearly all interest in it has been extinguished. The members have accordingly resolved to break it up, and to transfer the Museum to the Academy here, the directors of the latter agreeing to pay the debts and engagements of the Institution, not exceeding £80. The coins alone, if sold as bullion, are worth this sum." The fragments of the Museum ultimately came into the hands of the Town Council, and are now (1904) in the Free Library Buildings, arranged by the Council of the Inverness Field Club. Many of the original gifts, however, had either been reclaimed or mislaid. New gifts and new cases were added by the Field Club.

Ibid.—The trial of William Noble for the murder of William Ritchie took place at the Circuit Court at Inverness. He was convicted, and sentenced to be hanged at Elgin. After his conviction Noble confessed that he had committed the crime.

Ibid.—The Ross-shire County Meeting was held on the 30th of April at Dingwall. Formerly it had been held at Tain. The Sheriff stated that he had called the meeting at Dingwall for the convenience of gentlemen of the western district. There was no Act fixing a head burgh. Tain protested.

Ibid.—A movement was on foot for bringing mails by the Highland Road. The mail coaches, however, were exempt from tolls, while the county of Inverness derived £300 a year from the tolls paid by the Caledonian coach. There was difficulty in proposing to bring the mail coach toll free, and the county meeting appointed a committee to consider the subject.

May 14.—At the close of the Circuit Court the previous week, the Lord Justice-Clerk recommended that the Northern Counties should unite in erecting a large district Jail. The county of Inverness, at a meeting on the 13th inst., instructed the Sheriff and Convener to correspond on the subject with the members of Parliament and the Sheriffs and Conveners of other counties in the district.

May 28.—A party of scientific gentlemen paid a visit to the county of Sutherland to investigate its natural history. They took with them a light boat, supported on springs and fitted to a carriage, to enable them to examine lakes which would be otherwise inaccessible. The party consisted of Mr Selby of Twisell, Sir William Jardine, Dr Greville, and Mr James Wilson.

June 4.—The announcement is made of the secession of four members of the Government on account of a proposal for the appropriation of Irish Church property.

Ibid.—The Veto Act was adopted by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. In the division 184 voted for the motion as against 138 for an amendment giving the people a qualified right of objection. At the same Assembly, the Presbytery of Inverness was instructed to proceed with the settlement of Mr Grant in the parish of Petty.

Ibid.—William Noble was executed at Elgin on the 31st of May for murder. He was only twenty years of age. It is stated that there had not been an execution in Elgin for upwards of seventy years. The hangman was procured from Dundee at the charge of £12, exclusive of travelling expenses. The same functionary officiated at Aberdeen. "This plan," says a paragraph, "of engaging executioners only when required, and not for life, according to the ancient use and wont, will soon become general. It will be a great saving to the burghs, and two or three hangmen will do for all Scotland."

June 11.—The publication of a complete Guide to the Highlands and Islands, by Messrs George and Peter Anderson, is announced in this issue as about to take place. This was the first edition of the work, and is still prized by every one who happens to possess a copy. The Guide furnished Hugh Miller with the key to his geological observations. The book was written by men of exceptional culture and knowledge of the Highlands, and is packed with valuable information.

Ibid.—The Inverness Town Council, on the motion of the Provost, agreed to admit the public to their sittings. At the next meeting the public consisted of one citizen and two reporters.

June 18.—The Right Hon. Robert Grant, Judge-Advocate, brother of Lord Glenelg, was appointed Governor of Bombay. The salary was £12,000 per annum.

Ibid.—There is a report from a committee of Town Council on the Wooden Bridge (it is called "the New Bridge") and the administration of the account by the town. It appears that in 1804 Messrs Lockhart Kinloch and Peter Anderson took a lease of the lands of Merkinch from the proprietor, Mr Fraser of Torbreck, for 300 years. They granted feu tacks and building leases, and made proposals to the Magistrates of Inverness to have the lands brought within the extended Royalty, and to have a bridge built. Ultimately the tenants of Merkinch agreed to build the Wooden Bridge at their own expense, with the aid of voluntary subscriptions, and to hand it over to the Provost and Magistrates, who obtained an Act of Parliament for the purpose. The original cost of the bridge is said to have been above £2000, and daring the next twenty-five years the town expended in repairs no less than £2580, independent of interest. A toll was levied, the average produce of which was £58 a year.

Ibid.—A Crown presentation was issued transferring the Rev. Alexander Clark from the third to the first ministerial charge of the Church and parish of Inverness, vacant by the death of the late Rev. Thomas Fraser.

June 25.—There is an account of rejoicings in Lochaber to welcome Lochiel and his wife, Lady Vere Cameron, sister of the Earl of Buckinghamshire, who was introduced to the Clan for the first time. A large gathering of clansmen took place, each wearing a sprig of oak in his bonnet. The Macdonalds of Keppoch came down from Glen-Spean wearing the heather and oak entwined as emblematic of the good understanding which had existed between the two clans.

July 2.—Disease had appeared in the potato crop, but it was not general, and excited curiosity rather than anxiety.

July 9.—A memorial was forwarded to the Treasury by the Magistrates and Town Council of Inverness in favour of the transmission of the South mail direct from Perth to Inverness by the Highland Road. ‘We have frequently," says the editor, "taken occasion to advert to the advantages such a change would confer on the whole of the Northern Counties. The arrangement under which the mail is conveyed from Edinburgh to this place has for many years been the subject of complaint and remonstrance. The only coach by which it is carried traverses the road along the eastern coast, and by this route Perth is more than 200 miles distant from Inverness, while by the great Highland road the distance is only 115 miles. A stage coach has been run for several years on the Highland road; it is kept in the highest state of repair, and has recently undergone some extensive improvements. It has also been found by experience that it is less liable to be obstructed in winter by snow than the present mail road."

Ibid.—Mr Goodacre, a lecturer on astronomy, suggested the erection of an observatory on the site of the United Charities School, then in progress of erection. He offered the proceeds of the lecture as a donation to the proposed scheme. In the next issue an appeal was made for subscriptions by the Rev. Mr Fyvie and Mr George Anderson.

July 16.—Resignation of the Prime Minister, Earl Grey, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord Althorp, on account of differences in the Cabinet relating to the Irish question.

lbid.—The Inverness Sheep and Wool Market was held the previous week. On wool there was a rise of almost 3s per stone; a considerable advance on ewes and lambs, and a slight advance on wedders. Cheviot wedders fetched from 22s to 31s; ewes from 13s 6d to 21s; lambs from 9s 6d to 11s 6d. Blackfaced wedders fetched from 16s to 22s; ewes from 10s to 13s; lambs from 6s to 8a 6d. Cheviot washed wool fetched from 21s to 24s 6d; unwashed from 18s to 21s; cross from 16s to 20s; coarse laid from 11s to 12s; unlaid from 13s to 14s. The market was stiff.

July 23.—Lord Melbourne succeeded Earl Grey as Premier. "Lord Melbourne is an amiable, accomplished nobleman, but we suspect he wants weight to rule and consolidate the Cabinet. He has long been at the head of the fashionable world; but we have yet to learn that his lordship can, like Charles James Fox, unite the opposite characters of leader of the haut ton and first Minister of England." Lord Althorp remained in office as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

August 6.—A suspension bridge was thrown across the river on the east side of the Islands in 1828, but the funds were inadequate to provide one on the western side. "Additional subscriptions," we are now informed, "have since been obtained, and a contract has been entered into for the erection of a suspension bridge on the western bank, which will connect the beautiful walks on both sides, and form a fine ornament to the town."

Ibid.—It is stated that the great bulk of the Clan Chisholm had emigrated some years before to America, and that "the major part of the small remainder" were now settled on the estate of Lovat. "These good people, says a correspondent, hearing that Mrs Gooden, the daughter of the late Alex. Chisholm of Chisholm, who died in 1793, was making a tour in these parts, assembled on Friday, 18th ult., at the bridge of Struy, to pay their respects to her in passing, and after drinking her health with three heartfelt cheers, separated for their respective homes. It was a meeting of the deepest interest on both sides."

Ibid.—This issue records the death of a respected townsman, who had held the office of Convener of the Incorporated Trades for seventeen years, and was accordingly known as Convener Alexander Williamson. He had carried on for upwards of forty years a successful business as cabinet-maker and upholsterer, and died in the 62nd year of his age. The funeral was on an impressive scale. "Each Incorporation went in the following order. Officer-Apprentices, four and four—Journeymen, four and four—present and late Box-masters. Afterwards the five Deacons, the old and new Conveners, and the General Box-master. The Magistrates, preceded by the town’s officers, next walked in procession, and a large concourse of persons resident in the town and neighbourhood followed the body and the family mourners."

August 13.—A successful show of stock for the counties of Ross and Cromarty was held at Invergordon. At the dinner, however, there was talk of agricultural distress. It was said that this distress "was seen and felt in every rural district throughout the kingdom."

August 20.—The publication is announced of the Guide to the Highlands by Messrs George and Peter Anderson. "It is a complete work," says the editor in a preliminary notice, "full of information on all points interesting to the tourist, and, independently of its possessing the usefulness of an itinerary and guide book, it may be considered as affording an introduction to the temple of science, by its copious appendices on the geology, botany, natural history, and antiquities of the Highlands." A fuller notice appears in the following issue.

Ibid.—The number of visitors at Strathpeffer is so great that "half-a-guinea and even a guinea per week have been given for a bed in small dark rooms with earthen floors."

August 27.—It is recorded that the Duchess Countess of Sutherland, then in her 70th year, had just completed a tour of her great Highland property. ‘It is worthy of remark that her Grace travelled over the whole of this tour in her carriage, whereas a few years since the county was only accessible by boat, on foot, or on ponies, attended by guides to point out the way and render assistance through bogs and morasses."

September 3.—Lord Brougham passed through Inverness on this date on his way to visit the Duke and Duchess of Sutherland at Dunrobin. The two previous days he spent at Invereshie, the shooting quarters of the Right Hon. Edward Ellice, and at the Doune of Rothiemurchus, the summer residence of the Duchess of Bedford. The Lord Chancellor’s Northern tour excited intense interest. His carriage arrived at Millburn, Inverness, at half-past four o’clock "this day," Wednesday, September 3. He was met by the Provost and Magistrates, the Trades Incorporations, with banners displayed, and a large number of the inhabitants. The procession accompanied him to the Caledonian Hotel, and shortly afterwards his lordship entered the Northern Meeting Rooms, to receive an address and the freedom of the burgh. The presentation was made by Provost John Mackenzie, and Lord Brougham replied in what is described as "a short but eloquent and emphatic address." He began by saying that the distinction which the burgh had conferred upon him was due in the first place to the fact that he had the honour of serving a monarch who lived in the hearts of his subjects. "He had enjoyed the honour of serving that Prince for nearly four years, and during that time he had experienced from his Majesty only one series of gracious condescension, confidence, and favour. To find that he lived in the hearts of his loyal subjects in the ancient and important capital of the Highlands, as it had afforded him (Lord Brougham) only pure and unmixed satisfaction, would, he was confident, be so received by his Majesty, when he told him, as he would do by that night’s post, of the gratifying circumstance." His lordship went on to say that if he had any personal claim to the honour which the burgh had conferred upon him, it arose from the part he had taken in such public questions as negro emancipation, reform in Parliament and the municipalities, and in the education of the people. "To those questions," he continued, "I have been a zealous friend, and I will continue the same as long as life is preserved to me. In doing so I meet with nothing but support, kindness, and assistance from the worthy and powerful part of the community; from others I meet with nothing but revilings, misrepresentation, and calumny. I cannot say that these have an effect upon me, for in truth I regard them with perfect indifference. The people now think for themselves, and will not take opinions from others, be they priests, peers, or printers—at the same time reverencing their priests, honouring their peers, and taking every opportunity—and God knows they cannot go to a better source—of deriving information from the liberty of the press, and the fullest and most unrestrained discussion." The speaker then went on to state what work had been accomplished during the past session. Incidentally he said that his own opinion was that the Government had "done too much rather than too little." He was criticised for this saying, and subsequent speeches had a more radical complexion.

September 10.—On the 4th inst. Lord Brougham was honoured in the same way at Dingwall. He started early from Inverness in order to reach Dunrobin in the evening, and the ceremony at Dingwall took place shortly after ten o'clock a.m. His stay at Dunrobin extended only from Thursday to Monday. On the forenoon of the latter day he received deputations from Wick, Dornoch, Tain, and Cromarty, who presented him with the freedom of their respective burghs. On his way south he stayed a night at Beaufort Castle. Continuing his journey, he was honoured with civic presentations at Nairn, Forres, Elgin, and Aberdeen. The editor of the "Courier," in a pen-and-ink sketch, commends Lord Brougham’s speech at Inverness and the manner of its delivery. He says, however, that "the Chancellor’s profession of independence, and of disregard for the opinions of both Tory and Radical, struck us as being overcharged and out of place."

Ibid.—"The Lord Chancellor, while in Inverness last week, supplied himself largely with the Highland tartan, having purchased a great variety of the different clan patterns, in velvet and worsted, for waistcoats, trousers, and ladies’ dresses. The draper (Mr Macdougall) who furnished the goods was delighted to find that his lordship knew the various patterns of the clans, and the tailor was no less proud at having spanned the waist of the Lord Chancellor."

Ibid.—The same issue contains a short memoir of Thomas Telford, the engineer of the Caledonian Canal and other great works, who had passed away at the age of seventy-seven. He was a native of Langholm, in Dumfries-shire, and rose from being a stone mason to the top of his profession as a civil engineer. The "Courier" mentions that in his youth he was only distinguished for his proficiency in cutting the letters on tombstones. "He was sedulous, however, in availing himself of every opportunity of improving his mind, and the life of a stone-mason is so far favourable to this, that it affords many vacant hours, especially in winter. By the light of his evening fire, Thomas Telford mastered many a volume, and he also became distinguished over the countryside for his powers as a rhymester." Though he gave up versifying, he did not lose interest in poetry. He was one of a band of friends who exerted themselves to publish the first collected edition of Burns’s works, to which Dr Currie contributed his Memoir, and which realised a sum of nearly £2000 for the poet’s widow and family. Telford was also a good friend to Thomas Campbell and Robert Southey. The first employment which he obtained in London was an engagement as a journeyman mason at the building of Somerset House. "When walking along the Strand, he used occasionally to point out to his friends the particular portions of this great national structure he had assisted to build. The architect, Sir William Chambers, soon discovered Telford’s merit, and promoted him to the overseership of different parts of the work. His rise was rapid when he was once lifted above the level of the mallet and the trowel."

September 17.—This issue contains the text of the addresses which were presented to Lord Brougham by the Northern Burghs, and accounts of his receptions at Nairn and Forres.

Ibid.—The movement of visitors to and from shooting quarters is noticed. "Captain Orme," says one paragraph, "has just returned from his shooting quarters at Poolewe, on the estate of Sir Francis A. Mackenzie of Gairloch, where he has had excellent sport, having also killed upwards of 100 salmon and nearly double that number of sea trout, on Sir Francis’s famous river, the Ewe."

September 24.—There is a report of a great dinner given to Earl Grey at Edinburgh. The Earl of Rosebery was in the chair, and gave the toast of the evening. "The reply of Lord Grey was admirable for its good taste and good feeling. The venerable statesman has made his acknowledgements, and taken his leave with all the glory of the successful patriot and the accomplished orator."

Ibid.—"Died, at Sciberscross, Sutherlandshire, on 6th September, Mr James Hall, tacksman of that place, in the 64th year of his age. Mr Hall was a native of the Border, and was one of the first who introduced the improved system of sheep-farming into the Highlands. His general intelligence, integrity, and kindness of disposition made him much esteemed and respected by his friends and acquaintances."

October 1.—The Northern Meeting held the previous week was well attended. "Every succeeding year seems to add to the number of visitors from the South, anxious to explore the Highlands, and a few of these remained to be present at our festival." The Meeting extended over three days, from Wednesday to Friday, a dinner and ball being held each evening. The largest attendance was on the Friday evening, when Cluny Macpherson was in the chair, and about 160 ladies and gentlemen were present.

Ibid.—A public meeting was held at Inverness to co-operate with the General Assembly in an effort for the extension of Church accommodation. The Rev. Mr Clark said it was intended, as soon as a reasonable suns could be obtained, to begin the building of a church for 1800 sitters.

October 8.—It is mentioned that the Duke of Bedford, accompanied by his son, Lord Alexander Russell, and Mr Edwin Landseer, the distinguished artist, had arrived at Inverness from Dunrobin. On their way they visited the falls of Kilmorack and the scenery in the neighbourhood.

October 15.—Great improvements bad been made in the condition of Elgin Cathedral, through the liberality of the Board of Woods and Forests, directed by the taste of Mr Reid, the King’s architect for Scotland. The keeper of the building, John Shanks, who had spent much time in clearing rubbish from the building, was greatly delighted with the renovation. He had now but two causes of regret; one was that Sir Walter Scott had never visited the Cathedral, the other that Lord Brougham had passed through the town without going to see it. If Scott had come John was confident that the fame of the building, and perhaps his own name with it, would have gone down to posterity "foaming like a speat in some of the ‘novells." As for Lord Brougham, "John had the chapter house sorted up in fine order for the expected visit, and intended to ask his lordship to sit down in the grand high stone seat, where the Bishop need to sit with all his Deans and clerks around him." Alas for the vanity of human wits.

Ibid.—A weekly paper published in EIgin, entitled the "Elgin Courier," terminated its existence after a life of seven years. The copyright was sold for £5, and the plant for £130. The late Mr James Grant, of the "Morning Advertiser," began his career on the "Elgin Courier," but had left it some time before its demise. In his History of the Newspaper Press he mentions that the gentleman who bought the copyright of the old journal started a new one under the name of the "Elgin Courant" which still flourishes.

Ibid.—Cholera had reappeared this year in Inverness. One of its victims was a young medical practitioner, William Kennedy, son of the Rev. Mr Kennedy, minister of the Independent Chapel in Inverness. He had received a shock to his system by dressing the body of a gentleman who died of the disease.

October 22.—An account is given of the destruction of the Houses of Parliament by fire on the 16th inst.

November 5.—Great attention is given to a speech by the Earl of Durham, who was entertained to a public dinner at Glasgow. We are told that "few public dinners have been looked forward to with more curiosity or interest." Lord Durham was in favour of household suffrage, shorter Parliaments, and vote by ballot. There was open war between himself and Brougham.

Ibid.—A great flood had taken place in the river Ness, which carried off a rustic bridge connecting the two islands.

November 19.—This issue publishes the news of the dismissal of the Whig Government by the King, who had "fairly turned them out of office," and sent for the Duke of Wellington. The Whig Ministers had become unpopular, but the summary action of the King created intense astonishment.

lbid.—There is a report of a dinner given on the 13th inst. at Kingussie to the Duke of Gordon. "Part of the possessions of the Duke having passed into other hands, the gentlemen of Badenoch resolved to testify their respect and attachment to his Grace, under whose family the country had for centuries enjoyed protection, favour, and support." The entertainment was given in the Assembly Hall,—Cluny Macpherson in the chair. The tickets were confined to the "gentlemen of Badenoch," and about seventy were present. A cavalcade of horsemen, sixty in number, met the Duke about eight miles from Kingussie, and another large body on foot, with pipes playing and flags waving, marched out to a point half-way between Kingussie and Belleville. The Duke drove up in a carriage and four. "Three of the best looking Highlanders came out of the ranks, and, producing a bottle and glass, requested his Grace to accept a dram. The request was made in Gaelic, but Cluny acted as interpreter. The Duke drank the healths of all present, the pipes played up ‘Failte Phrionnsa,’ the banners were lowered, and as if by one impulse the men doffed their bonnets, the ladies waved their handkerchiefs, and the whole people gave a long and loud cheer, which must have startled the slumbering echoes of the hills of Badenoch. This enthusiasm was truly electrical; the Duke shed tears, and the people were equally touched." The horses were then unyoked, and the carriage drawn to Kingussie. It is mentioned that the flag of the Macphersons was an object of attraction; it was pierced with several musket balls, received chiefly at the battle of Falkirk in the ‘45. A body of seventy fine looking Highlanders, arrayed in the kilt, surrounded this relic. The speeches at the dinner are reported to the length of three columns. Dr Carruthers afterwards described the scene in his Highland Notebook, from which a passage is quoted in the Introduction to the first volume of "The Northern Highlands."

Ibid.—The Nairnshire Missionary Society met at Nairn, and voted to various objects subscriptions to the amount of £30.

Ibid.—Much regret was expressed that Mr John Mackenzie, banker, found it necessary to resign the office of Provost of Inverness on account of ill-health. He was the first Provost elected under the Reform Act, and enjoyed the full support of the Council and community.

November 26.—"The Government is in a sort of abeyance, or is wholly in the hands of the Duke of Wellington." A messenger had been despatched for Sir Robert Peel, who was in Rome, and the Duke held the chief place and several other offices until Peel’s arrival.

Ibid.—We are informed in this number that the streets of Inverness were admirably paved, and might challenge comparison with any other burgh in the Kingdom. The town had also boasted for years of being one of the best lighted in the country, but recently the Gas Company had been losing seriously by the street lamps, and the service had been reduced. The Council was restricted to a sum of £200 as the maximum assessment, and they could not give more without adopting the Police Act.

December 3.—A dissolution of Parliament is anticipated, but as yet there is no certainty. Prospective candidates, however, are issuing their addresses. Mr Charles Grant is again to stand for the county of Inverness, and is to be opposed by Macleod of Macleod.

Ibid.—’We learn that a branch of the Commercial Bank is to be established in a few weeks at Cromarty. The Bank has nominated Robert Ross, Esq., agent, and Mr Hugh Miller, accountant. The latter appointment will give much pleasure to all the numerous friends of ‘the Journeyman Mason.’ We see no fear of Mr Miller falling into the error deprecated by Pope—’To pen a stanza when he should engross’—and as the blasts of winter have now come into play, the snug counting house and the pen will be no unacceptable exchange for the hillside and the mallet."

December 10.—The lands of Glendale, in the Isle of Skye, were lately exposed to sale at £7513, being 26 years’ purchase, and were sold at £8620, about 30 years’ purchase.

December 17.—The Inverness Town Council met; and after recording their appreciation of the services of the retiring Provost, elected as his successor the senior Bailie, Mr John Fraser. This gentleman was the father of the late Rev. Dr Donald Fraser, of Inverness and Marylebone. In accepting office, the new Provost said "he had the misfortune to be elected at a period of great political excitement, and he feared he must come far short of the expectation of some of his friends in this respect; for he must acknowledge it was his own sense of propriety that he would best consult the honour and efficiency of his station by abstaining from taking any prominent or active part the present political contest."

December 24.This issue contains a list of the new Ministers, headed by Sir Robert Peel as First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer. It also contains Peel’s address to the• electors of Tamworth, which formed his manifesto. A dissolution of Parliament was known to be imminent, and candidates were busy. Mr Edward Ellice, junior (afterwards member for the St Andrews Burghs), had resolved to contest the Inverness Burghs with Major Cumming Bruce of Dunphail. In Ross-shire the candidates were Mr Stewart Mackenzie of Seaforth and Mr Thomas Mackenzie of Applecross. The seats of Mr Macleod, yr. of Cadboll, for Sutherland, of Mr James Loch for the Northern Burghs, and of Mr George Sinclair for Caithness, were believed to be secure.

Ibid.—The property of Torbreck, near Inverness, was sold to the trustees of the late Colonel Baillie of Leys for £23,000, or about thirty-three years’ purchase of the free rental. The estate of Aberlour was purchased at a public roup by Mr Grant, late of Jamaica, for £15,000.

December 31.—The Editor of the "Courier" in this issue gives the first notice of "a curious old Manuscript history," now known as the Wardlaw Manuscript. He published extracts from it in the paper, and afterwards included them in his Highland Notebook. This interesting Manuscript has now been published by the Scottish History Society, under the editorship of Mr William Mackay, solicitor, Inverness. The volume was shown in 1903 at the Highland and Jacobite Exhibition.


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