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The Northern Highlands in the Nineteenth Century
No. 14


The year 1838 is memorable politically for the troubles which arose from the revolt in Canada and the proceedings of Lord Durham as High Commissioner. The Radicals became increasingly hostile to the Whig Government of Lord Melbourne, and the Tories were powerfully led by Sir Robert Peel. O’Connell and his Irish followers were active in various ways, which did not add to the popularity of the Government. The coronation of Queen Victoria in June formed a pleasant interlude to the angry discussions of Parliament. "For the first time since the reign of Charles II. there was a public procession, affording a large mass of the people an opportunity of being witnesses of the pageant, which for nearly two centuries had been reserved for a select few." It is noted by annalists that the loudest acclamations were for the young Queen, the Duke of Wellington, and the Duke’s old antagonist, Marshal Soult, Duke of Dalmatia. In Scotland the year was marked by the decision of the Court of Session in the Auchterarder case, which ultimately led to the Disruption. The spring of 1838 was very severe, and notes will be found below on the weather in the Highlands.

From the "Inverness Courier."
1838.

January 3.—"We are glad to find that our friend and countryman, Mr Murdo Young, editor and proprietor of the ‘Sun,’ has purchased from Mr D. Whittle Harvey, and the other proprietor, the copyright of the ‘True Sun,’ and has merged the Radical journal in his own." These were two papers which made considerable stir in their day. Mr Murdo Young was a son of the original proprietor of the "Inverness Journal," the first newspaper north of Aberdeen. The "True Sun’ was conducted at a heavy loss. In connection with the two papers, mention is made of Mr Patrick Grant, formerly the proprietor of Lakefield, in Glen Urquhart, who, it was stated, had spent many thousands on the newspaper press in London. At the time of the amalgamation he was in Australia.

Ibid.—On Monday, the 18th ult., the streets of Forres were lighted with gas.

Ibid.—A report is published by the Glasgow Committee which collected and distributed funds in the previous spring for the relief of distress in the Highlands. The total contributed was 29,464, and after supplying food and clothing and meeting other charges, there was a balance in hand of 5847.

January 10.—There is an account of rejoicings in Strathspey, in celebration of a visit paid to the district by the Master of Grant, son and heir of the Hon. Colonel Grant of Grant. There was a dinner at Grantown, and in other districts balls and bonfires. In each case a feature of the festivities was an escort of Highlanders, in the full tartans of the clan, and carrying torches.

January 17.—There is a report of the trial of cotton-spinners at Glasgow, the managers or agents of a league who endeavoured to raise the rate of wages by means of assault, fire-raising, and murder. Their methods were much the same as those that were exposed at Sheffield many years afterwards. Five men were convicted, but not on the capital branch of the charge, and were sentenced to transportation for seven years.

Ibid.—The sale of the steamer Duchess of Sutherland is recorded. It was purchased by Mr David Chalmers, on behalf of the Aberdeen Steam Navigation Company, for 13,500. A company had already been organised in Aberdeen for continuing a vessel on the route between Inverness and London. It was called the North Star. In a subsequent issue it is stated that a steamer of a hundred horse-power was to attend the North Star to collect and distribute the goods of ports which the larger vessel could not enter.

Ibid.—An Act for the institution of Circuit Courts, to be held by the Sheriff or Sheriff-Substitute, for the recovery of small debts, had recently come into force. As an instance of the popularity of the Act, it is stated that on the first circuit of Sheriff Colquhoun, no fewer than 143 cases were called at Kingussie and 67 at Grantown.

January 24.—"The frequent representations made to the Postmaster-General, the Earl of Lichfield, of the abstraction of newspapers from their envelopes during their transit, has induced his lordship to issue an order, permitting the name and address of the party to whom it is directed to be ‘written on the paper itself as well as on the wrapper.’ This will afford a guarantee in case of the wrapper being defaced or accidentally torn off."

Ibid.—It is stated that the sport of curling might now be said to have fairly commenced in Inverness. "Last week the curling-stones, brooms, and other accompaniments were brought forward, and Loch-na-Sanais, on the road to Dochfour, with the picturesque hills of Tomnahurich and Torvain, echoed for the first time to the shouts and noise of the ‘roaring play.’ A bonspiel was played on Saturday between a party of married men on one side and bachelors on the other. Grave Magistrates, Councillors, lawyers, and other citizens mingled in the pastime, and were as eager and animated as ever they were at the Council Board. . . . The novelty of the game drew forth a number of ladies and gentlemen, and there were several hundreds of spectators on the ice and in its neighbourhood. The public are indebted to Mr Wilson, of the Caledonian Hotel, for the introduction of this pastime. He provided the curling stones, and has very handsomely given the use of a coach and horses to convey the parties to and from the scene of action."

Ibid.—A curious story is given and vouched for concerning the adventures of a pair of geese. A sheep farmer living at Borley, in the county of Sutherland, took the farm of Mudale, inland about thirty miles, and carried with him a pair of geese, which were conveyed in a covered basket. The new residence did not suit the feathered couple; so they set off down the river to Loch-Naver, then to Invernaver, after that by sea to Rispond and Durin. From the latter place they walked across the country to their native lake at Borley. The wanderers had been six weeks on their travels, taking a circuitous route of a hundred miles. Unfortunately, at the final stage of their journey, they were shot in a corn-field.

Ibid.—Sir Alexander Leith Hay, member for the Elgin District of Burghs, had been appointed Governor of the Bermuda Islands. He had sat in Parliament for five years, and proved a most acceptable member. "Having occasion to vacate his seat as often as he was appointed Clark of the Ordnance., he was elected five times during the period he sat in Parliament, thrice without opposition, and twice after defeating Mr Holt Mackenzie in 1832, by a majority of 125, and Brodie of Brodie in 1834, by a majority of 120. At the last General Election his popularity among his constituents was so well established and recognised that no opposition was offered to his return." The Hon. Fox Maule came forward as a candidate in succession to Sir Alexander, and was returned without opposition.

February 7.—"We beg to intimate that the ‘Courier’ Office will shortly be removed to those commodious premises at the foot of Bank Lane, adjoining the Bank of Scotland." These are the premises, which in an enlarged form, the proprietors still occupy. Previous to 1838 the offices were at 45 High Street.

lbid.—"We regret to announce the death of Dr Smith, Provost of Nairn, which took place on the 31st ult. For a long period Dr Smith was unremitting in his duty to the public as a skilful, benevolent, and generous practitioner of medicine, a useful citizen, and a warm-hearted, kind, and faithful friend, the funeral of Dr Smith took place on Monday last, when the Clergy, Magistrates, and Council, and a vast number of gentlemen from the town and county attended the mournful ceremony. It was calculated that upwards of a thousand persons were present, the greatest number of individuals that ever attended a funeral in Nairn."

February 14.—The year was marked by a severe frost and snowstorm, general throughout the country. The North mails were blocked, and on the East Coast the snow lay deeper than in any other quarter. One day the mail guard from Aberdeen had to take to horseback at Huntly, and after leaving Keith disappeared in a wreath, from which he was with difficulty rescued. "He at length arrived at Inverness, having taken thirty hours and twenty minutes to accomplish the journey, which usually occupies about twelve hours." Meanwhile the mail by the Highland road kept wonderfully good time. In the town of Inverness the price of butcher meat had risen, and also that of oatmeal, the latter owing to the stoppage of the water mills. "From the want of the means of communication many of our shops are running short of supplies, and altogether, if the storm does not soon abate, we shall be placed in a state of complete blockade." The poor were suffering severely.

Ibid.—"We are glad to learn that our accomplished countryman, James Bailie Fraser, Esq., the celebrated Oriental traveller, who, by direction of the British Government, remained with the Persian Princes during their recent visit to London, and returned with them to Constantinople, has just published a Narrative of their residence in London, where they were received in the highest circles, and had the most favourable opportunity of viewing society in all its aspects. The Narrative also embraces an account of their escape from Persia, which was accompanied by many remarkable adventures."

February 21.—Mr John Westwood, gardener, Belladrum sends the following readings of the thermometer :—At eight o’clock on the night of Wednesday, 14th inst., 8 degrees below zero; at ten o’clock 1 degrees below; at twelve 2 degrees below; and at four on the morning of Thursday 6 degrees below. The mercury began to rise about five o’clock on the latter day, and every night afterwards ranged from 32 degrees to 24 degrees. Mr Westwood observes that owing to the lowness of the situation, the want of a free circulation of air, &c., the frost was generally more severe there than at any other place in the district.

Ibid.—"Mr Baillie of Tarradale’s keeper shot lately, right and left, a falcon and blue hawk, each having a recently killed snipe in its talons."

February 28.—On the morning of the 26th a fire broke out in the square at Tulloch Castle, near Dingwall, which partially consumed the front part of the extensive range of buildings. With assistance from Dingwall and from neighbouring farms, the fire was checked.

Ibid.—The Kirk-Session of Inverness had taken into consideration a proposal for laying on an assessment on the burgh and parish for the relief of the poor. They desired to have a conference on the subject with the Town Council, but the Council considered it inexpedient to accept the invitation. The next issue stated that the proposed assessment had been postponed until a special meeting of Kirk-Session, heritors, and other inhabitants could be called. The number of paupers was said to be about 800, of whom about 380 were unprovided for either by the Session funds or charitable endowments.

March 7.—Mr Robert Falconar was elected Provost of Nairn in room of the late Dr Smith. The same issue says—"The Town Council of Nairn have passed a resolution that the town bell should be rung as formerly for the Established Church. It was suspended by an order of a former Council of the burgh."

Ibid.—An illustration of the severity of the season was presented by the appearance of a flock of swans on Loch-Lochy. They had also visited Loch-Ness and other lakes. Seven had been shot at Laggan, two at Clunes, and four or five about Fort-Augustus. A number of black swans had been seen on Loch-Quoich, in the Glengarry country. Loch-Oich was frozen over to a depth of fifteen inches, and was used by the country people as a common thoroughfare. Two vessels had been locked up in the River Beauly for eight weeks. There was great distress in the towns and villages, and meetings were held to raise funds for the relief of the poor.

March 14.—This issue contains the decision of the Court of Session in the famous Auchterarder case. A majority of the Judges, eight in number, decided that the Veto Act was illegal, while a minority of five gave a contrary opinion.

Ibid.—Died, at Nairn, on the 28th ult., Mrs Elizabeth Ketchen, widow of the Rev. Isaac Ketchen, who was for forty years minister of the Secession congregation there. Mrs Ketehen was a sister of the late Brodie of Brodie, and aunt of the Duchess of Gordon. She died in the 92nd year of her age. A cordial tribute is paid to her religious character and active goodness.

Ibid.—"On Sunday last, after divine service, a public baptism took place in the High Church here—the first circumstance of the kind witnessed there for a great number of years, though the ceremony is common in many parts of Scotland. The child was a daughter of the Rev. Mr Clark, Inverness, and the ceremony was performed in a very impressive manner by the Rev. Dr Rose, who descended from the pulpit to administer the sacred rite in an adjoining seat." The same number records "a deliverance from the icy rigours which have so long bound us." The coaches from Aberdeen and Elgin had begun to run, but there was still no regular communication north of Tain.

March 21.—A renewal of the storm had taken place, slight in Inverness but severe in other places. In Lochaber it was the most severe storm of snow and drift that had occurred during the winter. "Last week an immense avalanche of snow fell in the parish of Eddrachills, above Scourie (in Sutherland); it carried off trees and stones in its descent, and killed ten red deer, which were grazing at the foot of the mountain."

March 28.—"We understand that George Cameron, Esq., solicitor here, has been appointed Sheriff-Substitute of Easter Ross and Cromarty in room of Mr David Ross, resigned. Mr Cameron had previously accepted the Sheriff-Substituteship of Fort-William, but has relinquished it in favour of the above appointment" Mr Andrew Fraser, W.S., was appointed Sheriff-Substitute of the Fort-William district.

April 4.—A meeting of Magistrates, heritors. and Kirk-Session, relative to the levying of assessments for relief of the poor, was held and adjourned, it was stated that the church collections of Inverness last year for the benefit of the poor were 294 11s 11d, but with rents and charity funds there was a sum annually available of about 600. The number receiving relief was 421.

April 11.—A piece of plate, value 200 guineas, was presented to General Sir James Macdonell, brother of the late Glengarry, by the inhabitants of Armagh and its vicinity, as a memorial of the regard which he conciliated during a seven years’ residence among them in command of the Northern Districts of Ireland. The departure of General Macdonell to assume command of the troops serving in Canada called forth this tribute of respect.

April 18.—A man from the Island of Lews was convicted of the crime of murdering his wife, and was sentenced to death. He was afterwards certified to be insane, and ordered to be kept in custody. The case was one of jealousy, growing out of religions mania. Lord Cockburn presided as Judge, and it is stated that he bade fair to be as eminent on the bench as he had proved to be as an advocate. "His plain good sense, sagacity, and discernment—the ease with which he separates the chaff from the wheat, whether tendered by witness or counsel—and the homely earnestness and deep pathos which he can command upon all necessary occasions, joined to his unostentatious gentlemanly demeanour, made a strong impression upon the crowded audiences that thronged the Court-House." At the Circuit there were some cases of violent personal assault, which, we are told, "is the most common crime in the Highlands."

Ibid.—The snowstorm had been renewed. "Sunday was a dreadful day of sleet and wind—a perfect tempest. Monday was clouded with snow, and yesterday (Tuesday) we had furious blasts and occasional snow showers."

Ibid.—An obituary notice from the "Globe" records the death of Robert Gordon Roy, for many years one of the proprietors of that journal. Mr Roy died at Forres, his native place, in his 68th year. The paragraph adds—"Mr Roy was in literature, ancient and modern, nearly a universalist, in manners a finished gentleman, and in morals an Israelite without guile. This brief notice is felt to be due to his memory by a co-proprietor, who deemed it an honour to have attracted his regard at a very early period of life, and who maintained with him an uninterrupted friendship for fifty-one years."

Ibid.—The ceremony of laying the foundation-stone of the new Court-House and public offices at Forres was gone through on Friday week, by Mr John Hoyes, late Speaker of the House of Assembly, Grenada, who officiated as Provincial Grand Master, by mandate from Sir Thomas Dick Lauder. There was a great procession of Masons, Magistrates, and Councillors, workmen, and school children. Rev. Dr Rose, of Drainie, officiated as chaplain.

April 25.—The death is announced of Sir Reginald Macdonald Steuart Seton, of Staffa, at his residence in Edinburgh. "Born in the Highlands, and imbued with the prepossession. of their inhabitants, he so loved to perpetuate the relics that still remain of the ancient modes and habits of the people, that he only differed from the chiefs of by-gone days in his anxious wish to see introduced among his countrymen the moral and religious improvements which in neighbouring places characterised his time. At the early age of twenty-one he was elected, and for thirty-nine successive years continued to he ruling elder for the General Assembly, a fact perhaps unparalleled in the annals of that venerable body." Sir Reginald was for twenty-six years Sheriff of Stirlingshire, and was long Honorary Secretary to the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland. Sir Walter Scott knew him well, and paid a tribute to his warmth of heart. Sir Reginald was in his sixty-first year.

Ibid.—There is a long report of a meeting of the Synod of Ross, which discussed an appeal from the Presbytery of Tain in the case of a presentation to the parish of Logie-Easter. The people objected to the minister presented under the Veto Act. The Presbytery allowed a proof of certain averments. The majority of the congregation held that this was not legitimate, as the Act simply provided that no person was to be placed in a parish contrary to the will of the people. The Synod sustained the appeal, and remitted the case to the Presbytery to proceed in terms of the Act. Mr E. S. Gordon acted as counsel for the parishioners, instructed by Mr Charles Stewart, Inverness. Rev. Mr Stewart, of Cromarty, took an active part in the discussion, speaking on the popular side. The same issue records the ordination of the Rev. Thomas Maclauchlan, as assistant and successor to his father in the united parishes of Moy and Dalarossie.

May 2.—The Synod of Moray had before it the case of the presentation of John Edwards to the parish of Marnoch, in Strathbogie, which had been referred by the Presbytery to the Synod. Two motions were submitted to the Synod. The first instructed the Presbytery to find the presentee disqualified, as there was a large majority of male heads of families on the communion roll opposed to him, and further, "that in case the presentee refuse obedience to the sentence of the Church Courts, or take any steps to defeat the same, they shall deal with him for that offence as a breach of the promise to obey the judicatories of the Church, under which he came for receiving his license to preach the gospel." The second motion proposed to refer the whole case to the Assembly. The first motion was carried by 22 votes to 4. Afterwards an overture was submitted, asking the General Assembly to enact "that all Presbyteries be instructed to take steps for deposing all ministers and depriving of their license all probationers, who shall attempt to intrude themselves on parishes contrary to the consent of the majority of male heads of families in communion with the Church, and who will not acquiesce in the judgments and decisions of the Church Courts." This overture was adopted by 18 votes to 13.

Ibid.—The issue gives an account of the exploring work of Thomas Simpson and P. W. Dease on the North Coast of America. They were sent out with twelve men, equipped by the Hudson Bay Company. Thomas Simpson was a native of Ross-shire, son of the late Bailie Alexander Simpson, of Dingwall. He left this country in 1829 to act as secretary to his relative, Mr George Simpson, of the Hudson Bay Company.

May 9.—Mr George Cameron, solicitor, was presented by friends in Inverness with a handsome tea and coffee service, on his leaving to take up his appointment at Tain as Sheriff-Substitute for Easter Ross and Cromarty. Rev. Mr Clark brought forward, in the Presbytery of Inverness, an overture to the General Assembly, asking them to petition Parliament for the repeal of the Patronage Act of 1712. The motion was defeated by a majority of one, seven votes to six. Some of the members preferred the existing Veto Act. It is stated that Mr Baillie of Dochfour had erected a new schoolhouse at Dochgarroch, solely at his own expense. A greet robbery is reported from the office of the Aberdeen Banking Company, in the city of Aberdeen. The amount stolen was no less than 16,000. The Bank had been opened with skeleton keys.

Ibid.—"The weather is now warm and sunny, and vegetation is making rapid progress. We understand, however, that a farmer in our neighbourhood has been forced to plough up a wheat field of eight acres, which had been destroyed by the frost. The sheep farmers must now be in a great measure relieved from their fears."

May 16.—An instance is given of expeditious travelling between Edinburgh and Cheltenham. The passenger travelled by mail to Liverpool, thence by railway to Birmingham, and then by coach to Cheltenham. The paragraph proceeds—"Thus he performed a journey of 350 miles between seven o'clock on the morning of Saturday and five in the afternoon of Sunday; having during that time rested altogether about an hour and three-quarters. A traveller leaving Inverness on Monday morning per mail, might with ease reach London on Wednesday evening at eight o’clock by the following route :—Mail to Edinburgh, which it reaches at six o’clock next morning; Tuesday—per mail to Liverpool, where it arrives at six next morning; Wednesday—per railroad to London, which it reaches at eight in the evening. The same distance might also be accomplished in about the same time by steam navigation. Looking at these results, and considering what travelling was ‘sixty years since,’ or even half that period, we may well exclaim—Prodigious !"

Ibid.—A meeting of Magistrates, clergymen, and inhabitants of Lochaber was held at Fort-William on the 8th inst., for the purpose of adopting means to promote emigration from that district to the Australian colonies. Upwards of 260 persons were present. It was stated that there was a strong feeling in favour of emigration among the people of the district, upwards of 1200 having pledged themselves, and prepared to emigrate under the Colonial Act. They had expected a vessel to come to Fort-William to convey them, free of expense, to Australia, but as this expectation had been disappointed, the meeting resolved to memorialise Lord Glenelg, the Colonial Secretary, praying him to have a vessel sent forthwith to carry away the families. Another resolution stated that an extensive emigration of a voluntary and unaided character had taken place from Lochaber and neighbouring districts during the past two years, and that no county abounded more than this with active and industrious young men in want of employment.

Ibid.—After a few days’ warm sunshine, cold winds and frost had come again. On two days there were hail and snow, and the surrounding hills were white.

May 23.—"We understand it has been decided by the Sheriff in Inverness that no pontage or custom is chargeable on grain passing the old bridge here. The question arose between the tacksman of the Petty Customs and one of the farmers of the parish of Petty."

May 30.—There is a report of the discussion in the General Assembly on the Auchterarder case. The motion by Mr Buchanan, of Glasgow, affirming the spiritual independence of the Church, and expressing its determination to enforce submission to its spiritual jurisdiction on all office-bearers and members, was carried by 183 votes to 142, giving a majority of 41.

Ibid.—The Assembly afterwards took up the case of Logie-Easter. The facts appeared to be that on the vacancy occurring the parishioners seemed to be resolved on obtaining for their minister the Rev. Mr Macdonald, of Plockton. The patron did not acquiesce in this, but offered the parishioners a leet of five clergymen in the neighbourhood. The parishioners did not object to hear them preach, but they did object to hear them on the understanding that they were to choose any of them for their minister, their minds being made up on behalf of Mr Macdonald. The patron then presented Mr Daniel Macbride, Prestonpans. At the proper time thirteen out of the seventeen male heads of families, communicants, dissented. Twelve out of the thirteen took the prescribed declaration that they were not actuated by factious motives, the other being ill. The Presbytery then rejected Mr Macbride, and the appeal was taken. Mr Maitland Makgill expressed the belief that the parishioners had not been actuated by the spirit which was contemplated by the Veto law. At the same time he thought the appellants were not entitled to go to a proof of factious motives, and he moved that the Assembly dismiss the appeal, and remit to the Presbytery to proceed in terms of the Veto Act. The Procurator differed from Mr Makgill, and proposed to get quit of the case on a point of form. It appeared that the Presbytery had allowed the presentee to lead proof of factious motives, and no competent appeal having been taken from that sentence, it became the law of the case. He therefore moved the Assembly to sustain the appeal, and remit to the Presbytery to take proof of the allegations made by the appellants. The Procurator’s motion was carried by a majority of 44.

Ibid.—The Chisholm issued an address announcing his resignation as representative in Parliament of the county of Inverness. He took this step, he stated, on the ground of his health and for other urgent reasons. In the same issue appears the address of Francis W. Grant, Master of Grant, as a candidate for the seat. He was afterwards elected without opposition.

June 6.—The estate of Glenshiel, in Ross-Shire, beside Glenelg, was purchased from Mr Lillingstone, by Mr J. E. Baillie, for the sum of 24,500. Mr Arthur Cooper, solicitor, Inverness, was appointed Town-Clerk of Fortrose.

June 13.—A descriptive writer in London remarked at this time that Lord Brougham was now dressing rather smartly. He had laid aside, "at least for a time," the tartan trousers and waistcoat which he had worn since his Scottish tour in 1834. He was said to have bought as much tartan cloth when in Inverness as would make a dozen pairs of trousers and a dozen waistcoats. Now, however, he appeared "in cloth of a more usual kind," and displayed on his breast a handsome gold chain. The editor remarks—"Lord Brougham seems to have turned a sort of dandy in his outward man. Now, certainly his lordship was far from displaying anything of this kind when we saw him in Inverness. His dress was more striking than valuable. Sydney Smith said of clerical horses that the rector’s home was beautiful, but the curate’s was picturesque, and Lord Brougham’s appearance seemed to come under the latter category."

lbid.—Various items may be mentioned. There was no Savings Bank at this time in Inverness. The capercailzie had made its appearance in Caithness, and a couple of fine specimens had been added to a private museum in Wick. The election of the Master of Grant as representative for the county of Inverness took place on the 12th inst. Rejoicings were held on the Cawdor estate on the 11th to celebrate the coming-of-age of Lord Emlyn.

June 20.—There was a meeting at Cromarty on the previous Thursday to consider the conduct of the parish clergyman in fixing the Cornmunion Fast-Day for the day of the Queen’s Coronation. This was the beginning of a controversy in the little town, which is narrated with a good deal of humour in the 24th chapter of Hugh Miller’s "Schools and Schoolmasters." He says—"The Liberals held what was very properly called a public meeting, seeing that, though the public had failed to attend it, the public had been quite at liberty to do so, nay, had even been specially invited; and there appeared in the provincial newspapers a long report of its proceedings, including five speeches—all written by a legal gentleman—in which it was designated a meeting of the inhabitants of the town and parish of Cromarty." This was the meeting reported in the present issue.

Ibid.—The proposed scheme of penny postage was by this time becoming a public question. The editor writes: —"We beg to remind our readers of the necessity of petitioning Parliament, once and again till the object is obtained, in favour of Mr Hill’s plan. This undoubtedly is the most valuable practical reform that we can expect to see carried for years to come. Every town end county should take the matter up, and urge it on the attention of their Parliamentary representatives."

Ibid.—"Died, on the 20th ult., at Campbelltown, Fort-George, where he had resided for the last 52 years, as an out-pensioner of Chelsea Hospital, Christopher Macrae, at the advanced age of 105. He was a native of Kintail, and enlisted not very early in life in the 8th Foot, in which regiment he served for 27 years, and he did duty for six years more in a garrison battalion. He was a man of temperate and correct habits, his faculties were little impaired, and he used to take his daily walk till within three weeks of his death, when his energies received an irrecoverable shock by the death of his wife at the age of 86."

June 27.—"The estate of Redcastle, county of Ross, has been purchased by Colonel Hugh Baillie of Tarradale, from the heirs of the late Sir William Fettes, for the sum of 120,000."

July 4.—This issue contains an account of the Coronation of Queen Victoria. It gives a portrait of the Queen and a picture of the scene in Westminster Abbey. There are also reports of local celebrations.

July 11.—The list of Coronation honours includes a baronetcy conferred on George Macpherson-Grant, Esq. of Ballindalloch. The editor says—"We congratulate Ballindalloch on the well-won and worthily bestowed honour conferred upon him by her Majesty, which we trust he will long enjoy. His high character, rank, possessions, and public services marked him out as a fit object for the Royal favour."

July 11.—Hugh Miller’s letter on the Cromarty controversy appears in this issue. He says in his reminiscences—"I fairly succeeded, as there were not a few comical circumstances in the transaction, in getting the laughers on my side." We have no doubt he did. The letter is couched in a vein of clever banter, and displays much of the literary and controversial skill that afterwards distinguished the writer. He says that the official demonstration in honour of the Coronation was only postponed, and came off a few days later with great success.

Ibid.—"Died, at Fraserburgh, on the 29th ult., the Right Rev. Alexander Jolly, D.D., Bishop of Moray. For some time before his death he had been unable, from age and infirmities, to perform his official duties. He was consecrated in 1796, and continued during the long period of 42 years to command the reverence and affection of all who knew him, and of thousands who only heard of his virtues, as the finest and most solitary modern specimen of the primitive saint and churchman. His meekness and humility were without bounds; and his charity was so extensive that he could, with the greatest difficulty, be induced to believe ill of any of his fellow-creatures."

July 18.—The Sheep and Wool Fair held the previous week was very brisk. In wool there was a rise of thirty per cent. compared with the previous year’s prices, and in sheep an advance of from eight to ten per cent. The most valuable lot of wedders was the stock belonging to Mr Houston of Kintradwell, which was bought by a Liverpool salesman for 1 10s 6d each. Another Sutherland gentleman sold his lot of sheep for 1 9s 9d each; and a third from the same county (Mr Sellar, Morvich), topped the market for Cheviot wool, laid, which brought 1 2s 6d per stone. Ewes were greatly in demand to replace losses in various flocks, and the best sold for 22s. The run of prices is quoted as follows :—Cheviot wedders, 23s to 30s; ewes, 17s to 22s; lambs, 12s to 14s. Gross wedders, 18s to 26s; ewes, 15s to 20s; lambs, 10s to 11s 6d. Blackfaced wedders, 15s to 20s 6d; ewes, 10s to 13s. In wool the prices were—Cheviot, laid, washed, 19s to 22s 6d; unwashed, 16s to 17s 6d; cross, washed, 15s to 16s 6d; unwashed, 13s to 15s; blackfaced, laid, 9s to 10s 6d. Some choice lots of Cheviot wool, white, sold from 30s to 32s, and blackfaced white at 12s per stone. "Every year," we are told, "diminishes the amount of blackfaced stock and wool brought into the market, the superior breed of sheep being now generally reared." The question of uniting the two ordinaries again excited acrimonious discussion, and the editor expresses the hope that in future there will be less "personal and political feeling."

Ibid.—A column of Highland anecdotes is published, as picked up from a gentleman "rich in memorials of the olden time." One mentions a stone in the church-yard of Dunlichity, in Strathnairn, which was used by Highlanders in former times for sharpening arrows. It was situated in the east corner of the wall which surrounded the burying-ground of the Macphails and Shaws. Another anecdote is as follows Payments in kind, commonly called ‘kain,’ long continued in the Highlands. In 1715 the lady of Aberarder had a number of fowls, eggs, &c., delivered to her by way of rent. This prudent lady had a kind of measure for eggs, with a round hole through it, so that everyone that was too small and did not stick in the hole was invariably returned to the tenants, with instructions to send larger eggs in their stead."

Ibid.—Extracts are given from a letter written by Donald Macleod, one of the men who emigrated from Snizort, in the Island of Skye, to New South Wales. It was dated Paterson River, February 2, 1838. The letter was cheerful, the people doing well. All the Skye contingent were settled in one place, having their own minister with them. Donald wrote to his friends not to be afraid of the sea, for "he had sometimes more trouble going to Fladachuin than he experienced during all his long voyage."

July 25.—Two volumes which had been prepared by Mr Thomas Telford, C.E., were published by one of his executors, Mr Rickman. They were to some degree biographical, but relating chiefly to the great works which Mr Telford had executed. One was a thick quarto volume, and the other a large volume of engravings. "We have seldom," says the editor, "seen a more superb work; nearly 4000, we believe, has been expended on the plates and letterpress." Mr Rickman writes of his friend—"Telford loved his profession, and was so energetic in any task before him that all other motives became subordinate to it. He formed no matrimonial connection, and lived as a soldier, always in active service, without fixed habitation, until he had reached that age which our forefathers deemed the usual close of life. Thus the acquisition and accumulation of property had always been a secondary consideration with him." Telford left legacies to the amount of 16,600. This was not a large sum, considering the magnitude of the works on which he was employed.

August 8.—The Shetlanders were in a state of destitution, and a committee was making efforts to obtain assistance from the fund subscribed the previous year for the relief of distress in the Highlands and Islands. No less than 20,000 of this fund remained unappropriated. Captain J. E. Gordon, formerly M.P. for Dundalk, who was interested in Ross-shire, proposed that part of the money should go to the support of a dispensary at Strathpeffer Spa. This proposal aroused strong criticism. It was at first accepted by the London Committee, but afterwards rescinded.

August 15.—The restoration of the Cathedral Church of Dornoch was now completed. It was carried out at the expense of the Duchess-Countess of Sutherland, and is said to have cost over 6000. The parish clergyman of the day would not sanction the introduction of stained-glass windows.

Ibid.—The story is told of the melancholy fate of a poor strolling player and his boy. They had gone to Lairg, in Sutherland, about nine months before, and set out in the direction of Altnaharra, to interest people in a proposed entertainment. The man’s wife and daughter, who had accompanied them to Lairg, remained there for a time, but as the two failed to return, they subsequently left the place. Early in August the remains of the unfortunate stroller and his son were found on a solitary part of the farm of Shinness. They had apparently sunk on the ground exhausted, and died together, the father supporting the boy’s head and covering it with part of his coat. "Thus perished the lone outcast of the drama, with his unfortunate son, in a land of strangers, amidst the wildest scenes of nature, and under circumstances as touching as any which draw tears on the stage." The pathetic story is reproduced in full in the Highland Notebook.

August 22.—Parliament was prorogued on the 16th inst. by her Majesty in person. The session had been laborious and trying to Ministers. Lord Durham’s policy in Canada was the theme of warm discussion.

Ibid.—The statue which crowns the colossal monument on Ben-Bhraggie, to the memory of the first Duke of Sutherland, was approaching completion. "We had the curiosity last week to measure the dimensions of the head of the statue. Its circumference is ten feet two inches; from the forehead to the back of the head is three feet two inches, and across the temple is two feet nine inches. Sir Francis Chantrey may well feel gratified by the success with which his assistant has worked out his admirable model on so magnificent a scale."

August 29.—"A prospectus will be found in our advertising columns of a new Joint Stock Bank, proposed to be established in Inverness." This was the beginning of the Caledonian Banking Company.

September 5.—Extracts are given from a manuscript volume preserved at Moyhall, written by Lady Ann Duff or Mackintosh in the eighteenth century. It gives particulars of the funeral of the nineteenth Chief, who died at Dalcross Castle in December 1704. "He lay in state from the 9th December to the 18th of January. There were two thousand foot, of his own name and clan, at the funeral, besides the Macphersons and Farquharsons. There were two hundred horse, or more, at it. Keppoch was there, and eleven score of foot. It is said that when the first part of the procession was entering the Church-yard of Petty, the last was only leaving Dalcross, a distance of nearly three miles. In order to please the common people, the corpse being put upon a hearse having six cross bars, was carried on their shoulders; and old women accompanied the procession, who sang melancholy songs lamenting the deceased, which is called singing the coronach. The family arms were placed on the coffin, and the piper, with a black flag to his pipe, also attended." The twentieth Chief, Lachlan, who died in 1731, lay in state at Dalcross Castle for six weeks, until his successor, William, who was abroad, could return to be present at the funeral. "The expense attending his interment cost 700 sterling, and twice the number of men were present." The writer, Lady Ann, was the widow of the twentieth Chief, and daughter of Alexander Duff of Drummuir. She disapproved of such "parades." The same lady entertained Prince Charles and the Duke of Cumberland at Inverness in 1746, and remarked, "I've had two King’s bairns living with me in my time, and to tell you the truth I wish I may never have another." According to Mr Mackintosh, the historian of the clan, Lady Ann survived her husband, the twentieth Chief, nineteen years.

Ibid.—The same issue contains extracts from a paper in the "Quarterly Journal of Agriculture," on the causes of the recent destitution in the Highlands. It was written by Mr Alexander Macgregor, licentiate of the Church of Scotland, manse of Kilmuir, Skye, afterwards so well known as the minister of the West Church, Inverness. Among the immediate causes of destitution were the failure of the kelp trade and the herring fisheries, the fall in the value of black cattle, and the cessation of employment at the making of public roads. In addition to these are enumerated, first, an excess of population; second, early and improvident marriages; third, the lotting system and the continued sub-division of lands; fourth, bad husbandry, or the mismanagement of domestic economy. Mr Macgregor gives a striking account of the evils of sub-division. "On many farms," he says, "by means of this baneful system, the population has doubled within the last sixteen years." He also mentions that in the immigrant ships the previous year, 459 persons were from the different parishes in Skye, and these had left behind them 264 individuals, their nearest relatives, of whom 103 were parents or aged sisters, who had thus lost their chief stay and support. The editor joins in condemning the practice of continued sub-division, and suggests that the fisheries on the West Coast might he extended. "The greatest fishing now carried on in the ides," he says, "is by the London cod-smacks, and by the Irish, who have frequented for some years the different banks in the channels between Barra-Head, Coll, and Tiree. Why should not our own countrymen avail themselves of these natural advantages? Why fold their hands in supineness and despair?" The problem at that time was evidently more than usually serious.

Ibid.—The announcement is made of the appointment of Mr Peter Fraser, as Sheriff of the Island of Van Diemen’s Land. Mr Fraser was a son of the late minister of Kirkhill, and had been four years in the Colonial Office.

Ibid.—The Rev. Mr Campbell, minister of the East Church, Inverness, had been presented to the parish of Tarbat. He also received a unanimous call.

September 12 and 19.—These issues contain notices of the death and funeral of Alexander William Chisholm of Chisholm, late member for the county of Inverness. He was attacked with severe illness on 1st August, in the Caledonian Hotel, Inverness, and died there on 8th September, aged twenty-eight. Chisholm’s father died in 1817, and in addition to his widow appointed as tutors and guardians to his son, Charles Grant, afterwards lard Glenelg, Sir John Peter Grant of Rothiemurchus and other gentlemen. Young Chisholm was educated at Eton and Cambridge. He never seems to have enjoyed robust health, but his speeches display an active mind. He is described in the contemporary notice as "a young gentleman of considerable attainments and of amicable disposition." The funeral, which took place on the 18th inst., was attended by a large gathering from the county, and by the Provost and Magistrates of Inverness. Mr Macdonell of Glengarry, cousin of the deceased, was present as chief mourner. Chisholm’s father was buried in the Priory of Beauly, but the remains of the young Chief were laid, by his own request, in the beautiful spot, near Erchless Castle, where some of his ancestors had been interred. The funeral was supposed to be the largest that had been witnessed in the North for many years. The deceased was succeeded by his brother, Captain Duncan Chisholm of the Guards, an accomplished officer, who had distinguished himself at College, and who was then with his regiment in Canada.

September 26.—On the previous Friday Mr Thomas Mackenzie of Applecross, M.P. for Ross-shire, was entertained to dinner at Tain. The chair was taken by Mr Rose of Cromarty, who was then Provost of Tain. The dinner was held in the Court-House, which was ornamented with deers’ heads, shot by Mr Horatio Ross of Rossie, in Hungary, and said to be the largest in Europe. The gathering took the form of a Conservative demonstration.

lbid.—A curious case came before the Circuit Court. A shopkeeper in Inverness was accused of assaulting his brother. The brother was called as a witness, but it was objected that he was an outlaw. Proof of outlawry was given, and the public prosecutor abandoned the case. Later in the day the discredited witness attacked the man who had given proof of his outlawry. The assailant was apprehended and fined in the Police Court.

October 3.—The Northern Meeting, which was held the previous week, is described as one of the most successful and spirited for many years. The Duke of Richmond was present, and was appointed patron of the Meeting in succession to the late Duke of Gordon. Thus, it is stated, the old tie which existed between Gordon Castle and the Highland capital was renewed. Dinners as well as balls were held in the Meeting Rooms. Games were held at the Longman.

lbid.—There was an acceleration of mails to the extent of about eight hours. The South mail from Perth arrived at half-past two in the morning, instead of half-past ten, and left for the North at three in the morning. Letters were delivered in Inverness before breakfast. The mail for Perth was despatched at ten o’clock in the evening.

October 10.—The young Duchess of Buccleuch had a narrow escape the previous week on Ben-Nevis. The Duke had been deer-stalking in Badenoch, and the Duchess was staying at Corpach Inn. With a young relative and a guide her Grace set out one fine day to ascend Ben-Nevis. They reached the summit, but soon afterwards fog came on and the guide became bewildered. Their delay in returning excited alarm, and the inhabitants of Fort-William were mustering for rescue, when Mr John Macdonald, proprietor of the Ben-Nevis Distillery, mounted his horse, and, taking with him a handbell, cantered out into the dark night. "The sound of the bell caught the ear of the wanderers, and the Duchess and her noble relative were, by his ingenious device, rescued from their dangerous situation. Mr Macdonald’s plaid being converted into a temporary pack-saddle, the noble lady was conveyed, in an almost exhausted state, to Fort-William, where ‘tired nature’s sweet restorer’ effaced all traces of her toil."

Ibid.—A Harvest Home in Nairn (a gathering carried on for many years) and an Agricultural Show in Lochaber are reported in this issue. There is also a notice of "The Mountain Minstrel," by Evan M’Coll.

October 11.—At a meeting of Commissioners at Elgin, it was agreed to erect new jails in Elgin and Forres.

October 24.—The resignation of Lord Durham as Governor-General of Canada is announced. He was "stung to the quick by the contumelies thrown upon him by Lord Brougham and the Conservative peers, and the cold neglect with which this claims were treated by his friends of the Ministry."

Ibid.—A dispatch is published announcing the death of Sir Robert Grant, Governor of Bombay, son of the late Charles Grant, and brother of Lord Glenelg. The editor mentions that when Grant was at Cambridge, Robert Hall was preaching there, and the young student was one of his most constant hearers and devoted admirers. Wilberforce induced him to enter Parliament. "He was successively representative for the Inverness District of Burghs, Norwich and Finsbury. In the House of Commons he did not speak often, but always with eloquence and effect, and no member was listened to with more attention—a result produced equally by the intrinsic value of his speeches and by the moral dignity of his character."

October 31.—There is an interesting article from the editor’s pen on a visit to the land of Burns.

November 7.—There were rejoicings at Rosehaugh and other places in Ross-shire on the marriage of Mr Mackenzie, yr. of Scatwell, to lady Anne Fitzwilliam.

November 14.—Mr John Smith, A.M., parochial schoolmaster of Ardersier, was entertained to a public dinner, and presented with a gold medal, voted by the Celtic Society, for his long and meritorious services as a teacher.

Ibid.—"Died, at 9 Manor Place, Edinburgh, on the 7th inst., in the 84th year of her age, Mrs Anne Grant, late of Laggan, widow of the Rev. James Grant of Laggan, in the county of Inverness." A memoir of Mrs Grant appears in a subsequent issue.

November 21.—Extracts are given from the report of a public meeting held in Bombay to perpetuate the memory of the late Governor, Sir Robert Grant. It was stated that Sir Robert had been mainly instrumental in establishing the Chamber of Commerce, in forwarding steam communication, in constructing roads, in lessening public burdens, and in ameliorating the condition of the natives.

Ibid.—Letters and announcements in connection with the Caledonian Banking Company had appeared in several issues. A paragraph on this date says—"Our readers will be glad to observe that this bank has now been fairly established, and the numerous and respectable appearance of shareholders at the meeting augurs well for its future success. It is most pleasing to observe the unanimity and cordiality which prevailed on every question submitted to the meeting; and everyone joins in saying that a better selection of Extraordinary and Ordinary Directors could not have been made." Mackintosh of Mackintosh presided at the first meeting, and his name heads the list of Extraordinary Directors.

November 28.—A Secession Chapel was in course of erection at Tain. One of the causes that of erection at Tain. One of the causes that the heritors in the Parish Church. The town of Kirkwall had been lighted with gas.

Ibid.—There is a description of the original manuscripts of the Waverley Novels, which the editor has inspected on the premises of Mr Cadell, publisher, Edinburgh.

December 5.—A vessel of 400 tons register was launched at Inverness, built by Mr Cook for Mr Ure, Maryburgh, and to be employed in the timber trade between the Moray Firth and Newcastle. She was named the Stirling Castle.

December 12.—The Canadian insurrection had broken out again, but had been suppressed. There is a note giving an account of the capture of Mr Ellice, M.P., by the rebels, and his subsequent release. A full account of this incident appeared recently in "Chambers’s Journal," from a diary kept by Mr Ellice’s sister-in-law, who still survives (1904).

Ibid.—Mr Alexander Gray, accountant, Glasgow, was appointed manager of the Caledonian Bank. A sum of 967 had been subscribed for a new harbour at Nairn, and an appeal was made for more funds. The marriage of Brodie of Brodie to Miss Baillie, daughter of Colonel Hugh Baillie of Tarradale, was celebrated with rejoicings on the estates.

December 19.—At a meeting in the Town Hall it was resolved to establish a Savings Bank in Inverness. There was also a proposal on foot for the formation of an Inverness Farmer Society. A Society existed in the earlier part of the century, but had expired.

Ibid.—The Town Council settled a long-standing dispute as to the appropriation of Dr Andrew Bell's educational endowment. One plan was to devote the money exclusively to the erection and maintenance of one large seminary; another was to endow several subordinate schools along with a central institution. The second scheme was carried by 15 votes to 4. "Accordingly, a central institution will be erected in Farraline Park; the infant school at the top of Castle Street will be purchased by the trustees; a district school will be erected in Tomnahurich Street, and another school on the Maggot; these will be in addition to the school in the Merkinch already supported by the trustees."

Ibid.—On the 17th of September a ship called the Asia sailed from Cromarty with about 280 emigrants, from the counties of Ross and Inverness, for New South Wales. On getting to sea she proved very leaky, and put into Plymouth, where she was declared unfit for the voyage. The food provided for the Passengers was also poor and insufficient. The case was the subject of inquiry.

December 26.—It is announced that Alexander Milne, of New Orleans, a native of Moray-shire, had left 100,000 dollars for the erection of a public school at Fochabers, and a bequest for the poor of the village. By some oversight he named no parties in the will as administrators, and the inhabitants of Fochabers applied to the Court of Session on the subject.


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