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The Northern Highlands in the Nineteenth Century
No. 3


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 Courier."
1827.

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. The directors of the gas works and other friends celebrated the inauguration of the light by dining in the Caledonian Hotel.

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; 9d the household loaf, 7d. "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, replied.

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 worship."

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 Church.

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, 1822.]

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 efficiently armed."

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 ago."

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 universally respected.

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 the funeral.

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 home."

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 http://www.electricscotland.com/canada/fraser/chasing_ancestors.htm]

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 lights.

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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