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The Northern Highlands in the Nineteenth Century
No. 17


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 O’Connell 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 votes—317 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 of 68.

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 preacher.

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 road.

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 journalist.

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 o’clock 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 Church controversy.

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 operations.

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 females—sisters, 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 Tuckett’s 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 votes—301 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 gas—an 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 effected.

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 Munro’s 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 countries—the Chinese mandarin, Albanian chief, nobles and courtiers of the olden time, Highland chiefs, officers, jockeys, and sailors—while 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-law’s 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 Andrew’s 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 Government—317 to 281. Sir Robert Peel, in a speech of two hours, pledged himself only to one point—the 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 Queen’s 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 o’clock 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 o’clock 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-arms—a 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 one—the 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 controversy.

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 contest.

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 Mehemet Ali.

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 Episcopal Church.

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 1d 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 about eighty."

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 Nairn.

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).

Ibid—Two 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 spiritual independence.

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 warmly commended.

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 being three.

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 Loch.

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 inmates."

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 shape—like veterans once bright and powerful, but rusted by years of inglorious retirement."

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.

Ibid—There is a notice of Hugh Miller’s 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 Walton’s Angler and White’s 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 Cook’s 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 Saltoun’s 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 450.

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 England.

Ibid—A 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 issue.

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 dresses—Spanish, Swiss, and ancient English costumes.

Ibid.—On the 2nd inst. Bell’s 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 Bell’s 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 resigned.

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 party have had about 1000 brace of grouse, four red deer, twelve roe, an immense number of salmon, hares, black cock, and 345 ptarmigan—a 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 property—the 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 month’s 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 Provost—he 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 departure—the 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 father’s 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 large company.

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 was found.

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.


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