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The Northern Highlands in the Nineteenth Century
No. 13


The year 1837 was notable for the death of King William IV. and the accession of Queen Victoria. Political feeling at the time ran high. A bye-election was caused in Ross-shire by the appointment of Seaforth as Governor of Ceylon, and in the contest which followed, the Conservative candidate, Mr. Mackenzie of Applecross, won the seat by a large majority. At the General Election which ensued on the accession of the new Sovereign, Applecross retained the seat without a contest, and The Chisholm again defeated Mr Grant of Glenmoriston in the County of Inverness. In the Burghs, Mr Macleod of Cadboll secured the representation for the Whigs, but not by a large majority. It is curious to find that Forres was then the most Conservative burgh of the group. This year there was great distress in the Western Highlands and Islands, and subscriptions for their relief were raised throughout the country. In the Inverness Town Council parties were very closely divided, and the angry spirit which bad recently been exhibited found fresh illustration.

From the "Inverness Courier."
1837.

January 4.—The death is recorded of Captain Alexander Clark, for years master of the smack Fame, trading between London and the Northern ports. Captain Clark had an adventurous career. He was born at Covesea in Morayshire, in 1760, and at the age of twelve was pressed into the naval service. He served on board the Fortitude line-of-battleship under Admiral Parker, and was present at several engagements (among others with the Dutch in 1781 off the Dogger Bank), and subsequently in the American war. On returning to Scotland he became master of a "free trade" lugger, but ultimately gave it up for more regular service. As master of the smack Fame, he enjoyed great respect and confidence. An anecdote illustrates his brave character. "While sailing between London and Inverness, off the coast of Aberdeen, a large French privateer hove in sight, and immediately gave chase, which he no sooner observed than he forthwith prepared for action, ordering his men to the guns, and a party of soldiers, who were fortunately on board, to arms. The Frenchman, on perceiving that there was every appearance of his receiving a warm reception, sheered off, to the great mortification both of soldiers and seamen. The cool and resolute conduct he displayed on this occasion was taken honourable notice of at Lloyd’s office, where an account of the matter was posted." Captain Clark died at Cromarty.

Ibid.—"On the 11th November, at Strone-Nevis, near Fort-William, Evan Macmillan, aged one hundred years. This veteran, the oldest pensioner in Great Britain, entered the army in 1758, and was severely wounded at the battle of Quebec under General Wolfe, in consequence of which he became an out-pensioner of Chelsea Hospital, and continued so for the period of seventy-five years. He retained all his faculties, except his eyesight, to the last. He used to give a distinct account of the siege of Fort-William, by the army of Prince Charles in 1746, and of other events of that interesting period, which he had witnessed."

Ibid.—Influenza was raging at this time in the North of Scotland. It is stated that in Aberdeen and Banff business was almost suspended for a time. In a subsequent issue it is stated that the epidemic had reached Inverness, and was very severe.

January 18.—An old woman named Isobel Noble, better known as Ishbel Mhor, or Big Isobel, died at the Maggot, Inverness, on the 11th Inst. She was born the year after the battle of Culloden, near the fatal field. She was a bit of a character, and her portrait was painted by a local artist, Mr Macinnes, Chapel Street. Isobel was tall, one eyed, and remarkably "plain."

Ibid.—The North Church, Inverness, was opened on the previous Sabbath, when the Rev. Mr Cook preached. It is stated that the church had only been commenced about six months previously, and was now nearly finished, and about three-fourths of the sittings taken. The Rev. Archibald Cook, then at Reay, was soon afterwards called as minister.

Ibid.—"Died, at Inverness, en the 11th inst., aged 62, Mr Walter Munro, Baptist minister, long known in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland as a faithful and laborious preacher of the Gospel."

January 25.—"The increased communication between Inverness and the other Northern Counties is strikingly illustrated by the fact that the Ferry at Kessock, near this town, which about twenty-five years ago used to be let for £150 per annum, now draws in a rent of £800 a year."

February 1.—A meeting was held in Edinburgh to take into consideration the destitute condition of a large part of the Western Highlands and Islands. The crop of 1835 had been bad, and the crop of 1836 still worse, causing great distress. It was stated that one proprietor had provided supplies to the amount of £1500. Reports of the condition of affairs were given from Skye, Lochbroom, the Long Island, &c. The meeting resolved to appeal for subscriptions in England as well as Scotland.

Ibid.—The "Gazette" of January 24th announced the elevation of Thomas Alexander Fraser of Lovat to the peerage, "by the name, style, and title of Baron Lovat of Lovat, in the county of Inverness." On his lordship’s return to the North a few weeks later, the event was celebrated with great rejoicings. [Thomas Alexander Fraser of Strichen & Lovat (1802-75) was descended from Thomas Fraser of Knockie & Strichen (1548-1612), second son of Alexander Fraser 4th Lord Lovat (1527-1557).]  - see The Old Lords of Lovat and Beaufort at http://www.electricscotland.com/canada/fraser/lovat_beaufort.htm]

Ibid.—On the 26th of January the Rev. Alexander Fraser, of Cawdor, was inducted as minister of Kirkhill, in succession to his father, the late Donald Fraser. [According to Fasti vi, p. 474, Rev. Alexander Fraser (1804-1883) was ordained at Cawdor 20 Nov 1828 and transferred to Kirkhill 26 Jan 1837.  He died unmarried at Kirkhill 21 June 1883.  His grandfather, Rev. Alexander Fraser (1749-1802), his father, Rev. Donald Fraser (1783-1836) and he, served as ministers at Kirkhill for 110 years.]

February 15.—In a recent boat accident in the neighbourhood of Dunvegan, in Skye, thirteen lives were lost. "A meeting had been called by the minister to receive information on the destitute state of his poor parishioners, so widely scattered over that rugged country. After it had concluded a party, consisting of fifteen persons, left in a boat. In endeavouring to pass a rock near the shore the boat struck; several tried to heave it off the rock, but the boat capsized, and thirteen persons, twelve men and a woman, were drowned. The remaining two escaped, one by clinging to an oar, and the other, a female, by getting on a rock, whence she was removed after the storm had subsided."

February 22.—There is an account of the financial returns of the steamer Duchess of Sutherland, plying between the Moray Firth and London. The first season yielded a profit of only £195 15s 4½d, and this was regarded as rather discouraging. The vessel had been kept on too long, namely, from March to November, and it was intended to shorten the season, though beginning this year in March. The export of live stock had proved profitable to agriculturists, but was not sufficient in amount to be satisfactory to the company running the steamer. The freight was accordingly to be advanced.

lbid.—A violent gale from the south-west visited the district the previous Saturday. "In the County Buildings here no less than twenty-one panes of glass were blown in, while it was dangerous to walk the streets, in consequence of the fall of slates, chimney-tops, &c., from the roofs of the houses. In the county many thatched cottages were completely unroofed, and fences, haystacks, and outbuildings thrown down."

Ibid.—Operations had been resumed at the lead mines of Strontian. From two to three hundred persons were employed.

March 1.—A deplorable account is given of the state of destitution prevailing among the people of Skye. "The unfavourable weather destroyed their peats, and they have neither money nor opportunities to purchase coals or wood. In this extremity the poor people have lately in some places been driven to consume their turf huts and cottages for fire. They meet and draw lots whose house is to be taken down for fuel, and afterwards in the same manner determine which of their number is to maintain the poor family deprived of their home. Almost shut up by the stormy elements, crowding round their miserable fire thus scantily and painfully supplied—and with only, at long intervals, a handful of oatmeal or potatoes—we know not that the history of the British people ever presented such pictures of severe unmitigated want and misery as are exemplified at this movement in the case of the poor Highlanders."

March 8.—The shootings of Auchnasheen, Cabuie, and Dochsmurckan, with the right of fishing on Loch-Rosque and Loch-Fannich, are advertised to let on lease. "The moors," it is stated, "are well stocked with grouse, ptarmigan, and blackcock, and red deer may be found at all times within the bounds, which extend to upwards of 16,000 acres, or twenty-five square miles."

Ibid.—The Town Council, by a majority of 11 to 7 votes, adopted a report on the subject of Dr Andrew Bell’s endowment for education. They resolved to erect one principal school for the education of all classes, and several local schools for the education of the poor. The minority were in favour of some arrangement with the Academy.

March 21—A public meeting was held in Inverness, under the auspices of the Town Council, to assist in raising funds for the relief of distress in the Western Highlands and Islands. Provost Ferguson was in the chair, and liberal subscriptions were announced. A committee in Aberdeen had also arranged for a supply of meal and oats. The movement became general.

April 5.—The appointment is announced of Mr J. A. Stewart Mackenzie of Seaforth to be Governor of Ceylon. This created a vacancy in the Parliamentary representation of the county of Ross, and two candidates were already in the field. Mr William Mackenzie of Muirton came forward in the Whig interest, and Mr Thomas Mackenzie of Applecross came forward on behalf of the Conservatives.

Ibid.—The new Catholic Chapel in Bluntly Street was opened on the previous Sunday by Bishop Kyle, assisted by the Rev. Messrs Rankin, of Badenoch, and Thomas Chisholm, of Strathglass. Among the congregation on the opening day were the two Sobieski Stuarts. The architect of the church was Mr Robertson, Elgin.

April 12.—The nomination of candidates for the representation of the county of Ross took place on the previous day. Mr Hay Mackenzie of Cromartie nominated Mr Mackenzie of Applecross, and Mr Horatio Ross of Rossie seconded the motion. The nomination of Mr Mackenzie of Muirton was made by Seaforth and seconded by Cadboll. The report of the speeches on the occasion extends to 54 newspaper columns. Mr Gladstone, "an extensive West Indian merchant," was present, and being appealed to made some remarks in criticism of the policy of the Whig Government. The Conservative candidate said he looked on the contest "not as between Conservatives and self-styled Liberals, but as a fierce struggle between Protestantism and its hydra-headed enemies." His opponent replied that "he was opposed to Popery because he thought it an enemy to civil liberty; but he wished to see it overcome by mild means—by the spread of education—and he thought, with Dr Chalmers, that Protestantism was best supported not by coercion but by spiritual weapons."

Ibid.—" We understand the extensive and beautiful Highland estate of Glenelg has just passed into the hands of a new proprietor. Lord Glenelg has disposed of it to James Evan Baillie, Esq., formerly one of the representatives for Bristol, and at present a banker and merchant in that city. Mr Baillie purchased another Highland property in Badenoch from the late Duke of Gordon. The estate of Glenelg is said to have been sold for £77,000."

April 19.—The contest in Ross-shire resulted in favour of the Conservative candidate. The poll stood—For Mr Mackenzie of Applecross, 307; for Mr Mackenzie of Muirton, 196; majority for Applecross, 111. At the previous election Seaforth, as the Whig candidate, had a majority of 40. In the same issue there is a report of a public dinner given to Seaforth at Dingwall on his appointment as Governor of Ceylon.

Ibid.—A number of subscribers had made arrangements with the Magistrates and Town Council to form a reading-room on the ground floor of the Town Hall. Certain improvements were to be made on the building, and until these were completed the subscribers were allowed the use of the Northern Meeting Rooms.

April 26.—Echoes of the Ross-shire election appear in this number. The chief factor in winning the seat appears to have been the Protestant feeling aroused by the clergy.

Ibid.—There is a summary of the annual report of the Parliamentary Commissioners for Highland Roads and Bridges. One of the subjects was the recent establishment of the mail coach on the Highland road. "The adoption of this arrangement, by which twenty hours in the course of the Northern post are saved, has been principally owing to the recent improvements at the Pass of Slochmuich, which has heretofore presented the most serious obstacle on the line. The obstruction experienced by the mail from snow in the past winter has been immaterial, compared with that sustained in the far more populous Southern and Westen districts of Great Britain, and was, in fact, little beyond what, it may be anticipated, will be removed by the experience of two or three seasons. The Commissioners appear to feel encouraged by this result, as productive of a most important benefit to the country, and confirmatory of the correctness of the views with which a survey of the highland line and the adjacent district was directed." This survey was carried out by Mr Joseph Mitchell. In course of the year a stone bridge of three arches over the river Oich at Aberchalder had been completed.

Ibid.—A steeplechase, sweepstakes five sovereigns each, was organised by officers at Fort-George. The course was a circuit of three miles in the neighbourhood of Inverness, the horses starting and finishing in the same field. "It included upwards of twenty leaps, five roads, three brooks, eight fallow fields, and a beautiful run-in over grass laid for the last quarter of a mile." The race was won in little more than ten minutes. The winner was Captain Towne’s Tramp, which "was jockeyed in splendid style by Captain Duberly, and did not make a single mistake throughout the race." During the season there had been a good deal of coursing.

May 3.—It is stated that the Duchess-Countess of Sutherland is providing relief and assistance for 3000 persons on her estate.

Ibid.—Mr John Edwards, Sheriff-Substitute, had recently been appointed Receiver-General of Jamaica. Before his departure a handsome silver epergne was presented to him as a mark of respect. It bore the following inscription:—"Presented by landowners and inhabitants of the county and royal burgh of Inverness, to John Edwards, Esquire, Principal Sheriff-Substitute of Inverness-shire, in testimony of their approbation of his conduct and character as a Judge, their respect for his talents, their esteem for his private virtues—29th April 1837." The plate was accompanied by an address, and the presentation was made by Mackintosh of Mackintosh. At the April county meeting a resolution was also passed bearing testimony to the "zeal, ability, integrity, and great legal knowledge," which Mr Edwards had displayed in his administration of the civil and criminal business of the county.

Ibid.—A small clay image was discovered on the margin of a stream near Inverness. "In the forehead is placed a needle, run far into the head; and several pins and needles garnish the lower parts of the figure. The body and arms are fastened to the head by means of red silk threads, disposed in equal numbers on each side." This was a vindictive form of superstition, of which examples have been found at a much more recent date.

May 10.—The Synod of Ross and the Synod of Moray both petitioned against the bill for the abolition of Church rates in England.

Ibid.—There is a notice of a "remarkable pamphlet" by Mr Rowland Hill, advocating the establishment of a penny post. The facts and figures are carefully noted and discussed.

May 17.—By the death of a Magistrate, Bailie Stalker, a vacancy had been created in the Town Council. The membership of the Council was thus equally divided between Tories and Whigs, ten on each side. The election of a Councillor ad interim revived a slumbering feud. The Conservatives put forward as their candidate Mr David Rose, the Whigs Mr Kenneth Douglas. The Conservatives, however, it was evident, would have the casting vote of the Provost, and accordingly the ten Reform candidates absented themselves from the meeting. The other ten, however, met and declared Mr Rose elected. A lawyer was present and entered a protest.

Ibid-—A letter is published, written by Alexander Gray, a drover in Sutherland in 1739, describing an attempt to take cattle from him near Inverness. He was on his way to Crieff fair with "a great drove." A body of men at Lochashie endeavoured to secure a share, offering even to take "half-a-dozen or thereby," and disturb him no more. The attempt was made in the darkness of the night. Gray and his assistants, however, refused, and waiting till morning they sent an express to Inverness to borrow arms from gentlemen of their acquaintance. "Upon our obligation to return the arms or pay their value, got a fine caise of hulsters, mounted with brass, a single hulster, likewise mounted with brass, and a side pisstoll, mounted with silver, which our drovers carried in as privat a manner as possible, meaning nothing but our own defence from the frequant attacts of those thieves who (as it appears to us) are the only people allowed by the military to carry arms. This precaution had the desyred effect, and we proceeded with our cattle. On our return home our drivers who carried pisstolls were seized by Colin Campbell, serjeant in Captain Campbell off Carrigys Company, logeing at Riven in Badenoch, and took away the pistolls and threatened to putt themselves in prison." This, it will be observed, was seven years before the battle of Culloden.

June 7.—The two preceding files are absent. It is announced on this date that a new coach, "The Highlander," was to run from Invergordon to Tain. A conveyance had also begun to run to Strathpeffer. Coach travelling, we are told, had lately made rapid strides in the Highlands. A mail curricle had been running through the Great Glen since October.

June 14.—The editor begins a series of interesting "Notes on the Road." The first describes the county from Inverness to Dingwall, including Brahan Castle. The same issue contains the report of a dinner given at Stirling to Mr W. H. Colquhoun, who was Sheriff-Substitute for the Western District of Perthshire, and had just been appointed principal Sheriff-Substitute of Inverness-shire.

June 21.—An interdict had been obtained from Lord Cunningham against further proceedings by the Inverness Town Council until the vacancy recently created by one of the Bailies was filled up and completed in terms of law. "The labours of our local representatives are thus put to a stand for the present. We presume the Bill of Suspension and interdict will be disposed of before the rising of the Court next month; if not, the business of the Council may have to lie over until the annual election in November."

Ibid.—The following paragraph is quoted from an Aberdeen newspaper —"In the year 1787 the estate of Glengarry produced £800 a year; the present rental is upwards of £7000. In 1799 the estate of Castlehill, in Inverness-shire, was sold under the authority of the Court of Session for £8000; in 1804 it produced £80,000. In 1781 Glenelg in Inverness-shire, produced an income of £600 a year; in 1798 it was sold for £30,000; in 1811 Lord Glenelg gave £100,000 for it, and his lordship lately sold it for £77,000. In 1777 Fairburn yielded £700 a year; in 1824 it sold for £80,000. In 1790 Redcastle sold for £25,000; in 1824 it sold for the large sum of £135,000. The rental of the estate of The Chisholm was £700 in 1783, and at present exceeds £5000 per annum. In 1791 the rental of the Orkney Islands was £19,000; now they produce £70,000; and in 1760 the rental of Argyllshire was under £20,000, now £192,000." There is a mistake in the above paragraph. In our notes for 1824 it is stated that the Right Hon. Charles Grant (afterwards Lord Glenelg) bought the estate of Glenelg in that year for £82,000; but it is added that a few years previously the same estate fetched nearly £100,000.

Ibid.—The ceremony of laying the foundation stone of the inner basin of the new harbour at Stotfield Point, Lossiemouth, took place on the 15th inst. The stone was laid by Lieut. Colonel James Brander of Pitgaveny, the proprietor of the site, with the assistance of the Trinity Lodge of Freemasons, and in presence of the Chairman and shareholders of the Harbour Company, and representatives of the burgh of Elgin.

June 28.—King William IV. died on the 20th inst., and was succeeded by Queen Victoria. The young Queen’s declaration on assuming the throne is described as "one of the most affecting and admirable State documents ever penned." The proclamation of the new Sovereign was made at the Market Cross of Inverness by Sheriff Colquhoun in presence of the Magistrates and a large gathering of townspeople. The Duke of Cumberland became King of Hanover.

Ibid.—"The fine estate of Geanies, in Easter Ross, has been purchased by Mr Murray, banker, Tain, for the sum of £59,000."

Ibid-—There is a description of the monument on Ben-Bhraggie to the memory of the first Duke of Sutherland, which was then in course of erection. It was subscribed for by the tenantry, by whom the Duke was respected in no ordinary degree. The site is almost fourteen hundred feet above sea-level. The pedestal, seventy-six feet in height, was built from a design by Mr Burn. The stone was excavated from a quarry of hard red sandstone found on the spot. "To crown this magnificent pedestal a statue of equally gigantic proportions is in progress. A model of the figure was moulded by Chantrey, which contains an admirable likeness of the late Duke, in an erect attitude, as if standing to speak, arrayed in the toga or gown. This statue will be thirty feet in height, making with the pedestal an elevation of a hundred and six feet, and forming a conspicuous landmark far and near, by sea and land, on both sides of the Moray Firth. The stone of which the statue will be composed is found at Brora; it is of drab colour, which gradually whitens on exposure. The execution of this work has been entrusted by Sir Francis Chantrey to the skilful and practised hand of Mr Theakstone, who also constructed the monument to the Duke of Sutherland at Trentham, in Staffordshire..... Although the model of Chantrey is only four feet in height, and the statue will be thirty, every line and feature can be preserved by the most exact admeasurement, and by mechanical processes which impose a check on each and secure certainty to the whole." The same issue contains an account of the improvements effected on Dornoch Cathedral by the Duchess of Sutherland, from designs by Chantrey and Burn.

Ibid.—"A person ploughing in a field near Clashmore, county of Sutherland, on the 12th inst., turned up a wedge or bar of gold, about a quarter of an inch in thickness, three inches long, and an inch and a-half in breadth. There is no engraving on the piece, but something like a stamp appears on one side."

July 5.—Lord Cunningham recalled the interdict granted in the case of the Inverness Town Council. His opinion on the merits was in favour of the validity of Mr Rose’s nomination.

Ibid..—Mr Innes of Sandside has laid out considerable sums in constructing a harbour at his place, under the direction of Mr Bremner, engineer.

July 12.—"The salmon fishing has lately proved very productive in some of our Northern streams. In the river Beauly above a thousand salmon and grilse were taken in one night."

July 19.—At the Inverness Wool Market, held the previous week, the trade in wool was paralysed by a recent revulsion in the commercial world. Sheep, fortunately, were in more demand than the fleece. They were disposed of to the value of £50,000 or £60,000 at fair prices. "The most valuable lot of Cheviot sheep in the North, or perhaps in Scotland, was sold by Mr Houston, Kintradwell, to Mr Andrew Lamb, Liverpool, at £1 8s each for wedders, and 18s for ewes. The former is the highest by 1s obtained at the market; last year the same stock of wedders were sold for £1 11s 6d." The run of prices was stated as follows :—Cheviot wedders, 19s to £1 8s; cress wedders, 18s to £1 4s; blackfaced wedders, 13s to 16s; Cheviot ewes, 14s to 19s; cross ewes, 12s to 16s 6d; blackfaced ewes, 8s to 12s; Cheviot wedder lambs, 10s to 13s; cross wedder lambs, 9s to 11s; blackfaced wedder lambs, 8a to 9s 6d. The attendance of buyers from the South was scarcely so large as the previous year, but the public ordinaries were crowded. "The paucity of business was an inducement to prolong the festivities, and on Friday The Chisholm presented the company [at the Caledonian Hotel] with five dozen of claret." There was discussion of a question which had been started the previous year, as to whether there should be an annual dinner in the Northern Meeting Rooms to accommodate the visitors at the two chief hotels, the Caledonian and Royal. A deputation came from the latter to the festive party in the Caledonian to recommend the proposal, but the gathering there was in no mood to consent. "To put an end to the confusion—for the room was very crowded and considerable excitement prevailed—The Chisholm proposed ‘Good Evening,’ and the party broke up. It was remarked that the deputation was not bowed out, but drunk out!" Another proposal which had been mooted to draw up a register for the market was found to be impracticable.

July 26.—Parliament was prorogued on the 17th inst., and dissolved the same evening. The Inverness Burghs were greatly excited over the contest between the Whig candidate, Mr Macleod of Cadboll, and his Conservative opponent, Mr Mackenzie, yr. of Scatwell. "The Magistrates have this evening sworn in constables to patrol the streets during the night, but we trust there will be no occasion for their interference.... There are, unfortunately, several poor electors who, either from imbecility or intemperance, are unable to take care of themselves at such a time as the present; and as they generally vote with the party who have them last in their possession before the poll, they occasion a constant struggle between the rival partisans. Let our respectable townsmen exert themselves to preserve order, and secure to all freedom of thought and action." It is announced that no opposition was to be made to the re-election of Mr Mackenzie of Applecross for the county of Ross. Sir Andrew Leith Hay was re-elected without opposition member for the Elgin Burghs.

July 27.—A second edition of this date reports the nominations for the Inverness Burghs. Mr Fraser of Abertarff nominated Mr Macleod of Cadboll, and Colonel John G. Ross of Strathgarve seconded. Provost Ferguson proposed Mr Mackenzie, yr. of Scatwell, and Dr Munro seconded. There was warm controversy about the Protestant constitution of the country.

August 2.—The result of the contest in the burghs is recorded. The totals were—Macleod, 336; Mackenzie, 311; majority for Cadboll, 19. It may be interesting to give the figures in the various burghs—Inverness, 221 for Macleod, 192 for Mackenzie. Forres, 55 for Macleod, 75 for Mackenzie. Nairn, 36 for Macleod, 25 for Mackenzie. Fortrose, 24 for Macleod, 25 for Mackenzie. Each side put forth its utmost efforts. "From an apprehension that attempts would be made, or continued, to carry off electors, the friends of Mr Macleod had men stationed during the previous night at the different entrances to the town. - . . It was understood that several electors were on board the Duchess of Sutherland steamer, in her passage from London; and as the vessel was expected to arrive during the afternoon, many an eye was turned towards the Moray Firth. About three o’clock two gentlemen arrived in a post-chaise, having left the ‘Duchess’ at Burghead, whence a vehicle was in waiting to convey them to Inverness; they both polled for Mr Mackenzie. Two supporters of Mr Macleod, who were on board, had previously gone ashore at Banff, but could obtain no vehicle to convey them forward." A protest was read against the return of Cadboll.

Ibid.—The Hon. William Howard was returned without opposition as member for the county of Sutherland. Mr Horatio Ross of Rossie was mentioned as a candidate for the city of Aberdeen, but he was abroad at the time, and his party retired from the contest. Mr Bannerman was returned unopposed.

August 9.—The contest for the county occupies a large part of this issue. Mr Fraser of Newton proposed The Chisholm, and Captain Shaw, Culblair, seconded. Mackintosh of Mackintosh proposed Glenmoriston, and Mr Macpherson-Grant of Ballindalloch seconded. The result of the poll was—Chisholm, 303; Glenmoriston, 249; majority for Chisholm, 54. This was exactly double the majority which Chisholm had obtained at the previous election. There were recriminations between the two parties as to undue influence. Chisholm declared that one of his voters had been carried away—" I do not know where, but he did not come to the poll."

Ibid.—In the united counties of Elgin and Nairn the Hon. Colonel Grant of Grant was returned unopposed. In Caithness Sir George Sinclair defeated Mr George Traill. In the Northern Burghs Mr James Loch was elected without opposition.

August 16.—A committee which had been formed for the erection of a monument to the late Duke of Gordon had met with liberal support. The Earl of Moray offered a site on the Ladyhill at Elgin, which was gratefully accepted.

August 23.—A case under the Veto Act came before the Presbytery of Tain. A considerable majority of the communicants objected to the settlement of the Rev. Daniel Macbride, who had been presented to the pastorate of the parish of Logie-Easter. The Presbytery were now investigating the case. In the same issue there is an interesting series of notes by a visitor to the Island of Lews. The writer was probably the late Mr Joseph Mitchell, C.E. He states that the "cutty stool" still flourished in some parts of the island in all its primeval glory.

Ibid.—At the anniversary meeting of the Northern Missionary Society at Dingwall, the collection at the gate amounted to £16 17s 6d, and subscriptions and donations to £33 18s 6d. "The meeting recorded their cordial concurrence in the expressions of deep interest minuted by the last meeting at Inverness in the future success of the Rev. John Macdonald, now about to proceed to British India as a missionary under the-direction of the General Assembly."

August 30.—There is a report of a public dinner given at Forres to Mr Macleod, M.P. Mr James Bell, surgeon, was in the chair, and there were representatives from other burghs. The editor states that "it was perhaps the most numerously attended public dinner that ever took place in that neat and spirited little town." Mr Macleod had previously been entertained to a public dinner at Cromarty.

lbid.—A severe storm occurred the previous week in the Moray Firth. A herring boat and sloop were wrecked at Lossiemouth, and nine lives were lost. Two boats were swamped in Findhorn bay, but the crews were saved except one man.

Ibid.—There was correspondence about a Badenoch voter who, it was said, had pledged himself to be neutral and afterwards voted. The man himself writes in this issue asserting that he violated no pledge "I beg to mention," he says, "that the words used by me when hard pressed to pledge were, ‘As yet it is my opinion that I will not vote.’ I never considered these words as a pledge to stand neutral." The distinction was a fine one. The same issue gives a quotation from a letter written about eighty years before by Bayne of Tulloch to Sir Harry Munro of Fowlis, relating to an electioneering contest. Bayne wrote that he had sincerely intended to support Sir Harry’s interest, but he was under serious disadvantages, particularly the want of sight, which prevented his freedom of action; "for I was led about from place to place, as you must have heard, and not allowed to go to my own house until the election was over."

September 6.—Two Parliamentary Commissioners, Messrs Dick and Stewart, met the ministers of the several religious congregations in the town and parish of Inverness, in order to ascertain the alleged deficiency of Church accommodation for the population at large. Clergymen of all denominations gave evidence. The Commission sat a whole day, from ten to half-past six o’clock. There is nothing of great importance in the report, but individuals who care to refer to it may find it interesting. The North Church had been opened, and the West Church was in course of erection. The foundation—stone of a new Episcopal Church (St John's) was laid on 31st August.

Ibid.—In making the alterations and repairs for the reading-rooms in the Town House, the ancient palladium, Clachnacudain, had been sunk to the level of the pavement. This roused public sentiment, and a memorial was presented to the Town Council for its restoration to its old site. A handbill was also issued, stating that the "Clachnacuddin boys" would assemble and raise the stone themselves if the local authorities did not undertake the duty before the 4th inst. Some time previous, however, the Council had agreed to proceed with the exhumation, and on the previous Saturday the task was accomplished. A crowd assembled to celebrate the occasion, and a bottle of wine was broken over the stone.

Ibid.—The Highland Society had lately awarded a silver medal to Mr John Grigor, nursery and seedsman, Forres, for a report on the native pine forests of Scotland. The report is made the subject of a column of notes.

Ibid.—As the attendance at the Northern Meeting had been falling off for some years, the Secretary, Mr A. Fraser, addressed the stewards and permanent members, requesting them and their families to make up parties and induce their friends to attend. The Secretary also announces that it is proposed to hold games on the Thursday and Friday of the Meeting to afford outdoor amusement. This appears to have been the beginning of the present annual games at the Northern Meeting.

September 13.—On the previous Friday, the Conservative electors of Forres and district entertained the late member, Major Cumming Bruce, and the unsuccessful candidate, Mr Mackenzie, yr. of Scatwell, to a public dinner in the St Lawrence Lodge Assembly Rooms. Brodie of Brodie was in the chair, and the attendance numbered 115. The editor remarks that "public dinners are at present the rage in the North." The newspaper files fully bear out this statement. We have already mentioned two dinners given to Macleod of Cadboll; other two followed, one at Fortrose and another at Inverness. Each political party apparently strove to get up the biggest dinner.

September 20.—Mr Charles Macdougall, advocate, died at Georgetown, Demerara, on the 27th of July. He was carried off by yellow fever, which raged with unusual severity in British Guiana. "His was a hard fate, a very extensive practice opening to him; looking forward by the next packet for his appointment as Attorney-Generals the salary of which office bad been increased to £1000 a year." Mr Macdougall was entertained to a public dinner in Inverness in August 1836. He is described as a townsman.

Ibid.—"On the 4th inst. some of the party at Flowerdale, consisting of Lords Loftus, Alford, Jocelyn, Mr Mahar, and Captain Stephenson, killed two magnificent stags, which, from their uncommon size, had been the wonder of the neighbourhood for the last two years. The one (without head and offal) weighed 18 and the other 17 Dutch stones. The fat near the hind part was 34 inches deep. The distance between the extreme points of the horns was, 34 inches, of the other 29¼ inches. Two such animals, we believe, have not been killed in the Highlands for many years."

Ibid.—At the Circuit Court two persons were convicted of forgery, and were sentenced to transportation for life. Two persons convicted of assault, but found to be insane, were ordered to be confined in jail, one at Dingwall, the other at Elgin. The Lord Justice-Clerk congratulated the Sheriff on the diminuation of serious crime, but regretted to find that the crime of assault appeared to be as common as ever, if not more so. He also spoke of the benefit that would arise to the country if the Sheriffs were empowered to summon juries and dispose of minor cases.

September 27.—The editor speaks of the gratifying progress made in the circulation of the "Courier," and says at the same time that he believes the number of readers to be twenty times the number of subscribers. "In the villages several families not infrequently still club for the paper; it is read by each of these successively, and is afterwards sold at half-price, when it is introduced to a new circle of readers, or is sent off to some son or brother in the East or West Indies. In the towns the same system prevails; and we know of one industrious individual in Inverness who generally purchases from ten to fifteen copies of our paper weekly, and turns an honest penny by letting them out at a small sum for every two hours." This was in the days of high-priced newspapers.

Ibid.—Messrs John Gibb & Son have obtained the contract for supplying all the granite which will be required from Aberdeen, for the river wall to be built in front of the new Houses of Parliament. This will prove an excellent winter’s job for masons and others employed in the granite quarries in the vicinity of Aberdeen."

Ibid —The obituary contains the record of the death of William Murray of Geanies, in the 38th year of his age. The editor adds—"We cannot permit this obituary notice to appear without adding that, by the death of Mr Murray, the county of Ross has lost one of its most useful and estimable public men. He held various situations, and discharged their duties with zeal and ability; while his frank and cordial manners and unaffected kindness of disposition endeared him to all with whom he had intercourse." Another obituary notice is that of the Rev. William Gordon, Elgin, in the 86th year of his age, and sixty-second of his ministry. For fifty-three years he was one of the Established clergy of Elgin. "Mr Gordon was distinguished for his sound and clear judgment, strict integrity, undeviating rectitude, and sincere unaffected piety."

October 4.—The Northern Meeting is described as the most gay and spirited that had been witnessed for at least ten years. The nobility and gentry were anxious to infuse new life into the festival. In addition to the usual balls and parties, popular games were instituted on this occasion. They were held on a field belonging to Mr Wilson, of the Caledonian Hotel, situated near the Longman. "Considering the novelty of public sports of this description in Inverness, the competitors acquitted themselves in a highly creditable manner." The games consisted of throwing the hammer, putting the stone, running, leaping, sack and wheelbarrow races, wrestling, and rifle shooting. There was no dancing or bagpipe playing. It is announced that from £50 to £100 had been subscribed for prizes for the following year.

October 11.—"The Rev. Mr Barclay, of Auldearn, has recently shown his good taste in collecting and replacing, at considerable personal expense and trouble, various ancient monuments which had long lain scattered about the interesting Church-yard of his parish. He has also restored the original inscriptions of a tombstone and tablet, the latter in the ancient choir attached to the church, which were intended to commemorate the heroes of the Covenant, who fell at the battle of Auldearn, gained by Montrose." The tombstone was inscribed to Captain Bernard Mackenzie, and the tablet had been erected by Sir Robert Innes to three gentlemen named Murray or "Morray." It is stated as rather remarkable that a large proportion of the inhabitants of the town of Nairn, not of the fishing class, still continued to have their burial places in Auldearn, nearly three miles distant. "To these they cling with a romantic feeling, and the funerals of the poorest are well attended all the way."

Ibid.—A large body of emigrants sailed from Tobermory on the 27th of September for New South Wales. The vessel was the Brilliant, and its size and splendid fittings were greatly admired. "the people to be conveyed by this vessel are decidedly the most valuable that have ever left the shores of Great Britain; they are all of excellent moral character, and from their knowledge of agriculture, and management of sheep and cattle, must prove a most valuable acquisition to a colony like New South Wales." The Rev. Mr Macpherson, of Tobermory, preached a farewell sermon before the party sailed. The total number of emigrants was 322, made up as follows:—From Ardnamurchan and Strontian, 105; Coll and Tiree, 104; Mull and lona, 56; Morven, 25; Dunoon, 28; teachers, 2; surgeons, 2. A visitor from New South Wales presented as many of the party as he met with letters of introduction, and expressed himself highly gratified with the prospect of having so valuable an addition to the colony. A Government agent superintended the embarkation.

October 18.—On the previous Thursday Mr Macleod of Cadboll, M.P., was entertained to a public dinner in the Northern Meeting Rooms, Inverness. Captain Fraser of Balnain was in the chair, and the company numbered over 300. The dinner speeches are reported at length. A Conservative dinner was held soon afterwards at Fortrose.

Ibid.—A University Commission was about to sit at Aberdeen. The "Courier" suggested that instead of maintaining two Colleges at Aberdeen, the authorities should transfer one to Inverness. The opportunity, however, was not embraced.

November 1.—The following paragraph appears in the obituary column:—"In the China seas, on the 17th August 1836, aged 34, Captain William Mackay, of the brig Fairy, universally respected by the community in which he lived, and deeply lamented by his relations at home. He fell a sacrifice to the rapacity of a mutinous crew, who conspired together to gain possession of the specie with which he was returning to Canton, and having first murdered the officers, one after another, made their escape with the treasure after sinking the vessel near the coast of Manila."

November 8.—A meeting of the shareholders of the Duchess of Sutherland steamer is reported. The accounts showed a surplus of receipts for the season of £1553. There was, however, a large sum due for interest, and a motion was submitted requiring the manager to call a special general meeting, in order to consider and dispose of a motion to sell the vessel and dissolve the Company. This resolution was adopted by shareholders representing 335 shares, as against shareholders representing 324 shares. The amount of capital advanced, of interest and of debt, came to £17,920. The original cost of the vessel was £16,832, and allowing for wear and tear, it was computed that during the three years of the co-partnery the loss had amounted to £5296.

Ibid.—A new bridge at Arkaig, Lochaber, near the house and grounds of Lochiel, had just been completed. It consisted of a timber trussed arch of 70 feet span, with stone abutments. The bridge was designed by Mr Joseph Mitchell.

Ibid.—At the annual election for the Inverness Town Council, four Conservatives and three Liberals were returned. This left the Council in exactly the same position as before, consisting of eleven Conservatives and ten Liberals. The contest, says the report, was conducted with order and good humour.

November 15.—"On Wednesday last the venerable minister of Ardersier, the Rev. Pryse Campbell, baptised his own great-grandson. Children and grand-children of the rev. gentleman were present at the ceremony." The same issue records the erection of a church near Erchless Castle, in Strathglass, by Chisholm of Chisholm, M.P.

November 22—The death is recorded of Mr David Stalker, solicitor, Inverness. Mr Stalker was for some time editor of the "Inverness Journal."

December 6.—Mr George Cameron, solicitor, Inverness, was appointed Sheriff-Substitute at Fort William. A meeting of the shareholders of the Duchess of Sutherland steamer confirmed the resolution to dispose of the vessel, and wind up the Company.

December 27.—The last publication of the year expresses sorrow and regret that war had broken out in Canada. The insurgents had assembled near Montreal, to the number of 3000, and inflicted a defeat on the Royal troops, who lost two pieces of cannon.


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