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The Northern Highlands in the Nineteenth Century
No. 6


The year 1830 is the dividing line between two political eras. When the year began, however, the premonitions of change showed themselves only in general mutterings and discontent. The Government of the Duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel had been weakened by the Act of Catholic Emancipation, which was resented by a large section of his own party. The Duke had previously parted with an influential section of the Whigs, and the Opposition was rapidly becoming compact and powerful, reinforced on occasion by Tory malcontents. The subject of electoral reform was coming to the front, though more slowly than one would imagine at this distance of time. The real grievance arose from the distress of the country. Manufacturers and agriculturists were both suffering to such an extent that a member of Parliament described the working classes as approaching starvation. When Parliament met in February 1830 the House of Commons was disappointed by the cold terms in which the Royal speech spoke of the condition of affairs. This intensified the feelings of dissatisfaction which had previously existed, and Ministers had a troubled time. While the political temper was in this unsettled state, George Fourth died in the month of June.

The second half of 1830 had scarcely begun when the Revolution broke out in France which drove Charles X. from the throne, and set up Louis Philippe. The movement was hailed with enthusiasm in Britain, where the autocratic policy of Charles and his Minister Prince de Polignac was regarded with strong aversion. The upheaval in France excited Belgium, which disliked the connection with Holland established by the Congress of Vienna in 1815, and a revolt at Brussels ended before the close of the year, in the establishment of Belgian independence. Events on the Continent reacted on this country, and created a strong desire for political Reform.

The new King, William IV., had been welcomed on his accession to the Throne, but his popularity did not strengthen the Duke of Wellington’s administration. The new Parliament which was summoned on the accession of the King speedily showed its dissatisfaction with the Cabinet. The Houses assembled on the 26th of October, and got to business early in November. Earl Grey, referring to the disturbances on the Continent, spoke in the Lords of the importance of securing the affections of their fellow-subjects by reforming Parliament. The Duke of Wellington at once took up a position of hopeless antagonism. He said "he had never heard or read of any measure up to the present moment which could in any degree satisfy his mind that the state of the representation could be improved, or be rendered more satisfactory to the country at Large than at the present moment." There is a story that the Tory Peers were themselves so amazed at this declaration that when Wellington sat down, a hum of criticism arose through the House; and the Duke, on asking a colleague what it meant, received the reply, "You have announced the fall of your Government, that is all." The actual defeat, however, came on a motion in the House of Commons, proposed by Sir Henry Parnell, for a Committee on the Civil List. This motion was carried on the 15th of November by a majority of 29, and the Ministry resigned. Earl Grey was sent for to form an administration, and Brougham became Lord Chancellor. Lord Althorp was selected as Chancellor of the Exchequer and leader of the House of Commons, with Lord John Russell as one of his most active colleagues.. It was understood from the outset that Parliamentary Reform would engage the attention of the new Ministry.

The year 1830 is famous for the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, which proved beyond dispute the value of the form of locomotion advocated by George Stephenson. The opening ceremony occurred on 15th September. Unfortunately the occasion was marred by an accident which proved fatal to William Huskisson, the member for Liverpool, a man who had done eminent service as a statesman and financier. Huskisson was knocked down by a passing engine, and died on the evening of the same day.

From the "Inverness Courier."
1830.

January 6.—A few days before there was launched at Cromarty, from the shipyard of Hugh Allan, a large handsome schooner, which was christened "The Sutors of Cromarty." The launch is described by a correspondent evidently Hugh Miller, who makes the incident the occasion for a column of interesting traditions.

January 13.—There is a long account in this issue of a case that arose in connection with the administration of Dr White’s charity, Rosskeen. The case is not now of special interest, but the extract from the will of the testator, Dr White, of Bombay, may be quoted:—"I direct that £2000 sterling be founded or mortified in that parish [Rosskeen] for the decayed and modest poor—that the interest of the above sum be annually distributed among the most indigent, in sums from three to five pounds yearly, caeteris paribus the name of Bethune to be preferred. The minister for the time being and elders to be managers, with two of the chief heritors in rotation of twenty years."

January 20.—The Magistrates and bakers of Inverness met to consider the price of bread, and agreed to reduce it a penny per 4-lb. loaf. The price of this loaf for fine bread was fixed at ninepence, and second quality sevenpence.

Ibid.—The Reay country had recently been acquired by the house of Sutherland, and extensive improvements were contemplated. "A complete survey has been made of the whole, and roads and bridges are forthwith to be entered upon. The people seem highly gratified that since it was found necessary to dispose of the estate, it has fallen into the hands of the present noble proprietor, the Marquis of Stafford, whose public spirit will undoubtedly supply the natives with means of employment, and thus materially better their condition. The lands of the noble Marquis in the North, by this recent extension, stretch over a tract of country exceeding, in a direct line, one hundred miles."

January 27.—Subscriptions for the improvements of the Ness Islands had reached the amount of £803 8s 6d. It was hoped that further contributions would be obtained to enable the committee to complete their original scheme of throwing a bridge over the western branch of the river, and so connecting the banks on both sides. In the next issue an additional sum of £50 was announced from Mr David Inglis, London, making his contribution £100.

Ibid.—A letter from Stornoway states that the Hon. Mrs Stewart Mackenzie had established five Sabbath Schools in that town, besides a female school where the children of the poor were taught during the week English, Gaelic, writing, and needlework; also a Sabbath evening school for the instruction of female servants. The same lady was endeavouring to establish similar schools in other parishes in the Lews.

February 3.—The price of bread in Inverness is the subject of discussion. Two points of some interest are brought out. One is that the loaf sold here for 9d was then 5 ounces 8 drams less in weight than the loaf sold in Edinburgh for 8d. The other has reference to the legal position of the trade. "We are told," says the editor, "that the bakers are by law allowed 25 per cent., and that as the Magistrates cannot interfere with them within this allowance the best way to reduce prices would be to establish a competition."

Ibid.—A meeting was held at Elgin to consider the question of lighting the town with gas. "It was resolved that the Magistrates, having agreed to pay annually for five years the sum of £35, the inhabitants should assess themselves in a rate of 4d per pound rent for a like period of five years. All houses under £5 rent being exempted from the assessment." The meeting next resolved to form a joint stock company, with a capital of £2500, and within half-an-hour £1640 worth of shares were taken.

Ibid.—At an Excise Court held in Grantown, a number of persons were cited for having in their possession candle-moulds or home-made candles, without having paid duty. The Excise officers had made a raid in the district, and brought up between forty and fifty cases. The Justices would not convict where only one candle was found, or where moulds only were produced, holding "that the mere possession of a mould did not constitute a breach of the Excise laws." In cases where more than one candle was found, the Court awarded a "mitigated" penalty of £25, with a recommendation to the Board of Excise to exact no more than a nominal fine. This raid led to an angry correspondence in subsequent numbers. The Excise officers alleged that the candles were not made for home use but were turned out in considerable numbers for sale. They had seized as many as 32 stones of candles.

February 10—Two serious crimes are reported in this number. One is the murder of a lonely woman named Helen Mackenzie, sixty years of age, at her cottage near the mill-dam of Achnagarren, Easter Ross. The motive was robbery, as she was believed to possess money. A search through subsequent files shows that the authorities failed to discover the murderer.  The other serious case was the robbery of a pedlar near Grantown. The poor man was attacked and left insensible. He was robbed of £23 in money, and of goods to the value of £30. The perpetrators of this outrage were not discovered, at least at the time.

Ibid.—The debates at the opening of Parliament are reported at considerable length. The Government of the Duke of Wellington was getting into those difficulties which led to his first Reform Bill. A clause in the Royal Speech, which represented the distress in this country as local or partial, was keenly resented.

February 17.—The death of General Stewart of Garth, Governor of the Island of St Lucia, occurred on 18th December. "The General was known as a gallant soldier, and no less known as the author of one of the most interesting books in the language—’Sketches of the Highlands, &c.’ We lately saw a letter from the General, written in high health and spirits, in which he indulged the anticipation of long and happy days in St Lucia. He had begun a number of improvements towards the completion of which he was looking eagerly forward, little dreaming of the melancholy event that was so nigh at hand."

lbid.—"Early in the morning of Saturday, the 6th inst., before daylight, as a party of Excise officers were returning from a survey in the Dingwall district, after destroying a quantity of malt, they were fired at from amongst some bushes by the roadside at Crofts of Ardnagrask, near the Muir of Ord. One of the men had two slug shots fired through his hat, and his head was slightly grazed, but none of the party were injured. As the Excisemen were ignorant of the strength of the party, they judged it best to pursue their journey without attempting to seize their assailants."

February 24.—At a meeting of the Magistrates and bakers of Inverness, held on this date, it was resolved to return to the old weight of the quartern loaf, 4 lbs. 5 oz. 8 dr., and to fix the price as follows : —Fine quartern loaf, 9d; second do., 7d; and the small bread in proportion. This change was due to threatened competition, and the paragraph says that "we think the old monopoly is now fairly broken down, and will never again be so firmly established."

March 3.—A very beautifully executed series of drawings by a lady, done from the etchings of Mr Petley, of the carved stones at Nigg and Shandwick in Ross-shire, were laid before the Northern Institution. They were intended for the Royal Antiquarian Society of Copenhagen, between whom and the Northern Institution a correspondence had for some time subsisted. At the same meeting Mr George Anderson, the secretary, read a paper on vitrified forts.

Ibid.—The baptism of a converted Jew, which took place in the Inverness Gaelic Church, caused some local excitement. The ceremony was performed by the Rev. Mr Clark. The man was a native of Warsaw, named Ezekiel or Caspar Auerback, and was a hawker of stationery and other articles.

March 10.—There is a description of a wild boar hunt which took place by the side of the Deveron, in Banffshire. Some years previously the Earl of Fife had imported a boar and three sows from Germany, but they and their progeny had dropped off one by one, except a single fine boar, which haunted the district. During a snowstorm, however, he became a terror to the people, and the country-side turned out with dog and gun to despatch him. "His path was easily tracked in the snow, and on meeting the fierce intruder a spirited scene ensued. His extraordinary speed, no less than his ferocity, kept the belligerents at bay for some time, but he was at length destroyed, pierced by a number of bullets."

March 17.—The steamer Maid of Morven, from Inverness to Glasgow, foundered at Oban quay. She had taken the ground when the tide receded, and the weight of goods overbalanced her. No lives were lost.

March 31.—The foundation-stone of Anderson’s Institution was laid at Elgin on the previous Wednesday with Masonic honours. The members of two lodges took part in the ceremony, namely, Kilmolymock Lodge and Trinity Lodge. The foundation-stone was laid by the Grandmaster, William Brodie of Brodie.

April 7.—"The fever of emigration is at present raging in its height in the county of Sutherland, and the wilds of Upper Canada are this year the chosen scene for this voluntary exile. Vessels have been freighted to sail about the end of May, and no less than three hundred males, besides children, have already registered their names as passengers."

April 14.—From the report of the Commissioners on Highland Roads and Bridges it appeared that £1800 had been expended in repairing the damage caused by the floods of 1829, and that other £10,000 would be required.

Ibid.—A movement was on foot to establish an Academy at Nairn, and a list of subscriptions is given.—A Mechanics’ Institute was also set on foot at Nairn.

April 21 and 28.—A jury trial was held at Inverness, in which the Hon. Mrs Hay Mackenzie was pursuer and Sir Hugh Munro, Bart. of Fowlis, was defender. The case related to the possession of a small glen on Ben-Nevis, called Corrienafiole, occupied as a summer grazing and a shooting ground in the autumn. A great number of witnesses were examined in Gaelic. The trial lasted for three days, and in the end the jury found for the pursuer.

Ibid.—The first notice appears of the Assynt murderer, famous in local annals. The body of a pedlar named Murdo Grant, who is described as a steady respectable young man, was found in a loch in Assynt. The marks on his body showed that it was too probable he had met with a violent death. The Sheriff of Sutherland and the Procurator-Fiscal, who were attending the Circuit Court at Inverness when the news arrived, set off to investigate the matter.

May 5.—There are reports of discussions at the Synod of Moray and the Presbytery of Inverness relative to the law of patronage. At both, the Rev. Mr Clark, Inverness, moved an overture to the General Assembly urging the propriety of enacting that before a minister could be inducted to a church, a call to him must be regularly signed by a majority of the male communicants of a parish. Rev. Mr Fraser, of Kirkhill, seconded. The overture was rejected in the Synod by 20 votes to 9, and in the Presbytery by 5 votes to 4. One of the arguments against the overture was that it would bring the Church into collision with the civil law.

May 28.—"Sir Robert Peel, the venerable father of Mr Secretary Peel, died on Monday week, and the consequent absence of the Secretary has caused some interruption to the business of the House of Commons. Several motions have been postponed, and the House adjourned on Thursday night to Monday. Mr O'Connell and Lord John Russell have postponed their motions on the subject of the reform of the representation of the people, which stood for Thursday, till Friday, May 28."

Ibid.—It is stated that a young man named Macleod, had been arrested in Assynt on suspicion of being connected with the murder of the pedlar, Murdoch Grant. The body of the murdered man had been dreadfully bruised and mangled by a hatchet or hammer. It was known that he had left his native parish of Lochbroom with goods in his pack to the value of at least £50, and money on his person to the amount of £5. Suspicion alighted on Macleod from his changing a £5 bank note.

May 19.—The trial of a will case, known as the Dundonnell cause, occupies a large part of the paper. The jury were unable to agree, and were discharged.

Ibid.—Among the donations to the Northern Institution was a set of preserved specimens of the Linnaea borealis in flower, gathered on the Knock of Alves, near Elgin, by the Rev. George Gordon of that town. From the same gentleman there was also laid on the table a complete and valuable assortment of the rocks found in the lower district of Morayshire, accompanied by a memoir on the geology of that part of the country. Mr George Anderson, the Secretary, also read a paper on the great boulder Tom Riach, which stands on the south bank of the River Nairn, about two miles from Culloden battlefield.

May 26.—The Right Hon. Charles Grant, M.P., presented the Rev. Alexander Beith, minister at Kilbrandon, to the parish of Glenelg, in the Presbytery of Lochcarron.

June 2.—On the 24th ult. a Cromarty boat, returning from Wick with passengers, struck on a rock in the neighbourhood of Dunbeath, and all on board, with one exception perished. Ten lives were lost, including a family named Ross from Tain, consisting of husband and wife and six children. "It is not a little remarkable," says the report, "that since the middle of autumn last a greater number of the inhabitants of Cromarty have perished at sea than for the thirty years preceding."

June 9.—The question whether Catholics were liable for fees to Session Clerks was decided in the negative by the Sheriff-Substitute at Inverness. The case arose out of a claim made by the Session-Clerk of Kilmonivaig for registering the births and marriages of certain of the parishioners who were Roman Catholics. The entries were made without the knowledge or consent of the parents.

Ibid.—"We understand that the important cause betwixt Glengarry and the Caledonian Canal Commissioners, which has been for some years in the Court of Session, was decided in favour of the Commissioners on Saturday last. The case related to the possession of Loch-Oich which is surrounded by lands belonging to Glengarry, and for the use of which, in the formation of the Canal, he claimed compensation from the Commissioners, The decision goes to establish what was urged for the defenders, that an inland loch is the property of the surrounding proprietors, only while it is of no use to the public, and that the public have a right to convert such lochs to the public benefit whenever practicable."

June 23.—The Inverness Wool Market was held the previous week. Prices for wool were a shade higher than the previous year, but prices for sheep were at least twenty per cent down. Not one-fourth of the usual business was transacted. A long-argued question concerning the date of the fair was settled. Hitherto it had been held in the middle of June. At a meeting, however, held on this occasion, it was resolved to postpone the time till the second Thursday of July and to make application to the Magistrates to sanction the change. Complaint was made of the high tolls charged for sheep. It was also stated that a disease which shepherds called "trembling" had appeared amongst flocks on their way South. It was supposed to be due to bad accommodation on the road, and to the fatigue of travelling on the hard, dry turnpikes.

Ibid.—The previous week two brigs left Cromarty for Quebec, carrying between them about 320 passengers. About a fortnight before another vessel sailed from the North with emigrants, and altogether it was believed that 600 persons, chiefly from Sutherland, had quitted their native country. This emigration seems to have sprung generally from the favourable representations of friends already settled in Canada. Many of the emigrants possessed property, and many were young and eager for adventure.

June 30.—This number announces the death of King George IV. The bulletin issued by the King’s medical attendants was as follows : —‘Windsor Castle, June 26. It has pleased Almighty God to take from the world the King’s Most Excellent Majesty. His Majesty expired at a quarter-past three o’clock this morning without pain."

Ibid.—On the 21st inst. the foundation stone of a branch of the National Bank was laid at Portree, in the Isle of Skye, and also of a commodious Inn. The ceremony took place with Masonic honours.

July 7.-On the previous Friday, at noon, the ceremony of proclaiming King William IV. was performed at the Cross of Inverness by the Sheriff-Depute of the County, in presence of the Magistrates of Inverness. the Sheriff-Substitute, and a large gathering. After the proclamation, the Militia Staff fired three volleys. The Sheriff-Depute and Magistrates then retired to the Town Hall, where the oaths of allegiance were administered to the public officers, Justices of the Peace, and Procurators, before the Sheriff Court. The proclamation was also made at Tain and Nairn by the Sheriff or Sheriff-Substitute.

Ibid.—"Post riders have now been established to start twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays, from Golspie, for Tongue, Assynt, Lairg, and Lochinver. When the new road, which is now in progress, is completed letters will also be transmitted by riders to Durness and Scourie."

July 14.—Parliament was dissolved on the demise of King George IV., and in the county of Inverness a contest was at once begun. The Right Hon. Charles Grant was opposed by Macleod of Macleod. The latter grounded his claims on his adherence to the administration of the Duke of Wellington, from which Mr Grant had withdrawn. At the same time the Magistrates and Town Council of Inverness resolved to support Colonel Baillie of Leys as their candidate for the Inverness Burghs. "Nairn and Forres, we understand, have agreed to do the same, and as Inverness is the returning burgh, it seems almost certain that the present able member, Mr Robert Grant, will lose his seat." The opposition to Charles Grant was mainly political, but there is a tradition that a personal element entered into the opposition to Robert Grant. He had failed, it is said, to secure the office of Collector of Customs at Inverness for a near relative of his chief supporter, and accordingly received notice to quit. However this may be, the Wellington Ministry was evidently very anxious to oust the two Grants.

Ibid.—"A daring attempt was lately made to escape from the gaol of Dornoch by Hugh Macleod, the young man suspected of being the perpetrator of the atrocious murder at Assynt, and a convict of the name of Macdonald. The parties had, we understand, arranged to seize the gaolers, take the keys, and thus effect their escape. Information was however, conveyed to the authorities by another prisoner, who had overheard the scheme, and steps were taken which prevented its completion. The prisoners were accordingly lodged in separate cells, and strictly guarded."

July 21.—Feeling began to run high in the contest for the representation of the county. It is explicitly stated that his Majesty’s Ministers were using their influence against Charles Grant. Circulars issued by his opponent had been franked by the Home Secretary. The "Courier," however, declared that Mr Grant was assured of a majority.

Ibid.—"Last week a veteran of the name of William Cameron died in the parish of Croy county of Nairn, at the advanced age of 97. When only a lad he was pressed by the troops in the service of George II, and obliged to assist in conveying their baggage a short time previous to the memorable and decisive battle of Culloden, and at that conflict he fought in support of the House of Hanover against his father, who supported the claims of the last of the Stuarts. He went afterwards to the East Indies in the 73rd Regiment., and was ultimately discharged with a pension of a shilling a day, which he enjoyed for fifty years. Two of his grandsons, one of them a drill sergeant, are at present serving in the gallant 42nd Regiment. On one occasion his son, grandson, and son-in-law, and himself drew their pensions together at Fort-George." The "veteran" at the time of the battle of Culloden could not have been more than thirteen years of age.

July 28.—The number contains an account of improvements by the Marquis of Stafford in the county of Sutherland, especially in the making of roads. Previous to 1829 a road had been made along the north coast of Sutherland to the river Naver. At Whitsunday 1829 the Marquis acquired the Reay country, and directed the road to be continued to the Kyle of Tongue, and across the Mom to Loch-Eriboll.

August 14.—This number records the Revolution in France which caused the flight of Charles X. It is the number which Hugh Miller received at Cromarty when he was hewing in the neighbourhood of the harbour, surrounded by a group of French fishermen. Their boat bore the name of Charles X., and as soon as they heard of the King’s flight, one of them took a piece of chalk, and effaced the royal name. Miller relates the incident in the next number of the "Courier," and has described it in his "Schools and Schoolmasters."

Ibid.—Mr Robert Grant was elected one of the members for the city of Norwich, having, in conjunction with Mr Gurney, ousted Colonel Jonathan Peel, a brother of the Home Secretary, over whom Mr Grant obtained a majority of 351. "The number of voters who came forward to support Mr Grant was 2277. Under all the circumstances a higher honour has seldom been conferred on a public man.

August 11.—The public are respectfully informed that the Caledonian Coach now runs daily to and from Perth, starting from the Caledonian Hotel, Inverness, at a quarter before 5 a.m., and from the George and Star Inn, Perth, at 6 a.m.

Ibid.—The first general meeting of subscribers to the Nairn Academy was held on the previous Friday, when a draft of the rules was carefully gone over and adjusted.—In the same number there is a review of Sir Thomas Dick Lauder’s book on the Moray floods.

August 18.—Sir James W. Mackenzie of Scatwell was elected, without opposition, M.P. for the county of Ross. Lord Francis Leveson-Gower was elected member for the county of Sutherland.

Ibid.—It is stated that William Fraser of Goldston Hall, Berbice, had in his will bequeathed freedom to upwards of twenty slaves on his estate in the colony. Mr Fraser died at Tain in the 43rd year of his age.

August 25.—Colonel John Baillie of Leys was elected member for the Inverness District of Burghs. The same number records that the former member, Mr Robert Grant, had given £100 to the burgh of Fortrose for the purpose of defraying the expense incurred in bringing water into the town.—The Hon. Captain Campbell, brother of the Earl of Cawdor, was elected member for the county of Nairn. The new members entertained the leading inhabitants to dinner. The dinner given by Colonel Baillie in the Caledonian Hotel at Inverness is described as superb. "Two turtles, which had been ordered from London by the member, were served up in a style that would have thrown Meg Dods into ecstasies, while the various wines—champagne, Madeira, claret, &c.—were equally excellent."

September 1.—The contest for the representation of the county of Inverness terminated on the previous Friday in the re-election of Charles Grant. "From the commencement of the struggle the result was looked forward to with intense anxiety in all parts of the Kingdom. The periodical press, daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly had taken up the subject—lords and commoners had discussed it at public meetings—politicians of all parties were on the qui vive, forecasting future events from the success or defeat of the popular candidate— and by universal consent the last election in Britain was pronounced to in one of the most important." It is stated that the contest was conducted with great courtesy on both sides. The battle was fought on public grounds. On the day of election the trial of strength was made on the election of Chairman. For Mr Macpherson-Grant of Ballindalloch, who supported Mr Charles Grant, 34 freeholders voted; and for Colonel Grant of Grant, the leading man on the other side, 25. This gave the one party a majority of nine. Macleod of Macleod then withdrew from the contest, delivering at the same time a speech in which he expressed his political views. Mr Charles Grant also delivered a brilliant speech. Since his retirement from the Government he had acted as an independent member, and intended so to continue. "For the Duke of Wellington, the greatest Captain of his age, the benefactor of his country, the conqueror of Napoleon, he retained sentiments of the deepest respect and admiration." He claimed the right, however, to criticise the Duke’s political administration. "Declining to give any pledge in general, this pledge I will give, that in just exertion to obtain your approbation and that of the country, I shall not be wanting. Gentlemen, I thank you for placing not the representation only, but the independence of the county, in my hands." The "Courier" says that after the roll of freeholders had been purged and made up, Mr Grant would have had a majority of 12. Mr Grant’s dinner was held in the Caledonian Hotel, the company numbering 134. His brother, Mr Robert Grant, was present, and his health was proposed by young Lochiel, and drunk with great applause. Macleod entertained his friends in the Royal Hotel. A few days afterwards a splendid "election ball" was given in the Northern Meeting Rooms.

September 15.—There is a notice of a treatise on the natural history of the salmon, printed for private circulation by Mr Alexander Fraser, tacksman at Dochnalurg. "For more than forty years Mr Fraser had been sedulously engaged in the salmon trade, on the beautiful banks of the loch and river of Ness, and a series of attentive observations, continued through so long a period has put him in possession of much new and valuable information on the subject of his study and pursuits."

September 22.—There were four murder cases at the Inverness autumn circuit. In one case the culprit was pronounced insane; the verdict in the second case was not proven; in the third not guilty. The fourth case was that of the Assynt murder, and the trial was postponed.

Ibid.—There is an account of the opening of the Liverpool railway, and the death of Mr Huskisson.

September 29.—The Northern Meeting of this year is described as the dullest ever remembered. The weather for some time had been very unfavourable.—Dr Robertson of Aultnaskiach was elected once more as Provost of Inverness.

Ibid.—At a Justice of Peace Court, held for the trial of offences against the Excise laws, there were fourteen cases brought forward—a much smaller number than on former occasions, and the majority of a comparatively unimportant character. "There was not one case of illicit distillation, a pretty satisfactory proof that that baneful traffic has been nearly extinguished in this district of the Highlands."

October 6.—A requisition, signed by three hundred persons, described as influential merchants and other inhabitants of Liverpool, was presented to Mr Charles Grant asking him to allow himself to be nominated as a candidate in room of Mr Huskisson. A deputation from Liverpool came to Inverness to present the requisition. Mr Grant was deeply gratified by the invitation, but declined to sever himself from the county of Inverness.

Ibid.—A letter is published from a young man in Quebec, one of the Sutherland emigrants who sailed from Cromarty in May. The vessel arrived at Quebec on the 8th of August, after a tedious passage of ten weeks, caused by contrary winds which prevailed from the time she left Cromarty. "Nearly the whole of the passengers, about 220 in number, were attacked by a severe fever owing to bad water. The water had been put into palm-oil casks, or some other obnoxious stuff was in them formerly, and we could neither use it for tea, coffee, or anything else, and of which we got a very small allowance. We lost nine passengers in all." Most of the passengers went up country on their arrival, but the writer and some others stayed in Quebec, and obtained employment there. He mentions that the vessel which sailed from Cromarty about three weeks after them arrived at Quebec on "the following day," presumably the 9th. He also states that about 38,000 emigrants had arrived that season, most of them Irish.

Ibid.—At a County Meeting, Sheriff Tytler brought forward suggestions for a new gaol and court—house, and proposed that a special meeting should be called to consider the situation on the 14th of December, as it was probable that the Lord Advocate’s Gaol Bill would then be before them. This was agreed to. During the next few weeks the bill was produced, and was discussed at meetings in Inverness and other burghs.

October 13.—There is a memoir of Colin Mackenzie of Portmore, one of the Principal Clerks of the Court of Session, quoted from the "Edinburgh Weekly Journal," and said to be written by Sir Walter Scott. Portmore was a grandson, through his mother, of Mr Colin Mackenzie of Kilcoy.

Ibid.—"The Belgians have obtained what they contended for so vigorously and pertinaceously, the separation of Belgium from Holland."

Ibid.—A correspondent gives an account of the scenes he had witnessed in 1826 at Loch-mo-Naire, a sheet of water five miles from the mouth of the river Naver, in Sutherland, supposed to have virtue in the curing of diseases and of lunacy. The writer states that hundreds repaired to this loch on the first Monday of every quarter. On the occasion in question about a hundred assembled on the Sunday night preceding, and kept themselves warm round a large heap of burning peats. Men, women, and children were among the gathering. As soon as the advent of Monday was announced, they gave a simultaneous shout, stripped without ceremony, and each throwing a piece of money into the loch, plunged into the water. "They dive thrice, during each of three rounds, after which they dress and away in procession to the further end of the loch, where they gather some weed which alone gives effect to the operation just performed. When a sufficient quantity of the weed had been collected, we again moved slowly in procession round the enchanted loch three times." Bathing in this loch continued to be resorted to as a cure until a much later date than above-mentioned. An account of an incident of the kind appears in the "Courier" in August 1871.

October 20.—"A meeting of the inhabitants of the burgh of Dingwall was held on Saturday last, for the purpose of considering the subject of Parliamentary Reform. Sir Francis Mackenzie of Gairloch Bart., was unanimously called to the chair. Resolutions were passed condemning the present system of representation as calculated to promote the interests of certain individuals, orders, and classes, at the expense and to the detriment of the great body of the people, and calling upon every loyal individual desirous of preserving peace, property, and social order, to use his best exertions to obtain such a reform of the House of Commons as would render its members the real, impartial, and disinterested representatives of the people."

Ibid.—There is a notice of the death of Donald Munro, a catechist in Skye, who seems to have been a remarkable man. He was quite uneducated, and lost his eyesight at the age of fourteen. He possessed, however, an extraordinary memory, and acquired such a knowledge of the Scriptures that it is said he could repeat verbatim the whole of the New Testament and the greater part of the Old. "His talent for exposition was such that a gentleman from another country, himself no mean judge, said he never heard anyone expound the Scriptures like him. In private life he was as amiable as in his public capacity he was useful."

October 27.—Mr Stewart Mackenzie of Seaforth was elected Provost of Dingwall.—In a previous issue it was stated that Sir William Gordon-Cumming of Altyre was elected Provost of Nairn.

November 10.—The opening of Parliament led to keen discussions on the state of the country. The Duke of Wellington announced himself an uncompromising foe of Parliamentary reform.

Ibid.—A panic occurred in the Parish Church of Lochbroom on a Communion Sunday, resulting in injury to many persons. The commotion was caused by a person subject to epileptic fits. The church was a large one, and it is said that the congregation numbered nearly 2000. One man subsequently died from his injuries.

November 24.—The Government was defeated on a motion in the House of Commons for the appointment of a Select Committee to inquire into the Civil List. The majority against Ministers was 29. "In one grand point the dissolution of the Duke’s Ministry differs from all previous ones—it has been brought about solely by public opinion." Earl Grey formed a new Administration. Mr Charles Grant member for the county of Inverness, became President of the Board of Control. Brougham became Lord Chancellor.

December 1.—"We are truly glad to see the feeling of cordiality and confidence with which the new Ministry is hailed by the nation." This is the beginning of an editorial article. No disclosure of the intentions of Ministers on the subject of Reform had yet been made, but petitions in favour began to flow into Parliament.

Ibid.—There had just been published at Inverness the Gaelic songs of William Ross, who has been described as "one of the sweetest minstrels the Highlands have produced." He was born in the parish of Strath, Isle of Skye, in 1762, but was partly educated in Forres, and in early life accompanied his father, a pedlar, in his wanderings through the Highlands and Lowlands. His mother was a daughter of Piobare Dall, a celebrated blind piper of Gairloch. According to the paragraph in this issue, Ross became a schoolmaster in his native parish; but whether this was so or not, he certainly became schoolmaster in the parish of Gairloch, Ross-shire. He died prematurely at the age of 28. His songs floated in the memories of the people until they were collected by Mr John Mackenzie of Inverewe, and published in this year, 1830.

Ibid.—A terrific gale occurred in November, in which many vessels were wrecked.

December 8.—Six criminal cases were tried at Inverness the previous week before the Sheriff and a jury. The cases occupied the Court two days.

December 15.—A number of gentlemen favourable to Parliamentary Reform met in the Caledonian Hotel—Mr John Mackenzie, banker, in the chair. A requisition was drawn up to the Provost asking him to call a public meeting. The Provost declined to call a meeting on the ground that the question had better be left in the hands of the Government. The committee accordingly resolved to call a meeting on their own account.

December 22.—There is a long report of the meeting held in behalf of Parliamentary Reform. Mr John Mackenzie, banker, was in the chair. Although a burgh meeting, several county gentlemen were present, including Mackintosh, yr. of Mackintosh., Mr Fraser of Abertarff, [He was the only surviving grandson of Col. Archibald Campbell Fraser of Lovat (1736-1815) who was left the property of Abertarff by his grandfather.  T.A. Fraser of Strichen spent all his life in court, trying to get that property away from him; as well as the other Lovat lands he had inherited, by entail... because Archie died without legitimate surviving issue;  TFF having been born on the wrong side of the blanket...] Captain Fraser of Balnain, Mr Fraser of Torbreck, Mr Mackintosh, yr. of Geddes Captain Mackay of Hedgefield, and Mr Macdonald of Ness Castle. Among the speakers were some of the above-mentioned gentlemen, as also Mr Macandrew, solicitor; Bailie Cumming, Mr Cameron, solicitor; Mr George Mackay, merchant; Mr Thomson, banker; Mr Adam, rector of the Academy; and Dr Nicol.

Ibid.—The death is recorded of the Rev. James Smith, minister of Avoch, in the 73rd year of his age and the 44th of his ministry. He is highly spoken of, especially as a pastor.

December 29.—Public meetings in favour of Reform were held at Dingwall and Elgin. At the Dingwall burgh meeting the Provost, Mr Stewart Mackenzie of Seaforth, presided; at the county meeting, Sir George Mackenzie of Coul. At the Elgin county meeting Sir Thomas Dick Lauder presided. At the Elgin burgh meeting Mr W. Robertson of Auchinroath was in the chair, and Mr Isaac Forsyth was the chief speaker. A. meeting was also held at Forres, at which Mr Alexander Whyte, merchant, presided. A large number of Ross-shire proprietors took part in the Dingwall county meeting.


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