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A History of Moray and Nairn
Chapter VII. Distinguished Men of Moray and Nairn


FLORENCE WILSON — LACHLAN SHAW — ISAAC FORSYTH — WILLIAM LESLIE—JAMES GRANT—PROVOST GRANT — SIR THOMAS DICK LAUDER—COSMO INNES—CHARLES ST JOHN—DR GEORGE GORDON —WILLIAM HAY—WILLIAM MARSHALL—ROUALEYN GEORGE GORDON CUMMING —WILLIAM GORDON CUMMING — CONSTANCE FREDERICA GORDON CUMMING—JAMES AUGUSTUS GRANT—SIR GEORGE BROWN.

Few names of distinction in literature, science, or art, illustrate the earlier annals of the district So long as Roman Catholicism was predominant, the Cathedral of Elgin was, as we have seen, the “Lantern of the North,” the vivifying centre of culture and intelligence for the whole of the kingdom north and west of Aberdeen. But from the time of its abolition till the commencement of the present century, the records of both Moray and Naim are exceptionally barren in persons who have risen above mediocrity either intellectually or socially. The genius of the people seems to have run in more material and practical channels.

The one writer of eminence that Morayshire has produced is the medieval scholar Florentius Volusenus, or, to give him what is supposed to have been his real name, Florence Wilson. And even his is a reputation which never extended much beyond the cultured and scholastic circles of his own time. It may be doubted if one in a thousand of his fellow-countrymen of the present day has read a line of his works, or even heard his name. Yet the mere list of those with whom he is known to have been in relations either of friendship or of business, points to an eminence which was no more to be obtained without merit three centuries ago than it is in our own day. He was the protegk of no less than four Cardinals of different nations—Wolsey of England, Lorraine and Du Bellay of France, and Sadoleto of Italy. He was the confidential correspondent of Thomas Cromwell, afterwards Earl of Essex. Boece, Vaus, Gavin Dunbar, and John Bellenden had the highest opinion of him, and took an interest in his fortunes. Stephen Gardiner, the celebrated Bishop of Winchester; Fisher, Bishop of Rochester; Fox, Bishop of Hereford; and William Pigot, Henry VIIL’s ambassador, were amongst the number of his friends. Bartholomew Anneau, Principal of Trinity College, Lyons, went out of his way to eulogise his virtues and his learning to his countryman, the Regent Arran. Conrad Gesner, the “Pliny of Germany,” had the same opinion of his merits. George Buchanan, who knew him intimately, loved him as a brother, and lamented his untimely death in an epitaph as pathetic as it is elegant:—

“I lie musis, Volusene, jaces carissime, ripam Ad Rhodani— terra quam procul a patria ! IIoc meruit virtus tua, tellus quae foret altrix Virtutum, ut cineres conderet ilia tuos.”

As it is, his fame rests not on his philosophical works, on which probably he set the greatest store, but on his 'Dialogus de Animi Tranquillitate*—a book which seems to have been the recreation of his “leisurable hours,” and whose attractions for us rest rather on its easy style, its calm philosophy, its tender and loving sympathy for weak and erring humanity, and its just observations of men and manners and things, than on its elegant Latinity and its wide learning.

In 1775, more than two hundred years after the death of Florence Wilson, the bibliography of the district received its next important contribution by the publication of Lachlan Shaw’s ‘History of the Province of Moray.’ Though not himself a native of Moray, its author had many qualifications for becoming its historian. He wras born close to its borders ; almost the w hole of his long life had been spent within it; while his position as a parish minister, first in Nairnshire and afterwards in Elginshire, had brought him in contact with all classes of the community in both counties. He was the son of Donald Shaw, a respectable farmer at Rothie-murchus in the county of Inverness, who claimed to be a descendant of the old family of the same name who in the thirteenth century settled on the lands of Rothiemurchus as tenants of the bishops of Moray, and ultimately became the proprietors of the estate. Bom probably in 1686, he received the rudiments of his education at Ruthven in Badenoch, then the only school of any importance on the whole course of the river Spey. In 1712 he was parish schoolmaster at Abernethy, and in 1716, after having completed his theological studies at the University of Edinburgh, he became minister of the parish of Kingussie. From Kingussie he was, in 1719, transferred to Cawdor, and from thence, in 1734, to Elgin, where he spent the remaining forty years of his life. In 1774 he resigned his charge, and died on 23d February 1777, in the ninety-first year of his age and in the sixty-first year of his ministry.

Defective though it is, in many respects, Shaw’s * History of the Province ’ is still our best authority on the subject The faults of the work are not so much those of the author, whose zeal and diligence are beyond ail praise, and who had qualified himself for the task by many years of personal exploration through the district, and of patient study of local records, as of the imperfect state of historical and archaeological science in his day. No book, however, has suffered so much at the hands of incompetent editors. The second edition, which was published in 1827 by John Grant, bookseller in Elgin, is so disfigured by extraneous additions and intolerant bigotry that the original text cannot be distinguished ; while the editor of its third and last edition, published in Glasgow in 1882, has rendered the confusion which prevails as to the early history of the province more confounded by adding an undigested mass of lengthy notes, intended to correct the errors of the original, compiled from the works of authors amongst whom Richard of Cirencester holds a distinguished place.

About the commencement of the present century the dormant energies of the people seem to have quickened into life; and from that time forward both counties have contributed their own share of persons who have achieved, if not distinction, at least a meritorious position in all the varied spheres of human activity.

It was in Elgin that the symptoms of reviving energy first became apparent. Within the old cathedral city there was a little knot of clever, pushing, far-sighted men, where though seemingly bent on nothing more than advancing their own interests, or indulging their own individual tastes and proclivities, were really by their enlightened energy and example doing the whole of the community an incomparable service. Though most of them never attained to more than a local reputation, they were in reality the pioneers of returning progress. Few who know anything of the history of the district will refuse to such men as Isaac Forsyth, bookseller and farmer, the originator of the first local circulating library, to James Grant, the founder of the first local newspaper, to Provost Grant, the promoter of the first local railway, to William Leslie, the historian of local agriculture, and to their little band of fellow - workers, the credit due to their exertions and example. They had much to contend with. They had to fight against ignorance, prejudice, and inveterate obstinacy. They had to teach their countrymen the latter-day gospel of hard work, patriotic pride, and self-reliance.

Scarcely any of them owed anything to fortune. Isaac Forsyth, the son of a small merchant in Elgin, had no education beyond what he received at the “sang-schule” of the burgh. James Grant’s father was the driver of the mail-coach between Banff and Elgin, and was even still more badly off in the matter of early instruction. Provost Grant was the son of a small farmer. The only one who had any pretensions to social position, or enjoyed any of the advantages which social position confers, was William Leslie, who was the son of the proprietor of the estate of Balnageith, near Forres, and had at least the benefit of a university education.

Isaac Forsyth’s career, though perhaps the least interesting, was certainly not the least useful, of the four. He was born in 1768, and he died in 1859. He was one of the founders, and for long the secretary, of the Morayshire Farmers* Club; he helped largely to induce the Government to assume the care of the ruins of the cathedral; and the local works which from time to time he published, and which to this day, except as regards their historical information, are still accepted as authorities, did much to attract public attention to a district of Scotland which till then was practically unknown. Two of these books still locally bear his name. The one, a ‘Survey of the Province of Moray, Historical, Geographical, and Political,’ published in 1798, is called “Muckle Isaac”; the other, an ‘ Account of the Antiquities, Modern Buildings, and Natural Curiosities of the Province of Moray, worthy of the attention of the Tourist, with an Itinerary of the Province,’ of which the first edition appeared in 1813, and the second, “adjusted to the passing time,” was published in 1823, is, from its smaller size, known as “Little Isaac.”

The joint author of the former and the sole author of the latter work was the Rev. William Leslie, minister of St Andrews-Lhanbryde, a man whose talents and eccentricities have kept his name alive to the present day. An original both in mind and manners, stories about him are innumerable. It is said that in the original MS. of “Little Isaac” he hazarded the bold suggestion that St Paul the apostle might have been the cause of the introduction of Christianity into Moray. No such statement, however, occurs in any of the published copies of the book.

Leslie’s great work, his ‘General View of the Agriculture of the Counties of Nairn and Moray, with Observations on the Means of their Improvement, drawn up for the consideration of the Board of Agriculture and internal Improvement which was published in 1813, is by far the best description we possess of the agricultural condition of the district, and the habits and customs of the peasantry, at the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the present century.

But of all his literary productions the most characteristic, as they are also the most amusing, are the certificates which, in the course of his ministerial duties, or out of the sheer benevolence of his heart, he from time to time composed. Very many of these exist, and are to be found among the treasures of collectors of local literary curiosities. We must confine ourselves to two examples. The one is a beggars “token ” :—

To all his Majesty’s loving subjects who can feel for a fellow-sinner in distress, I beg to certify that the bearer, W J , is the son of my old Bellman, a man well known in the neighbourhood for his honest poverty and excessive sloth. The son has inherited a full share of his father’s poverty and a double portion of his improvidence. I cannot say that the bearer has many active virtues to boast of; but he is not altogether unmindful of Scriptural injunctions, having striven, and with no small success, to replenish the earth, though he has done but little to subdue the same. It was his misfortune to lose his cow lately, from too little care and too much bere caff [chaff); and that walking skeleton which he had used to call his horse has ceased to hear the oppressor’s voice or dread the tyrant’s load. The poor man has now no means of repairing his loss but the skins of the defunct and the generosity of a benevolent public, whom he expects to be stimulated to great liberality by this testimonial from theirs, with respect, &c., Will. Leslie.

Darklands, 29th Dec. 1829.

The other is to a woman, who was a competitor for a prize given by the Duke of Gordon to the domestic servant who had remained longest in one situation :—

Lhanbryd Glebe, Aug. 31st/, 1836.

By this writing I certify and testify that K B came into my family and service at the term of Whitsunday Eighteen hundred and fifteen, and without change has continued to the date hereof: being a useful canny servant at all work about the cows, the dairy, the sick nurse, the harvest—hay and com—the services of the parlour and bedchambers, and of late years mainly the cook, that in my regards she merits any boon that our club has to bestow, having in 1815, in her teens, been a comely tight lass, tho’ now fallen into the sere, and but little seductive, though a little more self-conceited now than she was then—as much perhaps a good quality, when not in excess, as a fault

Will. Leslie.

This excellent and eccentric man, who had been fifty years the minister of his parish, and who preached regularly and never had an assistant till towards the end of his ninetieth year, died in 1839, aged nearly ninety-two.

James Grant, the historian of the newspaper press, and the founder of the first newspaper in the north of Scotland between Aberdeen and Inverness, was born in the last years of the eighteenth century. His father, who died from the result of a driving accident when James was quite a boy, left a family of four sons and one daughter. The poor widow had a severe struggle to maintain so large a flock. Anything except the merest elementary instruction for her children was beyond her means. But there*was “good grit” in the lads; and one after another, when he had come to reasonable age, set about educating himself. James, as soon as he was fit to do anything for himself, was apprenticed to a baker. But all his spare hours were spent in reading. John, the second son, the author of the inimitable “Penny Wedding,” followed in his brother’s footsteps. He taught himself literary composition ; he taught himself drawing—the plates in the "Penny Wedding,” though rough in execution, are brimful of character; he was keenly ambitious; he ultimately succeeded in establishing a bookseller’s and publisher’s business in London; and if death had not checked his career, he might have equalled, and perhaps outstripped, the success of his elder brother.

But James, the first-born, was destined to be the pride and glory of the family. He was little more than a lad, working at his trade of baker, when, encouraged by the acceptance of some articles he had written for the ‘Statesman' a London evening paper, and the ‘Imperial Magazine/ a respectable London monthly, it occurred to him to start a newspaper in conjunction with his brother John. John was to attend to its business affairs; James was to be its editor. The idea seemed sheer midsummer madness. There were already two papers in the North of Scotland — the ‘Aberdeen Journal/ founded in 1746, and the ‘Inverness Courier/ founded in 1817—and these were ample to supply the very meagre needs of the district. No one, either in Moray or Nairn, wanted anything more. And the obstacles to success were numerous. Elgin was an obscure little town of only 5000 inhabitants, much more curious about its own affairs and those of its neighbours than of the concerns of the nation ; the stamp duty was sevenpence. More fatal than either of these considerations was the fact that neither James nor John had a penny of capital. But the two pushing brothers managed to find some one who had; and in the year 1827 the ‘Elgin Courier' was started. His sister, the youngest of the family, who assisted James in his bakery business in the little shop at the head of Lossie Wynd, used to tell in after-years how she sold her brother’s loaves and papers over the same counter. The paper was not At first the success the brothers anticipated. Three years after its establishment the circulation was only 216. In another three years its profits had risen to between £400 and £500 a-year. But even this rate of progress was not sufficient to make it a paying concern; and in 1833 James Grant severed his connection with it, and set off to London to seek his fortune in literature, which had now become the ruling passion of his life. His departure accelerated the ruin of the ‘Courier.’ In 1834 it finally collapsed. The presses, types, &c., were bought by one person, the copyright by another.

Out of the ashes of the ‘Elgin Courier' sprang the ‘Elgin Courant,* which was almost immediately started by the purchaser of its stock-in-trade. And this respectable paper, which had adopted its name and its principles from the ‘Edinburgh Courant' then the most influential newspaper in Scotland, continued to be the sole organ of public opinion in Elgin till 1845, when another paper appeared under the title of the ‘Elgin and Morayshire Courier'. The latter carried on a somewhat precarious existence till 1874, when it was purchased by Mr James Black, the then proprietor of the ‘Courant,' and the two were amalgamated under the name of the ‘Elgin Courant and Courier.' In 1892 it Was sold by Mr Black to its present proprietors. As the only exponent of Radical principles within the two counties, it enjoys a very considerable circulation. Its almost immediate success was the means of attracting other competitors into the journalistic field. In 1855 the ‘Elgin and Morayshire Advertiser' was started. But it had never much root, and in 1870 or 1871 it withered away. In 1880 the ‘Moray and Nairn Express,' an offshoot of the ‘Aberdeen Journal,' was founded to propagate Conservative principles in the district. Its circulation has gone up by leaps and bounds, till it is now larger than any other weekly paper in the county. Of late it has adopted the name of ‘The Northern Scot' as a sub-title, and probably before long the old local name will be merged in the more ambitious appellation. The only other newspaper in Elginshire is the 'Forres Gazette,' founded in 1817 by John Miller, and now the property of and conducted by his son, Mr James D. Miller.

The first newspaper started in Nairnshire was the ‘Mirror', which appeared in 1841. It is said to have received its name from the happy inspiration of Mr Falconer, the sheriff-substitute of the county, who hit upon it when gazing on his own shrewd kindly face in a looking-glass one morning when shaving. It was merely a monthly paper at first, but latterly it was issued fortnightly. In 1853 saw the only rival in the shape of the ‘Nairnshire Telegraph'. The following year both papers were combined under one management Its present editor and proprietor is Mr George Bain, the author of a 'History of Nairnshire'—one of the best county histories extant. The only other paper in Nairnshire is a little weekly sheet, called the ‘St Ninian Press' established in 1892 by Mr John Fraser, bookseller, Nairn.

James Grant’s subsequent career in London must be sketched in very few words. His first appointment was on the parliamentary staff of the ‘Morning Chronicle.' But though it brought him five guineas a-week, his work was distasteful to him ; and accordingly in 1835 he left it Next year he obtained something more to his liking, in the editorship of the ‘ Monthly Magazine/ a periodical of large circulation and high literary repute, which had been founded about a quarter of a century before by Sir Richard Phillips. Magazine work had always had attractions for him. Even when in Elgin, in the midst of his laborious duties on the ‘Courier' he had found time to publish the ‘Elgin Annual' and the ‘Elgin Literary Magazine.' Every line of the first, except a few poems contributed by friends, and almost every line of the second, was written by himself. His powers of production seemed limited only by the exigencies of food and sleep. His editorship of the ‘Monthly' brought him, for the first time, into connection with a young writer who was at that time known, if he could be said to be known at all, under the nom de plume of “Boz.” “ Boz ** had contributed some sketches of London street life to the magazine before it had come into Grant's management; and the new editor thought them very good. But he had not the slightest idea who he was. With some difficulty he discovered that his name was Charles Dickens; that he lived in Furnival’s Inn ; and that he was a parliamentary reporter on the staff of the very paper he had so recently quitted. He wrote to him, asking on what terms he would continue his contributions to the magazine. The young man replied to the effect that he was very busy writing a serial for Messrs Chapman & Hall—it turned out to be the ‘Pickwick Papers'; that this work occupied the most of the time he could spare from his duties as a parliamentary reporter; and that if he was to continue his sketches, he could only do so at the rate of £8, 8s. a sheet. This was only half a guinea a page, but it was more than Grant could induce the proprietor of the magazine to give. In less than six months after this, “Boz” was able to command a hundred guineas a sheet from the proprietors of any of the leading periodicals of the day.

After he had been for a considerable time editor of the ‘Monthly/ Grant found himself in a position to make a venture on his own account. He purchased from Captain Marryat the ‘ Metropolitan Magazine,' a periodical which had been started by Thomas Campbell and Tom Moore, and to which he had been for some time a contributor. It was a fairly successful speculation. When he disposed of it some years later, he was able to sell it for the same price as he had given for it. Once more he betook himself to newspaper work. There was then a daily metropolitan paper, called the ‘Morning Advertiser/ which had been started in 1794 as the organ of the licensed victuallers of London, and was managed by a committee of the body. The paper had for some time been going back, and it was deemed necessary by the managing committee that an effort should be made to redeem its position. In October 1850 it was resolved to double the size of the paper—a step which involved an additional expenditure of 8,000 a-year—and to appoint a new editor. Grant was chosen. The result abundantly justified this decision. In four years the circulation went up from 5000 to 8000, and the yearly profits from 6000 to 12,000. More gratifying still was the fact that the paper, which had hitherto circulated only amongst public-houses and luncheon bars, was now to be found on the reading-room tables of almost every West End club in London.

At first he seems to have rejoiced in his freedom from the trammels of editorial harness. But he had worn it so long that he soon began to feel uncomfortable without it Regular methodical work had become the very essence of his existence. He felt he could not live without it. Accordingly, “chiefly to please himself,” and, in some degree, to propagate his own religious opinions, he established a weekly religious paper, which he called the ‘Christian Standard.' But after a time he gave it up. Yet to the end of his days he continued his connection with journalism by contributing a weekly letter to the ‘ Dumfries Standard/ and another to a local paper in Wales. He died in London in 1879, at the age of seventy-four.

Few men had lived a more laborious life. Heavy and exacting as were the duties of his profession, they very far from exhausted his energies. All his days, in addition to his contributions to periodical literature, he had gone on writing books. Novels, sketches, recollections more or less biographical, religious works, flowed, one after another, from his almost too facile pen. Some were large, some were small; some were good, some were indifferent; some represented a certain amount of research, others were dashed off currente calamo. Their tale amounts to over sixty; they constitute almost a small library of themselves. Of all his works, his ‘History of the Newspaper Press, its Origin, Progress, and present Position/ of which the first two volumes were published in 1871, and the third and concluding volume in 1872, will probably be longest remembered. It is a contribution to the literature of the subject by a fair and open-minded expert, and contains many personal touches of great interest.

If to one James Grant the district owed its first newspaper, to another it owed its first railway. This was James Grant, solicitor and banker (1801-1872), who from 1848 to 1863 was Provost of Elgin, and who for his energy, his public spirit, and the success which, ultimately at least, attended all his enterprises, was known by the sobriquet of “the Provost of Scotland.” In conjunction with his brother John he founded in 1840 the Glen Grant Distillery at Rothes, an establishment which has now an output of 290,000 gallons a-year. But it was his work in connection with railway enterprise which earned for him the regard of his fellow-citizens. To this he devoted the best years and the best energies of his life; and before his efforts were crowned with success he had many a hard battle to fight.

The relations of the municipality of Elgin towards the harbour of Lossiemouth have been already referred to. On the 25th November 1844, according to its minutes, a communication was received by the town council “from Mr James Grant, banker, for forming a railway from Stotfield (Lossiemouth) harbour to Elgin, and from Elgin to Rothes.” The project was favourably received. An Act of incorporation for the Morayshire Railway, dated 16th July 1846, was obtained; and on 10th August 1852 its first portion—from Lossiemouth to Elgin, a distance of five and a half miles—was opened for public traffic. The second Act of the Morayshire Railway, which was intended to open up the district of Rothes, Craigellachie, and Strathspey, was procured in 1856. About the same time another company stepped into the field. This was the Inverness and Aberdeen Junction Railway. There was already a line between Aberdeen and Keith—the Great North of Scotland—and another between Nairn and Inverness —the Inverness and Nairn Railway. The new company proposed to occupy the still unoccupied space between Keith and Nairn, and thus to complete the line between Aberdeen and Inverness. As communication would be thus provided between Elgin and Orton, there was no further necessity for the Morayshire Railway constructing a second line between these two places. The Morayshire Railway accordingly decided to limit its exertions to the construction of a line between Orton and Rothes—a distance of three and a half miles. On the 23d August 1858 this line was opened for public traffic, and on the same day communication was established between Elgin and Orton by the opening of the Inverness and Aberdeen Junction Railway. The original design of the Morayshire Railway was thus effected.

But as, through the instrumentality of the Inverness and Aberdeen Junction Railway, the Morayshire Railway had been saved the expense of the construction of its Elgin and Orton section, it felt it was justified in a further extension of its scheme. It accordingly proceeded with the construction of a line from Rothes to Dandaleith—a distance of three miles. An important step had thus been taken towards the attainment of what had been from the first its ultimate object— the “tapping” of the great Highland district of Strathspey. Very soon, however, disputes began to arise between the Morayshire Railway and the Inverness and Aberdeen Junction Railway. Before long these became so acute that the Morayshire Railway conceived it had no option but to cut itself entirely adrift from a line which had now become an active opponent. In i860 it accordingly applied to Parliament for powers to construct a direct line from Elgin to Rothes, and thus to connect its two sections. The Inverness and Aberdeen Junction Railway naturally objected to this, and a furious fight began. It was then that Provost Grant’s real work commenced. He threw himself heart and soul into the struggle. Any one watching him would have thought it was a personal matter he was battling for. And so it was in a way. For the Morayshire Railway was the child of his own brain, and its interests concerned him as much as if he had been its sole proprietor. And when he returned to Elgin after having won the victory, he was accorded a reception such as had been bestowed on no public man within the memory of any one then living. This, the third section of the Morayshire Railway, was constructed with great rapidity, and was opened for public traffic little more than a year after it had obtained its Act.

The year 1861 was one of great energy in the promotion of railways in the North. It gave birth to the Highland Railway, a line originally intended only to connect Perth with Forres. And it also saw the passing of an Act promoted by the Great North, for the construction of what was called the Strathspey Railway, whose object was the establishment of direct communication between Dufftown and Abemethy. Neither of these trenched directly on the province of the Morayshire Railway. On the contrary, the latter was actually extending the Morayshire Railway’s original scheme of opening up the Strathspey Highlands. It was plain that if the Morayshire and the Strathspey Railways could come to terms, there was a much better chance of the idea being carried out than if each had contented itself with working on its own account An arrangement was speedily arrived at; and in 1861 the Morayshire Railway, on the suggestion of its indefatigable founder, applied to and readily obtained from Parliament the necessary authority to bridge the river Spey at Craigellachie, and thus to effect a connection there with the Strathspey Railway. The great viaduct of 51 chains which it proceeded to erect cost between £12,000 and £13,000. Its last rivet was clinched on the 1st June 1863; and on the 1st July of the same year the Craigellachie Junction Railway, as it was called, was opened for public traffic. On the same day the Great North of Scotland Railway, in connection with the Keith and Dufftown and Strathspey Railways, under the parliamentary agreement between all the companies, commenced to work the whole system of the Morayshire railways. This arrangement continued till the 30th September 1880, when the Morayshire Railway was finally merged in the Great North of Scotland Company.

The total capital authorised by Parliament for the construction of its various sections amounted to 18 6,13 3. The total length of its lines was twenty-two miles. Mr Grant, who had been its secretary and law agent from its inception, was in 1855 appointed its chairman, and retained that position for seventeen years, till his death in 1872.

The impulse thus given to progress, intellectual, material, and social, by the four men whose careers we have now sketched, soon extended beyond their immediate spheres. Any one who has the patience to peruse the minute-book of the Town Council of Elgin will readily perceive the rapidity with which it ramified into the quicquid agunt homines of the Roman poet. A spirit of inquisitive energy had been generated which was never thereafter to be quenched. From this time Moray and Nairn have been able to hold their own with other districts in Scotland.

It is impossible, with the limited space at our disposal, to signalise all those who, profiting by this example, proceeded “to hand on the lamp of life.” We must content ourselves with briefly mentioning those who have most materially added to the lustre of the district.

Many of them were not even natives of Moray, but merely connected with it by ties of affinity, office, or inclination.

Such, for example, was Sir Thomas Dick Lauder (1784-1848), who wrote the history of the Morayshire Floods of 1829 — one of the most graphic, and at the same time elaborate, descriptions of such catastrophes in literature. He was an East Lothian man, the son of Sir Andrew Lauder, Bart of Fountainhall, and a descendant of the famous Scotch judge Lord Fountainhall, equally famous for his ‘Decisions' and his ‘Historical Observes.’ But he had married the daughter and heiress of George Cumin, the proprietor of Relugas, an estate near Forres, at the junction of the Devon and the Findhorn, “one of the most beautiful spots in Scotland.” And here, after retiring from the army, he lived till 1831, when he removed to another of his family seats, the Grange House, near Edinburgh. Although a man of great mental and bodily activity, the quiet life of a country gentleman seems to have suited him better than that of a soldier. At any rate it was at Relugas that he developed all those varied accomplishments which led Lord Cockburn to say of him that he could have made his way in the world “as a player, a ballad-singer, a street fiddler, a geologist, a civil engineer, or a surveyor, and easily and eminently as an artist or a layer-out of ground.”

It was, however, his literary talent which in the end gained him his greatest distinction. His first production was a paper on “The Parallel Roads of Glen Roy,” read before the Royal Society of Edinburgh. A sketch which he contributed to ‘Maga,’ of “Simon Roy, gardener at Dunphail,” had the honour of being mistaken for one of Sir Walter Scott’s. And his historical romances, *The Wolfe of Badenoch* and ‘Lochandhu,’ were distinctly framed on the model of the work of the Great Magician, whose friend he was, and for whom he had, like most other people, the profoundest admiration. Both these books are very clever, very bright, very vigorous, and rich in local colouring, and as such deservedly find many readers at the present day. Unfortunately, however, their “history” is hardly to be relied on; and as literary compositions they are undoubtedly inferior to his two later works, ‘The Morayshire Floods’ and 'Scottish Rivers,’ which are masterpieces of picturesque description and narrative.

Another equally warm friend to Moray, and equally unconnected with it by birth, was Cosmo Innes, who was its sheriff from 1840 till 1852. Morayshire was the country of his forefathers. His father was a scion of the house of Innes of Innes,—one of the oldest families in the district,—and was at one time proprietor of the estate of Leuchars, near Elgin. But he sold it to the Earl of Fife, and took a seventy-six years’ lease of the estate of Durris on Deeside from the Earl of Peterborough. In this estate he embarked all his means, building a mansion-house and otherwise improving it. But on the death of Lord Peterborough, the Duke of Gordon, as next heir of entail, brought an action of reduction of the lease. A decision adverse to the tenant ensued; and in 1824 Mr Innes was ejected from a place to which he was much attached, on which he had spent his whole fortune, and which he fondly hoped was to be the home of himself and his successors for many a generation.

It was at Durris that, on the 9th September 1798, the future Sheriff of Moray and Nairn was born, the youngest but one of a family of sixteen children.

It is, however, with his connection with the two counties of Moray and Naim that we are more immediately concerned. His marriage to Miss Rose of Kilravock in 1826 had confirmed him in his hereditary liking for the district His appointment to the sheriffship put the crowning touch on this. “Of all his appointments,” says his daughter, Mis Hill Burton, in her Memoir of her father, “ this was the one which caused him most pleasure.”

His best talents were always at the service of his beloved Moray. No man did more to illustrate its history, or to give it the prominence which it merited, but which, till he took its records in hand, it had never adequately received. In his introduction to the ‘Registrum Moraviense,' which he edited for the Bannatyne Club, he for the first time told, as it deserved to be told, the history of the bishopric and the constitution of its collegium. In his 'Legal Antiquities’ he for the first time explained in language that was intelligible, and with an authority which was undoubted, the nature of its early rulers, its maormors, its toshachs, and its thanes. In the Cawdor and Kilravock books which he edited for the Spalding Club he related the story of two of its principal families; and in his ‘Sketches of Early Scotch History* he amused himself and his readers by describing the old home-life of the country gentry in both the one county and the other. With the exception of his private letters, there are hardly any of his writings so genial, so picturesque, so thoroughly charming, as his descriptions of the Campbells of Cawdor and the Roses of Kilravock.

It is to be regretted that his correspondence has never been published. His letters are admirable, because they reflect the man. They disclose his untiring industry, his keen intelligence, his unflinching resolve never to take a thing on trust, but to probe every matter to the core; his worries and his pleasures, his intense kind-heartedness, his wide capacity for friendship, his sunny philosophy, his deep religious spirit. “Your philosophy,” he writes to his friend Captain Dunbar-Dunbar of Sea Park and Glen of Rothes, “I approve, but find it rather hard to practise. I suppose most men do. But there are minds more sunny than others, just as one man's digestion is better than another’s. At any rate, I am not inclined to think a man has little feeling because he is not always in the dumps.” “I left a jolly party at 11 last night,” he says in another letter to the same correspondent, “ in the middle of Lancashire (where I sat beside Mrs Gaskell, the writer of the remarkable Lancashire books), and I was in court here at 11 this morning, and now we are in the dust and clang and shuffling of witnesses and bullying of counsel of a trashy jury trial. It isn’t pleasant just now, but I know that, like the succession of seasons, like the alternation of night and day, it is good and needful for man’s health—sometimes work, sometimes play.” “I notice what you say about money,” he remarks in another, “and the loss of it, with great interest If you have plenty and never bother your head with it, you have more than the philosopher’s stone could give. You defend yourself so well that you can afford to forgive the impertinence (if I really committed it) of insinuating that you were too much taken up with that ‘secret curse.’ Alas! the man who throws love of mammon in another’s teeth is always a poor devil who has no mammon to love.” “I am horribly overworked still,” he writes in January 1867. “Nonsense! I like work, and never am so well as when working hard. Black thoughts will cross the sky at times, but in general I make fair weather well enough. I have no business to write to my friends w hen the blue devils have a grip of me.” “My philosophy is never to get old, and it holds good to a certain point ”

In another letter to the same friend he gives his impressions of London and Paris: “I hope I may find you in town about the end of this month. You will come back learned in London—a learning I have never got. It is the worst place for any sustained and consistent work I ever tried. Nothing but necessity of business — an appeal case to fight, or a volume of Acts of Parliament to edit, in the Tower (of old) and Museum and Chapter House and State Paper Office— ever kept me steadily and soberly occupied in London. Paris is much better. There are more men (and women) to sympathise with any intelligent study, and the evening talk whets the appetite for a new dish of work in the morning.” His love of the country, especially of Moray, and his fondness for sport, come up again and again in these charming and characteristic letters. “You fellows living always in the country,” he says, writing from Ullapool, where he is spending his autumn vacation, “have no idea how this wild free life delights a man shut up in a town for most of his life. For my part, too, I have a good deal of the savage instinct of sport in me, and used long ago to say that next to a charter-hunt came the pleasure of a wild chasse. Now that charters have been all turned out, the wild taste prevails, and I turn any faculties I have, to grapple with the beasts and birds and fishes.”

It was his innate love of sport which led to his intimacy with another good friend of Moray, whose writings were the first to make the wealth of its natural history known to the world. This was Charles St John (1809-1856), a retired Treasury clerk, the son of General the Hon. Frederick St John, who was the second son of Frederick, second Viscount Bolingbroke, whose ‘Wild Sports and Natural History of the Highlands,' ‘Tour in Sutherlandshire,' and ‘Natural History and Sport in Moray' are classics of their own peculiar kind. In the Memoir which he prefixed to the last of these works, Innes describes in his own genial way his introduction to its author. “I became acquainted with Charles St John,” he says, “in my autumn vacation of 1844, while I was Sheriff of Moray. He was then living at Invererne, below Forres, and I used to shoot sometimes on an adjoining property. We had some common friends, and messages of civility had passed between us, but we had not met; when one day in October I was shooting down the riverside and the islands, in the Findhorn, making out a bag of partridges laboriously. It was a windy day, and the birds going off wild spoilt my shooting, which is at best uncertain. While I was on the island, two birds had gone away wounded into a large turnip-field across the river. I waded the river after them, and was vainly endeavouring to recover them with my pointers, when a man pushed through the hedge from the Invererne side, followed by a dog, making straight for me. There was no mistaking the gentleman—a sportsman all over, though without any ‘getting up ’ for sport, and without a gun. I waited for him, and on coming up he said he had seen my birds get up, and offered to find them for me if I would take up my dogs. When my pointers were coupled, he called ‘Grip' and his companion, a large poodle with a Mephistopheles expression, began travelling across and across the drills, till suddenly he struck the scent, and then with a series of curious jumps on all fours, and pauses between, to listen for the moving of the birds, he made quick work with bird No. 1, and so with bird No. 2. I never saw so perfect a dog for retrieving, but he was not handsome. After this introduction St John and I became frequent companions. I soon found there was something in him beyond the common slaughtering sportsman; and he must have discovered that the old sheriff had some tastes with which he could sympathise. The remainder of that season we were very much together, and often took our exercise and sport in company.”

If it was a happy introduction for Innes, it was a lucky one for St John. It led to his becoming a popular writer, under the kindly old sheriffs fostering auspices. “On one occasion we went together to join a battue at Dunphail; but the weather was too bad, and after waiting some hours without taking our guns out of their cover, St John and I returned to Knockomie, a cottage of relations of mine near Forres, who have made it my second home for many years. We travelled in St John’s dog-cart through steady heavy rain. I was well clothed in a thick topcoat, and he in a pea-jacket of sealskins of his own shooting, so that there was no suffering from the weather as we drove down through the shelter of the Altyre woods; and the way was shortened to me by my companion telling story after story of sport and adventure, or answering with wonderful precision my questions about birds, beasts, and fishes. He stayed with me that night, and when we were alone after dinner, I broached a subject which had often come into my head since we were so much in each other’s society. Why should he not give the world the benefit of his fresh enjoyment of sport—his accurate observation of the habits of animals? At first he ridiculed the idea. He had never written anything beyond a note of correspondence — didn’t think he could write, &c., &c. But at length he listened to some argument. It was very true he had too much idle time, especially in winter—nothing he so much regretted as that he was an idle man. He had some old journals that might be useful. He would note down every day’s observations, too. In short, he would try his hand on some chapters next winter. And so it came to pass that during next winter I was periodically receiving little essays on mixed sport and natural history7, which it was a great pleasure to me to criticise; and no one could take the smooth and the rough of criticism more good-naturedly than St John. As these chapters gathered size and consistency, it became a question how to turn them to account, and this was solved by accident. At that time I was in the habit of writing an article occasionally for the ‘Quarterly,' and I put together one on Scotch sport, using as my material some of St John’s chapters. The paper pleased Mr Lockhart ‘It would itself be sufficient,’ he said, ‘to float any number. Whether the capital journal laid under contribution be your own or another’s I don’t know, but every one will wish to see more of it.’ I received the editor’s letter at Knockomie, and next day the reading of it to St John served for seasoning, as we took our shooting lunch together beside the spring among the whins on the brae of Blervie. Our course was now plain. I divided the money produce of the ‘ Quarterly ’ article with St John, who rejoiced greatly in the first money he had ever made by his own exertions; and on my next visit to London I arranged for him the sale of the whole chapters, the produce of his last winter’s industry', which Mr Murray brought out in the popular volume of ‘Wild Sports and Natural History of the Highlands.’”

St John’s life was much happier after he had, through Innes’s assistance, found occupation for his idle hours.

The ‘Wild Sports and Natural History of the Highlands' was followed by his ‘Tour in Sutherlandshire' in which he gave his recollections of his life at Rosehall, before 'he had discovered the region best suited to his taste and happiness, in the Laigh of Moray.' Once found, however, it became his home. His first residence in the county was at Invererne, whose neighbourhood “ to the basin of Findhorn—the resort of innumerable wild-fowl; the sandhills of Culbin, so curious, almost so marvellous; the ‘ Black Forest,* stretching away behind Brodie and Dalvey; the ‘Old Bar' where the seals love to sun themselves on the land; the mouth of the Mucklebum, the favourite haunt of the otter,—made it a most desirable ”habitation for a naturalist and sportsman like him. But after spending a short time at Naim, and afterwards in Edinburgh, he in 1849, f°r the sake of the education of his children, took up his quarters in Elgin, where, in the old Archdeacon’s Manse—the “South College,” as it has come to be called—he spent the latter, and perhaps the happiest, years of his life.

His best - known work, ‘Natural History and Sport in Moray/ was a compilation from his journals and letters, and was edited after his death by his friend the old sheriff It is a perfect mine of wealth to the local naturalist, especially as regards the birds of the province of Moray; it is a perfect delight to every lover of nature. There are no immutable canons of literature, and there can be none till fashion is deprived of having any say in the matter. So long as it does not offend against the common rules of taste and grammar, a simple, breezy narrative of personal adventure and experience will always have greater charms for most men than the more elaborate productions of those who have got their knowledge of life only through the cobwebbed windows of a library. St John’s book belongs to this class.

It is the production of an intelligent, educated, observant, unaffected gentleman. Hence its wide and deserved popularity.

St John, though, from the vogue which his writings obtained, the best known, was far from being the only, naturalist of Moray in those days. There were then, as now, students of nature as zealous as himself.

Prominent among them was Dr George Gordon of Birnie. His line was different from that of St John. It was more extended, more all-embracing, perhaps also more scientific. And there was nothing of the sportsman about him. He was simply a student. But he had the same sympathy with nature, and the same habits of accurate observation; and his career was equally useful and estimable. The son of the minister of Urquhart, he was born in 1801; was licensed in 1825; was ordained minister of Birnie in 1832, and after fifty-seven years’ ministry in this little country parish, whose population at last census numbered only 402, and whose church is only seated for 211 persons, resigned his cure in 1889, and died in Elgin in 1893. It is difficult for those unconnected with the district properly to understand the place this most estimable and venerable man held in the estimation of the community. He owed it at least as much to his exceptional graces of character as to his high scientific attainments. He was, within his own limited sphere, one of the most remarkable and interesting of men. His whole long life of ninety-three years was devoted to his native district, to which he was passionately attached. He had studied it—its archaeology, its natural history, its geology, its fossiliferous remains, its botany, its folk-lore, and its people —as no one had ever done before him, bringing to the task a mind singularly acute, singularly judicious, and singularly free from prejudice. The result was that he had come to be, and was universally regarded as being, an encyclopaedia of local lore and tradition, whose rich stores were at the disposal of every one who chose to seek them. Of a tall commanding presence — he was at least 6 feet high — exceptionally strong and healthy, walking, even in advanced old age, with something like the spring of youth, with keen, piercing black eyes, nigged features, concealed yet not entirely hidden by a shaggy growth of venerable white beard, of courtly manners, writh an expression in which it was hard to say whether kindliness or dignity was most predominant, always carefully and neatly attired in clerical black, he was one of the most noticeable features in the streets of Elgin during the last three years of his life. His career was singularly deficient in incident; but no man had made a better use of his time and of his abilities. He was an exemplary parish minister; he became the friend, and sometimes even the instructor, of such men as Darwin, Agassiz, Hugh Miller, Murchison, Lyell, Geikie, Ramsay, Huxley, Lubbock, Yarrell, and Hooker—in short, of all the most distinguished scientists of his day. Huxley named one of the most extraordinary reptilian fossils which have been found north of the Grampians — the Hyperodapedon Gordoni—after him. Professor Judd paid him a similar compliment in connection with his discoveries of a new form of Dicynodonts; and the services he rendered in other branches of science have been acknowledged by such men as Dr Joass, Macgillivray, and Harvie - Brown. The walls of his homely old - fashioned manse at Birnie, half hidden among luxuriant trees and shrubs, and in summer bright with clustering roses, had received as many distinguished visitors as the college hall of many a great university. As for his tiny little church, venerable in containing the Ronnell bell, and as having been built on the site of the first cathedral of the diocese, it had seen almost as many archaeological pilgrims, under his hospitable guidance, as the great “ Lantern of the North ” itself. Dr Gordon was the most unassuming of men, and the greater part of his lifelong labours in the cause of science was utilised by others rather than by himself. A few papers in the 4 Zoologist/ the ‘ Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal,* and other scientific periodicals, and a small work, the ‘ Collectanea to the Flora of Moray/ published in 1839, were that issued from his own pen. A list of his writings, by Professor Trail, will be found in the ‘Annals of Scottish Natural History/ No. 10, April 1894. It is to be regretted that they have not been collected in a more abiding form. Dr Gordon was mainly instrumental in founding, in 1836, the Elgin and Morayshire Literary and Scientific Association, to whose museum—one of the best provincial collections in Scotland— he from time to time gifted his more important scientific treasures. In geology and zoology it is particularly strong. It owes this, in great measure, to George Gordon.

Moray has as yet given birth to no poet, though, like other districts of rural Scotland, it has had its own share of rhymesters and poetasters. Prominent among them is William, better known as “Willie” Hay, to whom local partiality has accorded a higher rank than his writings appear to deserve. He was of humble extraction. Born in Elgin in 1794, he is said to have been the son of Harry Hay, a sheriff officer, and of “Meggie” Falconer, a well - known vendor of apples and gooseberries, who kept a stall in the High Street. The records of his early life are scanty, but he seems to have been employed by Dr Robert Paterson of the H.E.I.C.S. as stable-boy, and by him introduced to Mr John Anderson, the rector of the Academy, who, recognising his abilities, undertook the charge of his education. In 1811, on the recommendation of Mr Anderson, he was engaged by the mother of the Rev. Dr Gordon of Birnie to assist him and his brothers with their lessons. The following year he obtained the situation of resident tutor in the family of Mr Cumming of Logie. Logie is a picturesquely situated place near Forres, on the banks of the Findhorn. The scenery around is in the highest degree beautiful, and there is perhaps a greater number of country gentlemen’s seats in its immediate vicinity than in any other part of the county. Here for the first time the clever, gawky lad was introduced to refined and cultured society. Amongst other constant visitors to Logie was Mr (afterwards Sir) Thomas Dick Lauder, who was a near neighbour of Mr Cumming’s, and his “literary tastes and intellectual powers,” we are told, “proved of lasting benefit ” to the young student This was probably the happiest period of Hay’s life. But of course it could not last His ambition was to enter the Church, and accordingly in 1819 he gave up his situation and proceeded to Edinburgh to complete his education. His first object was naturally to take his degree. It was a process that took time. In order to support himself he took to private teaching. He soon managed to get employment. For the next few years his life was a very laborious one. But he was of an independent spirit, and succeeded in holding his own with Fortune. In due time he entered upon his divinity course, but soon discovered that his theological studies were anything but congenial to him. After a rather prolonged period of indecision, he ultimately relinquished his ambition of “wagging his head in a poopit,” and resigned himself to an existence which he designed to divide between literature and tuition.

He had attended Professor Wilson’s class of Moral Philosophy, and had taken a high place in it And it was accordingly to him that he turned for assistance in carrying out his views. “Christopher North,” of ‘Blackwood’s Magazine' fame, became his patron. Hay in his turn became Wilson’s literary henchman. He contributed to ‘Maga’ on his own account a translation of George Buchanan’s Latin poem of the “Franciscans,” and between 1835 and 1837 about a dozen translations from the Greek; but he did a great deal of work for Wilson otherwise, of which no record remains. Through Wilson he procured an introduction to Mr William Blackwood, and some years afterwards went abroad as secretary to his son Alexander, and as tutor to the late Mr John Blackwood, the second youngest son of the founder of the firm.

In 1838 he paid his last visit to Morayshire, and died on the 22d July 1854, after a long illness, aggravated by the affliction of total blindness.

It is almost entirely to his connection with the Edinburgh Morayshire Society1 that Hay owes his reputation. This association, which was founded on 14th February 1824 for the purpose “of affording relief to occasional objects of misfortune or distress from the county, persons visited with any sudden calamity, or in such pressing exigencies as to be fit objects of the Society’s bounty,” and which in 1875 was amalgamated under its present appellation of the Edinburgh Morayshire Club with the Edinburgh Morayshire Mechanics’ Society, instituted in 1837 or 1839, was in the habit, like other societies of its kind, of following up its annual business meetings with a dinner, at which Spey-side whisky was drunk, a haggis from the Gordon Arms at Elgin was consumed, a ram’s-hom mull from Manbeen was passed round the table, and the members present spent a jolly evening in talking over their early recollections of "Moravland,” in drinking patriotic toasts, and singing songs in its honour. Of this Society Hay became a memticr in 1828. Being a devoted 'Morayshireener ”—to use his own phrase — and at the same time of a very convivial nature, he soon became a favourite at these gatherings. And having produced one or two songs which took the fancy of the meml>ers, he was ultimately elected its Laureate. From that time he felt it incumbent upon him to compose a song for every recurring anniversary meeting. “It was amusing,” says his friend Dr William Rhind in his ‘Recollections of William Hay' reprinted from the 'Elgin and Morayshire Courier' and published in 1855, 44 to watch the enthusiasm with which he j>erformed the duties of his high and mighty function of bard. First of all he had to seek about for a fit subject of a song—perhaps months t>efore the meeting; then he had to pitch upon an air to which to adjust the versification. Often did he croon this air over and over. . . . Then the composition of the verses went on by fits and starts. A stanza or two, in the enthusiasm of the moment, might be communicated to an acquaintance—then a sough would go abroad of the nature of the coming song; but he was very char)* of showing the completed piece to any but his most intimate friends till the appointed evening of meeting. Then, when the proper time arrived, the Laureate was called upon, and he rose with great solemnity, taking the little manuscript book of his song from his pocket, but prefacing the performance with an extempore prolegomenon and a pinch of snuff. . . . On several occasions the song of the evening produced so much enthusiasm that it was taken up and sung repeatedly in the course of the night and morning’s revel, while the productions [of previous years] were ever afterwards stock songs of the Society, and were sung, as a matter of course, at all the meetings.” These songs, which are entirely devoid of anything but local interest, were afterwards collected, along with those of other “bards,” in a volume entitled ‘The Lintie o* Moray' of which the first edition, edited by Mr George Cumming, W.S., the secretary of the Society, was published in Forres in 1851, and the second in Elgin in 1887.

Hay always regarded his contributions to ‘The Lintie' as his best productions, probably on account of the rapturous reception they invariably received. But, like other authors, he was the worst possible judge of his own works. His translations from the Greek for ‘Maga' and above all a series of graphic sketches of scenes and characters of rural life, which originally appeared in the ‘ Ephemera,’ but were afterwards published in a volume under the title of ‘Tales and Sketches by Jacob Ruddiman, A.M., of Marischal College, Aberdeen/ are infinitely superior from a literary point of view. The 'Tales’ in particular, though old-fashioned and conventional in style, are full of admirable touches, and show keen powers of observation. It is to be regretted, for the sake of poor “Willie” Hay’s reputation, that they have never been reprinted.

Hay’s life, on the whole, was a wasted one. Utterly destitute of self-reliance, and tinged with a melancholy which he owed perhaps to his delicate health, he never gave his talents fair play. But, happier than many more distinguished and more talented than himself, he left behind him a large circle of devoted friends, and his memory is still kindly remembered in his native city, and beyond it.

Whatever may be the estimate of its literary children, there can be no doubt that one of the most eminent musicians of Scotland was born within the boundaries of the old province of Moray. This was William Marshall of Keithmore, whom Burns — a by no means easily-satisfied critic — pronounced “the first composer of strathspeys of the age.” His career is as interesting as it was extraordinary. Bom in 1748 of humble parentage, he entered the service of the Duke of Gordon at the age of twelve, under the house-steward at Gordon Castle. The conscientiousness with which he difr charged his duties, and his excellent manners, brought him speedy promotion, and he rose to be butler and ultimately house-steward. He left Gordon Castle in 1790, and shortly after took the large farm of Keithmore from his Grace. Four years later the duke appointed him factor for the Auchindoun district of his estates. This office he held till 1817, when, feeling old age approaching, he resigned both the office and the farm, and retired to Newfield Cottage at Dandaleith, near Craigellachie, a house he had built two years previously as a retreat for his declining years. And here he died on the 29th May 1833, and was buried in the kirkyard of Bdlie^ near Fochabers. He had married at the age of twenty-five, and had a family of five sons and one daughter, all of whom rose to social rank and position very different from that from which their father had started. Three of his sons, through the influence of the Gordon family, got commissions in the army; another died a major in the East India Company’s service. His only daughter married Mr John Mac-Innes, an extensive farmer and factor at Dandaleith.

Though it is as a musician that Marshall is chiefly remembered, he was a remarkable man in many other respects. He was entirely self-educated, but he managed to acquire a good knowledge of mathematics, astronomy, optics, architecture, and land-surveying; and he had even taught himself a little law. As a mechanician he was extraordinarily expert. A wonderful clock, made by his own hands, which showed the months and days of the year, the moon’s age, the time of the sun’s rising, the signs of the zodiac, with the sun’s place for each day in degrees and minutes, which was an everlasting calendar, and did many other astonishing things, and which required winding only once in four or five weeks, is still to be seen at Gordon Castle. Another, less intricate in its mechanism, but interesting from the fact that its motive power is a finely regulated jet of water, is preserved at his Grace’s hunting - lodge of Glenfiddich. No one ever tied flies more neatly, handled a rod or a gun better, or wrote a more beautiful hand. He was skilled in falconry, and used to train hawks for the duke. He loved, and was proficient in, all outdoor sports. Few could match him in leaping or running. As for dancing, he excelled in it, and kept it up till he was eighty years old.

His taste for music was very early manifested, and, fortunately for him, it was fostered by the duke and the other members of the ducal family. As a violin-player his masterly bowing was only equalled by his correctness of ear. “His style was characterised by fulness of intonation, precision, and brilliancy of expression, equally removed from vulgarity and false ornament on the one hand, and over-refinement of touch on the other; and so inspiring was the effect, that when he played reels or strathspeys, the inclination to dance on the part of old and young became irresistible.” Once when dining with a party of friends a blind fiddler came by and played underneath the window. One of the company, advancing towards it, asked the man to hand up his fiddle, as there was a “loon” inside just beginning music, whom they wished to hear perform. He did so, and Marshall played some of his strathspeys in his own inimitable style. The old man listened in silence. “Na, na!” he said, when his instrument was handed back to him; “ yon was nae loon: yon could be nane but Marshall himsel’.”

It was not till he was well advanced in years that Marshall could be induced to collect his compositions for publication. He had been often begged to do so by the Duke of Gordon and others, but his modesty forbade his acceding to their requests. At last he yielded to the persuasions of the duchess. “If it was not,” said the duke to Marshall, laughingly, “that you have submitted to the behests of a lady, I should have been mightily offended.” In 1822, accordingly, his first volume of ‘Scottish Airs, Melodies, Strathspeys, and Reels’ appeared. It was dedicated to the Marchioness of Huntly, and contained about 175 tunes of different kinds, many of which had been previously printed on single sheets for local use. A modest note to the title-page informed the public that several of the strathspeys and reels which it contained had been published by other collectors without his permission. “Of this,” he said, “he did not much complain, especially as he had not till now any intention to publish them himself.” His only complaints were, their not mentioning his name as their composer, “ which, for obvious reasons, were by some neglected; and in particular, their changing the original names given by him to other names, according to their fancy. And this being not generally known,” he went on, he thought it necessary to “apprise the public that this work is entirely his own composition, and cannot be claimed by any other person whatever.” Foremost among these offenders was Nathaniel Gow, the son of the celebrated Neil Gow, who, in one or other of the six collections of reel tunes published by him, had helped himself without acknowledgment to much of Marshalls work. In the ‘Glen Collection of Scottish Dance Music,' the first part of which was published in 1891 and the second in 1895, the editor observes: “Nathaniel Gow paid particular attention to Marshall’s work.‘ The Countess of Dalkeith ‘Honest men and bonny lassies' ‘Johnny Pringle' ‘Look before you' ‘Look behind you' ‘The Doctor' ‘The Duchess of Manchester’s Strathspey' and ‘The North Bridge of Edinburgh/ were not the names originally bestowed by the composer upon his tunes, but were those given them by Gow, who at the same time suppressed Marshall’s name. Not confining themselves to altering names, the Gows tinkered some of their victim’s tunes. A notorious instance is ‘ Miss Dallas/ which is found in Gow’s fourth collection as ‘ The Marquis of Huntly’s Snuff-Mill, or the Royal Gift,’ and asserted to be a composition of Neil Gow’s. One or two notes are altered, the main difference being that the tune is lowered one note from G to F major.” Marshall, however, was not the man to give himself much trouble about such treatment. The labour of composition was for him its own reward. He continued writing reels and strathspeys to the end, happy if his melodies gained the approbation of his wife, his severest critic, and of his cultured patrons at the castle. In 1845, after had been twelve years dead, appeared the second volume of his compositions, consisting of 81 airs, jigs, and melodies, named, for the most part, after his own private friends, or the friends of the ducal circle.

During the course of his long life of eighty-four years, Marshall is credited with having written 114 strathspeys, 84 reels, 21 jigs, 3 hornpipes, 2 marches, and 38 slow airs,—“the whole forming,” says Mr Glen, in the introduction to the work already quoted, “a collection of melodies which, for variety and beauty, are unsurpassed by any other Scottish composer.” Many of them have acquired a national reputation. Many, too, have been wedded to immortal verse. To Marshall’s “Miss Admiral Gordon’s Strathspey” Burns set the words “O’ a’ the airts the wind can blaw.” For “The Marquis of Huntly*s Strathspey” Skinner wrote his admirable verses beginning “Tune your fiddles, tune them sweetly ”; and to “Mrs Hamilton of Wishaw” Thomson adapted his exquisite lyric, “My love is like the red, red rose.”

A large number of his compositions were the more or less impromptu outcome of some incident in the domestic history of the family to which he owed so much, and to which he was so much attached. “ When the late Duke of Gordon, then a young man, and Marquess of Huntly, set out on his Continental tour, a very tender scene took place at the castle. The elder branches embraced him, and expressed their grief in tears and murmurings. The younger children clung to their brother’s knees and arms, and in sharper notes gave vent to their feelings. Marshall was present during this scene, and taking up his violin, immediately produced his beautiful air of ‘The Marquess of Huntly’s Farewell.’ In this air he endeavoured in the first part to imitate the grief of the parents, and in the latter bars the wailing of his young sisters” interspersed with the cheery rejoinders of the young Marquis. Nor is the element of humour wanting; for it is said that Lord Huntly, overcome by the pathos of the scene, was at last constrained to take a very hasty leave and to make a precipitate retreat down the stairs of the castle; and this Marshall imitates in the series of runs with which the measure closes. Much in the same way Nathaniel Gow afterwards imitated the cries of the Edinburgh fisherwomen, mingled with the chiming of the music-bells in his celebrated air of “Caller Herrin’.” In like manner, when the new bridge over the Spey, erected in 1815 by Mr Simpson of Shrewsbury, after a design by Telford, was finished, Marshall celebrated the event in the admirable strathspey which he called “Craig Elachie Bridge”; and many other examples might be cited.

A portrait of Marshall’s handsome, venerable, and most kindly person, by Moir, painted at the request and at the expense of George, fifth Duke of Gordon, and from which the well-known engraving is taken, once hung in the hall of Gordon Castle. It was afterwards presented by his successor, the late Duke of Richmond, to Marshall’s son-in-law, Mr Maclnnes, and is now in the possession of a descendant, Miss Cruick-shank of Dufftown. Another relative, Mr W. R. Skinner of Drumin, possesses the valuable violin by Stanier, presented to Marshall by the duke, and which is said to have cost £100 over a century ago.

The province of Moray has contributed its fair share of distinguished travellers to the history of the country. In Morayshire more than one member of the family of Gordon Cumming, and in Nairnshire Colonel Grant of Househill— “Grant of the Nile”—have won for themselves a name and conferred reputation on the district, by extending our knowledge of the habitable globe.

Sir William Gordon Gordon Cumming of Altyre and Gordonstoun, second baronet of the line, had by his two marriages a family of sixteen sons and daughters. All his sons were born sportsmen, and most of them had a strongly developed taste for foreign travel, and an unusual talent for observing and describing what they had seen. Alexander Penrose, the eldest, who succeeded to his father’s title, was the friend of, and almost as good a naturalist as, Charles St John. But it was his younger brother, Roualeyn George, who first brought the name of Gordon Cumming prominently before the world.

He was born in 1820. Having, after he left Eton, selected a military career, he went out to India and joined the Madras Cavalry. But the climate did not agree with him, and soldier-ing he soon found too slow for him. He sold his commission and started off on a hunting expedition. This brought him many trophies but no money; and ere long he returned to his home in Scotland, where he had not long to wait forgiveness from his idolising relations. Shortly after his return his father bought him a second commission—this time in the Cape Mounted Rifles. One would have thought there was a sufficiency of excitement to be found in such a life in those days. Roualeyn was of a different opinion. To one to whom from his boyhood salmon-fishing in Morayshire and roe- and deer-stalking in the noblest forests of Ross-shire and Sutherland were second nature, the trammels of civilised life were as irksome as boots and shoes to the negro soldier. There was then a practically unknown world in South Africa beyond the limits of Cape Colony. Roualeyn resolved to go and explore it. If he did not win fortune, he would at least have the excitement which was as necessary as food or drink to his daring, ardent nature. A second time he sold his commission, and with the proceeds purchased a complete hunter’s kit, and in 1843 left Graharastown for the interior, with the intention of combining the callings of trader and hunter.

His first expedition was only as far as the Vaal river. His second was to Kuruman in Bechuanaland. He had little of anything that seemed like sport to a born Nimrod like himself, till he had once again crossed the Vaal river. Already the larger game were retreating before advancing civilisation. But once in the country of the Bechuanas his most eager hopes were satisfied. Antelopes, oryxes, lions, buffaloes, gnus, rhinoceroses, giraffes, zebras, and other animals abounded. It was a hunter’s paradise. Advancing as far as the Bamangwato mountains—the first white man “who had ever penetrated so far into the interior,” where “his axe and spade had to pioneer the way which others have since followed”—he bagged his first elephant, after a dangerous encounter, and visited Sicomy, the chief of the district, who, in daily apprehension from an attack of the Matabele, was, with his tribe, at that time in hiding among the wild caves and secluded retreats of those rocky mountains.

In the course of this expedition he fell in with a poor Bushman who had in his youth been captured by Dutch Boers at a massacre of his countrymen, and had absconded in consequence of their cruel treatment. This diminutive creature had been named Ruyter by his Dutch masters. His affection was gained by the present of a suit of clothes and a glass of gin. He remained the faithful companion of all Roualeyn’s subsequent wanderings, and ultimately accompanied his master home to Scotland. Roualeyn also, during this excursion, made the acquaintance of Dr Moffat, the great missionary, and of his son-in-law, Dr Livingstone, whose hospitality he enjoyed, and whose friendship he secured. In after years, when the “Lion Hunter’s” hairbreadth escapes and feats of sportsmanship, hitherto unparalleled, had begun to be discredited by a certain section of the British public, Livingstone went out of his way to bear testimony to the veracity of his much-maligned brother Scot, affirming that he had not told the half of his adventures to his incredulous countrymen.

After having been absent for more than a year, Roualeyn returned to Grahamstown. But he did not stay long there. He was eager to return to the wild, free, roving life which suited him so well, and which he loved. He longed to be once more scouring the “Veldt” on horseback, in his old grey kilt and Badenoch brogues, potting the “boks” when they came at nightfall to drink at the fountains, passing sleepless nights on the watch for lions, pitting his manhood against the bravest bulls in a herd of elephants, living on coffee and the brandered flesh of the animals that he slaughtered, sleeping at night, wrapped up in a blanket, by the side of his ox-waggon home. His third expedition was again to the Bamangwato country, where he bagged his fifteenth elephant, but found the lions too numerous to be agreeable. It did not last long. In February 1847 he was back again at Grahamstown, with a store of ivory and ostrich - feathers, which he sold for something like £1000 — a sum which went a long way to recoup him for the expenses of his previous excursions.

On the nth March he was off once more. This time he took the route from the military station of Colesberg across the Vaal river, through the territory of the chief Mahura, to the Maritsani river. Ultimately he came to the valley of the river Limpopo, which now forms the northern boundary of the Transvaal. This expedition was less fortunate than its predecessors. Two of his horses were killed and consumed by lions. One of his party was seized by the neck by a lion and killed before it could be driven off. And so fatal were the attacks of the tsetse-fly upon his stock that he had to send a messenger to Livingstone’s camp for help to return to Colesberg.

Roualeyn’s fifth and last expedition (March 1848) was again to the Limpopo region. On this occasion he had the advantage of being accompanied by a friend—a Mr Orpen, “a mighty Nimrod,” son of the Rev. Dr Orpen of Colesberg. Starting from Colesberg with three waggons “well-manned and stored,” the travellers in due time reached the Vet river. Here they were rejoiced at the sight of one of the most wonderful displays that Roualeyn had ever witnessed during his varied wanderings. “On my right and left the plain exhibited one purple mass of graceful blesboks, which extended without a break as far as^my eyes could strain: the depth of these vast legions covered a breadth of about 600 yards.” Scarcely had they passed when another troop, numbering thousands, cantered by. The whole country was alive with game. Zebras, blue wildebeests, hartebeests, buffaloes, sassabys, elands, abounded. Lions, too, were met with, and afforded brilliant sport. Roualeyn shot his hundredth elephant. The “cruise” bade fair to be amongst the most glorious of his experiences. But in the midst of all these bright prospects Mr Orpen was nearly killed by a leopard, and Roualeyn was prostrated by an attack of rheumatic fever.

From that time till its conclusion, though far from barren in results, it was more or less a chapter of accidents. One misfortune seemed to follow another. The horse of the Bushman “boy,” Ruyter, was ripped up by a buffalo,—Ruyter himself having a narrow shave for life. The stock suffered much from want of water. Fourteen of the horses and fifteen head of cattle died. The Boers were unfriendly, and were reported to be contemplating an attack. It was possibly, therefore, with something like a feeling of relief that at sundown on the 18th March 1849—exactly a year since they had started — the travellers with their waggons entered the town of Colesberg and took up their quarters opposite the old barracks.

Gordon Cumming’s wanderings had now lasted five years. He was far from being satiated with African sport or tired of his adventurous life. But his health was not so good as it had been. He felt he had been overtaxing his powers. His nerves and his constitution had been considerably shaken by rheumatic fever and the strength of the scorching African sun.

On the 7th June he set sail for England, taking with him his faithful Ruyter, the Cape waggon which had been his home all those years, and his invaluable collection of sporting trophies. Altogether his impedimenta weighed upwards of 30 tons.

Once at home, he was brought face to face with the question of how he was to maintain himself. Notwithstanding some fairly profitable ventures as a trader, he had not succeeded in making his fortune. He had no fixed income, and it was necessary for him to live. The only project he could hit upon to provide the requisite means was to exhibit his collection. In this business he spent the remainder of his life. For a time he went about the country with it, visiting several of the chief cities of the kingdom, everywhere drawing large audiences by the vivacity of his descriptive lectures and the novelty of his exhibits. It was one of the greatest attractions of London in 1851—the memorable year of the first Great Exhibition. But some eight years before his death he gave up this roaming, and settled down with his collection at Fort Augustus, where he erected a large hall for its reception. Travellers by steamer up and down the Caledonian Canal have nearly an hour’s detention at the Fort while the vessel passes the locks. This interval Gordon Cumming ingeniously turned to advantage. When the steamer stopped, a tall, strikingly handsome figure, clad in full Highland dress, and followed by two magnificent white goats, was seen standing on the bank. His picturesque appearance naturally led tourists to ask who and what he was. When they were told that it was the famous African hunter, and that his collection, which was hard by, was open to the inspection of any one who chose to pay a small fee for admission, there were few who did not avail themselves of this pleasant way of passing an hour, which many would fain have prolonged. He himself lived in the grim old Fort, and there he died on the 24th March 1866, at the comparatively early age of forty-six. His funeral was a very striking one. The whole population of the little village, and Highlanders from many a distant glen, with whom he was immensely popular, followed his coffin, on which were laid his sword, his Bible, his Highland bonnet, and his plaid, carried in procession, his piper at the head, to the steamer by which it was to be conveyed to Inverness. From thence it was taken by rail the same day to Elgin, and finally laid at rest in the quaint old burying-ground of Michael Kirk, Gordonstoun, four miles from Elgin, where so many of his family lie.

Few modern books of travel have produced so great a sensation as his ‘ Five Years of a Hunter’s Life in the Far Interior of South Africa,’ which was published in 1850 by John Murray of London.1 Its graphic and vigorous diction, its wealth of incident and adventure, the intense love of nature—of streams and mountains and woods, of beasts and birds—which pervaded it, rendered it immediately popular. And it, almost for the first time, introduced the reading world to a portion of the globe which, fortunately or unfortunately, has since then engrossed, and still engrosses, so large an amount of the attention of his countrymen. Yet his book, eloquent as it is, but it was reprinted in 1893. In 1858 a condensed edition of it appeared under the title of ‘ The Lion-Hunter of South Africa.’ feebly disclosed the profound depths of its author’s character. The fearlessness of his nature, his courage, his daring—in a word, his manliness—could hardly, when the truthfulness of his narrative was at length reluctantly conceded, be gainsaid But the warmth of his affections, his chivalry, his tender-hearted ness, the deep strain of romance and poetry which he, no doubt, inherited from his Celtic ancestors, and which led one who knew him well to say of his utterances on his deathbed that they were like “ a page of Ossian,” were known to few outside his family circle. He was a thoroughly natural man. His eccentricities of dress and manner in his later years were not the affectations they appeared to the public, but the distressing result of sunstroke while lying fever-stricken on the African desert. Controlled within more conventional limits—if this had been possible to such a man as he—the life-work of Roualeyn Gordon Cumming might have been of greater benefit to his country, and his name and fame thereby rendered more enduring than, as things turned out, they are in the future likely now to be.

His brother William, now Colonel Gordon Cumming, who was nine years his junior, had all Roualeyn’s love of sport, and a great deal of his adventurous energy. But with him, the soldier has always predominated over the traveller, and the sportsman been subordinated to the more imperious demands of duty. He joined the East India Company’s service in 1846 as ensign; was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in 1853, and to that of captain in 1858. From an early period of his career he was intrusted with duties of a responsible character. In 1856 he was appointed Deputy Bheel Agent, and Political Assistant to the Agent of the Governor - General at Maunpore. But it was in the anxious times of, and subsequent to, the Mutiny that his varied abilities found their fullest scope. In 1858 he accompanied the Southpoora field force to the hills as Political Officer; and during that year he was no less than four times in action. In 1859 he was appointed Political Agent for the Bheel district. Here he was the only white man in a territory as large as Yorkshire. He not only managed to uphold the authority of “John Company,” but he succeeded in organising an effective police force from the wild men among whom his lot was for the moment cast. In 1861 he joined the Bombay Staff Corps, and not long after retired with the rank of lieutenant - colonel. Having returned home, he was in 1872 appointed to the command of the 6th Volunteer Battalion of the Gordon Highlanders; and in 1881 he received the honorary rank of colonel. In his delightful book, ‘Wild Men and Wild Beasts,' which was published in 1861 by Messrs Edmondston & Douglas of Edinburgh, he describes, with admirable point, simplicity, and vigour, some of his most notable experiences in camp and jungle.

But it is their sister, Miss Constance Frederica Gordon Cumming, the twelfth child of Sir William’s first marriage, who has most largely contributed to the literary reputation of the family. Miss Gordon Cumming stands in the forefront of lady-travellers of the day. In the course of her twelve years’ wanderings she has seen more of the world than falls to the lot of most of her sex. Her voyages have extended from the Hebrides to the Himalayas, to Ceylon, the Fiji, Friendly, Navigators, and Society Islands, to California, Japan, China, to the Hawaiian volcanoes, to America, and to Egypt The results of her travels have been recorded in ten admirable works, which have obtained a wide and deserved reputation.

Of late years her energies have been devoted to the promotion of a novel and interesting phase of mission work, which she has explained at full length in her ‘ Work for the Blind in China.’ The story of her connection with this may be thus briefly stated: She had finished her long travels, and had taken her ticket home from Shanghai, when she was persuaded to cancel her passage and to proceed to Peking. Here she found herself a guest at the London Mission. Under the same roof there was lodging a young Scotch colporteur named Murray, whose arm had been torn off in his father’s saw-mill near Glasgow, and who, from the time of his arriving in China eight years previously, had been possessed by a great longing to help the very numerous and totally negleeted blind. Four months before Miss Gordon Cumming’s arrival, Murray had succeeded in perfecting a very simple system of representing the 408 sounds of Mandarin Chinese by making Braille’s embossed dots represent Numerals, and then merely numbering the sounds. By this means blind persons are enabled, after a very short period of instruction, to read and write their own language correctly.

When the success of this method had been fully proven, Mr Murray set himself to consider whether the same benefits might not be extended to illiterate and poor sighted persons. In a very short time he solved the problem. By using black lines, plainly visible to the eye, instead of the embossed dots he had devised for the fingers of the blind, he substituted a new and very simple system of characters for M the bewildering idiographs employed by the Chinese, and has thus rendered it possible for the most ignorant persons to attain in a few weeks a fluency in reading which even educated Chinamen cannot attain after six or eight years of constant practice. And this system is available for all illiterate persons in all the provinces where Mandarin Chinese is in use—in other words, in four-fifths of the empire.

The first anxious experiment in this greatly enlarged development of Mr Murray’s first invention may be narrated in Miss Gordon Cumming’s own words: “When after considerable difficulty Mr Murray had succeeded in getting these symbols cast in metal printing-type, he gave it to some of his blind pupils, asking what it was. After a moment’s examination they said, ‘Why, it’s our own type—only you have used lines instead of dots. Why have you done this? ’ ‘Because you, blind pupils, are henceforth going to print books for the sighted, and you are going to teach them to read and write.’ And this is precisely what they are now doing—a beautiful and pathetic work, likely to prove of incalculable value in mission work.” Murray’s invention of the Numeral type is as yet but a small acorn, but it is capable of developing into a widespreading tree of life, and I look forward to a time when Murray’s name will be held in honour as the Caxton of Christian China.”

Whether Miss Gordon Cumming’s sanguine aspirations will ever be realised time alone can show. Meantime the work is being vigorously carried on with very hopeful results; and it is scarcely to be wondered at that Miss Cumming, whose whole life has been dedicated to the propagation of knowledge, should find in labour such as this a fitting object for her enlightened energy.

James Augustus Grant, the companion of Speke in his last expedition — that in which the centuries-old problem of the sources of the Nile was once and for ever set at rest —was, like so many other distinguished Scotsmen, a son of the manse. The fourth and youngest son of the Rev. J. Grant, parish minister of Nairn, he was born on the nth April 1827, and educated at the grammar-school of Aberdeen and at the old Marischal College there. Here he picked up a knowledge of chemistry, mathematics, and the natural sciences, which was to serve him in good stead in after years. Through the good offices of Mr James Augustus Grant of Viewfield, a retired Indian civilian and convener of the .county, one of his father’s elders, whose name-child he was, he obtained in 1844 a cadetship in the E.I.C.S., and in 1846 was commissioned to the 8th Native Bengal Infantry. For the next dozen years his life was the ordinary one of an Indian soldier. He was present with his regiment at the two sieges of Moultan in 1848, and at the battle of Gujerat in 1849. In 1853 he was appointed its adjutant, and remained so until 1857, when his regiment having mutinied, he was attached to the force under Sir Henry Havelock and Sir James Outram for the relief of Lucknow. He was wounded while commanding the rearguard, and was blockaded in Lucknow for two months. On 23d October 1858 he proceeded on sick certificate to England. It was the greatest piece of luck that ever befell him. It transformed what bade fair to be an ordinary though an honourable career into an extraordinary one, and brought him in due time fame, honour, and reputation.

On the 8th May 1859 Captain Speke arrived in England from his second African expedition, in which he had discovered (30th July 1858) the great Victoria Nyanza Lake— “a lake big enough to hold any three counties in Scotland,” as Grant afterwards described it—which, rightly or wrongly, he thought was likely to turn out to be the true source of the Nile. The following day Speke called on Sir Roderick Murchison, the President of the Royal Geographical Society, showed him his map, and communicated to him his surmises. Sir Roderick at once accepted his views, and knowing his ardent desire to prove to the world that he was right, said to him, “Speke, we must send you there again.” “From that day,” says Speke, “my third expedition in Africa may be said to have commenced.” Soon the project took shape. The Government agreed to give ^2500 towards the expenses of the expedition; Speke undertook to make good the rest, “whatever it might cost.” Grant, as soon as he heard that the expedition was definitely decided upon, volunteered to accompany it. He and Speke had been friends since 1847. They were both Indian officers of the same age, and equally fond of field sports. They had gone tiger-shooting on the Sarda together in 1854, and their friendship remained unbroken. Grant’s offer was at once accepted. Speke himself was agreeable, and “it was only Christian charity,” so the Geographers said, “to provide him with a companion.” He was accordingly appointed as second in command, but there were sundry restrictions put upon him. Speke and not he was to write the account of the expedition. He was to divulge nothing of its progress or of its results either in private letters or through the press; and all his collections, sketches, &c. were to go to the Geographical Society. Lastly, he was, more or less, to bear his own expenses.

To most men such conditions might have appeared almost intolerable. Grant never gave them a moment’s thought. His ardent love of adventure, his friendship for Speke, his desire to see a new world and a new life, prevailed over all other considerations. He applied for and obtained the necessary leave. Later on, when the expedition had actually started, he began to feel the irksomeness of his obligations. “So disgusting,” he writes to his sister on 30th September i860, “ that I can’t send you any of my poor little views; but I must be patient.” “Now, I must conclude,” he says in another letter (March 6, 1861), “hoping I’ve mentioned nothing the Geographers would be displeased at me for writing, for they are dreadfully touchy should any of their (!) information be made public.” And many other such passages might be cited from his correspondence.

Urged by Speke, however, Grant ultimately did write a book—‘A Walk across Africa; or, Domestic Scenes from my Nile Journal. — published in 1864 by Messrs W. Blackwood & Sons. It was, perhaps, none the less attractive that it was a simple narrative of his own personal experience, and that it carefully eschewed all references to the geographical part of the expedition.

The travellers left England on the 30th April i860 in the Forte, bearing the flag of Admiral the Hon. Sir Henry Keppel, K.C.B., which had been commissioned to convey Sir George Grey, the newly appointed Governor of the Cape, to his colony. The interest which Sir George took in the expedition turned out to be of inestimable value to the explorers. It procured them a grant from the Colonial Legislature of £300 to purchase mules for the expedition; and it also provided them with a contingent of eleven Hottentot soldiers, part of the Governor’s bodyguard, who, however, did not turn out so valuable an acquisition as was at first supposed.

On the 25th September i860 — a lucky day, for it was the anniversary of Havelock’s entry into Lucknow — the travellers, having completed their arrangements, left Zanzibar for the mainland of Africa, and on the 2d October the expedition actually started. It consisted of 301 souls, all told; and they had, in addition, for the first thirteen stages, an escort of twenty-five Beloochee soldiers.

The history of this expedition and its results—up to the present time the most memorable and important of all the mid-African journeys of exploration—are so well known that it is unnecessary to repeat them here. It was full of incident and excitement. For three years the two leaders saw never a white face but their own. They carried their lives in their hands. They had to contend with difficulties innumerable, with sickness, with starvation, with savage treachery, with savage suspicion, with the desertion of their servants, with the plunder of their property, with want of means. Both of them suffered severely from the effects of the deadly climate. But Grant, on the whole, was the more unfortunate of the two. In March 1862, when Speke left Karagwe to proceed to Uganda, Grant was in such a wretched state of health that he had to be left behind, and it was not till the end of May that the two met again at the court of the famous king M’tessa. In July he was still so much of an invalid that he was unable to accompany Speke to the Victoria Nyanza, and thus lost the honour of sharing his discovery, and seeing the waters of the main branch of the White Nile come tumbling over the Ripon Falls. But he never lost heart. His letters home are full of an almost boyish light-heartedness. Everything is new, everything is charming. It was with difficulty, and only after having experienced its effects, that he was brought to believe in the unhealthiness of the climate. “We jog on,” he writes from Mburiga to his sister (November 1, i860), “in that dreaded of countries, Africa, in the most easy way, feeling after our dinners as comfortable as if we had our legs under your table drinking ‘Brack la.’  Home sickness, in the aggravated form from which so many travellers suffer, never seems to have attacked him. But his thoughts dwelt long and lovingly on the old country and the old life; and nothing delighted him so much as to find in some rural scene a resemblance to the Findhorn or the Conan, or in some everyday incident the analogue of what might be witnessed at Cawdor or Naim. “To-day,” he says, writing from Zanzibar on the ioth September, “I went through the slave-market You have seen at common markets at home, fellows going about hawking things and saying, ‘A Sheffield razor, only 6d.,’ or any other call. Well, this is the way they do with slaves here. The creatures are either led by the hand or they follow their owners, who keep calling out, *A fine slave, &c., only ’ If a purchaser comes forward, the creature is felt and examined in every part of his or her body, and so on. They are dressed out as your servant lasses or lads would be for a feeing-market—i.e., they have washed in the morning, their woolly heads shine, and a cloth covers their loins. There is nothing depressing in the sight of the throng, except their sad looks. Boat-loads pass here daily for the market, huddled together like pigs at a fair.”

Grant landed in England on 17th June 1863. He found himself a much more important personage than when he had left it. But he was not the man to traffic upon his reputation, and, except for the fame it brought him and the society into which it introduced him, his long “walk across Africa " never profited him much. In 1864, indeed, on the death of his friend Speke by the accidental discharge of his own gun, he was offered the consulate at Fernando Po, but he did not accept it. He preferred going back to India to finish his term of service, and thus secure his pension. In 1865 he was appointed second in command of the 4th Goorkha Regiment, then stationed in the Himalayas. In 1868 he took part in the Abyssinian Expedition, and did yeoman service in connection with its Intelligence Department. In the same year he retired from the army. In 1872 he purchased the estate of Househill, close to Nairn. For the next twenty years of his life his time was spent mainly between London and his north-country home. He died on the nth February 1892.

He was, as a writer in ‘Blackwood’s Magazine' called him, the “last of the old school of African explorers”—men who were determined to make the name of Englishman respected and trusted, as well as feared, among the savage tribes with whom they came in contact. In private life he was genial and kindly, and, in his later years, very retiring in his disposition. The warmest and most sympathetic of friends, especially to the young and to those to whom he thought he could be of assistance, exemplary in all the relations of life, the most sincere of Christians, his death at the comparatively early age of sixty-five, and before he had attained to the full fruition of those honours which his meritorious services to science and civilisation so well deserved, was a distinct loss not only to his friends but to his country.

The soldier of the highest distinction that the province has as yet produced is General Sir George Brown, G.C.B., who commanded the Light Division in the Crimea. He was the third son of Mr George Brown, factor for the Morayshire estates of James, fourth Earl of Seafield. He was born at Linkwood, an old-fashioned, ivy-mantled country-house about a mile from Elgin, on the 3d July 1790; and here also he died on the 27th August 1865.

There never was any doubt as to what young George’s line in life was to be. Even as a “loon” at the Elgin Academy his soldierly inclinations developed themselves. He is said to have mustered a corps of schoolboys like himself, drilled them regularly, and indeed made so serious a business of the affair that lessons were neglected. Superior authority had to interpose, and the amateur regiment had to be disbanded He was not, however, the first soldier in the family. His two elder brothers were already in the army; and he had an uncle —his father’s younger brother John, afterwards major-general and deputy quartermaster-general at the Horse Guards—who, perhaps, was primarily responsible for the outbreak of military ardour which had so seriously attacked all the Linkwood lads. It was certainly his uncle John who smoothed the path for George’s joining the service, as he had doubtless also done for his two elder nephews. He took him with him to England when he was a mere child of eleven or twelve years of age, placed him at the Military College then housed at Great Marlow, and finally got him a commission in the 43d Regiment before he had completed his sixteenth year.

Fortune befriended him from the first He had hardly joined when he was ordered on active service. In 1807 he was present at the siege and capture of Copenhagen. In 1808 he was sent with his regiment to the Peninsula, and had the good luck to be present at most of Wellington’s famous battles. More than once he was in imminent personal danger. At Oporto he was struck on the breast with a spent ball, but it never gave him the least inconvenience. At Talavera he was wounded in both thighs. At Busaco he was engaged in a hand-to-hand encounter with one of Massena’s staff, and only disabled him with a sword-thrust after a desperate conflict.

During the brief peace of 1814 he was sent to America with the reinforcements under General Ross, and saw the last scenes of the American war. Nearly forty years of peace ensued. But he had got his foot so firmly planted on the ladder that his promotion went on unchecked. In 1826 he was appointed to the command of the 2d battalion of the Rifle

Brigade. In 1841 he was made deputy adjutant - general, with the rank of major-general. Ten years later he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-general, and appointed Adjutant - General of the Forces. That office he held till December 1853.

His subsequent career belongs to national history. Fortunately, in his “Memoranda and Observations on the Crimean War, 1854-55,” written in 1857, and in his subsequent “Notes on Mr Kinglake’s Second Volume,” compiled in 1863, in which he traversed, in language more plain perhaps than pleasant, many of the historian’s statements, especially his strictures upon himself, both of which were in 1879 published as a pamphlet by his relations “for private circulation only,” we possess from his own pen a succinct narrative of his connection with this momentous struggle. From this brochure we learn‘that as soon as he knew that war in the East was inevitable and that Lord Raglan had been appointed to the command of the British contingent, he went to the Horse Guards and placed his services at the Conimander-in-Chiefs disposal. His offer was promptly accepted, and he was ordered to proceed at once to Gallipoli. Scarcely had he landed when Lord Raglan nominated him to the command of the “Light Division,” which “consisted of the 7th, 23d, 33d, 19th, 77th, and 88th Regiments, together with the 2d battalion of the Rifle Brigade, a troop of horse-artillery, and a battery of 9-pounders, the whole divided into two brigades,” under Generals Airey and Buller, both of whom were his personal friends. With this division he proceeded to the Crimea, and took part in the battles of Alma and Inker-man. In the former, the grey horse which he rode received no less than seven wounds and had four balls in him. In the latter, which has been called the “Soldiers’ Battle”—though why, Sir George always professed he was never able to understand—he was unfortunately wounded himself in the arm, and he had to go to Malta to recruit. But a fortnight’s rest put him to rights again, and in less than a couple of months he was back at his work. He arrived in time to take part in the ill-advised expedition to Kertch, and received much unmerited odium for the part he was, as he says, “reluctantly compelled ” to take in burning some of “the best houses” in the town. Meantime the siege of Sebastopol was dragging its slow length along. On the 18th June — “Waterloo Day”—a combined attack by the French and English forces on the Malakoff and Redan forts had been arranged for. The French were to attack and take the Malakoff. When that was done the English were to assault the Redan. To General Brown was assigned the command of the British troops. The complete failure of the French attack on the Malakoff rendered the carrying out of the other part of the programme impossible. This was the last operation of importance in which Sir George took part On the 23d he became so ill that he was obliged to be removed on board ship. On the 30th—two days after his chief Lord Raglan had died — his condition had become so grave that his medical adviser ordered him home “to save his life.” He improved, however, so rapidly on the voyage, that on his arrival in England he “found himself entirely free from disease, and fully expected to be in a state to return to the Crimea after a few weeks rest—an expectation which subsequently proved to be correct” He had “ scarcely got down to the country ” when he found himself superseded “ by the promotion over my head of an officer who had been little more than two months with the army, and who was just ten years junior to me as a general officer; and this, too, notwithstanding that an order had been previously sent out, directing me to assume the command of the army on Lord Raglan’s demise.” Into the merits or demerits of his supersession this is not the place to enter. It is sufficient to say that he felt this treatment keenly, and that in the pamphlet already referred to he attributed it to “ the indiscretion,” the only one, so far as he knew, he had ever committed, “ of speaking my mind with too much freedom to the Secretary for War—a circumstance which that self-confident functionary does not seem to have forgotten or been disposed to overlook.”

He was certainly not the man to conceal his real sentiments. This is abundantly plain from his narrative. Over and over again he criticises the action of the authorities at home with a freedom which, coming from one who knew so well what he was talking about, could have been anything but agreeable, had his views—as in point of fact they did—ever come to their ears. He had, besides, certain peculiar notions of his own which he never concealed, and which certainly did not add to his popularity. One of these was a perfect horror of all newspaper correspondents. Another was a partiality for soldierly smartness in the appearance of his men, which led him to interfere in what to others seemed entirely insignificant details of their dress and accoutrements. For this he has often been stigmatised as a martinet. But as in his opinion smartness was essential not only to discipline but to health, his views were probably more enlightened than those of his critics. Nothing could better illustrate his peculiar notions, as well as the honest, outspoken character of the man, than the manner in which, in his “Memoranda and Observations,” he refers to the Duke of Newcastle’s celebrated despatch to Lord Raglan recommending the army “ to let their beards grow, after the fashion of the East ”!—

“His lordship, as may be supposed, was greatly averse to the introduction of such an innovation, for which there was not the smallest reason or necessity, and rightly pointed out that although English gentlemen travelling in the^ countries, as his Grace had done, might, without inconvenience and with impunity, be permitted to exercise their fancies by adopting the customs of the country in that and in other respects, the soldiers of the army, and the lower orders of the people of England in general, associated notions of personal cleanliness with the act of shaving their beards, and that the introduction of such a practice as he proposed would only be to give encouragement to filthy habits which would impair the discipline and injure the health of the troops, without adding in any manner whatever to their comfort or efficiency.” Notwithstanding Lord Raglan’s objections and remonstrances, the duke’s recommendation was given effect to. 44 The consequence was, as might have been expected, that every one followed his own fancy; that all the smartness and soldierlike appearance, tx>th of officers and men, were soon lost sight of; that the latter became slovenly and dirty in their habits to an extent that injured their health, and greatly aggravated the diseases with which they were shortly assailed; and all this without in any manner improving their military qualities or adding in any respect to their comfort!” Superseded though he had been, General Brown’s services were of too valuable an order to pass without reward. And his retirement for a time from active duty, necessitated by the state of his health, brought with it an ample crop of honours and dignities. He was thanked by the Queen in a despatch from the Secretary for War. He was created a O.C.B. and a K.H. The Sultan of Turkey bestowed on him the Order of the Mcdjidie of the first class, and the Emperor Napoleon gave him the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour. His own countrymen, too, did their part in showing him honour. On his return to Elgin in 1855 he was entertained at a public banquet in the Assembly Rooms—the most splendid entertainment of the kind that had ever been given to a public man in the county. The event was rendered all the more memorable by the fact that only an hour or two before the dinner the Defiance coach had arrived in the town bringing with it the news of the fall of Sebastopol.

Later on—in 1860—when his health was once more fully restored, Sir George was appointed to the command of the forces in Ireland, an office which he held till about two months before his death. It was a fitting conclusion to an honourable and distinguished career.

Such are a few of the modern “worthies” of Moray and Nairn. It is a record of which the old province has no need to be ashamed.


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