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Weekly Mailing List Archives
9th March 2007


It's your Electric Scotland newsletter meaning the weekend is nearly here :-)

You can view what's new this week on Electric Scotland at http://www.electricscotland.com/update.html  and you can unsubscribe to this newsletter by clicking on the link at the foot of this newsletter.

See our Calendar of Scottish Events around the world at http://www.electricscotland.com/familytree/calendar_help.htm 

CONTENTS
-----------------
Electric Scotland News
The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
The Celtic Monthly
The Southern States of America
History of Inverness County, Nova Scotia
Scots Minstrelsie
Scottish Canadian Newspaper
The Greatness and Decline of the Celts
Poems and Stories
Sketches of the Wild Sports & Natural History of the Highlands (New Book)
Scotland in the Middle Ages
Clan Newsletters
My Canadian Journal
Buddhism in Scotland
The Highland Targe
Gardening article


ELECTRIC SCOTLAND
---------------------------------
I was away to Toronto this week attending a meeting with the Scottish Studies Foundation and Society. As well as other things being discussed we were of course talking about the Tartan Day Dinner in Toronto on 18th April. You can book your tickets online at http://www.scottishstudies.com/950tartanday07.htm

This event is always well attended and everyone enjoys it so if you are near Toronto do try and come :-)

I headed out on Tuesday and got back around 4pm on Thursday so lots to do now I've got back. I have arranged to get a copy of the History of Scotland by Tytler which is a 6 volume set. The historians I have spoken to all seem to agree that this is the best of the histories of Scotland and so it should add good quality content to the site. I have noted there are numerous footnotes in this publication so will likely scan them in as Adobe acrobat files.

I will be starting a couple of new books next week both on the Scots-Irish in America. One is a short book giving us an overview and the other is about the First Congress of the Scots-Irish in America in May, 1889. Hope you'll enjoy these. I am also looking at starting the book "Romance of War or The Highlanders in Spain" which I think will provide some interesting insights into that time period.


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 others.


THE FLAG IN THE WIND
------------------------------------
Mind that The Flag is now in two sections (1) Political and (2) Cultural.

It's Ian Goldie's turn this week and amongst other articles he includes some heavy statistics on how the various European countries fair when it comes to Economic and Social life. An interesting read.

In Peter's cultural section it's kind of him to acknowledge our own 10th anniversary and he talks about the 721st anniversary of the death of Alexander III which deserves to be read again...

This week, as we approach the 721st anniversary of the death of Alexander III, King of Scots and the end of the period known as ‘The Golden Age’, we reprint an article which appeared on Electric Scotland. We also extend congratulations to Alastair McIntyre on reaching the tenth anniversary of his splendid Electric Scotland website.

The Golden Age

In Scotland the 19th of March 1286, after a stormy night gave way to a Spring-like day with no sign of any further storm. At Dunbar Castle, Earl Patrick and his household dismissed the prophesy, made the previous evening by Thomas of Erchildoun, Thomas the Rhymer, that –

“Alas for the morrow, day of misery and calamity! Before the hour of noon there will assuredly be felt such a mighty storm in Scotland that its like has not been known for long ages past. The blast of it will cause nations to tremble, will make those who hear it dumb, and will humble the high, and lay the strong level with the ground.”

As noon approached Earl Patrick and his household, having watched the sky all morning for the prophesied storm, dismissed Thomas the Rhymer’s warning and went in to dinner. They had barely sat down as the clock pointed to noon when a messenger knocked on the Castle gate demanding entrance to see the Earl. He was admitted and gave his urgent news –

“News”, he said, ”I have indeed, and evil news, which the whole realm of Scotland will mourn; for alas! its noble King ended his life yesternight at Kinghorn: and this I am come to tell you.”

The Earl Patrick rose and smote his breast, acknowledging that indeed Thomas of Erchildoun was all too true a prophet. Indeed as the messenger said all Scotland would mourn the loss of Alexander III, whose death marked the end of the direct line of Scottish Kings descended from Kenneth MacAlpine. His death marked a turning point in Scottish History and his reign was to be seen by future generations, poets and historians, as ‘The Golden Age’.

Alexander III had succeeded his father, Alexander II, in 1249 at the age of seven. At fifteen he took over the reins of government from his Regents and proved to be a wise and capable King. He acted, much in the way of a modern President or Prime Minister, in binding the Nation together, building upon the foundations laid by his father. He presided over a Scotland largely at peace, and with peace came prosperity and an expansion of the Burghs and trade. Indeed Berwick alone, the chief Scottish Burgh of Alexander’s day, had customs equal to a quarter of all the customs of England. The whole Nation prospered as never before.

No King of Scots, before or since, ever did more for the welfare of his realm. He was known as ‘The Peaceable’ because apart from freeing the Hebrides from Norse rule he led his people into no war. Thanks to Alexander peace with Scotland’s larger and more powerful neighbour England was maintained.

He firmly believed in the Independence of Scotland and of the Scots. He successfully withstood false claims of sovereignty by England, both by his father-in-law Henry III and his brother-in-law Edward I.

The years of peace and rising prosperity gave Scotland, a foundation of unity, and a feeling of Scottishness and a spirit that she never had before. If after his untimely death, William Wallace and Andrew de Moray rallied a Nation against English oppressors, and Robert I was able to regain Scottish Independence, it was Alexander III who had made that Nation and made his fellow Scots realise the need for a separate Scotland.

On the 18th of March 1286 that Independence was not threatened. Alexander was in good health and firmly in control. That fateful day he held council in Edinburgh Castle, debating a reply to an embassy from the English King Edward I, a debate that went on until late in the afternoon. Alexander was said to be in good humour at the conclusion of the meeting and after eating he set off in the evening to return to Fife where his second wife, of six months, Yolande, awaited his return.

His nobles tried to persuade him to stay in Edinburgh, as it was an evening of stormy weather, bitterly cold with a strong wind from the north bearing rain and snow. But the King was determined to return to Kinghorn and rode to Queensferry. There the Ferryman tried to persuade him not to cross the gurlie waters of the Forth but to no avail. In an eight-oar ferry Alexander made a slow crossing of the Firth of Forth, as the oarsmen struggled against the elements. Eventually Alexander III and three esquires arrived at the Fife Burgh of Inverkeithing.

In a pit-mirk night, which was so dark that the Inverkeithing Saltmaster only recognised his King by his voice, his pleas to travel no further were rejected by Alexander. The King was determined to finish his journey and asked for two guides. Off they rode but in the darkness the King and his companions were separated and as he pressed onwards alone, and almost at his destination, Alexander’s horse stumbled in the sand and threw him to his death.

His body was found in the morning and messengers dispatched with the sad news .His death was indeed mourned all over his Kingdom, as Alexander the Peaceable was held in such high esteem and love by his fellow Scots.

With the long and bloody Wars of Independence which followed his death, it is little wonder that Scots would look back on Alexander’s reign as ‘The Golden Age’ and remember the canto, by an unknown hand, recorded in Wynton’s Chronicle –

Quhen Alysandyr oure Kyng wes dede,
That Scotland led in luve and le,
Away wes sons off ale and brede,
Off wyne and wax, off gamyn and gle;

Oure gold wes changyd in to lede.
Cryst, borne in to Vyrgynyte,
Succoure Scotland and remede,
That stad [is in] perplexyte.

Seven hundred years on, Scots still look back for inspiration to Alexander’s Golden Age, when Scotland was Independent and prosperous, for as the Historian James Halliday has written “Scotland’s luck died with Alexander at Kinghorn and never the slightest whiff of good fortune was to come the way of the Scottish people for the next seven centuries.”

The Golden Age is still remembered. Every March Scots gather at the memorial to Alexander III, which stands between Burntisland and Kinghorn in Fife, to pay tribute to his achievements.

The 2007 commemoration and wreath-laying will be held on Sunday 25 March at 3pm – all welcome.

Dates play a major part in the cultural section of The Flag as it starts with the ever-expanding Scottish History time-line under ‘Notable Dates’. Our recipe this week concerns a totally different kind of date – one that you can chew rather than try to remember!

Date Chews

Ingredients: 6 oz plain flour; 3oz coconut; 6 oz chopped dates; 6 oz caster sugar; 1 egg; 3 oz margarine; 1 rounded dessertspoon syrup

Method: Preheat oven Gas Mark 3. Sift flour then stir in coconut and dates. Melt sugar, margarine and syrup in a pan, stirring over a gentle heat. Beat into dry ingredients with beaten egg. Bake for 45 minutes in a Swiss roll tin, Cut into squares when still warm.

You can read the Flag, listen to the Scots Language, enjoy the Scots Wit and lots more at http://www.scotsindependent.org

You can view MSP Linda Fabiani's weekly diary at http://www.electricscotland.com/history/fabiani/index.htm 
Email Linda at Linda.fabiani.msp@scottish.parliament.uk

We did get in a two week diary entry since the last newsletter :-)


The Scottish Nation
----------------------------
My thanks to Lora for transcribing these volumes for us.

Now moved onto the F's and added this week are Forman, Forrest, Forrester and Forret.

Here is how the Forrester entry starts...

FORRESTER, a surname of great antiquity, originally derived from the office of keeper of the king’s forests, as appears from their armorial bearings, hunting horns. There was an ancient family of this name, designed of Renton, in Berwickshire, which several centuries since terminated in an heiress, who married Elim of Elimford. From the latter family the estate again passed with another heiress to the Homes. [Nisbet’s Heraldry, vol. i. p. 432.] From another old family of the name, Forrester of Carden in Stirlingshire, the Forresters of Denovan were descended. A son of one of the Forresters of Carden married about 1496 the heiress of Strathenries of that ilk, and the estate continued in the name of Forrester till the reign of King Charles the Second, when a younger son of Douglas of Kirkness married the heiress, and got the lands. In the reigns of Charles the Second and James the Seventh, a Sir Andrew Forrester was under secretary of state.
_____

FORRESTER, Lord, a title in the Scottish peerage, now merged by marriage in the English family of Grimston, earl of Verulam and Viscount Grimston. The immediate ancestor of the Lords Forrester was Sir Adam Forrester, a wealthy burgess of Edinburgh, who, in the reign of King David Bruce, in 1365, obtained a charter, under the great seal, of lands at Whitburn, in the constabulary of Linlithgow, with remainder to his heirs male, &c., and in 1370, during the reign of the same monarch, on the resignation of William de Seton, received another charter of lands at Nudriff or Niddery, in the same constabulary, with like remainder. He was possessed of an immense estate, having got from King Robert the Second no less than six charters, under the great seal, of different lands and baronies, and is supposed to have acquired the greater part of his fortune by trading with England. In the Rotuli Scotiae we find a license granted to him to bring grain into Scotland, without payment of duty. In 1373 he was provost of Edinburgh, and in 1382 sheriff of Lothian. The barony of Corstorphine near Edinburgh, which became the chief designation of his family, he acquired in 1376 from Gilchrist More, brother of Sir William More of Abercorn. On the accession of Robert the Third, in 1390, Sir Adam was appointed lord privy seal, and between the years 1391 and 1404 he was employed no less than seven times in negociating treaties between England and Scotland. In 1402 he was present at the battle of Homildon Hill, where he was taken prisoner, and, with several others, was presented to King Henry the Fourth, in full parliament, when he made a speech showing the advantages of a solid and durable peace between the two kingdoms. He was soon exchanged, and in 1405 became depute chamberlain of the southern division of the kingdom, under the earl of Buchan, eldest son of the regent Robert Duke of Albany. He died the same year, and was buried in the chapel of St. John the Baptist at Corstorphine. He was twice married; first, to Agnes, daughter of John Dundas of Fingask; and, secondly, to a lady whose Christian name was Margaret, but whose surname is not known, and had two sons.

Sir John Forrester, the elder son, in 1407 got a charter from the regent Robert duke of Albany, of the barony of Uchtertyre in Stirlingshire. He succeeded his father in the office of depute chamberlain of the southern division of the kingdom. After 1408 he acted as depute chamberlain of the whole kingdom, under the earl of Buchan, during whose absence in France he appears to have performed all the functions of lord high chamberlain. In 1416 he was appointed one of the commissioners for treating with the English about the release of King James the First, and in 1421 he was constituted lord privy seal by the regent Murdoch duke of Albany. In 1423 he became one of the hostages for the king’s liberation, which was effected the following year. By that monarch he was so highly esteemed that on his return to Scotland he appointed h im master of his household, an office then first instituted. The earl of Buchan being killed at the battle of Verneuil in Normandy, Sir John was made lord high chamberlain in 1425, and by King James he was continually employed in negociations with the English. He was one of the jury on the trial of Murdoch duke of Albany in May 1425. In 1429 he founded and endowed the collegiate church of Corstorphine, and dedicated it to St. John the Baptist, for a provost, five prebendaries, and two singing boys. He died in 1440, and was buried in the chancel of the collegiate church which he had founded, and which is now the parish church of Corstorphine. The coat of arms of the family of Forrester is everywhere dispersed over the building, and within the church, in niches, are several monumental remains of this family, with effigies cut in stone, as large as life. The male figures are covered with complete armour, and the female appear richly ornamented according to the fashion and dress of the times. He had two sons, Sir John, his successor, and Henry, styled of Liberton.

You can read more of this entry at http://www.electricscotland.com/history/nation/forrester.htm

You can read the other entries at http://www.electricscotland.com/history/nation/index.htm 


The Celtic Monthly
---------------------------
A magazine for Highlanders

Added the October 1912 issue at http://www.electricscotland.com/history/celtic/october1912.htm 

This contains...

Mr Donald MacKay of Edinburgh, After Culloden, To what Clan did Lord Clyde belong?, The Fernaig MS, Notes on the Celtic year, Clan Alpin's Vow, Beauly Priory and its associations, Gaelic Proverbs, Clan MacFarlane, The Adventures of Fionn in Connaught, Rev. Murdo Lamont, Celtic Notes and Queries, Our musical page, The days of the week in Gaelic.

You can see the issues to date at http://www.electricscotland.com/history/celtic/index.htm 


The Southern States of America
----------------------------------------------
Published in 1909.

Added this week are...

The History of Tennessee - Chapter III
Tennessee as a part of the Confederacy, 1861 - 1865

The History of Tennessee - Chapter IV
Tennessee since the War, 1865 - 1909

The History of Florida - Chapter I
Florida, 1512 - 1819

The History of Florida - Chapter II
Florida, 1819 - 1861

Here is how Chapter I - The History of Florida starts...

Discovery and Exploration.

AS a term in the geography of Spanish-America, Florida included all the eastern coasts of the present United States, from Mexico on the south to New France on the north, and extended into the interior north and west to a distance unknown and undefined. Consequently many of the early events of history that are mentioned in connection with Florida would, under later nomenclature, be placed in parts of the territory now known to us as Virginia, Carolina, Georgia and the Gulf states. In this article we shall, so far as possible, confine our story to the actual territory comprised in the present state of Florida.

After the discovery of the islands of the West Indies, as they came to be called, and the exploitation of Mexico by the Spaniards, the superior attractions of these regions drew the voyagers that followed Columbus away from the northwest, and it is to be noted that Balboa had discovered the Pacific Ocean before any European of the time had put foot upon any part of this territory. Claims are made that Sebastian Cabot had explored, or at least seen, these shores nearly or quite as far south as Cape Hatteras, but as these claims rest on a single paragraph in the Hakluyt translation of Peter Martyr's travels, the evidence is insufficient to take from Juan Ponce de Leon the honor of having been the first European to land upon the soil of the future United States.

Ponce de Leon had been among the early colonists of Hispanola, having come thither with Columbus on his second voyage, but on the return of Columbus to Spain De Leon remained as an officer under Ovando, upon whose recommendation he was made governor of the Island of Porto Rico, a position he held for twelve years. His administration was marked by all the qualities that make a successful commander and colonizer, and he soon brought the country under subjection and made it highly productive and profitable. As was the practice of the day, however, he was forced to make way for a court favorite who desired to gain riches quickly.

De Leon was born in 1460, and was now over fifty years of age. Although he had amassed considerable wealth in the course of his public employments, he was not nearly as rich as some of his contemporaries, so it is probable that the approach of old age and a desire for greater possessions made him an eager listener to the tales that were in circulation concerning a not very distant island called Bimini, where, in addition to fabulous deposits of gold, was a spring whose waters were capable of restoring to age and decrepitude the form and vigor of youth. So in the spring of 1513 De Leon sailed from Porto Rico with a charter from the king authorizing him to search for and settle the mythical island.

For some weeks he sailed about among the Bahama Islands, to find that his longed-for island seemed further away the longer he sailed, so with hopes crushed he abandoned cruising in the original direction and turned almost directly westward toward a land he must have heard about while sailing among the islands. On March 27 he sighted a low-lying shore, splendid with the early bloom and luxuriance of a sub-tropical flora, and as it was the Easter season of the year, the Pascua Florida or Pascua des flored of the Spanish, he called the newly discovered island, as he supposed it to be, Florida. He sailed north looking for a suitable harbor, so that it was not until the 2d of April that he landed at a point near the place where St. Augustine now stands. He then took formal possession of the country for the king of Spain by the right of discovery, unfurled the royal standard and set up a cross. For eight weeks or more the explorer skirted the shores of this new world, sailing south and west as far as Apalache Bay, and without making any attempt to found a settlement because of the hostility of the natives, he returned to Porto Rico with no more profitable result of his journey than the announcement that another island had been added to the Spanish realm. This, however, was not of sufficient importance to save the disappointed man from the attacks of the wits of the day, and he was most unmercifully lampooned and twitted for his failure to return as a youth in his prime.

You can read the rest of this chapter at http://www.electricscotland.com/history/america/south/south43.htm 

The book index page is at http://www.electricscotland.com/history/america/south/index.htm


History of Inverness County, Nova Scotia
----------------------------------------------------------
By J. L. MacDougall (1922)

Inverness County is part of Cape Breton in Nova Scotia. I am now up to the District Sketches which contain a ton of genealogical information. You can read the chapters at http://www.electricscotland.com/canada/inverness/index.htm 

The Districts added this week are...

General Sketches of the French Districts
Whycocomagh

Here is how the account of General Sketches of the French Districts starts...

We regret greatly that we were not vouchsafed the necessary information for a detailed history of the pioneer settlers of these fine French communities. A special editor, was, with our hearty approbation, named and appointed to write up these important settlements of the county. This gentleman was selected for that work because he was a native of those districts, could speak the language of the people and interpret accurately their ideals and inspirations; and because he was highly competent in all other respects to perform creditably the labors and duties involved. But, unfortunately, this well qualified co-operator, was not able, owing no doubt to the pressure of imperative official demands, to attend to this optional and silent service of patriotism.

We mention this circumstance not at all by way of imputing blame to the gentleman referred to. Far from it. We know from experience the vice-like grasp in which public officials are often held. They are servants of supreme authority. We know also, that but few busy men among us are particularly prone to impose on themselves serious voluntary burdens, for no more tangible reward than "The still, sad, music of humanity."

All the same, for the sake of this work, for the sake of the noble legions of the North, we deplore the fact that our esteemed friend could not have been permitted to give us the great assistance which he was so well-fitted to give, and we were so eager to get.

That portion of this country lying between the Harbor and River of Margaree and the borders of Pleasant Bay is inhabited exclusively by people of French descent. At the time of the drastic expulsion of the Acadians quite a number of the French escaped and sought asylum in Prince Edward Island. Later on some of these crossed over to the northern shores of Inverness county. On the disastrous day of Louisburg in 1758 many of the French there dispersed into various ports of possible safety on our Island coast. Quite a number came to Arichat and adjoining haven's. From these points proceeded subsequently a goodly number of the early settlers of Margaree and Cheticamp.

The plight of these initial Inverness settlers of the French race was harder and more pathetic than that of the Scotch and Irish. The latter races came here of their own accord as ordinary immigrants, and were prepared to accept whate'er the fates would give them under their own flag. The French were driven here by the sword of conquest, and thus the conquered were compelled to seek shelter and sympathy under the heel of the conquerors. The ancestors of these French pioneers had long been the owners and masters of Cape Breton Island. They lost their title and hard won homes and possessions by ruthless force of arms. And hither they came in flight into the forest fastnesses of the victors, appealing, as a last resort, from Philip drunk to Philip sober. Luckily for the county of Inverness the appeal was allowed; and these defeated and dispersed Frenchmen have become an asset of value and lustre in our British and Canadian citizenship.

To any man who would ask us what these people have done in the development of Inverness we should say, go there and see. Standing there with your eyes open, if you want to see their monument look around you. There is not a piece of ground in Cape Breton Island, barring towns created by special and concerted industries, that maintains so many people in comfort and contentment as do these Acadian settlements. The people here are true types of the thrifty Gauls of the homeland. They are quick, alert, industrious, emotional, resourceful, and polite to the last ditch.

You the rest of this chapter at http://www.electricscotland.com/canada/inverness/chapter31.htm

You can read the rest of the chapters at http://www.electricscotland.com/canada/inverness/index.htm


Scots Minstrelsie
-------------------------
Started work again on the final volume 6 of this publication complete with sheet music. The index page is at http://www.electricscotland.com/music/minstrelsie/index.htm 

To volume 6 I added...

The Boatie Rows
Kind Robin Lo'es Me
Farewell To Fiunary
Over The Sea
The Gloomy Night Is Gath'ring Fast
Tibbie Fowler
Auld Lang Syne

You can see these at http://www.electricscotland.com/music/minstrelsie/volume6.htm 

The Auld Lang Syne song comes with 11 pages of sheet music and is the final song in the 6 volume set. I just need to post up the glossary and index to complete this and that will likely go up in the next day or so. I figure this has taken 3 years to get up but finally offers a great collection of Scottish songs with their sheet music. I had hoped to bring you some Bagpipe sheet music as well but still finding issues of copyright on what I have found so far.


Scottish Canadian Newspaper
--------------------------------------------
Added another issue of this newspaper...

April 30, 1891 at http://www.electricscotland.com/history/canada/scotscan/issue23.htm

Feature story this week is about Miss Jessie Alexander of Toronto who apparently won over many audiences in Canada and the USA.


The Greatness and Decline of the Celts
--------------------------------------------------------
by Henri Hubert (1934).

Added this week...

The Celts in the West. Italy and Spain - Part B
I. The Belgae in Italy. II. The Belgae in Spain. The Celtiberians. III. The Celts in the Punic Wars.

These are all .pdf files for which you need the Acrobat reader.

You can read this at http://www.electricscotland.com/history/celts/index.htm


Poems and Stories
----------------------------
Margo has continued her series "Apollo's Soldiers" at http://www.electricscotland.com/kids/apollondx.htm

Margo has send in more Children's poems which you can read at http://www.electricscotland.com/kids/poems/index.htm

And the Innkeeper... Steve May.. sent in a poem called "The Other Man" which you can read at http://www.electricscotland.com/poetry/otherman.htm


Sketches of the Wild Sports & Natural History of the Highlands
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
by Charles St. John (1878).

Have made more progress with this book which you can read at http://www.electricscotland.com/nature/sketches/index.htm

Chapter VIII
Crossbills: Habits of; Nest — Snowy Owl — Great-eared Owl — Hoopoe — Shrike — Tawny and Snow Buntings — Lizards — Singular Pets — Toads: Utility of; Combats of — Adders — Dog and Snakes —Large Snake — Blind-Worm.

Chapter IX
On the Peculiarities and Instinct of different Animals — Eggs of Birds — Nests — Feeding habits — The beaks of Birds — Wings of Owl — Instinct in finding Food — Ravens — Knowledge of Change of Weather — Fish.

Chapter X
The Eagle: Habits; Greediness; Anecdotes of; Killing Eagles; Trapping; Food of — The Peregrine Falcon: Manner of Hunting — Tame Falcon: Anecdotes of — Guinea-Hen and Ducks — The Osprey —The Kite: Trapping — The Buzzard: Nests and Habits of.

Chapter XI
The Hen Harrier: Destructiveness to game; Female of — Trapping — The Sparrowhawk: Courage of; Ferocity; Nest — The Kestrel: Utility of — The Merlin: Boldness — The Hobby — Increase of small Birds.

Chapter XII
The Otter: Habits — Catching of — Shooting — Attachment to each other — Anecdotes — Fish killed by.

Chapter XIII
Weasels — Ferrets: Fierceness of — Anecdotes — Food of Weasels — Manner of Hunting for Prey —The Stoat: Change of Colour — Odour of — Food of — Their catching Fish: Polecat — The Marten Cat — Habits — Trapping — Eating Fruit — Activity of: Different Species.

Here is a wee bit about the weasel from Chapter XIII...

THE bloodthirstiness and ferocity of all the weasel tribe is perfectly wonderful. The proverb "L'appιtit vient en mangeant" is well applied to these little animals. The more blood they spill, the more they long for, and are not content till every animal that they can get at is slain. A she ferret, with a litter of young ones, contrived to get loose a few nights back, and instinctively made her way to the henhouse, accompanied by her six kittens, who were not nearly half-grown, indeed their eyes were not quite open. Seven hens and a number of tame rabbits were killed before they were discovered; and every animal that they killed, notwithstanding its weight and size, was dragged to the hutch in which the ferrets were kept, and as they could not get their victims through the hole by which they had escaped themselves, a perfect heap of dead bodies was collected round their hutch. When I looked out of my window in the morning, I had the satisfaction of seeing four of the young ferrets, covered with blood, dragging a hen (who I had flattered myself was about to hatch a brood of young pheasants) across the yard which was between the henhouse and where these ferrets were kept; the remainder of them were assisting the old one in slaughtering some white rabbits. Their eagerness to escape again, and renew their bloody attacks, showed the excited state the little wretches were in, from this their first essay in killing.

In the same way the wild animals of the tribe must be wofully destructive when opportunity is afforded them. Sitting opposite a rabbit-hole, I one day saw a tiny weasel bring out four young rabbits one after the other, and carry, or rather drag them away one by one towards her own abode in a cairn of loose stones; and, a few days ago, I saw one bring three young landrails in as many minutes out of a field of high wheat. In fact, as long as she can find an animal to kill, so long will a weasel hunt, whether in want of food or not. I have frequently seen a weasel, small as he is, kill a full-grown rabbit. The latter is sometimes so frightened at the persevering ferocity of his little enemy, that it lies down and cries out before the weasel has come up. Occasionally these animals join in a company of six or eight, and hunt down rabbit or hare, giving tongue and tracking their unfortunate victim like a pack of beagles.

There is no doubt that in some degree they repay the damage done to game, by the number of rats and mice which they destroy (the latter being their favourite food). The weasel will take up its abode in a stack-yard, living on the mice and small birds that it catches for some time, and the farmer looks on it as a useful ally; till, some night, the mice begin to grow scarce, and then the chickens suffer. Eggs, fresh and rotten, are favourite dainties with the weasel.

You can read the rest of this chapter at http://www.electricscotland.com/nature/sketches/chapter13.htm


Scotland in the Middle Ages
-----------------------------------------
Sketches of Early Scotch History and Social Progress by Cosmo Innes (Professor of History in the University of Edinburgh. 1860).

I have up Chapters 2, 3 and 4 this week...

Chapter II - Introductary (Pages 35 - 76)
Growth of the feudal system — Later Carlovingians without power — The feudal vassals become independent — Countsof Paris — Hugh Capet crowned king of the French — Settlement of the Normans in France — Old Britain; what remains of Ante-Roman Britain — Language, Institutions — The Normans in France — Their change of manners when settled — Readily adopt feudalism and the privileges of seignory — The Romans in Britain — Their civilization — Roman villas in Britain — Roman towns, roads, bridges — Britain Christianized — Roman colonization gave no independence or self-government — Roman civilization obliterated — The Saxons in Britain — Hengist and Horsa apocryphal — Jutes — Angles — Saxons — Other Teutons — Frisians — King Arthur the only British hero — Anglo-Saxon institutions — King — Hereditary nobility, Thane, Alderman — Churl — Serf — Property of the soil — Folcland — Bocland — Subdivisions and meetings — Scir-gemot — Great assembly of the nation — Christianity restored — Wholesale conversions — Edwin of Northumbria — Caefi, the high priest — Rome endeavours to win over the British Bishops — In vain — Saxon missionaries on the Continent — Alfred — Cnut — The Danes and English — The Norman conquest — The Normans in England — Composition of the army of invasion — Causes of its success — Why the Anglo-Saxon language and institutions prevailed over those of the conquerors.

Chapter III - Scotland — Earliest History (Pages 77 - 117)
Earliest Writing — Charters — Chronicles — Old Scotch collections of laws — The Berne MS. — The Ayr MS. — Materials of early history — State papers from Alexander III. — Records of Parliament from Robert I. — Barbour, Wyntoun, Fordun — Scotland in the twelfth century — Scots — Picts — Lothian — The Norse settlement — Strath-Clyde — Cumbria — Language of old Scotland, Celtic — After Malcolm Canmore, tendency to anglicize — Scotch princes anglicizing — The Scotch courtiers and settlers all Saxon or Teutonic — Northumberland under David I. — Walter Espec at the battle of the Standard — David's troops — The Galwegians — The Scots — Bruce at the battle of the Standard — Early Christianity — Saint Ninian — Columba — Iona — Conversion of Northumbria — The see of Lindis-farne founded — AEdan Bishop of Lindisfarne — St. Cuthbert—Iona the source of Christianity in Scotland — The Culdees — Their later irregularities — Ancient Bishoprics restored by David I. — Munificence to the Church — David I. — His character.

Chapter IV - Scotland in the time of David I. (Pages 118 - 147)
Short period of prosperity under Macbeth — David's reign the beginning of a new policy and of long prosperity — Royal progresses — Great officers of state — The king's household — Sources of revenue — Demesne lands — Burghs — Feudal casualties — Customs and duties — Fines and escheats — Items of royal expenditure — Warlike defence — Hunting and hawking — Gardening — The king's tailor — Gascon wine — Meat — Salted marts — Fish — Country life of the king — Royal parks — At Stirling — At Jedburgh — Nobles of the Scotch court — Great earls of Stratherne — The Bruces — The Stewarts and their followers — Knightly occupations — War — The chase — The Stewarts' preserved forest and park — Studs of horses — The Church — The secular clergy — Parish churches bestowed on monasteries — The Church — Monachism in Scotland — Monasteries — Their education — Schools — The arts and trades practised in the Convent — Life in the Convent — Early rental of Kelso — Rural population under the monks — Nativi — Serfs — Price of serfs — Serfs emancipated by the Church — Some light on the condition of serfs — Emancipation of serfs — Agriculture — Roads — Carriages — Mills — Agriculture of the monks.

Here is a bit from Chapter III...

Perhaps it does not require much apology when I request your attention to that part of European policy, which was developed in our own country. I cannot think that even among strangers, the history of Scotland could be regarded as uninteresting. We know that it is not the mere size, or population, nor the actual power of a nation, that gives it a prominent place in the history of mankind, since the little provinces and single cities of Greece have made an impression on the history of the world, which nothing else can rival, and which time cannot efface.

An English writer — an English lady — speaking of her own country, has challenged a comparison even with the ancients:— "Nor is it only valour and generosity that renowne this nation. In arts wee have advanced equall to our neighbors, and in these that are most excellent, exceeded them. The world hath not yielded men more famous in navigation, nor ships better built or furnisht. Agriculture is as ingeniously practised. The English archery were the terror of Christendom, and their clothes the ornament. But these low things bounded not their I. great spirits. In all ages, it hath yielded men as famous in all kinds of learning as Greece or Italy can boast of." [Mrs. Lucy Hutchinson.]

I venture to claim a part of the same character for Scotland. If it has been denied to our country to create and perfect art, and to preserve immortal thoughts in language as immortal, we have yet been allowed to treasure up some associations with our bygone events, which have commanded a sympathy far beyond our political influence or the spread of our language. Our poor and narrow country has developed principles and feelings that know no limits of time or space; and our history and literature are regarded, if I am not mistaken, with a heartier sympathy over the civilised world, than those of many countries of the greatest political importance.

We have no extant Scotch writing, so early as the reign of Malcolm Canmore, who died in the . year 1093. That the art of writing was known and practised among us to a small extent before, we cannot doubt; but it was probably used only for books connected with the Church, its forms and service. At least there is no evidence of the existence, so early as that reign, of any charter, record, or chronicle. The oldest Scotch writing extant, is a charter by King Duncan (not "The gracious Duncan," murdered by Macbeth, but his grandson, who reigned in 1095), granted to the monks of St. Cuthbert of Durham. It is kept in the treasury of Durham, and is in perfect preservation. The rude pinning of a seal to it has raised some suspicion with regard to its genuineness; but I think without foundation. The appending of the seal is apparently a modern and clumsy attempt to add a sort of authentication, which the charter did not want. It is executed in the Anglo-Saxon manner, by the granter and the several witnesses affixing their crosses, and in most Anglo-Saxon charters, seals were not used. We have several charters still preserved of Edgar, the brother and successor of Duncan, who reigned till 1106, and who uses a seal after the Norman fashion, on which he takes the barbaric style of Basileus. From his time, that is, from the beginning of the twelfth century, we have charters of all the Scotch kings, in an unbroken series, as well as of numerous subjects, and derive from them more information for public and domestic history, than is at all generally known.

There is still preserved a poor fragment of a Scotch chronicle, which appears to have been written about the year 1165. It is a single leaf, now inserted in the MS. of the chronicle of Melros, in the Cottonian library. The rest of that venerable chronicle, written in the thirteenth century, in the Abbey of Melrose, is the most ancient Scotch writing I. of the nature of continuous history that is now extant. A few other fragments of chronicles of that century perhaps, but being for the most part bare lists of the Scotch and Pictish kings, are now deposited in the royal library at Paris. When used by Camden and other historians, they were in the library of Cecil, Lord Burleigh.

Of collections of the laws of Scotland, the oldest is one which has been lately restored to this country, from the public library at Berne. It is a fine and careful MS., written about 1270; and, what adds greatly to its interest, containing an English law treatise and English styles, as well as some of the most ancient laws of Scotland, particularly David I..'s venerable code of Burgh laws; and last of all, the ancient laws of the Marches, concerted by a grand assize of the borderers of the two kingdoms in 1249. This singular mixture of the laws of two countries (which might have served as the materials for the mysterious fabrication of a so-called Scotch code) excites our curiosity as to the owner of the book; but the only clue we find to guide us is a memorandum scribbled on the last leaf, of an account of sheep taken from John, the shepherd of Malkaris-ton, on Sunday next before the feast of St. Andrew, in the year 1306, when the flock is counted in ewes, dynmonts, and hogs. Next in interest to the Berne MS., is a book of Scotch laws, chiefly Burghal, which was picked up in a book-stall in Ayr in 1824, and its previous history cannot be traced. It is a fine MS., of the age of Robert T., or at least of the early half of the fourteenth century. After that period, there is no want of MS. collections of our laws; but all of the character of private and unauthentic compilations.

State papers, properly so called, few, but of great importance, begin in the reign of Alexander III., or the latter half of the thirteenth century; and there are still preserved imperfect records of parliamentary proceedings, from the age of Robert Bruce downwards. These are all the materials of the civil history of Scotland which we still possess, previous to the work of John Barbour, of which I shall have occasion to speak hereafter. Soon after his time, Andrew Wyntoun, prior of Loch Leven, wrote his rhyming chronicle, and John Fordun laid the foundation of Scotch history, in his Scoti-Chronicon. These two writers were engaged upon their works at the same time, about the latter years of the fourteenth century ; but neither seems to have been aware of the other's undertaking.

You can read the rest of this chapter at http://www.electricscotland.com/history/middleages/chapter3.htm

You can read the other chapters at http://www.electricscotland.com/history/middleages/index.htm


Clan Newsletters
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Added the March/April 2007 newsletter for the Family Utley at http://www.electricscotland.com/familytree/newsletters/utley/index.htm


My Canadian Journal
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Not doing any detailed journals these days but felt I should mention some points of interest to myself since the start of the year and you can read this if interested at http://www.electricscotland.net/canada_74.htm


Buddhism in Scotland
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By Claire Smith

I was told of this article in the Scotsman newspaper and thought I would copy it to add to our Religion section of the site.

The article starts...

FORTY years ago a young Tibetan man arrived at the village of Eskdalemuir in Dumfriesshire. A friend had driven him from Oxford in an old wreck of a car, and when they reached the church the engine packed up, never to start again. The young Akong Rinpoche finished the journey on foot to the hunting lodge which was to become the first Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the west.

Akong Rinpoche was only 28, but he had already lived an extraordinary life. Taken from his parents at the age of three, he had been declared a tulku, or reincarnated lama, and was raised in a monastery in a remote region of Tibet. In 1959 he was among a group of 300 who had decided to escape Tibet and flee to India - but many died of cold and hunger and only 13 of the refugees survived the journey.

Akong eventually made it to Britain, and by 1967 had been living in Oxford with fellow tulku Chogyam Trungpa for four years. Times were hard: the two refugees lived on Akong's wage as a hospital porter.

On that cold, frosty day in January 1967 things were about to change, Akong had set out to visit Johnstone House in Eskdalemuir, which had been offered to the two Tibetans to use as a centre.

You can read the rest of this at http://www.electricscotland.com/bible/buddhism.htm


The Highland Targe
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Pat Maclaine hand crafts Highland Targes and he sent in pictures of his work. He has spent some twenty years researching on Scottish targes and you can see pictures of his work at http://www.electricscotland.com/lifestyle/targes.htm


Gardening Article
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Got in a wee gardening article...

Potato eyes are growing and are beginning to let me know they wish to be either planted or used for cooking. Some tulip bulbs I failed to plant last fall are sprouting out of the soil from their clay pot and my winter onions are sending up green sprouts. Soon it will be that joyful time of year when all things become green and lush. The broad leafed plants wintered over on the back porch are in my vision of where they will go on the front patio.

The seed section of Lowe's becomes like a magnet to my bold eyes where I pick up Sunflower seeds for the Redbirds and vines of another variety. As if to feed my longing to join in with natures revelry this commercial came over the television. I thought you would enjoy. Whether they work as they say they will matters not to me. It is simply the happy promise of something good and beautiful ahead of us who enjoy this good earth so much.

http://tomatogiant.com/


And that's all for now and I hope you and your families all have a great weekend :-)


Alastair
http://www.electricscotland.com 

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