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The Northern Highlands in the Nineteenth Century
No. IX


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 History.)

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 hours."

February 10.—The remains of the late Lord Seaforth were on the previous day interred in the family vault at Fortrose.

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 improving stock.

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 human kind.'"

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 occasionally 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 treasurer.

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 the fund.

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 deviations, adopted.

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 Fraser, treasurer.

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 season."

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 was £850.

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 collected.

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 Court-house.

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 Disappointment."

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 honorary member.

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 recalled—

"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 1759.

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 house.

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."


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