Northern Highlands in the Nineteenth Century
In February 1840 Queen Victoria was married to Prince
Albert. The young sovereign had not at this time gained the hearts of the
people as she afterwards did, and to her chagrin the allowance to her
husband was cut down, by a combination of Conservatives and Radicals, to
£30,000 a year. In June the youth Oxford attempted to shoot the Queen as
she was driving out with the Prince from Buckingham Palace. The outrage
roused the loyalty of the people, calling forth a unanimous expression of
horror and indignation from all ranks of society.
The troubles of the Whig Government
multiplied during the session. They managed, however, to pass the bill for
Irish municipal reform. The House came into conflict with a firm named
Stockdale, which brought an action against Hansard for publishing what
they considered a libel in a Parliamentary paper. The firm succeeded in
the Law Courts, but the House considered their conduct a breach of
privilege, and committed the persons immediately concerned to custody.
Heated discussions took place, and the conflict was finally ended by the
passing of an Act which protected the publication of Parliamentary papers.
In foreign affairs, Palmerston took a strong line in supporting the
integrity of the Ottoman Empire against Mehemet Ali, and came near to
embroiling the country with France. A quarrel also occurred with China
over the opium question, leading to war.
The system of penny postage was
brought into operation in January, though not without misgivings on the
part of the Government. At first the change caused a loss to the revenue,
but in a few years it was made up. The Chartist leaders Frost and his
associates were convicted of high treason, but their sentence was commuted
to transportation for life. In Scotland there was growing excitement over
the Church question.
From the "Inverness Courier." 1840.
January 1.—By Treasury minute, dated
December 26, January 10th was fixed as the date for bringing the
penny-postage rate into operation.
Ibid.—Articles and letters appear on
the Church question. Rev. Mr Cunningham and Rev. Mr Candlish addressed a
large meeting in the Inverness Gaelic Church. A correspondent, speaking of
the Daviot case, says that for many years the parish, with a large
proportion of two adjacent ones, had been practically severed by religious
dissensions from communion with the Church. It was no uncommon thing for
the late pastor to preach to a handful on one side of the stream, while
the multitude flocked to the tent of an itinerant preacher on the other
side. When the vacancy occurred the people fixed their minds on one man
(Rev. Mr Cook, Inverness), as best adapted by his special gifts to edify
them. "But the efforts," says the correspondent, "to procure his services
overshot the mark, and were justly deemed by Government a sufficient
reason for rejecting an application in his favour, and striking his name
from the list of candidates." It does not seem to have occurred, either to
the minister or to the writer, that the best way to put an end to the
schism was to give the people the candidate of their choice.
Ibid.—It is stated that the springs
and wells which watered the Leys had been dried up since the date of the
recent earthquake. This was on the south side of the valley. On the
opposite side, at the farm of Kinmylies, the pumps failed to raise any
water, and a supply had to be obtained from the river.
January 8.—At a public meeting held
in the High Church, it was agreed by a majority to approve of a legal
assessment for the support of the poor in the parish of Inverness. The
Town Council and Kirk-Session had previously sanctioned the proposal.
Ibid.—An advertisement announces
that a newspaper under the title of "The Witness" was to be published in
Edinburgh. It was signed especially to maintain the cause of Protestantism
and of Church Establishments, and the spiritual rights and privileges of
the Church of Scotland." The same issue contains a report of the meeting
addressed at Inverness by Rev. Messrs Cunningham and Candlish. No layman
could be induced to take the chair, and the Rev. Mr Stewart, Cromarty,
agreed to preside. A resolution was passed in favour of the Church claims,
and petitions to Parliament were prepared and largely signed. On the
opposite side a meeting of heritors and others was held at Nairn, which
expressed alarm at the recent proceedings of the General Assembly and its
Commission, especially in suspending the Strathbogie ministers.
Ibid.—The local Total Abstinence
Society was conducting an active movement. A soiree was held on New-Year’s
Day in the Northern Meeting Rooms. "The price of admission was 1s 6d, but
this was far from being an obstacle in the way of attendance, as above
five hundred were present."
January 15.—Hugh Miller, on his
appointment as editor of the "Witness," was entertained to a public dinner
at Cromarty on the 8th inst., and presented with a breakfast service. Mr
George Cameron, Sheriff-Substitute of the eastern district of Ross-shire,
was in the chair, and the croupiers were Provost Robert Ross and Mr John
Taylor, Sheriff-Clerk. Miller’s pamphlets on the Church question had
secured him his new appointment, but it is noted at the same time that his
geological discoveries had already attracted the attention of men of
science at home and abroad. "It was now necessary that he should leave his
native town, of which he had long been the poet laureate, the historian,
and geologist, and where he lived in universal respect for his private
virtues no less than for his talents." Mr Carruthers was present from
Inverness, and joined in expressing admiration for his friend. They had
been acquainted for eleven years. Miller’s Poems had been printed at the
"Courier" office, and many communications from his pen, including his
Letters on the Herring Fishery, had appeared in the columns of the paper.
The day after the dinner Miller left Cromarty for Edinburgh, carrying with
him the best wishes of his friends and townsmen.
Ibid.—’The county of Inverness
resolved to petition Parliament to increase the salaries of Scottish
Sheriff-Substitutes. "The number of these functionaries is forty-nine.
Their salaries vary from £150 to £400, making the average about £263. The
sum total thus paid annually for supporting this important branch of the
judicial establishment of Scotland is only £13,120."
Ibid.—William Howitt had issued a
book entitled "Visits to Remarkable Places," in which the old halls,
battlefields, and scenes illustrative of English poetry and history were
delineated. This issue quotes a passage which describes Mr Howitt’s visit
to Kilmorack, in August 1836, during the time of the summer Communion.
There was a large open-air gathering in the church-yard. "With the
exception that hardly one had a bonnet on, the young women were not much
to be distinguished from those of our smartest towns. They all had their
hair neatly braided, and adorned with a tall comb of tortoise-shell. Many
of them had silk gowns and handsome worked muslin collars, and others were
dressed in white. Every one carried on her arm a shawl, often of tartan,
ready in case of rain to throw over her head. The married women wore no
bonnets, but had caps supported by a sort of inner frame of stiff calico;
and smart coloured ribbons, often pink, and as often gay tartan, showing
through the cap. The old women, again, had large mob-caps. . . Many of
them came thus unbonneted perhaps from a distance of seven or eight
miles..... Sturdy shepherds with sunburnt features and their plaids
wrapped round them, and gay fellows in full Highland costume, mingled with
the throng in a more English garb..... A more serious and decorous
congregation never was seen."
January 22.—A public meeting was
held in the Town Hall to express disapproval of the action of the General
Assembly in connection with the Veto Act. The resolutions bore that the
Church should proceed "not by agitation in exciting the passions and
prejudices of the multitude, but by calm and respectful application to the
Legislature." Provost Cumming was in the chair. "Several gentlemen
entertaining different opinions on this subject were present, but no
attempt was made at opposition, nor was any mark of disapprobation
Ibid.—A paragraph states that the
Chief of Glengarry was preparing to embark for Australia with his family
and dependents. "He is constructing timber houses and furnishing himself
with various agricultural implements and other conveniences for residence
in that distant region. Mr Macdonell was compelled some time since to
dispose of most of the property, which was heavily mortgaged and
encumbered by his father, the late well-known Glengarry, whose character,
in its more favourable lights, was drawn by Sir Walter Scott in his hero,
Fergus M'lvor. We cannot regard this expatriation of the head of an old
Highland family, with its clan associations, its pipe music, and its
feudal associations, without some regret and emotion. These Celtic strains
and legends will sound strange in the new world of the wanderers, so far
removed from their native Loch-Oich, the Rock of the Raven, and the other
magnificent scenery of the Glengarry mountains."
Ibid.—There is notice of a book
entitled "The Black Kalendar of Aberdeen," which was designed to give an
account of the most remarkable trials that had come before the criminal
courts in that city from the period of the suppression of the rising of
1745. Many of these were from Inverness. It appears that on the
suppression of the insurrection, a number of persons of desperate
character who had been engaged in it commenced a series of robberies and
outrages. The fate of one of the men is thus recorded—"In the month of
July 1755, John Macmillan, or Breack Macevan Vaan, a stout Jacobite and
renowned thief, was executed at Inverness. There were suspicions against
this man that he had been accessory to a murder for which his brother had
been hanged some years before; but he denied this crime at the gallows. He
neither prayed for himself nor desired the prayers of others, but called
for a glass of whisky, and having got it, held it up above his head and
cried out, ‘Here is Prince Charles's health, and God send him safe to his
own kingdom. I ask you all to witness that I am an innocently murdered
man.’ He then spent his last breath in abusing all who had a hand in
bringing him to justice, and especially the Sheriff, who, he said, had
been a black sight to the names and families of Lochiel and Glengarry.
Macmillan’s friends having got his body to bury after it was cut down,
endeavoured, by bleeding and other means, to restore him to life, but
without success." There were numerous trials of Roman Catholics. In April
1759, Neil Macfie was banished for life, by a sentence of the Circuit
Court at Inverness, for being "habit and repute a Popish priest."
Ibid.—The death is announced of
Principal Baird at the age of 79. He was the warm friend of education in
Ibid.—An extract is given from
William Howitt’s work (noticed above), describing his visit to the
battlefield of Culloden in August 1836. The moor was at the time "one
black waste of heath," with exception of the grassy mounds that formed the
graves. The road, he says, had been cut across the moor since the battle,
right across the scene of action, and through the graves. The north wall
of an enclosure, as is well known, screened the right flank of the
Highland army. Mr Howitt mentions that "the mouldering remains of that old
and shattered wall still stretch across the moor in the very course laid
down in the original plans of the battle." The visitor was conducted
through the battlefield by a young man named William Mackenzie, whose
family occupied a hut in Stable Hollow at the time of the battle, and
still lived on the same spot. "It had been called Stable Hollow ever since
from a number of the English troopers after the fight putting up their
horses in the shed belonging to it, while they went to strip the slain."
January 29.—On the previous Thursday
a public meeting was held in Inverness to support the principle of
non-intrusion in the Church. The attendance is described as "large and
highly respectable," and finding that the Court-House could not contain
the numbers who wanted admission, the meeting adjourned to the High
Church. Mr Fraser of Abertarff was in the chair. Among the speakers were
the Rev. David Sutherland, the Rev. Alexander Clark, and the Rev.
Archibald Cook, of Inverness. On the 16th inst. a meeting on the same side
was held at Forres, "which was attended by almost all the respectable
people of the place." The meeting was preceded by a sermon from the Rev.
Mr Macdonald, Urquhart. Resolutions were adopted declaring for the
principle of non-intrusion and the independent jurisdiction of the Church
in spiritual matters.
Ibid.—Mr Macaulay was elected one of
the representatives of Edinburgh on his appointment as Secretary at War.
The Editor publishes extracts from a private letter written by a young
student to his father, descriptive of Macaulay’s appearance, manner, and
oratory. The writer says that his first impressions on seeing the
Secretary at War were those of unmingled surprise and disappointment. The
hon. member was little and insignificant, restless and uneasy, and by no
means intellectual in expression. "But the moment he got up to speak,
these feelings were dissipated. From being uneasy and timid, he became
calm and self-possessed and leaning gracefully on the table by his side,
he began his speech with the utmost coolness, pronouncing every word
slowly and distinctly, and with the most deliberate emphasis. His voice is
remarkably clear, rich, and sonorous, and always exquisitely modulated to
suit the sentiment he is uttering. As he fired with his subject, his
countenance lost its dull and commonplace character, his slender form
dilated into prouder dimensions, and his features were simple and natural,
yet graceful and expressive. . . He seemed to me a scholar without
pedantry, an orator without sophistry." The writer of this letter, we
believe, was Mr Angus B. Reach.
February 5.—There is a long report
of a large non-intrusion meeting at Dingwall. The Rev. James Macdonald, of
Urray, was in the chair.
February 12.—Mr Macleod of Cadboll,
who had been in failing health, announces that he is not again to seek the
suffrages of the electors of the Inverness Burghs. This had been expected
for a week or two, and the Liberals were now in treaty with Mr James
Morrison, merchant, London, to contest the seat in their interest when a
vacancy occurred. Mr Morrison was now in Inverness, accompanied by Mr
Edward Ellice, M.P.
Ibid.—A meeting was held at Fetes to
express disapproval of the attitude of the Church on the veto question. Mr
J. M. Grant of Glenmoriston was in the chair, and several county
proprietors were present. The general attendance seems to have been
February 19.—This issue gives an
account of the marriage of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, celebrated on
the 10th inst. There were rejoicings at Inverness and other places.
Ibid.—Mr Morrison and Mr Edward
Ellice, Jun., held a political meeting in Inverness. Mr Ellice was
entertained to a public dinner by his old friends (he had contested the
burghs against Major Cumming Bruce). A meeting in support of non-intrusion
was held at Tain. There was a religions revival in Nairn which attracted
February 26.—Mr Macleod of Cadboll
had resolved, on account of ill health, to resign at once his seat for the
burghs, instead of waiting for the General Election. Mr Morrison, the
liberal candidate, and his friend Mr Ellice, had taken leave of the
electors, and gone as far as Edinburgh before they heard that a writ had
been moved for. They immediately retraced their steps. The Conservative
candidate was Mr John Fraser, Cromarty House, a native of Inverness. The
contest promptly began, "but happily with the prospect of a speedy
March 4.—The candidates for the
representation of the Inverness Burghs were nominated on February 26th uIt.,
the ceremony taking place on the Exchange, "where a capacious and showy
hustings had been erected." The crowd was very large, and "a few more
mischievously disposed, had provided themselves with small shot, which
were thrown about to the annoyance of many persons." The Liberal candidate
was Mr James Morrison, merchant, London; the Conservative Mr John Fraser,
Cromarty House. The polling took place on 3rd March, with the result that
Mr Morrison was elected by 353 votes to 308; majority, 45. Forres was
still the Conservative burgh of the group, the figures there being 71 for
Mr Fraser and 55 for Mr Morrison.
March 11.—Comments and
communications appear on the election. Mr Fraser brought charges of
bribery, intimidation, and broken pledges, but the editor remarked with
good humour that "the whole annals of electioneering can scarcely furnish
a single instance of a defeated candidate, who acknowledged that he had
been fairly beaten."
March 18.—The Master of Grant, M.P.
for the county of Inverness, died suddenly at Cullen House on the 11th
inst., from an affection of the heart. He had come North to make
preparations for the funeral of his mother, who died on the 27th ult. The
Master was only in his twenty-sixth year, and his death caused deep
regret. There was great sympathy for his father, the Hon. Colonel Grant,
who had lost both wife and son.
Ibid.—The Presbytery of Inverness
had decided that the new church was to be called the West Church; and it
is stated that every other matter about which there was any difference of
opinion had been amicably settled.
Ibid.—At a meeting of the "legal
administration," a motion was carried settling the principle that the sum
required for the support of the poor of the parish of Inverness should be
raised, one-half from heritors and proprietors, according to their real
rent, and the other half from the inhabitants of the town and parish.
This, it was stated, secured occupants from having to pay more than an
equal share of assessment.
Ibid.—A paragraph in this issue
states that Sir George Macpherson-Grant of Ballindalloch had purchased
from Glengarry the estate of Glenquoich for £32,000. A subsequent
paragraph, however, says that the purchase, though made by Sir George, was
on behalf of Mr Edward Ellice, junior, M.P., who thus became one of the
landed proprietors of the county.
March 25.—Mr Henry J.
Baillie, yr. of Tarradale, came forward as candidate for the county of
Inverness in the Conservative interest. The Liberals resolved not to
contest the seat. "MrBaillie is son of Colonel Hugh
Baillie, member for Honiton, and is connected with a powerful and wealthy
family in this neighbourhood. Colonel Baillie is proprietor of the estates
of Tarradale and Redcastle, and his brother, James E. Baillie, Esq. of
Bristol, is proprietor of Kingussie and Glenelg, in Inverness-shire. Their
nephew, Evan Baillie, Esq. of Dochfour, is also a landed proprietor in this
county." The editor adds: ‘We have heard nothing of the honourable
gentleman personally except what is to his honour." On the 31st inst. Mr
Baillie was duly elected without opposition.
Ibid.—Mr Paterson, Sandside, wrote
suggesting measures for extirpating foxes, which were numerous and caused
great damage among sheep. He said that he had sometimes lost two hundred
sheep in one year from their ravages.
Ibid.—There was a trial of strength
between Moderates and Non-Intrusionists in the Inverness Town Council in
the election of an elder to the General Assembly. The Moderates triumphed
by a majority of 12 to 6.
Ibid.—The Quarterly Journal of
Agriculture gives an account of a series of improvements in the
cultivation of waste land carried out by Mr William Genie on the farm of
Proncy, county of Sutherland. The reclamations extended to 103½ acres, and
the expense was £1504.
April 1.—There is a report of the
nomination and election of Mr Henry Baillie as member for the county. The
motion was made by Cluny Macpherson, and seconded by Mr Macallister,
Talisker, Skye. There was afterwards a dinner in the Caledonian Hotel.
Ibid.—The funeral of the late Master
of Grant and his mother took place on the same day. Their remains had been
removed to Castle Grant, and were thence conveyed to the family
burying-ground at Duthil, followed by a great gathering of friends and
Ibid.—There was a rumour at this
time that the Caledonian Canal was to be made over by Government to a
joint-stock company. It was reported that terms had been prepared and
"duly accepted," but the editor expressed doubts on the subject.
Ibid.—A branch of rural improvement
was now much canvassed, namely, the drainage of land by tiles. It was
stated that in the Northern Counties there was ample scope for this
improvement. An agent visited the district to set forth its advantages.
"In the manufacture of tiles the patent machinery introduced by the
Marquis of Tweeddale has effected a vast change; and though the interest
possessed in the trade by Lord Tweeddale has been purchased by a London
company, the system is pursued with great spirit and success."
April 8.—"The Duke of Sussex is Earl
of Inverness, and Lady Cecilia Underwood is now Duchess of Inverness. The
Duke has long been married to Lady Cecilia, though contrary to an existing
statute which prevents the Royal Family from marrying any person but a
foreign Prince or Princess of a Protestant family." The dignity was
conferred by the Queen by letters patent passed under the Great Seal. The
Duchess was a daughter of the second Earl of Arran.
Ibid.—The foundation of a new Parish
Church at Broadford, Isle of Skye, was laid on the 31st ult., with Masonic
honours, by Mr A. D. Mackinnon of Corry. A branch of the National Security
Savings Bank and a Benefit Society, to secure provision for old age and
sickness, were now established in Inverness. The movement was extending to
April 15.—A despatch from
Lieut.-Colonel Orchard, commanding a detachment of the army of the Indus,
gives an account of the storming of the fort of Peshoot. Two young
officers from the Highlands distinguished themselves, Lieutenant William
Fraser Tytler, son of Sheriff Fraser Tytler, and Lieutenant Arbuthnot
Dallas, son of Dr Dallas, of Inverness. The former showed conspicuous
gallantry in bringing powder to blow up a gate, and the latter was
particularly active in the commissariat department.
Ibid.—Mr W. Howard had retired from
the representation of the county of Sutherland, and Mr David Dundas, of
the Inner Temple, was elected in his place. Mr Dundas was a staunch
supporter of the Whig Government.
Ibid.—Hon. Colonel Grant of Grant
had intimated his intention of retiring, on account of domestic
affliction, from the representation of the united counties of Elgin and
Nairn, and Major Cumming Bruce of Dunphail came forward as the candidate
in the Conservative interest. He was elected without opposition.
Ibid.—Mr Hugh Ross, of Cromarty,
Provost of Tain, resigned office in consequence of the election of a
non-intrusion Commissioner from that town to the General Assembly. He
published a pamphlet giving reasons for his resignation, and discussing
the Church question.
Ibid.—There is notice of a book by
Miss Catherine Sinclair, of Ulbster, giving an account of a tour through
the Highlands in 1839. It was a lively, gossiping volume. The disuse of
kelp had produced great misery and destitution in Skye. Miss Sinclair saw
many of the people wandering along the shore picking up shell-fish as
their sole means of subsistence. In the Long Island Colonel Gordon of
Cluny was about to begin the plan of improving the unenclosed commons on a
large scale. In every family sons, brothers, or cousins were hurrying off
April 22.—There is an article on the
condition of the Highlands. Sir Robert Inglis had called attention in the
House of Commons to the extreme distress which, he said, prevailed,
remarking that in a great part of the country the people had taken a
pledge of temperance, confining themselves to one meal a day. The editor
said he could hear nothing of this so-called pledge, and there was not at
the moment any sudden or unusual crisis of distress. The want of
employment, however, was deeply felt, and emigration on a large scale
would be a public benefit. The kelp trade was almost universally
abandoned, and there were no extensive public works in progress. "The
population has, therefore, far outgrown the means of decent subsistence;
and thousands of our countrymen live constantly on the very verge of
destitution, dependent solely on the potato crop." The Inverness Town
Council soon afterwards adopted a petition toParliament declaring
that an extensive and properly organised system of emigration was
"imperiously called for."
April 29.—A new rector, Mr Gray, had
been appointed to the Inverness Royal Academy. He was previously Professor
of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy in King’s College, Fredericton, New
Brunswick, and on his resignation of that post the Council expressed their
deep regret at his departure, and their appreciation of his services. The
selection of his successor at King’s College was left to Mr Gray, in
conjunction with an eminent scientific man in this country.
May 6.—An account is given of an
effort to introduce the capercailzie on the Breadalbane estates. Mr
Fowell Buxton had received a pair from a friend in Sweden, which he kept
in Norfolk. They bred, but in the hot weather all died except the cock,
which was afterwards accidentally shot. In 1837 Mr Fowell Buxton was
shooting on the Marquis of Breadalbane’s moors, and proposed to him to
make another trial with the capercailzie. "Mr Buxton sent his gamekeeper
all the way to Sweden on purpose to bring the birds to Scotland; and the
same friend who had formerly assisted succeeded in procuring sixteen hens
and thirteen cocks. Part of them died by the way, but the greater number
arrived safe, and were conveyed to Taymouth Castle. Some of the birds were
turned out in the autumn of 1837, and part were kept in a house. In the
year 1838 a brace only were reared by the keeper, but two fine broods were
seen in the woods. In the summer of 1838 sixteen hens were forwarded to
Taymouth. In the spring of 1839, instead of attempting to rear any
capercailzie, the Marquis’s game-keeper placed the eggs laid by the birds
in confinement, in the nests of grey hens, who brought them up in a wild
state." The experiment had so far answered fairly well, but the
head-keeper did not feel assured of the final result. He says that the
Marquis of Breadalbane had abstained from shooting a single capercailzie,
and had even forbidden the shooting of any black-game in the neighbourhood
of Taymouth, lest a young capercailzie might be killed by mistake; but
others had not been so scrupulous. "I mention this," says the keeper,
"because I am convinced that these birds cannot generally be established
in the North of Scotland unless sportsmen will unite to preserve them for
some years to come, and until their numbers are very much increased."
Ibid.—The Daviot case was discussed
at length in the Synod of Moray. A motion was unanimously adopted
affirming the deliverance of the Presbytery of Inverness to refer the case
to the General Assembly.
Ibid.—The Inverness county meeting
agreed to petition Parliament for an extensive and systematic plan of
emigration, and gave it as their opinion that the surplus, amounting to
about £11,000, of the fund collected for the relief of destitution in the
Highlands in 1836-7 should be applied in promoting this object.
Ibid.—An antiquarian friend sends a
series of extracts illustrating the value of rentals in the North in the
beginning of the seventeenth century.
May 13.—The Earl of Aberdeen had
introduced his bill on the Church question in the House of Lords. A
correspondent in London expresses the conviction that it would never
satisfy the non-intrusionists. It did not.
May 20.—The West Church, Inverness,
was opened for worship on the previous Sunday. It was announced that the
Rev. Alexander Clark would preach there permanently, instead of
alternating with the other ministers in the High and Gaelic Churches.
May 27.—Mr John Fraser, formerly
Provost of Inverness, was now residing at Sherbrooke, in Lower Canada. He
took part in a meeting which was held with the view of providing means for
erecting and maintaining a College at Kingston. The object apparently was
to educate young men for the Colonial Church. Mr Fraser’s speech is
reported at length.
June 3.—"We have devoted as much
space as we could spare to an account of the proceedings of the General
Assembly, which at present nearly absorb the attention of the public." The
debate was on the case of the Strathbogie ministers who had been suspended
from office by the Commission.
Ibid.—Mr John Grant had entered on
the tenancy of the Caledonian Hotel in succession to the late Mr Wilson,
who is described as a "paragon of landlords."
June 10.—The Daviot case came before
the Commission of Assembly. The Commission ordered the Presbytery of
Inverness to censure the presentee, Mr Simon Mackintosh, for having
obtained an interdict from the Civil Courts anent the exercise of the
veto, and to report the case to the August meeting.
June 17.—An advertisement dated from
Fort-William announces that "the proprietor of some farms, now out of
lease, on an estate on the confines of Argyleshire and Inverness-shire, is
willing to treat with any gentleman desirous of converting about 20,000
imperial acres into a deer forest." One of the inducements held out is
that, "by adding three or four thousand acres more, these farms might be
brought almost into contact with an old established regular forest, which
has been for a century or two strictly reserved from sheep and cattle, and
is at present well stocked with deer." Another advertisement offers on
lease the sheep walk of Glenquoich, but states that the deer forest of
Glenloyne is excluded from it.
Ibid.—The attempt of the youth
Oxford to shoot the Queen is reported. The outrage called forth warm
feelings of indignation and loyalty throughout the nation.
June 24.—Improvements in the town
are described, among which is mentioned the renovation of old buildings.
The footpath known as the Ladies’ Walk had been raised, levelled, and
embanked. The lower island had been dressed up, and rendered more pleasing
by the removal of whins and the formation of walks. The islands are spoken
of as "beautiful but neglected."
July 1.—There is a long description
of "The Archimedes Steam Ship," which introduced the screw as a propeller.
The vessel was engaged in an experimental voyage, and passed through the
Ibid.—An abstract is given of a
report on the Caledonian Canal by a Select Committee of the House of
Commons. The Committee recommended that the Treasury should be empowered
to grant the Canal on lease to a company for a period not exceeding
ninety-nine years, without any annual return or rent, on certain
conditions. First, the company was to pay the sum of £45,000, to be
applied in discharging the debt on the canal. Second, the works specified
in Mr Walker’s report for improving the canal were to be carried into
effect by the company. Third, the company was not to be entitled to pay a
dividend of more than ten per cent. until a reserve fund of £50,000 had
been set aside; nor a dividend of more than fifteen per cent until the
reserve fund reached £100,000. Stipulations were made as to rates.
July 8.—At a county meeting in
Inverness it was resolved, under recent Acts of Parliament, to establish
an efficient force of constabulary, and to authorise an assessment to be
levied for the purposes of the Prisons Act. The meeting also approved, by
a majority, of a scheme to carry out "the great coast road to Inverness."
This, the report explains, was a new line of road from Castle Stewart to
Ibid.—An entertainment was given to
Mr Macdonald, the tenant of a new hotel, the Union Hotel in High Street.
This building is now the Highland Club.
Ibid.—The Government had agreed to
increase the salaries of Sheriff-Substitutes, according to a scale varying
from £300 to £500 a year.
Ibid.—"The following instance of the
imperfect state of communication in the North, about ninety years since,
has been communicated to us by a gentleman well versed in local
antiquities and general information. When the late Principal Macleod, of
King’s College, Aberdeen, was desirous of returning with his mother and
family to the island of Skye, he applied for a post-chaise in Aberdeen,
but found that the only public carriage in the city, fit for the road, had
gone that day to Arbroath. There was another vehicle, but it wanted a
wheel, and the only person in Aberdeen that could repair it was laid up
with drunkenness. The first coup-cart made in the North was constructed
under the superintendence of the late Mr Welsh of Millburn, of ash grown
in the island in the River Ness, about the year 1775. This article of
daily use (formerly all the carts in the Highlands were made of rungs or
small sticks, of the rudest description) was copied by Mr Welsh from a
cart used in the transport of prisoners from Perthshire to be tried at our
Circuit Court of Justiciary. The first straight furrow in ploughing land
in the province of Moray was made by the late Mr Thomas Duncan, farmer, in
Alves, about sixty years since. The worthy farmer marked out the straight
lines by means of holes placed in the field, and his neighbours, when they
saw these preparations for ploughing, thought Mr Duncan’s mind had fairly
‘gone ajee.’ The late minister of Dores, the worthy Mr Mackillican, used
to declare that when he went first to College at Aberdeen, about eighty
years ago, there was not a yard of stone dyke on the high road from
Inverness to Aberdeen, excepting a small patch at Gordon Castle."
Ibid.—The previous week, the workmen
who were engaged on the new buildings in Farraline Park (Bell's School)
dug up nine entire skeletons at a depth of from eighteen to twenty-four
inches. The bodies did not seem to have been regularly interred, and they
were probably the remains of men who had fallen in fight.
lbid.—Mr Hugh Ross of Cromarty was
entertained to a public dinner in Tain by members of the Easter Ross
Farmer Society and other gentlemen. It is stated that Mr Ross’s property
had not merely increased but multiplied in value since he came into
possession of it; and his exertions, together with their stimulating
effect on his neighbours, had completely altered the face of the country.
The special object which the dinner was intended to celebrate was the
establishment by Mr Ross at Phippsfield of a manufactory for bricks and
drain tiles, which was now fully in operation.
lbid.—A quotation from an Ayr
newspaper states that a vast and awfully increasing amount of distress
existed in the large towns. From Ireland and from the manufacturing
districts of England and Scotland the same tale came. It is stated that in
the town of Paisley no less than 1200 workmen were almost wholly
July 15.—There is a report of the
trial of Oxford for shooting at the Queen. The jury found that the
prisoner was "guilty of discharging the contents of two pistols at her
Majesty, but whether or not they were loaded with ball we cannot decide,
he being at that time labouring under an unsound state of mind." This
being an uncertain verdict, the jury were sent back to reconsider it, and
returned with a verdict of "guilty, being at the time insane." The
prisoner was accordingly ordered to be detained during her Majesty’s
Ibid.—At the Inverness Wool Fair the
price of sheep was good and sales were extensive. The demand for wool was
stagnant. The manufacturing districts were labouring under great
depression, particularly as regards the woollen trade, which had been
affected by the dulness of the American markets, the existence of
hostilities with China, and the comparative stagnation of the home demand.
Prices are quoted as follows :—Cheviot welders, 24s to 33s; ewes, 15s to
23s; lambs, 7s to 11s 6d. Blackfaced wedders, 15s to 22s 6d; ewes, 11s to
12s; lambs, 7s to 9s 3d. Cross wedders, 20s to 23s; ewes, 14s; lambs, 7s
6d to 8s; Leicester cross lambs, 14s. Blackfaced wool is quoted at 14s,
and Cheviot white and half-bred, 23s to 26s. It is stated, however, that
all the principal clips in the North remained unsold. One gentleman, who
sometimes made purchases to the amount of £25,000, went away without
buying a single fleece. Purchasers had resolved to take nothing except at
a reduction of from 20 to 25 per cent on the previous year, and as farmers
believed that the depression was temporary and accidental, they resolved
to hold their fleeces.
Ibid.—The first annual meeting of
the Caledonian Bank was held on the 7th curt. The profits of the first
year, equal to 6 per cent., were carried to reserve. A sum of £100 was
voted for a piece of plate to Mr Ross, Berbice, for his valuable services
as acting manager, rendered gratuitously from the opening of the Bank.
Ibid.—There is notice of a religious
revival in Ross-shire, similar to that which had taken place the previous
year at Kilsyth. Deep feelings were manifested at the Communion services
at Tarbat, conducted in Gaelic by the Rev. Mr Macdonald of Ferrintosh. At
Tain Mr Macdonald preached on Sunday to an open-air gathering of not less
than five or six thousand persons. The people were engaged night and day
in prayer meetings.
July 22.—Provost Cumming reported
that the Inverness jail had been delivered over to the County Prison Board
on 1st July. The Clerk produced inventories of warrants, furniture, and
books, which had been transferred along with the jail.
Ibid.—At a meeting of the Presbytery
of Inverness, Mr Mackintosh, presentee to Daviot, made the declaration
enjoined by the General Assembly of his regret for having applied for an
interdict against seven communicants of that perish to prevent their
exercising the veto. The Presbytery were unanimously of opinion that Mr
Mackintosh’s statement was perfectly satisfactory.
July 29.—This issue contains a
report of a case which excited great interest in the Highlands. Mr Donald
Home of Langwell, W.S., and Mr Hugh Ross of Cromarty, had quarrelled over
the settlement of accounts. At the time of the Highland Society Show in
Inverness, in the previous October, Mr Ross sent a challenge to Mr Home,
and because the latter did not accept, he called him a coward. This
occurred in the Caledonian Hotel. Mr Home brought an action of damages,
offering at the same time to accept an apology. He said that the dispute
occurred in connection with professional matters, and he had acted all
through honourably and within his rights. It was after the question
between them had been settled that the challenge was sent. He could not
fight with Mr Ross, who was an old man of 73, and uncle of his partner in
business. The jury found for pursuer, awarding £500 as damages.
Ibid.—The Caledonian Canal Bill passed the House of
Commons. It authorised the Lords of the Treasury to grant a lease of the
canal rent free, for a period not exceeding 99 years.
August 5.—The following paragraph is
quoted from the "John O’Groat Journal" :—"The Quebec Packet, Captain
Stephen, left Cromarty on the evening of Friday, 17th curt., with goods
and passengers. This is the third ship sent out this year to British
America by Messrs Sutherland and Maclennan. We understand that the
aggregate number of emigrants from the North, shipped this season by
vessels chartered by the above-mentioned agents, amounts to no less than
403. Of these 248 are from Caithness, viz.—Ospray, 115; British King, 116;
Quebec Packet, 17; total, 248." The same issue gives an account of a
scheme for emigration to Central America.
Ibid.—The estates of Glengarry and
Inverlochy are advertised for sale.
Ibid.—A meeting of subscribers to
the fund for the relief of the destitute in the Highlands and Islands was
held in Edinburgh on the previous Friday. The secretary, Mr Craigie,
reported that the funds in bank amounted to £3200, of which sum £1300
belonged to the London Committee, transmitted to the Edinburgh Committee
on the express understanding that it was to be applied in aid of
destitution. After deducting this sum and implementing obligations, the
Edinburgh Committee had £1700 at the disposal of subscribers. The
Secretary had reason to believe that £4000 was at the command of the
Glasgow Committee, who thought that the fund should not be diverted from
its original purpose. Various proposals were submitted for the disposal of
the Edinburgh funds, but in the
end the meeting unanimously adopted a motion submitted by Mr Mackenzie of
Applecross, resolving to act in concert with the Glasgow and London
Committees, either for relieving destitution or promoting emigration. In
course of the discussion, it was stated that distress continued to prevail
owing to a partial failure of the potato crop, and the want of fuel. In
consequence of wet weather, not a single peat had yet been got in.
August 12.—This issue gives an
account of the attempt made by Prince Louis Napoleon to raise a rebellion
Ibid.—An American clergyman, the
Rev. A. G. Fraser, of New York, had raised a claim to the title and
estates of Lovat. The paragraph states that he claimed to be descended
from John, a younger brother of Lord Simon of the ‘45, but the particulars
are confused. The famous incident of the stabbing of the piper (probably
apocryphal in any case) is attributed to John. The question, however, had
been brought before the Court of Session, and a Commission was sitting at
Inverness taking the evidence of aged persons and of such documents as
lbid.—A vessel called the Nith was
taking out emigrants from the Western Highlands to Prince Edward Island.
At Uig 400 passengers went on board, and at Tobermory 150. The vessel
proceeded to Staffa and lona, and was going thence to the Isle of Man.
Ibid.—At a county meeting in
Inverness a scheme was adopted for the establishment of a force of
constabulary. There were to be four district and fifteen ordinary
constables, with three "superior officers" and one superintendent. The
total cost of the force was estimated at £775 a year. The pay of ordinary
constables was to be from £30 to £40. The county at the time was over-ran
August 19.—"The demand for shootings
has this year been greater than usual, and rents have risen largely. Many
gentlemen have returned South after travelling over the whole of the North
in search of shooting quarters, without being able to obtain a nook or a
cranny. One sportsman, a baronet, has been forced to locate himself at the
foot of a high hill, over which he and his friends have to travel ere they
reach their moor, making a daily journey of eight dreary miles." Among the
sportsmen whose names are mentioned are the Marquis of Douro at Achnecarry;
Lord Ward at Glengarry; Lord Macdonald and Captain Turnor at Castle Leod;
Lord Selkirk at Upper Morar; Lord Lauderdale at Lochbroom; Mr St George
Gore at Gairloch; Captain Inge at Applecross; Mr Horatio Ross at
Craigdarroch; and the Messrs Gladstone at Achnasheen. Sport, however, had
not been so good as was expected.
Ibid.—There is a report of the
proceedings at the Commission of Assembly, at which it was resolved to
libel the seven Strathbogie ministers. The Commission also (as reported in
the next issue) resolved to frame a libel against Mr Edwards, presentee to
the parish of Marnoch. They accepted the submission of the presentee to
the parish of Daviot.
August 26.—The death is announced of
Mr Rickman, Second Clerk of the House of Commons. "Mr Rickman was for
nearly thirty years Secretary to the Parliamentary Boards of Commissioners
for Highland Roads and Bridges, and of the Caledonian Canal, in which
situations he always evinced a strong and enthusiastic interest in the
improvement of the Highlands. He had made himself familiar with all our
roads and bridges, our bays and harbours; and wrote upon the subject with
the force and fluency of a man who puts his heart into his words."
Ibid.—"We saw lately a fine gold
ring containing a miniature portrait of Prince Charles Edward Stuart,
taken in 1744. The ring, as we were told, belonged to the Lord Macdonald
of that day [Sir Alexander Macdonald], to whom it was presented by the
Prince. It came into the hands of a sister of Lord Macdonald, resident in
Moscow, and by her was presented to Mr Smith, merchant in Moscow, who,
after a long residence in Russia, returned to his native district of
Galloway, where he died. The ring is at present in the possession of Mr
Nicholson, bookseller, Kirkcudbright. It is of French workmanship, and the
portrait is beautifully executed in enamel."
lbid.—There is an account of a
religious awakening at Alness, corresponding to
what had occurred
elsewhere in Rosss-shire. The Rev. John Macdonald of Ferintosh was the
preacher. Prayer meetings had been previously established by the parish
minister, Rev. Mr Flyter.
lbid.—On the 15th inst. the
foundation-stone of the Scott Monument was laid in Edinburgh.
September 2.—Mr Duncan’s picture of
Prince Charles Edward and the Highlanders entering Edinburgh after the
battle of Prestonpans is made the text for an article over two columns in
September 9.—An account is given of
the improvement effected by Sir Francis Mackenzie in the growth of
different descriptions of grain on his estate of Conan. New seeds reared
with success in the South were generally imported by Sir Francis, and the
results carefully noted. Reclamations and improvements had also been going
on in the valley of the Conon. Sir George Mackenzie was engaged in an
attempt to alter the course of part of the river, by raising a huge
embankment and cutting a new course for the stream. His object was to save
the fields from occasional inundation, and to add a tract of good land to
the estate. Mr Fowler of Raddery was also engaged in embanking and
improving; "and next year there will be several fields won from the waste
to greet the eye of those who travel by the new bridge to Contin and
Ibid.—There is an account of the
death of Thomas Simpson, the Arctic explorer, who died, it was alleged, by
his own hand, after shooting one of his companions in a camp four days’
journey from Fort Garrry. He was only thirty-two years of age, a man of
robust constitution, and naturally of amiable disposition. His brother,
Alexander Simpson, afterwards published a biography (Richard Bentley,
1845), in which he maintained that Simpson had been murdered by his
companions, who were half-breeds.
Ibid.—It is mentioned that five
editions of Thomas Campbell’s poetical works had been published within the
last five years, ranging in price from half-a-crown to a sovereign. The
popularity of his works at the time was very great.
September 16.—The Presbytery of
Inverness met again to consider the Daviot case, from 80 to 100
parishioners from Daviot being present. The Moderator explained the Veto
Act at great length in Gaelic. "It having been asked of the parishioners
present if they understood what had been said to them, their answer, as
translated to us, was that they understood it all before they came there,
and that they had only come in obedience to the request of the Presbytery.
Nothing further was done, and there was no other business before the
Ibid.—Mr Maitland Makgill Crichton
addressed an anti-patronage meeting in Inverness. Rev. Mr Clark was in the
September 23.—On the 9th inst. a
whale was captured off the quicksands, in the Dornoch Firth, on the Tain
side. The whale was 75 feet 4 inches in length, and its girth round the
thickest part was 36 feet. The monster was "in the throes of death" when
taken by fishermen.
Ibid.—At a meeting in Nairn it was
resolved to establish a Savings Bank for the benefit of the town and
September 3.—Extracts are given from
the proceedings of the British Association in Glasgow, bearing testimony
to the value of Hugh Miller’s researches in the Old Red Sandstone, and to
the outstanding merits of his papers on the subject, as published in the
"Witness." The chief speakers were Mr Murchison (Sir Roderick) and Dr
Buckland. Agassiz, who was present, proposed to name one of the specimens
of fossil fish Dipterus Milleri. It was also stated that Lady
Gordon Cumming had come forward as a distinguished and successful
investigator in geology.
Ibid.—There is a notice of the work
of the Inverness Dispensary. It had been in existence for eight years.—The
painting of the Holy Family (attributed to Sasso Ferrato), which was hung
in the Royal Academy, was suffering from the attacks of an insect.
"Fortunately the circumstance has been discovered in time, before the
insect had bored to any great depth, and the picture is now in the hands
of Mr Macinnes, artist, whose taste is well known, and who will
effectually protect this work of art from any further dilapidation." The
picture is now in the Town Hall.
Ibid.—A Ross-shire county meeting
discussed the expediency of appointing a constabulary force. The annual
cost was estimated at £712. It was resolved to circulate the report of the
Committee, and to delay consideration of it for a year.
October 7.—Wilson, a famous Scottish
vocalist, gave three musical entertainments in Inverness the previous
week. They are spoken of in terms of great appreciation.
Ibid.—The Northern Meeting was well
attended. There were horse races on both days at the Longman. Friday was
always reckoned the principal day of the Meeting, and on this occasion 150
dined and about 300 attended the ball and supper. Presents of game and
fruit were sent to the Meeting from different quarters. Lord Lovat
presented a fine stag and forty hares and rabbits.
lbid.—The Presbytery of Inverness
met on the 30th ult. to moderate in a call to the Rev. Simon Mackintosh to
the parish of Daviot. The call was signed by six heritors, by three
communicants out of ten, and by 58 male heads of families—total, 67.
Dissents were tendered by seven communicants, and a petition was presented
against the settlement of the presentee, purporting to be signed by 194
parishioners, including 119 heads of families. The Presbytery adjourned
consideration of the case.
Ibid.—Marshal Macdonald, Duke of
Tarentum, died at his Chateau of Courcelles, aged 75.
October 14.—A paragraph records the
death of an old woman, Mrs Batchen, Elgin, who was supposed to be 109
years of age. The actual date of her birth, however, had not been
discovered. "It is said that she was in the service of Mrs Anderson of
Arradowal (commonly called Lady Arradowal) at the time that lady
entertained Prince Charles Edward on his passing through Elgin previous to
the disastrous battle of Culloden, and that she gave out the ‘best Holland
sheets the house could afford’ for the bed which the Prince was to
Ibid.—There is a report of the
address delivered by Professor Agassiz at the meeting of the British
Association, showing that glaziers formerly existed in the Highlands of
Ibid.—A boat from Hopeman was upset
by a squall in the Firth, and five of its crew of six were drowned.
October 21.—Interest was created by
the discovery of iron and lead ore on the Duke of Richmond’s estate, near
Tomintoul. The Duke was anxious to have both veins worked.
Ibid.—A case of what was believed to
be murder had occurred in the parish of Knockando. A farmer named
Alexander Tulloch had been found dead, bearing marks of violence. The
culprit was supposed to be the man’s son-in-law, Peter Cameron, who
managed, after he was arrested, to escape from the constables who had him
in charge. A reward of £20 was offered for his apprehension.
Ibid.—The Inverness Farmers’ Society
held a successful show of stock. At the dinner the best mode of
cultivating turnips was discussed. The chief speakers were Mr Brown of
Linkwood, Mr Geddes, Orbliston, and Sir Francis Mackenzie of Gairloch.
Ibid.—The Rev. Robert Williamson,
parish minister of Croick, had accepted a call some time before to the
Scottish Church of Pictou, Nova Scotia. There is in this number a notice
of his induction to his new charge. A number of Mr Williamson’s former
congregation, and others from the parishes of Croick and Assynt, engaged
to accompany him to Nova Scotia. "He made the most judicious arrangements
for their comfort and accommodation abroad, and procured a handsome sum to
enable the humbler amongst them to emigrate. He got a vessel to come to
Lochinver for them—the Deveron, Captain Maclean—which made the passage in
27 days to Pictou. Mr Williamson had every intention of accompanying his
little Highland colony, but the state of his amiable lady’s health
detained him a few weeks later, when he went by the British King, and had
a most tedious voyage, a fever having broken out on board, which carried
off several of the passengers. On Mr and Mrs Williamson’s arrival at
Pictou, the passengers by the Deveron waited on their minister, to express
to him their deep sense of the unremitting kindness of the captain, and no
less that of the owner, Mr Watson, who made the voyage along with them.
These poor, grateful Highlanders were clubbing their spare pence to
purchase a silver snuff-box for Captain Maclean."
Ibid.—The amount of assessment in
Inverness for the poor was £1600, but this was calculated for about five
hundred poor, and to cover preliminary expenses. After investigation, only
three hundred legal poor were placed on the roll. The permanent assessment
was expected to be about £1000, at the rate of less than 1s per pound on
occupancy and less than 4d on property. The population of town and parish
was about 16,000.
October 28.—The death of Lord
Holland is announced. "He was one of the steadiest and noblest landmarks
of the Whig party."
Ibid.—The Glengarry estates were
exposed for sale in Edinburgh on the 20th inst. "The estate of Glengarry
was put up at £88,000, and after many offers was sold to Lord Ward at
£91,000. The estate of Inverlochy Castle was exposed to sale at £68,000,
and after a keen competition was knocked down to an English gentleman for
£75,150." The latter purchaser was afterwards stated to be the Hon. Mr
Scarlett, son of Lord Abinger.
Ibid.—A work issued on National
Instruction showed that the average income of parochial teachers, from
salaries, fees, and other emoluments, amounted to £47 5s 11d per annum,
or about 18s 2d per week. Adding house and garden, their emoluments were
about £1 per week.
November 4.—The Earl of Seafield
died on the 26th ult., at the age of seventy-three. His lordship
succeeded to the title and estates on the death of James, seventh Earl of Findlater and fourth Earl of Seafield. The Hon. Colonel Francis William
Grant, brother of the deceased Earl, now succeeded.
Ibid.—The elections for the
Inverness Town Council turned this year on the question of an assessment
for the poor. The result was completely in favour of the "non-assessors,"
and also gave a majority of Whigs to the Town Council. A large number of
the inhabitants resisted payment of the assessment.
Ibid.—A disastrous storm had swept
over the Shetland Isles, causing great loss of life. The number of victims
is not precisely stated, but many families had been left desolate.
Ibid—A private letter from a young
man who emigrated in 1838 gives a deplorable account of the condition of
New South Wales. The convict system had corrupted the community.
"Emigrate," says the writer, "your redundant population must, but let them
emigrate to shores not the receptacle of the winnowings of the most
abandoned and thoroughly depraved of the human family."
November 11.—Attention is directed to the progress of
geological science. "Mr Anderson, of this town, has just discovered, in
the sandstone quarry at Castleleathers burn, at the base of the Lays, a
layer abounding with the scales and portions of fossil fish, some of which
must have been of great size." It is pointed out that the deposit is older
than the coal measures, and that it would be imprudent to risk money in
quest of coal. Mr P. Duff, Elgin, had been publishing a series of papers
on the Geology of Moray, in the ‘Elgin Courant,’ and the Morayshire
Literary and Scientific Association was carrying on its work with vigour
and success. The editor suggested the formation of a scientific club in
Ibid.—At a meeting of Inverness Town
Council the question arose whether bailies were entitled to retain office
during their term as Councillors. Provost Cumming held that they were, and
moved the election of one bailie and treasurer to fill vacant offices. Mr
Macandrew held that the uniform practice in Inverness was to elect the
magistrates annually, and he moved that the Council should now proceed to
elect four magistrates, a dean of guild, and treasurer. The amendment was
carried by a majority of twelve votes to nine, and new magistrates were
then elected. Provost Cumming announced that he had now determined to
resign office, as he had been deprived of the co-operation of everyone of
the gentlemen who were associated with him in the magistracy.
Ibid.—A curious question arose in
connection with the Nairn election. There were six vacancies. Four
candidates were duly elected, but other three had an equality of votes.
One of the three intimated his resignation. but the Provost and Town-Clerk
held that this did not entitle the remaining two to receive induction. The
only way was to hold a fresh election for the two places. This was
November 8.—A large party of the
directors and shareholders of the Caledonian Bank dined in the Caledonian
Hotel, and presented Mr John Ross, Berbice Cottage, with a handsome piece
of plate "in acknowledgment of his disinterested and valuable services as
manager of the Bank at the period of its commencement, and subsequently as
Chairman of the Board of Directors." Colonel Ross of Strathgarve was in
Ibid.—At a meeting of Dingwall Town
Council, called for the election of magistrates, Bailie Charles Stewart
was seized with an apopleptic fit, and died in half-an-hour. The business
was adjourned. "Mr Stewart was a generous and kind-hearted man, much and
justly esteemed by his fellow-townsmen."
November 25.—On the 21st inst.,
Queen Victoria gave birth to a daughter, the Princess Royal, afterwards
Empress of Germany.
Ibid.—This issue gives an account of
a drive to the Glengarry country. It relates the story of Evan M’Phee, who
then lived as a "bold outlaw" in an island in Loch-Quoich. The story is
preserved in the Highland Notebook.
December 2.—War had been going on
for some time with Mahomet Ali, the ruler of Egypt, who claimed Syria.
With the aid of the British fleet, the Egyptian forces were driven from
Acre, and the town was once more placed in possession of the Turks.
Ibid.—The question was raised at the
Inverness Town Council whether the resignation by Mr Cumming of the office
of Provost involved the resignation of his seat at the Council. The point
was referred to the opinion of counsel.
December 9.—With the permission of
the British Government, the remains of the Emperor Napoleon were removed
from St Helena to be deposited in Paris.
Ibid.—Duncan George Forbes of
Culloden, great-grandson of the President, died at Forres on the 28th
ult., at the age of 60. His remains were removed to Culloden House, and
were interred on the 5th inst. in the family burying-ground in the
Chapel-Yard, Inverness. A collision occurred on the occasion between two
sections of the tenantry. The Ferintosh men claimed the right of carrying
the body and surrounding the hearse in its progress. When the procession
had gone about half-a-mile, part of the Culloden people sallied from a
wood, armed with sticks, and endeavoured to drive their opponents from the
hearse. They succeeded in dislodging the main body, but a few of the
Ferittosh men held fast by the hearse, and did not relinquish their hold
until they arrived at the burial plant. It was feared that the contest
would be repeated in the churchyard, but the exertions of Mr John Macbean,
messenger-at-arms, and the superintendent of police, prevented such a
deplorable result. "The gentlemen of the district, and the respectable
tenants on each side, carried the coffin, while the men from the country
walked beside them. The whole of the surrounding walls, tombs, and
monuments in the churchyard were covered with spectators, forming a novel
and impressive spectacle."
Ibid.—The Presbytery of Inverness
had another long sederunt on the Daviot case. It was ultimately resolved
to refer it to the Assembly, with any further minutes which might be added
before the first Tuesday of March.
December 16.—The Inverness High
Church was re-opened on Sunday after undergoing repair. The table-seats
had been displaced to make room for pews, by which additional
accommodation was obtained. The church was also heated by means of stoves.
Ibid.—Counsel intimated their
opinion that Mr Cumming, by resigning his office as Provost, did not
resign his office as Councillor.
Ibid..—The Highland Society voted
their silver medal to Sir Francis A. Mackenzie of Gairloch, for his report
on the comparative values of wheat grown on Conan Mains.
December 23.—A meeting was held in a
hall in Castle Street, which was addressed by a Chartist speaker from
London, Mr Julian Harney. There was a charge of twopence for admission "to
pay expenses." About ninety persons were present. The speech was followed
by a free discussion, and it was found that the large majority of the
meeting were opposed to the views of the speaker. In the midst of
considerable confusion, the police-officers entered, and the orderly
portion of the meeting withdrew. ‘We understand that after paying the
expenses of the room Mr Harney had a balance of 1s 6d in his favour. A
subscription was afterwards made by his supporters, which amounted to 2s
6d; and yesterday Mr Julian Hanney left town to proceed to Forres."
Ibid.—A series of articles on
"Inverness in the Olden Time" begins in this issue. They are chiefly drawn
from the burgh records. The convivial habits of the city fathers are
depicted. The writer inferred that a royal birthday meant the consumption
of six dozen of claret, but the Provost and Bailies shared their good
cheer with other dignitaries and town officials. The amount spent for
eating and drinking in the early part of the eighteenth century is
estimated at £50 a year—a very considerable sum in those days. In
subsequent issues there are notes on neighbouring towns as well as on
December 30.—At a meeting of
Inverness Town Council, Dr J. I. Nicol was elected a member of Council, in
place of Mr Rennie, who had resigned. At the same meeting Dr Nicol was
elected Provost of the burgh.
Ibid.—"On Wednesday week the estate
of Barra, in Inverness-shire, was put up to sale in Paxton’s Exchange
Coffee-House, at £36,000; and after various biddings was knocked down to
Colonel Gordon of Cluny for the sum of £38,050."