Northern Highlands in the Nineteenth Century
The year 1813 brought to a climax
the great Continental war with Napoleon. The destruction of the French
Army in Russia in 1812 undermined the power of the French Emperor, and
during the year 1813 he was making super-human efforts to meet the Allied
nations. His overwhelming defeat at Leipsic in October ensured his
overthrow, although his abdication did not occur till the following year.
In 1813 Wellington was steadily advancing through the Peninsula, driving
Soult before him. At the same time Britain was involved in a war with the
United States of America, which began the previous year. The right of
search was the question in dispute. "The British claim to board American
vessels and remove all who were suspected of being English subjects, was
certainly a monstrous excess of power; but if the Democrats, on acceding
to office, had exhibited as much willingness as their predecessors to give
up deserters from the British flag, it is probable that the alleged right
of search would have led to no more difficulty under the rule of Jefferson
and Madison than under that of Washington and Adams. England took the law
into her own hands in far too dictatorial a manner; but she had a real
grievance. The Democrats were always opposed to the surrender of British
seamen. They saw that the loss of her sailors was weakening England, and
in an equal degree strengthening America; and they desired to promote both
results by every means in their power. Thus out of a conflict of interests
arose the war." (Cassell’s History of the United States.) It will be seen
that in course of the year an American privateer did some damage to
shipping on the Northern coasts of Scotland.
From the "Inverness Journal." 1813.
January 1.—The news of the
astounding loss of the French army in Russia continues to be the great
topic for comment. Bonaparte now, as always—but now more than ever figures
as a despot and destroyer, the scourge of the
human race. It is related with satisfaction that he
skulked into Paris at night like a deserter, leaving the miserable remains
of his army far behind at Smorgoni and Wilna.
January 15.—At a County meeting on the 8th, at which
the Hon. A. Fraser of Lovat presided, it was resolved to raise a
subscription for the relief of the suffering people of Russia. At a town
meeting on the 11th—Provost Grant in the chair—a similar resolution was
lbid.—The death is announced of the
Right Hon. A. Fraser-Tytler, Lord Woodhouslee, one of the Judges of the
Court of Session and of Justiciary. [5th
Jan 1813] "He formerly held the important
situations of Deputy Judge-Advocate for Scotland, and Professor of History
in the University of Edinburgh; and was appointed a Judge of the Court of
Session in 1802, and of Justiciary in 1811. His lordship was author of
several valuable works, both in law and polite literature. He was
distinguished as an able and upright Judge, and an elegant writer."
January 29.—The Magistrates and Town
Council of Inverness, "with a due regard to the distresses of the lower
classes," resolved to grant a premium of one shilling for every boll of
meal brought into the Inverness Market for the ensuing six months.
February 5.—Mr John Macandrew was
admitted a practitioner in the Sheriff, Commissary, and Burgh Courts of
February 12—The whole of the First
Regiment of Local Militia, commanded by the Hon. Colonel A. Fraser of
Lovat, volunteered their services for a further period of four years, and
that without any bounty. In the next issue it is stated that the
complement of the regiment was 1000; that not a man was above 30 years of
age; and that the Officer-Commanding had been obliged to decline the
services of hundreds who had come forward beyond the number required to
complete the regiment.
Ibid.—A number of persons detected
in malting and distilling contrary to law were brought before the Justices
of Peace and fined. Some of the distillers were fined as high as £50, and
none less than £20. It was stated that smuggling was carried on to an
February 19.—A number of sheep farms
on the estate of Glengarry advertised to let.
Ibid.—"Died, at Scorriebreck, in the
Isle of Skye, in the 87th year of his age, Malcolm Nicolson, Esq., who,
with his predecessors, lineally and without interruption, possessed that
farm for many centuries back. He was possessed of universal benevolence
and charity, beloved and esteemed by his family, in which he presided as
an affectionate husband, a dutiful father, and faithful friend, and his
amiable and endearing qualities will be long remembered and respected by a
numerous circle of his friends and acquaintances."
February 26.—Died, at Fortrose, on
the 18th inst., the Rev. Andrew Bonniman, A.M., rector of the Academy
there. Tribute is paid to his talents, his solid acquirements, and
unremitting attention to duty.
Ibid.—At Hadley, [19th
Feb 1813] in the County of Herts, Mrs Mary Humberston Mackenzie, widow of the late Major Mackenzie,
and mother of Lord Sesforth.
March 12.—It is announced that Sir
John Macgregor Murray intends to present a copy of Stewart’s Gaelic
Grammar, lately published, to the Schoolmaster of every Highland parish in
Scotland. Those intended for schools throughout the North had already been
Ibid.—On the Sunday previous, while
the people were assembling in the Church of Rosskeen, a part of the loft,
which was crowded, yielded suddenly with a crash, exciting the greatest
alarm. In endeavouring to escape, many persons were trampled down and
dreadfully bruised. Two women subsequently died, and others were said to
be in a hopeless condition.
April 2.—In a circular letter,
addressed to the Lords-Lieutenant of the different counties, Government
gave notice that after the 24th inst. the services of the greater pert of
the Volunteer infantry of the country would be dispensed with.
April 16.—A long meeting of
Directors of the Royal Academy to discuss charges brought by a
correspondent signing "Invernessicus."
May 7.—It is stated; that a building
in a central part of London, namely, in Cross Street, Hatton Garden, had
been purchased for use as a Gaelic Chapel, "wherein divine service is now
regularly performed by an Ordained clergyman, agreeably to the forms
observed in the Highlands." The Duke of Sussex (Earl of Inverness) and the
Hon. Colonel Fraser of Lovat each gave a hundred guineas to the funds for
May 14.—The Rev. Thomas Bain. A.M.,
appointed rector of the Fortrose Academy.
Ibid—At the Balnagown sale of cattle
on the 10th inst., a yearling bull solid for upwards of £26, a
two-year-old for upwards of £42, and several heifers for £16 and £17 each.
"This breed of Highland cattle has been brought to great perfection on
Balnagown Farm, and their reputation is so high that one bull and two
heifers were purchased to be sent to Hudson’s Bay, and several to the most
distant parts of Scotland."
May 27.—"On Friday the 30th last
month there was launched at Stornoway, witnessed by a great concourse of
people, a fine new brig, about 200 tons burthen, the largest vessel ever
built in the Hebrides. She went into the water in the finest style, and
immediately on her starting was with the usual ceremonies honoured with
the name of Lord Macdonald."
May 28.—Died, at Inverness, on the
22nd, at the age of 45, Colonel John C. Halket Craigie, Commanding the
Northern Military District. He seems to have served in the district for 10
years, and was greatly respected.
Ibid.—"An act of intrepidity was
performed at Portsmouth on Monday se’enight, which we have peculiar
gratification in noticing. Three officers of the Inverness Militia were in
a pleasure boat, and when sailing between the prison ships, a sudden
current of wind upset the boat, which having heavy ballast, immediately
sank. Two of the officers could swim, and they kept themselves upon the
surface until boats took them up; but the other was in the most imminent
danger of drowning. A French prisoner on board the Crown, named Morand,
the moment he saw the officer struggling, jumped off the gangway into the
water, and by putting his feet under the officer’s body as he was sinking,
raised him to the surface, and then held him fast until further assistance
was obtained. A proper representation has been made to the Government, and
no doubt one part of the brave fellow’s reward will be a release from his
June 4.—Died, at his father’s house,
near London, Thomas Cockburn Ross, Captain, 11th Portuguese Light
Infantry, and Lieutenant in the Queen’s, eldest son of John Cockburn Ross
of Shandwick, Ross-shire. He had been engaged in the battles of Vimiera,
Talavera, the Douro, and other actions in the Peninsula. Although he was
unhurt in these actions his constitution became impaired, and he died in
the prime of youth.
Ibid.—Report of a speech in the
House of Commons by Mr Charles Grant, jun. M.P. for the Inverness Burghs,
in favour of Catholic emancipation. "It had been the boast of Lord
Chatham," he said, "that he had sought for virtue among the mountains of
Scotland, and that he had found it. Let them seek for it amidst the
marshes of Ireland and they would as surely find it." Mr Grant stated that
there were at that moment in the Austrian Army thirty Generals and a
number of officers of subordinate rank who were Irish Catholics. "Guilt
and shame must certainly attach to any country that could thus refuse to
avail itself of the services of its sons."
June 11.—We have authority to state
that in consequence of the support and interest of the House of Cawdor, in
the County of Nairn, being given to Sir James Mackintosh, Captain Charles
Campbell, of the Navy, disposed of his freehold in that shire."
June 18.—Died, in the Island of
Java, on the 29th July 1812, Lieut. Alexander Morrison, of the 78th
Regiment, eldest son of the Rev. Mr Morrison, minister of Kintail. He was
present with his regiment at the capture of Batavia, and with a subsequent
expedition. A brother officer wrote that "he was one of the finest fellows
he ever knew."
June 25.—Among the Acts relating to
Scotland which received the Royal Assent on the 3rd inst. was the
following :—"An Act to amend and enlarge the powers of an Act passed in
the 45th year of his present Majesty, for assessing the proprietors of
Lands in the County of Ross towards the expense of making and supporting
certain Roads and Bridges therein; and of an Act passed in the 47th year
of his present Majesty for Regulating and Converting the Statute Labour in
the Counties of Ross and Cromarty, and part of the County of Nairn locally
situated in the County of Ross; and of an Act passed in the 50th year of
his present Majesty for amending and enlarging the powers of the two
July 2.—Sir James Mackintosh was on
the 28th ult. unanimously elected member of Parliament for the County of
Nairn, in room of Hugh Rose of Kilravock, who had accepted the Chiltern
Ibid.—Extract of a letter from a
correspondent in Skye: —"It may be worthy of notice in your paper that
last spring there were about 1200 persons inoculated in the Isle of Skye
with the cowpox, and afterwards with the smallpox, but none of them were
affected by it. This I have from the medical gentlemen who inoculated
them. There were more than the above number who were not inoculated with
the cowpox, all of whom took the smallpox. This is perhaps as strong a
proof as has appeared of the benefits derived from vaccination." The
explanation of this somewhat extraordinary, communication seems to be that
the second set were inoculated with smallpox without being vaccinated.
July 9.—Great delight expressed at
Wellington’s decisive victory over the French at the battle of Vittoria,
fought on 21st June. The French on that occasion lost 151 guns, 415
caissons, and all their baggage. It was after this battle that Wellington
was made a Field-Marshal
Ibid.—An American privateer, the
Blockade of Rhode Island, Manly Swat, commander, captured on the 27th ult,
off Cape Wrath, the sloop Six Sisters, of Inverness, and the brig Daphne,
of Kirkwall. She also made several other captures, including a vessel, the
Experiment, of Dumfries, laden with timber for Beauly. The master of this
vessel was at the time in a state of mental derangement, and the privateer
allowed her to depart, after seeding his surgeon on board to bleed the
unfortunate man. He took from the vessel, however, all her charts, books,
two muskets, a spy-glass, and some coals. According to the mate of the
Experiment, the Blockade was about 200 tons burthen, mounted 18 long
9-pounders; 2 12-pounders, and 1 32-pounder in the middle of the main
deck. Another correspondent described her as mounting 10 guns, with a
complement of 70 men. The Experiment put into Scalpay Sound, Isle of Skye,
on the 29th ult. A Broadford correspondent, who sends the particulars,
writes :—"It is remarked here the hardship of the coast being unprotected.
We have not a red-coat to turn out, although the Yankees should take it
into their heads to annoy us on shore. The local Militia (3rd Inverness)
has been dismissed, and the Volunteers also; and the Isle of Skye, though
in importance not inconsiderable, is quite defenceless," On the 28th, his
Majesty’s sloop, Cherokee, Captain Rammage, sailed from Thurso in pursuit
of the privateer.
Ibid.—Married, at Edinburgh, on 2nd
July, Sir David Hunter Blair of Brownhill, Bart., to Miss Dorothy Hay
Mackenzie, second daughter of Edward Hay Maekenzie of NewhaIl and
Cromarty. The marriage was celebrated with bonfires on the Cromarty
July 16.—This number contains an
account of the famous action fought on 1st June between the American
frigate Chesapeake, Captain Lawrence, and the British frigate, Shannon,
Captain Broke. It is worth while quoting the story as told by the Editor
of the Journal at the time in his own words:—"The action was
fought off Boston, and took place in consequence of a challenge sent by
Captain Broke to the American Commander, inviting him to try his strength.
The Chesapeake was superior in size, superior in weight of metal, and
superior in numbers to the Shannon. She came out fresh from her own port,
in all the consciousness of preparation, in all the consciousness of
superiority, and in all the confidence of conquest. She was attended by
several American barks and boats, laden with the friends and countrymen of
her crew, eager to witness the battle and the victory; but in 15 minutes
after she came into action she was forced to yield to the gallantry of her
antagonist. Twelve minutes after the action began our seamen boarded, and
three minutes were sufficient to complete the business. This intelligence
will be received with feelings of satisfaction, greater, perhaps, than the
cause altogether warrants. We know that the result of the contest is
precisely what we do and ought to expect from the valour of British
seamen—that we have no reason to exult in it—but still it is in a high
degree pleasurable to receive this practical demonstration of the truth of
what we have ever affirmed, that with anything like equal means, the
spirit and skill of our navy is irresistible." It may be added that
American seamen had notable victories to boast of during the war, and the
exploit of the Shannon was all the more gratifying to the British. Captain
Lawrence, of the Chesapeake, was mortally wounded in the action above
recorded, and during the remaining four days of his life, in moments of
delirium, he often exclaimed, "Don’t give up the ship." He was buried at
Halifax, in Nova Scotia, with the honours of war, some of the oldest
Captains in the British Navy carrying the pall.
July 23.—On the previous Monday
night or Tuesday morning, a non-commissioned officer, Sergeant Andrew
Cullen, of the 21st Regiment, then stationed at Fort-George, killed his
wife by stabbing her with a chisel. He afterwards inflicted severe wounds
on himself. Cullen had been intoxicated for some days when he committed
Ibid—American privateers continue to
infest the West Coast. A vessel belonging to Mr Macdonald, Lochinver, with
salt and other stores for the herring fishing, was captured within
half-a-mile of his dwelling-house.
Ibid.—The death is announced of
Lieut. Colin Mackenzie, of the 71st Regiment, killed at the battle of Vittoria. He was a son of John Mackenzie of Kincraig, Roes-shire, and was
July 30.—Died, at Thurso, on the
20th inst., the Rev. William Munro, parochial schoolmaster of Thurso. He
is spoken of as a particularly diligent and successful teacher.
Ibid.—On Saturday last a detachment
from the 2nd Battalion of the 42nd Regiment, consisting of 70 privates, 4
sergeants, 4 corporals, and 7 officers, embarked on board the Inverness
Packet for London, with a view to join their gallant companions in Spain.
At this time the Inverness Militia were encamped on Southsea Common.
August 6.—After the inspection of
the 1st Regiment of Ross-shire Local Militia, a ball was held at Dingwall,
which is described in glowing terms. "Dancing commenced with reels, in
which the charming Lady Mackenzie of Avoch shone with unrivalled
splendour." Her husband, Sir Alexander Mackenzie, the explorer of the
North-West, was also present. "That celebrated and ingenious philosopher,
Sir Humphrey Davy," was in the neighbourhood, but was prevented from being
present by a severe cold. His wife, however, "the fascinating Lady Davy,"
was a centre of attraction. The ball was given by Lieut-Colonel Munro of
Culcairn and the officers of the regiment.
August 17.—The Wester and Easter
Ross Farmer Clubs held again a united show at Alness. The Morayshire
Farmer Club also held a show at Elgin, at which they distributed a hundred
guineas in prizes. One of the objects of the latter club was to establish
in the County and to bring to its utmost perfection "the true Scots breed
of black cattle." [Six weeks are missing from the file after this date]
October 1.—The Gazette notice
recording the fall of St Sebastian is given in this issue.
Ibid.—Thomas Gilzean was this year
re-elected Provost of Inverness.
October 15.—Killed in action with
the enemy in the river Elbe, Lieutenant David Gray, of the Royal Marines,
serving on board his Majesty’s ship Desiree, and second son of Mr James
Gray, merchant, Inverness. He was interred with military honours at
Heligoland, and his brother officers, in respect for his memory, ordered a
tombstone to be placed over his remains.
October 29.—The Marquis of Huntly
presented a portrait of his mother, the late Duchess of Gordon, to the
Northern Meeting. The members of the Meeting, to show their respect for
the Duchess, intended to commission a portrait for themselves, but the
Marquis of Huntly insisted on making the presentation himself.
Ibid.—"Died, on the 8th of May, at
the advanced age of 80, on his estate of Gross Point, near Detroit, in
North America, the Hon. Alexander Grant, a member of his Majesty’s
Executive and Legislative Council of Upper Canada, and for nearly
half-a-century Commodore of the fleet on Lake Erie. This excellent man was
of the Glenmoriston family, and was a brother to the late Patrick Grant,
Esq. of Glenmoriston. He went to America in 1754 as lieutenant in one of
the Highland regiments, and was instrumental, from his nautical knowledge,
in obtaining the command on Lake Champlain during the war which conquered
Canada from France. During the rebellion of the Colonies, he was eminently
useful on the upper lakes, and also in administering the government of
Upper Canada after the death of General Hunter. He has left one son, a
lieutenant in the Canada Regiment, and a numerous family of daughters and
grandchildren, who will long cherish the remembrance of a fond and
November 5.—Andrew Cullen was
executed at Inverness on the previous Friday for the murder of his wife.
The place of execution is not mentioned. "Cullen was a man of very strong
mind, and. his ingenuity as a mechanic might have rendered him a valuable
member of society, had not his predilection for drinking, which brought
him to an untimely end, proved an insurmountable obstacle to the regular
prosecution of many excellent designs which he had partially carried into
Ibid.—Captain John Ross, of the 19th
Portuguese, and Lieutenant in the 92nd British Line, fell at Mayo as the
head of his company on the 31st August. He was the son of the Rev. John
Ross, minister of Rosskeen, and a very promising officer.
November 12.—This number contains
the news of the great overthrow of Napoleon in the series of battles at
Leipsic in the middle of October. The headings announcing the victory of
the Allies occupy nine lines in large type.
Ibid.—The Session of Parliament was
opened on Thursday the 4th. The Address in the House of Commons was moved
by Lord Compton, and seconded by Mr Charles Grant, member for the
Inverness Burghs, "with that eloquence which so particularly distinguishes
our member." The report of Mr Grant’s speech occupies more than two
columns of the "Journal." Speaking of the Alliance against Napoleon and
the prospects of peace, the hon. member said—"Anxious as we are to procure
peace, let us remember by what means alone such a peace can be obtained as
we can safely accept. Let us recollect that it must not be a peace founded
upon a compromise of any great interest; upon a dereliction of any sacred
principles; the creature of timidity on our part, of insolence and
artifice on the part of the enemy. It must be a peace founded on mutual
advantage and mutual confidence, and resting on the basis of social order,
law, and justice."
November 26.—Died, on Sunday the 7th inst., at Brahan
Castle, the Hon. Francis Mackenzie, second son of Lord Seaforth.
December 3.—News of Wellington’s victory over Soult on
December 10.—At the Nairnshire meeting in London a
member presented a subscription paper for aiding the work of erecting a
pier at Nairn. A sum of £75 was subscribed, and a Committee was appointed
to correspond with friends in the North on the subject.
December 17.—The Marquis of Huntly was married on the
11th inst. to Elizabeth Brodie, only daughter of Alexander Brodie of the
Burn. "This happy event took place at Bath, and the numerous friends of
the distinguished couple are manifesting their joy on the occasion by
public dinners, bells, and bonfires, throughout the counties of Aberdeen,
Banff, and Moray, &c. The marriage is celebrated in the "Journal" in a
song of nine stanzas, after the style of Skinner’s Tallochgorum.
Subsequent issues contain notices of rejoicings in numerous districts of
Ibid.—Died, at Bught, on the 7th curt., Mrs Jean
Baillie, relict of the late Duncan Grant of Bught, in the 82nd year of her
December 24.—Mr Charles Grant, member for the Burghs,
was appointed one of the Lords of the Treasury.
The following paragraph appears in James Suter’s
Memorabilia:—"1813.---Embankment of Town Lands at the Longman completed.
Expense, £494, paid by the Burgh."
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