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Outer Isles
Chapter II. Natural History of Tyree


IT has been mentioned that Tyree passed from the possession of the Macdonalds, Lords of the Isles, into the hands of the Macleans of Duart in order that a bride of the Maclean chief might keep her linen press well plenished. The growing of flax continued in the islands up to the middle of the nineteenth century, and, according to the Agricultural Survey (1811) was encouraged by a government grant of £1 for every acre which could be shown to produce 15 stones of clean lint, an average crop being from 30 to 32 stones per acre. The loose sandy soil of the south and east part of the island was excellently adapted for the purpose, and the sown grasses which are a common succession crop after flax, would flourish admirably in Tyree, so that spinning, dressing, and weaving the linen, mainly, it is said, for home use, occupied a great deal of time among the women.

A few looms are left in the island, mainly used for weaving blankets and a strong striped cloth which is quite a speciality in Tyree; and which is worn by all the women, except those who, through some unfortunate circumstance of having been in relation with the mainland, have come to prefer shoddy material and aniline dyes.

One would naturally expect that in such a situation Tyree would be a great centre of the fishing industry. Here is the opinion of an inhabitant upon this point.

“The fishers are mostly always poor. The fishermen of Tyree have many hardships to brave. They have only small boats for the fishing, and they have a long distance to go to the fishing ground, about twelve or thirteen miles from land, and the coast is very rough and much exposed to the Atlantic. Ling and cod are the fish they mostly try, but sometimes they fish the lobster, which they can get much nearer land. The whole of them suffer much through the want of a harbour. Very often they themselves have to draw the boats up away from the beach, especially in rough weather. The trawlers too hinder very much the success of the fishing. Sometimes they come across the nets that the fishermen have set, and they break the nets and take away the fish. A fisherman’s life is altogether a hard and dangerous one.”

Technically of course, the steam-trawlers which sweep the bottom of the sea are not allowed to come within three miles of land, but in Tyree there is no one, owing to the absence of a harbour, or harbour arrangements and officials, to enforce the law which is here, as elsewhere, often evaded under cover of the night, and, moreover, the best spawning bank for the Tyree fishery is beyond the three mile limit.

The New Statistical Account of 1845 points out that even then, out of ninety-four fishing skiffs possessed in the island only ten were regularly employed, that owing to the absence of shelter, the herring, though often in sight, never came within reach, that the whales, once a source of profit, had given up coming, and that all boats had to be hauled up for at least four months in the year.

There is now very little arable land in Tyree ; so little of the land, and that of so inferior a quality, is in the hands of the crofters, the six large farms all being in the possession of strangers, that the natives import almost all their food-stuffs, and one accepts the companionship of sacks of flour and oatmeal as an inevitable feature of the journey to the island. Until lately the only profitable home-industry, now alas ! dying out, has been the making of kelp, and the drying of tangles (of which more presently), and for this the possession of a horse and cart was an almost necessary condition. For this reason, and because the soil of Tyree is good for rearing young stock, horse-breeding has become the most important commerce of the island. In the New Statistical Account (1843) we read:

“A prodigious number of small ponies, distinguished for their symmetry and high mettle, were formerly reared in this island, and were grazed during summer on the plain of reef which was then used as a common. These are now totally extirpated. More than thirty years ago the inhabitants were prevailed upon, I believe with much reluctance, and by the interference of authority, to part with them as an unprofitable stock quite unfit for agricultural labour, and a strong kind was introduced in their stead.”

There is a local tradition that the particular breed of horses was, like certain traits of physiognomy observable among the people, a consequence of the Spanish Armada.

The raising of horses has, however, revived as a local trade. It is said, that a few years ago, a horse bred by a crofter and sold by him to a local farmer for £30, fell into the hands of an export, was trained for racing purposes, and finally, as an old mare, was sold for £600. It is needless to say that after that the dealers came in shoals, and sometimes good prices are paid still, but not to the crofters, who cannot afford to get their beasts into proper condition, and have to sell them while still very young to the alien farmers : who in this, as in everything else, have an advantage over the people whose ancestors not only fought for their island home, but by infinite labour brought it to its present state of fertility. A considerable part of the population has no land at all, and thus the cottars, in the absence of any trade, or fishing, can only live by contriving to maintain a horse, or cow, or a sheep or two for sale (naturally they do not aspire to milk for their children or meat for themselves), by doing work for the crofters or small farmers, who allow them a little grazing in return. These small fanners are practically the only employers of labour in the island, as the owners of large farms breed stock for sale, and give no employment except to a very few shepherds or herds ; one of these farmers indeed visits the island but about once a year, the late Duke had not been to Tyree for seventeen years, and the present one has also for long been an entire stranger.

On the occasion of our latest visit to the island (1901), we found that the quaint house which is shown in the frontispiece had disappeared, the old man was dead, and the old woman was most comfortably established in an exceedingly unpicturesque, very new, but really convenient cottage, with two stories and a felt roof, modern grates and wooden floorings. We had made friends with her eight years before, on the occasion represented by the picture, a copy of which was given to the old couple to send to their sailor son, then long absent from them abroad. Her gratitude for so small a service was almost oriental in its mode of expression, and we have been friends ever since. When the sailor son came home, his first care and pride was to better the housing of his aged parents, and when the dear old mother, very feeble and much shaken by sorrow* was left alone with no one to help her, it was difficult to arrange for her care and comfort. I suggested that with the savings of his seafaring life, he should manage to stay with her to the end, and cultivate a bit of land sufficient for their maintenance. The landlord gets from two to throe pounds an acre for this waste of sand, which only an incredible amount of feeding can make productive for tillage of any kind. But no, the scrap of ground on which the four walls rested, probably about 30 by 15 feet, was every inch they could obtain, for the cottar has no enclosure whatever, and the crofter, if he get a few feet of front garden or back yard, pays for it as land, and not as the necessary accompaniment of a house, as elsewhere.

There is no range of hills in Tyree, but three hills at the west end of the island and two at the east, though of no great height, relieve the monotony of the landscape. The island, as has been said, is indeed, more than flat, for a part of it is absolutely below sea-level. One had heard stories of the sea from two sides meeting in the middle of the island, and one trustworthy inhabitant told us that he had often lain flat upon the Reef (this low tract of country) at night, and had lifted up his face to see the moonlight strike the waves above the level of his head. We never tried the experiment ourselves, as it is very easy to get into considerable difficulties on the Reef, home of mallard, teal, and coot, even in broad daylight; and we were once more than four hours wandering over and over a small tract of bog, unable to extricate ourselves, till help came from a shepherd who had seen us from the hill, and who, from his higher level, could signal to us how to reach a place of security.

There are no frogs, toads, or snakes ; the hare, introduced within recent years, is the only quadruped, with the exception of the rat, which, since timber has been imported, has become somewhat troublesome.

Something has already been said of the wild birds, which in a country not only treeless but almost without cover of any kind, even heather being very scarce, are extraordinarily varied and numerous. Their perching places are of course the loose walls or the galvanized wire used for boundaries, and their entire fearlessness is a delightful tribute to the humanity of the islanders. The Hebrides are throughout a paradise of larks, which seem to sing almost all day and night in the clear summer twilights. We have heard them in full song at half-past ten at night, and again at three o’clock in the morning. The lapwing is even more numerous and even more assertive. To be attended for miles by, say fifty lapwings, each possessed of the opinion that your one object in life is to discover the whereabouts of his nest, and each protesting, with the vigour of a ’vert that it is somewhere else, becomes a really troublesome feature in the month of June. The cuckoo calls from the whin hedge which is the pride of the district of Moss; the swift circles overhead, partridges make merry in the sand-knolls at Haugh; the landrail and sandpiper and stone-chat are everywhere ; the teal, the coot, moorhen, grebe and mallard may be seen about the lochs, and in the winter come the robin and the wren, and the thrush ; but these leave before the nesting-season, as do other winter visitants, herons, wild geese, wild swans, the scoter, golden plover, the snipe (for the most part), and the godwit.

The cliffs of Kenevara present an extraordinary spectacle in the breeding-season. Wandering over the hill, one becomes aware of a sound only to be compared to a Wagner chorus, the Valkyrie, perhaps, performed on a thousand stringed instruments, and ever growing louder and louder. Suddenly the hill is cleft by a narrow ravine, and two absolutely perpendicular cliffs confronting each other, are separated by an inlet of the sea, but a few feet wide, where, on a sunny day, the seals bask on the sheltered rocks below. At the head of the gully is a deep cave entered only with considerable difficulty, and where hundreds of blue doves have their home in the rocks. The cliffs themselves from crown to base are white with hundreds of young seabirds sitting, as it seems, in tight-packed rows on incredibly narrow ledges, and all screaming for food, while the old birds fly in and out in snowy clouds, bringing choice morsels for their exacting broods. At first one’s sense seems almost dulled by the weird and monotonous orchestra, the sounds rising and falling as the creatures pause to devour their food, and varied only by occasional shrieks of expectation as the parents come in sight. Then by degrees one gains sufficient detachment to be able to take in the wonderful outline and colouring of the strange picture, the brilliant blue of a sky and sea which roll away and away without interruption to a Now World—the deep grey of the towering cliffs, the irregular gloaming rows of white sea-birds, stationary in mass but in detail ever moving, ever stretching forth impatient golden beaks, and straining on long rows of tenacious golden feet. Above and beneath and about thorn, great hanging beds of pink sea-thrift, brilliant bluebells, pink and yellow vetch, crimson clover, and geranium, waving ferns and grasses, brilliant and prolific as such things are, only in places absolutely inaccessible except to the kindly hand of Nature. And then, from time to time, comes the swooping of strong wings overhead, the sudden descent of the great mother-birds—gull or kittiwake or guillemot. Away, under an overhanging crag, is the nest of the much-feared hoodie-crow, and there too, a pair of ravens have lived beyond the memory of man, every year driving their young family away from the island. Down below, our guide pointed to a ledge, sacred, it is said, year by year, to tho cormorants. At certain times other birds make their way to this sheltered spot, wild geese, swans, scoters, great northern divers, falcons, or the goosander and seamew. No one is such a lover of home as the Highlander.

The old instinct of devotion to the Chief, of defence of his territory and theirs, of love for the Clan, survives in other forms to this day; in the absence of that spirit of detraction so common in what is called “the higher civilization,” in mutual kindness and loyalty, perhaps, above all, in a pride in their native islands which is something more than Nature-worship. The following description of the bird-haunted cliffs of Kenevara is quoted from an essay written by a pupil in one of the schools of the district, a boy who probably from his earliest years has known and loved the scene of which he writes, and living in a world limited to the narrow bounds of his native island, has never dreamed of rivalry nor learned indifference to the familiar. The passage, and indeed the entire exercise from which it is taken, is a curious contrast (as are some hundred others in my possession) to what the average English boy would write in describing, let us say, the Black Gang Chine in the Isle of Wight, or the Devil’s Dyke at Brighton. Even when writing a foreign language, as of course English is to the Gaelic-speaking Highlander, the fashion of speech is always Celtic, almost like Hebrew in its tendency to metaphor and mysticism.

“The bellowing ocean, dragging adown the beach the eternally rattling pebbles, and leaving inland and far up the shore the stranded produce of the everlasting sea-clad rocks, retreats back to its nethermost murmuring caverns. What a wonderful sight!

“Should you stand on the top of the cliffs and shout out at the pitch of your voice, lo! with mournful sound like the voice of a vast congregation solemnly answers the sea, mingling its thundering roar with your feeble voice that is instantly drowned thereby. Some of the caves go in far beneath the cliffs, and though you cannot see their inner recesses you can hear the continuous murmur. The wild sea-birds scream through the dark colonnades and steep corridors, breaking the death-like seal of the silence, and giving tongue to the sea-defying rocks. The multitudinous echoes of these birds awake and die in the distance over the watery floor, and beneath the reverberant tops of the hillock. Few are the sights more glorious to behold than this hill on a summer afternoon, resting in silence under the bluest of heavens, when twinkling vapour arises, and sky, water and cliffs seem all to smile joyfully under the illuminating rays of the sun.”

There is something in the happy choice of epithets, even when, as in the case of the “watery floor,” which is Milton’s, it may not be wholly original, which compels the recollection that Tyree is the scene of much of the story of Ossian, and that the writer of this schoolboy exercise is thinking in the language of Ossian, a language impossible to translate and which is moreover an ill preparation for writing in a foreign tongue. In the above description, for example, the only word which jars is that of “ hillock,” as applied to the steep and frowning, though not really lofty cliffs of Kenevara. But no doubt the word in the lad’s mind was one wholly suitable, for whereas, in English, we have none more dignified to apply to an elevation not quite a hill and certainly not a mountain, the choice which the Gaelic supplies to describe the infinite variety which the Highlands furnish, is at least worthy of the country of their origin; rising as they do in varying degrees from montich, sliabh, aspach, gleann, coire, to the loftier cuse, meall, mam, bruach, leittir, ardoch or beinn. From such a choice, which could probably be largely extended by a Gaelic scholar, it must surely be far more possible than in the humbler English to select one which can convey a shade of meaning with something like accuracy.

One who is familiar with Ossian—let Dr. Johnson say what he will—cannot fail to b© constantly struck with th© extraordinary choice of epithets furnished by the Gaelic language, and even the simplest of their songs, the most ordinary bit of folk-lore, is to this day recited with an almost equal delicacy and perception. It is a subject which one might illustrate at great length if space permitted, but here, at all events, I content myself with a single example.

A native of Tyree once recited to us the description of the horses of Cuchullin, the strongest man of the Fingalian tribes. It was an occasion I can never forget. We were wandering slowly among the long bent grass which clothes the low lying ground that slopes down to the Atlantic. We had just left the hill of Kenevara where, putting our ear to the ground, we were told to listen to the music of the lament endlessly sung in the cave below, where “the yellowhaired Dearmaid of women,” so beautiful that every woman loved him, remained blamelessly with Graine, the wife of his uncle Fionn, but was unjustly slain and buried near by with his two dogs. Graine was the daughter of Cuchullin8 (according to our legend), and she was beautiful as he was strong.

The sun was setting over the wide west, and as we listened to the poem one was, as so often happens, seized with the sensation of the solidarity of human history and human thought. The old Greek story of Apollo driving his chariot across the western plain seemed very near, as the sky became a glory of gold and crimson, and we could almost fancy we hoard the prancing of the steeds of Cuchullin, where down below on the firm white sand the fires of the kelp gatherers were beginning to twinkle as the sun went down.

“What do we see in that chariot?”

We see in that chariot the horses white-bellied, white-haired, small-eared, taper-sided, neat-hoofed, great, majestic, with their bridles pliant, slender, shining like a precious stone, or the sparkling of red fire ; like the movement of a wounded fawn, like the sound of the hard blasts of winter, they approach in that chariot.

What do we see in that chariot?

We see in that chariot the horses fleet, hardy, strong, powerful; as waves impetuous, vigorous, exquisitely formed, able to tear the tangles of the deep from their rock-fixed roots.

What do we see in that chariot?

We see in that chariot the horses rank-breaking, rank-levelling, exceeding strong, mettlesome, nimble, prancing like an eagle’s talons seizing on an animal’s head ; they are called the beautiful greys, the highly prized stay of the chariot.

What do we see in that chariot?

We see in that chariot the horses white-faced, white-fetlocked, slender-limbed, fine-maned, high-breasted, head-rearing, broad-chested, bearing a silken flag; of little age, light of hair, little-eared, great-spirited, highly fashioned, of wide nostrils, slender-bellied, of form nice, delicate like foals, lively, frisking, prancing.” [It must not be supposed that the above was written down from memory. I found the poem long after in a collection of the local evidence for the authenticity of Ossian by Dr. Blair, approved by David Hume 1703, and believe it to be practically the same.]

The Gaelic of Tyree is said to be of exceptional purity, as well it may from the early connexion of the island with Iona, the centre of learning and scholarship, to an extent which the English reader does not always realize. A hundred years before the foundation of the earliest English University—at Oxford—monks sent out from this little islet in the Hebrides had established the universities of Pavia and Paris, had sent professors to Cologne and Louvain, had sent missionaries to “the Middle Angles, Mercians, and East Saxons, whose chief city was London, and instructed them in the liberal arts,” and had founded some seventy monasteries in various parts of the continent. Little wonder then that in Tyree, so closely associated with Iona from a very early period, we should find a love and appreciation of scholarship and a well of Gaelic undefiled.

A stranger taking a casual walk almost anywhere in Tyree, but especially in the west and north-west end of the island, might suppose that there had been an epidemic among the big dogs or small calves, and that the owners had been preparing for their respectful interment. Scattered all over the island, mainly on dry ground within reach of the sea, are what look like little graves, carefully lined with flat pebbles, but are really kilns, destined to the burning of kelp.

Kelp is made from two kinds of sea-weed, the species called fucus which grows within tidal range and is cut from the rocks at low-water, and another variety, the laminariaa, which is thrown up by the storms or other causes. When the drift-weed is seen coming in, those who live near the shore hoist a pole with a bundle of weed atop, and the cottars and poorer crofters hasten down to the shore, and men, women and children are occupied, whatever the weather, in removing the precious jetsam out of the reach of the sea, often working till the incoming tide is over the knees both of man and horse. It is then spread out on dry rocks—any admixture of sand being detrimental—until it putrifies and is then put into the kilns, each kiln holding about half a ton; a little dried straw being placed at the bottom. It is then set alight, and is allowed to burn for six or eight hours, being carefully watched the whole time, as, when the critical moment arrives, and the whole is reduced to a fused mass, it is carefully raked, sprinkled with salt water, and broken up into convenient pieces. At this stage it looks like grey slag with streaks of white, blue, and brown, running through it. The kelp-rake is like a small spade, with a handle about seven feet long. Often, late into the summer night, one sees the fires of the kelp-burners twinkling along the shore in scores. The labour and watching required is immense, especially in collecting the drift-weed, which, for its present purpose, the distillation of iodine, is three or four times more valuable then the cut weed. The south-country people, and self-interested proprietors, who talk about “the lazy Highlander” fail to realize that their work, fishing, kelp-making, crofting, is a war carried on at fearful odds with the elements, even in islands like Tyree, where, thanks to a kindly factor, they are not liable to be called off to the enforced estate labour which in certain districts frequently becomes imperative, immediately that the coming of the drift-weed is heard of. To produce one ton of kelp no less than twenty to twenty-two tons of sea-weed are required, but such is the industry of these thrifty folk that even when the kelp has been as low as £2 10s. a ton, a single family has been known to earn from £30 to £40 in a season. [The Duke of Argyll, in his pamphlet on Farms and Crofts, states that in the season 1880-1 from two to three thousand pounds’ worth of kelp and tangle were manufactured in Tyree, representing 370 tons of kelp and 417 tons of tangle. It does not appear what proportion of this sum reached the people.]

The tangle gathering is a somewhat analogous industry, but is carried on in winter, and consists in collecting and drying the large shiny brown stalks thrown up by th6 tide, especially after a storm. These are gathered with a sort of narrow hay-fork, tossed ashore, and then collected in carts and stacked in a dry place. These stacks are of oblong shape, built to a certain height, and are paid for by the North British Chemical Company, at a given price per foot of length. The grieve who collects them, is provided with a long stick having an iron spike at the end, with which he pierces the pile at intervals, to ascertain that it contains no foreign matter, and that it is built fairly and on a level rock. The refuse, when cut away from the stalks, makes excellent manure for laying on the fields. A single storm will sometimes throw up enough tangle to keep a whole village occupied for two or three months.

Kelp is technically “produced by the incineration of various kinds of sea-weed obtained in great abundance on the west coasts of Ireland and Scotland, and the coast of Brittany in France.”

The first chapter in the history of kelp belongs to the time when it was burnt in order to obtain carbonate of soda and other salts, also sulphate of potash and potassium chloride. It was, according to The Old Statistical Account, unknown to the Highlands till 1735, when it was but imperfectly introduced by one Rory Macdonald, whom a gentleman in this country (Hugh Macdonald, late tacksman of Balle Share, North Uist) had invited over from Ireland for the purpose of making experiments. In his first attempts he only reduced the seaweed to ashes, on which account he was called Rhuary na luahigli, or Rory, maker of ashes. Nicknames were then, as they still are, a great feature of Highland humour. At first he sold it at a pound a ton, but gradually it rose in value till some time after the breaking out of the American War. The worthy minister who wrote this account, does not seem to have known that the real enemy to this flourishing Highland industry was Nicholas le Blanc. To the average layman indeed, the name of Le Blanc conveys nothing whatever, yet it is not too much to say that his existence has been as great a misfortune to the Outer Hebrides as if he had been a modern landlord. Born in the year 1753, he was educated in chemistry and surgery and became private surgeon to the Duke of Orleans. For anything one knows to the contrary, he led a blameless life till the year 1787, when, by the offer of a reward of 2,400 livres, by the French Academy, he was incited to an invention which may have been for the greatest good of the greatest number, but which, happening just when it did, perhaps put the coping-stone to the misfortunes of the unhappy population of the Outer Hebrides. It led to the depreciation of the value of kelp, the last hope of the old proprietors, already so sadly impoverished by the '45, with all the train of disaster that followed.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica tells us incidentally under the article Sodium, that Le Blanc’s discovery was “perhaps the most valuable and fertile chemical discovery of modern time,” though his name does not otherwise appear in its pages. His discovery brought him little personal good; had he been one of the crofters, of whom he was to be incidentally the ruin, he could hardly have been more unfortunate. For some technical reason, the prize was never awarded, but in 1790, his patron, the Duke of Orleans, agreed to provide a capital of 200,000 francs for working out the process, and in the following year the National Assembly granted him a patent for fifteen years, and works were established at Saint Denis. In less than two years, however, France herself came under the heel of new proprietors, the Duke of Orleans was murdered, Le Blanc was evicted, receiving a mere mockery of compensation (4,000 francs) and, broken in health and spirits, hopeless and without resource, he perished by his own hand in the workhouse.

The invention survived, and so far as the manufacture of soda was concerned, kelp was no longer needed, and it declined in value from twenty-two pounds per ton at the beginning of the century, when 20,000 tons per annum were produced in the Hebrides alone, to ten guineas in 1822. The duty was then taken first off barilla, and then off salt, and the price fell during the next ten years to two pounds. It was at this time that General Macneill, the last of the old Chiefs of Barra, sustained the severe losses that finally compelled the disastrous sale of his island. He had attempted the manufacture of soap, and according to some accounts, of glass, but the cheaper production of soda was more and more generally adopted, kelp yielding at best only four per cent., and often only two per cent., and being always for that purpose a more costly source for the manufacturer.

It was about 1755 when one of the authors of the Old Statistical Account wrote of the recent importation of barilla after the close of the American War: “It is to be feared the manufacture will be given up entirely, to the utter ruin of the inhabitants of the parish (North Uist), unless Government, to encourage home-manufactures, may look upon the commodities used in the place of it as objects of taxation.” Of course Government did nothing of the kind; the problem of Free Trade v. Fair Trade is an old, old story, and before very long the products of kelp were made in Germany, at the Starsfurth salt-mines.

About the middle of the present century the industry received a new impetus from the great demand for iodine to be used in the preparation of methyliodide, used in the making of aniline dyes, the crude magentas and violets of 1857 or thereabouts. The presence of iodine in the waste liquors of kelp, had been discovered as early as 1811, but there had hitherto been no demand for it in any quantities. However, for some time kelp was the only commercial source, and it seemed as if prosperity might return to the islands. Before many years had passed, however, another discovery again interfered, and iodine made from Chili saltpetre appeared in the market. Fortunately, however, in 1863 Mr. Edward Stanford came upon the scene, and practically saved the situation. The rude methods in use by the Highlanders tended to the volatisation of the iodine, and by establishing in Tyree a distillery which secured the most careful utilization of all the salts, and by the use of all the most approved methods, the industry has been kept alive to this day, though, since his death in 1899, it has seemed as if once more kelp were likely to become a drug, not in, but outside of the market, unless, that is, some cleus ex machind should once more appear.

Note.—The name of Edward Cortis Stanford (J.P., C.C., F.I.C., F.C.S., late President of the Society of Chemical Industry and a member of the Committee of the British Association for nearly thirty years) ought never to be forgotten in the Western Highlands, not only on account of the scientific skill which enabled him to be of such eminently practical service to a cause which could never have survived without his help, but also for the enthusiasm and love of humanity with which he dedicated his rare knowledge to the service of a people little used to receive kindness from the outside world.

At the early age of twenty-six he received the Silver Medal of the Society of Arts for a paper on the Economic Application of Sea-weed, which led to his association, for thirty years, with the kelp industry of Ireland and the Western Isles. In 1863 works were commenced in Tyree and North Uist, and his improvements in kelp production were shortly after brought into use in Norway. The collection of tangle provided winter work for a great number of men, women, and even children. It was stored, preserved and turned to an immense variety of uses besides the central one of the manufacture of iodine. The works were lighted by gas obtained by its distillation, the ammonia was used as manure, the tar for the roof of the works and the residual charcoal was found of extreme value for sanitary purposes in dealing with domestic sewage. The value of sea-weed as food, in the form of dulse, laver, or Iceland Moss, was put forward, a substance was manufactured for sizing cloth, another for covering boilers, and for preventing boiler-incrustation. Perhaps of these by-products none has attracted more attention than that of Alginoid Iron, which is described (Biographical Sketch by Professor G. G. Henderson) as “a compound which has been found of marked therapeutic value.”

Readers may be reminded that apart from his association with the kelp industry, Mr. Stanford rendered signal service to therapeutics by the perfection of a method for extracting Thyroglandin, the active principle of the thyroid gland.


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