It's your Electric Scotland newsletter meaning
the weekend is nearly here :-)
You can view what's new this week on Electric Scotland at
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this newsletter by clicking on the link at the foot of this newsletter.
See our Calendar of Scottish Events around the world at
Electric Scotland News
Tartan Day Celebrations
The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
The Southern States of America
History of Inverness County, Nova Scotia
Scottish Canadian Newspaper
The Greatness and Decline of the Celts
Poems and Stories
Sketches of the Wild Sports & Natural History of the Highlands
Proceedings of the Scotch-Irish Congress in Columbia, Tennessee May 8-11,
2008 World Gathering of MacIntyres
When the Steel Went Through (New Book)
Stephen sent me in a wee message and asked if I could pass it on to you
all... they have now received over 1800 completed survey forms and while we
are not responsible for them all we have certainly provided a most
significant number of them and hence Stephen's message to us as follows...
I would like to thank Alastair and all Electric Scotland readers for the
overwhelming response to www.homecomingsurvey.com. We're working on the
results, reading every response and this will be fed directly back to the
Homecoming Scotland team. If you have offered to help or given us contact
details, my company should be in contact soon.
Before launching this survey, I wasn't too sure what reaction we were going
to get but I've been humbled by the magnificent response of Scotland's
friends around the world. You might be a diverse group but your passion for
Scotland is a common theme wherever you are, whatever you do and whatever
your relation to Scotland.
The survey is still live and so I can't go into too many details but here
are a few highlights so far:
· 'Scenery' and 'Roots' are the most likely terms to be used if you were
recommending Scotland to a friend.
· Most respondents weren't born in Scotland but an overwhelming majority
have family ties to Scotland sometime in the past.
· Most responses came from the US, followed by Canada and Australia.
· and when you get here, meeting Scottish people and exploring your roots
are the main things you feel you must do.
This might not be a surprise to some of you but we're getting a lot of
really rich data that will enable us to really start to know what you're
Again, a big thanks to you and see you all in 2009!
Highland Business Research for Homecoming Scotland
PS Should you still not have completed the survey you can still do so at
This week I've started on a new book "When the Steel went through" which is
a first hand account of a Scot who was involved in the building of the
Canadian Pacific Railway. I hope you'll enjoy this one and more about it
Next week will see me starting the 6 volume "History of Scotland" which was
published in 1828. I am doing this as a series of .pdf files so you'll need
the acrobat reader to view it but guess pretty well all of us have this.
Should you not have it you can download the free reader at
I scanned in the first two chapters directly to adobe but found the quality
wasn't as I'd hoped so from the third chapter onwards I've just scanned in
the pages and then imported them to adobe and the quality was much better.
I'll give you a fuller review of this publication next week when I've
started to post it up to the site.
I am also making headway with another two books... "Romance of War" or "The
Highlanders in Spain" which is actually a novel but based on facts. The
author was involved in the fighting in Spain and France and so he is well
aware of all that happened with the Highlanders in Spain and around this he
has woven his novel. So why am I publishing this book? Well having read it I
felt it brought out a lot of facts about the time the Highlanders were in
Spain and in some ways gives quite an interesting account of those times.
So.. a departure from the normal type of book I've added in the past but
hopefully you'll enjoy the read.
The other book I have started to work on is the biography of Norman MacLeod
a well know and respected divine and again I hope you'll enjoy this one. It
was written by his brother who had access to lots of letters and so gives a
wonderful insight into the man and the times.
And so I'll be working on these three publications between continued work on
the History of the Southern States of America and also the other volumes of
the Scotch-Irish Society and of this last I now have volumes 2 - 8 :-)
I will be back in Toronto for the Tartan Day Dinner at Casa Loma on
Wednesday 18th April and would certainly be happy to meet any of you that
can make it. And if you do please make yourself known to me. The price of a
ticket is CAN$150.00 which gets you a free bar, great entertainment,
singers, pipe band, and Sandy MacIntyre and his band from Nova Scotia. You
also get a great dinner which if it's anything like last year will include
wee samplings of haggis, clooty dumpling and lots of our favourite Scottish
cakes. Not sure what the main course is yet but it's always good whatever it
is and it all comes with free wine :-)
And so you get a lot for your money plus great raffle prizes including free
flights to Scotland!!! You'll also get to meet that smashing lady, Jean
Watson, the mother of Tartan Day when she receives her "Scot of the Year"
award. The proceeds from the event go to fund that permanent chair of
Scottish Studies at the University of Guelph where the Foundation pledged $1
million and I believe we're down to the last $150,000.
You can book your tickets online at
http://www.scottishstudies.com/950tartanday07.htm where you can get
further information as well as phone numbers if you want to book your ticket
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
Tartan Day Celebrations
I've also been asked if I can tell folk about Tartan Day activity in Toronto
and so here are the details...
CONCERT SHOWCASE INTERNATIONAL and URBAN ANGEL are pleased to announce the
FIRST ANNUAL TARTAN DAY T.O. in celebration of Scottish-Canadian Heritage.
April 6th 1320 celebrated the signing of the Declaration of Abroath - and
Toronto is recognizing this date by acknowledging April 13th 2007 (April 6
falls on a Good Friday this year) with a Free Outdoor Concert with special
- Scotland's Tenors Caledon, thanks to the generosity of ZOOM Airlines
- Canada's own Peter Ian McCutcheon
- The Royal Scottish Country Dance Association
- The 48th Highlanders of Canada Pipes and Drums
The event will be hosted by Edward Patrick, President and Founder of
Companions of the Quaich.
The Scottish Studies Foundation, an organization that has a mandate of
raising awareness of the Scottish Heritage throughout Canada, is involved in
supporting this event and has plans to work with the organizers to make this
a yearly event.
TARTAN DAY T.O. will be held at Nathan Phillips Square and will run from
Noon - 2 pm.
Mayor David Miller is declaring a Proclamation that April 13th, 2007 is
officially Tartan Day throughout the City of Toronto for 2007.
Tartan Day T.O. will feature Scottish Country Dancers, Pipers and giveaways
from the Scottish Executive in the form of balloons, pins and flags and
http://www.scotlandistheplace.com to raise awareness of tourism for
those interested in traveling to Scotland. (see
The following evening, Saturday, April 14th, a fundraising Concert - The
“Kirkin of the Tartan” will be held at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church on
King Street West in downtown Toronto to help raise monetary assistance for
the 48th Highlanders Museum located in the basement of the Church. (see
The Scottish Studies Society holds a yearly Dinner at Casa Loma in
celebration of Tartan Day and every year the Society names The Scot of the
Year during this prestigious Gala on Wednesday, April 18th, 2007. This year
the Award will go to Jean Watson from Nova Scotia who through her
unrelenting efforts succeeded in establishing the concept of Tartan Day
which is now celebrated all over the world. (see
for further details)
For further information contact:
Natasha Slinko 416-699-4446 or 416-699-1548
Urban Angel [email protected]
There will be many other Tartan Day celebrations during April so do check
out your local newspapers to see if your town or city are holding an event.
You can also wear a tartan tie or scarf or even just a swatch of tartan
during the celebrations showing your support for Scotland, Scots and Scots
THE FLAG IN THE WIND
Mind that The Flag is now in two sections (1) Political and (2) Cultural.
It's Richard Thomson's turn this week and he's coverinng the prospects for
the SNP winning the Scottish Elections in May. He show "The Times"
headlines.... "Labour faces meltdown as SNP heads for power".
Peter in his Cultural section is reminding us about all the Tartan Day
celebrations around the world...
Today (Friday 6 April 2007) there will be Saltires flying and commemoration
events throughout Scotland to mark The Declaration of Scottish Independence
made on 6 April 1320 at Arbroath Abbey in the presence of Robert I, King of
Scots. In the past that was not the case but fortunately over the past few
years an increasing number of events have been made to mark Freedom Day. One
body which deserves great praise in keeping the Arbroath message alive has
been the Arbroath Abbey Pageant Society. The Society founded in 1947 has
staged a full pageant re-enactment every few years in August with a tribute
on the anniversary of the 1320 letter to the Pope asking him to recognise
Scottish Freedom each April. The next full Arbroath Pageant will be staged
in August 2009 but you can catch their annual tribute today at 1pm at
Arbroath Abbey. The message to celebrate this important date is growing and
if you visit
http://www.ScotlandsTartanDay.com you will find a variety of events.
Much of this revival of interest is due to the decision of our cousins in
America and Canada to centre Tartan Day on 6 April 1320 and the Declaration
of Scottish Independence and the eternal verities which it contains, both in
terms of nationhood and fledgling democracy. Indeed the Letter from Arbroath
was an inspiration to the Americans in drawing up their own Declaration of
Independence. The decision to hold Tartan Day has given thousands out-with
Scotland the opportunity to remember their Scottish roots and to revel in
the internationalist outlook of the Scots. Tartan Day events are already
being held in America. Last Friday the Scottish Parliament’s outgoing
Presiding Officer George Reid opened the Tartan Village in New York which
will be visited by thousands. He has a full programme of events to attend
over the next fortnight and will conclude by taking the position of Grand
Marshal as thousands of pipers and drummers make their way down New York’s
6th Avenue on Saturday 14 April 2007. He is well worthy of the position of
Grand Marshall for George Reid as Scotland’s Presiding Officer has brought a
quiet dignity to the role and done much to enhance the national and
international standing of the fledgling Scottish Parliament over his four
year tenure. He told his American audience –
“Our programme of activities has a strong cultural theme this year. Scots
have played an influential role in the development of society in North
America – something the Scots in Quebec exhibition currently at Holyrood
illustrates all too well.
The role of Grand Marshal for the parade is one I am pleased to accept. To
experience the streets of New York lined with people from across North
America who are so proud of their Scottish heritage will no doubt once again
be an emotional experience.”
Visit http://www.tartanweek.com for
And talking of Tartan Day... Jean Watson, the mother of Tartan Day, will be
honoured as "Scot of the Year" at the Toronto Tartan Day Dinner on 18th
April. You can still book tickets for this event at
You can view MSP Linda Fabiani's weekly diary entries at
Email Linda at
You can read the Flag, listen to the Scots Language, enjoy the Scots Wit and
lots more at
The Scottish Nation
My thanks to Lora for transcribing these volumes for us. She has now got her
cast off at long last and she's now doing some typing but tells me she's
making lots of mistakes so it might be a wee while until she is back up to
speed. Always nice to see some steady progress :-)
Now moved onto the G's and added this week are Galloway, Galt and Garden
Here is how the Galloway entry starts...
GALLOWAY, a surname derived from a district in the south-west of Scotland,
which took its name from the Gael, Galli, or Irish settlers, in the eighth
and two following centuries, and which acquired the name of Gallwalia,
Gallawidia, Gallowagia, Gallwadia, Gallweia, Gallway, Galloway. The name may
be merely Galliway or Gaelway, the bay of the Gael or Irish. “A Gaelic
etymologist,” says Chalmers, “would probably derive the etymon of Galloway
from Gallbagh, which the English would pronounce Gallwa or Gallway, the
estuary or bay of the strangers or foreigners. It seems more than probably
that this difficult name was originally imposed by the Irish settlers, and
afterwards Saxonised, from the coincidence of the name. The legends of the
country, however, attribute the origin of the name to King Galdus, who
fought and fell on the bay of Wigton. This is the fabulous Galdus who is
said by Boece and Buchanan to have opposed the Romans, though conducted by
Agricola. We may herein see a slight trait of history, by connecting the
fictitious Galdus with the real Galgac, who fought Agricola at the foot of
the Grampians.” [Chalmers’ Caledonia, vol. i. p. 359.]
Of this surname was a distinguished officer of the Indian army, General Sir
Archibald Galloway, K.C.B., who served the East India Company for
thirty-five years, and during that long period, besides actions in the
field, was present at six sieges and seven storms, in four of which he was
closely engaged. He was the son of Mr. James Galloway of Perth, and in 1799
he was appointed, as a cadet, to the 58th native infantry, of which he
became the colonel in 1836. He was present at the siege of Delhi, and was
one of the handful of men to whom the Company owed the remarkable defence of
that city, when besieged by an army of 70,000 men, with 130 pieces of
cannon. He was also at the siege of Bhurtpore, under lord Lake, and
commanded the corps of sappers, the most distinguished in the army for the
hard and hazardous service it had to perform. On two most sanguinary
assaults he led this corps at the head of the forlorn hope, and in the
latter was desperately wounded. Lord William Bentinck, when
governor-general, nominated him to be one of the members of the Military
Board under its new constitution, and on his departure from India, he
received an expression of the high approbation of the governor-general in
council. His services were honoured with public approbation by
commanders-in-chief in India, on nine different occasions, and by the
supreme government of India, or the Court of Directors and superior
authorities in England, on upwards of thirty occasions, the former
twenty-one, and the latter eleven times. He was the author of a Commentary
on the Moohummuddan Law, and another on the Law, Constitution, and
Government of India. His work on Sieges in India, at the recommendation of
General Mudge of the royal engineers, was reprinted by the Court of
Directors, and used at their military college. It was likewise, by the
orders of the marquis of Hastings when governor-general, distributed to the
army for general instruction. He wrote also other military treatises. In
1838 he was nominated a Companion of the Bath, and in 1848 a Knight
Commander. In 1846 he was elected a director of the East India Company, and
in 1849 he officiated as chairman, which office he held at the time of his
death, which took place at London on 6th April 1850, aged 70.
You can read the rest of this entry at
You can read the other entries at
The Southern States of America
Published in 1909.
Added this week are...
The History of Missouri - Chapter III
Missouri, 1820 - 1865
The History of Missouri - Chapter IV
Missouri since the war of Secession, 1865 - 1909
The History of Arkansas - Chapter I
Arkansas from 1539 - 1836
Here is how The History of Arkansas starts...
Early Discoveries — De Soto.
THE discovery of the new world opened up a wide field for adventure. To the
old world America was a fairy land of fabulous wealth. The souls of men were
fired by stories of it, and men of broken fortunes or of lost reputation
came flocking to America. While most of these fortune-seekers failed to
accomplish their immediate purpose, they nevertheless did a far better thing
— explored the new world and made known its untold resources.
The first white man to touch what is now Arkansas was one of these
adventurous fortune-seekers — Hernando De Soto. With a band of 600 followers
he landed in 1539 in Florida. He spent two years wandering over the Gulf
region east of the Mississippi. In May, 1541, he discovered the Mississippi,
called Meschacebe by the Indians, Rio Grande by De Soto. With hastily
constructed barges he crossed probably near Helena. The next year, the last
year of his eventful life, the great captain spent in traveling over what is
now Arkansas. He went up the west bank of the river to northeast Arkansas,
passing on the way several Indian villages. Leaving the St. Francis country
De Soto journeyed southwest and stopped near Little Rock. Here the natives
told him of mountains to the northwest; hither he traveled until he reached
some point in northwest Arkansas. Disappointed in not finding gold, he
turned south, passed over the Boston mountains, crossed the Arkansas near
Dardanelle Rock and came into the country of the Cayas, where they found "a
lake of very hot water and somewhat brackish," which most students interpret
as the now famous Hot Springs. [Gentleman of Elvas in Publications Arkansas
Historical Association, I., 484.]
Somewhere on the Ouachita in South Arkansas he spent the winter, which
proved to be a severe one. Here he suffered an almost irreparable loss in
the death of his interpreter, Juan Ortiz, a Spaniard, who, with De Narvez,
had come to Florida in 1528. On the wreck of the expedition he had joined a
tribe of Indians and had learned to speak their tongue. In the spring of
1542 De Soto started south for the Gulf, but made poor progress, for the
hardships of the long journey and the severity of the late winter had
reduced his force to 300 men of war and forty horses, the latter having gone
a year unshod. Exposure and hardship brought on malarial fever, from which
De Soto died. As the end approached he commissioned Moscoso as his
successor, who buried the great explorer in the river which he had
discovered. A recent writer has located the death and burial of De Soto at
Helena. [Publications Arkansas Historical Association, I.. 128.] The
traditional view is that it occurred near the mouth of the Red River. [For
original sources bearing on De Soto's travels, see the account by Biedma and
A Oentleman of Elvas in French's Historical Collections of Louisiana, Vol.
II., or for the account of that part of his journey through Arkansas, see
Publications, Arkansas Historical Association, I., 466-499. Biedma and A
Oentleman of Elvas appear to have accompanied the expedition.]
You can read the rest of this chapter at
The book index page is at
History of Inverness County, Nova Scotia
By J. L. MacDougall (1922)
We have now completed this book and you can read the concluding chapters at
The chapters added this week are...
The Last Page
Appendix 1 - MacVarish family, etc.
Appendix 2 - The College Merger of the Maritimes
Appendix 3 - The New World: Lecture at Inverness in 1920 by J. L. MacDougall
Here is The Last Page to read here...
We have attempted in the foregoing pages to give some idea of our Inverness
ancestry. Our task was forced upon us twenty years too late. The real inner
story of our older people was buried with themselves, and as a general thing
we have no marble, moat or manuscript, to help us tell it now.
In our search for necessary information through the county we missed many,
oh so many, "good gray heads" whom we were wont to meet and enjoy in younger
years. Never did we appreciate their worth so keenly as when we felt the
need of their help and found "they were not there". The younger and smarter
folk did not, we regret to say, evince any special interest in a history of
their forefathers. We could only do our best in a position that was all but
impossible: and, unlike the great William Pitt, we were not able to "trample
on impossibilities." We do hope our readers will grant us some indulgence,
knowing the dark and lonely road we had to travel.
Some may think that we were representing our ancestors as much too good. We
honestly tried our best not to. We confess at once our tender personal
feeling for the friends that are gone, and we have no apology to offer for
any manifestation of that feeling that may appear in this work. These hardy
early settlers can not be judged by the standards and conditions of our day.
They lived in lowly circumstances and were in the main, quite illiterate;
yet, they possessed and practised, and impressed upon their offspring, many
of the finest qualities of humanity.
"Let not ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, or destiny obscure;
Nor grandeur hear, with a disdainful smile,
The short and simple annals of the poor."
It is not our purpose either to praise the dead or dispraise the living, but
we feel justified in saying this:— to the extent that we, of today
disregard, despise or repudiate, the christian qualities of our pioneer
fathers, precisely to that extent we degenerate, physically, mentally and
However, lest it be supposed that we are parading the best and concealing
the worst of these old people let us make a brief reference to their more
prominent faults and failings. And first of all their drinking habits.
All men know from experience that excess of anything is hurtful. Our early
settlers drank to excess at times. The habit of drinking to excess is
pernicious beyond expression, for it may involve much more, and much worse,
than a mere breach of temperance. Some of our forefathers were in the habit
of drinking to excess. Such a habit is not to be defended but we think our
early settlers are entitled to an explanation concerning it.
That habit did not originate with our forefathers in this country. It came
to them without much rebuke from deep down the centuries. All the aged
civilized nations of the earth were soaked in it. There was no organized
public opinion against it. There were no state laws forbidding it. In the
olden times it was not considered degrading to indulge in alcoholic
beverages. Men of all ranks did it. The King and his Jester got drunk
together. In former centuries liquor was believed to be a necessary
stimulant; it was good and cheap then, and as free and plentiful as air or
water. Industrialism and commerce had not then reached the stage at which
the unauthorized use of strong drink was a perilous source of inefficiency
We offer these comments as an explanation of this habit of the old people.
The explanation is not open to us of today; nor is it an excuse for
over-drinking at any time, in any place, under any circumstances.
Another habit of the olden times was to submit all the sharpest personal
differences to the ruthless arbitrament of the naked fists.
Frankly that was a tribunal we could never respect: perhaps, because we
feared it. We always regarded it as the essence and instinct of raw-boned
savagery. But even as to that repugnant custom the men of old have a right
to a hearing.
All those men came from lands of perpetual warfare, either international or
internecine. Many immigrants came here smeared with the boiling blood of
battle. Physical force was the determining test and logic of an old
civilization. He who was too proud to fight was a poltroon: he who fought
well was lionized. In the days of the pioneer settlers of Inverness there
were no other tribunals to settle urgent issues. Physical force became an
arbiter of honor, a racial distinction, and a necessary law of the
wilderness. The habit is not now so general, but "it lingers superfluous on
the stage." It is a vicious thorn of barbarism.
The habit of dancing and holding frequent frolics was another fault imputed
to our ancestors. In connection therewith we think they are entitled to a
special explanation. They were strangers in a strange land. They lived in
the forest thousands of miles from the homes of their first impressions.
Their labors were arduous and im perative. They had nothing to read, and
even if they had libraries only few could use them. They had no clubs,
societies, or moving pictures. It was essential that they should preserve
their fitness for the task to which their hands were set. How could they
preserve that fitness without those light amusements and recreations which
their lot imposed and the Lord permitted?
Their "frolics" were informal social gatherings at which the chief functions
were music, dancing and story-telling. Their songs and music were but the
harmonies of a past history, as dear to them as life itself: their dancing
was a beautiful work of art as compared with the spavined and repulsive
performances of modern times: and their legends were the nepenthe of an old
and turbulent national life. Were these simple recreations things of evil?
Honi soit qui mal y pense.
We owe an immensity to our departed fathers. Common prudence as well as
natural affection would bid us cherish their memory and good qualities for
all time. One quality which our fathers showed notoriously was a wonderful
resignation to adversities. We should make it a study to imitate this noble
quality. Too often we develop a spirit of selfishness, unrest, impatience
and discontentment, Cui bono? Other prominent qualities of our pioneers were
their strong and simple faith, their invariable respect for their superiors
and all constituted authority. And what of their eager and steadfast
devotion to home and family? Verily, it were a wholesome and useful practice
for us to recall frequently the lives and sacrifices of our worthy old men.
And now, after many days, we must take leave of our kind and patient
readers, very likely for the last time. We have lived among them long: we
shall wish them well for ever. Nothing would give us more joy in future than
to know that they are prosperous and happy. At the same time, in this act of
leave-taking, the last thing we should wish to do were to leave them under
any delusion. This world is sternly exacting taskmaster. It abounds in pains
and partings, sick-ness and sorrows, trials and disappointments. These
probationary penalties can only be met and mastered by a supernatural
fortitude of soul.
Wherefore, in this act of parting with our friends, our sentiments are well
reflected in the following counsel of a standard, living, authority:—
"I would not bid you not to weep,
For tears of grief shall fill your eyes,
I would not bid you not to care
When you shall lose the thing you prize;
For hurt and pain are hard to bear,
And sorrow cuts into the soul;
But hold you fast, and serve the Truth,
And you shall come unto your goal.
There shall be days when hope is dim,
And days when joys seem far from you;
There shall be rugged hills to climb,
And dreary tasks for you to do:
It is no easy path you fare,
No light or simple game you're in;
Life shall beset and try your strength,
But meet its tests, — and you shall win!"
You can read the rest of the chapters at
Scottish Canadian Newspaper
Added another issue of this newspaper...
May 28, 1891 at
The front page this week features Staffa.
I got in one copy of this newspaper which I confess to not knowing about.
The issue is for January 4, 1900 but the paper started I think in 1828.
Rather than post it up a series of graphics I've turned it into a .pdf file
as I felt the larger print size made it suitable for ocr'ing. I showed the
paper to Harold Nelson and he was struck with the great words that are used
within the articles. Harold of course is an old time journalist who used to
write for the Globe and Mail and was for some 30 odd years the news editor
You can read this issue at
I may have mentioned that I also acquired 4 issues of the Scottish American
Journal from 1867. As these are double tabloid size there was no way I could
do anything with these with my more limited scanner and camera. I have in
fact donated these to the MacLaughlin Library at the University of Guelph
and in return they will scan these in for me. This will take some weeks as
they are just going through a computer upgrade but when complete we'll get
them scanned in for us... so something to look forward to :-)
The Greatness and Decline of the Celts
by Henri Hubert (1934).
Our thanks to Alan McKenzie for scanning this in for us.
Added this week...
The Objects and Method of a Sociological Study of the Celts which starts by
WE have tried to set forth the main features of the history of the Celts.
But another question arises regarding the Celtic peoples; we must inquire
what were the bonds which held men together in social organization, how
families and clans were constituted, how land was owned (in whole or in
part, in precarious possession or in permanent, absolute ownership, in
common or individually, in fairly distributed lots or in aristocratic
tenures), what was their law, what were their gods, and their priests, how
they traded, and travelled, and built. The structure of society; private
law; public law and political institutions; religion; economic life;
craftsmanship; morphology; art and literature - these are the headings for a
description of Celtic society.
You can read this at
Poems and Stories
Margo has now completed her series "Apollo's Soldiers" which you can read at
Margo has send in more Children's poems which you can read at
Sketches of the Wild Sports & Natural History of the Highlands
by Charles St. John (1878).
Have now completed this book and added this week are...
Peculiarities and Instinct of Different Animals.
Tameness of Birds when Sitting.
Variety of Game.
Here is how the Peculiarities and Instinct of Different Animals chapter
I cannot conclude these hasty sketches without remarking that few people are
aware of the numberless subjects of interest and observation to be found in
the habits and structure of the commonest birds and animals which pass
before our eyes every day of our lives. How perfectly are all these adapted
to their respective modes of living and feeding. In every garden and
shrubbery the naturalist finds amusement in watching its living tenants.
Look at the chaffinch, how it adapts the colour and even the shape of its
nest to the spot in which it is placed covering the outside with materials
of the same colour as the bark of the tree in which it is. So do also all
the other small birds. Again, they line their nests with materials of the
same colour as their eggs. The chaffinch lines it with wool and feathers
mixed together, giving it a background of nearly the same hue as the shell
of the eggs. The greenfinch lines it with light-coloured feathers, collected
from the poultry-yard, as her eggs are nearly white. The yellowhammer has a
greyish egg with stripy marks; she lines her nest with horsehair. The
robin's eggs being of a reddish-brown, she makes use of dried grass and
similar substances. The prevailing colour of the hedge-sparrow's nest is
green, and her eggs are of a greenish-blue ; and in the same manner all our
common and unregarded birds adapt both the outside and the lining of their
nests to the colour of the surrounding substances and that of their own eggs
respectively. In the same manner they all have bills adapted to the food on
which they live — the grain-feeding birds having short, strong mandibles,
while those of the insectivorous birds are longer and more slender, and as
perfectly adapted for searching in crannies and corners for the insects and
eggs that may be hidden there, as the former are for cutting and shelling
the seeds and grain on which they feed.
Look, too, at the eggs of lapwings and of all those birds that hatch on the
bare ground. Those that lay on fields have their eggs of a brownish green,
while those that lay on the stones and pebbles have them of a sandy and
brown mottled colour, so like the substances which surround them, that it is
most difficult for the passer-by to distinguish the egg from the stone. In
the same manner the young of all birds which live on the ground resemble the
ground itself in colour, thereby eluding many of their enemies. Look also at
the birds whose residence and food are placed in the marshes and swamps —
the woodcocks and snipes, for example, who feed by thrusting their bills
into the soft mud for the purpose of picking out the minute red worms and
animalcules which abound in it, have the bill peculiarly adapted for this
purpose. The upper mandible has a kind of nob at the end, which overlaps the
under mandible, and not only prevents its being injured, but makes it quite
easy for the bird to pass its bill both into and out of the ground without
obstruction. How peculiarly well the bill of these birds is adapted for this
purpose is perceived at once by drawing it through the fingers. The end of
the mandible, too, is full of nerves, which enables the bird to distinguish
the soft and minute substances on which it feeds without seeing them. The
oyster-catcher, which feeds on shellfish and similar food, has a bill with
hard sharp points, with which it can dig into and break the strong coverings
of its prey; no tool could be made to answer the purpose better. The
curlew's long curved bill is also a perfect implement for worming out the
sea-slugs, which it extracts from the wet sands. The birds that live chiefly
on the insects and water-plants which are found in swamps and muddy places
have their feet of great size and length, which enables them to walk and run
over muddy and soft places without sinking. The water-hen and water-rail,
indeed, often run along the floating leaves of the water-plants without
bearing them down by their weight. The bald coot, too, a bird that lives
almost wholly in muddy places, has its feet and toes formed purposely for
running on a soft surface. How different from the strongly retractile talons
of the hawk and owl, made purposely to seize and hold their struggling prey.
You can read the rest of this chapter at
And the other chapters at
Proceedings of the Scotch-Irish Congress in Columbia, Tennessee May 8-11,
Making steady progress with this book and have got up several chapters this
week. Some of these chapters are quite long and detailed and include...
Minutes and Short Addresses
Officers and Committees of the Scotch-Irish Society of America
Action of Committees
The Harp of Tom Moore
Ex-Governor Proctor Knott - Ex Governor of Kentucky
Prof. George Macloskie - What the Scotch-Irish have done for Education
Rev. John Hall, D.D. - Scotch-Irish Characteristics
Hon. William Wirt Henry - The Scotch-Irish of the South
Rev. D. C. Kelly, D.D. - The Scotch-Irish of Tennessee
Colonel A. K. McClure - Scotch-Irish Achievement
Here is how the address given by Colonel A. K. McClure starts...
Ladies and Gentlemen:— You have had very excellent samples of the oratory of
the Scotch-Irish, and I am not here to deliver an oration, but I will give
you a recess from Scotch-Irish oratory, by devoting a short space of the
evening to a confidential conversation about our distinguished race. The
trouble with me is to know where to begin. If you are asked, Where have the
Scotch-Irish been, and where are they now? the answer is, Where have they
not been, and where are they not? If you are asked what they have done, the
answer of every intelligent citizen must be, What have they not done? If you
ask what distinguished places of trust and power they have filled, the
logical answer is, What place is there, in civil, military, or religious
authority, that they have not filled?
To speak of such a race, is to speak of the history of the past achievements
of our land; and, strange as it may seem, this people whose history is
written in every annal of achievement in our land, is without a written
history. There is not a single connected history of the Scotch-Irish in
American literature, and there is not a history of any other people written
in truth that does not tell of Scotch-Irish achievement. If you were to
spend an evening in a New England library, you would find not only scores,
but hundreds of volumes, telling of Puritan deeds; and if you were to study
them, the natural inference would be that the only people that have existed
and achieved any thing in this land were the Puritans. They have not only
written everything that they have done, but they have written more than they
have done. The story that they generally omit is their wonderful achievement
in the burning of witches. There is a complete history of the Quakers. You
find it in connected form in almost every library of any city.
There is a complete history of the Huguenots who settled in Carolina, and
there is a connected history of every people of our land, save the one
people whose deeds have made the history of this country the most lustrous
of all. It is true, that those who write their history in deeds have least
need of history in the records of our literature, but the time has come in
this land when the Scotch-Irish owe it to themselves, and owe it especially
to their children, who are now scattered from eastern to western sea, and
from northern lake to southern gulf, that those who come after us shall
learn not only that their ancestors have been foremost in achievement, but
that their deeds have been made notable in history, as they were in the
actions of men.
Some of our more thoughtful historians or students of history will pretend
to tell you when the Scotch-Irish race began. I haven't heard even our
Scotch-Irishmen who have studied the question do the subject justice. No
such race of men could be created in a generation; no such achievements
could be born in a century. No such people as the Scotch-Irish could be
completed even in century after century; and while you are told that the
Scotch-Irish go back in their achievements to the days of John Knox, John
Knox lived a thousand years after the formation of the Scotch-Irish
character began. He was like the stream of your western desert, that comes
from the mountains and makes the valleys beautiful, and green, and fragrant,
and then is lost in the sands of the desert. Men will tell you that it
disappears and is lost. It is not.
After traversing perhaps hundreds of miles of subterranean passages,
forgotten, unseen, it is still doing its work, and it rises again before it
reaches the sea, and again makes new fields green, and beautiful, and
bountiful. It required more than a thousand years to perfect the
Scotch-Irish character. It is of a creation single from all races of
mankind, and a creation not of one people nor of one century, nor even five
centuries, but a thousand years of mingled effort and sacrifice, ending in
the sieges of Derry, were required to present to the world the perfect
Scotch-Irish character. If you would learn when the characteristics of the
Scotch-Irish race began, go back a thousand years beyond the time of John
Knox, and find that there was a crucial test that formed the men who
perfected the Scotch-Irish character, after years and years of varying
conflict and success, until the most stubborn, the most progressive, the
most aggressive race in achievement, was given to the world. Let us go back
to the sixth century, and what do we find?
We find Ireland the birth-place of the Scotch-Irish. We find Ireland
foremost of all the nations of the earth, not only in religious progress,
but in literature, and for two centuries thereafter the teacher of the world
in all that made men great and achievements memorable. For two centuries the
Irish of Ireland, in their own green land, were the teachers of men, not
only in religion, but in science, in learning, and ail that made men great.
She had her teachers and her scientists, men who filled her pulpits and went
to every nation surrounding; and it was there that the Scotch-Irish
character had its foundation; it was there that the characteristics became
evident which afterward made them felt wherever they have gone. Those Irish
were teachers of religion, and yet as stubborn for religious freedom as were
the Scotch-Irish. Catholic, they often refused obedience to the Pope. They
were men of conviction; they were men of learning. They were the advanced
outposts of the progressive civilization of that day, and the cardinal
doctrine of their faith, down deep-set in the heart, was absolute religious
freedom, and they even combated the Vatican in maintaining their religious
You can read the rest of this chapter at
And the other chapters can be read at
2008 World Gathering of MacIntyres
Have added the most recent information on this gathering in Scotland which
you can read at
Added the April 2007 newsletter from the Clan Munro Association of Australia
which you can read at
Nola sent us in another two homilies she has given which you can read at
She did an interesting one on the "Prodigal Son" which you might find
The other one is about "Fishers of Men" which you can read at
When the Steel Went Through
By P. Turner Bone
A new book this week and here is what the flyleaf of the book tells us...
In Turner Bone's delightful volume of reminiscences the reader will find the
first narrative which has given a day-to-day picture of the building of the
Canadian Pacific Railway across the prairies and over the mountains.
Mr. Bone came to Canada from Scotland as a young man in 1882, having served
his engineering apprenticeship in Glasgow. He joined the construction forces
which laid lines of steel through the then unknown west and across the
Rockies to Vancouver. He writes vividly and gaily of his life and
incidentally gives the reader a remarkably fresh and very human picture of
early days on the prairies and in the Rockies.
When The Steel Went Through is actually an extract of the history of
Canadian railway building, as Mr. Bone was connected with many such
projects, including the laying of the Ontario and Quebec line, the short
line through Maine, and the north and south C.P. lines out of Calgary to
Edmonton and Lethbridge. The book is studded with informal and very good
character sketches of men with whom he worked and who became famous, Sir
Herbert Holt, Sir William Mackenzie, Sir Donald Mann, and many others.
Railroad men and all who lived through that exciting period will enjoy this
engrossing story which is illustrated with many rare and excellent
Mr. D. C. Coleman, President of the Canadian Pacific Railway, has
contributed an introduction...
The writer of these reminiscences, who to the sorrow of his many friends
departed this life while the manuscript was in the hands of the printer, was
one of the last of the sadly dwindling band of pioneers who assisted in the
building of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and who in later years helped to
create in Calgary one of the most interesting and colourful communities in
the Western world. Canadians are notoriously careless about preserving
records bearing on the early development and expansion of their own country.
It is well, therefore, that one so well qualified as was Mr. Turner Bone
should have told a great story to thrill and inspire the generations to
come. In plain unvarnished prose he relates how the Canadian Pacific, having
been hurled across the prairies at reckless speed, stormed the ramparts of
the Rockies and the Selkirks and found its way to the peaceful Western sea.
There is much information in this book which until now has never found its
way into print, and which probably never would have done so had it not been
for the acuteness of observation, and the remarkably retentive memory of
Turner Bone. While there is no attempt at eloquence or fine writing, the
narrative is illuminated from time to time by touches of sentiment which
throw a light on the character of a singularly kindly and lovable man. He
has left as his memorial a real contribution to Canadian history.
And in the Preface...
In the literary world, there are writers who have done noteworthy work in
their declining years. It is on record that Longfellow, for the fiftieth
anniversary of his class at college, wrote:
"Cato learned Greek at eighty; Sophocles
Wrote his grand Oepidus, and Simonides
Bore off the prize of verse from his compeers
Who each had numbered more than fourscore years;
And Theophrastus at fourscore and ten
Had but begun his Characters of men."
With such notable examples of successful defiance of age to stimulate me, I
have, at "more than fourscore years", made my first literary venture. This
appears in form as my reminiscences — which many of my friends have
expressed the hope I would write.
A considerable part of this work covers my early days on the Prairies, and
in the Rocky Mountains, when I was one of the engineers employed on the
construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway. That was sixty years ago.
There are few of us now left to tell a first-hand story of that work. So I
have felt I should do my part in preserving some record of those days, by
relating my own experiences.
In my presentation of these I have naturally mentioned quite frequently
those with whom I was most closely associated. However modest the positions
which some of them held, they played a necessary part in the construction of
the railway; and, later, were prominent in the development of the West. They
were worthy pioneers, whose names I have endeavoured to preserve, so that,
though they pass out of sight they will not be forgotten.
P. Turner Bone
And so I hope you will all enjoy this story which has the first three
chapters up at
And that's all for now and hope you all have a Happy Easter weekend :-)
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