Northern Highlands in the Nineteenth Century
The first important item recorded in
the year 1815 is the death of Lord Seaforth, the last who bore the title.
This was the remarkable man who, as a boy of twelve, by a severe attack of
scarlet fever, lost the power of hearing and speaking. In later life he
recovered in a measure the use of speech, but his deafness was permanent.
His mental gifts, however, impressed all his contemporaries, and in spite
of physical defects, he filled important offices. "In 1800 he was
appointed Governor of Barbadoes, an office which he retained for six
years, after which he held high office in Demerara and Berbice. While
Governor of Barbadoes he was for a time extremely popular, and was
distinguished for his firmness and even handed justice. He succeeded in
putting an end to the practice of slave-killing in the island, which at
that time was of very common occurrence, and deemed by the planters a
venial offence punishable only by a small fine of £15. In consequence of
his humane proceedings in this matter he became obnoxious to many of the
Colonists, and in 1806 he finally left the island." (Mr A. Mackenzie’s
Lord Seaforth raised the
78th Highlanders (Ross-shire
Buffs) in 1793. He had a family of four sons and six daughters, but all
his sons predeceased him. One, a midshipman, died at Brahan in 1813, and
the last survivor, William Frederick, M.P. for Ross-shire, died in August
1814. The broken-hearted father soon followed, in January 1815. Sir Walter
Scott’s lines on the death of Lord Seaforth are well known : —
"In vain the bright course of thy
talents to wrong,
Fate deaden’d thine ear and imprison’d thy tongue;
For brighter o’er all her obstructions arose
The glow of the genius they could not oppose;
And who in the land of the Saxon or Gael,
Might match with Mackenzie, High Chief of Kintail?
‘"Thy sons rose around thee in light
and in love,
All a father could hope, all a friend could approve;
What ‘vails it the tale of thy sorrows to tell?—
In the springtime of youth and of promise they fell!
Of the line of Fitzgerald remains not a male,
To bear the proud name of the Chief of Kintail."
The title expired with the Chief. It
had twice before disappeared for a time, but was revived in 1797. Lord
Seaforth’s patrimony (diminished by the sale of Lochalsh and Kintail)
descended to his daughter Mary, the wife first of Sir Samuel Hood,
Vice-Admiral, and second of the Right Hon. James Stewart, nephew of the
seventh Earl of Galloway, who assumed the name of Mackenzie, and was
successively Governor of Ceylon and Lord High Commissioner of the lonian
Islands. Sir Samuel Hood died at Madras on 24th December 1814, about a
fortnight before his father-in-law, Lord Seaforth.
In 1815 a Corn Bill was passed,
forming the starting point of a conflict which did not terminate until
1846. During the previous forty years the Corn Laws varied with the times.
The long conflict with Napoleon produced war prices. "Wheat rose in 1801
to the unprecedented price of £5 19s 6d, and, except in 1803, its average
price did not fall below 62s a quarter for twenty years." With the first
abdication of Napoleon there was a decline in the price of corn, and an
immediate resort was made to protection to keep up the rates. A law was
passed in 1815 prohibiting the importation of all foreign wheat when the
price was below 80s a quarter, and all Colonial wheat when the price was
below 67s. "Other kinds of corn were dealt with on the same principles,
but the prices of course varied."
The year 1815 witnessed the final
downfall of Napoleon and the beginning of the long European peace.
In the second half of 1815 there are
a good many notes and incidents of local interest. As the year began with
the death of the last Lord Seaforth, it closed with the death of the Hon.
Archibald Fraser of Lovat, the last surviving son of the famous Lord Simon
of the ‘45. The sons of the Hon. Archibald Fraser, like those of Lord
Seaforth, predeceased their father, and the succession went to the present
family, to whom the title was restored. A lady whose name is associated
with our literary annals, Mrs Elizabeth Rose of Kilravock, also died
towards the close of 1815.
From the "Inverness Journal." 1815.
January 13.—A reward of 25 guineas
is offered for the apprehension of a carrier, who had been committed to
the jail at Forres on a charge of theft, and had managed to escape.
January 20.—Died, at his house in
Charlotte Square, Edinburgh, on the 11th curt., the Right Hon. Francis,
Lord Seaforth, his Majesty’s Lieutenant for the County of Ross. "The death
of this distinguished nobleman, in the 60th year of his age, although the
rapid decline of his health during the last two years must have led to the
expectation of that event, will give birth to very general feelings of
sorrow and regret. The wonderful power of his mind, undiminished even by
the privation of the sense of hearing, the stores of information which he
had acquired in almost every branch of science, and his rare proficiency
in several, his delightful talents for society, the nobleness of his
person and elegance of his manners, the richness of his imagination, and
his faculty of diffusing grace and lustre over every topic, whether of
instruction or amusement, will be long remembered, but with peculiar
fondness and deeper regret by those who had the happiness to enjoy his
intimate friendship; and alas! by those related to him by still dearer
ties, who had access to know the many virtues of his benevolent heart, of
which his other qualities were but the decorations and embellishments."
Ibid.—Died, on Tuesday, 17th inst,
John Mackintosh of Aberarder, many years Provost of Inverness, aged 74
years. The previous day be attended the funeral of his sister, Miss
Christian Mackintosh, and seemed in his usual health. The obituary notice
speaks highly of his piety, kindness, and beneficence.
February 3.—"The Inverness Packet,
Captain Mann, just arrived at Burghead, made an extraordinary passage from
Gravesend in the short space of 70 hours. She outstripped the mail by 34
February 10.—The remains of the late
Lord Seaforth were on the previous day interred in the family vault at
February 17.—This number contains a
long list of premiums awarded by the Highland Society of Scotland in the
Highlands and Islands for bringing land into arable culture, and for
February 24.—There is notice of a
veteran named Alexander Campbell or Iverach, residing in Glencalvie,
Ross-shire, who was said to have reached the age of 116. Six Ross-shire
gentlemen in London contributed a guinea each to enable him to dress in
tartan and regale himself with a drop of liquor. The Editor was requested
by the minister of Kincardine to announce Iverach’s receipt of the bounty,
and to express his thanks. ‘The veteran is quite well, and prays for as
many days to each of his benefactors as he has seen. and an equal portion
of health. He longs for the weather getting a little milder, that he may
take a walk to see his friends at Gladfield and the Manse (40 miles only),
end tell them of the tide of riches that has set in upon him. He danced
two reels at the last Kincardine cattle fair, and a few days ago entered
as a scholar in the Gaelic School at Glencalvie. It is supposed he is the
oldest Campbell alive."
March 10.—The Practical Farming
Society of Ardersier and Petty held their annual ploughing match at Little
Flemington, occupied by Mr Tolmie. Eighteen ploughs competed.
Ibid.—"Died, at Forres, on the 25th
February last, in the 50th year of his age, James Straith, Esq., for many
years an eminent medical practitioner at that place. This gentleman was
distinguished, throughout the course of a long and laborious practice, for
the unweired exercise of great professional skill and active benevolence.
March 17.—This number contains an
account of Napoleon’s escape from Elba. "This extraordinary man, from the
effects of whose baneful influence the nations of Europe are just
beginning to recover, has again made his appearance in France." The same
number records the passing of a Corn Bill through the House of Commons,
and the occurrence of riots in London. The bill soon afterwards passed the
House of Lords.
March 24.—News of Napoleon’s arrival
and reception in Paris, and preparations to send British troops to the
Netherlands. A County meeting at Inverness voted a loyal address to the
Prince Regent. It concluded with the words—"We prepare again for the
struggle, and join the shout of nations—’Death to the Tyrant—Peace to
March 31.—The goodwill, copyright,
and plant of the "Inverness Journal" were advertised to be sold by public
roup on the 15th of April.
April 14.—At a meeting on the 11th,
it was resolved to establish an Inverness Parish or Savings Bank. This was
the second meeting that considered the subject, the first having been
thinly attended. The project was initiated by a Committee of the Inverness
Farmers’ Society. The bank was to be open every Saturday night in the
kitchen of the Northern Meeting Rooms. Among the directors were Sheriff
Fraser Tytler, Mr Mackintosh of Holm, Mr Mackintosh of Raigmore, Mr
Macgillivray of Dunmaglass, Mr Inglis of Kingsmills, Mr Phineas
Mackintosh, Kinmylies, and Mr Peter Anderson, solicitor.
Ibid.—"Died here, on the 5th curt.,
regretted by few, the Inverness Assemblies." These were dancing parties
among the local gentry.
April 21.—It is announced that the
"Inverness Journal," in consequence of the late proprietor’s death, had
passed into other hands. The number bears that the paper is now published,
for himself and the other proprietors, every Friday, by Mr James Beaton.
The late James Suter says that £2400 was for the goodwill of the paper.
April 28.—The Inverness Town and
Savings Bank was opened on the preceding Saturday with gratifying success.
Upwards of £160 was paid in within two hours.
Ibid—It is stated that the
Magistrates have it in view to improve the waste ground belonging to the
community, situated on the east side of the River Ness, opposite the
Island. "We beg leave to suggest that it would materially add to the
beauty and interest of the scene were the Island, in as far as the wood
admits, planted with ornamental evergreens and shrubs, and were rows of
trees placed along the walk on the bank, so as in due time to afford a
shade from the noon-day heats and from the damps of evening. Should the
intended improvement be carried into effect, it will be necessary for the
Farmer Society to select another stance for the cattle market, heretofore
held on the strip of ground in question." This gives an indication of the
site of the market. lt was probably held either on the low ground,
afterwards formed into another island by the water-lade, or a little
further out on the Dores Road.
May 12.—At a meeting on the previous
Friday, a Northern Horticultural Society was instituted. The formation of
the Society was expected to extend and improve the knowledge of gardening
in the North of Scotland.
Ibid.—On the previous Wednesday the
annual meeting of the Inverness Auxiliary Bible Society was held in the
Parish Church. The collection amounted to about £35, exclusive of about
£55 of annual subscriptions.
Ibid.—’Married, at Sandaig of Knoydart, upon the 5th of May, Lieutenant Ronald
Macdonell, tacksman of that place, to Miss
Catherine Macdonell of Laurg. This veteran is in the 95th year of his age,
and as stout and vigorous as most military men at the age of 60. He
rides after breakfast, as a piece of exercise, 30 miles. He is one of
those gentlemen who was an officer under the Chief of the Clan during
the troubles in the year 1745; and was not only present, but also bore
a particular share in every engagement which then took place in behalf of
the exiled family, and upon many occasions received the thanks of the
Prince for his activity and courage. He has since been in the service of
George II., and is now on half-pay in the service of George III."
May 19.—A Savings Bank was
established at Cawdor, with Mr Stables, factor for Lord Cawdor, as
Ibid.—A Society was established in
Inverness for the suppression of begging in the town and parish. A sum of
£429 was collected for the first year, which was to be disbursed in weekly
allowances; and any pensioner found begging was to forfeit all claims on
Ibid.—The Magistrates of Inverness
were considering a scheme to supply Inverness with water from the
Leys.—The proprietors of the County of Nairn had resolved to carry through
the great turnpike road to the confines of the County of Inverness. A line
passing through the village of Auldearn was, with some trifling
May 26.—"On Tuesday last a discovery
of an illicit distillery was made, by several Excise officers, in
Abriachan. On attempting to destroy the materials, the Excisemen were
opposed by the smugglers, who, placing themselves in a menacing attitude,
were soon joined by such a number of their neighbours as induced their
opponents to sound a retreat. On Wednesday a part of the Militia from this
town was procured to assist the officers in the execution of their duty;
but before they could reach the haunt of the smugglers, neither foe nor
spoil could be found."
Ibid.—A good deal of discussion went
on at this time on the subject of Highland distillation. At an Inverness
County meeting on the 1st of May (noticed on the 5th), a memorial
circulated by Lowland distillers was produced by the Convener, "the
apparent and ostensible object of which was to put the Scotch and Irish
distiller on an equal footing, but its real purpose is obviously to repeal
the statute 54, George III., cap. 172, by which the benefit of free export
was allowed to the Highland distiller." On this subject
communications were made to the member for the County and to the Conveners
of other counties. In the issue of the 26th there is an advertisement
giving the resolutions of a meeting of distillers, held in the County of
Clackmannan, declaring that they do not object to a free intercourse of
spirits between the Highlands and Lowlands of Scotland. "The distinction
of Lowland and Highland line, was a boon granted to the Highland
districts, at the request of those interested, in order that they might be
enabled to supply themselves with spirits at a cheap rate, and from barley
of their own growing." The Lowland distillers say that they are far from
wishing to deprive the Highlands of this advantage, but "they think
themselves warranted in demanding that the Highland distillers, claiming
to be admitted into the Lowland market, shall work in all respects under
the same law as they do in the Lowlands." The "Journal," commenting on the
controversy, says "that we believe many persons in this county would
embark their capital in distillation and cheerfully pay the South country
duties, if stills on a small scale were permitted and free access
continued to the South country markets."
June 2.—It is announced that a Highland Society has
been established in Inverness, to co-operate in the work of the Highland
Societies in London and Edinburgh. The first President was the Hon.
Colonel Fraser of Lovat, and the Vice-Presidents were the Lords-Lieutenant
of the Northern Counties. Mr Peter Anderson was secretary and Mr Edward
Ibid.—From a paragraph on the
incidence of new stamp duties, it appears that Sheriffs-Substitute were at
this time generally the distributors of stamps.
June 9.—An Athenæum was established
in Inverness, "wherein sixteen newspapers and all the best periodical
publications are taken in."
Ibid.—"The first dinner of the
Highland Society, to which the President appropriately contributed a
couple of fine Beauly salmon, was held in Bennet’s Hotel on Monday last,
where its members passed a pleasant and joyous evening. Its convivial
parties were intended to commence on the birthday of our Sovereign, and
this happening on Sunday, they commenced on the succeeding day." The same
number mentions a donation to the Horticultural Society from Brodie of
Brodie, who is described as an "eminent botanist."
Ibid.—A paragraph is devoted to Mr
William Mackintosh, son of Mr Campbell Mackintosh, Town-Clerk, who was in
the Civil Service of the East India Company, and died at sea in the
previous October. We are told that after an excellent education at home,
"Mr Mackintosh continued his studies in Oriental Literature for several
years at the college established at Fort William [Calcutta] for the
education of young gentlemen intended for the higher offices in the civil
establishment of the East India Company." The paragraph proceeds—"At two
successive examinations of this College, the gold medals allotted to the
most distinguished scholar were conferred on Mr Mackintosh; but his
studies were unfortunately pursued with an eagerness which so far impaired
his health as to render a temporary residence in Europe necessary for its
re-establishment. His death occurred when on his return to India, and on
the eve of his engaging in the duties of public life, for which he was
well qualified by great natural abilities, cultivated with assiduous care.
As a scholar, Mr Mackintosh’s requirements were extensive, ranging through
every department of science, and comprehending whatever is valuable in
European literature or captivating in Oriental poetry. He possessed an
accurate knowledge of the Persian and other Eastern languages, and his
poetical versions of Hafiz (with which he sometimes amused his leisure
hours) discover much delicacy of taste, smoothness of versification, and
facility of expression."
Ibid.—At this time it was proposed
to publish another newspaper in Inverness, to be called "The Northern
Star." The project excited comment in the "Journal."
Ibid.—In the same number there is a
long article on Local Manufactures. It seems that the Wool Factory
previously established had failed, but the writer urges another venture,
to be undertaken with greater skill and attention, and with larger
capital. Even if the manufacture of cloth were not attempted for some
time, it is suggested that wool-stapling would be of considerable
importance. The writer describes the change in the rural economy of the
Highlands which had taken place during the previous twenty years, chiefly
by the introduction of sheep, and contends that it has proved beneficial.
June 16.—Another paragraph on the
Highland Society of Inverness states that it is a branch of the London
Society, and instituted by commission from the Duke of Kent to the Hon.
Archibald Fraser of Lovat. The members were to be admitted by ballot the
fee to be ten guineas, or an annual payment of £1 11s 6d. The chief
objects of the Society were—(1) To preserve the language, martial spirit,
dress, music, and antiquities of the ancient Caledonians; (2) To preserve
from oblivion the valuable remains of Gaelic literature; (3) To establish
and support Gaelic schools; (4) To relieve distressed Highlanders at a
distance from their native homes; and (5) To promote the improvement and
general welfare of the northen parts of Great Britain. There were to be
quarterly meetings, and an anniversary meeting every year on 2nd May.
Ibid—Died, at Madras, on 24th
December, when on the eve of returning to his native country, Vice-Admiral
Sir Samuel Hood, K.B., and Naval Commander-in-Chief in India. He was
married in 1804 to Mary, daughter of the last Lord Seaforth, afterwards
the Hon. Mrs Stewart Mackenzie. The obituary notice cites several
instances of Sir Samuel Hood’s skill, gallantry, and generous character.
Like Nelson, he lost an arm in the service of his country, the wound being
received in an action off the Coast of France, in which Sir Samuel
captured a French squadron of four fine frigates. When commanding the Juno
at Toulon he had to extricate his vessel from a difficult position, the
operation being greatly helped by the dexterity of the third lieutenant.
To this officer, Sir Samuel, in his despatch, gave the entire credit,
declaring that the extrication of the Juno was due exclusively to the
third lieutenant’s "admirable presence of mind and skilful exertion." When
stationed on one occasion off Jamaica he saw a schooner foundering in a
gale. "He ordered a boat to be manned for her relief; the danger was so
great that even the hearts of British seamen were appalled, and no
volunteers offered: Sir Samuel exclaimed that he was incapable of ordering
others on a service of danger which he would not be the first to share,
and instantly leapt into the boat. The spirit of the Commander dispelled
the terrors of the crew: he was followed by a sufficient number, and had
the heart-cheering happiness of being thus the means of saving so many of
his fellow-creatures. The House of Assembly of Jamaica were so enraptured
with this heroic and humane act that they immediately met and voted him a
sword value two hundred guineas."
June 23.—A long advertisement states
that at a meeting held at Inverlochy on 15th June, a number of Highland
gentlemen had formed themselves into "a pure Highland Society, in support
of the true Dress, Language, Music, and Characteristics of our illustrious
and ancient race in the Highlands and Isles of Scotland, with their
genuine descendants wherever they may be." The promoter of the movement
was Colonel Macdonnell of Glengarry, and ninety-seven members were
enrolled under the title of "The Society of True Highlanders." The
proceedings of the meeting were conducted in Gaelic. One of the rules was
that all real Chiefs were to be hereditary Vice-Presidents, from whom the
President was to be annually chosen by a majority of votes, "be he in or
out of the peerage."
Ibid.—In levelling a hillock on the
farm of Charleston, near Inverness, the tenant, Captain Macintyre, found,
at a depth of six feet, a cist enclosing human bones. "From the appearance
and touch of the soil, and the formation of the hillock, which is of
conical form, and about fifty feet in diameter, it is inferred that this
tumulus was an ancient cemetery."
June 30.—This number, which no doubt
contained an account of the battle of Waterloo, is missing from our file.
This is not surprising, as there must have been an unprecedented demand
for the paper, and any superfluous copies would have been bought up. Along
with the "Journal" there is in our file a series of another newspaper, the
"Edinburgh Correspondent," which was published three times a-week. The
number of 24th June contains the official announcement of the "Complete
Defeat of Bonaparte," issued from Downing Street on 22nd June, which runs
as follows :—"The Duke of Wellington’s despatch, dated Waterloo, the 19th
of June states that on the preceding day Bonaparte attacked with his whole
force the British line, supported by a corps of Prussians, which, after a
long end sanguinary conflict, terminated in the complete overthrow of the
enemy’s army, with the loss of one hundred and fifty pieces of cannon and
two Eagles. During the night, the Prussians, under Marshal Blucher, who
joined in the pursuit of the enemy, captured 60 guns and a large part of
Bonaparte’s baggage. The Allied Armies continue to pursue the enemy. Two
French Generals were taken." The same paper on the 29th announces the
abdication of Napoleon.
July 7.—On Monday last, Captain
Macintyre discovered another stone coffin in the little hillock on the
farm of Charleston, of the same description and nearly in the same
position with the one lately found there.
July 14.—There is great rejoicing,
"joy in grief," over the exploits of the Highland Brigade at the battle of
Waterloo. The suggestion is made that subscriptions should be raised for
the benefit of widows and children.
Ibid.—The Court of Session decides
in favour of the life tenure, by Mr Adam, of the office of Rector of the
Inverness Royal Academy. Lord Meadowbank, in giving his opinion, said—"I
concur completely with my brother, Lord Robertson, that it is contra
bonos mores to appoint a man to a school during the pleasure of a set
of gentlemen. It is using him like a shoeblack, and worse, for it leaves
him to the disposal of a numerous open body, who always, to a proverb,
have no conscience."
Ibid.—Agents, of the London
Missionary Society visited the North and obtained liberal contributions
and donations. In Inverness the sums amounted to £43 18s 1½d, and in
Dingwall, Tain, and Ferrintosh to £53, making a total of £9618s 1½d.
Ibid.—"Lord Macdonald is now
erecting a magnificent mansion at his family seat of Armadale in Sleat. In
the Island of Raasay inexhaustible quarries have been discovered of
freestone, of a beautiful pale white colour, which bears the finest
polish. Mr Macleod, the proprietor, is now building an elegant mansion,
the walls of which are to be formed of this native free-stone. The roads,
piers, and villages which are now in progress in Skye, will soon render it
one of the most interesting and improved, as it is already the most
valuable, of the Hebridean islands."
July 22. — "The Edinburgh
Correspondent" of this date announces the ordination of the Rev. James
Grant as parish minister of Nairn. The same paper contains a long letter
on the controversy between Highland and Lowland distillers. It is stated
that the object of the Lowland distillers was to secure "that no two
districts shall have free intercourse in spirits in which their
manufacture is not placed under exactly the same regulations," and that
this change was required to meet competition, not from the Highlands, but
from Ireland. The Irish distiller, it seems, had advantages which enabled
him to undersell the manufacturer both in the Irish and Scotch markets. As
regards the Highlands, the writer says — "The permission to manufacture
spirits for their own consumption in smaller stills and at lower duty than
in the Lowlands, was granted, and was, I believe, at the time received as
a boon by the Highland districts; but the effects of the law were not
found to be such as had been anticipated, and its provisions were wholly
superseded by the 54 Geo. III. c 172, which neither permits distillation
at lower duties nor grants to the Highland any privilege not enjoyed by
the Lowland distillers, except the use of smaller stills." The points at
issue in the controversy are rather confused, and only a specialist on the
subject could at this distance of time unravel them. Highland gentlemen,
however, seem to have been greatly impressed with the evils of smuggling,
which, according to the writer of the above letter, had already gone far
to effect the degradation of a noble people. Illicit distillation was
connived at by farmers in remote districts, who had no market for their
barley except among smugglers. The remedy proposed by the County
Authorities was the further multiplication of small stills and the
reduction of duties on the manufacture. Lowland distillers argued that the
interests of the two districts would not clash if they could find a common
basis for a free market.
July 22.—The "Edinburgh
Correspondent" of this date contains the following communication,
addressed by the Duke of Otranto to Lord Castlereagh:—"I have the honour
to acquaint your lordship that Napoleon Bonaparte, not being able to
escape from the English cruisers, or from the guards kept upon the coasts,
has taken the resolution of going on board the English ship Bellerophon,
Captain Maitland." This resolution was carried out, and in due course
Napoleon was exiled to St Helena.
August 4.—The "Inverness Journal" of
this date (from which we resume quotations) contains an account of the
arrival of the Bellerophon at Plymouth on 26th July with Bonaparte on
board. An officer on board the Superb, in a letter of the 18th July, from
Basque roads, writes :—"The disturber of the world is ours; I have been
some hours in his company, and have had conversation with him: knowing his
character as an individual, his fame as a General, and his conduct as an
Emperor, the mind is lost in astonishment in seeing these in the person of
a stout, inanimate, and plain-looking man, without a feature or expression
of countenance indicative of anything that can make an impression on the
mind. His delivery is quick, and his ideas flow most rapidly; he converses
on all subjects."
Ibid.—The daughter and heiress of
the late Lord Seaforth, Lady Hood, called by a correspondent Lady Hood
Mackenzie, arrived at Stornoway on the 17th July, on a visit to the Lews.
She met with a cordial reception. "The building of a public quay, so much
wanted in this place, had been commenced by the public spirit of the
merchants, shipowners, and other inhabitants, and to this useful
undertaking Lady Mackenzie contributed with a liberality far exceeding
their most sanguine anticipations. She also gave liberal donations to the
poor of the four extensive parishes of which the estate consists, over and
above the annual sum allotted by the Seaforth family for their support."
The improvement. on the harbour of Stornoway mentioned in this letter is
spoken of as an object of great and general importance.
lbid.—The gentlemen of Nairnshire,
in commemoration of Waterloo and other British victories, resolved to
institute a Society to be called "The Nairnshire Patriotic Club."
lbid.—On Tuesday, 11th July, the
foundation-stone of Gray’s Hospital, Elgin, was laid with Masonic honours.
It is stated that Dr Alexander Gray, a native of Elgin, having received
the elements of his education there, and studied medicine under Dr Thomas
Stephen, left that place and settled as a practitioner in India. There he
acquired an ample fortune, and cherishing a warm attachment to the place
of his nativity, where he bad also spent the days of his youth, he left by
his will £20,000 for building and endowing an hospital at Elgin. The
architect of the building was Mr Gillespie, Edinburgh.
Ibid.—"The Convention of Royal
Burghs have voted £600 to be applied for making a canal at Dingwall, and
improving the pier and harbour of the ancient burgh. These improvements
are to be conducted by the inhabitants, aided by the Parliamentary
Commissioners for Highland Roads and Bridges, and the voluntary
contributions of the gentry in the neighbouring country."
August 11.—The Highland Society of
Scotland advertises a series of resolutions adopted at a meeting on 3rd
July, expressing its admiration and gratitude for "the late most glorious
achievements in Flanders." The Duke of Wellington and Prince Blucher were
elected honorary members of the Society. Special gratification was
expressed at the valour of the "National Corps," including the Highland
regiments, and the Secretary was instructed to convey the grateful thanks
of the Society, subscribed by its President, the Duke of Buccleuch, to the
commanding officer of each of these regiments, with a request to
communicate the same to their respective corps. The members of the Society
were recommended to contribute to the subscriptions set on foot for the
relief of the wounded and of widows and children. The following resolution
appears among the others :—"That while the Society deeply laments the loss
of many of their gallant countrymen who have fallen on this memorable
occasion, it feels itself particularly called upon to offer to Ewen
Cameron, Esq. of Fassiefern, its warmest sympathy for the affliction which
he must feel in the loss of his eldest son, their late member, Colonel
John Cameron, of the 92nd Regiment, so honourably distinguished on the
present and former occasions, and whose meritorious services had already
attracted the attention of the Society; nor can the Society pass over in
silence the name of Lieut.-Colonel Miller, of the 1st Regiment of Guards,
also one of its members, whose loss as an officer of the highest promise
is deeply regretted."
Ibid.—The following is a specimen of
advertisements which were issued by the proprietors from time to time :
—"The Hon. Mrs Hay Mackenzie, being desirous to give the game a jubilee on
her estates in Coigach, Strathpeffer, and New Tarbet, in the County of
Cromarty, requests no gentleman will ask leave to shoot there this
Ibid.—The Inverness Farmer Society
continues to hold its meetings and competitions for crop and stock.
August 18.—Premiums offered for
stock and crop by the Isle of Skye Farming Club. It is stated that this
Club was formed in January 1812, under the patronage of Lord Macdonald and
Macleod of Macleod, to encourage the improvement of black cattle, sheep,
and draught horses.
Ibid.—A meeting of the County of
Nairn was held to raise subscriptions for the relief of the wounded and of
the families of the killed at the battle of Waterloo. Nearly £60 was
subscribed. Colonel Rose of Kilravock was appointed treasurer of the fund.
August 25.—An appeal was made for
funds for the improvement of the Northern Infirmary. The amount required
Ibid.—The Commissioners and Trustees
for Fisheries, Manufactures, and Improvements in Scotland awarded a number
of premiums for promoting fisheries. These premiums were "for the cod,
ling, and tusk fishing," and "for sun fish caught and oil extracted from
them." In connection with the cod fishing, James Ritchey, of Fraserburgh,
as the outfitter of the Ariel of Lochniver (probably Lochinver) was
awarded £60, and other awards ranged from £45 to £10. Under the second
heading ("sun fish caught," &c.), Donald Campbell, master of the
boat Mary of Barra, was awarded £14, and a number of other premiums went
to the same island, varying from £9 to £2 10s. There were no competitors
for premiums on dog fish.
Ibid.—"Died, at the Manse of Kiltearn, on the 28th ult., deeply lamented
by his family and a numerous circle of respectable friends, the Rev. Harry
Robertson, D.D., in the 67th year of his age, and 44th of his ministry." -
"Died, at Ness Cottage, on the 17th inst., Mrs Mackintosh, widow of the
late Provost William Mackintosh of this place."
September 1.—On the previous
Wednesday, Mr Joseph Lancaster, the founder of the system of education
which bore his name, lectured in Inverness. He afterwards addressed
several other meetings.
Ibid.—A notice of the career and
character of the late Sir Samuel Hood taken from the "Bombay Courier."
September 8.—At a Court of
Commissioners of Supply held at Tain a farmer was fined £20 for shooting
without a licence.
Ibid.—On the 30th ult., the Northern
Missionary Society held a meeting at Tain, and a sum of £101 was
September 22.—At the Circuit Court
several persons from the Parish of Kincardine, in Ross-shire, were tried
on a charge of disinterring a dead body buried in a chapel and throwing it
into a hole on the seashore, and for other riotous proceedings in
connection with the case. The people evidently believed that the death was
one of suicide. There were certain flaws in the evidence, which resulted
in the acquittal of the prisoners. At the same Court a Catholic priest
from Fort-Augustus was tried under an old statute for having celebrated a
marriage, the charge being that such a celebration on the part of a
Catholic priest was irregular, and exposed him to penalties. The trial was
long, and led to animated discussion between the Advocate—Depute, the
Judges, and the Counsel for the defence, Mr J. P. Grant of Rothiemurchus.
The jury returned a verdict of not proven. There was much complaint on
account of the confusion caused by the limited accommodation in the
September 29.—"Drowned, on 22nd May
1814, at the month of the River Columbia, in the Northern Pacific Ocean,
Donald Mactavish, Esq., a native of Stratherrick, and one of the partners
of the North-West Company of Canada." Mr Mactavish had spent twenty-four
years in Upper Canada, and had been very successful in promoting the
business of the Company and securing the good-will of the Indian tribes
and their chiefs. "His enterprising genius led him to project and attempt
an expedition across the Continent of North America for the purpose of
establishing a connection with China; and after having escaped innumerable
perils, he and six of his companions were unfortunately lost near Cape
October 6.—The first turf of the
Dingwall Canal was cut on the 15th of September.
Ibid—The Common Good of the Burgh of
Inverness, exposed to public auction, realised the following sums: —Petty
Customs and pontage of the Old Bridge, £255; pontage of the New Bridge,
£34; Anchorage and Shore Dues, £360; Hand-bell and grass of the
Chapel-yard, £57; small weights, £5; total, £711.
October 13.—"The Society of True
Highlanders" met at Inverlochy on the 5th inst. Glengarry was re-elected
President, and Mr Ewen Maclachlan, librarian at Aberdeen, was appointed
Gaelic secretary. Marshal Macdonald, Duke of Tarentum, was elected an
October 20.—Report of rejoicings at
Altyre and Gordonstoun on the marriage of Sir William Gordon-Cumming to
Miss Campbell, daughter of the late Colonel Campbell of Shawfleld.
November 3.—A correspondent of the
"Journal" suggests that a race course should be formed at Dunean Croy in
connection with the Northern Meeting.
November 10.—News of the death of
Joachim Murat, ex-King of Naples, who made a descent on the Coast of
Calabria, and was captured, tried by Court-Martial, and shot. Murat was
reckoned the best cavalry officer in Europe. The lines of Byron may be
"While the broken line enlarging
Fell or fled along the plain,
There be sure was Murat charging,
There he ne’er shall charge again."
Ibid.—Died, at Blargymore, Badenoch,
on the 19th September, Ensign John Macpherson, late of the 78th Regiment,
aged 88 years. He fought under General Wolfe at the taking of Quebec in
Ibid.—Report of the Nairnshire
meeting in London, and of the movement to erect a monument to Mr John
Straith. Liberal subscriptions were announced.
November 24.—The Crown presented the
Rev. Thomas Munro to the Church and Parish of Kiltearn, vacant by the
death of the late Dr Robertson.
December 8.—A grand supper and ball
given at Fort-William on 29th November. "Many of the heroes of Waterloo
were present, amongst whom we observed with pleasure the gallant Colonel
Alexander Cameron, of the 95th Regiment, whose wounds were sufficiently
recovered to allow him to appear as the chief support of the meeting,
although he was unable, to join in the mazy rounds of the dance. The
thanks of all were due to the venerable Captain Patrick Campbell, of the
42nd, who, resuming the days of his youth, conducted, as presiding
manager, the arrangements for the evening."
December 15.—"In our obituary of the
1st inst., we intimated the death of Mrs Elizabeth Rose of Kilravock, a
lady one of whose least claims to respect was her being the lineal
representative of a family distinguished for several centuries in this
part of the country. The powers of her mind and the virtues of her heart
acquired for her a higher degree of veneration than the longest line of
ancestry could inspire. Her understanding, naturally powerful, was highly
cultivated, and she aided and improved a memory originally tenacious by a
constant habit of committing to writing the substance of her various and
extensive reading. With a mind so richly stored, and a rare felicity of
expression, she excelled in conversation—never, however, displaying to the
prejudice of another that superiority she was well known to possess. To
the poor she was ever kind and bountiful, and in her domestic circle
affectionate and indulgent to the utmost that a clear sense of duty
permitted." This lady entertained Burns at Kilravock in 1787, and
corresponded with him. Mr Bain, in his History of Nairnshire, says of her:
"Amidst all the business and social cares of her life, she never lost her
early love of literature. The names of the books she reads are carefully
noted in her diary each day. and the periodical arrival of the box of
books from Isaac Forsyth, the Elgin bookseller, or a parcel of the latest
literature from Edinburgh, gives her infinite pleasure." Mrs Rose died at
the age of 68.
Ibid.—"Died, at his house in
Knoydart, on Monday the 27th of November last, Mr Ranald Macdonell,
Skamadale, Ensign on the retired list of Captain Rose’s Independent
Company of Veterans, in the ninety-first year of his age, respected and
admired as a genuine Highlander of the old school, and quite unmatched in
the general circle of his acquaintance. He followed the fortunes of Prince
Charles Stuart from Prestonpans to Culloden, and served with distinguished
zeal in both these actions, for which he afterwards suffered banishment to
India for seven years, during which period he served in the Hussars. When
returning to England, the vessel in which he sailed happened to be boarded
by a French man-of-war, before Ranald was aware of what was passing on
deck and had furnished himself with a cutlass; but he, darting like an
eagle among the victors, actually retook the British ship, killing,
single-handed, all the astonished Frenchmen who attempted to withstand his
athletic rage, and driving the rest over the vessel broadside into the
sea. His retentive memory and mental faculties were spared him till within
a few days of his last; and till above ninety he had the use of his
powerful limbs. His father, his brother, and his nephew, as well as
himself, all served the Prince at the same time, and were personally known
to H.R.H.; the father had, however, drawn his first sword with his Chief,
Glengarry, under Viscount Dundee, in the battle of Killiecrankie, who had
the Royal Standard entrusted to his care, and commanded the whole of the
Clan Donnuill, drawn up as of old on the right of the army, which was
composed almost entirely of the Highland Clans. The mortal remains of this
veteran were deposited with the dust of his fathers in Killechoan on
Friday the 1st of December, leaving a wife, three daughters, many
grandchildren, and several great-grandchildren to bewail his death;
exclusive of sons who had fallen in the service of their country, two of
whom had followed the young Macdonell, in the year 1792, into the 1st
Fencible Regiment, thence into the Glengarry (or 1st British) Fencibles,
and from that into the line." This was surely the same veteran whose
marriage was recorded in the previous May although he was then called
Ronald, and he was said to be in his 95th year.
December 22.—This number records the
death of the Hon. Archibald Fraser of Lovat, proprietor of the Lovat
Estates, and last surviving son of Simon of the ‘45. Born in August 1736,
he had completed his 79th year. The obituary notice in the "Journal" is as
follows : —"On Friday the 8th inst., the Honourable Archibald Fraser of
Lovat, Colonel Commandant of the First Regiment of Inverness-shire Local
Militia, sometime British Consul at Algiers, and afterwards member of
Parliament for the County of Inverness, died at his seat of Beaufort
Castle, in the Aird, near Inverness, in the 80th year of his age. He was
married to Jane, only sister of Sir William Fraser, Baronet, late of Roy
Lodge, in the County of Essex, by whom he had five sons, all of whom
predecessed himself. His eldest son, who possessed distinguished
abilities, sat in the first Imperial Parliament of the United Kingdom. He
was Colonel of the Fraser Fencibles for a series of years, and went on
service with them to Ireland, where he fell into a consumption from
fatigue, and died at Lisbon, whither he had gone for the benefit of his
health, in the month of April 1803. The disconsolate widow and mother
still survives to lament the loss of all her family." Under a deed of
entail the Strichen family succeeded to the estates, and worthily sustain
the ancient honours of the House. The eldest son of the Hon. Archibald
Fraser left an illegitimate son, Archibald Thomas Frederick, who under a
disposition made by his grandfather in 1812 acquired the lands of
Abertarff. He died in 1884, and the lands reverted to the head of the
During the latter part of the year
collections were made in many parishes in the Highlands for the benefit of
wounded soldiers, and of the widows and orphans of the slain. By these
collections considerable sums were realised.
Mr James Suter, in his Memorabilia
under date 1815, has the following paragraphs :—"Thornbush Pier built, and
old harbour in part rebuilt and deepened. Expense about £3300, raised by
the Town Council on loan, to be paid by new shore dues. The Thornbush Pier
is accessible to vessels of 300 tons." [From paragraphs in the "Courier"
of 1818 we infer that the Tbornbush Pier was only begun in 1815, and not
completed for a year or two afterwards.]
"A Society of Solicitors formed;
(1815). The members of this Society had been previously called Writers. In
1782 there were only three Writers in the town, and now [1822, when the
notes were written] there are above twenty."