Northern Highlands in the Nineteenth Century
The year 1841 is important in political history. The
Whigs had now been in office for ten years, and during the latter part of
the period had incurred much opposition on account of their Irish policy,
which was represented as subservient to Daniel OConnell and injurious to
Protestant interests. The agitation on the Corn Laws had also begun. In
connection with this subject in the first part of the session of 1841,
Lord John Russell announced that he intended on 31st May to move the
following resolution "That the House should resolve itself into a
Committee of the whole House to consider the Acts of Parliament relating
to the trade in corn! The division, however, took plate on a subsidiary
question relating to the sugar duties, though the subject mainly discussed
was the merit of a fixed duty on corn as opposed to a sliding scale. Lord
John Russell was in favour of a fixed duty, Sir Robert Peel of the sliding
scale. The Government was defeated by 36 votes317 to 281. They did not,
however, resign until Sir Robert Peel proposed a vote of no confidence,
which was carried by a majority of one (312 to 311). A dissolution of
Parliament followed, and Sir Robert Peel came into power with a majority
From the "Inverness Courier." 1841.
January 13.The game of curling
promised to become naturalised. It was unknown here until the late Mr
Wilson, of the Caledonian Hotel introduced curling stones and established
the game on Loch-na-Sanais. "This year a more solid foundation has been
laid; stones and besoms have been provided in numbers, rinks are formed,
and a regular club has been constituted."
lbid.The sudden death of the Rev.
Mr Kennedy, of Killearnan, is announced. He was seized with croup in the
throat on the previous Saturday, and died next day. Mr Kennedy was the
father of the late Dr Kennedy, of Dingwall, and a popular and impressive
lbid.A marvellous escape is
recorded. Mr Grant of Glenmoriston and two friends were driving along the
banks of Loch-Ness at a steep spot, when the horses slipped on the ice,
and dragged the carriage over a rock sixty feet high. The occupants of the
carriage had just time to throw themselves out, but the coachman went with
the horses. Their fall, however, was broken by trees and brushwood. The
coachman escaped unhurt, and the horses were swung up by ropes little the
worse. The paragraph recalls a similar accident which had happened at the
same spot to the family of Macleod of Macleod a few years before. The
writer strongly insists on the erection of parapets along this line of
Ibid.There is a long review of a
romance by Charles Mackay, entitled "Longbeard, Lord of London." The
review, we believe, was written by Angus B. Reach, a young native of
Inverness, who was afterwards well known as a distinguished London
January 20.The first annual report
of the Inverness National Security Savings Bank was submitted at a meeting
on 15th inst. It stated that 361 accounts bad been opened, and that the
amount in bank at the close of the financial year (30th November) was
£1510 3s 6d.
January 27.There is an interesting
article, entitled "Scenes on the Coasts of Sutherland and Ross." The
writer gives an account of the departure of a party of emigrants from
Helmsdale at the close of a successful fishing season. Half-a-dozen Dutch
vessels were loading at the quay. The party embarking in the emigrant ship
were from the upland parts of the strath. Men, women, and children evinced
signs of grief, the sorrow of the women being loud and open. As the vessel
moved away, the pipes played, "We return no more." An old man, a
catechist, accompanied the party on board the vessel, and before returning
to shore he poured forth a long sad pathetic Gaelic prayer. The writer
joined the vessel, going with it as far as Tarbat Ness. The night closed
in dark and stormy, and the ship had to lie off Tarbat Point until day
broke. Most of the passengers had hardly ever seen the sea before, said
the gale terrified them. Suddenly, as if by common consent, they raised a
Gaelic psalm tune, which mingled, with wild and plaintive effect, with the
roar of surf and wind. The writer disembarked in the morning, and the
vessel held on its way.
Ibid.One of the difficulties of the time finds
expression in a note. In consequence of a storm, parcels of newspaper
stamps had been detained on the road. "We are thus," says the publisher,
"compelled to print part of our impression this week on unstamped paper;
but the proper affidavit and acknowledgment will, of course, be made to
the Stamp Office."
lbid."On Wednesday last a duel took place in
Ross-shire between Duncan Davidson, Esq. of Tulloch, and Hugh Ross, Esq.
of Cromarty and Glastullich. The quarrel originated in the proceedings of
the county meeting, held lately at Invergordon, on the subject of the
Prison Board. Mr Davidson was Chairman of the meeting, and Mr Ross
conceived that he interrupted him improperly in the course of the
discussion. Under this impression he addressed a letter to Mr Davidson of
Tulloch, which the latter felt to be of a nature that required explanation
or apology. A duel was the result. The parties met at two oclock on
Wednesday, near the Kincraig Road, by Balnagown Castle. Mr Davidson was
attended by Lord Macdonald. and Lieutenant Grant, commanding the
recruiting party in Tain, acted as the friend of Mr Ross. Dr W. B. Ross,
of Tain, was on the ground to officiate if medical aid was required. After
the usual preliminaries, Mr Davidson fired, as we are informed, somewhat
in the direction of his opponent, and Mr Ross discharged his pistol in
the air. The seconds now interfered, and the principals having shaken
hand., left the ground." Tulloch afterwards wrote to say that the meeting
took place not because Mr Ross declined to apologise to him, but because
he declined to apologise to Mr Ross for having interrupted him, "as he [Mr
Ross] conceived, in an abrupt and uncalled-for manner." There was a great
deal of discussion at the time on the subject of duelling, arising from
the case of Lord Cardigan and other incidents.
Ibid.The directors of the Tain Royal Academy make an
appeal for funds. The institution had been worked on rather a lavish
scale, but this was not the chief cause of the financial deficiency. A
classical master who had proved inefficient had been discharged. He
carried the case to the law courts, ultimately to the House of Lords. The
suit went against him, but the cost to the directors was about £1000.
February 3.The question of a legal assessment for the
poor continued to agitate the community. It was discussed at a public
meeting, and by the Town Council, heritors, and kirk-session. The Town
Council, by a majority of twelve to four, determined against a legal
assessment; and the same view was taken at a meeting of heritors and kirk-session
by a majority of 56 to 36.
Ibid.An account is given of the induction of Mr
Edwards to the parish of Marnoch, one of the historic incidents in the
February 10.It is stated that an English gentleman, Mr
Bainbridge, M.P. for Taunton, was lessee of the Glengarry shootings
previous to the purchase of the property by Lord Ward; and, annoyed by the
loss of game, this gentleman set about a vigorous system of war and
extermination against all the vermin intruders. He engaged numerous
game-keepers, paying them liberally, and awarding prizes to those who
should prove most successful. The result was the destruction, within three
years, of above four thousand head of vermin, and a proportional increase
in the stock of game. A full list of the vermin destroyed at Glengarry
from Whitsunday 1837 to Whitsunday 1840, is subjoined, and may be quoted
here as still interesting:
11 Foxes, 63 Gos hawks, 198 Wild cats, 285 Common buzzards, 246 Marten
cats, 371 Rough-legged buzzards, 106 Pole cats, 301 Stots and weasels. 3
Long buzzards, 67 Badgers. 462 Kestrel or red hawks, 48 Otters, 78 Martin
hawks, 78 House cats, going wild, 83 Hen barriers or ring tailed hawks, 27
White-tailed sea eagles, 6 Ger falcon toe-feathered hawks, 15 Golden
eagles, 18 Osprey or fishing eagles, 9 Ash coloured hawks or long
blue-tailed do, 98 Blue hawks or peregrine falcons, 1431 Hooded or carrion
crows, 7 Orange-legged falcons, 11 Hobby hawks, 475 Ravens, 275 Kites
commonly called salmon-tailed gledes, 35 Horned owls, 71 Common fern
owls, 3 Golden owls, 5 Marsh harriers or yellow-legged hawks, 8 Magpipes.
Ibid.A man named Cameron, accused of murdering his
father-in-law at Ballintomb, had been apprehended after hiding for months
in the district.A man from Lochaber, convicted of rape, had been
sentenced to death. The execution was to have taken place at Inverness,
but the sentence was commuted to transportation for life.
Ibid.A note in this issue says that "the excitement in
this town on the subject of the poor laws surpasses anything of the kind
witnessed here since the passing of the Reform Bill." The meetings on the
subject are reported at length. We have mentioned the result above.
February 17.The expediency of a general and extensive
system of emigration to relieve the destitute poor of the Highlands was
brought before Parliament by Mr Henry Baillie, M.P. for Inverness-shire.
In moving for a committee of inquiry, Mr Baillie stated that owing to the
depression of the kelp trade by the reduction of the duties on salt,
sulphur, and barilla, many of the Highland estates were ruined, and the
tenants and occupiers deprived of the means of living. He reckoned that
there were 40,000 persons standing in need of assistance, and that the
expense of removal to Canada would be £3 each, consequently a grant of
£120,000 would be required. The lenders of the House and the Opposition
(Lord John Russell and Sir Robert Peel) held out no hope of a money grant,
and the motion was confined to the appointment of a committee of inquiry,
which was granted.
Ibid.An account is given of the surrender of Dost
Mahomed to our forces from India. Captain Fraser, 2nd Bengal Cavalry, a
brother of Mr Fraser of Culduthel, distinguished himself in the
February 24.A paragraph mentions that a great evil in
the emigration from the Highlands to Australia was that only young and
able-bodied persons were conveyed free. The consequence was that poor,
helpless femalessisters, grandmothers, &c.were thrown upon the parish
funds, and the emigration, instead of lessening, increased the misery of
many districts in the Highlands.
Ibid.Some reference had been made by a contemporary to
the relative numbers of strangers and natives employed in the construction
of the Caledonian Canal while that great work was in progress. "It is a
common error," says the editor, "that the Highlanders were found such bad
labourers that it was necessary to engage Irishmen, by whom it is said the
greater part of the excavations and other works were made. We have now
before us a detailed account of the number and proportion of labourers
employed on the canal, from which it appears that not above 1 in 60 of the
whole were other than natives of the Highlands." This statement is
supported by detailed figures. The writer adds that the masons were
chiefly from Morayshire, and the blacksmiths and carpenters principally
from the neighbourhood of Inverness, with a few from England and Wales.
Ibid.The trial of Lord Cardigan on a charge of felony
for having shot at Captain Tuckett, in a duel, "with intent to commit
murder," took place before the House of Lords. Counsel for the defence
took the technical plea that Captain Tucketts name was not properly given
in the indictment. The House sustained this objection, and Lord Cardigan
was acquitted. The trial, however, put an end to duelling in this country.
March 3.The Government submitted an Irish Registration
Bill, which was intended to settle a difficult question raised the
previous session by Lord Stanley, and again revived by him. On the second
reading Ministers had a majority of 5 votes301 to 296. This saved the
position for the moment, but it was felt that the Government could not
carry their bill, and that a crisis which had been long postponed was
close at hand.
March 10.Provost Nicol submitted to the Inverness Town
Council a proposal to memorialise the Treasury on behalf of a survey for a
railway to come to Inverness by the coast route. The memorial was
unanimously approved of.
Ibid.The Parliamentary Committee appointed to inquire
into the condition of the population of the Highlands had commenced its
sittings. The remit from the House was to "inquire into the practicability
of affording relief by means of emigration." This, the editor thought, was
too restricted. The inquiry should have embraced not only the subject of
emigration, but the improvement of the condition of the people who were to
remain at home.
March 17." In the River Glass, near Kilmorack, is a
small picturesque island, on which Lord Lovat has erected a handsome
house, the residence of two gentlemen, descendants of Prince Charles
Edward Stuart, who wear the Highland dress, and are animated with true
Celtic enthusiasm. Their collection of Highland antiquities rivals that of
Captain Grose, so humorously described by Burns, and adds not a little to
the interest with which their solitary mansion, with its rustic bridge and
foaming waterfall, is viewed in the midst of scenery the most splendid for
variety, richness, and magnificence." This notice introduces the Sobieski
Stuarts, whose claim to be descended from Prince Charlie was exploded by
subsequent investigation. A mystery, however, still hangs over their
descent and career. The article gives a description of Eilean Aigas.
Ibid."The town of Wick is now lighted with gasan
invention which extends from one extremity of the kingdom to the other."
Ibid.An account is given of reclamations and
improvements made on the farms of Easter and Wester Corntown, Ross-shire,
by Mr James Ure. Mr Ure entered on Easter Corntown in 1829, and added
Wester Corntown in 1835. In trenching, draining, erecting farm offices,
building dykes, planting hedges, and bringing in waste land, he spent on
the first farm £2610, and on the second (where farm offices were not
required), £906. Details of the expense are given and of the improvements
March 31.Lord Lovat had leased to an English
gentleman, Mr Thomas Dodd, a lead mine lately opened in Strathglass. The
object of Mr Dodd was to form a company for working the mine, by raising a
capital of £4000 in chares of £4 each.
Ibid.A well-built barque of 80 tons was launched from
a building-yard at Jemineaville, on Major Munros estate of Poyntzfield.
The vessel was built of wood grown on Poyntzfield estate.
April 7.A fancy dress ball, held in the Northern
Meeting Rooms in connection with the Harriers Hunt Club, appears to have
excited great local interest. The rooms were gaily decorated with tartans,
evergreens, and arms. "On the floor might be seen the costumes of various
countriesthe Chinese mandarin, Albanian chief, nobles and courtiers of
the olden time, Highland chiefs, officers, jockeys, and sailorswhile
grace and beauty were imparted to the scene by ladies in rich and showy
dresses, from the style of the Princess to that of the German peasant and
Swiss flower-girl." The dress of Miss Campbell, Kilravock Castle, was
acknowledged to be the finest. It was worn by a royal daughter of France
in the thirteenth century." Mr Hay Mackenzie of Cromarty appeared
in a costume which had been actually worn by an Albanian chief.
April 14.The Presbytery of Inverness had a Iong
discussion on the subject of Church patronage. Rev. Mr Clark, Inverness,
moved in favour of abolition. Rev. Dr Rose moved against taking any steps
on the subject. In the end, by a majority of four votes, the Presbytery
resolved to adjourn the discussion.
April 27.An emigrant ship, the Pacific, sailed from
Scrabster Roads the previous week for Quebec. No fewer than 190 passengers
were on board, the great majority from the parish of Reay.
Ibid.A vessel which was named the Rosehaugh was
launched at Avoch on the 6th inst. It was built by a firm named Davidson,
chiefly from wood on the Rosehaugh estate. Lady Ann Mackenzie performed
the ceremony of christening.
Ibid.A man named Peter Cameron was tried at the
Circuit Court at Inverness for the murder of his father-in-law at
Balintomb, Knockando. The jury brought in a verdict of culpable homicide,
apparently on the ground that, though the attack was deliberate, the man
only meant to inflict injury, so as to put a stop to his father-in-laws
second marriage, but not to kill. Witnesses also stated that Cameron "had
not the common judgment of other men." He was sentenced to transportation
for life. Prisoners were in those days carried from one place to another
by the ordinary coach, which exposed them to a great deal of public
curiosity. Cameron had been brought from Elgin by the Star Coach, and his
arrival was witnessed by "a dense and violent multitude."
April 28.John Shanks, the beadle or cicerone of Elgin
Cathedral, died on the 14th inst. in the eighty-third year of his age.
"His unwearied enthusiasm in clearing away the rubbish which encumbered
the area of the Cathedral and obscured its architectural beauties, may be
gathered from the fact that he removed, with his pick-axe and shovel, 2866
barrowfuls of earth, besides disclosing a flight of steps that led to the
grand gateway of the edifice. Tombs and figures, which had long lain hid
in obscurity, were unearthed and every monumental fragment of saints and
holy men was carefully preserved, and placed in some appropriate
situation. - - - So faithfully did he discharge his duty as keeper of the
ruins, that little now remains but to preserve what he accomplished."
Ibid.Extracts are given in this and other issues from
evidence led before the Parliamentary Committee on the subject of Highland
emigration. An opinion of some interest was given by the Rev. Robert
Macpherson, one of the ministers of Inverness. He attributed the
destitution on the West Coast to the injudicious means taken to prevent
emigration thirty or thirty-five years before. In consequence of the good
accounts sent home from America by small bodies of people who had
emigrated previously, there was a very general desire on the part of the
Western Highlanders to try their fortune also in America. The landlords,
however, were alarmed at the prospect of the people going away, and the
factor for Clanranald wrote a book "deprecating emigration as the greatest
curse that could befall a country." The prevalence of these opinions is
borne out by the files of early newspapers.
May 5.The Government was twice defeated in Committee
on the Irish Registration Bill, and abandoned the measure.
Ibid.The line of road from Castle Stuart to the
boundary of Nairnshire was in progress, and was expected to be finished by
September. The report of the Parliamentary Commission for Highland Roads
and Bridges for 1840 had been issued. It appears from it that, owing to
the severe snow-storm of that year, the Highland road was impassable for
the mail coach for six weeks. It was not without difficulty that a
horse-track, through the deep and extensive snow-wreaths, was kept open.
Ibid.At a meeting of the Synod of Moray, a discussion
took place on the question whether the seven suspended ministers of
Strathbogie should be enrolled. In the end a motion of Rev. Mr Clark,
Inverness, for the exclusion of the seven members, was carried by 31 votes
to 8. In the course of some discussion on dissent, Dr Rose, Drainie, made
the following declaration "He had no fear of dissenters. Dissent was the
safety valve of the Established Church. If there were not a powerful body
of dissenters, the ministers and members of the Established Church would
become indolent; and on the other hand, were it not for the Established
Church, dissenters would run into wild fanaticism. They were of mutual
benefit to each other."
Ibid.The marriage of Lord Bruce, eldest son of the
Earl of Elgin, with Miss Cumming Bruce, only daughter of Major Cumming
Bruce of Dunphail and Kinnaird, came off on the 22nd ult. The rejoicings
on the occasion are reported.
Ibid.Through the efforts of the Duke of Richmond, the
town of Fochabers succeeded in establishing its claim to a bequest of over
£20,000 left in America by Mr Alexander Milne. The inferior Courts had
decided that parties in Scotland could not succeed to legacies left, under
the circumstances in which they were in this instance bequeathed, by a
citizen of the State of Louisiana. The Duke of Richmond, however,
persisted in carrying the case to the Supreme Court, which decided in
favour of Fochabers and of ether legatees mentioned in the will.
May 19.The "Port Philip Gazette," of date 2nd December
1840, had come to the office, containing an account, four columns in
length, of a fete to which Macdonell of Glengarry was entertained at Port
Philip on St Andrews Day. The chief, with his family, had arrived in good
health at "that distant settlement." The names at the dinner were all
Scottish and grace was said in Gaelic.
May 26.The great debate in the House of Commons on the
sugar duties lasted for eight days. In the division there was a majority
of 36 against the Government317 to 281. Sir Robert Peel, in a speech of
two hours, pledged himself only to one pointthe resistance to a fixed
duty on corn.
Ibid.On the previous Monday two new coaches were
placed on the road between Perth and Inverness. The rivals were "The
Princess Royal" and "The Duke of Wellington," and both were driven for the
day by amateur drivers, one by Mr Davidson of Tulloch and the other by Mr
Ramsay of Barnton. Monday being the 24th, was the Queens birthday, and
there was bell-ringing and a half-holiday. "In the evening the Aberdeen
mail arrived, splendidly decorated with flowers, evergreens, and flags,
the coach drawn by six horses, with a postillion in full dress, the guard
in his new scarlet coat, and the bugle sounding a merry and joyous strain.
When the coach stopped at the Union Hotel, some hundreds greeted its
arrival with acclamations. The new rival coaches betwixt Perth and
Inverness made their debut on the occasion, and we question if the
Highland road ever before witnessed such feats of horsemanship. Both seem
to have run at the rate of about twelve miles an hour. The Princess
Royal, driven (for that day only) by Mr Davidson of Tulloch, left Perth
at half-past five oclock a.m., and was rattling through our streets at
ten minutes before four. The Duke of Wellington (driven by another
amateur. Mr Ramsay of Barnton) started from Perth at six oclock the same
morning, and reached Inverness at five minutes past four. In the evening
the friends of both establishments met in the Caledonian and Union Hotels,
and respectively quaffed a bumper to their Queen and their coach! Mr
Ramsay of Barnton performed a very generous action. After expressing his
interest in the Duke and in the success of the Caledonian Hotel, he
presented Mr Grant with a team of four horses, with harness, all in prime
condition, and ready for the field."
June 2.The General Assembly was fully occupied with
the Church question. The motion of Dr Chalmers for the deposition of the
seven Strathbogie ministers was carried by a majority of 97. Two non-intrusionists,
Mr Brown, of Dunfermline, and Mr Clark, Inverness, disapproved of the
motion. The latter was in favour of suspension sine die. Mr
Edwards, the presentee to Marnoch, was deprived of his licence. The Daviot
case was also before the House, and the Presbytery of Inverness was
instructed to reject the presentee.
lbid..On the previous Friday, as some men were engaged
in the drainage of part of Loch-Farraline, they came upon a quantity of
old fire-armsa brass blunderbuss in excellent preservation, about twelve
muskets, the scabbard of a sword, and other articles. There was a
tradition in the district that a quantity of arms had been thrown into the
lake in connection with the rising of 45, probably after Culloden. In the
immediate neighbourhood of the spot is the house of Gortuleg, where Prince
Charlie made his first halt after the battle.
June 9.The motion of Sir Robert Peel, declaring a want
of confidence in the Government, was carried on the 3rd inst. by a
majority of onethe numbers being 312 to 311.
June 16.The second report of the Committee on Highland
emigration was published. The Committee found that an excess of population
existed on the Western Coast of the counties of Argyll, Inverness, and
Ross, and in the islands; "and this excess of population, who are for the
most part, for a period of every year, in a state of great destitution,
was variously calculated at from 45,000 to 80,000 souls." Further, the
Committee were informed that the famine and destitution in the years 1836
and 1837 was so extensive that many thousands would have died of
starvation had it not been for the assistance which they received from
Government and the public; that the sum of £70,000 was collected, and
distributed at that period in the shape of food and clothing, and all the
witnesses were of opinion that this district of the country was liable to
similar visitations in succeeding years." The Committee had already
reported that a well-arranged system of emigration was of primary
importance; and they now added that it seemed to them impossible to carry
out such a system on so extensive a scale as would be necessary, without
aid and assistance from Government, accompanied by such regulations as
Parliament might impose to prevent a recurrence of similar evils.
Ibid.A meeting was held in the Inverness Burgh
Court-House to express sympathy with the seven Strathbogie ministers, and
disapprobation of the course adopted by the General Assembly. "Though not
numerous, the meeting was highly respectable, and all appeared zealous in
the cause." Provost Nicol was in the chair. The meeting caused some local
lbid.It was now known that a dissolution of Parliament
was in prospect. and political addresses began to appear. In several
northern constituencies it was understood thatt there was to be no
lbid.Sir Francis Mackenzie of Gairloch had succeeded
in hatching salmon fry, with which he intended to stock the river Ewe. The
experiment was regarded as specially interesting, as the possibility of
propagating salmon had been denied.
June 23.Highlanders in London were greatly interested
in a shinty match organised by the committee of a body which called itself
"The Society of True Highlanders." The match took place in Copenhagen
Fields, "an extent of rich meadow land lying on the outskirts of
Islington." There was much enthusiasm and keenly contested games. It is
said that before the gathering half the glens of Lochaber had been
ransacked for shinty clubs. In the evening there was a dinner, at which Mr
Forbes Macneil presided, and many northern gentlemen were present. The
Chairman was supported on the right by Commodore Sir Charles Napier, who
was fresh from the laurels he had won on the Syrian Coast in the war with
Ibid.On the previous Thursday morning the North Star
steamer, on its passage from London to Inverness, struck on a rock near
Johnshaven. The hour was about half-past one, and there was a very thick
fog. About seventy passengers were on board in their sleeping berths. They
were all got safely ashore in boats. The greater part of the cargo was
much damaged. The vessel was twenty-five miles out of her course.
Ibid.The census was taken this year. The population of
the parish and burgh of Inverness was 15,308, an increase of 984 in ten
years. Within the royalty the population was 9057, and within the
Parliamentary burgh 11,575.
Ibid.The Castle Commissioners had resolved to enclose
and dress up the southern extremity of the Castle Hill, which had been for
some years in a most unsightly and irregular condition.A prospectus was
issued for providing new public markets for Inverness by means of a
joint-stock company. The site fixed upon was the space behind St Johns
June 30.There is an account of the public dinner given
to Charles Dickens in Edinburgh. The entertainment came off in the
Waterloo Rooms, tickets a guinea each. The place was seated for 250, and
there was double the number of applications. When Dickens rose to reply he
is described as making rather a singular appearance. "It was a mixture of
pride struggling with bashfulness, effeminacy with natural, manly feeling,
dandyism with simplicity. He is very young looking, of a slender frame,
and his pale, oval face is encased in a mass of dark-brown hair, worn in
the most approved dandy style, as if his features were set in a frame. His
style of speaking was Cockneyish, quick, and unoratorical, but his
language fresh and sparkling."
Ibid.The day after the Dickens banquet, Macaulay
addressed the electors of Edinburgh in the same place. The correspondent
writes "In the general press and squeeze I got jammed in by the side of
Professor Wilson, who, albeit no Whig, was drawn by admiration of talent
to the meeting. He listened with great attention, without joining in the
cheers or hisses, but I noticed that, when the Chairman called for a show
of hands, as to Mr Macaulay being a fit and proper person to represent the
city, the old man eloquent raised his manly arm in testimony of his
acquiescence. Mr Macaulay is a plain, decent-looking, stout, little man,
something like a respectable shopkeeper, with a strong dash of the West
Highlander in his swarthy countenance, while his staid expression, and
short hair, combed back, gave him a sort of puritanical appearance. His
voice is clear and his manner firm and determined."
Ibid.On the 22nd inst. a vessel, the Anne of Belleport,
was launched at Belleport. "Upwards of sixty years have now passed away
since that most patriotic countryman, and gallant old soldier, the late
Sir Hector Munro, planted the woods which now clothe the romantic heights
that form the back-ground of the demesne of Novar. It is from these woods
the materials of the Anne have been selected. She is about 120 tone
register, and is the property of Captain Hall, by whom she was built. That
spirited individual has already built several other vessels at Belleport,
some of them of much larger dimensions than the Anne."
July 7.The General Election was now going on. For the
Inverness Burghs Mr Morrison was returned without a contest. He was
nominated on the hustings by Provost Nicol, and seconded by Mr James
Smith, architect. For the county Mr Henry J. Baillie was also returned
unopposed. He was nominated by Mr Mackintosh of Geddes, and seconded by
Captain Macpherson, Biallid. In the Elgin Burghs there was a contest
between Sir Andrew Leith Hay, Liberal, and Mr Duff, Conservative. The
Liberal was returned by a majority of 14 votes (311 to 297.) An incident
of the election was the presence of a Chartist orator, who had a platform
to himself, and delivered a long tirade against both Whigs and Tories.
lbid.At a meeting of the Presbytery of Inverness, the
sentence of the General Assembly in the Daviot case was submitted,
rejecting the presentee, Mr Simon Mackintosh, and directing this to be
intimated to the patron (the Crown.) The Presbytery resolved to comply
with the injunction. Rev. Dr Rose, Inverness, moved, and Rev. Mr Fraser,
Dores, seconded, a motion declaring that "in making this intimation to the
Crown, in obedience to the General Assembly, the Presbytery state that
they are perfectly aware that they are in violation of statute law as
declared by the Court of Session and the House of Lords, and that if the
patron or presentee may choose in this case to assert their undoubted
rights, the Presbytery will have the alternative of being deposed or
subjected to an action of damages and imprisonment. The Presbytery
therefore respectfully but earnestly submit to the Crown, and through it
to the Legislature, whether this be a situation in which any loyal and
obedient subject should be placed or suffered to remain for a single day."
It was moved by Rev. Mr Fraser, Kirkhill, and seconded by Rev. Mr
Sutherland, that this statement be not transmitted. The motion not to
transmit was carried by five votes to four.
Ibid.It is stated that on the 5th inst. a pensioner
named Donald Ross died at Culrain, in the parish of Kincardine,
Ross-shire, in the 107th year of his age. "This hoary veteran formed a
connecting link betwixt this and a period now scarcely recollected but as
a matter of history. He entered the British army as a private, in the 21st
or Royal North British Regiment of Fusiliers, during the reign of George
the Second, and having received a wound was discharged, in the rank of
corporal, in the year 1786, with a pension of 1s 1½d per diem, which he
enjoyed for the space of fifty-five years, having thus received altogether
about £1200. His wife was the daughter of [one who was the] the town
drummer of Tain, about a century ago, and still survives, an aged woman of
Ibid.Mr James Smith. A.M., schoolmaster at Ardersier.
died on the 13th ult. He was a teacher for 65 years, and was distinguished
by his classical attainments and success in his work.The death is also
announced of the Rev. James Mein, pastor of the United Secession Church at
July 14.There was a contest in the counties of Elgin
and Nairn between Major Cumming Bruce, Conservative, and General Duff,
Liberal. Major Cumming Bruce was elected by a majority of 199. The contest
in the Northern Burghs was between Mr James Loch, Liberal, and Mr Dempster
of Skibo, Conservative, and Mr Loch was elected by a majority of 81. The
following candidates were elected without opposition Mr Mackenzie of
Applecross for Ross-shire (Conservative); Mr Dundas for Sutherland
(Liberal); and Mr Traill for Caithness (Liberal).
IbidTwo meetings were held in Inverness on the Church
question. One was a county meeting, which, by a majority of 29 to 11,
expressed sympathy with the Strathbogie ministers and condemned the
proceedings of the General Assembly. The other was a public meeting held
in the East Church, which adopted a series of resolutions approving of the
action of the Assembly in maintaining the principles of non-intrusion and
Ibid.The Inverness Sheep and Wool Fair was held the
previous week. A murrain prevailed among the flocks in the South, and the
market was anticipated with some apprehension. The results, however,
proved satisfactory, though some large lots remained unsold. Prices were
quoted as follows :Cheviot wedders, 23s to 30s; ewes, 13s to 22s; lambs,
8s to 12s; hlackfaced wedders, 16s to 22s; ewes, 9s to 11s; lambs, 6s to
8s. Cheviot wool, 15s to 16s 9d per stone; blakfaced do., 6s to 7s 6d.
July 21.The Right Hon. J. A. Stewart Mackenzie of
Seaforth had been obliged, on account of his health, to retire from the
office of Governor of Ceylon. Before his departure from the Colony he was
entertained to a public dinner at Colombo, at which his services were
July 28.The General Election was now over and the
Conservative majority in England far exceeded expectations. In Scotland,
however, the Liberals had still the preponderance, 31 to 22. There had
been gains and losses on this side the Tweed, the net Conservative gain
Ibid.The report of the Commissioners of the Caledonian
Canal stated that they had been unable to effect a transfer on the terms
suggested by the Select Committee. The winter of 1840-1 had been one of
great severity and unusual fluctuation. "In the early part of December
excessive rains prevailed, and Loch-Lochy rose for a short time above the
mark which admits a passage at the Gairlochy lock, a state of
circumstances always giving cause for much anxiety. Intense frosts
succeeded, which interrupted the navigation for about a week at the end of
the month, and again from the 6th to the 30th of January."
Ibid.A public dinner was given at Forres to the
defeated Liberal candidate, General Sir Alexander Duff. A similar
compliment was paid at Dingwall to the member for the Northern Burghs, Mr
August 4.A great improvement was this year effected in
Darnaway forest, in the neighbourhood of the river Findhorn. About
seventeen miles of walks had been constructed under the superintendence of
the Hon. J. Stuart. One series of these walks led to the heronry. The
nests of the herons were built on the branches of some old oak trees,
overhanging the stream. "As many as forty nests are on one tree, and there
are from two to three hundred birds. The number of herons is on the
increase, probably because the noble proprietor is anxious to protect the
once royal birds, and because the river and adjoining firth afford
abundance of small trout and fry on which they feed. On the opposite side
of the Findhorn is a steep, precipitous bank of light sandstone, with
numerous holes and fissures, in which some scores of jackdaws have taken
up their abode. These light infantry sometimes make war on the stately
ranks of the herons, occasioning a din and turmoil that resound through
the forest like a war of artillery, and we suppose they sometimes find
their way into the capacious tree-rocked nests and steal the eggs." The
heronry does not now survive, the herons about forty years ago having
deserted the spot. The new walks above described gave access to a rude
hut, which had been formerly used by the Sobieski Stuarts as an occasional
place of refuge when out shooting. "The spot, though now laid open, was
almost inaccessible, and completely unknown while tenanted by its romantic
Ibid.In a jury trial, before the Lord-Justice Clerk,
Mr Murdo Mackenzie of Dundonnell proved his right to the salmon fishing in
the Bay of Gruinard.
Ibid.The voluntary contributions for the relief of the
poor in the parish of Inverness amounted only to about one-third of the
sum required. At a statutory meeting held in the Gaelic Church, it was
resolved that the friends of the voluntary principle should use their
efforts to raise a sufficient fund for the support of the poor for the
ensuing six months.
Ibid.Mr Dempster of Skibo was entertained to a public
dinner at Tain, after his defeat as a candidate for the representation of
the Northern Burghs. "As Tain enjoys the distinction of being the only one
of the six in which the hon. gentleman was not in a minority, it was
appropriately chosen as the theatre of this demonstration."
August 11.The editor paid a visit to Stratherrick, and
describes the lowering of the waters of Loch-Garth and Loch-Farraline, for
the purpose of reclaiming swampy ground. It was in course of these
operations that a bundle of fire-arms was found on the edge of Loch-Farraline.
The story as now told is that the family nurse, after the battle of
Culloden, carried all the guns in the house to the lake, and committed
them to its safe keeping. "She had charge of the house in the absence of
the family, and when the tide had turned against the young Chevalier, why
should she expose the family to suspicion and danger by these relics of
the fatal struggle? About a dozen guns, a sword, and some other weapons
were thrown into the lake; and there they remained until the present
summer. We saw two of the muskets in the house of Mr Fraser, Abersky; the
wood is much decayed and gone, but the guns still preserve their
shapelike veterans once bright and powerful, but rusted by years of
Ibid.Reports from the moors were favourable, and it is
reported that hundreds of sportsmen were waiting for the Twelfth of
August. The rent of shootings had advanced. "One moor in this
neighbourhood, for example, which last year let for £100, has this year
brought £150, and numerous applications have been made too late."
August 18.There is a report of a dinner given to Mr
Henry S. Baillie on his return as member for the county of Inverness. The
Hon. W. Fraser of Saltoun was in the chair.
IbidThere is a notice of Hugh Millers work, "The Old
Red Sandstone." The reviewer feels confident that the work is not
ephemeral, and that its popularity will go on increasing, like Isaac
Waltons Angler and Whites Natural History of Selborne.
August 25."The Messrs Grant, merchants, Manchester,
whose unwearied and princely charities have been drawn by Mr Charles
Dickens in the character of the Brothers Cheeryble in Nicholas Nickleby,
have presented our Infirmary with a handsome donation of one hundred
pounds. Within the last three years these opulent merchants have
distributed not less than £2000 in acts of charity and munificence in this
county, through the agency of Mr Christie, Balmore. The Messrs Grant are
natives of Strathspey, and amid all their prosperity and business have
never forgotten the land of their fathers,"
September 1. The new Parliament had assembled, and
parties joined issue on the Address. After an animated debate, the Whig
Government was defeated by a majority of 91.
Ibid.The Commission of General Assembly held an
extraordinary meeting the previous week to consider the ecclesiastical
situation. There was a very large attendance of members. The result was to
propose a conference with those members of the Church who adhered to Dr
Cooks protestations. At the same time the editor drew the inference that
Dr Chalmers looked for separation.
Ibid.The bakers of Inverness had raised the price of
the 4-lb. loaf one penny, making it tenpence.
September 8.The change of Government had now taken
place. Sir Robert Peel became Prime Minister, and the Duke of Wellington
leader of the House of Lords. Lord Lyndhurst was Chancellor.
Ibid.Mr Maitland Makgill Crichton was making a tour in
the North. speaking on behalf of the Non-Intrusionists. He addressed a
large meeting in the East Church, Inverness. In course of his address he
criticised the Rev. Mr Clark, of the West Church, who had refused to
concur in the deposition of the Strathbogie ministers, and had thus
separated from the party with whom he had previously acted.
Ibid.A sad case of drowning occurred on the previous
Monday. Dr Basil Tytler, a nephew of Sheriff Fraser-Tytler, was in a boat
on the river near Lady Saltouns cottage. The river was swollen, and the
boat, caught by a strong current, capsized. Dr Tytler was encumbered with
angling boots, and was unable to save himself, while his companion managed
to get ashore. Great efforts were made to rescue the unfortunate man, but
without avail. Intelligence of the accident reached the town, and hundreds
of people assembled on the banks, some of whom attempted unsuccessfully to
recover the body, which floated past. The deceased was a young man, about
twenty-six years of age.
lbid.A correspondent in Stromness records that a great
school of whales made their appearance in the third week of August, and
150 were driven ashore and killed. The aggregate value was estimated at
September 15.A note on the harvest recommends the use
of the scythe for cutting the crops, reaping with the sickle being
expensive and tedious. The scythe was now pretty generally used in
IbidA Highland gathering, promoted by Lord Ward, was
held in Glengarry. It was regarded as a novelty, and attracted a large
attendance. A fuller notice of the gathering appears in the following
issue, and a notice is given of the sport enjoyed by Lord Ward and his
friends during the season. They had killed about a thousand brace of
grouse, besides ptarmigan, roe, and red deer, and black game. One fine
stag was killed weighing 27 stone 3 lbs.
September 22.A show of Cheviot sheep was held at
Altnaharrow, in Sutherland, on the 17th inst., the date of a cattle market
there. The quality is described as very good. Nineteen lots were
exhibited. The prizes went to Mr Clarke, Eriboll; Mr Mitchell, Ribigill;
Mr Reed, Skelpick; and Messrs Atkinson and Marshall, Auchinduich. It may
he noticed in passing that horticultural societies existed at this time in
Inverness and other northern towns, and held successful exhibitions both
in summer and autumn. A flower show held at Forres is reported in this
September 29.An account is given of riots which
occurred at Durness, in Sutherland, in connection with the issue of
warrants for eviction. In August the sheriff officer who carried the
summonses was met by a large crowd of men and women who took his papers
from him and burned them in his presence. On the 18th of September the
sheriff-substitute, procurator-fiscal, and a party of sheriff officers and
special constables went to Durness to take further proceedings, but met
with stout resistance. The people at night attacked Durine Inn, where they
had put up, and compelled them to leave. The sheriff and fiscal "were
compelled to retrace their steps to the nearest inn, about twenty miles
distant, which they reached at 5 in the morning with half of their party.
The remainder of the party concealed themselves in the standing corn and
among the rocks, and made their escape when daylight broke." The summonses
of removal had been issued at the instance of the local tacksman, who held
under an old lease from Lord Reay, and had sublet part of the ground.
October 6.There was discussion in Parliament at this
time as to expenditure for improving the Caledonian Canal. The new
Premier, Sir Robert Peel, had postponed consideration of the subject. An
article in this issue dwells on the importance of the Canal for local and
general purposes, and points out that the traffic upon it had been
regularly and constantly increasing.
Ibid.The Northern Meeting came off the previous week.
Competitions in piping and dancing took place in the Academy Park, and
athletic sports were held at the Longman. At one of the balls all the
ladies were in fancy dressesSpanish, Swiss, and ancient English costumes.
Ibid.On the 2nd inst. Bells institution in Farraline
Park was opened by the Provost, Magistrates, and Town Council. Provost
Nicol mentioned that Bailie Macandrew had taken the Iabouring oar in
carrying out the work of the Committee. Mr George Anderson had also given
valuable assistance. Part of the funds under Dr Bells trust had been
appropriated to the support of the Central and Merkinch Schools.
October 20.The Rev. Robert Macpherson, one of the
ministers of the Inverness High Church, died at Ventnor, Isle of Wight, on
the 6th inst., aged thirty-one. "The rev, gentleman had officiated amongst
us for six years, and had endeared himself to his parishioners by his
anxious endeavours to promote every scheme of practical benevolence and
public improvement, as well as by the faithful discharge of his public
duties." Rev. Mr Macdonald, who was then assistant to Dr Rose, and Rev.
Simon Mackintosh, formerly presentee to the parish of Daviot, were both
suggested for the vacancy.
Ibid.It is stated that Sir Edward Parry, a
distinguished naval officer, had been appointed by Government to make a
personal inquiry as regards the usefulness of the Caledonian Canal.
October 27.At a county meeting in Inverness a memorial
was adopted, urging the Government to carry out the works necessary to
make the Caledonian Canal secure and serviceable to the public. The
question of banding it over to a company was still discussed, but the
meeting held that in any case the works should be adequately completed by
the Government. The Canal was considered to be at the time in an imperfect
and dangerous state. Sir Edward Parry had arrived, and was carrying on a
survey along with Mr May, the resident engineer.
Ibid.It is stated that the excitement in Durness had
subsided, and that the tacksman had allowed his sub-tenants to remain in
their houses till the following May term. The hope was expressed that
something would be done in the interval for the people.
November 3.There is a sketch of omnibus traffic in
London, signed with the initials of Angus Bethune Reach. He mentions that
there were then 700 omnibuses licensed to run within ten miles of the
London Post-office. An article on old trees describes the fine chestnut at
Castle Leod, the large ash at Earlsmill, the hawthorn tree in Cawdor
Castle, and an old yew in Boleskine. The Earlsmill ash has since then
succumbed to the gale. What about the Boleskine yew? It is described in
1841 as "about fourteen feet in circumference and thirty-three feet high."
Ibid.The elections to the Inverness Town Council were
conducted with less excitement than at any time since the passing of the
Reform Bill. All the new members were Liberals. Provost Nicol was
re-elected without solicitation or canvass.
Ibid.Mr Charles Stewart, solicitor, presented his
Commission as Clerk of the Peace to the county of Inverness. The Justices
adopted a minute recording their appreciation of the services of Mr James
Grant of Bught, who had discharged the duties for 45 years, and had now
Ibid.A note on deer-stalking in Harris mentions that
the Earl of Dunmore and party had, during the season, killed ten stags,
some of them weighing 20 stone.
November 10.There is an interesting article on the
rural and sporting statistics of the West Highlands. The harvest had been
the most favourable for many years, and the crops were much above an
average. There had also been a prosperous fishing season, especially in
Lochalsh. The crop of grouse and deer had not been above an average, but
the weather was pleasant. "It is difficult," says the writer, to come at a
correct census of the quantity of game killed over an estate; but we hear
that the Gairloch party had twelve or fifteen red deer, from fifty to
seventy salmon (taken with the rod), and a corresponding quantity of
grouse. The Lochcarron partyhave had about 1000 brace of grouse,
four red deer, twelve roe, an immense number of salmon, hares, black cock,
and 345 ptarmigana bird that abounds on that mountainous property. So
late as the 25th of October we heard of one of the party killing twenty
brace of ptarmigan in a forenoon. At Lochalsh the party killed nine or ten
red deer, twice that number of roe, and from five to seven hundred brace
of red and white grouse, besides a fair number of salmon with the rod. At
Invergarry Lord Ward and party have had excellent sport. They had 1500
brace of grouse, fifty brace of ptarmigan, three red deer, and fifteen
roe, besides about twenty salmon angled in the river Garry. Such are a few
of the results. This new branch of trade or commerce has added greatly to
the rental of many Highland estates. Instances are not rare of the
shooting letting as high as the grazing of a mountain district. Some years
ago there was much difficulty in coming at or determining upon a fair rent
in an affair so purely ideal as the value of the sport over a propertythe
sportsman generally calculating upon the amount he could spend on the
pastime, and the landlord taking all he could get. Things are, however,
verging towards a bearing on this head, and the yearly marketable value of
the sport over a Highland property may at present be reckoned at something
like the following rate, grouse being the unit or standard of value, viz.
One red deer equal to 100 brace of grouse.
One roe deer equal to 20 brace do.
One salmon angled equal to 20 brace do.
One mountain hare equal to 1 brace do.
One brace of grouse being valued at 5s.
"Thus a shooting supposed capable of producing, on an
average of seasons, with fair sportsmen, 500 brace of grouse, would let
for £125. If the house accommodation is good, or the moor of high
reputation, a larger sum may be obtained, and we have known 10s a brace
offered for a months shooting." It is added that fifteen years purchase
was considered the value of the game on an estate. The writer thinks that
all fear of the sport being only the fashion of a day might be set aside.
Ibid.The results of municipal elections and
appointments to the magistracy are recorded. Dr Nicol was re-elected
Provost of Inverness, Mr Hugh Innes Cameron was Provost of Dingwall, and
Mr William Watson Provost of Cromarty. The Liberals had obtained a
majority in the Forres Town Council, and Mr Robert Urquhart was elected
Provost. "We congratulate the burgh," says the editor, "on obtaining the
services of Mr Urquhart as Provosthe will be a great acquisition to the
burgh, and his election reflects credit on the constituency and Council."
November 17.The birth of the Prince of Wales (King
Edward) on the 9th inst. is announced in the present issue. The happy
event was celebrated by rejoicings in Inverness and other places.
lbid.There is a further account of the Durness
disturbance. With reference to the first visit of the Sheriff-Substitute
and his party, it is stated that they arrived on the Saturday evening, and
a communication was made to them that if they abstained from acting until
Monday, the people would disperse and the individuals whom they wished to
take into custody would be delivered up. The authorities, however,
declined to make any promise. "This determination increased the irritation
and excitement of the crowd, said they were peremptorily required to take
their departurethe people preferring, as they themselves stated, to break
the law of man on the Saturday, to the commission of a breach of the law
of God by resisting the execution of the law of God on the Sunday; and
depart they accordingly did, in considerable alarm, but without a hair of
their heads being touched." There was afterwards a talk of sending a
military force, but the Lord Advocate, Sir William Rae, declined, and
despatched one of his deputies to accompany the Sheriff and other
officials on a second visit to the district. "This was done, and as all
who possessed any correct knowledge of the character and temper of the
people foresaw, they did not meet with the slightest molestation. The
business was investigated coolly and carefully. The parties in the wrong
acknowledged their error; and the result is understood to be that, upon an
impartial and humane view of the whole matter, the counsel for the Crown
have come to the conclusion that there are not sufficient grounds for a
criminal prosecution." Another account appears at a later date, denying
that on the occasion of the first visit the people had offered to give up
the incriminated pasties on Monday. Several of the officers, it is also
alleged, were knocked down and hurt.
November 24."Died, at Tullich Farm, Inveraray, on the
8th inst., Duncan Munro, aged 108 years, the oldest tenant on the Argyll
estate. He and his forefathers have possessed the same farm above 300
years. Duncan has lived to see four Dukes, and was lately, by his own
desire, visited by the heir apparent to the Dukedom. His eldest daughter,
aged 80, has a large family residence upon a farm within eight miles of
Tullich. She is still able to milk the cows, to go about and visit on foot
her fathers house. His youngest son alive, a feuar in Paisley, upwards of
70, is hale, stout, and hearty; has resided in Paisley 50 years."
December 8.On the previous Thursday the tenantry and
friends of Mr Hugh Rose of Kilravoch entertained him to a public dinner on
the occasion of a visit to his property after spending thirteen years in
India. The entertainment was held at Clephanton, and was attended by a
December 15.The Rev. Simon Mackintosh, who had given
up the presentation to the parish of Daviot, was appointed to succeed the
Rev. Mr Macpherson, of the third charge, in Inverness. The Rev. John Clark
was presented to Daviot.
Ibid.Mr Charles Shaw, W.S., factor for Lord Macdonald,
was appointed Sheriff-Substitute of the Long Island, and was succeeded in
the management of the Skye estates by Mr W. A. Mackinnon, Corry.
December 29.In the month of August Dr Balfour,
Professor of Botany in the University of Glasgow, accompanied by
scientific friends and a party of students, made a botanical tour through
the Outer Hebrides. The results were submitted to the botanical Society of
Edinburgh, and were now published. No new species were discovered, but the
visit was interesting as showing how the position of the islands checked
and moderated the effects of cold. In Harris scarcely a true Alpine plant
Ibid.On the 20th inst. a sharp shock of earthquake was
felt in Kintail. There was nothing peculiar in the state of the weather,
except a stillness in the atmosphere, which, however, was not uncommon.