Northern Highlands in the Nineteenth Century
The year 1814 witnessed the invasion of France by the
Allied Armies, the abdication of Napoleon as Emperor of the French, and
his temporary exile to Elba. The Act of Abdication was signed at
Fontainebleau on the 4th of April 1814. News, however, in those days
travelled slowly, and a week later British and French were still fighting
five hundred miles from Paris. On the 10th, Wellington defeated Soult at
Toulouse. On the 11th the French Marshal evacuated the city, and
Wellington, on entering it, found the white flag flying and everybody
wearing the white cockade. On the afternoon of the same day messengers
arrived from Paris bringing news of Napoleons abdication and the
establishment of a provisional Government in the name of Louis XVIII. It
was not, however, until the 18th that Soult, having received an order from
Berthier, concluded a convention with Wellington, putting a final step to
hostilities. The war with the United States went on during 1814, but a
treaty of peace was signed at Ghent on the 24th of December. The news did
not reach the States until after the attack on New Orleans, which was
disastrous to the British.
From the "Inverness Journal"
January 7.Further notices of rejoicings on the
occasion of the marriage of the Marquis of Huntly to Miss Brodie. These
notices are from Elgin, Nairn, and Lochaber, and speak of great and
general enthusiasm. A set of verses of considerable merit celebrates the
qualities of the bridegroom. The following are a couple of stanzas
Where echoes out the martial din,
Or festive joys are reaped within,
Or human ills compassion win,
There shines the noble Huntly.
"The soul thats steel in field of fight,
The heart that gladdens gay delight,
The eye that melts at pitys sight,
Are thine, most noble Huntly."
January 14.The Hon. J. F. Campbell, eldest son of Lord
Cawdor, was the previous week
returned without opposition as member of Parliament for
the Burgh of Carmarthen.
Ibid.Died, on 13th December, Major Maxwell Mackenzie, Lieutenant-Colonel
of the 71st Regiment, son of John Mackenzie of Kincraig, Ross-shire. "This
gallant officer received his mortal wound in the engagement with the enemy
near Bayonne, while nobly cheering and leading on his men to charge the
enemy, and thus terminated an honourable life in a glorious death."
January 21.Re-election of Charles
Grant for the Inverness Burghs on his appointment as one of the Lords of
Ibid.Died, at Ardgowan, suddenly,
on 5th inst., Lieutenant-Colonel Æneas Mackintosh, of the 79th Regiment,
in the 34th year of his age. He entered the service at the age of 17, and
distinguished himself in various campaigns and expeditions in different
quarters of the globe. Special mention is made of his gallant conduct at
Flushing, at Fuentes dHonore, and in the attack on Fort San Christoval,
where he led the forlorn hope. Lieutenant-Colonel Mackintosh was interred
at Greenock with military honours, the Magistrates, officers of the local
Militia, and principal gentlemen of the town attending the funeral. He was
a son of the late Lachlan Mackintosh of Balnespick, and nephew to Sir
Æneas Mackintosh of Mackintosh, Bart.
January 28."This day were published
in octavo, price 16s, boards, Thoughts on the Origin and Descent of the
Gael, with an account of the Picts, Caledonians, and Scots; with
observations relative to the authenticity of the Poems of Ossian. By James
Grant, Esq. of Corrymony, advocate." The object of this work was to show
that the Gaels were the aboriginal inhabitants of all the Britannic
IbidNews of the Allied armies
pouring across the Rhine into France. "Lord Wellington on the south-west
and the whole of their western coast blockaded by English squadrons,
affords the unexampled spectacle of an Empire of nearly three thousand
miles in circumference entirely surrounded by enemies, of whom 500,000 are
advancing against the centre."
Ibid---A meeting of heritors was
held at Dingwall on the 18th inst. to consider the expediency of applying
to Parliament for a revision of the laws regulating the exportation and
importation of corn. The meeting objected to restraints on exportation,
and to free importation of corn from abroad. They were in favour of a duty
"to put the foreign importer on a par with the native farmer," and when
that point had been reached they wanted the enjoyment of free exportation.
A petition on these lines was prepared for presentation to Parliament.
February 11We are happy to learn
that the history of Great Britain from the Revolution in 1688 to the
French Revolution in 1789, by Sir James Mackintosh, is proceeding, and
will be published in course of this season." This project was not
fulfilled, only a portion being published after its anthers death. Sir
James, however, long busied himself in collecting materials.
February 18.Died, at Balnagown
Castle, on the 8th curt., Lieutenant-General Sir Charles Ross of Balnagown,
Bart. "His death is deeply deplored, not only by his family and intimate
friends, but by all who had the happiness of being acquainted with him. It
is a public loss of no ordinary magnitude."
Ibid."Died, at the Manse of Dyke,
on the 3rd curt., the Rev. David Brichan, D.D., an accomplished scholar
and elegant writer."
February 25.The river Findhorn
overflowed its banks on the 11th in the neighbourhood of Forres. At the
Broom of Moy four houses were thrown down and the residents with
difficulty rescued. "The soil of three acres of land sown with wheat and
the break furrows of several fields have been completely washed away. In
short, the loss is so great that it wilt take the labour of years to make
March 4.In this number there is an
account of a thaw which took place on the Kyle of Sutherland after six
weeks of intense frost. The ice bound up the rivers and Kyle to such an
extent "that men, cattle, and waggons might cross the arm of the sea above
the bridge, and it was passable also below it as far as Creich." When the
thaw came the ice was broken up into great masses, and jammed among them
were 400 logs of wood, brought down by the River Carron. Large fragments
of the ice and many of the logs struck the iron arch of the new bridge
with great force, and, happily, it stood the strain. [The bridge remained
until nearly eighty years afterwards, when it was carried away by another
Ibid."Died, at Tongue Manse, on the
5th ult., in the 76th year of her age, much regretted, Mrs Jane Porteous,
spouse of the Rev. William Mackenzie, minister of Tongue, and daughter of
the Rev. William Porteous, once minister of Rafford, a near relative of
the late celebrated Dr Porteous, Bishop of London." The paragraph goes on
to speak of Mrs Mackenzies piety and poetical talent.
March 25.There was a proposal at
this time on the part of the Earl of Fife to restore and occupy as a
residence the Abbey of Pluscarden. An architect from Edinburgh was engaged
on a survey of the Abbey.
April 1 to 22.These numbers are
missing from our file. One of them must have contained the news of the
abdication of Napoleon, which was signed at Fontainebleau on 4th April.
April 29.News of the battle of
Toulouse, in which Wellington defeated Soult. The battle was fought on the
10th, and the news of Napoleons abdication had not then been received.
IbidOn the previous Friday the town
of Inverness was illuminated to celebrate the fall of Napoleon. "Early in
the evening a grotesque figure of the great captain was carried through
the streets on horseback, to the no small amusement of thousands, and
afterwards publicly burned on Clachnacuddin amidst the acclamations of the
populace. An immense bon-fire was lighted on an eminence in the
neighbourhood of the town, and serving as a signal to the surrounding
country, the whole sky was speedily inflamed with the reflection of the
fires which blazed on every hill as far as the eye could reach."
Neighbouring towns were also illuminated.
Ibid.A cargo of coals from Brora
arrived in Inverness, and were considered to be of excellent quality.
May 6.It is announced that the
Marquis of Stafford has laid off the site of a new town at Brora, and
proposes to grant feus for house and garden ground.
May 3."Tuesdays Gazette announces
the promotion of Lord Wellington to the dignity of a Dukedom by the title
of Duke of Wellington."
May 20."Despatches were received by
Government on Sunday seenight announcing the arrival of Bonaparte at the
Island of Elba."
Ibid.The Colonels Commandant
received circular letters informing them that the local Militia will not
be called out for training or exercise during the present year.
Ibid."Died, at Cheltenham, on the
17th April, Captain W. Mackenzie, 9th Royal Veteran Battalion, late of the
42nd Regiment; an officer of distinguished merit, who served many years in
that corps; was severely wounded in the memorable battle of the 21st March
1801 in Egypt; was one of the standard bearers of that regiment at the
battle of Aboukir. The flag he carried was pierced through with ball in
many places. Those standards are now placed as an emblem of that event in
the great hail of Novar House in Ross-shire, the seat of the late Sir
Hector Munro, then Colonel of that regiment."
June 3.On the 12th ult. the
foundation-stone of the Varar bridge was laid by William Chisholm of
Ibid."Died, at Bunchegovie,
Stratherrick, on the 14th ult., Captain Alexander Fraser, aged 87. He was
an officer in the war of 1757, and may be considered the last survivor of
those serving in America under the command of General Wolfe."
June 17.Mr J. Mactavish was
admitted a Procurator before the Sheriff Court.
June 24."On the 13th ult., after a
long and painful sickness, which he endured with the firmness and
resignation of a true servant of Christ, died at Waterstein, in the 76th
year of his age and 45th of his ministry, the Rev. William Bethune,
minister of Duirinish, in the Isle of Skye. His social qualities, amiable
manners, and Christian virtues will be long remembered, and his death
lamented by his family, by his numerous friends and acquaintances."
July 1.The case of Lord Cochrane
was at this time engrossing public attention. The "Journal" expressed its
conviction that Lord Cochrane was innocent.
Ibid~News was received of the loss
of a schooner on the west coast of Berbice, with nearly all on board.
Among those drowned were Charles Mackintosh, of Dochgarroch; Angus Fraser,
of Fort-William, and a Mr Duncan, from Moray-shire. From a subsequent
notice it appears that the last-mentioned was William Duncan, merchant,
Berbice. Angus Fraser was a merchant in Demerara.
July 8.Married, at the Manse of
Kiltarlity, the Rev. Alexander Flyter, Rothesay, to Elizabeth, eldest
daughter of the Rev. Dr Bayne.
July 15.Died, in Java, in the
previous year, Captain James Macpherson, of the 78th. He seems to have
been killed in a fight with the natives. The "Java Government Gazette"
contained a poem of more than forty lines to his memory. After celebrating
his good qualities, the writer says
"Such was the man whom fate ordained
By dastard creases, tinged in ruffian gall."
July 22.Died, at Nairn, on the 18th
inst. Colonel William Mackintosh of Millbank, in the 74th year of his age.
"Twenty-five years of his life were dedicated to the service of his King
and his country. In every relation, public and private, he never failed to
conciliate the good-will and retain the esteem of all who knew him."
IbidDied, in the Island of Java, on
the 6th of March 1813, Captain William Macpherson, of the East India
Companys service, Commandant of Fort-Nugent. He volunteered his services
on the expedition against Batavia, and was mortally wounded in the
storming and taking of Fort-Cornelis.
July 29It is announced that an
establishment under the denomination of the "Caledonian Asylum" is to be
instituted in London, under the auspices of the Highland Society, for
educating the children of indigent Scotsmen.
Ibid"Died, on the 16th cult, at
London, whither he had gone for medical advice, Mr Alexander Simpson, aged
61 years, some time Rector of the Grammar School of Inverness, which for
many years he taught with approbation and success, and from which he
retired about five-and-twenty years ago, to a farm in the neighbourhood,
where he lived esteemed and respected. His death is now deeply lamented."
August 5.At a meeting of the
Highland Society of Scotland, attention was called to the subject of kelp,
which had fallen so much in price as to hold out no encouragement for its
manufacture. It was suggested to the meeting that the establishment of
Parish Bank Societies throughout the country would be attended with very
beneficial effects. The Society heartily approved of a congratulatory
letter, written by desire of the Directors, to Colonel Cameron, younger of
Fassifern, a member of the Society, whose conduct while in occasional
command of the 92nd, 71st, and 50th Regiments as a brigade, and on other
occasions, as the head of the 92nd Regiment, to which he belonged, had
been particularly noticed by Lord Hill.
Ibid.The decision of the Court of
Session in a disputed right of presentation between the Crown and the
family of Cromarty was affirmed in the House of Lords. By this decision
the right of presentation to the parishes of Rosemarkie and Killearnan,
which had long been vacant, was vested in Mr Mackenzie of Cromarty.
August 12."The ladies of Brussels
are so fond of the Scottish Highlanders who are in garrison in their city
that having heard of the approaching departure of this corps, they have
made application, in the proper quarter, for their continuance."
August 19.On the 12th of August,
Lovat and his lady were the first to pass over the Beauly Bridge in their
carriage. This being the Price Regents birthday, they ordered the workmen
to be collected to drink his Royal Highnesss health.
September 2 and 9.Died, at
Warriston House, near Edinburgh, on the 25th of August, the Hon. William
Frederick Mackenzie, only surviving son of Francis, Lord Seaforth, and
representative in Parliament for the County of Ross. His remains were
interred in Fortrose Cathedral. "The sauvity of his manners, the
gentleness of his disposition, and his many private virtues, have embalmed
his memory in every heart; while the honest and conscientious discharge of
his important public duties in Parliament, claim the approbation and
gratitude of his constituents."
September 23.At the Circuit Court
at Inverness, Lord Meadowbank adverted to the state of the Court-room,
which he considered greatly too small, and very incommodious and
ill-situated, the administration of justice being frequently interrupted
by the noise in the street. He recommended the county gentlemen and
Magistrates to provide proper accommodation without delay. The Court-house
was then in Bridge Street.
October 14.A Highland officer of
the Inverness-shire Militia was tried by Court-Martial at Portsmouth for
having given a dance in the barracks on the 17th of June without having
received the permission of his Commanding Officer, and for various
incidents connected therewith. He was fully acquitted, and the charges
were declared to be frivolous and vexatious.
October 21.Lord Saltoun visited for
the first time his estates of Ness Castle and Kinchyle. His visit was
celebrated with bon-fires.
October 28._The Northern Meeting,
held the previous week, was marred by unfavourable weather. "In the
absence of public amusements, the day was spent in the interchange of
visits, and in the display of costly and varied equipages, which paraded
the streets in gay profusion." The balls were held as usual.
November 4.At a meeting of
proprietors and others interested in the community of Mulbuie, a Special
Committee was appointed to take means to bring about an amicable
arrangement for the division of the Common.
Ibid.At a meeting of freeholders of Ross-shire, held
at Tain on the 25th ult., Charles Fraser of Inverallochy and Castle Fraser
was unanimously elected member for the County.
Ibid."Died, at Elgin, on the 22nd ult., in the 84th
year of his age, the Rev. John Grant, one of the ministers of that place.
In the course of his long life he was indefatigable in the humane
discharge of the more important duties of the pastoral office -
administering comfort to the distressed and relieving the necessities of
the poor. When unoccupied with his official duties, his time was devoted
to the acquisition of knowledge; his reading was varied and extensive, his
taste chaste, and his judgment correct. Possessed of uncommon powers of
memory, he composed an elaborate work on Chronology, which received the
approbation of his schoolfellow, the inimitable historian of Charles V.,
and its publication was alone prevented by a similar work on a similar
plan, by which it was anticipated. Though much of his time was devoted to
study, his manners betrayed nothing of the restraint or pedantry which
characterise the scholar; on the contrary, they were courteous and easy.
He was the soul of harmless mirth, could be frolicsome with youth, serious
with the sombre, and garrulous with old age."
November 11.The ploughing match of the Inverness
Farmer Society was this year held on the farm of Merkinch, belonging to
Messrs Anderson & Kinloch. Twenty ploughs competed. Angus Mackintosh of
HoIm was president of the Society.
Ibid.Craigellachie Bridge, over the Spey, was
completed and opened for traffic.
November 18The Nairnshire Farmer Society held its
annual ploughing match in a field occupied by Mr Skene, Skenepark. At a
meeting thereafter the Secretary produced a communication from the
Highland Society regarding the equalisation of weights and measures, and
some papers transmitted by Sir John Sinclair relating to his General
Agricultural Report of Scotland, "on consideration of which the Society
unanimously elected the patriotic Baronet an honorary member, and resolved
to purchase a copy of the Report." Sir Samuel Davidson of Cantray was
elected President of the Society.
November 25.The war with the United States still in
progress. A severe action at Fort-Erie, in which both sides claim the
Ibid.The Inverness-shire Farmer Society resolve to
take three copies of Sir John Sinclairs General Report of Scotland.
December 2.It was reported at the Nairnshire meeting
in London that £150 had been collected to assist in the erection of a pier
at Nairn. The meeting resolved to promote a subscription for the erection
of a monument to the late Mr John Straith, schoolmaster of Nairn.
December 16.A long correspondence went on in this and
other issues on the use of stake-nets. One of the writers made free use of
December 30."It gives us much pleasure to hear that
the potato crop has, this season, proved very abundant in the North. The
size is in general large. A correspondent informs us that a potato, among
many others of nearly equal size, was lately taken up in the neighbourhood
of Thurso weighing 29 ounces."
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