Northern Highlands in the Nineteenth Century
In the notes in this issue we find
the record of the first election of Charles Grant, afterwards Lord Glenelg,
as member for the Inverness Burghs. His father was at the time member for
the County. Both were distinguished men. The son succeeded the father in
the representation of the County, and was for many years a member of the
Government. He was born in India, at Kidderpore, in the Presidency of
Bengal, in 1779; was educated at Cambridge, and called to the English Bar
in 1807. In 1813 he was appointed a Lord of the Treasury, in 1819
Secretary for Ireland, and afterwards Vice-President of the Board of
Trade, President of the Board of Control, and Secretary for the Colonies.
He sat for twenty-four years in the House of Commons, and was raised to
the peerage in 1835, with the title of Lord Glenelg. He died in 1866.
Mention is also made in this issue
of the appearance of the comet of 1811, which was for many weeks a
brilliant object in the northern sky. Some of our readers will be familiar
with the fine poem on this comet by the Ettrick Shepherd, of which the
following stanzas may be quoted ~ez_mdash~
"Stranger of heaven, I bid thee hail!
Shred from the pall of glory riven,
That flashest in celestial gale,
Broad pennon of the King of heaven.
"Whate~ez_rsquo~er portends thy front of fire,
Thy streaming locks so lovely pale,
Or peace to man, or judgment dire,
Stranger of heaven, I bid thee hail!"
From the "Inverness Journal." 1811
January 11.~ez_mdash~It may be interesting to
give the amount of the collection made for the Northern Infirmary in the
Churches of Inverness on the first Sabbath of January this year. The total
amount was £89 13s 3d, distributed as follows: English and Gaelic Church,
£66 14s 3d; Chapel of Ease, £20 9s; Methodist Chapel, £2 10s.
Ibid.~ez_mdash~Died, on 8th November 1810, on
board a transport at Portsmouth, and on his return from Lisbon, in charge
of the medical staff attending the sick and wounded, Doctor John Macleod,
one of the physicians to his Majesty~ez_rsquo~s forces, and second son of William
Macleod of Luskintyre. He is described as a young man of uncommon
abilities and extraordinary proficiency both in literary and professional
attainments. His death was caused through excessive fatigue in attending
to his duties.
a meeting in Edinburgh of the Highland Society of Scotland, a report was
submitted showing the progress made in collecting ancient Celtic
manuscripts and materials for a dictionary. A letter was read from Sir
John Macgregor Murray offering to contribute liberally to the expense of
a dictionary from a fund collected in
India. The Society authorised a sum to be laid out towards the expense of
the dictionary, and for having the ancient Celtic manuscripts collected by
the Society transcribed and translated.
January 25.~ez_mdash~A collection for behoof
of Bible Societies in the Parish Church of Urquhart, Ross-shire, amounted
to £60 12s, including a donation of £5 by Sir Hector Mackenzie of Gairloch,
Bart. The minister, Rev. Mr Calder, sent £40 12s to the Scottish Bible
Society, and £20 to the Edinburgh Bible Society.
Ibid.~ez_mdash~Died, at Fort-William, on the
7th January, in the 42nd year of his age, the Rev. John Ord, chaplain of
the garrison and rector of the Grammar School. He is described as a man of
extensive erudition and an impressive preacher.
February 15.~ez_mdash~Report of a dinner
given "for the purpose of heating, as it is called, the Mason Lodge Hotel,
recently taken possession of by Mr Bennet, from Edinburgh." The company
numbered about 70, with Provost Grant as chairman and Mr Mackintosh of
Hobo as croupier.
February 22.~ez_mdash~Died, at the house of
his mother, Lady Saltoun, in New Cavendish Street, London, on 10th
February. the Hon. Simon Fraser, banker, proprietor of Ness Castle. Mr
Fraser had completed his 23rd year. The property of Ness Castle devolved
on his younger brother, the Hon. William Fraser.
Ibid.~ez_mdash~"It may be mentioned as a
proof of the increasing population of this place that Mr Smith, who holds
two acres of land at the Haugh, has feued the same for the purpose of
building. The ground being square and well laid out, it will form a neat
village, which is to be called Gordonville."
March 1 and 8.~ez_mdash~The death is
announced on the 19th ulit., of Sir James Grant of Grant, Bart. It is
stated that he took little part in politics, but enjoyed the love and
respect of a numerous and happy tenantry, to whom he was a most attentive
and indulgent landlord.. "He had all the affections, without any of the
pride or any of the harshness of feudal superiority; and never forgot, in
attention to his own interests, or the improvement of his extensive
estates, the interests or the comfort of the people."
Ibid.~ez_mdash~Three men were conveying
several ankers of smuggled whisky across the river opposite Ness Castle.
They were pulling the boat across with a rope. The river being very high,
the rope broke, the boat filled, two of the men were drowned, and the
third was rescued after being carried down a mile and a-half clinging to
the stern. The spirits were to have been used at the wedding of one of the
men who was drowned.
March 15.~ez_mdash~Establishment of a daily
mail coach between Inverness and Aberdeen. It was to commence running on
5th April. Inside fare, £3 13s 6d; outside, £2 9s.
April 6~ez_mdash~A statement appears that the
proprietors of the Long Island have not promoted emigration, but have
encouraged tenants to remain, It is stated that the practice of exacting
services has been abolished, that the small tenants in general hold
directly of the proprietors, and that all payments of rent are made in
Ibid.~ez_mdash~The Caledonian Company
announce that while their coach is to run twice a-week to Edinburgh (it
seems to have been reduced to once a-week in winter), they are to put on
in June a diligence, to run five days a-week, and to perform the journey
in two days instead of three. Passengers were to be allowed seven hours~ez_rsquo~
rest the night they were on the road.
Ibid~ez_mdash~A carrier announces that he is
to make a journey once a month between Inverness and Fort-William.
Previously he had only made occasional journeys.
April 12~ez_mdash~Road completed between
Inverfarigaig and the new road to Moyhall.
April 19.~ez_mdash~"That highly useful class
of judges, the Sheriff-Substitutes of Scotland, have at last had justice
done to them, by receiving an addition to their salaries."
April 26.~ez_mdash~At the Circuit Court, two
shoemakers~ez_rsquo~ apprentices from Elgin were convicted of assaulting. stabbing,
and otherwise maltreating William Taylor, late executioner at Inverness.
and were sentenced to be transported beyond the seas for seven years. The
attack seems to have been made on the hangman for his conduct at the
execution of Gillan at Speymonth. The report of the execution bears that
the unfortunate criminal was kept waiting on the scaffold by the
unskilfulness of the executioner, "whose concern seemed directed to the
perquisites of the office more than the business in which he was engaged."
There is a tradition that the executioner died from the usage he received
on his way borne, but the short paragraph given to the trial of his
assailants only speaks of mistreating. The expression "late executioner"
implies no more than that he had been dismissed from his office. If he had
died, the sentence would have been more severe.
May 24.~ez_mdash~Miners brought from Wales by
the Marquis of Stafford struck on a seam of coal at Brora. They hoped to
be able to make the working remunerative. This apparently was the first
actual proof of the existence of coal (lignite) in considerable quantity
at Brora. The first bore was 230 feet in depth.
June 21.~ez_mdash~The Caledonian Coaching
Company propose to run their coaches by the Highland road three times
a-week, "with such expedition that a person leaving Inverness at six
o~ez_rsquo~clock in the morning can with comfort and ease get to Edinburgh next day
to dinner; and in like manner from Edinburgh to Inverness." The coach from
Inverness reached Dunkeld at ten o~ez_rsquo~clock in the evening, and left at five
next morning, reaching Perth in time to catch the coach for Edinburgh.
June 28.~ez_mdash~Recorded that Sir James
Mackintosh, then Recorder of Bombay. had sent a remittance from that
Presidency of £627 8s to the Academy of Fortrose, where he received his
early education. Also that Mr John Forsyth, a son of the late William
Forsyth, of Cromarty, had sent from Calcutta £125; and that George Gunn
Munro, treasurer of the Island of Grenada, son of Mr Munro of Poyntzfield,
and an old pupil, had sent £210.
Ibid.~ez_mdash~Died, at Inverness, on the
24th, William Wilson, merchant in Inverness, and for many years one of its
most active Magistrates.
Ibid~ez_mdash~"Died, in the 23rd year of his
age, near Almeida, on the 5th May, Lieutenant William Houston, of the 71st
Regiment, a young officer of excellent talents, of amiable disposition,
and of great promise. He fell on that memorable day, gallantly leading a
division of Light Infantry to the charge, and amongst the most advanced of
his admiring companions. He was the only son of Hugh Houston, Esq. of
Creich, in Sutherlandshire; had early discovered a high and martial
spirit, and embraced the military profession with ardour and enthusiasm."
July 12.~ez_mdash~The University and King~ez_rsquo~s
College of Aberdeen unanimously elected John Tulloch, A.M., of the
Inverness Academy, to be conjunct Professor of Mathematics with Mr Duncan
in the said University.
July 19.~ez_mdash~Colours were presented by
Mrs Gillanders of Highfield to the first regiment of Ross-shire Local
Militia, commanded by Lieut.Colonel Munro of Culcairn, and were
consecrated by Rev. Mr Bethune, of Alness, chaplain to the corps.
August 16.~ez_mdash~Notice of a veteran named
John Reid, living in the village of Delnies, Nairnshire, who had seen
prolonged service as a soldier, and had nearly completed his hundredth
year. "He entered the 2nd Battalion of the Scots Royals upwards of eighty
years ago, and fought at the battles of Dettingen, Fontenoy, Walls, and
Culloden. He served also through the whole of the American War, and was
present at the sieges of Quebec and Ticonderoga, where he was severely
wounded by a musket ball, which entered his thigh, and which it was found
impossible to extract. This ball he means to bequeath as a legacy to one
of his sons, of whom he has several, all begotten in lawful wedlock, and
although be married at the age of 70, and all of whom are serving their
King and country." This veteran had been only twice intoxicated during his
long life, once at the time of his enlistment, and again when the news of
his Majesty~ez_rsquo~s coronation arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia, where the Royals
then lay. Mr Macleod, of the Inverness Royal Academy, painted his
portrait, and intended to present it to the Duke of Kent, then Colonel of
the Royals, in which Reid had served for upwards of forty years.
Ibid.~ez_mdash~The 4th or Long Island
Regiment of Inverness-shire Militia assembled at Benbecula on 22nd July,
under command of Lieut.-Colonel Macdonald of Staffa. Only two of the rank
and file were missing, and they were supposed to have entered the navy.
The regiment was dressed in the complete Highland garb.
August 23.~ez_mdash~"This place for some days
back has been the resort of an immense number of persons of rank and
fashion, who at this season of the year generally visit the North for the
purpose of viewing its beautiful and romantic scenery."
August 30.~ez_mdash~George Sinclair of
Ulbster elected M.P. for Caithness, in room of his father, Sir John
Sinclair, who had accepted an office under the Crown.
Ibid.~ez_mdash~Mr Adam appointed rector of
the Inverness Academy.
September 6.~ez_mdash~List of subscriptions
sent from India to the Meikle Fern Disaster Fund. The total sum was 3229
pagodas, and it was stated that the value of a pagoda was 8s 9d. The money
was transmitted through Dr Walter Ross Munro, of Calcutta.
September 20.~ez_mdash~Death announced of
Peter Baillie, Esq. of Dochfour, M.P. for the Inverness Burghs. "Through
some mistake, the name of Evan Baillie, Esq., M.P. for Bristol, was
inserted in the obituary of most of our contemporary prints, but we have
the pleasure to state that, though at an advanced age, that gentleman is
in the perfect enjoyment of health, except in so far as it may be affected
by so severe an affliction as the death of a beloved son." Mr Evan Baillie
survived until 1835, when he died at the age of 95.
Ibid.~ez_mdash~In this and other issues there
were frequent references to a comet which was then attracting great
September 27.~ez_mdash~Publication of a
volume of poetry entitled "Craig-Phadric, Visions of Sensibility,
Legendary Tales, and Occasional Pieces," by D. Carey. Mr Carey was editor
of the "Journal." The price of the volume was 10s 6d.
Ibid.~ez_mdash~Foundation laid of Lord
Macdonald~ez_rsquo~s village of Kyleakin. There was a ceremony, attended by the
ladies and gentlemen of the neighbourhood, and followed by festivities on
the village green.
October 4.~ez_mdash~"Francis Jeffrey, Esq.,
so well known and justly celebrated for his literary and legal knowledge,
paid a visit to this place on Saturday last, on his way from Kinrara, the
beautiful and romantic cottage of her Grace the Duchess of Gordon. Having
viewed the operations of the Caledonian Canal, and the delightful scenery
around Inverness, with which he seemed highly gratified, this eminent
character set out for Aberdeen, on his way to Edinburgh."
Ibid.~ez_mdash~Died, on 16th August, at
Timdow of Garthmore, in the parish of Abernethy, William Stuart, in his
91st year. He joined the army in his youth, went to Flanders in 1743, with
the 42nd Regiment, and was at the battles of Fontenoy, Lafelt, and the
siege of Bergen-op-Zoom. He was supposed to be the last survivor of those
who went abroad with the 42nd in the above year.
October 25.~ez_mdash~Report of Northern
Meeting, which began on Monday, 14th, and continued during the week. On
Friday, about 140 ladies and gentlemen sat down to dinner, and there were
about 200 dancers in the ball-room. Among the amusements of the week was a
trotting match between a pony belonging to the Marquis of Huntly, and a
horse belonging to Mr Forbes of Culloden. The pony was the winner. "The
distance, which was about six miles, was performed with apparent ease in
twenty-three minutes, being at the rate of nearly sixteen miles an hour."
lbid.~ez_mdash~Notice of dinner given at
Moyhall by The Mackintosh of Mackintosh to a distinguished party, which
included Mr Charles Grant, son of the member for the County, and candidate
for the representation of the Burghs. "Though many of those forming the
party were in the morning at the distance of 40 miles front Moyhall, yet
they all arrived nearly at the same time. One of the dishes at table was a
hind quarter of one of the blackfaced breed of sheep, seven years old,
which weighed 80 lbs., and had 21 lbs. of suet. It was fed at Moyhall, and
proved a delectable treat." The dinner was at six o~ez_rsquo~clock, the party was
kept up until two o~ez_rsquo~clock a.m., and the visitors remained for the night.
In the morning, after breakfast, they left, some for Kinrara, and the
others for Castle Grant.
November 1.~ez_mdash~The sixth anniversary of
Trafalgar was celebrated in Mrs Maclean~ez_rsquo~s Inn, Forres, by the Forres
Trafalgar Club, on Monday, 21st October, "a day which will ever be
remembered by Britons with the highest emotions of national pride, regret,
and satisfaction." The Marquis of Huntly was in the chair, and fifty-two
members were present.
November 8.~ez_mdash~On the 4th, Charles
Grant, afterwards Lord Glenelg, son of the member for the County, was
elected to represent the Inverness Burghs in Parliament. The election took
place at Fortrose, on that occasion the returning burgh, and in expressing
his thanks, Mr Grant declared that he was utterly unconnected with any
political party; "and the privilege of making this assertion with truth is
one which I value too highly ever to resign." The gentlemen present
afterwards dined together, and the health of the new member was proposed
by Sir William Gordon-Gumming of Altyre, who said~ez_mdash~"I have long been
intimately acquainted with him. I know him to be a man of staunch
independence, and venture to predict that this day will be always reckoned
auspicious for the interests of this country." The same evening a school
ball was given, and many of the gentlemen honoured the ball with their
presence, the dance being kept up with great spirit until past midnight.
Ibid.~ez_mdash~"On Saturday the Magistrates
of this place [Inverness] conferred the freedom of the town on Charles
Grant, Esq. of Watternish, now M.P.; Sir William Gordon-Gumming of
Gordonstoun and Altyre, Baronet; Donald Mackintosh, Esq., writer,
Edinburgh; and George Gunn Munro, Esq. of Grenada."
Ibid.~ez_mdash~The Committee of the Meikle
Ferry Disaster Fund announce another distribution of money collected. A
correspondent in Skye very kindly sends us a copy of the circular issued
at the time, still wonderfully fresh after ninety years. The total amount
distributed to date was £2909 15s, and this did not exhaust the fund,
although the amount of the balance is not stated.
November 15.~ez_mdash~On the 8th inst., the
tenantry on the Cawdor estates celebrated the majority of the Hon. John
Frederick Campbell, eldest son of Lord Cawdor. Mr Dunbar Brodie of Burgie
and Lethen presided, as the nearest relative of the Cawdor family present.
The Castle was illuminated, and the country ablaze with bonfires.
November 22.~ez_mdash~The ferry-boat between
Fort-George and Rosemarkie was overturned on the 15th inst., with 13
persons on board, and all were drowned except 2. There was a strong wind
against the boat, and a pony on board. The boat turned broadside to the
storm, and a wave burst over and swamped her. One man was saved by
clinging to the pony, and another man by holding to the mast. A
subscription was raised for the relatives of the sufferers, to which the
officers and men of the 2nd Battalion of the 78th, quartered at
Fort-George, contributed £21 7s 7d.
November 29.~ez_mdash~Two new roads completed
between Bonar, in Sutherland, and the Ord Hill. This included the bridge
over the Helmsdale river. Plan submitted for the mound and bridge across
the Fleet at the Little Ferry.
Ibid.~ez_mdash~"Died, at Dresden, on the 5th
October, the Right Hon. James, Earl of Findlater and Seafield, Lord
Deskford. His lordship~ez_rsquo~s princely estates, yielding about £40,000 per
annum, together with the title of Earl of Seafield, devolve on Sir Lewis
Alexander Grant of Grant, Bart., eldest son of the late lamented Sir James
Grant of Grant, Bart."
December 6.~ez_mdash~The road from Inverness
to Fort-Augustus, by Urquhart, completed. The original contractor for the
road failed, and his surety, Sir John Campbell of Ardnamurchan, had to
finish the work. Great praise is given to Sir John for the manner in which
he executed the work, although it involved him in a loss of £2000.
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