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Parish Life in the North of Scotland
Chapter I - The Minister of Lochcarron and his times


MY grandfather, Eneas Sage, was born on the 12th of .March, 1694, at Chapelton, a small farm on the estate of Redcastle, parish of Killearnan, Ross-shire. His father, Murdoch Sage, occupied the farm, and held office as a messenger-at-arms, an office which in those turbulent times was very arduous, and connected with much personal danger. My great-grandfather was bred a Scottish Episcopalian. He was a subject of the "last Stuarts" who had thrust Episcopacy on their Scottish subjects by the sacrifice of everything that might have contributed either to the stability of their throne or to the peace and prosperity of their people. He lived at the close of the reign of Charles II., and during that of James II., and he was privileged to witness the glorious and memorable Revolution of 1688. Previous to that period, and long before the abolition of Episcopacy, he became a Presbyterian. Some years after the Revolution, he came by a sudden and violent death. Employed to arrest a man of rank, but of loose habits and violent temper, he went to his house to apprehend him. But the reckless object of his pursuit, becoming aware of his intentions, fired at him from a loophole in a small turret which commanded the entrance, and mortally wounded him. He was carried homewards, and soon after expired. His ancestors for two generations had been settled in the Highlands of Ross and Inverness, but came originally from the south. He married Miss MacDonnell of Ardnafuarain, a near relative of Glengarry. His eldest son, Eneas Sage, about the year 1715, entered King's College, Aberdeen. On the 18th of August, 1725, and at the age of thirty-one, he was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Tain. He was soon afterwards appointed to a charge in the mountainous district of Ross-shire, comprehending the extensive parishes of Lochcarron, Applecross, and Gairloch. In this wild district he for some years laboured as a missionary, preaching alternately at certain stations, and going about from house to house catechising or instructing the people in the principles of religion. His appointment arose from the peculiar circumstances of the Church as a national establishment. It was then in its infancy, particularly in the north of Scotland, and presbyteries often comprehended an entire county. The extension of the Church, too, although the plantation of kirks was enforced by law, could not ultimately be carried into effect until after a determined and almost sanguinary struggle with the adherents of Episcopacy. Parishes in the north, and in Ross-shire particularly, were for many years kept vacant solely by the influence of Episcopacy. For example, the eminent James Fraser of Alness was inducted by the Presbytery of Chanonry and Dingwall, but the service was conducted in the churchyard, as the doors of the church were barricaded by the heritors, rigid Episcopalians, seconded by their tenantry, who abhorred the settlement among them of a "Whig minister," as they reproachfully termed the Presbyterian clergy. The churches of Avoch and of Kilmuir Wester were for many years in circumstances even more unfavourable. Sir Kenneth Mackenzie of Scatwell, an ardent Episcopalian, contrived, even after the Presbytery had duly inducted the ministers of these parishes, to exercise his feudal authority so as to prevent them from officiating in their pulpits; and the early Records contain minutes in which these ministers are stated to have reported to that effect.

My grandfather officiated in the district for some years. Some curious incidents will afterwards be related of his adventures when he came more immediately into contact with the Episcopalian inhabitants of the district in the discharge of his pastoral duties. On the 10th February, 1726, he was ordained minister of Lochcarron, a parish comprehending about a third of the territory in which he had officiated as missionary. He found the people sunk in ignorance, with modes of worship allied to Paganism. Before the close of his long and efficient ministry the moral aspects of the people were entirely changed. It is not, I think, too much for me to say of so near a relative that he was undoubtedly one of the Fathers of that Church which has proved herself to be a real and lasting benefit to Scotland—a national church —which, by her constitution, and her rational, scriptural, and efficient form of government, has embalmed herself in the hearts of her true children. In the purity of her doctrines and in the fidelity and devotedness of her first ministers, her true members found and felt that she was "the house of God and the gate of Heaven;" whilst the mighty moral influence which she at the same time exerted on the masses of the people, formed their national character, and placed them in the front of other nations as regards moral excellence.

In bodily stature Eneas Sage approached the gigantic. He was six feet two inches in height, with dark eyes and hair, and with more than ordinary strength. His zeal as a minister, the rough subjects he had to deal with, and the rude age he lived in, rendered this last quality of no ordinary service to him. It has already been remarked that he was a licentiate of the Presbytery of Tain. He resided in Easter-Ross during his attendance at the divinity hall; and on the minutes of the presbytery there is an entry to the effect that he was schoolmaster of Logie Easter in 1719, when he entered to be teacher at Cromarty. Thus it would appear he was parochial teacher of these parishes previous to his being licensed in 1725. During his attendance at college, a curious, and from the heated temperature of the times, a rather dangerous incident befel him in connection with the first rebellion. The battle of Sheriffmuir was fought on Sabbath, the 13th of November, 1715, and the Chevalier St. George debarked at Peterhead on the 22nd of December following. From thence, with five attendants, he passed through Aberdeen on his way to the headquarters of his army, and arrived at Fetteresso Castle, the principal residence of the Earl Marischal. Detained by an ague, his rank was soon discovered, and the non-jurant clergy of Aberdeenshire presented him with addresses. My grandfather, then about twenty-one, was curious to see this royal personage, and so prompted, he, in company with some of his fellow-students, proceeded to Fetteresso. There he saw the Prince, and often did lie afterwards, in graphic terms, describe this feeble descendant of ancient royalty. His countenance, he said, was considerably above the common cast of faces, and was even royal, but it had a pale, sickly hue, expressive of weakness. His fierce and mailed followers, the Earls of Mar and Marischal, Cameron of Lochiel, General Hamilton, and others, stood around him with heads uncovered, and to these men of bold and vigorous spirit lie yielded himself much as would a child to its nurse. This adventure, while it gratified their curiosity, had well nigh proved serious in its consequences to my grandfather and his companions. No sooner did they arrive at their lodgings in Aberdeen than a Government official visited them, and gave them to understand that, from various circumstances connected with their late expedition to Stonehaven, they had fallen under suspicion, and must appear before a magistrate. They did appear, and the circumstances were strong against them. For nearly two days they had been absent from their classes; they had gone to Fetteresso to see the Prince; they had done so at the very time that malcontents had resorted thither; and being Highland students, they. came from a quarter where the Pretender's adherents were especially numerous. These facts, not one of which could be contravened, bore hard upon them, and they were in imminent risk of being sent to prison, and tried for high treason. But the professors of King's College interposed, matters were explained, and it was found that curiosity alone had induced the young men to act as they had done. My grandfather owed his escape to a circumstance which happened in the month of October previous, and which was duly presented in evidence on his behalf. It was as follows:—The Earl of Seaforth had warmly abetted the Jacobite cause. About two months before the battle of Sheriffmuir, Inverness had been captured by Mackintosh of Borlum, at the head of five hundred men, and the Pretender was proclaimed. When Borlum went south to unite his troops to those of the insurgents under Mar at Perth, Seaforth sent a detachment under Sir John Mackenzie of Coul to take possession of Inverness. In these rebellious proceedings. Seaforth was opposed by Colonel Munro, son of Sir Robert Munro of Foulis, who had been appointed commander of Inverness Castle. Colonel Munro had sent two hundred men to protect the lands of Culloden against the depredations of the Mackenzies. He also formed a camp at the Bridge of Alness, consisting of nearly 600 men of the clans of Munro and Ross, and soon after he was joined by John, Earl of Sutherland; his son, the Lord Strathnaver; and George, Lord Reay, at the head of a body of their clansmen, the Sntherlands and Mackays, their united forces numbering about 1800 men. Their object was to protect the lives and properties of the Royalists against Seaforth, and to prevent his joining the Earl of Mar at Perth. Seaforth was able to defeat this object. He had a camp at Brahan Castle, his principal residence, where he also collected a body of 1800 men. But his numbers were increased to nearly 3000 by the accession to his army of the Macdonalds, Mackinnons, Macraes, the Chisholms of Strathglass, and other clans, and with this superior force he bore down upon Sutherland's camp at Alness. The issue was that the Royalists, under Lords Sutherland and Mackay, were compelled rapidly to retreat across the hill to Bonar. My grandfather, as a well-wisher to the cause, was in the Royalist camp; and while the men were in full retreat up the hill, he ventured to accost Lord Reay, saying, " It is a pity, my lord, that such a brave body of men, and they Highlanders, should be seen turning their backs upon their enemies when they have right on their side." What you say, young man, may be true," replied the sagacious nobleman; "but is it not better to make a wise retreat than a foolish engagement?" The retreat and Seaforth's success formed the subject of a highly satirical Gaelic song, reflecting severely on the Lords Sutherland and Reay, under the title of "Caberfeidh." This song was composed by Norman Macleod, a native of Lochbroom, in revenge against the Munroes. His son, Eneas Macleod, was minister of Rogart, in Sutherland. I never met him, but with his widow and family 1 was acquainted intimately.

On the evening previous to his settlement at Lochcarron, my grandfather had no better lodging than a barn. This barn, too, was of peculiar construction. The walls were principally of wicker work interwoven between {pillars of turf and stone. The moisture of the climate, particularly in harvest, rendered this peculiar mode of construction necessary to dry the corn, which, when cut, was housed, and not stacked in the yard, as in more genial districts. Such was the anchorite's cell in which the first Presbyterian minister of Lochcarron was lodged on the evening previous to his settlement; no better was offered, and, perhaps, no better could be found. In this hovel, where he took up his quarters for the time, some of his friends lodged with him; but during the night the barn was set on fire. The smoke and flames roused them from their slumbers; and while his friends busied themselves in securing the safety of the dwelling and extinguishing the fire, the future minister- of Lochcarron took that opportunity of cultivating his first acquaintance with a parishioner. Rushing out half dressed, he saw the incendiary throwing away the torch, and making good his retreat. My grandfather pursued, and, continuing the chase for some time, at last got up with him, and just as the fellow neared his own door, planted an irresistible grip on his collar. The culprit was dragged back to the minister's lodgings, expecting nothing else than a beating, even to the breaking of his bones. Than this, however, nothing was further from my grandfather's intentions. No violence was used. The culprit was placed in the middle of the floor, and asked whether be set the house on fire, and, if so, what were his motives? The man frankly confessed what he had done, and assigned as his reason that it was to rid the parish of a Whig minister; "but I am now in your power," he added, "and take your revenge." "We shall do so," said my grandfather, "but mark well how we do it." He ordered meat and drink to be set before him, asked the divine blessing, and invited him to proceed. The follow was hungry, and made a hearty meal. My grandfather then said to him, "You came here with no less evil an intention than to deprive me of my life. I have returned good for evil. Go and tell your neighbours how the Whig ministers avenge their wrongs." The poor fellow poured out his thanks, and failed not to report to his fellow-parishioners both the generosity and the strength of the new minister. Of the particulars of the settlement, I can give no authentic account. But of the members of presbytery by whom he was inducted, I have, by accident, fallen in with official and accurate information. My library contains, among many books belonging to my grandfather, a fine, old copy of Turretine, which was gifted to me by his eminent successor, the Rev. Lachlan Mackenzie. Opening this book one evening, I discovered, between the leaves of the second volume, a slip of paper in my grandfather's handwriting, containing these words:-

"At Lochbroom, 16th March, 1726.—The presbytery met, and after prayer—sederunf, Mr. Æneas Sage, moderator; Mr. Murdo Mlaclend and Mr. Archibald Ballantyne, minrs; and John Paip, schoolmaster of Gairloch, ruling elder; Mr. James Smith, minister, absent.

The presbytery being called to this place for a visitation of the parish of Lochbrouni, by petition from the Rev. Mr. Archibald Ballantyne, minr. of Lochhroom, at their last diet at Keanlochow; and their clerk having served out warrants to cite masons, wrights, anal land metters, one or more, for designing glebe and grass, and for valuing manse, office, houses, and garden; as also appointing the said Mr. Archibald Ballantyne to give an edictal citation from the pulpit to heritors, wadsetters, life-renters of the parish of Lochbroom, fifteen dads before this date, to compear before the presbytery to join and concur with them, to have glebe, grass, manse, and garden provided for their minister. The said masons, wrights, and landmelsters being solemnly sworn, purged of malice and partial counsel, gave in the following reports, viz."

The venerable document ends thus abruptly, and without a signature. Like all presbyterian minutes, the sederunt mentions the names of the ministers who constituted the meeting, but not the parishes of which they were the ministers. Mr. Murdo Macleod was minister of Glenelg. He was settled in that parish in 1707, and was one of those ministers of the Presbytery of Gairloch (now Lochcarron) who were mobbed at Lochalsh on the 16th of Sepr., 1724, by the people, who were then in a state of ignorance and ferocity little or nothing removed above savage life. Mr Ballantyne was the first Presbyterian minister of Lochbroom, and was settled in the same year as my grandfather. Mr James Smith, the absent minister referred to in the minute, was minister of Gairloch.

About two years previous to my grandfather's settlement at Lochcarron, the presbytery having met at Lochalsh to hold a parish visitation there, were so rudely assailed by the mob that they were obliged to hold their meeting next time at Kilmorack, considering themselves in danger of their lives in meeting within their own bounds. The records of the Presbytery of Lochcarron, or of Gairloch, as it was then called, commence in 1724. The presbytery was then formed by the General Assembly. The parish of Applecross is coeval with the parish of Lochcarron as a Presbyterian establishment. Its first minister was Mr. Aneas Macaulay, who was ordained in 1731. Mr. Ballantyne, Lochbroom, was succeeded in 1731 by Mr. Donald Ross, who in 1742 was translated to Fearn in Faster-Ross. Mr. Ross, previous to his translation, had employed, as an assistant, Mr. James Robertson, a native of Athole, a young man of more than ordinary ability, both corporeal and mental. After Mr. Donald Ross' translation, Mr. Robertson was strongly recommended by the Duke of Athole to the patron, the Earl of Cromartie, as Mr. Ross' successor. The Earl of Cromartie was, however, so much occupied in preparations for the Rebellion of '45, in which he was so deeply implicated on the rebel side, that he neglected the issuing of the presentation within the prescribed term. The presbytery, availing themselves of the jusderolutuma, presented Mr Roderick Mackenzie. But the influence of Cromartie and Athole was paramount. Mr Mackenzie was ejected, and Mr Robertson, the Earl's presentee, settled as minister. He was primitive and truly apostolic, and the almost preternatural exertion of bodily strength by which lie saved the lives of Mr. Ross and of many of his parishioners at the church of Fearn, procured for him ever afterwards the appellative of "am ministeir laidir," or the strong minister.

During my grandfather's incumbency, Mr. Bethune was on the 16th June, 1739, ordained in the parish of Glenshiel, as its first Presbyterian minister. Though possessed of much energy and zeal, his bodily frame was slender. The possessed called him "ministcir na turns," as he employed the arguments of meat and drink to effect the same good ends towards which the ministers of Lochcarron and Lochbroom would have used the hand or baton. His son, Dr. John Bethune, first minister of Harris, and afterwards of Dornoch, was for many years my father's co-presbyter. His eldest son, Angus Bethune, died minister of Alness in 1801. He was succeeded by his son, Hector Bethune, minister of Dingwall, who died in 1849.

On the 29th of August,1728, my grandfather was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Mackay, eldest daughter of Mr. John Mackay, first Presbyterian minister of Lairg, in Sutherlandshire. Mr. Mackay was of the family of Scoury, one of the oldest branches of the noble family of Parr or Reay. Third son of Captain William Mackay of Borley, he was born in the parish of Durness, in the Reay Country, in 1677, and, after prosecuting his studies, first at Edinburgh and afterwards at Utrecht, he was licensed to preach in 1706, and on the 16th March, 1707, was settled at Durness, which included the wide alpine district of the Reay Country. In that extensive field, my great-grandfather, for seven years, laboured most zealously. Strong in mind and in body, and, above all, "strong in faith," he not only preached every Sabbath at different and central stations in the district, but also catechised annually all the families of that immense tract of country, and, while so occupied, would necessarily be absent from home for three months together.

In the year 1714 he was translated to the parish of Lairg, and inducted as its first Presbyterian minister. The moral condition of that parish was such as to demand the services of a faithful and able minister of the New Testament, for the inhabitants were plunged in ignorance and superstition, owing to the want of a stated pastorate for a course of years. The earls of Sutherland were hereditary sheriffs of that county, and patrons of the several parishes; and John, 15th earl, one of the 'Scottish Commissioners for the Union, warmly espoused and promoted the best interests of Presbytery. With the Earl, Lord Reay was on the most friendly terms, and, by his chief, my great-grandfather was strongly recommended to the Earl as suitable for the vacant charge. At the time of his settlement in Lairg, the churchyard, even on the Sabbath, often exhibited scenes of violence and of bloodshed. Aware of these disorders, Earl John, in his capacity of sheriff, invested my great-grandfather with power to inflict corporal punishment. Thus furnished, he entered upon his ministry, and while with the obstinate and refractory he was compelled to use strong measures, yet making these subservient to a strain of preaching at once pure, powerful, and profound, he became eminently instrumental in reforming the habits of his people, and in winning many souls to Christ. He married in August, 1700, and had a family of two sons and five daughters. His wife, my great-grandmother Catherine Mackay, was eldest daughter of John Mackay, of Kirtomy, descended from Lady Jean Gordon, daughter of Alexander, 11th Earl of Sutherland. Lady Jean, who was married to Hugh Mackay, of Farr, had two sons, Donald, first Lord Reay, and John, first Laird of Dirlot and Stratby. John of Strathy married, in 1619, Agnes, daughter of Sir James Sinclair of Murkle, second son of the Earl of Caithness, by his wife, Lady Elizabeth Stewart, daughter of the Earl of Orkney. He had three sons, Hugh, John, and James, the last, in 1670, obtained the lands of Kirtomy, and married Jane, daughter of the I-Iouble. Sir James Fraser of Brae, third son of Simon, Lord Lovat. James had two sons, John of Kirtomy and James of Borgy. John married Elizabeth, daughter of James Sinclair of Lybster, by whom he had three sons and six daughters. The eldest of the daughters was Catherine, my great-grandmother, a woman of decided and ardent piety, the worthy "helpmeet" of a pious husband. My great-grandfather's eldest son, Thomas Mackay, succeeded him as minister of Lairg. He was a man of deep piety, but of peculiar temper. He had imbibed, when he became a preacher, certain opinions of a very exclusive character, and on one occasion carried them to such extremity as to secede from his father's ministry. The father and son were afterwards reconciled, and that reconciliation my grandfather, the minister of Lochcarron, was chiefly instrumental in effecting. My great-grandfather had another son, John, but he died young. Elizabeth, his eldest daughter, was married to my grandfather. They met in Ross-shire, in the house of Mr. Gordon of Ardoch. Mr. Gordon was one of the heritors of the parish of Kirkmichael, as well as of Lairg; and was remarkable for the incidents of his life. His wife, a sister of Sir Robert Munro of Foulis, who was killed at Falkirk, was a woman of remarkable piety. During the greater part of his wife's lifetime, Mr. Gordon was a man of unsettled opinions and of an irreligious life. He was a fond husband, but his affection for the best of wives could not reconcile him to her piety. One evening, on coming home, be found her seated in the parlour with a number of devout persons who were engaging in spiritual exercises. Suddenly he rushed out of the house, and attempted to kill himself. But in an instant the words occurred to him, "Do thyself no harm," and from that moment be became a new man. His remaining life was consecrated to the cause of godliness. His wife died after a long and painful illness patiently borne. Her remains are interred at Kirkmichael, in the parish of Resolis, and around them her nephew, Sir Harry Munro of Foulis, erected a square enclosure, filled up with lime and stone, in order to prevent any future interment at the spot. In the house of Mr. and Mrs. Gordon, my grandfather became acquainted with his future wife, and at Ardoch they were married. A copy of their marriage contract, drawn out by the Rev. John Balfour, minister of Logie Easter, has been handed down to me. It thus proceeds

"At Ardoch, the nineteenth day of July, one thousand seven hundred and twenty-eight years. It is matrimonially contracted, agreed, and finally ended, betwixt Mr. Æneas Sage, minister of the gospel at Lochcarron, and Elizabeth Mackay, eldest lawful daughter of Mr. John Mackay, minister of the gospel at Lairg, and the said Mr John Mackay, as undertaker for his said daughter, as follows: that is to say, the said Mr. Eneas Sage and Elizabeth Mackay, with the special advice and consent of the said Mr. John Mackay, her father, do hereby promise faithfully to each other that they shall, twixt and the first day of September next to come,. solemnize the lawful bond of marriage together. In contemplation of which marriage, the said Mr. Eneas Sage binds and obliges him for the somme of three thousand merks Scots money, unto the children of the forsaid marriage, in the, and in liferent for the interest thereof to the said Elizabeth Mackay his of (late) spouse in case she shall happen to survive him. And in case of no children of the said marriage, and that she shall survive him, the said Mr. Eneas Sage provides his said (of date) spouse to the one half of his moveables at the title of his decease; and in case there shall be children existent of the marriage, to the third share of his said moveables which shall be redeemable by him or his heirs for the source of two hundred inerks Scots money, payable at the next term of Whitsunday or Martinmas after his decease. In consideration of all which, the said Mr. John Mackay has instantly advanced and paid to the said Mr. Eneas Sage, in name of tacher igood) with the said Elizabeth Mackay, his daughter, all and haill, the some of one thousand merks Scots, of which Saume the said Mr. Eneas Sage acknowledges him to be fully satisfied, renouncing the exception of not numerate money, and all other objections to the contrary. And likewise, the said Mr. Eneas Sage and Elizabeth Mackay do hereby discharge the said Mr. John Mackay of all bairn's part of lair or any other deumand whatsoever, excepting goodwill allenarly; and both parties bind other under the failzie of three hundred merks Scots money, to be paid by the party Hailer to the party performer. And both parties consent to the registration hereof in the books of Council and Session, or any other books competent, that letters of horning and all other executorials may pass hereupon in form as effeirs, and to that effect constitute, their Peers.

''In witness whereof (written by Mr. John Balfour, minister of the gospel at Logic Easter, on stamp paper conform to law) they have subscribed these presents, place, (late, and year of God above written before these two witnesses; Mr. Alexander Gordon of Ardoch and Mr. John Balfour foresaid, writer hereof.

"ENEAS SAGE.
"ELIZANETH MACKAY

"ALEXANDER GORDON, Witness
"JOHN BALFOUR, Witness."

Mr. Balfour, who wrote and witnessed the marriage, was a minister of eminence. In 1729 he was translated to Nigg, where, among a people sunk in the grossest ignorance, his ministry became eminently successful. Two interesting anecdotes of him have been handed down. When he came to Nigg, he found the people addicted to the deliberate profanation of the Lord's day. That was the day of all others on which the parishioners assembled to exercise themselves in athletic games.

They had a leader, a strong, bold man, to whom all looked up. Mr. Balfour watched his opportunity. He was elected one of the presbytery's commissioners to the General Assembly; and previous to his departure for Edinburgh, he sent for this ringleader of Sunday sports, and told him that, as his duty called him from home, he left the east end of the parish in his charge, and would hold him responsible that the people spent the Sabbath not in games and rioting, but in prayer and in reading and hearing the word. "You are surely aware, sir," said the man, "that of these games I myself am the leader, and the first to begin ;how then can you ask me to stop them?" "I charge you before God to do so," said the minister; "let all the guilt of a refusal lie upon your conscience." "well, sir, if it must be so," replied the man, "I'll try what I can do." He was as good as his word; the Sunday games were discontinued, and the ringleader himself became a devoted Christian. Mr. Balfour was a preacher of the very first order. His discourses were profound, searching, scriptural, and experimental. A Sabbath seldom passed without saving impressions being produced upon the minds of many of his hearers. He lived too as he preached. A woman under deep conviction came to consult him. She found him at the side of a burn. Her case she endeavoured to lay before him. It was in her view a hopeless one. He set forth to her the hopes and consolations of the gospel, so that she felt relieved and comforted. As she proceeded to leave, Mr. Balfour took up a atone and threw it into the stream, and as the stone sunk to the bottom, he exclaimed, "So will John Balfour to hell; after preaching to others, he himself will be a castaway!" Hearing his exclamation, the woman came back in deep distress. "Alas, sir," said she, "how can I receive the consolation you refuse to take yourself?" "Take it notwithstanding," he replied, "my temptations I expressed not to you, but to Him who alone can deliver us both. I could know but little of gospel comfort either for myself or others, if my heart did not know its own bitterness." [Mr. John Balfour, minister of Nigg, died on the 6th February, 1752. Under his ministry was experienced, in 1744, a remarkable awakening, which continued during the following years. The effect was alike salutary and permanent.—E.]

The manse of Lochcarron to which my grandfather conducted his young wife was a humble fabric. It stood upon a little eminence removed about sixty yards from the north shore of an inlet of the sea or loch, which was also the estuary of the Carron, a stream from which the parish derives its name. The manse was constructed after the fashion of all Highland houses about the end of the seventeenth century. About 100 feet long, the walls were built of stone for about three feet in height above the foundation, and around the roots of the couples, which were previously fixed in the ground; over this were several layers of turf or fail, so as to bring the wall to the height of 10 feet. The whole was then thatched with heather. This long building was divided into several apartments: the first was called the chamber, where there was a chimney at one end, a small glazed window looking to the south, and a tent bed inserted into the partition which divided it from the next room. In this apartment the heads of the family sat and took their meals. The bed in it was usually appropriated for guests ; the next apartment contained tent beds for the junior branches, with an entry door by which access to the principal apartment was provided for the heads of the family as well as for their guests. This second apartment opened into a third, where the heads of the family slept. Next came what was called the "cearn" (or servants' hall). This compartment of the Highland house, or "tigh slathait," was larger or longer than the others. It had cross lights, namely, a small boarded window on each side. The fire-place was usually an old mill-stone placed in the centre of the apartment, on which the peat-fire was kindled, with no other substitute for a chimney than a hole in the roof, fenced with a basket of wicker work open at both ends. Around the fire sat the servants, and in the farmers' houses, the heads of the family, along with their children. Divided from the "cearn," and often by a very slender partition, and as the last division of the tenement, was the cow-house (or byre) occupying at least 50 feet of the entire length.

The church was a low, ill-lighted, irregularly seated building thatched with a heather roof. The local scenery was grand and imposing, for Nature had done everything—Art nothing. The mountains rose up on every side, and presented their scathed and rocky summits to the clouds. Beneath was an oblong level, about ten miles in length and two in breadth, all of which could be taken in at a glance.

The lower part was occupied by an arm of the sea, which washed the bases of the mountains on the one side, and, on the other, flowed upon a shelving shore. The upper part presented a dark, heathy surface rising into detached eminences. The Carron, issuing from a lake at the upper extremity, divided the valley, and, after executing a few windings, emptied itself into the sea. On the north side of the sea-inlet, and in the background, Sguir a' Chaorachan and Glasbheinn presented their rugged and rocky fronts, forming an indented line on the horizon; and at their bases stood the humble dwelling of the minister and his hermitage-like church towards the east, and the ruins of the Castle of Strome to the west, surmounted by the mountains of Lochalsh and Skye. On the south side of the loch appeared an almost unbroken chain of eminences. Exactly opposite the manse, one opening between the mountains met the eye to the south, and looked into the romantic and beautifully-situated valley of Attadale.

On the 26th of October, 1729, my grandmother gave birth to her first child, a daughter, who was named Catherine. She was married about the age of twenty to Charles Gordon of Pulrossie, Sutherland-shire, by whom she had a numerous family. The early years of my grandfather's ministry were to him very disheartening. The parishioners, with the exception of one or two families, refused to attend his ministry; and not content with this negative opposition, the more desperate characters among them attacked him violently. After his settlement, to show their dislike, the people assembled every Lord's day in a plat of ground about twenty yards from the church door for the practice of athletic games. This unbecoming behaviour my grandfather had, during the early years of his ministry, to witness weekly. Of such impiety, however, he was not an uninterested spectator. Be watched his opportunity, and sought to gain the offenders, even using Paul's "craftiness" in his endeavours. He put himself in the way of some as they retired. With one he made a bargain that, if every Lord's day he came with his family to church, he would give him at the close of the service a pound of snuff. The agreement was made, and for the space of nearly a year was most scrupulously acted on by the minister and his parishioner. The minister regularly preached, the parishioner as regularly heard, and afterwards duly received his modicum of snuff. The poor man's hour came at last. My grandfather had preached a sermon from these words, "What shall it profit a man if he should," etc. When he thereafter went up to his pensioned hearer and reached out to him his usual allowance, the poor fellow turned away and burst into tears. "No, sir," said he, "I receive that no longer. Too long have 1 been hearing God's word for hire, to-day I have heard it to my condemnation." My grandfather exhorted and encouraged him, and lie ultimately became one of the best fruits of his ministry. It was to this very individual, when he became an aged and experienced Christian, that my grandfather, at a diet of catechising, put the question, "Where was God before he created the heavens and the earth?" "You have, sir," he solemnly replied, "put a question to me hard indeed to answer, and far above my comprehension; but where could God be before the heaven and the earth were, but wrapped up in his own eternal and untreated glory." The second anecdote is not quite so pleasing. On one of the Christmas holidays, which the Highlanders observed by assembling to today at club and shinty, he observed a body of young fellows approaching his dwelling. The road they took passed close by the manse, and led to a plain east of the church. The minister's domestics regarded with some suspicion the first part of them as they passed the manse. They looked at the roof and then at each other and passed on, some of them saying, loud enough to be heard, that, on their return, they would set the roof in a blaze, either to burn the Whig minister in his bed, or smoke him out in his shirt. The intelligence was communicated to my grandfather, and he acted with due precaution. 'towards evening, when the gamesters were about to close their sport, he went among them. " Well," said he, "lads, you have worked )Pretty hard for a dram." "And who would be such a good fellow," said one of them, "as to give us one." "You pass my house," said my grandfather, "as you go home; wait at the door, and I will give each of you bread and cheese, and a glass of whisky." The fellows said nothing, but, conscious of their evil intentions, exchanged with each other a. loo of self-reproach. Appearing at the manse door, each received his promised refreshment. They felt grateful, and the safety of the dwelling was secured. About the year 1731 matters got worse, insomuch that, despairing of being of any service in the parish, he, in the year just stated, petitioned the Presbytery of Gairloch for a translation. His petition gives a very gloomy view of the moral aspect of the parish. His life, he set forth, was in constant danger, and one family constituted his sole audience. His petition, however, was not granted. It was presented in a moment of despondency, which time and ministerial fidelity, under the divine blessing, subsequently cleared away.

On the 6th of February, 1734, Mary, his second daughter, was born. She married a respectable tenant at Kishorn, now a part of Applecross, but then in the parish of Lochcarron. When they were first married, her husband, Donald Kennedy, took the charge of a small farm which my grandfather then occupied, now the site of the large and populous village of Jeantown. This farm he managed till the death of his father. Towards the close •of a wet, cold, and protracted harvest, Donald Kennedy toiled from morning to night in securing his father-in-law's crop. In the evening my grandfather, after being closeted all day in his study, walked out to witness operations. He saw his son-in-law hard at work, and almost exhausted. "Well, Donald," he said, "you have been toiling hard all day, and you perhaps think that to promote the welfare of my family, you are sacrificing both yourself and your children; but be not discouraged; while you were working for me I was praying for you, and it is borne in upon me that neither you nor yours shall ever want all that is necessary for this life, nor a name and an inheritance in the church and in the country." [Their eldest son, Mr. Angus Kennedy, minister of Dornoch, to whom reference is afterwards made, married Isabella, daughter of Mr. George Rainy, minister of Creich. He was succeeded at Dornoch by his son, Mr. George Rainy Kennedy, who, in 1887, completed fifty years of a most useful and honoured ministry in that Parish.—Ed.]


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