Northern Highlands in the Nineteenth Century
The year 1827 is memorable for the
retirement of Lord Liverpool from the office of Prime Minister, which he
had held for fifteen years, and for the short and troubled term of George
Canning’s Premiership. Lord Liverpool was a man of remarkable tact, who
kept together a party and a Cabinet composed of conflicting elements. In
February 1827 he was laid aside by an apoplectic seizure, but so difficult
was it to fix on a successor that he was nominally kept in office until
April. "He never recovered sufficient consciousness to enable him to
resign his office." In April the King, much against his will, called on
George Canning to form an administration. Though Canning had been a
powerful Minister, he was greatly distrusted by the Tory party, and seven
of his colleagues resigned. He managed to construct a Government with the
aid of the Whigs, but his health was weak, and the opposition to which he
was subjected wore out his strength. He died on the 8th of August.
The Notes in the second part of 1827
give a good deal of information as to the social condition of the town and
district. The youth of Inverness seem to have been lawless, and smuggling
was still far from extinct. The note on the "black huts" in Highland
parishes possesses considerable interest.
From the "Inverness
January 3.—"Although the
choice of gas lights in this town has become pretty general in a very
brief space of time, yet we think it right to press the matter a little
further on the attention of our townsmen and of our readers in general. In
doing so, we feel ourselves justified, inasmuch as it was only since our
last publication that the formalities of establishing gas lights were gone
into. On the evenings of Thursday and Saturday last, Mr Anderson of Perth,
under whose special direction the gas lights of this town have been
brought to so happy a state of perfection, delivered two lectures in the
Town Hall on the benefits and economy of using this light in preference to
any other kind of artificial light yet discovered." A report of a passage
of Mr Anderson’s lectures
follows. Thedirectors of the gas works and other friends
celebrated the inauguration of the light by dining in the Caledonian
January 10.—The Duke of York died on
5th January, in the sixty-fourth year of his age. By his demise the
succession to the British Crown devolved on the Duke of Clarence,
afterwards William IV.; and it is noted that the next heir-presumptive was
the Princess Alexandrina Victoria, daughter of the late Duke of Kent.
Ibid.—A movement had sprung up in
the Northern Counties for a lighthouse in the Moray Firth. Some of the
petitions advocated the selection of Tarbatness as the site; others
proposed the Covesea or Stotfield Skerries. At this time there was no
lighthouse west of Peterhead. The disastrous storm of the previous
November had given an impetus to the movement.
January 17.—Severe weather, which
set in on the first day of the year, continued unabated. Frost snow, thaw,
and gales of wind, alternated in rapid succession. "There has consequently
been a greater irregularity in the arrival of the mails than has been
known since the month of February 1823, when nine mails were due one
morning in this town from the South. During the last fourteen days, four
of the Caithness mails were due here at a time; and the South mails were
oftener than once from 12 to 16 hours behind their stated hour. The rivers
flooded during the present week to an unprecedented extent"
Ibid.—Among gifts presented to the
Northern Institution the following are noted:—An ancient stone reading
desk, supported on a wreathed column, found while clearing out the
foundations of St Giles Church, Elgin. Two beautifully sculptured heads,
supposed to be from the roof of Elgin Cathedral. A small square of
coloured glass and four copper coins found in the rubbish of St Giles
Church. From Isaac Forsyth, Elgin.
January 24.—It is noted that at a
late meeting of the Commissioners of Northern Lighthouses, three
additional stations were resolved upon, viz., Tarbat-Ness, in the Moray
Firth; Cape Wrath, in Sutherland; and the Mull of Galloway, in
Wigtownshire. A paragraph in the next issue says that through the
exertions of Mr Wm. Young, of Burghead, the Commissioners were also likely
to place a lighthouse at Covesea.
February 14.—The subject of the Corn
Laws continues to be vigorously discussed. In this issue it is stated that
the Magistrates met in the Town Hall to consider the prices charged for
bread, and reduced the loaf a halfpenny. The following were the rates
fixed:—The quartern loaf of fine flour; 9½d the household loaf, 7½d.
"These prices," says the paragraph, "may be considered high, but taking
the acknowledged superiority of the Inverness bread and, the price of
flour into account, there is little cause for complaint."
February 28.—This issue gives a
report of the meeting in Edinburgh at which the authorship of the Waverley
Novels was publicly disclosed. The meeting was the festival of the patrons
of the Edinburgh Theatrical Fund. Lord Meadowbank made the announcement in
giving the health of Sir Walter Scott, and Scott, in a pawky speech,
March 7.—What is known as the
apocrypha controversy was at this time raging throughout the country. It
had to do with the sanction given by the British and Foreign Bible Society
to the circulation on the Continent of the apocryphal books bound up with
the Scriptures. The Inverness-shire Auxiliary discussed the question, and
adopted the following resolution:—"That the Inverness-shire Society for
disseminating the Bible ought to have the power of employing their funds
as they see most expedient, and therefore that they cease to be
exclusively an Auxiliary to any Society whatever."
March 14.—Terrible snow-storms were
experienced in the early days of this month. The storms were even more
severe in the South of Scotland and in the North of England than in the
Highlands. In the gales a great many vessels were wrecked.
March 28.—County meetings were held
to consider the proposals of the Government on the Corn Laws. At the
Inverness meeting it was resolved that the price of 60s per quarter for
wheat does not afford an adequate protection as wheat cannot be grown in
this country so as to remunerate the grower at a less price than 64s per
quarter; that the price of 32s per quarter for barley does not afford an
adequate remuneration to the grower, as barley cannot be grown in this
country at a less price than 35s per quarter; and that 26s for oats per
quarter is as low as that species of grain can be grown without injury to
the agriculturist. Other county meetings passed similar resolutions.
Ibid.—"Died, at Dalkeith, on the
11th curt., Mrs Isabella Ramsay, wife of James Watson Esq., representative
of the ancient families of Moray and Kinnaird of Culbin, in Moray-shire.
April 4.—"The elegant new Roman
Catholic Chapel built at Wester Eskadale, in Strathglass, by Thomas
Alexander Fraser, Esq. of Lovat, was opened on Sunday last for divine
Ibid.—One of the honorary members
elected to the Northern Institution was Mr R. I. Murchison (known later to
fame as Sir Roderick), secretary to the Geological Society of London. A
letter from Murchison was also read on the coal deposits at Brora. A paper
was read on the geology of the River Findhorn, written by Sir Thomas Dick
Lauder. A manuscript was also presented, which is described as "a curious
local record of occurrences in Inverness, which appears to have been kept
by the old family of Chives of Muirtown."
Ibid.—An article on public libraries
in the North contains some interesting information. "The first book shop
in Inverness appears to have been opened about the year 1775; but we
believe there are some persons still alive who recollect when the
stationery of our Northern Capital and its minor brethren was supplied by
the Postmaster alone, who generally kept a few sheets of writing paper,
pens, and ink, stuffed in among his packages of dried plums, sugar, and
tobacco. We have also been told by some kind old friends that in their
younger days the library of a respectable Highland laird often contained
no more than a copy of the Bible, a few almanacks, and parcels of the old
Edinburgh Advertiser or Scots Magazine." The oldest Subscription Library
in the North was that of Mr Forsyth, Elgin. It was established in 1780,
and now contained upwards of 5000 volumes. In 1820 a Subscription Library
was opened in Inverness, and about the same time similar associations were
started in Nairn, Campbelltown, Dingwall, Tain, Skye, Tobermory,
Fort-William, and Stromness. A library had been instituted at Forres some
years before. The article gives an account of the library of theological
and historical books bequeathed to Inverness in 1740 by Dr James Fraser,
of Chelsea, and still preserved in the Session-house of the Inverness High
Ibid.—"At Moy, near Forres, on the
17th ult., at an advanced age, Mrs Grant of Moy, wife of the late Colonel
Hugh Grant of Moy. This venerable lady was maternal aunt of the Marquis de
Lauriston, Marechal of France of Francis John William Law of Lauriston,
Esq., in the County of Edinburgh, and grand-aunt of Culling Charles Smith,
Esq., Receiver-General of the Customs of England brother-in-law of
Field-Marshal the Duke of Wellington. The mortal remains of Mrs Grant were
conveyed from Forres by a great number of the respectable gentlemen of
this neighbourhood to the family burying-ground in the retired valley of
Urquhart, on the banks of Loch-Ness and her interment may be noticed as
being among the lingering instances of a genuine Highland funeral, where
the wild music of the pipe, the feast, and the shell formed indispensable
accompaniments of the obsequies."
[Mary Cawalo Grant survived her husband, Colonel Hugh Grant of Moy
(1733-1822), but they had no issue - see Vol 17 under date of April 25,
April 18.—The Earl of Liverpool, who
had been long Prime Minister, was stricken with apoplexy in February, but
retained office until April. It is now announced that George Canning had
formed a new Administration, but he was opposed by a strong section of his
own party. Seven colleagues resigned on his appointment as Prime Minister.
Ibid.—The town of Inverness is
declared to be at this time "in a state of immorality and disorder,
scarcely ever remembered." There were many thefts and what are called
riots. "Such is the disorderly state of the town that none but a brave man
dare venture to be out after nightfall, liable as he is to be insulted or
to have his pocket picked." The want of an efficient police force
encouraged this state of things.
Ibid.—The previous week a party of
revenue men were compelled to retreat from Strathglass. They put up at the
public-house at Comar, and were warned that if they did not instantly
return, "after what they had already destroyed," worse would happen to
them. Mr Macniven, who was in charge of the party, disregarded the
warning, and next morning set forward. "About two miles beyond the
public-house a smart fire commenced from the upper grounds, and on
arriving in a narrow pass of the road, his further progress was opposed by
about twenty men, armed with muskets and arrayed within gunshot. The
Revenue party, consisting of ten men, being armed only with pistols and
short cutlasses, had no alternative but to retreat from the determined
purpose of slaughter shown by the smugglers, and retired accordingly from
the unequal contest nor is it of any avail for the Revenue officers to
attempt a seizure in that quarter until powerfully reinforced and
Ibid.—The prize essay by Mr John
Anderson on the state of the Highlands is noticed at length in this issue.
April 25.—"The Right Hon. Charles
Grant of Glenelg has paid a legacy of £200 left by his father to the
Society for Propagating Christian knowledge in Scotland. Mr Grant has made
a further donation of £50 from himself to that Society."
Ibid.—There is a long report of a
trial of three men from Caithness, charged with mobbing and rioting at the
Caithness election. They were found guilty of mobbing with intent to
obstruct, and were sentenced to three months imprisonment. As the Jail of
Wick was represented to be insufficient, they were ordered to be confined
in the Jail of Tain.
May 9.—"Died here on the 25th ult.,
Mr John Nicol, aged 62. The character of Mr Nicol afforded an eminent
example of the power and beauty of Christian principle. He was by trade a
common mason, and was deprived of sight in his 35th year; yet although
blind and comparatively indigent, he became an instrument of great
usefulness, particularly in the extension of religious instruction by
means of Sabbath Schools; and he was regarded among a wide circle of every
rank as an object of general reverence and esteem, for he adorned his
religious profession by singular devotedness, uprightness and sincerity.
His death being felt as a public loss, several of the Magistrates and
clergy of the town appeared as chief mourners at his funeral, and on the
following Sabbath, the Rev. John Macdonald of Urquhart delivered an
impressive funeral sermon to a crowded congregation."
May 23.—"We gather from the
proceedings in Parliament that a great improvement has taken place in
every branch connected with the trade of the manufacturing districts.
There has been a gradual improvement in the receipts of the revenue since
the commencement of the present quarter; and the Minister’s Budget is
likely to be much more satisfactory than was anticipated three months
May 30.—At the time of the meeting
of the General Assembly, a hundred gentlemen who took a warm interest in
the scheme for establishing additional schools and catechists in the
Highlands and Islands supped in the Waterloo Hotel. Principal Baird was in
the chair, and the croupiers were Lord Glenorchy, Macleod of Macleod, and
Dr Chalmers. It was mentioned that 35 schools had already been
established, and means of instruction conveyed to 2000 persons. The
success of the scheme, it was stated, was specially due to Dr Baird. It
may be noted that this supper party sat till two o’clock a.m.
Ibid.—The University of Tubingen
conferred the degree of Doctor of Medicine on Dr J I. Nicol, Inverness,
and elected him a member of the Faculty.
Ibid.—Lord Francis Leveson-Gower,
having accepted office as a Commissioner of the Treasury, had to seek
re-election for the County of Sutherland. The election took place at
Dornoch on the 23rd.
June 13.—"We notice with great
satisfaction the progress of several improvements in the way of taking
down old and ruinous houses and building new and handsome ones in their
room. The turnpike and the projecting turret which for upwards of a
century disfigured our High Street is now giving way for a fine modern
building of improved construction. An old tenement in Bridge Street,
opposite the Courthouse has likewise been taken down, and a new one is in
course of being built. The Commercial Banking Company have contracted for
an elegant building in Church Street, and our Theatre in Inglis Street has
been converted into spacious shops."
Ibid.—The Inverness Bible Society
voted £60 to the British and Foreign Bible Society; £20 to the same
Society to circulate Hebrew Testaments among the Jews; £20 to the Irish
Evangelical Society; and to the Edinburgh Gaelic Society £20 in aid of a
pocket edition of the Gaelic Bible—in all, £120.—The Northern Missionary
Society held its twenty-sixth anniversary meeting in Inverness. Collection
at the gate, £46 10s; donations and subscriptions, £23 15d.
June 20.—The Corn Bill promoted by
the Government was met in the House of Lords by an amendment, proposed by
the Duke of Wellington. The amendment was carried, and the bill was lost.
A temporary measure was passed releasing corn in bond.
June 27.—The Duke of Gordon died on
the 17th curt. at his residence in Mount Street, Berkeley Square, London.
Ho was horn in 1743, and succeeded his father in 1752. He married in 1767
Jane, daughter of William Maxwell of Monreath, who died in 1812, and by
whom he had issue—George, Marquis of Huntly, born in 1770; and five
daughters, namely Duchess-Dowager of Richmond, Lady Margaret Palmer,
Duchess of Manchester, Marchioness Cornwallis, and Duchess of Bedford. The
notice of the Duke says —"To those who enjoyed the hospitality of Gordon
Castle his affability was peculiarly pleasing. It was not the affected
condescension of the great man to his inferiors, but the genuine
politeness of a nobleman who preserved his own dignity without forcing on
others the consciousness of their own humbler lot. He was for more than
half-a-century in possession of the Gordon Estates, and his tenants were
often heard to remark, in their unsophisticated style of praise, ‘that the
Duke’s word was as good as his bond.’ That his Grace had failings which
embittered his domestic life we shall neither deny nor extenuate; but in
spite of them we have no hesitation in saying that he will be long
remembered and deeply regretted by those who had the honour of his
acquaintance." The Marquis of Huntly, who had long been a man of mark in
the country, now succeeded his father as Duke of Gordon.
Ibid.—The improved state of the
country is the subject of a long article connected with the annual Sheep
and Wool Market. As to this market, the writer says —"We have the best
grounds for knowing that about 120,000 stones of wool and 150,000 sheep
were disposed of on terms generally agreeable to all parties. The prices
on an average were from 15 to 20 per cent. higher than those of last year,
and more than 50 per cent. better than could have been justly expected,
considering the state of the country at the close of last year and at the
commencement of the present one.
Ibid.—John Peter Grant, Esq. of
Rothiemurchus late M.P. for Tavistock, is appointed one of the Judges of
the Supreme Court of Bombay.
July 4—There is a notice of the
death of Mr Alexander Wilson, tenant of Gervally, a native of
Berwickshire, who had been brought north in 1798 by Mr Cumming of Relugas
to superintend improvements on his estate. Mr Wilson afterwards carried
out improvements at Dunphail and Logie, and Mr Peterkin’s property of
Grange. He became tenant of the farms of Downduff, Logie, Ardoch, and
Gervally, which "gave him complete control over an extensive range of the
twin valleys of the Findhorn and Divie, where the barren parts felt the
full influence of his exertions, and the rugged wilderness became a
smiling land, spreading its yellow crops widely beneath the autumnal sun."
The Counties of Moray and Nairn, it is stated, benefited greatly by his
superior skill in engineering public roads and other country operations.
He is spoken of as a man of great independence and integrity, and
Ibid.—A gang of thieves who had long
infested the town Inverness attacked a man in the Green of Muirtown, and
robbed him of a pocket-book containing a deposit receipt of £70. It is
stated that seven persons were implicated, and three young men were soon
apprehended. "The state of the town," says the paragraph, "loudly calls
for the establishment of an efficient police, and a power to inflict
summary punishments on such characters."
July 11.—At a general meeting of the
shareholders of the Gas and Water Company, the directors gave in their
financial report, showing capital stock called up and obligations due by
the Company amounting in all to £8736. The directors did not think it
would be prudent or advantageous as yet "to commence active operations in
the water department; but they trusted that at no distant period this
improvement, so long and so much wanted in Inverness, would he gone into."
July 25.—At the High Court of
Justiciary on the 15th inst., two men from the Cabrach were tried for
being among a party which had opposed the Revenue officers with fire-arms.
The party numbered from 15 to 20 men, and fired several volleys at the
officers, wounding one man. The accused, who pleaded guilty to deforcement
were sentenced to transportation for life. Other two had been charged. One
did not appear, and was outlawed, while an objection was sustained to the
citation of the other.
Ibid.—A party of the 74th Regiments
whose depot was at Perth, was detached to Castleton of Braemar, and
another from the 25th Regiment at Aberdeen to Corgarf, with the view of
assisting to suppress smuggling in these quarters.
August 1.—The remains of the late
Duke of Gordon were brought north to Gordon Castle, where they lay in
state for several days. On the 24th ult. they were interred with great
ceremony in the family tomb in Elgin Cathedral. A long account is given of
August 8.—At a county meeting, it
was unanimously resolved to erect toll gates on the Fort-George Road and
the Highland Road under the provisions of the Road Act, Mr Mitchell being
authorised to erect these gates where he considered proper. The meeting
resolved to apply for powers to erect further tolls.
Ibid.—The death is announced of Mr
Charles Pickton, teacher of the Inverness Central School, where he had
charge of 400 children under the Lancastrian system. Mr Pickton was a
native of England, and at the head of a large school in New York before
coming to Inverness. He had to leave the States on account of ill-health.
In Inverness he was very successful and much respected.
August 15.—The death is announced of
the Prime Minister, George Canning, and a warm tribute is paid to his
talents and services.
lbid.—Lord Colchester was at this
time in the North on a tour of inspection of the Parliamentary roads and
bridges. He was presented with the freedom of the burghs of Inverness,
Dingwall, Tain, and Dornoch. At Inverness, at the same time, Mr Fraser of
Lovat, "who possesses a high hereditary claim to this privilege," was also
presented with the freedom.
August 22.—"John Macdonald, a
Highlander, died at Edinburgh last week at the advanced age of 107. He was
born in Glen-Tinsdale, in the Isle of Skye, and like the other natives of
that quarter, was bred to rural labour. Early one morning, while looking
after his black cattle, he was surprised by the sight of two ladies, as he
thought, winding slowly round a hill, and approaching the spot where he
stood. When they came up, they inquired for a well or stream where a drink
of water could be obtained. He conducted them to the Virgin Well, an
excellent spring, which was held in great reverence on account of its
being the scene of some superstitious and legendary tales. When they had
quenched their thirst, one of the ladies rewarded Macdonald with a
shilling, the first silver coin of which he was possessed. At their own
request, he escorted them to a gentleman’s house at some distance; and
there, to his great surprise and satisfaction, he learned that the two
‘ladies’ were Flora Macdonald and Prince Charles Stewart. This was the
proudest incident in Macdonald’s patriarchal life, and when surrounded by
his Celtic brethren, he used to dilate on all the relative circumstances
with a sort of hereditary enthusiasm and more than the common garrulity of
age. He afterwards turned joiner, and bore a conspicuous part in the
building of the first Protestant Church which was erected in the Island of
North Uist. He came to Edinburgh 23 years ago, and continued to work at
his trade till he was 97 years of age. He was a temperate, regular-living
man, and never had an hour’s sickness in the whole course of his life. He
used to dance regularly on New-Year’s Days along with some Highland
friends, to the bagpipe. On New-Year’s Day 1825 he danced a reel with the
father, the son, the grandson and great-grandson, and was in more than his
usual spirits: His hearing was nothing impaired, and till within three
weeks of his demise without glasses he could have threaded the finest
needle with facility." This paragraph is quoted from an Edinburgh paper.
August 29.—"Bands of shearers who
went from our Northern Division of the island to the South in search of
employments as for many years they have been wont to do for lack of
sufficient work at home, are daily returning in the most wretched state of
destitution. The influx of Irish into the South, who seem willing to work
for the merest pittance, appears to have rendered the harvest labour a
drug in the market. To keep life in the body, some of our poor country
people report they would work for fourpence a day and their maintenance;
but even this they could not obtain, and they are now begging their way
September 5.—On Tuesday, 21st ult.,
the Rev. Roderick Macrae was admitted minister of the Government Church
lately built at Shieldaig, in the parish of Applecross, Presbytery of
Ioch-carron. Mr Macrae had laboured for upwards of 30 years in Torridon.
The Dowager Mrs Mackenzie of Applecross presented a service of plate to
the church in memory of her daughter. "This," says the paragraph, "is the
first settlement of a minister that has as yet taken place in any one of
the Government churches in the Highlands."
Ibid.—The issue contains the speech
delivered in the House of Commons in 1782 by the Hon. Archibald Fraser of
Lovat in seconding the motion of the Marquis of Montrose in favour of
repealing the Act making it illegal to wear the Highland dress.
September 12.—Seven toll bars are
reported as in course of erection, one on the Fort—George Road below the
farm of Seafield, and the others between Castlehill and Dalwhinnie. This
measure led to proposals, especially by the County of Sutherland, for the
reopening of the old drove roads. Correspondence appears on the subject in
our columns, and discussions took place at county meetings.
September 26.—Three young men who
robbed a man of his pocket-book in Telford Street in July were tried in
the Circuit Court, and were each sentenced to transportation for 14 years.
A fourth man had escaped.
October 3.—John Frederick Lord
Cawdor was created Viscount Emlyn and Earl Cawdor.
Ibid.—James Grant of Bught was
elected Provost of Inverness.
Ibid.—The Northern Meeting was held
in the last week of September, accompanied by the races at Duneancroy. No
special feature is reported.
October 10.—Died, at Inverness, on
the 27th ult., in the 68th year of her age, Mrs Annabella Fraser, widow of
Mr Alexander Fraser late merchant in Inverness, after a few days illness.
No particulars of Mrs Fraser’s life are given, but her character and good
works are spoken of in such terms as to show that she occupied a place of
importance in the town. [see story
about the family of Alexander Fraser & Annabella Munro at
October 17.—James Fowler of Baddery
elected Provost of Fortrose; Alexander Fraser of Inchcoulter, Provost of
Dingwall; Right Hon. W. Dundas, Lord Register of Scotland, Provost of Tain.
October 31.—At the annual meeting of
the Northern Institution there was submitted a letter to the Secretary
from the late Right Hon. George Canning in return for a copy of the Prize
Essay published by the Institution. The letter was holograph, and was
written but shortly before Mr Canning was attacked by his fatal illness.
It was dated 11th July.
November 7.—Intimation is made that
the Rev. Mr Clark was to preach an English sermon every Sunday evening at
6 o’clock in the Gaelic Church. "The opportunity of public worship is
hereby afforded to those who are not otherwise employed in religious
exercises on the Lord’s Day." The church had been fitted up with gas
Ibid.—The new Episcopal Chapel at
Fortrose was opened on the 1st inst. After the usual services an important
sermon was preached by the Rev Charles Fyvie, Inverness.
November 14.—"Despatches were
received at the Admiralty on Saturday last, announcing the total
destruction on the 20th of October of the combined Turkish and Egyptian
Fleets in the Harbour of Navarino, by the English, French, and Russian
squadrons. Out of 70 ships of war, of which the Turkish Fleet consisted,
only eight of the smaller vessels escaped."
Ibid.—"Owing to the vigilance of
Captain Oliver, of the Revenue cutter Prince of Wales, and the new Excise
officers on shore, smuggling is now so completely put down in the Long
Island that there is actually not a drop of illicit whisky to be got from
the Butt of Lewis to Barra Head; and there is probably at this moment a
larger supply of legal whisky on its way from Greenock, for the supply of
Stornoway alone, than was ever imported into the whole Hebrides before."
Ibid.—The issue contains a long and
interesting account of a trip through the Reay county in Sutherland. The
writer describes Loch-Shin, Tongue, the moor called the Moin, Loch-Eriboll,
and the Durness district. The Moin is described as "in many parts so boggy
that our horses frequently sunk beyond their knees."
November 21.—In this number there is
a notice of the first edition of Chambers’s History of the ‘45. An extract
is given of the account of
the Rout of Moy, and a note appended to it says :
—"Lady Drummuir’s House is the third below the Mason Lodge in Church
Street. It is still a house of respectable appearance; but though
remarkable as the best house in the town, and the only one containing a
room in which there was not a bed, it is now but one of second-rate
quality in this thriving and fast-improving town. The bedroom occupied by
the Prince and Duke is at the back of the house, with a window commanding
a view of the garden."
November 28.—Previous to this time
there was no path to the Fall of Foyers. Lord Colchester, on his recent
visit, suggested that an access should be formed, and left £5 with Mr
Mitchell, C.E., as the beginning of a subscription for this purpose.
Ibid.—There is a long letter, with
an introductory article, on the subject of the houses of the Highland
peasantry. An uncomfortable picture is given of the black huts with the
outlet for smoke in the roof, and the adjoining cow-house, stable, and
barn. The writer of the letter estimates the population of an ordinary
Highland parish at 2000, and says that three-fourths, or more commonly
four-fifths, live in black huts. He thinks that there are 500 huts and 500
outhouses, making a total of 1000; and that the cost of erection is £12
a-piece, or £12,000 for the parish. Some of these houses, however,
required repair every two or three years, and none could do without repair
more than five years, "so that every five years they cost in repairing
about half the original price of the building." The writer argued for the
erection of a better class of house, rather more expensive (he puts the
cost at £20!), but more durable and therefore more economical.
December 12.—"The British and
Foreign Bible Society, in consequence of a representation made to them of
the scarcity of Bibles in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, have
requested the Inverness-shire Bible Society to take the most effectual
measures for supplying the wants of the people, so far as it is
practicable to ascertain them. For this end two thousand Gaelic Bibles and
Testaments and English Scriptures to the value of £100 were voted on the
3rd inst. for cheap sale and gratuitous distribution, to be at the
disposal of the Inverness-shire Society. These are given as a first grant,
with the express understanding that further and ample grants are to be
expected so soon as these are disposed of."
Ibid.—The Earl of Moray presented
the Rev. Mr Ferries, Avoch, to the Church of Edinkillie, vacant by the
death of Rev. Mr Macfarlane, the previous incumbent.
December 19.—"The beneficial
consequences of Lord Colchester’s recent visit to the Highlands begin to
manifest themselves. The heavy said impolitic dues on the Caledonian Canal
which amounted almost to a prohibition of the use of that great and useful
work have been reduced one-half. . . The Highlands of Scotland owe much to
the labours of this Nobleman. Not only the Canal, but the great lines of
roads through the Northern Counties were executed by a Commission of which
he was a leading and representative member, and his recent visit to this
county was, we believe, undertaken with a view to consolidate and complete
the great works of internal communication, both by land and water, to
which his labours have been so long and so happily directed."
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