Northern Highlands in the Nineteenth Century
The subject of Burgh Reform continued to excite
attention for several years. We have already referred to the cases of
Montrose, Inverness, and Aberdeen. To make the history of the times
intelligible, and yet to avoid making long detached quotations from
newspaper files, we may once more avail ourselves of Mr Spencer Walpole’s
History of England from 1815. He relates how, in the Session of 1818, Lord
Archibald Hamilton drew attention to the case of Montrose, and afterwards
threatened to bring up the whole subject of the condition of the burghs.
Public opinion having been thus aroused, the Lord Advocate introduced a
bill for the better regulating of the revenues of the royal burghs of
Scotland. Mr Walpole tells the story as follows : —
"He [the Lord Advocate] proposed that the Magistrates
should be compelled to publish their accounts, and that the Court of
Exchequer, on the complaint of five burgesses, should have the power of
controlling the expenditure. The remedy was a mild one; and, mild as the
measure was, it was not persevered with. Its introduction, however,
created a profound impression in Scotland. Six-sevenths of the populations
of the royal boroughs petitioned for reform. Hardly a single petition was
presented on the other side. Hamilton, finding his case thus strengthened,
moved that all the petitions should be referred to a select committee, ‘to
examine the matter thereof, and to report their observations and opinion
thereon to the House.’ It was in vain that William Dundas, speaking with
the authority which his name gave to him, resisted all change. It was in
vain that Canning warned the House against the experiments of rash
speculators in Parliamentary Reform. Two months before, on the 3rd of
March, the Ministry had been defeated by Mackintosh on the Criminal laws.
Four days before, Grattan’s motion for Roman Catholic emancipation had
been carried in the teeth of the Tories. Hamilton’s motion was now adopted
by 149 votes to 144, or by a majority of 5.
"The Committee, which was thus appointed in 1819, was
revived in the new Parliament of 1820, and practically continued its
labours for three years. Early in 1822, Hamilton. after referring to the
numerous abuses which the reports of tie Committee had disclosed, moved
that the House
should resolve itself into a Committee
of the whole House upon the royal burghs of Scotland. He dwelt on the
absurdity of allowing the Magistrates to elect their own successors, and
insisted on the necessity of instituting some more popular method of
election. But the Ministry was not ready to adopt his views. It was
willing to impose some checks on the expenditure of the public funds by
the Magistrates, but it was unwilling to adopt any remedy which would open
the door to reform. The temporary force which petitions had imparted to
Lord Archibald’s motion was expended; the Opposition, ignorant of
Scotland, were languid; Lord Archibald was defeated by a majority of 81
votes to 46; and the Lord Advocate’s counter-proposal was adopted. Some
checks were placed on the expenditure of the royal burghs; some
restrictions were enforced against the improvident creation of debt; but
the burghs themselves were unreformed; the Magistrates were allowed to go
on electing their own successors; and the whole population of the towns of
Scotland were excluded from the franchise as completely as the settlers in
the backwoods of Canada."
The second half of 1819 was a time
of great agitation in the industrial centres of England and the south of
Scotland. There were frequent meetings and demonstrations, and the upper
classes entertained fears of an attempted revolution. A great gathering
held near Manchester in August was dispersed by the Yeomanry and a
regiment of cavalry, resulting in the loss of several lives and the injury
of many persons. This is known as "the Peterloo Massacre." The Government
threw its shield over the local Magistrates, who were primarily to blame,
and much controversy ensued. In the autumn session of Parliament the
Government succeeded in passing a series of measures called the Six Acts.
"These were of varied importance. The first made it easier to prevent
out-of-door meetings for political purposes, and was to be in force for
five years. The second enabled trials for misdemeanour, which was the
usual charge under which political agitators ware prosecuted, to be held
with less delay. The third, very properly, forbade private persons to
engage in military drill, a proceeding tolerated in no civilised State.
The fourth was for the more effectual prosecution and punishment of
blasphemous and seditious libels. The fifth authorised Magistrates to
seize arms in sixteen counties said to be disturbed, and was to be in
force for three years. The sixth was a distinct check on the liberty of
the press, for it required all publishers of newspapers to give security
in advance for any fines they might incur by uttering blasphemy or
sedition. Such an enactment made it harder for a poor man to start a
newspaper, and as it stood was an insult to the press at large. All these
Acts were stoutly opposed by the Whigs, and, with the exception of the
third, were sooner or later repealed" (Ransom's History). During this time
the North of Scotland was undisturbed, but reports of the state of affairs
fill columns of newspaper files. County meetings were held to support the
The extension of a mail coach
service to Wick and Thurso was at this time an important incident. Mr John
Anderson, in his Essay on the State of the Highlands, written in 1826,
says that previous to the year 1819 the post was conveyed from Inverness
to Tain on horseback, and thence across the firths of Dornoch and
Loch-Fleet by post-runners to the North Coast. "In 1819 the benefit of the
mail coach system was extended even to the Pentland Firth. Horses were
brought from Edinburgh, and stables and inns erected by Lord Stafford at
very considerable expense. By one common bond of intercourse, the two most
distant parts of the island, the one situated at the extremity of the
English Channel, the other in the latitude of John O’Groat’s House. were
thus joined together, at a distance of 1082 miles. In no country, it may
safely be said, is there a parallel of so rapid a change." Notes on this
subject will be found below.
"Inverness Courier." 1819.
January 7.—The workmen employed in
levelling a piece of ground round Dr Robertson’s house at Aultnaskiach
discovered urns containing human bones. In one of the urns was a flint
arrow head, elegantly shaped and doubly barbed. In digging the foundations
of the house some years before stone coffins were discovered. Paragraphs
on the subject appear in several issues. Another stone coffin was found.
January 14.—John Macleod, the man
who had become insane when incarcerated in the prison of Inverness,
received a pardon from the Crown. He was then "lodged in one of the
lunatic apartments of the Royal Infirmary, with some prospect of cure."
Ibid.—On the 3rd inst., the
dwelling-house of Auchterblair, parish of Duthil, occupied by Major and
Mrs Grant, was burned to the ground. The first notice is in this issue,
but there are subsequent accounts. Valuable furniture, china, and books
January 27.—The growth of shipping
and the improvement of harbours in the Moray Firth are commented on. "At
Inverness the harbour has been greatly improved and extended; at Dingwall
a canal and pier have been completed; excellent harbours have been formed
at Burghead, Fortrose, Brora &c., and we understand that the new pier at
Nairn is now in a way of being speedily erected." The following statistics
are given from the books of the Inverness Custom-house for 1817 and 1818.
In 1817 the vessels entered inwards from foreign ports numbered 4; cleared
outwards to foreign ports, 4; entered inwards coastwise, 516; cleared
outwards coastwise, 439; total number of vessels. 963, and total tonnage,
57,591 In 1818 8 vessels entered from foreign ports; 17 cleared outwards
to foreign ports; 521 vessels entered inwards coastwise; 560 cleared
outwards coast-wise; total number of vessels, 1106; total of tonnage,
6,.429. Registered at Inverness to 30th September 1818, 56 vessels of 3391
February 4.—"The subject to which
our attention is at present most strongly attracted is the state of the
Burghs in Scotland. This, we are assured, will become an object of
legislative interference at no distant period. The state of Edinburgh,
Aberdeen, Inverness, and many others, we may rather say every other burgh
in Scotland, is such as imperiously calls for some remedy for the ferment
which prevails." The subject was brought up in Parliament, as stated
Ibid.—List of awards by the Highland
Society of Scotland to farmers in the Northern Counties, including
Nairnshire, Morayshire, and the districts of Badenoch and Strathspey, for
improvements in cultivation and in stock.
Ibid—"On Monday last Mr Bayne
exhibited in the basin of the Caledonian Canal the model of a frigate, to
be impelled by the power of the screw against wind and tide." The vessel
is fully described on 4th March. Mr Bayne was evidently a man of inventive
February 18.—"On the welcome news of
the birth of an heir to the venerable family of Culloden being received in
our neighbourhood, Culloden lighted all its beacons. We would not envy the
feelings of a Scotchman who could look on the misty stretch of Cullodon
Moor, ruddied for the birth of an heir to the line of Duncan Forbes,
without some melting of the heart or kindling of the fancy." The birth
thus announced was that of the late Arthur Forbes of Culloden.
lbid.—"Died, on the 8th inst., at
Clachnaharry in the 63rd year of his age, Mr Davidson, resident engineer
of the Caledonian Canal. Whether we view Mr Davidson in his official
situation, discharging an important trust, or engaged in the relative and
social duties of life, he claims our highest admiration. No man possessed
a more delicate sense of honour, was actuated by a stricter integrity, or
maintained a loftier feeling of independence. When discussion elicited the
various stores of his vigorous mind, he gave an inimitable and peculiar
strength of expression to his sentiments. His masculine wit was never
wielded to wound the feeling of any individual. His benevolence was
active, his beneficence unwearied, and his charity unostentatious. It may
be safely asserted that, of those who had access to his society, none ever
left him without becoming either wiser or better."
Ibid.—"At Fermoy, on the 20th ult.,
Kenneth Mackenzie, Esq., postmaster of that town, and late Captain and
Adjutant in his Majesty’s Caithness Highlanders. Mr Mackenzie was born at
Castle Leathers, and published a collection of excellent Gaelic songs
before he left this country." The paragraph speaks of Mr Mackenzie as a
man of sterling worth and an ornament to society.
March 18.—On the previous Tuesday
the Right Hon. Charles Grant was unanimously re-elected member for the
county of Inverness on his appointment as Secretary for Ireland. The
nomination was moved by Sir Æneas Mackintosh of Mackintosh and seconded by
MrBaillie of Dochfour.
Ibid.—The death is recorded of
Captain John Stewart, of the 53rd Regiment of Foot. which took place at
Knock of Kincairn, Strathspey. He was only 33 years of age. and had served
for 16 years. At the storming of Fort Calliger, in the East Indies, in
1812, when leading the Grenadier company up to the breach, he was
precipitated down the perpendicular rock on which the fort is built,
apparently killed. Although he survived the fall, his death seems to have
been ultimately caused by its effects.
March 25.—"Lately died here, James
Simpson, glover, aged 97, the oldest man in the town. He had three several
times entered the holy state of matrimony, but died a widower. He was a
canny, tidy, old man, and took good thought for the morrow. At a distant
period he obtained the lease of a small house during the joint lives of
himself and his wife, Kate. In his subsequent matrimonial connections he
took care to make the most of his bargain, and successively married a
second and a third Kate."
April 15.—An article, two columns
long, appears on the subject of Burgh Reform. The points in the Lord
Advocate’s Bill (see introduction) are carefully discussed.
April 22.—On the 14th inst. Lord
Reston arrived at Inverness "during terrible weather" to hold the Circuit
Court. A number of cases were tried, chiefly connected with smuggling and
sheep-stealing. "With regard to the former, he was satisfied that much had
already been done to suppress a practice so pernicious to the morals and
habits of the people, but much still remained to be done, and the learned
Judge strongly recommended that proprietors should declare smuggling to be
an irritancy in the leases to be granted by them as one of the most
effectual preventives of the crime."
April 29.—"Died, at Glendoich, in
the neighbourhood of Perth, on Friday, Lord Reston. His lordship was on
his way from this place to Perth to open the Circuit. Those who lately saw
him in this town, in the full vigour of his mind and in apparently high
health, cannot be otherwise than deeply affected by this afflictive event.
Lord Reston was esteemed a good lawyer and an excellent judge. His
judgments were all characterised by much tenderness to the criminal and an
evident leaning to the side of mercy."
Ibid.—A chapel "in the Independent
or Congregational connection," capable of seating about 500 persons, and
built for the accommodation of Mr Dewar and his people, was opened at
Avoch on April 21st. Mr Spence of Inverness, preached in the morning, and
Mr Dewar, of Nairn, in the evening. The building was opened free of debt.
May 13.—A good deal of interest was
at this time taken in the construction of velocipedes, concerning which
paragraphs circulate from various parts of the country. The following
notice appears on 13th May —"A machine of this kind has been constructed
by William Macdonald, cartwright, here, under the direction of Mr Smith,
the finishing writing master, with which that gentleman makes daily
excursions in the neighbourhood of the town. It appears to answer the
desired purpose very well, and is every day more easily managed by its
rider, who now travels with great velocity."
June 3.—At the General Assembly of
the Church of Scotland a petition was heard from Mr John Anderson,
minister of Bellie, appealing against sentences of the Synod of Moray and
Presbytery of Strathbogie, prohibiting him from acting in the capacity of
factor, and confining him to the exercise of his clerical functions. The
Assembly sustained the appeal in respect of certain irregularities of
procedure, but declared it impossible that they should not highly
disapprove of ministers of the Church engaging in such secular pursuits as
might be inconsistent with the discharge of their spiritual functions, and
recommended the Presbytery of Strathbogie to see that these pastoral
duties were fully performed in the parish of Bellie, and in all other
parishes within their bounds.
June 17.—"The state of the Wool
Market in England is so fluctuating at present that both the wool-growers
and purchasers who came North to attend the sales here have hung off, and
it is only this morning that business was done in earnest. The price is
20s 6d the double stone for wool of the blackfaced sheep. No sales of
Cheviot wool have been made in Inverness, but at Fort-William two parcels
were sold at 21s and 22s per single stone." Cheviot lambs were quoted 10s
6d to 12s; three-year-old Cheviot wedders 25s to 27s 6d; cast Cheviot
ewes, 15s to 17s 6d; blackfaced lambs, 8s to 9s; ditto wedders, 22s to
24s; cast ewes, 12s to 15s. At a meeting of wool-growers it was agreed to
request members of Parliament to give their support to a bill then pending
for the protection of the British wool-grower.
June 24.—A girl, eight years of age,
was suddenly killed by the falling of the flag-staff on the Castle Hill.
Ibid.—"It is with much pleasure we
notice that the handsome Pump-Room erected at this celebrated spring [the
Strathpeffer Mineral Well] by Mrs Hay Mackenzie of Cromarty, has been
recently opened for the accommodation of the ladies and gentlemen
attending there. A respectable servant man is in attendance, who conducts
the business of the place with much decorum. The reputation of this Spa is
yearly increasing, and nothing is now wanting to render the delightful
valley of Strathpeffer a place of fashionable and beneficial resort but a
few neat cottages to accommodate invalids, and a hotel or boardinghouse,
which would perhaps better answer the purpose of fashionable visitors."
July 1.—"Died, at Dornoch, on the
31st May, John Law, Esq., Sheriff-Substitute of the county of Sutherland.
As a husband and a parent he was most affectionate; as a judge he was
upright and impartial; and as a member of society he possessed those
amiable qualities which command esteem."
Ibid.—Meetings of operatives in the
large towns of England were agitating for reform and for the redress of
July 8.—The Highland Society of
London voted one hundred guineas in aid of the Society for the Education
of the Poor in the Highlands, and private subscriptions in London produced
a further sum of £108.
Ibid.—On the 18th ult., the
foundation stone of a new parish church at Rosemarkie was laid. The
Heritors and Magistrates met in the Town Hall of Fortrose and walked in
procession to the site. The Rev. Alexander Wood, minister of the parish,
delivered an address, and Mr Mackenzie of Flowerburn, the principal
heritor, deposited papers and coins in the foundation stone.
Ibid.—"Died here, on the 2nd curt.,
in his 67th year, universally regretted, Mr James Wills, who had been one
of the teachers to the Inverness Academy since its institution. The life
of Mr Wills was wholly devoted to the faithful and zealous discharge of
his professional duties; and his exertions as a teacher were rewarded by
the veneration and grateful affection of his pupils, in every quarter of
the globe, and by the general esteem of his fellow-citizens."
July 15.—The first monthly corn
market was held at Inverness on the previous Tuesday.
Ibid.—The new mail coach to run
between Inverness and Thurso started this morning. It was timed to leave
Inverness at 6 a. m., arriving at Wick at half-past seven the following
morning and at Thurso at half-past eleven.—"An elegant new mail coach,
built on the patent principle, and drawn by four horses, now runs between
the town and Aberdeen, and leaving that city at the usual hour of
despatching the North Mail, reaches Inverness so early as eleven at night.
The Thurso mail departs in the morning, and passengers to the northward
are thus permitted to enjoy a few hours of repose before setting forward.’
Ibid.—Died, at Milnfield, on the 9th
curt. Ann, wife of Mr Macdonell, writer, Inverness. A tribute is paid to
her upright, intelligent, and genial character.
Ibid.—"In the last report of the
Gaelic School Society, we have the following account of the deplorable
state of ignorance of the Highlands of Scotland: ...Out of a population of
22,501 (belonging to a few parishes of which returns had been made),
19,367 are incapable of reading either English or Gaelic. Connected with
this melancholy fact it must be observed that the proportion who are able
to read reside in or near a district where a school is taught; but in the
remote glens, or subordinate islands of almost every parish, few or none
can be found who know even the letters."
July 22.—Lord Archibald Hamilton
laid before the House of Commons a report from the Select Committee on
Scottish Royal Burghs. After a keen contest it was ordered to be
printed.—A petition from Inverness praying for reform was presented to the
House of Commons by Sir James Mackintosh.
Ibid.—Died, at the Manse of Duthil,
on let July, the Rev. John Grant, in the 77th year of his age. "Mr Grant
filled the situation of minister in various parishes for about 50 years,
and discharged the parochial duties with such kindness and attention as to
attract the universal esteem of his parishioners. He possessed all the
hospitality of the Highlander, tempered with the moderation and mingled
with the benevolence of the Christian, and he was ever the friend of the
poor and their ready shield against oppression. He had a capacious and
original mind, cultivated to the highest degree by study, and was one of
the most profound classical scholars of the present day. He delighted in
the Greek and Latin authors, who were his constant and familiar
companions; and as he possessed a most retentive memory, the conversation
was enriched and adorned by frequent ready quotations and happy allusions,
illustrative of any subject under discussion. He was a great enthusiast in
the Gaelic language, with which he was perfectly conversant. He was
passionately fond of music, especially of Highland airs and Gaelic songs,
and felt peculiar interest in the traditionary tales, the deeds of arms,
the feats of strength and activity of the heroes of feudal times. Being
himself a poet. he had a very delicate and nicely discriminating taste in
poetry as well as in general criticism, and his mind was deeply stored
with every species of literary acquirement. As a genealogist he had no
superior, his knowledge in that particular extending not only to the
history of families of his own and neighbouring counties, but to that of
families dispersed all over the kingdom. This served to give an interest
and historical truth and body to his anecdote that rendered his company
peculiarly agreeable and instructive. His wit, which was caustic and
original, frequently expanded into a broad and good-natured humour that
carried balm along with it, and spread cheerfulness around him, so that
those against whom his shafts were thrown joined in the hilarity they
July 29.—This issue contains
numerous extracts from other papers describing or discussing the removal
of people in the inland districts of Sutherland to villages on the
seashore. A statement which seems to have been official appeared in the
"Times," beginning as follows :—"In 1817. a year of great distress in the
Highlands, Lord Stafford extended his relief to the ‘poorer tenants on the
estate of Sutherland to the amount of £10,000. This distress was much
increased by the numbers of people who had settled on the estate without
permission, 1500 of them paying rent to no person; and many more of them
holding entirely of the inferior tacksmen. The extreme misery endured by
these poor people (a state of things occurring every three years on the
average), the great improvement among those who had been settled on the
coast, and the rapid extension of the fisheries, pointed out the necessity
of delaying no longer the removal of the remainder of the people who still
dwell on the hills to the sea-coast—a measure as necessary for them as
beneficial to the estate and advantageous to the country." Removals from
Kildonan appear to have been the chief cause of the correspondence and
discussion at this time.
Ibid.—An officer of a Revenue
cruiser. under an order from the Sheriff-Substitute of Orkney, examined
the condition of an emigrant vessel from Cromarty lying near Stromness and
bound for Pictou, in Nova Scotia. The vessel carried 87 passengers and the
officer found a large quantity of its provisions unfit for use. He reports
with indignation on the state of the vessel.
Ibid—Mention is made again of the
mail diligence which commenced running on the 15th inst between Inverness
and Thurso, "thus completing the mail coach conveyance from Falmouth to
London, and from London to the Northern Ocean. This great advantage to the
remote district through which it runs has been secured within a
twelvemonth after there were roads made fit to convey it, and is in a
great measure owing to the exertions of the Marquis of Stafford." A
paragraph in a later issue says that the journey was now made "in the
short space of three days and three hours."
August 5.—A report on the Burgh
Jails of Scotland gives an account of the state of the prison in Tain. The
following is the opening paragraph :—"The Magistrates have but too much
reason to say that the jail at Tain is not sufficient either for the
accommodation or secure custody of any prisoner, civil or criminal. There
is hardly a criminal confined in it who has much difficulty in making his
escape; for the walls are now so old that, though of considerable
thickness, they are easily gone through with a common chisel, the stones
easily giving way and reduced to sand; and such has been the situation of
the Magistrates, and such would be their situation now, were a criminal
lodged for any atrocious crime, that, contrary to the laws of Scotland,
they would be obliged instantly to put that criminal in irons, otherwise
they might lay their account with an escape in forty-eight hours." The
Magistrates, it is stated, had during the last 20 years lost about £150
through cases arising from the escape of prisoners confined for debt.
lbid.—"Died here, on the 26th ult.,
in the 76th year of his age, the 50th of his ministry, and the 32nd of his
Episcopate, the Right Rev. Andrew Macfarlane, Senior Bishop of the Scots
August 26.—Account of the dispersion
of the Reform meeting near Manchester, known as the Peterloo Massacre.
Five persons lost their lives, and about a hundred were injured. From this
time forward there are frequent paragraphs and articles about the
agitation in England and the south of Scotland, chiefly Glasgow. The
presence and activity of spies are condemned.
Ibid.—Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg,
the husband of the late Princess Charlotte, and afterwards King of the
Belgians, at this time visited the North. He was entertained at Dalwhinnie
and Kinrara by the Marquis and Marchioness of Huntly, and ascended to the
summit of Tor Alvie, where he was met by almost all the country gentlemen
of the district, by several of their ladies, and between five and six
hundred people, mostly dressed in Highland garb. "At the first appearance
of his Royal Highness, the Marquis of Huntly’s piper commenced playing and
the people starting suddenly from behind the Waterloo Monument, formed a
circle round the Prince, who affably spoke to every one who came within
speaking distance, drank to their health, and took snuff from those who
presented their snuff horns. The Marquis of Huntly provided an
entertainment suitable to the occasion, consisting of two deer, an immense
quantity of beef and mutton, one hundred quartern loaves of bread, several
ankers of strong whisky, some ankers of beer, and a large hogshead of cold
punch." The scene on the summit seems to have been intended to realise the
description in the Lady of the Lake, when the clansmen sprang from the
hillside at the signal of Roderick Dhu. When at Dalwhinnie the Prince
attended service in Laggan Parish Church. The Marquis of Huntly gave £20
to the minister of Alvie to be distributed among the poor.
Ibid.—From the report of the
Northern Infirmary it appears that for the year 1818, 21 persons classed
as "maniacs" were admitted for treatment.
September 2.—On the 30th August
Prince Leopold left Kinrara, and after lunching at Moyhall, arrived at
Inverness. He was met outside the town by some of the county gentlemen,
who formed an escort, and at the Hotel he was received by the Magistrates.
Next day he drove to Loch-Ness, lunched at Dochfour, and in the evening
was entertained by the Magistrates and a distinguished company to dinner
in the Northern Meeting Rooms. Provost Robertson was highly praised for
the arrangements made in connection with the visit. On Thursday (2nd) the
Prince was to leave for Fort-George, and proceed afterwards to Gordon
Ibid.—The Northern Missionary
Society held its twentieth anniversary at Tain, when the Rev. Donald
Fraser of Kirkhill, and the Rev. John Kennedy of Killearnan preached. The
collection at the church door amounted to £32 9s 8d, and the subscriptions
of members and donations to £94 12s 10d, making a total of £127 2s 6d,
being the highest sum ever collected. by the Society at one meeting. A
considerable part of it was contributed by prayer meetings and
penny-a-week associations. The Society voted £150 to the Edinburgh
Missionary Society, and £50 to the Society in Bengal (Serampore Mission)
for translation of the Scriptures. Seventy new members were added to the
list of contributors.
September 9.—On the previous
Thursday, after visiting Fort-George. Prince Leopold passed through Nairn
and Forres, where he was received with fitting distinction. At Forres he
received the freedom of the burgh. He was entertained at Grant Lodge,
Elgin, and arrived at Gordon Castle in the evening. On Saturday he
returned with the Marquis of Huntly to Kinrara, breakfasting at Arndilly
and lunching at Ballindalloch. "He was received," says the report, "in
this country with a Highland welcome, he has shared our hospitality with
cheerfulness and kindness, and from his engaging manners he has departed
with our love and esteem." The Prince gave £100 to the funds of the
Society for the Education of the Poor in the Highlands, and £20 to the
poor of the parish of Alvie.
Ibid.—Mr Telford, the engineer, and
his friend Southey, the poet, were in Inverness the previous week, on a
visit to the Highlands.
Ibid.—"The smack George, which
sailed from London on Thursday, the 2nd inst. arrived at Findhorn on
Tuesday, the 7th."
September 16.—"The inhabitants of
the town will be glad to learn that the repair of the road from Church
Street to the Shore, so long in contemplation, has been contracted for,
and will be commenced immediately. There will be a foot-path of
considerable width along its whole extent."
lbid.—"Died, on the 19th of March
last, Lieut.-Colonel Fraser, of the Royal Scots. This gallant officer was
killed while rallying the advanced party of our troops before Asserghur,
upon whom a desperate and unexpected attack had been made by a sally from
the fortress. His loss is deeply regretted by his companions in arms
throughout India, where he has served with distinguished reputation for
Ibid.—"At Hull, on the 22nd ult.,
aged 84, Roderick Macleod, of the 15th Regiment of Foot, who fought at the
Siege of Quebec, under the gallant General Wolfe, and was in various other
engagements. About eighteen years ago this veteran had a grave-stone put
down in the Trinity Church new burying-ground, in the place where he
intended to be interred, bearing this inscription—’This is the
burying-place of an old soldier who has served four Princes: the first was
the last and the last was the best."
September 23.—It is stated that the
plumbago mine in Glenstrathfarar was affording employment to a
considerable number of persons. Large quantities of the mineral were sent
to London by the smacks for sale.
Ibid.—"Married in the Parish Church
of Trentham, in the county of Stafford on Thursday the 16th curt., by his
Grace the Lord
Archbishop of York, the Right Hon. Lord Viscount
Belgrave, eldest son of the Earl Grosvenor, to the Right Hon. Lady
Elizabeth Mary Leveson Gower, younger daughter of the most noble the
Marquis of Stafford."
Ibid.—"At her house, Crown,
Inverness, on the 3rd inst., in the 78th year of her age, Jane, relict of
the Hon. Archibald Fraser of Lovat, and sister of the late Sir William
Ibid.—A proposal is on foot to run a
coach between Inverness and Fort-William, with a possible connection to
Skye. A meeting to support the scheme was held at Fort-Augustus, and £500
was subscribed to further the project, Glengarry giving £100.
September 20.—Beginning of
historical and miscellaneous notices of Inverness, "to be continued
occasionally." They were no doubt contributed by Mr James Suter.
Ibid.—"Died, at Gravesend, on his
passage from London to Inverness on the 24th inst., Mr William Ettles,
bookseller, of this place."
October 7.—At the Michaelmas Head
Court, on the roll of freeholders being made up, Colonel A. Macdonell of
Glengarry rose and read a protest against the designation of Ranald George
Macdonald, Esq. of Clanranald, on the ground that that gentleman had no
lands or charters that entitled him to be designated of Clanranald—his
true and legitimate title being of Moidart, or Captain of Clanranald. "To
prove this averment, Glengarry entered into a detail of the genealogical
history of the Family of Moidart explained the etymology of the word Clan,
and concluded (with an accompaniment of some animated remarks) that he
would consider it personal to himself if any gentleman should henceforward
mention Mr Macdonald otherwise than as Captain of Clanranald. Mr Mackenzie
of Woodside having, on behalf of his client, answered the gentleman’s
objection, and some observations having been made thereon by several other
members, it was rejected as incompetent to be entertained by the meeting.
Glengarry here intimated that he would bring the question before the Court
of Session, and thence, if necessary, to the House of Peers."
Ibid.—The birth of an heir to
Clanranald was celebrated with great rejoicing in the Long Island.
Ibid.—The imprint to the "Courier"
now bears that it is "printed and published by John Johnstone."
October 14 and 21.—At the Northern
Meeting this year Lord Saltoun presided. There was a long discussion on
questions relating to the Secretary, but he was unanimously re-appointed.
The ball-room, it is stated, had received a new and most appropriate
ornament in a finely executed, full-length painting of the Marchioness of
October 21.—Died, at London, on 1st
October, Benjamin Ross, banker, Tain, his death is spoken of with marked
regret. It is said that "by no similar dispensation, since the lamented
death of Sir Charles Ross of Balnagown, has such a general gloom been cast
over the Easter parts of Ross and Sutherlandshires."
Ibid.—A full account is given of the
blacklead mine of Glenstrathfarar. "The mine was discovered, in the year
1816, and the proprietor, Fraser of Lovat, immediately determined on its
being mined. The working is carried on by ten or twelve men, and is
entirely at the day, the miners not having sunk more than a few yards from
the surface. The quantity hitherto raised has been inconsiderable: last
year for instance, the quantity sent to London did not exceed five tons.
This was sold at the rate of £93 per ton, thus affording a great profit to
the proprietor, as the average expense of mining and transport did not
exceed £17 a ton."
October 28.—In consequence of the
agitation and disaffection in the country, the Cabinet proposed to raise
an additional force of 11,600 men. They dismissed Earl Fitzwilliam from
the office of Lord-Lieutenant of the West Riding of York for countenancing
a meeting which demanded inquiry into the conflict at Manchester.
Ibid.—An Inverness Juvenile Bible
Society was formed. Seven hundred young persons enrolled themselves.
Ibid.—An account is given of the
journey of Mr James B. Fraser of Reelig to the sources of the Jumna and
the Ganges. This journey was undertaken in 1815. The account is made up
from Mr Fraser’s journal, and communicated by Mr Fraser-Tytler.
November 18.—A meeting of the county
of Ross adopted a loyal address to the Prince Regent, and condemned "the
alarming progress of insubordination and studied contempt of the law and
its administration in many parts of the United Kingdom." Mr Mackenzie of
Seaforth wrote disapproving of the meeting as being in his opinion
unnecessary, and tending to create mischief and alarm.
lbid.—A project was on foot to
establish religious libraries in the Highlands.
November 25.—County meetings in
Inverness, Nairn, Cromarty, and Sutherland adopted loyal addresses to the
December 2.—A list of places is
given, in which the Society for the Education of the Poor have established
gratis schools. Six "aid" schools were also established in the parish of
Moy, under circumstances explained as follows:— "These stations are in the
parish of Moy, Inverness-shire, which runs for 15 miles along the river
Findhorn, besides several lateral glens; in all of them the people have
been in the habit of employing teachers whom, for want of means, they
could only keep for a part of the year. With the aid of the Society, which
in money will not amount to more than £13 sterling, or 2s per annum per
scholar, for the whole six schools, the people hope to be able to employ
the teachers all the year, and to carry on the education of their children
with more effect than heretofore."
Ibid.—An affray occurred near Banff
between smugglers and a party of Excisemen, aided by a detachment of
soldiers. The soldiers fired, and one of the smugglers was wounded, it was
December 9.—"Died, after a short
illness, in the Cantonment at Dhapoolu, near Severndroog, in the East
Indies, Lieutenant and Adjutant William Macdonell, of the 1st Battalion
10th Native Infantry and son to Coll. Macdonell, Esq.of Barrisdale.
His brother-officers of the regiment have, in token of their very great
esteem and sincere regard for him, built a splendid monument to his
memory, on the spot where he lies interred."
December 16.—"Mr John Anderson,
minister of Bellie, and Commissioner to the Duke of Gordon, has tendered
to the Presbytery of Strathbogie the former of these offices—which was
accepted of, and intimation thereof appointed to be made from the pulpit
December 30.—Lord Archibald
Hamilton’s motion for the renewal of the Committee on the Scottish Burghs
was approved of by the House of Commons.
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