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The Northern Highlands in the Nineteenth Century
No. XIX


In the early part of 1824 there are several interesting entries relating to smuggling and the enforcement of Excise penalties. A strong desire existed to put an end to illicit distillation, but there were obstacles in the way, which are pithily set forth in one of the extracts. The condition of the slaves in the West Indies was at this time before Parliament. Many persons in the North of Scotland were interested in West Indian plantations and the counties of Ross and Inverness petitioned Government to proceed with caution in making legislative changes.

In the second half of the year the question of Excise penalties on smugglers continued to excite much attention. The Justices of the Peace were exceedingly reluctant to inflict the minimum statutory penalty of £20, but the authorities insisted. In one case from Banffshire whore the Justices proved obstinate, the offending smugglers were brought before the Court of Exchequer and subjected to much heavier penalties than if they had been fined by a Justice of Peace Court. This seems to have been intended as an object lesson. It will be observed that the formation of a company to introduce gas and water into Inverness dates from 1824. There are many items of interest in the subjoined notes.

From the "Inverness Courier."
1824.

January 8.—At a Justice of Peace Court in Inverness 293 persons were fined for breaches of the licensing laws. From the Beauly district alone there were 178 cases. It was stated that in the Inverness district the fines and arrears of licences amounted to nearly £400.

Ibid.—The Rev. John Macdonald, of Ferrintosh, was at this time interesting himself specially in the Island of St Kilda. He had received the following contributions in aid of buildings to be erected for the accommodation of a missionary and place of worship:—From the students of King’s College, Aberdeen, £7; from Aberdeen itself, £30; from Dundee, £19 19s; from Perth, £13 6s 4d.

January 15.—"In ploughing up a field at Leys, near this town, the ploughman found a rod of pure gold, about 15 inches long, with three sides, each about 1/6 of an inch in depth. In the middle it is twisted, and terminated by a bend similar to a shepherd’s crook, in very rude workmanship. It was purchased at £4 10s by Mr Naughten, jeweller, here, and is now in his possession."

Ibid.—"To the admirers of Gaelic poetry it will not be uninteresting to know that in Slochmuic, on the property of the Earl of Seafield, expired in 1746, John Macdonald, otherwise Ian Manntaiche, or John the Stammerer. He had fought in the Stewart cause in 1715, and at the age of four score and three drew his claymore for Prince Charles at the battle of Culloden. He received several wounds, but more than these regretted the loss of his harp, his companion for more than 60 years. He lingered a few weeks after reaching an asylum in Strathspey, and was secretly interred near the spot where he yielded his last breath. His songs have celebrated the race for whose service he lived and died, and the keenest satire and ridicule expresses his indignation and contempt of their opponents. Perhaps there are not any Jacobite stanzas extant more deserving of attention than the compositions of Ian Manntaiche."

January 22.—In this issue there is another paragraph with reference to the gold rod found at the Leys. "Some additional pieces of the same description have since been recovered by Mr Naughten; and on connecting them and inquiring of the labourers as to the manner in which they were found, they seem to have formed one piece of about 18 inches long, and to have been twisted exactly after the fashion of the worm of a corkscrew. It was found in the vicinity of the Druid’s Temple at Leys; and a conjecture has been offered by a neighbouring gentleman, who ranks high in his knowledge of these matters, that it is likely to have been used in suspending vessels with incense employed in certain religious rites. This would lead one to suppose that it must have originally belonged to those of the Romish Church, for we do not think that the Druids possessed those refined modes of worship."

Ibid.—"We learn that Mr Mactavish, officer of Excise in Braemar, has made a seizure of smuggled whisky of unusual magnitude. For a very long time back it was notorious that large quantities of spirits were manufactured in Glenlivet—’now the only district in the Highlands where this illicit and demoralising system is carried on to any great extent—and that the joint fruits of the smugglers’ labour were conveyed to different parts of the low country by bands of people by far too numerous and powerful for any attempt at seizure by a single officer. On this last occasion Mr Mactavish watched the motions of one of these bands, and discovered the concealment where the spirits were deposited the first night of their journey. The smugglers, thinking all quite safe, retired to sleep, when the previous arrangements for the seizure were carried into effect, and when they awake they found themselves minus twenty Scots ankers of pure Glenlivet." It is singular that the above paragraph should describe Glenlivet as the only place where illicit distillation was carried on "to any great extent," when so many notices had appeared of breaches of the licensing laws, including illicit distillation, in the county of Inverness. Perhaps the writer meant that Glenlivet was the only place where the traffic was conducted on a large scale.

January 29.—A case came on before the Court of Exchequer, under a recent Act respecting the Scots burghs, charging the Magistrates of Nairn, at the instance of three burgesses, with having sold the lands of Hempholes on 7th January, and the lands of Mosshall on 11th March 1823, without duly observing the provisions of the statute. The objection was taken that the production of burgess tickets was not sufficient proof that the plaintiffs had a title to sue. It was contended that the Town Council books could alone be held to be legal evidence. The Court sustained this view, and the plaintiffs were nonsuited. A case brought against the Magistrates of Inverness for letting the lands called the Carse, without duly observing the provisions of the Act, was thrown out on the same ground.

February 12.—A paragraph mentions that a woollen manufactory had recently been established at the Haugh, and was being conducted with success.

February 19.—Notice is taken of a paper by Mr George Anderson, Inverness, read before the Society of Scottish Antiquaries. It gave an account of cairns and circles of stones in the neighbourhood of Inverness, and was accompanied with a map in manuscript and several drawings of the circles described. Mr Anderson suggested the possibility that some at least of these circles had been erected for the administration of justice, and mentioned one in particular which he thought might have been constructed for this purpose. "It consisted of a double circle of stones, not, as is commonly the case, concentric, but placed in opposition so as to resemble the figure 8. Mr Anderson related some instances of the care with which the neighbours abstain from injuring these relics, particularly the cairns, from a kind of superstitious dread of evil which will happen to the unhallowed disturbers of the dead. He also related a tradition of a farmer who had temerity enough to commit sacrilege on a cairn, and who never afterwards throve."

Ibid.—The same issue contains long extracts from a report on smuggling in the Highlands, compiled by the Commissioners appointed to inquire into the collection and management of the Revenue. Most of the points have been already mentioned in these Notes, but some are new. Sir George Mackenzie of Coul spoke of the administration of the law by the Justices of the Peace. "In this country," he said, "scarcely one legal sentence has been passed for many years, as the books of collection will testify. This has happened from no other cause than the law being considered by the Justices as too severe; in consequence of which they have been administering a law of their own." Sir George also observed that there was not a Justice of the Peace who could say that he did not, in his own family, consume illegally-made spirits. Mr Mackenzie of Ardross declared that land-holders had an interest in not carrying the law into effect. "If a gentleman has an estate in the Highlands worth intrinsically £400 per annum, he may sell it to smugglers, if there are mosses on it to supply fire, for the purpose of carrying on illicit distillation at five, six, or seven hundred pounds; whereas, if illicit distillation were suppressed, it would immediately fall back to its true value, and he would lose half his income. The interest, therefore, of the proprietor to prevent this is obvious. In like manner the owner of a low country arable farm sells his barley to smugglers at a rate at least one-third higher than he should otherwise obtain for it. Even this year barley has fetched from the smugglers in Ross-shire 30s and 32s per boll, while the licensed distillers have bought theirs from Montrose at 18s to 20s." The report bore that the number of distilleries under the superintendence of the Inverness Collector was only ten, the largest, 200 gallons, the smallest, 47; that the legal distillers were on the decline; that they could not manufacture to sell with profit for less than 11s per gallon of the highest legal strength; that smuggled whisky was delivered in Inverness at 6s per gallon, 12 per cent. under proof, being a difference of 19 per cent. from the legal whisky, which would make the price of the illegal 7s 2d; that it was sometimes sold at 5s; that the population of Inverness consumed about 1000 gallons per week, of which a very small proportion paid duty. "Seizures of illicit spirit very frequent; always in very small quantities; it is brought in by women in tin vessels, made to fit their shape, and other small vessels; never by carts or horses; deposits made near the town, when it was divided into small quantities." The report mentions only 3 legal distilleries by name, those carried on by Captain Munro of Teaninich, by Captain Fraser at Brackla, and by Mr Harper in the county of Sutherland (probably Clynelish). The Report had been drawn up some time before its publication, and formed the foundation of the new distillery laws of 1823.

February 26.—"William Brodie, Esq. of Brodie, has been appointed by the King to be the Lord-Lieutenant of Ross-shire" — The same number contains a memoir of the late Charles Grant, taken from a London magazine.

Ibid.—A meeting was held at Fort-William and a Society formed for the purpose of disseminating Christian knowledge by means of Sabbath Schools, Circulating Libraries, and the dispersion of tracts. The Rev. Charles J. Bayne presided at the meeting, and Sir Ewen Cameron of Fassifern was elected patron.

March 4.—Two Excise cutters made a capture at Kilmuir, near Kessock, of 100 English galIons of whisky and five horses. The whisky was sold at the Excise Office at Inverness, and the horses were disposed of by public roup at the rate of 6s a head.

Ibid.—"The venerable Highlander, Patrick Grant, to whom his Majesty two years ago granted a pension of one guinea per week, died at Braemar on the 11th ult., in the 111th year of his age. He expired while sitting in his elbow chair having felt scarcely any previous illness. His pension now devolves on his daughter, Anne, during life. It is thought her late father was the only survivor of those who fought at the battles of Culloden and Falkirk. He was present when the Pretender embarked for France."

March 18.—"Some days ago a ploughman in the service of Mr Lockhart Kinloch, at Knock-town of Muirtown, ploughing rather deeper than usual, turned up two cannon balls, one a six-pound shot, the other a four-pound ball, both much corroded; they have no doubt been fired from the Castle, which is exactly opposite and about 1800 yards distant; a stone shot of the size of a six-pound iron ball, of granite, and a ball 16 inches in diameter, of granite, encrusted in the cavities of the stone with brick-dust indurated, were some time ago found opposite the Citadel, and have probably been fired from it."

Ibid.—The solicitors of Inverness gave a dinner in the Town. Hall, at which Mr Gilzean, the Sheriff-Substitute, was the chief guest Provost Grant (of Bught) was in the chair, and Mr Kinloch, Sheriff-Clerk, officiated as croupier.

March 25.—A melancholy drowning accident is recorded in this issue. A person engaged in building a house, engaged four men from Clachnaharry to convey stones from Redcastle Quarry. "The boat employed on this occasion was old and insecure, and on her return from the quarry deeply laden, sank at a distance of about 200 yards from the Redcastle Pier, when, melancholy to relate, the employer and whole crew perished. Four of these men were married, and have left widows and a number of helpless children to deplore their fate. The other was a young man who supplied his aged and infirm relatives. The bodies were found as the tide retired, and conveyed next day to Clachnaharry, where a scene of distress ensued among their families and neighbours, which we need not describe. Tuesday last the interment of the bodies took place, and a more mournful procession was never witnessed in this quarter."

lbid.—A movement began for the amendment of the laws relating to salmon fishing. The Commissioners of Supply of the county of Elgin held a meeting and passed resolutions on the subject. The greatest evil specified was the want of legal protection for the fish during the breeding time.

Ibid.—The same number reports a long debate in the House of Commons on the subject of negro slavery. The Government proposed a series of reforms to ameliorate the condition of the negro.

April 1.—The death is recorded of the Rev. Robert Smith of Cromarty. He was a native of Inverness, and was distinguished as a pastor and preacher.

April 8.—"We understand that the beautiful and extensive highland barony of Glenelg, in this county, was purchased last week in Edinburgh by the Right Hon. Charles Grant, M.P., at £82,000 sterling. A few years since the same estate fetched nearly £100,000, and a vast sum has since been expended in improvements upon it."

lbid.—County meetings continue to be held and resolutions passed on the subject of salmon fishing. The duties on wool were another topic before these meetings. Ministers had proposed to remove some restrictions on trade, and more particularly to allow the exportation of long wools. Manufacturers, however, were endeavouring by petitions "to alter the opinions of his Majesty’s Ministers, and by continuing the monopoly they now enjoy to purchase wool at their own prices, as has hitherto been the case." This is the statement of the county of Ross, which agreed to petition Parliament in favour of the proposals of his Majesty’s Ministers.

April 15.—"The Magistrates of Dingwall have readily conceded to the inhabitants of that town the free election of Commissioners of Police, and agreed to several important amendments suggested by the burgesses on the impending Police Bill. This is an indication of the liberal spirit of the age, and an example worthy of imitation."

April 29.—"Mr Maclean of this place, who has lately returned from prosecuting his studies as an artist in Italy, has in his possession two old coins, the sight of which may gratify our antiquarian readers. He obtained them at Burghead, where 17 of similar description were found, the whole deposited in a horn. This horn, though entire when found, crumbled into dust on being exposed to the air. The following account of these coins is given by a gentleman skilled in matters of antiquarian research: ‘Your coins must be of the reign of Edward Ill. The ‘fleur de lie’ shows it could be no earlier, and the work not much later. The motto round the reverse seems to be ‘Crucem Exaltat Gloria,’ which I have on a gold coin of Edward III. The inner legend is, I think, Villa Ro: Meyron, for the town of Rochester where they were coined, Meyron, the name of the Mint Master."

May 6.—Petitions from the counties of Inverness and Ross prayed the Legislature to be careful in any interference they made with the domestic affairs of the West Indian Colonies. These petitions spoke of the danger of agitation among the blacks, and of the amount of property that was imperilled. The object of the Ross-shire meeting was to petition "against a spirit apparently spreading, having a tendency to lead to measures which may be productive of the most disastrous consequences if not provided against by the wisdom of Parliament." Their resolutions bore that "the advantages derived by the United Kingdom from the West Indian Colonies are estimated at little less than twenty millions sterling, besides the value of property calculated at nearly 130 millions." The resolutions of the county of Inverness deprecated sudden and violent changes, but also declared that "the existence of slavery in the West Indian Colonies is an evil of the greatest magnitude," and called for the attention of Parliament with the view of the ultimate admission of the blacks to the same rights as the rest of his Majesty's subjects; further, "that the measures lately adopted by the Legislature for gradually enlarging the rights and providing for the religious and moral instruction of the slaves are eminently deserving of the cordial and unqualified support of all classes."

Ibid.—At the Circuit Court at Inverness, Thomas Macpherson was accused of having on the 24th July thrown a stone at the late Alexander Davidson, sawyer at Daltullich, said to be in the parish of Edinkillie and county of Elgin, whereby the said Davidson was murdered. Macpherson pleaded not guilty. "On the cross-examination of the first witness it came out that Daltullich was situated in the parish of Ardclach and county of Nairn. After a learned argument, Lord Pitmilly decided that the objection was fatal to the indictment, and the panel was dismissed from the bar."

Ibid.—"Died, at the Manse of Kildonan, on the 14th April, the Rev. Alexander Sage, minister of that parish, in the 72nd year of his age and 37th year of his ministry."

Ibid.—Notice is taken of the death in March of James Mackay, resident at St Louis, in Louisiana. About forty years before, Mr Mackay had emigrated from Scotland to Canada, and becoming engaged in the fur trade, he explored the region of the upper lakes and the country as far west as the Rocky Mountains. Afterwards he settled in Louisiana, then under Spanish Government, and was employed to explore the country watered by the Missouri and its tributary rivers, "a region almost without a civilised man." In remuneration for his services he received a grant of a large tract of land, and was appointed to various offices, including that of Military Commandant. When Louisiana was ceded to the United States, he was chosen to serve in various capacities, as Major of Militia, Judge of a District Court and member of the Legislature. A tribute is paid to the character and services of Mr Mackay.

May 13.—The foundation of a new Episcopal Chapel was laid at Fortress on the previous Friday.

lbid.—The Conveners of the County at an adjourned meeting laid on the table a letter from the Lord Advocate enclosing a communication from the Board of Excise insisting on more vigorous measures for the suppression of illicit distillation. Collector Watson stated that the Justices sitting at Excise Courts had no alternative except to impose a minimum fine of £20 on offenders, and that in future he would insist on this penalty. The meeting drew up a series of resolutions showing that from the poverty of the people such fines could not be levied, and that if they were insisted on, the jail accommodation would not be sufficient to contain the parties imprisoned at a single Excise Court. At a Court which followed immediately afterwards there was a large number of cases. The Justices in the first case inflicted a fine of £3, on which Collector Watson withdrew all the other cases, for the purpose of reporting to the Board of Excise.

May 20.—Lord Byron died at Missolonghi on the night of the 19th April, after an illness of ten days. "However far his compatriots may differ in their estimate of the moral worth and usefulness of this illustrious person, they are at one in the sentiment of melancholy regret for the premature extinction of the most splendid poetical genius that England has produced in her latter days."

Ibid.—"In consequence of different Acts of Parliament, the Heritors of the county directed their Collector to make an assessment for the money necessary for the repair of the military and Parliamentary roads proportionally on the proprietors of houses within the Royal Burgh of Inverness, conform to their rentals, as liable to the property tax in the year 1814, and to levy the same accordingly; but the burgh Heritors resisted the assessment on the ground that they were not liable by these statutes, which clearly meant to exempt houses in the town, and the question was carried by them to the Supreme Court by suspension. After a tedious and expensive litigation the case was decided on the 15th inst. in the Second Division, when their lordships unanimously suspended the Letters and found the suspenders entitled to their expenses. By this decision the proprietors of houses in the burgh have got free of a heavy assessment intended to be levied for 1815 and subsequent years."

lbid.—Notice is taken of experiments to be carried out by the Morayshire Farmer Club to ascertain the most profitable kind of winter feeding for cattle. The writer adds—"Although this Society have, by a series of five years’ cattle shows and premiums, from 1812 to 1816, accomplished a very considerable improvement in the breeds of black cattle and draught horses in the county of Moray—as is strikingly obvious to those acquainted with the state of that district previously—yet they are most anxious to carry that improvement still further; and intend to institute another series of cattle shows with the view of exciting and keeping up, among practical farmers, a spirit of attention and emulation in this great branch of agriculture."

June 3.—At the meeting of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland several members of the Presbytery of Inverness were rebuked for irregular proceedings in connection with the settlement at Kiltarlity.

Ibid.—Proposals were suggested at this time for passing a Poor Law Bill for Scotland. The "Courier" says:—"In the parish of Inverness there is no assessment for the poor, but the inhabitants of the town contribute voluntarily for the support of an Institution for the Suppression of Begging, and from which soup, meal, and money are distributed among the necessitous. The burden of maintaining the poor is thus left upon the benevolent inhabitants of Inverness, the proportion of the expense defrayed by the Heritors being very slender indeed."

June 10.—At the annual meeting of the Northern Missionary Society, held at Inverness, contributions to the amount of £77 14s were reported.

June 17.—"On Tuesday, Peter Scott, from Edinburgh, was elected master of the Latin and Greek classes in the Inverness Academy, in room of Mr Carmichael, who has been appointed one of the masters of the Edinburgh Academy."

June 24.—The Wool Market this year opened with a very dull tone, but before the close there was an improvement, and most of the stockmasters sold. "A great part of the Cheviot wool was sold at 13s per stone of 24 lbs. English, at short credit, with a sixpence more per stone of reference, depending on the state of the market at settling. When credit on bill for a more extended time was given, that description of wool fetched 14s per stone. We heard of one small lot of superior wool from Sutherland having been sold as high as 15s per stone. The wool of the blackfaced sheep sold a little lower than the Cheviot, say at 12s and 12s 6d per double stone. The sheep market was not quite so spirited as that of the wool; but a very considerable number was disposed of notwithstanding. One lot of Cheviot wedders sold at 19s, and the current prices of the market for this sheep were from 13s to 17s; Cheviot ewes from 7s 6d to 8s 6d and 9s; Cheviot wadder hoggs at 5s 6d, 5s 9d, and 6s; and lambs at 4s 6d to 6s; Blackfaced wedders brought from 9s 6d to 13s 6d; ewes from 6s to 7s; and lambs from 4s to 5s. A contract to the extent of about £1200 was entered into by the sheep farmers of Sutherland with a gentleman of this town for smearing materials."

July 1.—Died at Miltown Cottage on the 27th ult., Captain George Macpherson, R.N. He entered the navy as a midshipman in 1800, served under Lord Nelson, fought in the Dardanelles, in Egypt, in the Walcheren Expedition, and on the attack on Algiers in 1816. In private life his character was hospitable and kindly. "On the day of his funeral, the garrison of Fort-George testified their respect for departed worth by paying, unsolicited, the military honours due to his rank; and the shops in Campbelltown, through which the procession passed, were shut. A number of his sorrowing friends resolved to erect a monument to his memory in testimony of their heartfelt regard."

Ibid.—Lord Macdonald died in London on Saturday, the 19th ult. He served some years in the 10th Regiment, and afterwards raised a corps of Fencibles. He also represented the borough of Saltash in Parliament for several sessions. Lord Macdonald did much for the improvement of his estates. "Convinced that the first step towards improvement is to render a country accessible, his lordship made, with the assistance of Government, upwards of 100 miles of public road, on his own property, in the Isle of Skye and North Uist; subscribed largely towards the formation of roads in the districts leading to those islands and built handsome piers at Kyleakin and Portree, not only to promote the trade of those villages, but generally as a protection to shipping in a tempestuous sea. As an inducement to himself and his successors to live on their own estates, he began a magnificent castle at Armadale, according to a design by Gillespie, and carried it on so far towards completion, and embellished it with so much taste that it is now one of the greatest ornaments of the North. His lordship constant endeavours also to improve the manufacture of kelp and introduce the culture of hemp, to drain the marshes and cultivate wastes, to erect churches, mills, and bridges, and by every means to provide food and employment for the lower orders, will cause his memory to be long cherished in the hearts of a grateful population." It was Lord Macdonald’s boast that not a man had been compelled to emigrate from his property, and that not one tenant had his goods sequestrated from the time his lordship came to the estates. A notice in a subsequent issue says that in 1817, when there was actual famine over the greater part of the Highlands and Isles, Lord Macdonald became bound to Government in several thousand pounds for supplies of grain and potatoes sent to his estates.

July 15.—"The steam packets through the Caledonian Canal, and coaches from the South and East, daily bring crowds of strangers to visit the Highlands; and the three steam packets and daily coaches seem to be at present well employed."

August 5.—"On Wednesday the 29th ult., the Malvina, built by and belonging to Mr John Gordon, was launched off the bank of the Caledonian Canal. She is intended for a steam packet, and is built on the new principle of manifold courses of planking. She draws only 18 inches of water, notwithstanding which she lies very steady and stiff in the water."

Ibid.—A meeting of the Heritors and Commissioners of Supply of the County of Ross resolved to establish tolls in aid of the County assessment.

Ibid.—"Mr Stuart, younger of Duncan, while passing through Dingwall on his way to the estate of Strathconon, which he has lately purchased, happened to learn that a gentleman was confined in the jail of that town under circumstances which strongly excited his feelings. Mr Stuart immediately lodged £60 with the Magistrates of Dingwall and procured the prisoner’s enlargement. The debt was for £50. What enhances this humane act is that Mr Stuart never heard of any of the parties concerned till his visit to Dingwall"

August 12. —On Thursday, the 5th inst., Mr Macleod of Geanies completed the fiftieth anniversary of office as Sheriff-Depute of the Counties of Ross and Cromarty, having been appointed in August 1774, when he was about 30 years of age. His administration, it is stated, had been throughout distinguished by great vigour activity, and talent. The inhabitants of the county had also been remarkable for their peaceful and orderly conduct. The Sheriff’s fiftieth anniversary was celebrated by a public dinner given at Dingwall by the Sheriffs-Substitute and procurators of the Counties of Ross and Cromarty. Meetings were also held at Tain.

Ibid.—A Justice of Peace Court was held at Inverness to determine the question whether they had the power to inflict a smaller penalty than £20 for certain offences against the distillery laws. An offender stood his trial, and Counsel appeared for the Crown. The Court found that according to statute the sum of £20 was the minimum penalty, and imposed it accordingly, the alternative being six months’ imprisonment. Counsel for the prosecution stated that the object of the Crown was to establish a precedent, and this being a test case, they did not insist on the penalties.

August 19.—A correspondent writes:—"At a Justice of Peace Court lately held at Broadford, in Skye, for the purpose of discussing prosecutions, at the instance of Mr Burrell, Collector of Excise, Oban, the Justices present, anxious to put an effectual stop to smuggling, imposed a fine of £5 for each conviction in malting cases, and a fine of £100 for each conviction in cases of illicit distillation; and granted warrants for incarcerating every delinquent who fails to pay within half a year, in the jail of Inverness, for the period of six calendar months. The whole of the fines imposed on this occasion, I understand, amount together to the enormous sum of £3400."

August 26.—"During the fourteen days immediately preceding Monday last, upwards of 2500 Highland shearers passed through the Crinan Canal for the South, in the steamboats Ben Nevis, Comet, and Highlander, from the islands of Mull, Skye, &c. So crowded was the Highlander on one occasion that she was compelled to land a number of the passengers at Crinan, and cause them to walk down the bank of the Canal to Lochgilphead."

September 2.—"The law with regard to fining smugglers and the power of Justices being now perfectly understood, another serious obstacle to the due prosecution of offenders against the Excise laws has arisen. A few weeks ago in Dingwall no Justice of Peace appeared at a Court which was summoned, as they could use no discretionary power in the exercise of their functions, and we learn that in some of the other neighbouring counties it is the resolution of the Justices to come forward and state their determination not to act upon the regulations of the Act, even at the hazard of being struck off the Commission. At a Court held here on Tuesday last, a great deal of discussion took place, and a number of cases were put off on the plea of undue services of intimation on the delinquents. Three persons were fined in the penalty of £20, and a warrant for incarceration, after much difficulty, was granted against one of the men."

Ibid.—At the anniversary meeting of the Northern Missionary Society, held at Tain, subscriptions and collections were intimated to the amount of £86 14s.

September 16.—"Died, at Madras, in the East Indies, on his way home to Britain, on the 1st of September 1823, Thomas Fraser, Esq. of Gorthleck, in the Civil Service of the Honourable East India Company at Nellore."

September 23.—At the annual meeting for the election of Magistrates, Dr Robertson of Aultnaskiach was elected Provost of Inverness.

September 30.—The Common Good of the Burgh of Inverness, including tolls, anchorage, and shore dues, was disposed of this year for £887 6s 6d.

Ibid.—"The Right Hon. Lord Macdonald has most liberally given a donation of £50 to the Northern Infirmary. This Institution has received more money from this noble family than from any other whatever. The late Lord Macdonald contributed no less than £200 at different times in aid of the Infirmary funds. Lady and Lord Macdonald, accompanied by Provost Robertson, visited the Infirmary, and were pleased to express themselves in terms of great approbation with regard to the appearance and management of the Institution."

Ibid.—The Northern Meeting opened on the 29th, "and we have the pleasure to state that there scarce ever was a greater concourse of illustrious company and splendid equipages witnessed in our town." The Marquis and Marchioness of Huntly were present. Races were held at Dunain.

Ibid.—The Rev. Alexander Stewart, late minister of the Chapel of Ease in Rothesay, was on Thursday last admitted to the pastoral charge of the parish of Cromarty.—On the same day the Rev. Mr Royes was admitted to the pastoral charge of The parish of Forres.

Ibid.—At a trial at the Circuit Court, counsel for a female prisoner complained that she had been already confined six months in the prison of Tain, a place which he described as totally unfit for the accommodation of any human being. "The floor is of clay, there is no bed to lie upon, no fire-place, nothing but the bare stone wall. There is a sort of window, or rather aperture, in the wall, framed with iron stanchions, without a pane of glass to protect the unfortunate prisoners from the inclemency of the weather." The presiding Judge, Lord Pitmilly, ascertained on enquiry that this statement was not exaggerated, and he sentenced the culprit to be confined for other six months in the Jail of Inverness, the County of Ross to bear the expense. At the same time he urged the Magistrates of Tain and county gentlemen to provide a suitable place of confinement. The Advocate-Depute said he would report the matter to the Lord Advocate, and if the recommendation from the Bench was not attended to, the Magistrates of Tain would be compelled to provide a proper jail. A paragraph states that the Magistrates of Tain some time previously offered to contribute a large sum "considering the revenue of the burgh" for the building of a new jail, but the County would not meet them with suitable assistance.

Ibid.—In the same issue there is a notice of Dr Macculloch’s book, a Tour in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Dr Macculloch described the situation of Inverness in appreciative and felicitous terms. Of the town itself he says:—"When I have said that Inverness is a clean town, and a good-looking town, and that it has a handsome bridge, and that its castle has vanished, and that it possesses the best and the civilest and cheapest inns in Scotland, and that it has a steeple to its jail instead of to its church there seems nothing left to say about it. But who shall describe its situation in ten times that number of words?" After eloquently describing the scene, he concludes—"Those who have not seen the Highland fair washing clothes in the Ness have probably seen the same display elsewhere; yet they have not anywhere seen this show in greater purity and perfection." Dr Macculloch made some ill-natured remarks about Nairn, which leads his reviewer to say that he is quite mistaken. "A more cheerful little town with a more pleasant society in and about it does not stand in the North of Scotland. No stranger who has once enjoyed its hospitality will be in any haste to quit it, and if the Doctor had remained but a few days to breathe the pure, invigorating air of Nairn, to look upon its pleasant marine views, and to cultivate an acquaintance with its inhabitants, he would have got rid of some of those ill-humours, the expression of which often detracts from the general merit of his performance."

October 7.—In this issue there is a fuller account of the Northern Meeting. "The company began to arrive in great numbers as early as Tuesday of last week; and by Wednesday noon our streets were literally crowded with equipages and vehicles of every description proceeding to the race-ground. The weather on that day was cold and rainy, but on the two following days it became mild, clear, and pleasant." The gaieties occupied three full days. Nearly 300 persons were present at the ball on Friday night, and upwards of 250 sat down to supper. Mr Mackenzie of Kilcoy presided at dinner on Wednesday, the Hon. James Sinclair on Thursday, and the Marquis of Huntly on Friday. "In the ballroom the Marchioness of Huntly presided, with manners so kind and graceful, with a judgment so correct and in accordance with the general feelings of the company, as to give great satisfaction. Under her ladyship’s directions, the tactics of the dance were arranged with the utmost order, mingling in due proportion the gracefulness of the quadrille with the sprightliness of our own strathspeys." It was stated that this was on the whole the most agreeable and splendid Meeting which had taken place in Inverness since the first establishment of the Northern Meeting. High expectations were formed of the next Races, towards which large sums had been already contributed. A subscription had been opened for erecting a new stand on the race course. The Marquis of Huntly and Lord Macdonald had each subscribed a hundred guineas.

Ibid.—At a Head Court of the County of Inverness, the roll of freeholders was revised. The new roll as made up consisted of sixty-six voting freeholders in the County.

October 14.—As formerly intimated, the Magistrates of Dingwall conceded to the inhabitants of that burgh the free election of three Cornmissioners to co-operate with the Town Council in the administration of the Police Act, passed in the last session of Parliament. On the 6th inst. the election took place in the Town Hall in presence of the Chief Magistrates. Three Commissioners ware chosen by open poll of the inhabitant householders. "The election was conducted in the must peaceable and decorous manner. From this circumstance it may be fairly inferred that no danger whatever could result from restoring to the Scottish burgesses the right of suffrage, of which they have so long been deprived."

Ibid.—"Died, at Arbroath, in the prime of life, on the 3rd curt., Mr David Carey, junior. Having solely devoted his life to literary pursuits, Mr Carey may be said to have been an author by profession, and his productions in this line, both in prose and verse, are numerous and possessed of considerable merit. For a number of years past he was connected with the public press in London, where he continued to reside till lately, but he returned to his native place in hopes of recovering his health. Mr Carey for some years conducted the Inverness Journal for the late Mr Young, and while here published the long descriptive poem of Craig-Phadrick," &c.

October 21.—An account is given of a discovery of an earthen jar containing a great number of coins in a high state of preservation. The jar was found at a depth of about a foot from the surface of the ground, close by the Greyfriars Church-yard in Inverness. The apprehension that the coins would be claimed by the Exchequer kept the discovery secret for a time, but it is stated that boys on the street were latterly selling them at threepence each. The coins were silver pennies, many of them English, of the reigns of Henry IlI., Edward II., and Edward lII., and the rest Scottish, chiefly of Alexander III., Robert I., and David II. "It is supposed that the jar contained upwards of 3000 of these silver pennies; but from the breaking of the vessel before they were observed and carting away the mould in which they were found, many of them must have been lost." The hoard, it is stated, must have been deposited about the middle of the 14th century, none of the coins being of more modern date. The claims of the Exchequer had prevented other finds from being reported. "We know that a few months ago an old woman found a large horn in the hollow trunk of a tree in the remote district of Arisaig, filled with ancient coins, but from the fear of being deprived of them, she doled them out at a trifle each, and thus have they been lost. Some years ago a like treasure, to an unknown amount, was discovered in the old Castle of Urquhart. and were instantly sent to the crucible or otherwise disposed of for the same reason. We may mention at the same time that the Exchequer very liberally returned to Mr Naughten the gold rod found some months ago near the Druid’s Temple at Leys."

Ibid.—A Ladies’ Society representing Easter Ross, Cromarty, and Sutherland, held its seventh anniversary at Tain on the 15th inst. Subscriptions and donations amounted to £70 9s. The money was distributed among various missionary and educational societies.

October 28.—"The representation of the County of Inverness will become the subject of extraordinary competition at the next election. The Right Hon. Charles Grant, the present member, the Right Hon. Lord Macdonald, Colonel Baillie of Leys, M.P. for Headon, and J. N. Macleod of Macleod have respectively addressed the freeholders, and the canvass is proceeding with great spirit on both sides."

Ibid.—"The Muir of Ord Cattle Market, now the most important in all the Northern Counties of Scotland, held last week, and was well attended by dealers from the south country. The ready sale of stock at former markets and by private bargains, thinned this last market of a great proportion of cattle. Still, the number brought forward on this occasion was moderately estimated at 3000, and money exchanged for stock must have amounted to a sum of from £10,000 to £12,000. A few jobbers scoured the country a day or two before the market opened, and bought a number of inferior beasts, but none of the respectable dealers had recourse to this practice. The highest price given was for a lot of stots from Lord Cower’s farm in Sutherlandshire. They fetched eleven guineas per head; some say a few shillings more. It is certain they were not less. But these cattle were not purchased by one of the regular cattle-dealers. The price for three-year-old stots ran from £6 to £7 10s; two-year-old stots from £5 15s to £7 7s. Some two-year-old stots belonging to Lovat brought £7 10s. Inferior two-year-old stots brought from £2 15s to £3 10s, and one-year-old stots of good stamp brought £4. Two fine heifers belonging to Mr Jeffrey were sold as high as £7 10s each. Two-year-old heifers were sold from £3 to £4. Heifers, however, were not in great request at this market, nor was the market for sheep of very great importance. The greater part of this description of stock had previously been disposed of. Only one lot of good blackfaced wedders appeared at the market, and were sold at 17s each. Some inferior wedders sold at 10s. Blackfaced ewes fetched from 6s to 9s. By the evening of Friday last the Muir of Ord was cleared of every beast brought forward; and consequently the market held on the Island, near this town, on the following day, was one where very little business was done. This market has, indeed, for a long time been falling off. It has almost entirely given way before the Muir of Ord market."

Ibid.—Two Excise seizures are reported. One consisted of 120 gallons of foreign gin, being part of the cargo of a lugger, which had been successfully pursued by a sloop of war. The gin was found concealed under the sand banks near Campbelltown. In the other case a revenue party seized five horses, removing upwards of one hundred gallons of smuggled whisky in the neighbourhood of Fort-William.

lbid.—A bill for amending the forms of Judicature in Scotland was at this time under consideration, and was discussed at county meetings. The County of Ross declared "that the system of administration of justice in Scotland is so defective in point of form, and is attended by such delay, expense, and uncertainty, that a thorough revision of it is highly expedient." On the other hand, the County of Elgin declared "that in the Court of Session the form of process is substantially good"; and the machinery of the Sheriff Courts worked so well "that any attempt to improve it cannot be very necessary."

November 4.—A meeting of Highland proprietors was held in Edinburgh to promote the cause of Highland education and make application on the subject to Government. One speaker said that he was a member of a Society in Inverness which had established. 30 schools; another said he was a member of a Society in Edinburgh which had established 80 schools. Mr Inglis, W.S., said that Highland proprietors were more burdened with expense in educating the lower orders than proprietors of any other part of the Kingdom. He also said "he was assured by a Highland gentleman that according to the usual mode of conducting education in the Highlands, a Highlander might be enabled to read the whole Bible in English without understanding a word of it." A letter circulated by a Highland proprietor stated that of the male population in the Highlands not above one-third could speak any English at all, and not more than one in ten could read or write it. The women were almost entirely ignorant of English. "It is a peculiar and very unfavourable circumstance for a Highlander that to instruct him with any effect he must be taught not one language but two. To read Gaelic is of no service to him, because there are no Gaelic books printed. If taught English without Gaelic he learns it by rote without comprehending the sense." A speaker at the meeting said that, as the result of experience, he could state that a person having once been taught to read Gaelic acquired a knowledge of English five times easier than if put to learn English at once. Resolutions were adopted to further the object of the meeting.

November 11.—A meeting of the Society for the Education of the Poor in the Highlands was held on the 3rd inst. in the Inverness Town Hall. There was a crowded attendance, due to the fact that the member for the county, the Right Hon. Charles Grant, and his brother, Mr Robert Grant, were to address the meeting. Their speeches were characterised by an eloquence and fervour which captivated the audience, and are commented on in the newspaper columns. Among the other speakers were Colonel Baillie of Leys and Provost Robertson. The report of the meeting extends to four columns.

November 18.—This issue reports an almost uninterrupted continuance of wind and rain for many weeks. "The River Ness, which has been rising for some weeks, attained yesterday to such a height as has not been remembered by the oldest inhabitant in town, and now presents a magnificent but fearful spectacle. Those residing on either side of the river found it necessary to protect their houses by raising temporary embankments for keeping out the water, which is rolling down with such strength and rapidity as to create fears for the safety of the bridges." In many districts a large part of the crop was not only unstacked, but uncut.

November 25.—"In the year 1795 a letter containing a one pound note of the British Linen Company’s Bank was addressed by a man in this town to J. Macdonald, private, Light Company, 78th Regiment, then in England. Before the letter arrived at its destination, however, Macdonald sailed for India, and the letter followed him. From India it followed him through the various routes of his Company, and came back to Inverness about ten years ago. Shortly before then Macdonald came home, and died at Dochfour. There was, therefore, no claimant for the letter, and it was returned to the General Post-Office. From this office it was again sent after the 78th Regiment, followed it, and about ten days ago was sent back after Macdonald to Inverness, still containing the identical one pound note. It is now claimed by the person who despatched it, who is still living."

Ibid.—The same issue contains a long account of the great fire in Edinburgh which destroyed the steeple of the Tron Church.

December 2.—An amusing description of the Martinmas Market in Inverness is contributed by a correspondent. Friday was the great day of the fair. "The whole Highlands seemed to have poured forth their crop of live stock, biped and quadruped—in short, there was ‘life in Inverness’ for the few short-lived hours of the Martinmas Market. Every avenue to the town presented the most amusing pictures and scenes of humour. The ‘whiskies, buggies, gigs, and dog-carts, curricles and tandems’ of the highest other, down to the lobans of the lowest potato-monger, thronged in ‘every lane and alley green.’ But the town, the town itself, was the scene. Doctors and dancing dogs, ladies and lawyers, clerks and cobblers, ministers and mountebanks, poets and pick-pockets, puppies and pedlars, soldiers and sailors swelled the motley group. At one end of the town one was sure of getting a smearing of butter and a squash of herring pickle, while the finishing touch was reserved for the squeeze among the well-haired blankets upon the Exchange." There was a horse market, made up of garrons "so lost in hair that but for their size and want of horns they might be taken for an incursion of the whole colony of Abriachan goats." Now-a-days the market has dwindled to very small proportions.

December 9.—A prospectus was issued for the formation of a wool stapling company in Scotland. The promoters included several Highland proprietors.—A new set of Imperial weights and measures came into operation and were set forth in this issue.

December 16.—The Macdonald controversy, relating to the Chiefship, was the subject of frequent correspondence. Several letters appear in this issue. The controversy was started by Glengarry, and became very acute between himself, Clanranald. and Lord Macdonald.

Ibid.—A company was formed in Inverness for supplying the town with water and lighting it with gas. The proposed capital was £10,000, a large proportion of which had been subscribed. Provost Robertson headed the subscription list.

Ibid.—An article appears on Trades Corporations in Scottish Burghs. "In these privileged burghs," says the writer "juntos, consisting often of not more than half-a-dozen persons, exercise despotic sway in all matters concerning their own craft. They fix high prices, which are not to be deviated from without heavy penalties. They limit the number of apprentices, and prohibit by enormous fines strangers of the same trade, however skilful, from entering within their precincts; and thus at every avenue shut out the communities that have the happiness to possess them from all the chances of a fair and free competition."

December 23.—Attention is directed to the case of certain persons from the County of Banff brought before the Court of Exchequer for illicit distillation and having malt and wash in their possession contrary to the statute. In one case a verdict was found for the Crown to the amount of £500; in another, £200; and in other two, £100 a-piece. The article states that the offenders might lay the account of such heavy penalties to the mistaken clemency of the Justices of the Peace. If the Justices declined to do their duty, offenders would be brought before the Exchequer with results such as the above. The writer urged Justices to perform their statutory functions.

Ibid.—It is announced that under the Act for providing additional places of worship in the Highlands, forty new churches were to be erected, with stipends attached of £120 a-year. "The plans and surveys are now in progress, under the superintendence of Mr Joseph Mitchell and Mr James Smith, of this town, and it is expected that operations will be commenced early in spring."

Ibid.—"The subject of railways with steam carriages at the present moment creates an extra-ordinary degree of interest in the southern parts of the Kingdom." Some writers spoke of vehicles travelling at the rate of 20 miles an hour. Others believed that in the progress of improvrly in spring."

Ibid.—"The subject of railways with steam carriages at the present moment creates an extra-ordinary degree of interest in the southern parts of the Kingdom." Some writers spoke of vehicles travelling at the rate of 20 miles an hour. Others believed that in the progress of improvement a much higher speed might be found practicable.

December 30.—At a meeting of the Society of Antiquaries, Mr John Anderson exhibited the seals of the ancient Bishops of Moray.

Ibid.—A Society was formed in Edinburgh for amending the system of Church patronage in Scotland. The initiatory resolutions were moved by Mr George Sinclair, yr. of Ulbster.


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