Electric Scotland News
The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
The Celtic Monthly
The Southern States of America
War speech of a Highland chief
The Scottish-Canadian Newspaper (1890/1)
Scottish Catholics in Prince Edward Island
Scotland's Road of Romance
Drawing for Kids
History of Inverness County, Nova Scotia
Highlander and his Books
Wishing you all a Very Happy New Year
For our msn.com and hotmail.com subscribers I thought I'd try using a new
subject line this time around just to see if that gets around the filtering
process of Microsoft. Might not work but thought it would be worth a try.
Should you be one of those subscribers and get the newsletter I'd be pleased
to hear from you so I know if it worked :-)
Back home after my Christmas holiday in Toronto and a good time I had. Hope
you also had an enjoyable Christmas holiday :-)
A bit light on content this week due to my holiday but some good reading
none the less :-)
One problem to report to do with our Postcard site. I'm afraid the authors
of the program just can't get it to work with my Windows server and so for
the time being it just doesn't work. I have found a new postcard script
which seems to offer some good facilities so will try to get Steve to
install this and get it working for me. One advantage of this new program is
that you can actually send a complete card to someone which means they can
get it in their email without having to visit the site to view it. I have
noted of late that some postcard sites are actually spam sites and so many
folk are unwilling to visit a postcard web site for that reason. Hopefully
this will get around that problem.
ABOUT THE STORIES
Some of the stories in here are just parts of a larger story so do check out
the site for the full versions. You can always find the link in our "What's
New" section at the link at the top of this newsletter and pick up poems and
stories sent into us during the week from Donna, Margo, Stan, John and
THE FLAG IN THE WIND
Mind that The Flag is now in two sections (1) Political and (2) Cultural.
The political section is compiled this week by Jim Lynch and I note he is
talking about trams being re-introduced to Edinburgh. He might like to know
that Toronto has an excellent tram system and his concern about dodging
traffic when getting on and off are catered by laws that when the tram doors
open you are not allowed to pass until they shut again. Always happy to
advise Jim on these wee issues [grin]. Perhaps Edinburgh should be advised
to check out the Toronto folk to see how they do things?
I also noted a comment about the navigation system of the Trident missile. I
wonder if that is the same navigation that goes into the Cruise missile and
if it is then you may be interested to know that Canada makes the navigation
I also note an article about possible closures of many sub post offices and
John Swinney is talking about how this might affect Scotland. Part of what
he says is...
"Post offices perform a vital role in our communities. They are often the
hub of local activity. They can be a gathering point for local people. They
can be an essential link in maintaining the viability of the last shop in
the village or the only shop that provides a local service in urban
communities. Whether urban or rural these post offices are vital to the
health and wellbeing of countless communities.
"Scotland today has 1116 rural post offices, 343 urban post offices and 211
post offices in urban deprived areas providing a total of 1670 post offices
"In areas where post offices have already closed, over 80% of shops that
were associated with the post office closed as well. The impact of loss of
foot fall is significant and we must recognise if post offices close, other
shop and service facilities will close too.
Peter in his cultural section has given us a couple of appropriate New Year
quotes such as...
Rise up, guidwife, and shak your feathers,
And dinna think that we are beggars,
For we are bairnies come out to play,
Rise up and gie’s our Hogmanay.
(A rhyme chanted by bairns when guising at Hogmanay)
Robert Burns (1759-1796)
A Guid New-year I wish thee, Maggie!
Hae, there’s a ripp to thy auld baggie;
Tho’ thou’s howe-backet now, an’ knaggie,
I’ve seen the day,
Thou could hae gaen like ony staggie
Out owre the lay.
(The Auld Farmer’s New-Year Morning Salutation To His Auld Mare, Maggie – On
giving her the accustomed Ripp of Corn to Hansel in the New Year 1786)
Method: Preheat oven to 200 deg C/400 deg F/Gas 6. Stir the flour, sugar and
salt together, Rub in the margarine and mix to a stiff dough with the egg
and egg yolk. Turn on to a work surface and press into a flat cake. Cut into
quarters and divide each quarter into 5 pieces, rolling each piece into a
ball. Set 20 pieces on a greased baking tray. Bake for 15 minutes and allow
to cool. Sandwich the cakes in pairs using a stiff icing made by 1
dessertspoon water to 4oz of icing sugar. Make a thinner coating by adding 3
dessertspoons water to the remaining 4oz icing sugar. Dip the cakes in the
icing, removing the excess with a pastry brush. Roll in desiccated coconut
and leave icing to set. Makes 10.
The Scottish Nation
My thanks to Lora for transcribing these volumes for us. She is now in a
plaster cast which needs to remain until end of January. I did mention to
her that the plaster makes a great excuse to avoid any washing up :-)
Now onto the D's and added this week are Dunfermline, Dunkeld and Dunlop.
I was quite interested in the doings of the Dunfermline family and shows how
well travelled they were and their achievements were significant. Here is an
account of the first two Earls...
DUNFERMLINE, Earl of, a title in the Scottish peerage, now extinct,
conferred in 1606, on Alexander Seton, one of the most eminent lawyers of
his time, third son of George, sixth Lord Seton, and brother of Robert,
first earl of Winton, (see WINTON, Earl of] by Isobel, daughter of Sir
William Hamilton of Sanquhar. He was born about 1555. Originally intended
for the church, he went to Rome in his youth, and was admitted a student in
the college of Jesuits. In his sixteenth year he delivered, with great
applause, in the Pope’s chapel in the Vatican, in presence of Gregory the
Thirteenth and the assembled cardinals and prelates, an oration of his own
composition, ‘De Ascensione Domini.’ According to Spotswood, he took holy
orders and Scot of Scotstarvet, in his ‘Staggering State of Scots
Statesmen.’ says, that his chalice wherewith he said mass, at his return to
Scotland was sold in Edinburgh.
While at Rome he obtained from Queen Mary the priory of Pluscardine, of
which his father had been economus and commissioner, since 17th April 1561.
The establishment of the reformed religion in Scotland induced him to
abandon his design of continuing in the church, and betake himself to the
study of the civil law, and for that purpose he went to France, where he
remained for several years. On his return to Scotland he continued his legal
studies, and at length passed advocate. With King James the Sixth he was in
high favour, and on 27th January 1583, he was appointed one of the
extraordinary lords of session, when he took his seat on the bench by the
title of prior of Pluscardine. On 16th February 1587, he was appointed an
ordinary lord, when he assumed the title of Lord Urquhart.
He was elected president of the court, 27th May 1593, and the same year was,
by James’s queen, Anne of Denmark, on whom the temporal lordship had been
conferred, appointed heritable bailie of Dunfermline. On the 9th January
1596, he was nominated one of the eight commissioners of the treasury,
called from their number Octavians, but with his colleagues, he resigned
that unpopular office on the 7th January following. In consequence of his
partiality to his Roman Catholic kinsman, the earl of Huntly, he was cited
to appear before the Synod of Lothian. The Synod remitted him to the
commissioners of the church, to whom he cleared himself of the accusation.
He was one of the principal objects of popular fury in the well-known riot
of Edinburgh of December 17, 1596, and one of the conditions of pacification
proposed by the insurgents to James the Sixth, was that he and two others
named should “not be admitted to sit in council, at least when the cause of
religion and matters of the church are treated, seeing they are enemies to
the quietness thereof, and have, by their devices, raised the troubles that
presently do vex the same.” It was even proposed to excommunicate him.
Notwithstanding this, however, the citizens of Edinburgh elected him their
provost for nine successive years.
On 4th March 1597-8, he obtained a letter under the great seal, erecting the
barony of Fyvie into a free lordship, with the title of a lord of
parliament, and shortly after he was intrusted with the education of the
king’s second son, Prince Charles, afterwards Charles the First. On the 8th
February 1604 he was appointed vice-chancellor, and in the following July
one of the commissioners nominated by parliament to treat of a union then
projected between the kingdoms. The same year he was appointed high
chancellor of Scotland, and, on 4th March 1606, was created earl of
Dunfermline. He was admitted a member of the English privy council in 1609,
and was commissioner to the parliament holden at Edinburgh 24th October
1612, in which the obnoxious acts of the General Assembly of Glasgow in June
1610, were ratified, and the act of parliament of 1592, establishing
presbyterianism, was rescinded. He died at his seat of Pinkie, near
Musselburgh, which had been built by himself, 16th June 1622, in the 67th
year of his age. after an illness of fourteen days. Spotswood says of him
that “he exerted his place with great moderation, and to the contentment of
all honest men; he was ever inclining to the Roman faith, as being educated
at Rome in his younger years, but very observant of good order, and one that
hated lying and dissimulation, and above all things studied to maintain
peace and quietness.” [Spotswood’s History, p. 543.] Calderwood states “that
howsoever he was popishly disposed in his religion, yet he condemned many
abuses and corruptions in the Kirke of Rome. He was a good justicier,
courteous and humane both to strangers and to his own country people; but
noe good friend to the bishops.” [Calderwood’s History, v. vii. p. 548.]
He is said to have been a good scholar. Some fragments of his poetry are
still extant, particularly an epigram prefixed to Lesley’s History of
Scotland, and another addressed to Sir John Skene, on his publication of the
Regiam Majestatem. He is also the subject of one of Arthur Johnston’s
panegyrics. He was thrice married, first to Lilias, second daughter of
Patrick, third Lord Drummond, by whom he had six daughters; secondly, to
Grizel Leslie, fourth daughter of James, Master of Rothes, and by her he had
a son, Lord Fyvie, who died young, and a daughter; and, thirdly, to Margaret
Hay, sister of John, first earl of Tweeddale (who had married Lady Jean
Seton, a daughter of the chancellor) by whom he had, with two daughters, a
son, Charles, second earl of Dunfermline.
The second earl, a zealous adherent of the Covenant, was sent in June 1639,
from the Scots camp at Dunse law with the petition to Charles the First,
then with his army at the Bricks, about three miles from Berwick-on-Tweed,
which produced the short pacification of Dunse. In the following November,
after the sudden prorogation of the Scots parliament by the earl of Traquair,
the king’s commissioner, the earls of Dunfermline and Loudoun were
despatched by the estates to London, to vindicate the proceedings of the
assembly and the parliament, but they were denied access to the presence of
the king, and refused a hearing, on the pretext that they had not obtained
the permission of the lord high commissioner. He was also one of the
commissioners sent by parliament to London early in 1640. He returned in
May, and commanded a regiment in the Scots army which, under General Leslie,
crossed the Tweed to England on the 21st August of that year, and was
governor of Durham during the time it was occupied by them. In the following
October he was one of the eight Scots commissioners for the treaty of Rippon,
and a member of the sub-committee which afterwards concluded a peace at
London. While there, he obtained from Charles, on 21st June 1641, a lease of
the valuable abbacy of Dunfermline for three times nineteen years. On the
30th July he was again sent to London with the final instructions of
parliament to their commissioners. In November of the same year he was sworn
a privy councillor, and in 1642 he was appointed by the king high
commissioner to the General Assembly of the church of Scotland, which met at
St. Andrews in July of that year. He took an active part in the subsequent
transactions of that important period.
In January 1646 he was chosen one of the committee of the estates during the
interval between the sessions of parliament, and after the surrender of the
king to the Scots army he was at Newcastle with his majesty the same year,
and offered, along with the chancellor and the marquis of Argyle, to go to
London to treat with the parliament of England for a mitigation of the
articles proposed by them. As he supported the “Engagement” in 1648, for the
attempted rescue of the king, he was in consequence deprived by the act of
Classes. After the execution of the king, his lordship went to the continent
in April 1649, to wait on King Charles the Second, with whom he returned to
Scotland in 1650. He was admitted a member of the committee of estates, and
of the committee for managing the affairs of the army, and also commanded a
regiment of horse in the army levied to invade England under Charles the
Second. At the Restoration he was sworn a privy councillor. ON 2d November
1669, he was appointed an extraordinary lord of session, and chosen one of
the lords of the articles in the parliament which met that year. In 1671 he
was appointed lord privy seal. He died before 14th January 1673. He married
Lady Mary Douglas, third daughter of the earl of Morton, and had, with one
daughter, three sons; Alexander, third earl, who died soon after succeeding
to the title; the Hon. Charles Seton, killed in a sea-fight with the Dutch
in 1672; and James, fourth and last earl of Dunfermline.
The Celtic Monthly
A magazine for Highlanders
Added the July and August 1903 issues which contains...
July 1903 at
Rev. Robert Munro, The Martial Music of the Clans, GlenLyon, How Boy Beyond
found the Golden Beam, The Pass of the Shadow, Our Musical Page, The Legend
of Lorn, Clan Menzies Armorial Bearings, The Basileus of Britain, The Legend
of Lianachan or a story of the "Grey Hag", The MacLeans of Crossapol, Donald
Diabhul, Rhyming Place Names.
August 1903 at
The Late Donald N Nicol, An Old Graveyard, Alice Cameron, Inverness-Shire,
Legends of the Clan MacKay, Tour of His Excellency Field Marshall MacDonald,
The Closing Doors, The Last Evening in the Highlands, Clan Menzies Armorial
Bearings, The Duart Coat of Arms, Sithichean Shelia, The Martial Music of
the Clans, The Pass of the Shadow, The "Colquhouns Peabroch", The "Nether
The Southern States of America
Published in 1909.
Now completed the History of Maryland and have now started on the History of
Kentucky and here is how this account starts...
KENTUCKY A PART OF VIRGINIA, 1606 - 1792.
Finding of Kentucky
THE early explorers of this continent gave the name of Virginia to all that
vast region lying along the Atlantic coast and of undefined boundary on the
west, which, in the era of territorial acquisition in the New World, was
claimed by England.
On April 10, 1606, the first English charter for the establishment of
colonies in North America was signed by King James I. This grant provided
for the founding of two colonies, but for the purposes of this article one
only, the "Southern," need be mentioned. It was to be planted anywhere
between 34 and 41 degrees of N. latitude, and to extend fifty miles north
and fifty south of the spot first chosen for settlement, and fifty miles
In 1609 this charter was amended and the boundaries of the colony enlarged.
They were to extend 200 miles north and 200 miles south of Old Point
Comfort, at the mouth of the James River, and "up into the land from sea to
Col. Reuben T. Durret in his address delivered June 1, 1892, at the
celebration of the centenary of Kentucky, furnished an exhaustive and
interesting account of the explorations beyond the mountains.
"Two explorers," he said, "of different nationalities, but in pursuance of
the same wild hope of a waterway across the continent to the Pacific,
discovered Kentucky almost at the same time. They were Capt. Thomas Batts, a
Virginian of whom nothing but this discovery is known, and Robert Cavalier
de La Salle, whose explorations in America made him known in both
hemispheres In 1671, Gen. Abraham Wood, by the authority of Governor
Berkeley, sent Capt. Thomas Batts with a party of explorers to the west of
the Appalachian Mountains in search of a river leading to China. The journal
of their route is rendered obscure by meagre description and the changes of
the country and the names since it was written, but it is possible that they
went to the Roanoke, and, ascending to its head waters, crossed over to the
sources of the Kanawha, which they descended to its falls. Whether they
wandered southward to the Big Sandy and crossed over into Kentucky we cannot
determine from their journal; but whether they did so or not, they were in
that part of Virginia of which Kentucky was a part, and their discoveries
would open the way to the one as well as to the other.
"Less doubtfully connected with the discovery of Kentucky is the name and
fame of La Salle, one of the greatest explorers of the Seventeenth century.
. . . At the age of twenty-three he came to America to devote his great
enthusiasm and indomitable energy to the solution of the problem of a great
transcontinental river running towards China.
In 1669 some Seneca Indians hastened his plans by telling him that there was
a river that rose in their country and wound its way southward and westward
to the distant sea. This was evidently extending the Allegheny, the Ohio,
and the Mississippi into one great river, and it so fired the imagination of
La Salle that he at once began preparations to explore it. He entered the
Alleghany by a tributary near its source, and followed it and the Ohio
through the wild forests on their banks until he reached the falls where
Louisville now stands. In making this long journey he was the discoverer of
Kentucky from the Big Sandy to the rapids of the Ohio."
Almost another century elapsed after the discoveries of Batts and La Salle
before authentic information about this territory was obtained. In July,
1749, the Virginia Council authorized the Loyal Company to enter and survey
800,000 acres of the public lands of Virginia, upon which families should be
settled. These lands were to be located north of the line dividing Virginia
and North Carolina, and to extend westward. Dr. Thomas Walker was selected
by the Company to locate these lands.
With a party of five men he began his journey into the wilderness on March
16, 1750. Having crossed the valleys of the Clinch and Powell rivers, as
they were afterwards called, he came to that branch of the Appalachian range
which he named, and -which is now called, the Cumberland Mountains. He
bestowed the same appellation on the river flowing along its northwestern
slope. Skirting the mountains to find an opening, he entered what is now
Kentucky through Cumberland Gap.
Ascending the Cumberland River to a point near the site of the present town
of Barbourville, Walker erected on the northwest side of the river a
log-house twelve by eight feet in dimensions, which he hoped would be the
headquarters of a future settlement. Clearing a small plot of ground around
this cabin, be planted corn and peach stones. This little cabin was finished
April 15, 1750, and "was," says Colonel Durrett, "the first house built in
Kentucky by white men."
The Ohio Company had also been authorized to locate 500,000 acres on both
sides of the Ohio River and settle families thereon. Christopher Gist was
appointed its agent to select these lands. He entered the designated
territory at a point opposite the mouth of the Scioto on March 13, 1751,
ascended the Licking river, crossed to the headwaters of the Kentucky and
came out by way of Cumberland Gap.
The time, however, was unpropitious for such enterprises and neither company
was a financial success. The Loyal Company surveyed 201,554 acres of its
grant, and was allowed title to 45,390 acres. The Ohio Company located
200,000 acres on the Licking River, but the scheme to settle families on
these lands failed utterly. The French and Indian War, the King's
proclamation, issued in 1763, forbidding settlement on lands beyond the
sources of rivers flowing into the Atlantic Ocean, and finally the
Revolutionary War effectually interfered with it.
But the time was coming when a very different character of exploration was
to be inaugurated. The day of curious or scientific exploration, or that
attempted in the interest of chartered companies, intent on "gainful"
investment, was past. Men like Walker and Gist were to be succeeded by men
like Boone and Kenton. Henceforth the wilderness was to be penetrated, as it
was finally to be conquered, by the hardy and adventurous "pioneer." White
men, almost as restless and tameless in temper as the Indian himself, were
about to enter the forests of this much-coveted region. This class of
explorers meant really to settle; to clear away a part of the dense woodland
and make themselves abodes; and they sought fertile lands and pleasant
waters, so that plenty and comfort might dwell with them in their future
homes. But they were hunters rather than husbandmen; they expected to live
rather by the chase than by the cultivation of the soil. An abundance of
game was the chief desideratum, and their first duty the defense of
themselves and families against the savage. Originally their habitations and
the "stations" - the small collections of cabins established for mutual
protection-were widely separated. But immigration poured in with a rapidity
which, under the circumstances, was marvelous; so that in less than a
quarter of a century after actual settlement began the population was
sufficiently numerous to form another commonwealth to be admitted into the
The inevitable conflict between France and England for supremacy upon this
continent was at hand - the struggle that was to determine which should rule
it and the character of its future institutions.
England was looking inland from the frontiers of her colonies along the
Atlantic coast, and claiming an immense realm, comparatively little of which
had been explored. The people of those colonies felt in full vigor the
spirit which had impelled their fathers to seek fortune and empire beyond
the seas. The ancestral instinct of emigration had been strengthened and
stimulated by generations of life in the New World.
The Crown and the councils might strive to confine its manifestations within
certain limits, but royal proclamations were of slight avail against an
impulse as general as it was natural. Not even a king's edict could hold
back the host of dauntless "Knights-errant of the Woods," whom neither
danger nor distance, toil nor any hardship could appal.
While French settlement in North America was begun even earlier than the
English, the French evinced neither such aptitude for the work of
colonization, nor the same energy and persistency in its prosecution as did
their rivals. In 1512, soon after Cartier had sailed along the mainland of
Canada and into the estuary of the St. Lawrence, Roberval established the
first French settlement. Quebec was not founded until 1608. Immigration to
these colonies was slow, and when, in 1754, the final grapple between the
rival powers came, the total number of white inhabitants in the French
possessions in America was less than 100,000, while the English colonies
numbered more than 1,000,000.
Nevertheless France entertained the hope of complete dominion upon the
continent, and at an early date prepared to secure military control of it.
In 1673 Marquette and Joliet descended the Mississippi River to the mouth of
the Arkansas. The geographical information furnished by Marquette's
expedition turned La Salle from his chimerical quest for the river flowing
to China to one worthier of his genius and enthusiasm. He conceived the idea
of establishing French rule and directing French immigration throughout the
vast territory lying along the Mississippi and its tributary waters. In 1678
he was commissioned to complete the explorations begun by Marquette. He
followed the great stream to its mouth and reached the Gulf of Mexico in the
spring of 1682.
The almost boundless domain stretching the entire length of the Mississippi
and extending to the mouth of the St. Lawrence was now christened New
France, and France made ready to maintain her claim to that part of it which
would certainly be disputed.
A chain of French forts and military posts was established at points of
immediate strategic value, but apparently future commercial possibilities
were considered in their selection. Important cities -Toledo, Detroit, Fort
Wayne, Vincennes, Natchez -have been built on the sites so chosen.
The surveys made by the Ohio Company, and which were deemed an intrusion
into French territory, probably precipitated hostilities. Regular troops
were employed on both sides in this war, but the larger number of the
combatants were the Indian allies of the French and the British colonial
militia. The war terminated in 1760 with the fall of Quebec and Montreal,
and France was compelled to surrender all the disputed territory and both
War speech of a Highland chief
Got in this from “The Celtic Magazine” February 1879 By Alexander Logan and
thanks to Airson Alba Rabhairt for sending this in.
The foe is advancing; make ready, brave men!
Arise every son of the mountain and glen !
Rush on to the combat, and let the knaves ken
We’re sons of the soul –rousing thistle !
Rush on like the foam-crested billows that roar,
When lashing with fury our wild rocky shore !
The dear ones defending ye love and adore-
Heap fame on the soul- rousing thistle !
Rush on like the light’ning and thunder of heaven,
When mountains majestic asunder are riven !
And give them the welcome your fathers have given
A’ foes of the soul-rousing thistle !
To tyrants bend never; our banner’s unfurl’d,
A streamer of glory it waves o’er the world;
Though army on army against us be hurl’d,
Stand fast for the soul-raising thistle !
Now clansmen, for freedom, your claymores unsheath,
Wave, wave them on high o’er the dark purple heath,
Add laurels unrivall’d to honours bright wreath,
Staunch sons of the soul-raising thistle !
Then on, my blue bonnets, to deaths gory stage;
And carve this proud motto on liberty’s page_
“we’ll hand down, unblemished, to each rolling age,
The glorious soul-rousing thistle.
Scottish Canadian Newspaper
This is the weekly newspaper that I acquired a years issues of. Some pages
are missing but not a lot so hopefully you'll enjoy reading this. Due to the
size of this newspaper I have no option but to photograph each page and post
it up as a picture.
Scottish Catholics in Prince Edward Island
Memorial Volume 1772 - 1922.
We've almost completed this book with one more chapter to go. Here is
Chapter 22 to read here...
Whilst our thoughts thus go back to the early days of our Country, and
lovingly dwell upon the coming of our forefathers, it is right that we
glance over present conditions, and endeavor to understand the relationship
that should exist between the Scottish Catholic celebration of 1922 and the
future of our Country as a whole. It was not for idle show, nor to indulge a
feeling of empty vanity that the movement was projected. It was rather to
give practical expression to the feelings of gratitude, that dwell in the
hearts of the present generation, and at the same time to teach the lesson
that no people, who hope to live in history can afford to leave in oblivion
the memory of those, whose early sacrifices prove the foundation of their
A country without monuments is often a country without real national
ambition. It is lacking in at least one of the strongest incentives, that go
to create an active public spirit; and perhaps this is the reason, so many
of the present generation in Prince Edward Island are so slow in assuming
the burden of true citizenship, and in contributing according to their
opportunities, towards the upbuilding of our common country. Monuments serve
an excellent purpose in this regard. They reflect the glories of the past;
they fire the enthusiasm of the present; they furnish lofty ideals begotten
of what is best and noblest in our history, and stimulate to greater
achievements by the example of those, whose names enshrined in stone and
marble bid defiance to time and change.
"For to live in hearts we leave behind is not to die."
This is as yet a new country, comparatively speaking, and with the exception
of the family headstones that deck our cemeteries, we are a people
practically without monuments. Until latter years our people were so
engrossed with the cares and difficulties of making a living, that they had
little time to give to recording or commemorating the deeds of the past. But
now, that a brighter era has dawned and easier circumstances prevail, it is
right and just that they should turn their minds to a consideration of the
various agencies, that have conspired to bring about the material and social
development that obtains in the country at the present day; and in this way
they will naturally be moved to revere the memory of the men and women of
the past, whose whole-souled devotedness and spirit of sacrifice made
present conditions possible. Theirs it was to fell the forest, and clear the
land amid circumstances that to a weaker race would have been intolerable;
and surely it is the bounden duty of those, who reap in comfort the harvest
they sowed amid incredible privations, to cherish their fair fame, and to
see to it that their memory shall not fade from the land, that owes so much
to their generous sacrifices.
Scotland's Road of Romance
Travels in the footsteps of Prince Charlie by Augustus Muir (1937).
Now up to chapter 10 and here is a bit from it to read here...
WITH an early start next morning I had hoped to cross the Corrieyairack Pass
and be down at the hamlet of Laggan Bridge in Badenoch by nightfall. But by
a pleasant series of events, I became the guest at the monastery in Fort
Augustus, and I remained there for several days, living in a monk's cell
above the Cloister.
It was one of the most fortunate things in all my journey ; and it came
about thus. Under the control of the Father Abbot there is a College with
several lay masters. As I entered the village, I remembered I had met one of
them in the South, and I thought how greatly I would like to renew our
acquaintance. Douglas was his name ; he was a young man, with a fine gift of
quiet and entertaining talk ; and he was both a Marian and a Janeite. But
his admiration for Jane Austen was a mere whimsey compared with his
enthusiasm for Mary Queen of Scots, and when he spoke of John Knox his eye
scattered battles. We had talked far into the night about Mary, and I
decided to remind him of our meeting in the South, and to ask if he could
get me permission to see something of the monastery.
As I have already said, I was brought up from my earliest days as a
Protestant: a rampant Protestant. In my youth I had a vague idea that the
Jesuits were a secret society with a Black Pope at their head, that they
worked in strange channels, and gained their ends by machinations not unlike
those of international crooks in detective stories. Naturally, this gave the
very name Jesuit a glamour for me, and it cast upon the Catholic faith and
everything connected with it an air of romance and mystery. In my young days
I had always thought of a monastery as a place like those gloomy castles
described so shudderingly by Mrs. Radcliffe in The Mysteries of Udolpho - a
place with secret passages, and shadowy figures in black cowls, and strange
religious rites being performed in a darkened chapel at midnight. Thus when
I entered the monastery grounds, all my early impressions rose up within me,
as early impressions will do until a man's dying day; and as I made for the
doorway under the arches, I felt as if I were approaching the grim portals
of Horace Walpole's Castle of Otranto. It was with some trepidation that I
rang the bell.
There was a long pause. At last the door opened, and there stood before me a
monk with a magnificent grey beard. He wore a black habit, with a tiny black
skull-cap upon his head, and he had large clear grey eyes and the smooth
complexion of a child. This was certainly not the gaunt and pallid figure I
had expected to greet me; and when I asked how I could get in touch with my
friend in the College, I was relieved by his amiable reply. He led me round
by the gravel path outside to another part of that intricate mass of
buildings, and asked me to wait in the big vestibule. A few minutes later,
the young man I had met in the South came hurrying downstairs. He said he
remembered me quite well, and he took me up to his room, where we talked for
nearly an hour about my journey, and then he asked if I would care to see
over the monastery. Presently, to my great satisfaction, he returned with
permission to show me round. "The monks are going to Vespers now," he said,
"so we won't be interfering with any of their duties."
The first place he led me to was the Catacomb Chapel, with its low vaulted
roof and red-brick floor. The Abbey had been built upon the foundations of
the old military Fort, and this chapel was one of the guard-rooms. In an
alcove stands a stone lamp found in the catacombs at Rome; and in caskets
there are relics of various saints, some of them the gift of Pope Leo XIII,
and they include a piece of bone from the body of St. Clemens, who was a
companion of St. Paul. Like Paul, he wrote an Epistle to the Corinthians,
although it is not included in the Holy Writ, and the only manuscript of it
is now in the British Museum. The paintings on the walls of this chapel, I
learned, were done by one of the present monks who had been an artist before
he took vows; and this led my friend to describe something of the life of
the community in the Abbey.
Each day is divided by a rigid time-table of duties. At half-past four in
the morning the monks rise from sleep, and between five and six hours of the
day are spent in prayer and religious devotions. This is an essential part
of the Benedictine Rule, a rule that has lasted for fourteen hundred years.
In addition to his religious exercises, each monk has certain tasks to
perform, and the nature of his work depends upon his talents. Some are
musicians, some teach in the College, some are historians and work in the
Library or Scriptorium, and one of the Fathers attends to the financial
affairs of the community. As far as it is possible, the monastery is
self-supporting: lay brethren in the bakery and kitchen prepare the food ;
some are stone-masons and carpenters, and keep the buildings in good repair;
some are printers, and produce books and pamphlets, as well as the Corbie,
an excellent magazine issued by the College. Some of the lay brethren are
gardeners, some electricians. Indeed, the village of Fort Augustus is lit by
the monastery powerhouse, the current for which is carried down half a mile
from a little mountain stream, and this plant was the first of its kind in
the Highlands. From half-past four in the morning until the day's end, the
monastery bells ring out an old tune from an invocation to St. Benedict and
mark the hours for devotion and labour. All this my friend told me as we
stood in the tiny Catacomb Chapel where the feet of Cumberland's soldiers
had tramped during the dark days after Culloden.
"Perhaps you would care to meet Father Placid," said my companion. "He's in
charge of the Library, and is interested in the 'Forty-five. I've been given
permission to take you into the Cloister."
He led me down a passage, opened a door through which no woman visitor may
go, and I stepped into the monks' quarters. Below one of the arches I could
see the grassy courtyard that is enclosed on its four sides by the monastery
buildings, and we walked slowly round to the Library, a noble chamber with
archways leading to three other rooms beyond. I suppose there are thirty or
forty thousand volumes stored around those walls, besides many precious
manuscripts, Lives of the Fathers, books of theology, philosophy, science,
archaeology; and the historical section at the far end I found to be a
treasure-house of good and rare things. Many of the books had been bound in
the monastery; it was obvious that they were attended to with loving care;
and even the floor of the Library shone like old and well-kept pewter. My
friend from the College had left me to browse alone for a little while, and
when he returned he was accompanied by Father Placid himself; who told me
that I might (if I so desired) pay my respects to the Father Abbot.
In the monastery the Father Abbot is in supreme control. No bishop or
archbishop may command him: only to the President of the Benedictine
Congregation is he responsible. So I was told when I was taken upstairs, and
I entered his quarters with awe. The room into which I was ushered was small
and rather bare, with no carpet on the floor. Beside the narrow white bed
was the desk at which the Father Abbot himself sat working. There was a
quality in his handclasp, and in the expression of his dark hazel eyes
behind the double-lenses of his spectacles, which I' am sure would have made
a Hottentot, far less a heretic, feel that he was welcome. We talked at a
window which looked down across the graveyard to which each monk at the end
of his days is carried by his chanting brethren, and beyond that green place
with its yew trees are the waters of the largest inland loch in Britain. We
talked about all kinds of things, but mostly history and religion-these all
too briefly-and about the journey I was making on foot across Scotland. I
entered the room as a stranger: I left it, to my surprise and delight, a
guest of the community, with permission to take up my quarters in the
monastery and rest there for a few days.
Until comparatively recent years, farming operation in the County of
Inverness were necessarily crude. The majority of our pioneer farmers had no
opportunities for agricultural training in the parent land. Rack-rent,
feudal laws and indifferent soil, reduced them to a state of living "from
hand to mouth." Many of them took to fishing and other callings rather than
depend on tilling the ground as lessees in summer. When they came here, the
work that awaited them was the removal of the forest. That was heavy manual
labor for which they were well fitted; but after the forest was cleared
skill and method were called for. Our forefathers possessed neither in any
advanced form. There were two reasons why they did not farm scientifically.
Firstly, they knew not how; secondly, there was no inducement for them so to
do. They were frozen out from all the world's markets.
It is fairly correct to say that, before the advent of railways, Inverness
had no means of transportation, and no home markets. Consequently, the old
farmers had no object in raising more than was actually needed for the
upkeep of their families. Fortunately, their cash calls were few, consisting
chiefly of "the taxes," Church dues, and the Schoolmaster's pay. The only
places where the farmers of this County could, in the olden times, convert
any of their products into cash were the islands of St. Pierre et Miquelon,
and St. John's Newfoundland. The shipping thither from these shores was
quite sufficiently interesting to merit a remark here. At a somewhat early
date Mr. Hubert, a Jerseyman, conducted a large general business at Arichat.
Thither, especially in Winter, farmers from the South-Western and Western
side of Inverness, often went with farm products to barter for goods
required in their homes.
Shipping day was an event. It drew the whole countryside. A group of farmers
had chartered a thirty ton French schooner, which was standing off half a
mile from the shore. The export cargo was to be loaded by means of fishing
boats propped up on the beach, as far from the tide as they could be pulled.
Now, these boats were to be released for special duty, and pulled back into
the sea by sheer strength of muscle. A stalwart crew was assigned to each.
Then the owners of the cargo waded out to the boats with tubs of butter,
bags of wool, geese, pigs, sheep and lambs, all of which were deposited in
the waiting open boats.
Highlander and his Books
Frank has sent in a book review on "The English Poetry of Robert Burns".
Here is how it starts...
Few topics on Robert Burns attract my attention as much as those who try to
anglicize his writings. It always reminds me of the famous correspondence
between Burns and Dr. John Moore. It was Moore who urged Burns to
concentrate on English since so few could understand the Scottish dialect.
Thank goodness Burns turned a deaf ear to Moore and the others who
criticized him for not writing in English.
In 1892, Alexander Corbet wrote a little book entitled Burns in English
which was composed of select poems of Burns translated from the Scottish
dialect into… you guessed it…English. I’ve never seen Corbet’s book quoted
in any of the 900+ books I have on Burns that I have either read or
referenced. Others have translated Burns into English with the same result.
As my Mama used to say, “Some folks just won’t leave well enough alone!”
Now, a very sweet, knowledgeable, and interesting Scottish lady, Eileen
Doris Bremner from Inverurie in Scotland’s Aberdeenshire comes along and
turns the table on all of these writers who want to translate Burns into
English. She applied a simple solution to what many had obviously overlooked
and made a lot more difficult than necessary. Eileen did her research,
determined that Burns himself had “written over a hundred poems in pure
English”, and she selected 42 of them for her wee book, being adamant about
not leaving out any of the verses. Some of us may tend to get a little
restless sometimes in church when all verses are sung in the hymns,
particularly if they have five or six. Take my word for it, those who love
Burns or want to learn more about Burns will not get restless reading all
the verses of these poems, mainly because they will understand them!
Wishing you all a Very Happy New Year
As you likely don't know what to do with yourself during this festive season
here is a wee jigsaw for you to try...
ELECTRIC SCOTLAND ADVERTISING
With Electric Scotland's new site design it is now possible for you to
advertise your company on all 150,000+ pages of our site. Email address and
contact information can be found at
GET YOUR OWN EMAIL ACCOUNT @electricscotland.com
For only $10.00 per year you can have your own email account @electricscotland.com
with both POP3 and Web Access. For more details see
CHANGE YOUR SETTINGS OR UNSUBSCRIBE
To manage your subscription or unsubscribe visit
http://www.electricscotland.com/maillist.htm and select "Manage
Subscriptions" at the foot of the Application box.
This comment system requires
you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an
account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or
Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these
companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All
comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator
has approved your comment.