Northern Highlands in the Nineteenth Century
In the year 1817 public distress and
public discontent both began to assume serious proportions. The discontent
was largely due to distress; and several paragraphs in the subjoined notes
show how severely the country was suffering. In the chief towns Committees
were organised to provide for the unemployed. In Inverness a Soup Kitchen
was opened for the first time. Throughout the Highlands the leading
proprietors purchased or pledged their credit for large quantities of meal
and seed. One ingenious landlord imported 3000 lbs. of rice and 200 cwts.
of treacle. Political discontent had not yet appeared in the North of
Scotland, but elsewhere it was showing itself in various outbreaks, the
most alarming being directed against the Prince Regent. The Government
were timid, reactionary, and incompetent to deal with the state of affairs
which had come into existence after the peace of 1815.
The Criminal Code was at this date
still harsh. At the Inverness Spring Circuit Court of 1817, a woman was
sentenced to be executed for housebreaking, or rather for merely assisting
the men who committed the crime, and who had escaped. The sentence was not
carried into effect: the woman was twice respited, and her punishment
ultimately commuted to two years imprisonment. In another case the
barbarous punishment of public flogging was inflicted by the local
authorities on a female delinquent. This is generally said to have been
the last instance of the kind in the United Kingdom, but a correspondent
of the "Journal" drew attention to the fact that a similar punishment was
inflicted in Perth while the bill abolishing it was actually passing
The first Sheep and Wool Market at
Inverness was held in 1817. The date was the third Tuesday in June, and the
market was held only for one day.
In 1817 a movement sprang up in
Scotland in favour of burgh reform. At this time Town Councils elected
themselves, and managed the finance of their burghs without control or
supervision. A curious incident stimulated the movement for redress. "In
1817," says Mr Spencer Walpole in his History, "the Magistrates of
Montrose actually presumed to elect themselves by ballot. It was the first
occasion on which secret voting had ever been applied to any municipal
election. The authorities, shocked at the recklessness of a municipality
which was capable of committing so palpable an illegality, decided on
quashing the election, and on issuing a warrant altering what was called
in Scotland the "set" or constitution of the burgh. Instead of the old
Councillors electing the new, the warrant authorised the burgesses to
elect their own Magistrates." This was the "poll" election which other
burghs likewise desired to exercise; or if they could not obtain quite so
much, they were anxious to confine the action of their Magistrates and
Town Councils within the limits of each local constitution, and to look
into the disposition of the funds. The bankruptcy of Aberdeen excited
widespread consternation. The general movement had effect on local
authorities, and specific results in several instances; but municipal
reform in the broad sense was not secured until 1833. Inverness, as will
by-and-bye appear, had its local machinery upset for a time by the Court
In December 1817 the "Courier" was
established. We have followed the file of the "Journal," however, to the
end of the year, and reserve an aecount of the establishment of the
"Courier" until our next instalment.
From the "Inverness Journal" 1817.
January 3.A soup kitchen
established for the first time in Inverness. Seven hundred necessitous
persons shared in a distribution of coal.
lbid."Died, at Ardersier, in this
vicinity, within these few days, a gander, well known to have been full
grown when the foundation of Fort-George was laid in the year 1748. His
helpmate died only two years ago."
January 17."On the 5th inst., at
Mountgerald, Ross-shire, John Munro, labourer, at the very advanced age of
108 rears. He enjoyed a sound constitution until a short time before his
death; his sight and other organs were unimpaired; he could see from his
own house a ship or boat at the entrance of Cromarty Firth a distance of
February 7.Account of a riotous
attack on the Prince Regent and his escort as they were returning from the
opening of Parliament. An agitation for Parliamentary Reform begins to
assume consequence. The more violent reformers were frequently addressed
by "Orator Hunt," but meetings of a temperate character were also held.
February 14."In these distempered
times of riot and discontent, it is gratifying to see the sense of the
nation so warmly and promptly manifested with regard to the most atrocious
and treasonable attack on the Prince Regent. Addresses pour in from every
quarter, and we are glad to see our county join in so proper and
seasonable a display of loyalty and attachment to the son and
representative of our Sovereign. It is deeply to be regretted that some of
the principal actors in the scene were not seized; a salutary example at
the present moment could not fail to be beneficial to the advocates of
universal suffrage and annual Parliaments; in other words, of anarchy,
confusion, and revolution."
February 28.It is announced that
"as the Highland road between Inverness and Perth is now passable," the
Caledonian Coach will begin running on the 3rd of March, twice a-week each
Ibid-The Corporation of the City of
Aberdeen was at this time found to be bankrupt. The Burgesses of Guild met
and adopted a resolution declaring that in their opinion this was "the
natural result of the Town Council being self-elected, and the government
of it having become, as it were, the inheritance of a few individuals,
forming a secret junto, considering themselves not amenable to their
fellow-citizens for misrule." The "Journal" made the occurrence a text for
criticism of the administration of the Town Council of Inverness.
Ibid."Died, suddenly, on the 14th
curt., at her house in Edinburgh. the Hon. Euphemia Stewart, widow of
William Stewart, Esq., late of Castle Stewart, and sister of Kenneth, late
Earl of Seaforth."
March 7."In our Journal of the 28th
June last it will appear that the Inverness Highland Society resolved on
the establishment of a sheep and wool market in our town as the most
centrical station in the Highlands. In pursuance of this resolution, a
meeting was, by advertisement, convened at Bennets Hotel on the 27th
last, and was very numerously and most respectably attended. It appeared
that from every quarter of the country, and by all the Southern dealers,
the most earnest desire was manifested for the establishment of the
proposed market at Inverness. A letter was produced from the Secretary of
the Sutherland and Caithness Association indicating their cordial support
and anxious desire to co-operate, by every means, towards the prosperity
of the market; and assurances of approbation were given from the following
houses and persons interested in the wool trade; so that the first market
may be expected to have a much greater attendance than any ever heretofore
held in the Highlands." A list of those approving follows, and an
advertisement fixes the date of the market as the third Tuesday of June.
Mr Peter Anderson, solicitor, was secretary to the meeting.
March 14.This issue contains a
paragraph condemning the flogging of a woman named Grant through the
streets of Inverness. The punishment was inflicted three times within a
fortnight. The writer of the paragraph admits that example was necessary,
and was made in this case with the best intention; but he urges rightly
that the public flagellation of a woman is repugnant to feelings of
respect and delicacy. "On the unfortunate object in question, a young and
handsome woman, the hardened indifference and audacity with which she bore
and ridiculed the punishment, showed that it failed of effect so much,
indeed, that notwithstanding this third flagellation, she returned from
her banishment the same evening." A few months afterwards, mainly as the
result of this case, an Act was passed abolishing the power to whip women
publicly; and some years later the sex was exempted from the private
infliction of such punishment. In certain States of the American Republic
public flagellation, on both sexes, is still occasionally administered.
Ibid-A correspondent sends a letter
stating that a monument had been erected to the memory of Captain Thomas Humberstone Mackenzie, of the 78th Regiment, and of Captain Grant, Lieut.
Anderson, and non-commissioned officers and privates of the same regiment
who fell at the storming of Ahmednuggur in India on 8th August 1803. "The
monument stands on the spot where Captain Humberstone Mackenzie fell, and
consists of a massy slab of the most durable stone, securely built in the
wall of the town, and arched overhead, with a suitable inscription,
surmounted by the Mackenzie crest, a stags head and antlers, with the
words Cabar Feidh, and the regimental motto, Cuidich an Righ. It was
erected in 1814 by the Hon. Lady Hood Mackenzie of Seaforth, who marked
out the site, drew the design and inscription, and gave orders for
erecting the work at her own expense. It is worthy of remark that her
ladyship (whose father, the late Lord Seaforth, had raised the 78th
Regiment) in travelling across the Peninsula from Bombay in 1813, should
happen to pass through the very place where that regiment had so admirably
distinguished itself; and she was struck with the desire of perpetuating,
by some lasting memorial, the gallantry of her young relative, Captain H.
Mackenzie, an officer of high promise, and of his countrymen who fell in
that memorable assault." The attack, it seems, was unwittingly made at the
most impracticable part of the wall, and officers and men fell in a
gallant but futile attempt to carry the position. "Captain Mackenzie had
gained the summit; he found there no footing, but his gallant spirit would
not suffer him to think of retreat; calling to his men to follow him, he
instantly leaped into the town amongst the enemy, but the height was so
great that his knees on coming to the ground bent under him, and before he
could recover himself he was speared in many places. The few men who had
gained the top of the wall did not hesitate for a moment in resolving to
share his fate; and thus was lost in very early youth an officer of the
highest hopes, whose mild and amiable manners were joined to a high and
ardent courage, which too soon deprived his country of one whom length of
life would have made a shining ornament to his profession. Captain Grant
was also an officer of great promise; he had volunteered on that occasion,
and on gaining the top of the wall, called out that there was no footing;
but forgetful in his own person of the caution which he taught his
companions, he received a shot which almost instantly proved fatal; he was
a son of Mrs Grant, Fortes. The attack, of course, failed, and the
strength of the place and garrison having been ascertained, the siege was
subsequently carried out in due form. Captain Mackenzie was also paymaster
of the regiment." The above account was furnished to the "Journal" by a
gentleman who was personally and intimately connected with the two
officers. The official account by Lieut.-Colonel Adams, published by Major
Davidson in his History of the 78th says that Captain Mackenzie and
Captain Grant were both shot at the top of their respective ladders.
Captain Grant at the time was under arrest for fighting a duel, and
volunteered for the attack. His father had been Provost of Forres, and he
had several brothers who attained distinction. One of them, if we mistake
not, Lieut.-Colonel Colquhoun Grant, was an Intelligence Officer of great
service to Wellington in the Peninsular War.
Ibid.The poor of the town and
parish of Elgin are represented as suffering severely from the distress of
the times. A sum of £300 had been subscribed and a Committee appointed to
distribute the fund until the month of September, when it was hoped that
harvest labour and the produce of a new crop would enable the people to
provide for themselves.
April 4.The Highland Society of
London met on the previous Friday to celebrate the anniversary of the
battle of Alexandria, that being also the day of the incorporation of the
Society. The Duke of York was in the chair, and the company included the
Duke of Argyll, the Duke of Atholl, the Marquis of Huntly, Glengarry, Sir
Æneas Mackintosh, and many other Highland gentlemen. The Duke of York, in
name of the Society, presented to the 42nd Regiment a piece of plate in
recognition of its distinguished services, the Marquis of Huntly, as
Commander of the regiment, receiving the gift. The plate consisted of a
richly chased silver tripod, the legs ornamented with thistle foliage, and
the plinth bearing a medallion portrait of Sir Ralph Abercromby.
Ibid.Died, at Collumpton, Devon, on
the 22nd ult., on his way from Sidmouth to Clifton, William Chisholm of
April 11.The Marquis of Huntly
procured from Government six hundred bolls of meal, to be sent for the
relief of people in the Highlands, with a promise that more was to follow.
April 25.A citizen writes
complaining that half-a-crown had to be paid by a marriage party of
townspeople crossing one of the bridges. Tolls at that time existed, but
this was considered an exorbitant exaction.
May 2."Mr Alexr. Dingwall, plumber
in Greenock, has lately paid into the hands of the Kirk treasurer of
Dingwall, a legacy of £50 sterling, bequeathed by his deceased brother, Mr
Donald Dingwall, late of Demerara, for the behoof of the poor of that
parish, where he drew his first breath, and where he at last ended his
Ibid.A paragraph gives an account
of what Highland proprietors have done in the way of lowering rents, and
importing meal and seed oats for the benefit of their poorer tenantry. Mr
Mcpherson-Grant of Ballindalloch, for instance, had secured 800 bolls of
meal in Banff-shire and 500 bolls from Berwick for the supply of his
estate. Lord Reay had pledged his credit to the Government to obtain a
supply of 1800 bolls of meal; and the Marquis of Stafford had sent for the
supply of his Sutherland tenantry 5400 bolls of meal and nearly 500 bolls
of potatoes for seed, at an expense of at least £7000, besides purchasing
black cattle from the tenants, and spending large sums for the employment
of the distressed on his English estates. Other Highland proprietors who
could not do as much, had lowered their rents from 15 to 20 per cent., and
were giving guarantees to the Government for the supply of oats.
Ibid.A woman named Barbara Mackay,
from Caithness, was tried at the Circuit Court for being one of several
concerned in breaking into and robbing a shop at Isauld. She was traced by
means of a five-franc piece, which was part of the spoil, and; which she
endeavoured to pass. The woman confessed that she had kept watch while
others carried out the robbery, and that she had received silver and
copper. The jury returned a verdict of guilty and the woman was sentenced
to be executed at Inverness on the 13th of June. She was subsequently
respited and the sentence was commuted.
lbid.A citizen of Nairn, formerly
Chief Magistrate, was convicted of assaulting a lawyer at Elgin to the
effusion of blood and danger of life, and was sentenced to six months
imprisonment in the Tolbooth of Elgin. The Court would not consent to send
the prisoner to be confined at Nairn on account of the "notorious
insufficiency" of the jail there, and they threatened to take strong
measures unless the jail was made secure.At the same Court, two men were
sentenced to six months imprisonment for deforcing Excise officers; a man
was sentenced: to 14 years' transportation for sheep-stealing; and a woman
for numerous acts of theft was sentenced to seven years transportation.
In the two latter cases, the Advocate-Depute restricted the libel to "an
arbitrary punishment," otherwise the sentences might have been capital.
The restriction to "arbitrary punishment" frequently occurs in the report
of Circuit cases. One wonders why it was not adopted in the case of the
woman convicted of housebreaking.
May 9.The Commissioners of Supply
voted £50 to the fund for the employment of the labouring poor of
Inverness and authorised the payment of another £50 if required.
IbidIt is announced that the
Militia regiments are not to be called out this year for training.
May 16.Lady Hood Mackenzie of
Seaforth pledged her credit to Government for 4000 boIls of oats and 50
tons of potatoes, to be landed at Stornoway and distributed among the
May 23.A list of subscriptions is
published towards the issue of a dictionary of the Gaelic language, under
the patronage of the Highland Society of Scotland. The total amount of
subscriptions is nearly £1900. The Society itself gave £725; the Highland
Society of London, £105; and Sir John Macgregor Murray, for certain
friends in India and himself, £250.
Ibid."The Chisholms funeral, which
took place on Friday (16th), was conducted with a degree of splendour
which rivalled the usage of ancient times in the last tribute of homage
and respect to the remains of deceased chiefs. Invitations were very
general throughout this and the neighbouring counties, and near 240 guests
sat down to a sumptuous entertainment provided by Mr Cant at Beauly. The
commonalty, of whom a very large assemblage were in attendance, had not
been forgotten; eight bolls of oatmeal baked into bread, ample quantities
of cheese, and 20 ankers of whisky were distributed among them; not
satisfied, however, with this liberal supply, they made free with Mr
Cants stores of wines and other liquors, and we regret to understand that
a man and two women died of the effects of intoxication. Many battles with
sticks and fists and stones were fought, and many cracked crowns were
given and received, but beyond the foregoing melancholy instances, we
believe no further fatal effects ensued: various depreciations, however,
were committed, and amongst others, some of the riders, we understand,
discovered next morning that they had come home without their
saddle-flaps, the well-dressed leather of which, it had been discovered,
would make superior brogue soles." The interment took place in Beauly
May 30."On Wednesday, the 21st May,
at Lady Seaforths, Charlotte Square, James Alexander Stewart. Esq. of
Glasserton, to the Hon. Lady H. Mackenzie of Seaforth." The marriage was
celebrated with rejoicings on the Seaforth estates.
Ibid.The Horticultural Society of
London awarded their medal to Sir George S. Mackenzie for his improvement
of forcing houses, by giving glass the form of a portion of a sphere.
Ibid."The motion for a Committee to
inquire into the state of the representation of the people. made by Sir
Francis Burdett, and rejected by a majority of 188, was the same made by
Mr Pitt an 1782, and lost only by a majority of 20. It was again brought
forward in 1812 by Mr Brand, and rejected by a majority of 127, the
minority counting 88. Mr Tierney ascribed the falling-off to the
intolerance of its advocates, who thought Reform might be carried without
the aid of the superior orders of society."
June 13.The Northern Missionary
Society held its annual meeting at Inverness, when the Rev. C. Matheson,
of Kilmuir, and the Rev. J. Macdonald, of Urquhart, preached. A collection
amounted to £72 13s 6d. The Society resolved to send £100 to the Edinburgh
Missionary Society for the support of Gaelic schools in the Highlands, and
£50 to the Hibernian Society, engaged in carrying on education in
Ireland. An auxiliary to the Edinburgh Bible Society was formed in Forres.
Ibid."We have heard with pleasure
that Mr Grant of Elchies has shipped from London to Findhorn 3000 lbs. of
rice and 200 cwts. of treacle for the supply of the poor on his estates in
the counties of Banff and Elgin."
June 20.The first Sheep and Wool
Market was held at Inverness on the third Tuesday of June. The Committee
arranged that the market should last but twenty-four hours, as "it has
generally been remarked that when markets are of many days continuance,
almost all the business is done on the last. An ordinary, purveyed by Mr
Bennet, was held in the Northern Meeting Rooms. Mr Grant of Corrimony,
"who was among the first of our proprietors to introduce the system of
sheep farming," presided. Among the largest purchasers were Mr Lockwood,
from Huddersfield, and Mr Mackinnon of Corrychatachan. It is noted that
the Fort-William Market had been well attended, and the prices were
considerably better than last year, viz., 18s; at the Inverness Market
they had increased to 19s 6d, and the Cheviot to 23s per stone; one or two
parcels were stated to have been sold at 24s. "The number of gentlemen
interested in sheep farming who attended from the Northern Counties was
very considerable. Our flocks are so rapidly on the increase that we
understand that there is in Sutherlandshire alone not less than 100,000
Cheviot." The Northern Association of Gentlemen Farmers and Breeders of
Sheep continued to act on a resolution which they had previously adopted
to give liberal premiums for the destruction of foxes, eagles, "and other
animals," which were destructive to the growing numbers of their sheep and
Ibid.The members of the Nairnshire
Meeting in London placed £53 at the disposal of the Committee for the
relief of the poor in Nairn.
Ibid."Died, on the 8th inst., the
Rev. Alexander Macadam, minister of Nigg, Ross-shire, in the 69th year of
his age." A cordial tribute is paid to Mr Macadams character, learning,
and impressive power as a preacher.
June 27.On the previous Monday two
smart shocks of earthquake were felt in Inverness. They were also felt,
and rather more severely, in Urquhart and Dores. In some houses the bells
were put in motion. A slight shock was said to have been experienced a
week or two before, but the Editor himself had not observed it.
IbidA long report is given of a
gala day held by the Society of True Highlanders at Inverlochy. The
Society was making a collection of tartans, and members paid special
attention to the completeness and correctness of their Highland dress.
Ibid.A stone coffin with human
skeleton was found in the neighbourhood of Dingwall. A copper [bronze]
dagger was found buried in the skull, and an earthen jar beside the
July 4.The number contains verses
written on visiting the monument erected near Fort-William to the memory
of Colonel Cameron, of the 92nd Highlanders, who fell at Quatre Bras. "The
Monument stands northward of the Fort, a simple and plain, but at the same
time an elegant and lofty column. The foundation of it was laid on the 7th
April last with Masonic honours, by Mr Patrick Henderson, Right Worshipful
Master of the Fort-William Lodge, accompanied by the brethren, and the
ceremony was concluded with a most suitable and appropriate prayer by the
Rev. Duncan Macintyre, minister of the parish of Kilmallie and Chaplain of
the Lodge in presence of a vast concourse of people of all ranks, who on
this occasion testified a cordial interest highly honourable to the memory
of the deceased." The following are two stanzas from the visitors
"Now, Cameron, rest! while Waterloo
Enrols thee in its annals gory,
It weeps thy loss with sorrow true,
And bids Fame note thy bed of glory...
"Now, Cameron, rest! Yon column high
May tell thy tale in accents bolder,
But many a heart thy name shall sigh,
Till like thine own they, too, shall moulder."
July 11."The Strathpeffer Wells
have a much gayer and more numerous attendance this season than ever they
had before." The hope is expressed that facilities may be given for feuing.
July 25."In consequence of contributions from the
Second and Strathnairn districts, one of which has given £50 and the other
£40, a very considerable improvement is making in the entrance to the town
by Castle Street, about a third of the acclivity of which from the
pavement will be taken away. The principal advantage to these districts
will arise from the greater facility with which lime and manure can be
conveyed to them, but the convenience to the town will be great." The work
seems to have been carried out under the direction of a Committee, formed
for the relief of the unemployed. Incidentally we lean that cattle markets
were held somewhere near the top of Castle Street.
Ibid.The Excise had a conflict at
the wood of Spittal, in Ross-shire, with a party which was endeavouring to
convey smuggled salt from the West Coast to the Inverness markets. The
officers captured 20 horses, with a bag of salt each. In the struggle one
of the smuggling party was severely wounded, and one of the horses killed.
August 1."The circulating medium
was so scarce that there was little business of any description transacted
at the market held here last week"
Ibid."The stock farmers in the
Counties of Sutherland and Caithness having now brought their flocks to
that extent and perfection that they annually export to the English market
better than fourteen thousand Cheviot sheep, and fifteen thousand stones
of Cheviot wool, they think it of importance to establish an annual
meeting for the purpose of competition in stock, of rewarding the best
shepherds, and for establishing a fair for the sale of tups and choice ewe
stock" The meeting was fixed for the 20th of August, at the Kyle of
Sutherland being the week of the annual cattle market there, and was duly
held on that date.
August 8.Died, on the 23rd ult.,
the Rev. Thomas Bain, Rector of the Academy of Fortrose.
Ibid."At Knockbain, parish of
Kirkhill, on the 3rd inst., John Fraser, aged 102 years. He fought under
the banner of the Chief of the Clan at Culloden, and on many other
occasions; he has been always a careful, sober man; he could, till within
the last two years dance a Highland reel with as much spirit as a man of
thirty years of age, had a very extensive memory, and would rehearse many
anecdotes regarding his Chiefs exploits."
August 22.Mr Gilchrist, marble and
stone cutter, "a craft hitherto unknown in this quarter," began business
in Inverness. He was the first to introduce his trade to Aberdeen, about
thirty years before, and still maintained a large establishment there.
September 12.Six feet of water were
admitted into the Caledonian Canal from Loch-Ness, to facilitate the
conveyance of materials from Clachnaharry for building the locks at the
west end. "On Tuesday a sloop, with 300 barrels of coal, was dragged by a
pair of horses from Clachnaharry to Loch-Ness."
Ibid."Died, at Dornoch, on the 23rd
ult., at the advanced age of 96 years, John Barclay, Esq., Dean of Guild.
He was on the Magistracy of that ancient burgh for the last 47 years. The
strictest attention to the interest of the community in the discharge of
the duties of his office, the most inflexible integrity in every branch of
business, and the uniformity of his general character gained him the love
and esteem of his friends and fellow-citizens."
September 19."The Marquis of
Huntlys party has shot this season upwards of 1400 brace of grouse; and,
notwithstanding the very wet weather, the Marquis of Tavistock shot in
three days 40, 45, and 51 brace."
Ibid."The True Highlanders Fete was
this year preceded by the revival of the Ancient Caledonian Hunt, which
lasted for three successive days, and, including the Committee meeting,
occupied the whole week. This noble recreation produced less venison than
was anticipated, though quite as many shots were fired, ball practice
being less sure with most Highlanders than it was with their ancestors;
yet some of the roe deer fell in capital style at the height of their
speed." The writer of the paragraph (a correspondent) glorifies Glengarry.
"Such was the enthusiastic feeling abroad," that a gentleman named
Macintyre took the silver dirk from his own side and presented it to the
young heir of Glengarry; and when the boy refused it the gentleman sent it
to Glengarry begging him to accept it on behalf of his son, "as the
Macintyres claimed the Chief of the Macdonells as the Chief of their blood
likewise and the author of their race." All which and much more of a
similar kind is freely punctuated with italics. The frequent
communications about this Society seem either to have been written by
Glengarry himself, or to have been sent by some one in his immediate
Ibid."Here, on the 9th inst. (died]
Jean Robertson. This extraordinary character usually employed herself in
gathering dulse and shellfish, with which she occupied her station in the
market, until within a few days of her death. She would occasionally take
a trip to the country to retail tea, and was not ashamed to beg at times.
After her death, upwards of £60 in bank bills and £3 in silver were found
in her apartment, which she had completely filled with clothes,
provisions, and fuel, piled up to the roof, leaving only about four feet
round the fire-place of vacant space; yet the poor wretch appeared in the
same tattered garb upwards of 20 years, and is supposed to have shortened
the period of her existence by abstaining from the common necessaries of
Ibid.An Auxiliary of the Edinburgh
Society for the Education of Deaf and Dumb Children was established at
September 26.James Robertson
re-elected Provost of Inverness.
October 3."On Saturday last a sloop
and a barge, laden with coals, went through the Caledonian Canal to
Fort-Augustus, having lain for some hours below the Muirtown drawbridge.
The inhabitants of Inverness were apprised of the circumstance, and the
novelty soon attracted a vast concourse of all ranks and ages; the banks
were literally lined with spectators on this occasion."
Ibid. - James Fowler of Grange and
Wellfield elected Provost of Fortrose; William Murray, banker, elected
Provost of Tain.
Ibid.Barbara MacKay, prisoner in
the Tolbooth of Inverness, under a respite during pleasure, had her
sentence commuted into two years imprisonment, commencing with the date
of her conviction.
October 10."At last the monster
Self-election has received a wound; the Royal Warrant is issued for a poll
election of Magistrates at Montrose." The "Journal" speaks strongly in
favour of the necessity for "emancipation" in Inverness. Its columns in
this and other issues are full of criticisms of local doings.
October 24.Among those present at
the Northern Meeting were the Marquis and Marchioness of Huntly, Lord and
Lady Saltoun, the Hon. Mrs Stewart Mackenzie of Seaforth and Mr Stewart
Mackenzie; Colonel Macdonell of Glengarry and Mrs Macdonell. Glengarry was
in the complete highland garb, belted plaid, broadsword, pistols, dirk,
&c. Horse races were held at Fort-George.
October 31.The Guild-brethren of
Inverness met and appointed a Committee to wait on the Provost, and
present a petition for the recovery of their rights. It is stated that the
Provost "received the deputation with his wonted politeness, and stated
that he would lay the petition before the Town Council." In the same issue
there is an advertisement of "a letter addressed to the Guild-brethren of
Inverness on the subject of Burgh Reform, by Niel McNess." To this was
annexed a form of petition.
Ibid.A movement for reform was also
on foot at Forres, and a protest had been lodged against the recent
election of Magistrates and Councillors there. The burgesses and
Guild-brethren were denied admission to the Courthouse to make their
protest at the Michaelmas Head Court, but they took their stand in the
High Street, and read their protest at the door. A committee was appointed
to take measures to obtain redress. It is stated by the Forres
correspondent that "besides the demon of self-election which is so justly
complained of, it is not held requisite by the present system here to have
even the majority of Councillors resident within the burgh; and at last
election the three bailies, Dean of Guild, Treasurer, and one councillor
were all that the good town was considered capable of furnishing." The
Protest bore that"The Person elected as Provost, and a majority at least
of those elected as councillors, are neither merchants, traffickers, nor
inhabitants within the said burgh, nor do in any way come within the
description of persons eligible to be elected as Provost or Councillors by
the Acts of Parliament," &c. Complaint is made that the Provost was, at
least at the time of his election, Provost of the burghs of Cullen and
Elgin, "offices the conjunction of which in one individual is most
unconstitutional and illegal, and to all interests and purposes
disqualified him from being elected as Provost of our said burgh, even if
otherwise eligible." The Forres burgesses had undoubtedly reason to
November 7.At a Committee meeting
of the Bible Society, the Treasurer was instructed to remit £100 to the
British and Foreign Bible Society, being nearly the whole amount of the
funds in their hands. An application for 20 Bibles to poor children
attending Rainings School was sustained.
Ibid.On the 21st inst., the
Trafalgar Club dined at Macleans Inn at Forres to celebrate the
anniversary of the battle. Thomas Dick Lauder of Relugas was in the chair,
supported by the Marquis of Huntly and the Rev. John Macdonell. The
following was one of the toasts:"The Prison of St Helena, and may the
turnkeys be always on the alert." On the motion of the Chairman, the name
was changed from "Club" to "Trafalgar Meeting," and the marquis of Huntly
was elected Patron.
Ibid.Died, at Belfast, on the 18th
October, Sergeant Alexander Cameron, pipe-major of the 92nd or Gordon
Highlanders. "His merits as a performer on the Highland bagpipe were
generally acknowledged, but they could only be duly appreciated by those
who felt the inspiring effects of his animating strains on the toilsome
march or amid the thunder of battle. He served in the Peninsula during the
whole of the last war, and by his zeal attracted the notice of several
officers of high rank. Lieut. -General Sir William Erskine, in a letter to
a friend after the affair of Rio del Molinas, saysThe first intimation
the enemy had of our approach was the piper of the 92nd playing "Hey
Johnny Cope are ye waukin yet?" To this favourite air from Camerons pipe
the streets of Brussels re-echoed on the night of the 15th June, when the
regiment assembled to march out to the field of Waterloo. How many a brave
fellow heard it then for the last time! Once, and once only, was this
brave soldier missed in his accustomed place in the front of the battle.
and the occasion strongly marks the powerful influence which the love of
fame had upon his mind. In a London newspaper a very flattering eulogium
had appeared on the conduct of a piper of another regiment. Our gallant
musician, anxious that no one should surpass him in zeal or intrepidity,
felt hurt that he should not also have gained this flattering distinction,
and declared that if his name did not appear in the newspapers he would
no more play on the battlefield. Accordingly, in the next affair with the
enemy, Cameron's pipe [at first] was mute! Some insinuation against the
piper reached his ear. The bare idea of his conduct being misunderstood
was torture to poor Cameron, and overcame at once the sullen resolution he
had formed of remaining silent in the rear. He rushed forward, and not
content with gaining his place at the head of the regiment, advanced with
a party of skirmishers, and placing himself on a height, in full view of
the enemy, continued to animate the party by playing favourite national
airs. For the last two years his health sensibly declined. He was afflicted
with an asthma which the blowing of the bagpipe tended to aggravate.
Notwithstanding, he could not be induced to resign his favourite
employment, but continued till very lately to play The Gathering for the
daily assembly of the regiment. His remains were attended to the grave by
several officers, all the non-commissioned officers, and the grenadier
company to which he belonged."
November 14.The death of the
Princess Charlotte, which plunged the whole nation into rnourning, is
recorded in this issue.
Ibid.An advertisement announces
that on the 4th December a new weekly paper, entitled "The Inverness
Courier," will appear. All orders are to be addressed to the publisher, W.
Ettles, bookseller, Inverness; Mr Andrew Sievwright, editor; or Messrs
Newton & Co., news agents, London.
Ibid.The Nairnshire Harvest Home
Meeting was held in Richardsons Inn, Nairn, on the 31st ult., attended by
the County gentry. "The dancing (of which a variety was exhibited from the
French Quadrille to the old Scottish Bumpkin) was kept up with great
spirit to an early hour." Colonel Rose of Kilravock presided at the
Ibid."Dr Donald Macaskill, of the
Island of Eigg, and the Rev. Mr Fraser, minister of the Small Isles, were
unfortunately drowned off Eigg on the 24th ult. They were proceeding from
Arisaig to Eigg in a boat, when, by the starting of a plank, the boat
instantly sank, and they, with the two boatmen, perished." Dr Macaskill
left a widow and ten children. A subsequent paragraph states that the
boatmen were rescued.
November 21.It is stated that an
Inverness Town Councillor, Mr James Lyon, had declared himself in favour
of the abolition of self-election, and had written a letter on the subject
to the Provost and another to the Town Council. No answer having been
returned to the petition of the Guild-brethren, they had withdrawn it, and
now claimed the entire renovation of the Burgh set and a poll election;
"and we understand that under the circumstances of some members of the
Magistracy being considered illegally appointed, the object is to
disfranchise the Burgh. The Lord Advocate, Mr Cranstoun, and Mr Jeffrey
had been employed on behalf of the burgesses.
Ibid."Some oak trees were lately
discovered in deepening the channel of the Caledonian Canal through Loch-Dochfour.
These were in seven feet of water and buried under a depth of ten feet of
gravel. After injuring the dredging machine, with a power of 30 tons,
another of 50 was applied, which succeeded in dragging to the surface
three trees of very large size. One of them is of a magnitude altogether
beyond the ordinary growth of this country in the present day: it is in
circumference 20 feet at the insertion of the limbs, 3 in number, and 14
feet 2 inches at the root end. One of the limbs is 8 feet 11 inches in
circumference, and the three trees measure 198 solid feet; the wood
appears to be perfectly fresh and sound."
Ibid.The Nairn Friendly Society
subscribed £20 towards the erection of a pier at Nairn.
November 28.This issue contains the
text of the petition submitted by the Guild-brethren of Inverness to the
Town Council, claiming the right to elect their own Dean of Guild, and to
manage and dispose of their own funds. By this time the petition had been
considered by the Town Council, and Provost Robertson sent the following
reply to one of the petitioners:- "Agreeable to my promise, I laid the
petition of yourself and other members of the Guildry before the Town
Council yesterday; and I have to intimate to you, for the information of
the gentlemen interested, that the Council refuse your desire."
Ibid.Died, on 1st May, at
Travancore, India, in the 58th year of his age, Captain Thomas Arthur, of
the Engineer Corps, Madras Establishment, son of the Rev. Mr Arthur,
Resolis, Ross-shire. Captain Arthur began his military career under
General Harris in the campaign of 1799, and was one of the party *which
that year stormed Seringapatam. He remained in India till his death, and
was frequently mentioned in military orders.
December 5.The Guild-brethren of
Inverness resolved to raise a subscription to enable them to take legal
action for the vindication of their claims. A sum of £430 was speedily
subscribed. In Wick, Dingwall, and Elgin, movements had begun on behalf of
Ibid."Died lately. in the Scots
College, Paris, deservedly lamented, Rev. John Farquharson, superior. He
was long Principal or Head of the Scots College at Douay, in Flanders,
which he was forced to abandon at the period of the Revolution, and went
to Glasgow, where he remained many years, officiating as Catholic
clergyman, and was much esteemed for his modesty and humility, and as an
Ibid."On the 13th of June last, at
Kakundy, on the Rio Munez, in Upper Guinea, on his return from the
interior of Africa, Captain Thomas Campbell, of the Royal Staff Corps then
commanding the expedition intended to explore the course of the Niger."
The expedition, which suffered severely from the climate, was intended in
some degree to trace the route of the famous traveller, Mungo Park.
Captain Campbell was a native of Caithness.
December 12.To a correspondent who
inquires about the increase of legal distilleries, the "Journal" gives
some information. "In Ross-shire, we are glad to observe, they are making
considerable progress though there alone; we believe there are at present
in that shire one of 400 gallons one of 200, one of 80, and one of 40, and
there is also one establishing at Fortrose of 200, and another at
Teaninich of the same content; there are two of 40 gallons each in
Morayshire one of 40 gallons in Caithness, and one establishing of 80
gallons in Nairnshire. There are none in Inverness-shire." At Dingwall the
previous week several persons had been fined £20 each for illicit
December 19."The Trades of
Inverness have established for the benefit of their members a newsroom,
which was opened yesterday under the denomination of the Clachnacutin
Reading Room." The above spelling is frequently, though not invariably,
given to our palladium in the "Journal."
Ibid.From a letter in this issue we
find that the burgh officers and the local hangman were in the habit of
going round every Christmas morning for Christmas boxes. Jack Ketch
demanded a fee of sixpence, a shilling, or half-a-crown, "just as he
thinks you can afford"; and if he did not get what he asked he was wont to
be insolent. "Now, in the name of wonder, what right has Jack to lay the
inhabitants under contribution? He says for ringing the fish bell; but is
be not allowed for this a fish from every creel that is brought to market?
Perhaps for keeping the streets clear of beggars; for this duty (while he
chose to perform it) he was allowed from the beggars fund a shilling for
every beggar he turned out of town. I cannot therefore conceive on what
ground this man is permitted to molest us, unless it be, indeed, to make
up for the 3s 4d a head for flogging unfortunate women through the
streets, which he has been deprived of by Act of Parliament. Even with
this deduction, I think that his salary and perquisites are from £50 to
Mr Suter, in his Memorabilia, under
date 1817, notes that the new bridge was repaired at a cost of £852, paid
by the Burgh, and that Bridge Street was widened and improved at private