Electric Scotland News
The Flag in the Wind
University of Strathclyde Genealogy Course
The Scottish Nation
Raiderland, All about Grey Galloway
Poems and Stories - World's Civil Aircraft and Scottish Landscape Artists
Scottish Canadian Newspaper
Proceedings of the Scotch-Irish Third Congress at Louisville, Kentucky May
14 to 17, 1891
History of Scotland
Highlanders in Spain
Memoir of Norman MacLeod, D.D.
Stan's War Memorials in Grampian
Doug Ross's pictures from his Scottish Tour
Frank Shaw Articles
Scots Independent Newspaper
Galbraiths of the Lennox
My next door neighbour has left for a new home and the owner of the property
visited saying he will be doing up the house before it gets rented out
again... he's sorting out the front and back garden, new roof, etc. and so
hopefully this is yet another stage in the general development of the area.
I will shortly be getting my steps replaced - should have been done last
week so hopefully soon. Also need to get the trees trimmed back. So domestic
issues taking up some of my time this week :-)
Homecoming Scotland have completed their survey now and Stephen said "it
worked powerfully for
us" so many thanks to you all for helping with this survey. He tells me
he'll send in an article about it when he gets a chance.
I met up with Jim Shields who emigrated from Scotland to Canada in the late
1990's. He has just published a book on "World's Civil Aircraft" which is a
mighty tome and he kindly gave me a copy. In a long chat he also told me
that he is an Artist and during his life in Scotland he learned and worked
with many of Scotland's top Artists. As a result he has agreed to do some
mini bios on some of the more famous ones including James McIntosh Patrick
and Joe McIntyre and he has already sent in an article on James McIntosh
Patrick. I have links up to these in the Poems and Stories section below.
As you know Stan has been sending in pictures of War Memorials in the
Grampian area of Scotland. Well in the Chapel of Garioch War Memorial there
are many abbreviations against the names and Stan has asked if you could
take a look at it and if you know what the abbreviations are if you could
email him with the information at
Stanley.Bruce@dnv.com. See below for details.
I might also just remind you that I'm posting a new set of pictures onto our
index page each Thursday. This week they are of the Secret Bunker near Elie
ABOUT THE STORIES
Some of the stories in here are just parts of a larger story so do check out
the site for the full versions. You can always find the link in our "What's
New" section at the link at the top of this newsletter and pick up poems and
stories sent into us during the week from Donna, Margo, Stan, John and
THE FLAG IN THE WIND
Mind that The Flag is now in two sections (1) Political and (2) Cultural.
This weeks Flag is compiled by Jim Lynch and likely a reading of the Flag on
a regular basis will provide us with more information on how the SNP are
getting on in governing Scotland. In this weeks issue he tells us about the
first Question Time which he attended in person.
In Peter's cultural section he talks about...
The Royal Burgh of Selkirk is renowned for having, perhaps, one of the most
colourful of the Border Common-Ridings with the Casting of the Colours, led
by the Standard-Bearer, in the Town's Market Place after the Riding of the
Marches. This year’s Royal Burgh Standard Bearer will be Alasdair Craig and
the Common Riding is due, as usual, on the second Friday after the first
Monday in June – in other words a week today – Friday 15 June 2007. That day
Selkirk will resound to the town’s traditional song – ‘Up Wi’ The Souters O’
‘It’s up wi the Soutars o’ Selkirk,
An doun wi’ the Earl o’ Hume,
An here’s tae a’ the braw ladies
That weirs the single-soled shuin.
It’s up wi’ the Souters o’ Selkirk,
For they are baith trusty an’ leal,
An up wi’ the lads o’ the Forest’
An doun wi’ the Merse tae the deil.’
But you don’t need to wait until next week in Selkirk to enjoy the town’s
well-known delicacy Selkirk Bannock as below you will find a recipe to make
your very own!
First made by Robbie Douglas in his bakery in Selkirk Market Place in 1859
it was a great favourite of Queen Victoria. A slice of Selkirk Bannock was
all that she would eat, along with a cup of tea, when she visited Sir Walter
Scott's grand-daughter at Abbotsford in 1867 in spite of being offered a
According to the writer Theodora Fitzgibbon the Selkirk Bannock is a
reminder of our Celtic Heritage - "All the Celtic Countries - Scotland,
Ireland, Wales and Brittainy - have many things in common; a similarity of
language; cultural heritages; as well as a surprising number of foods
general to all these countries. There is little to choose between the Barm
Brack of Ireland, the Bara Brith of Wales, Selkirk Bannock of Scotland, the
Morlaix Brioche of Brittainy...".
To make your very own Selkirk Bannock, a circular, very rich fruit loaf,
flat on the bottom and rounded on top, take
2 lb flour, 1/2 pt warmed milk,1 oz yeast, 1/2 lb sugar, 1/2 teasp sugar for
creaming the yeast, 1lb sultanas, 4 oz butter, 4 oz lard, 4 oz chopped
candied orange peel, a little milk and sugar for glazing.
Melt the butter and lard until soft but not oily, then add the warmed milk;
cream the yeast with 1/2 teaspoon sugar and add to mixture. Sift the flour
into a bowl, make a well in the centre and pour in the liquid, then sprinkle
the flour from the sides over the top to make a batter. Cover with a cloth
and leave in a warm place for about 1 hour until doubled in size. Knead
well, and add the fruit and sugar. Knead again for about 5 minutes, place in
greased tin which should be half full, cover and sit again to rise for about
45 minutes. Bake in a moderate oven ( 350F; mark 4-5 ) for about one hour to
one and a half hours, and half an hour before done, take from oven and brush
top with a little warmed milk with sugar dissolved in it. Put back in oven
and continue cooking until golden. Test with a skewar to ensure fully
It is usually served for tea, sliced and buttered - enjoy like Queen
Victoria - well worth the effort!
[Note: It would be great if someone could send in some pictures from the
riding for us to place on the site.]
University of Strathclyde Genealogy Course
In just two weeks time the first intake of students at the University of
Strathclyde’s Postgraduate Certificate in Genealogical Studies will finish
their formal lectures for this year’s course, but the university is already
looking for applicants for the next run, which will commence in January
2008. The course, the only one offered at this level at a British
university, is very much geared towards those seeking a career as a
professional genealogist, or in other fields where such information may be
of vital use. Upon its completion, successful candidates can progress
further if they wish to study a Postgraduate Diploma in the field, and then
onto a Masters.
Unlike this year’s course which was solely based in Glasgow, the next
certificate will be offered both at the university campus in Glasgow and as
a distance learning course for those slightly further afield. Covering
British genealogy, with a strong leaning towards the records and techniques
necessary for working within the industry in Scotland, the course covers
Genealogy and Heraldry, Family and Social History, Records & Archives, Law
and Language, and Methodologies and Practice.
The Scottish Nation
My thanks to Lora for transcribing these volumes for us.
Now on the G's and added this week are Gregory, Greig, Grierson, Guild and
Here is how the Gunn entry starts...
GUNN, the name of a Celtic clan, from the Gaelic word Guinneach, signifying
sharp, fierce, or keen. The clan, the badge of which was the juniper bush, a
martial and hardy, though not a numerous race, originally belonged to
Caithness, but in the sixteenth century they settled in Sutherland. They are
said to have been descended from Gun, or Gunn, or Guin, second son of Olaus,
or Olav, the Black, one of the Norwegian kings of Man and the Isles, who
died 18th June 1237. One tradition gives them a settlement in Caithness more
than a century earlier, deducing their descent from Gun, the second of three
sons of Olaf, described as a man of great bravery, who, in 1100, dwelt in
the Orcadian isle of Graemsay. The above-mentioned Gun or Guin is said to
have received from his grandfather on the mother’s side, Farquhar, earl of
Ross, the possessions in Caithness which long formed the patrimony of his
descendants; the earliest stronghold of the chief in that county being
Halbury castle, or Easter Clythe, situated on a precipitous rock,
overhanging the sea. From a subsequent chief who held the office of coroner,
it was called Crowner Gun’s castle. It may be mentioned here that the name
Gun is the same as the Welsh Gwynn, and the Manx Cawne, It was originally
Gun, but is now spelled with two ens.
The clan Gunn continued to extend their possessions in Caithness till about
the middle of the fifteenth century, when in consequence of their deadly
feuds with the Keiths (see KEITH, surname of), and other neighbouring clans,
they found it necessary to remove into Sutherland, when they settled on the
lands of Kildonan, under the protection of the earls of Sutherland, from
whom they had obtained them. Mixed up as they were with the clan feuds of
Caithness and Sutherland, and at war with the Mackays as well as the Keiths,
the history of the clan up to this time is full of incidents which have more
the character of romance than reality. [See Browne’s Highlands, vol. I.] sir
Robert Gordon, in his ‘Genealogical History of the Earldom of Sutherland,’
written up to 1630, and continued by another party to 1651, has several
incidental notices regarding the clan Gunn and the battles in which they
were engaged. In one place, alluding to “the inveterat deidlie feud betuein
the clan Gun and the Slaightean-Aberigh,” – a branch of the Mackays, – he
says: “The long, the many, the horrible encounters which happened between
these two trybes, with the bloodshed and infinit spoils committed in every
part of the diocy of Catteynes by them and their associats, are of so
disordered and troublesome memorie,” that he declines to give details.
Raiderland, All about Grey Galloway
by S. R. Crockett (1902)
Our thanks to John Snyder for ocr'ing in this book for us
Added chapters XII through to XV this week. Here is a bit from chapter XII
which shows how Parliament worked in the area :-)
THE SMIDDY PARLIAMENT
PARLIAMENT was in session. It met in the smiddy, and the smith was the
Speaker. He differed from the other Speaker at Westminster in this, that he
really did most of the speaking. Rob Affleck of the Craig, was the only man
who disrupted the floor with him. But then to listen to Rob was generally
held to be as good as a play.
There were a dozen of men from the neighbouring farms who had come in with
their plough gear to get sorted, and a sprinkling of the village folk who
found no place so bright and heartsome in the long winter nights as the
smithy by the burnside. The very door was blocked up with boys who dared not
come any farther. At these Whaupneb Jock, the smith's apprentice,
occasionally threw a Ladleful of water from the cooling cauldron, by way of
keeping them in their place and asserting his own superiority.
The Whinnyliggate House of Commons was discussing matters seriously. It had
four subjects – ministers in the abstract, ministers, women, and Mr.
Gladstone. Women was the only one of these which they discussed
philosophically. But upon all topics the smith prevented any accidents from
over-emphatic tongues. As soon as he heard anything unparliamentary, he
protruded a fist, solid as a ham, an inch beneath the speaker's nose.
“Smell that," he said.
This was called in Whinnyliggate the cloture.
“It's as easy to choose a minister as it is to sup yer porridge, man," said
Rob Affleck of the Craig, with great assurance and some contempt.
As he spoke he hefted a coal from the smiddy hearth between his finger and
thumb and dropped it dexterously into the bowl of his pipe, turning it with
a rapid rotary movement as he did so. All the boys of the vicinity watched
him with admiration and awe. To be able to do this was to be a great man.
Each of them would rather have been able to lift a coal with Rob's unconcern
than get a good conduct prize at school. Which was only a two-shilling book
at any rate. But in the meantime it was worth while trying for both
distinctions. The master of the village school, Duncan Duncanson, wondered
why so many of his pupils had blisters on their thumbs and second fingers
when they came to write. One day he found out. It was Fred Mill whom he
caught practising lighting a pipe in Rob Affleck's way, After this blisters
were not confined to the finger and thumb of those caught with the brand of
Tubal Cain upon their hands.
"As easy as suppin' your porridge, man!" he repeated more emphatically than
before, though in reality no one had contradicted him.
"I dinna haud wi' ministers!" interjected the budding freethinker of
Whinnyliggate, Alexander White, generally known as "Ac White."
Clang—cling! Clang—cling! Clang—cling! went the sledge and small hammer on
the anvil as the smith and his assistant forged a coulter.
The foreman dropped the sledge and stood leaning on it.
The smith himself elaborated the red cooling metal with his smaller hammer,
turning it about briskly with his pincers.
“Ay, man, Ac White, an' what said ye?” he asked, as he gave the dull red
mass the final touches before thrusting it back again into the fire.
“I was sayin' –" began Ac the Agnostic.
But he was interrupted. The foreman at the other side had extracted out of
his fire another coulter, and in a moment the smith was swinging the sledge
and the journeyman in his turn moulding the iron with the small hammer,
turning it about deftly in his pincers as the blows fell.
Clang-cling! Clang-cling! Clang-cling!
“I was sayin' that I dinna haud wi' ministers ava',” said Ac White.
The smith cast down the heavy coulter. It fell on Ac White's toes. That is
what is called a dispensation in the Whinnyliggate smiddy, where the smith
sometimes acted instead of Providence. Ac White's language came in a burst.
“Smell that!" said the smith, turning sternly and suddenly. Ac White smelt
it, but apparently he did not think much of the perfume, which was that of
iron, grime, and newly-shod horse-hoofs-a scent particularly wholesome and
His words were dammed back within him.
The smith was coaxing the fire into a whiter heat by taking up little
shovelfuls of small coal and letting them trickle upon the cracked red
volcano above the coulter he was heating. With his left hand upon the
polished handle of the bellows, he kept up a mild equable blowing with short
light strokes. Rob Affleck's pipe was now going fine. The smith looked over
at him, which was a signal that there was an interval in the hammering, long
enough for Rob to utilise by treating further on his subject, which was
ministers in the abstract – also elders.
"It’s easy aneuch gettin' a minister," repeated Rob, who, like all
Whinnyliggate talkers, had to make a fair fresh start "each time: "but it's
quite another thing to get half-a-dizen o’ guid elders_fair to middlin',
that is. Theyre easy aneuch to elect, but then your wark's no dune. Ye hae
to get them to accept, ye see! Noo, it's no juist every man that likes to
bind hissel' to come hame straught up on end in his gig every Monday nicht,
as all elder is expectit to do. Na, lads, it's a deal to ask o' ony man,
year in an' year oot"
“Was that what keepit you frae takin' the eldership last year, Rob" said the
smith, over the handle of the bellows.
Proceedings of the Scotch-Irish Third Congress at Louisville, Kentucky May
14 to 17, 1891
Now working on the Third Congress and this week as well as completing the
summary proceedings have added...
Scotch-Irish influence upon the Formation of the Government of the United
By Rev. J. H. Bryson, D.D., of Huntsville, Ala.
The Scotch-Irish Race Among the Nations.
By Rev. Dr. Thomas Murphy, of Philadelphia, Pa.
The Scotch-Irish of California.
By Mr. Terence Masterson, of San Francisco, Cal.
The Scotch-Irish in East Tennessee.
By Judge Oliver P. Temple, of Knoxville, Tenn.
Here is how the Scotch-Irish influence upon the Formation of the Government
of the United States by Rev. J. H. Bryson, D.D., of Huntsville, Ala.
The science of government is a study full of interest from every stand-point
of investigation. The nature and genius of a government cannot be correctly
understood without a clear apprehension of the several elements which enter
into the formation of the governmental structure. There are always
antecedents of a marked and pronounced character, which lead up to every
great historical epoch, and these great events of human history must be
carefully studied in the light of these antecedents if they are to be
The formation of the government of the United States is the grandest and
most distinguished achievement of human history. It has no parallel in any
age or century. It is the outgrowth of principles, which had to work their
way through long periods of suffering and conflict. The logical and
regulative structure of the principles of our government into an instrument,
which we call our Constitution, was the result of but a few months' labor;
the principles themselves, however, had been struggling through martyrdom
and blood for many generations. To understand the government of the United
States, the genius and character of the people who settled the several
colonies must be carefully studied. Its most distinguishing feature is that
it is a government framed by the people for the people. It is their own
conception of the best form of government to secure personal right and
In the present discourse we propose to review the influence which the
Scotch-Irish people exerted in various ways in the formation of our
government. The inhabitants of the colonies up to 1776 were almost entirely
an English-speaking people, coming from England, Scotland, and Ireland. The
French Huguenot was not a large element in the settlement of the country,
but it was a most important one. There was also a noble body of settlers
from Holland. These different classes of people all have an honorable part,
worthy of themselves, in forming the government of our country.
When the government of the United States came into existence, as the voice
of the people speaking through thirteen sovereign States, the world stood
amazed at the daring and brilliant conception. Tyranny and oppression
received a fatal blow in that glorious day, and human liberty found a
permanent home in the hearts of three millions of American citizens. Many
were the prophecies of its speedy downfall, but with the first century of
its history it has taken the first place among the nations of the world. The
principles of this government are no longer a matter of experiment, but, as
a distinguished writer has said: "they are believed to disclose and display
the type of institutions toward which, as by a law of fate, the rest of
civilized mankind are forced to move, some with swifter, others with slower,
but all with unhesitating feet." [Brice's "American Commonwealth," Volume
I., page 1.]
The causes which led to the formation of the American Government were
foreign to the people of the colonies. They did not willingly break
allegiance with the mother country. It was the oppressive measures of the
British Crown which forced them to declare their independence and construct
a new government, if they would be freemen. But the birthday of
constitutional liberty had come. A mysterious providence had prepared a
people, through long years of suffering and trial, for the glorious
heritage, and had held in reserve a magnificent continent for their
abiding-place. The era of 1776 was not within the range of human conception
or forecast, but there was above and behind it all a divine Mind, bringing
forward the day with all its stupendous revelations.
In considering the history of any people, it is a serious defect to leave
out of view their religious conceptions, as expressed in their formulas of
faith. Religion of necessity is the most powerful factor in the direction of
human life. Mr. Carlyle has well said: "A man's religion is the chief fact
with regard to him." [Carlyle's "Heroes," page 1.] In a Christian land, with
an Spell Bible, this is pre-eminently true. With the American colonies
religious liberty was a question of not less vital importance than that of
civil liberty. Their religious faith had a most powerful influence in
forming their character, and they intend to be untrammeled in its exercise.
From New Hampshire to Georgia they were Calvin-fets of the most pronounced
type. Calvinism was their religious creed, and out of it sprung their
political principles. This had been the creed of their ancestors from the
days of the Reformation. It had stood the test of fire and sword for more
than two hundred years. The principles of that wonderful system had
permeated their whole being.
It gave them intellectual strength and vigor. It intensified to the highest
degree their individuality. It developed that integrity and force of
character, which no blandishments or persecutions could break down. He who
puts a light estimate upon Calvinism knows little of its principles, and he
knows little of the struggles which brave Calvin-ists have made in many
lands for freedom. Motley speaks correctly when he says: " Holland, England,
and America owe their liberties to Calvinists." Ranke, the great German
historian, as well as D'Aubigne, says: "Calvin was the true founder of the
American Government." Hume, Macaulay, Buckle, Froude, and Leckey all affirm
that it was the stern, unflinching courage of the Calvinistic Puritan that
won the priceless heritage of English liberty. Scotland can never estimate
what she owes John Knox, the fearless embodiment of Calvinism in Church and
State. Mr. Bancroft makes the statement conspicuous that it was the
Calvinistic faith of the American colonies, which prompted them to resist
the oppressions of the British Crown, and maintain the desperate struggle
with unfaltering courage until the glorious victory was achieved.
History of Scotland
In 9 volumes By Patrick Fraser Tytler (1828)
Continued the fifth volume. Here is what has been added this week...
Chapter 2 (Pages 86 - 174)
James the Fifth (1513)
Chapter 3 (Pages 175 - 220)
James the Fifth (1524 - 1528)
Chapter 4 (Pages 221 - 304)
James the Fifth 1528 - 1542
And so lots of reading this week. Here is a bit from Chapter 2...
THE news of the discomfiture of the Scottish army at Flodden spread through
the land with a rapidity of terror and sorrow proportionate to the greatness
of the defeat, and the alarming condition into which it instantly brought
the country. The wail of private grief, from the hall to the cottage, was
loud and universal. In the capital were to be heard the shrieks of women who
ran distractedly through the streets bewailing the husbands, the sons, or
the brothers, who had fallen, clasping their infants to their bosoms, and
anticipating in tears the coming desolation of their country. In the
provinces, as the gloomy tidings rolled on, the same scenes were repeated;
and had Surrey been inclined, or in a condition to pursue his victory, the
consequences of the universal panic were much to be dreaded; but the very
imminency of the public danger was salutary in checking this violent
outburst of sorrow in the capital. During the absence of the chief
magistrates who had joined the army with the king, the merchants to whom
their authority had been deputed, exhibited a fine example of firmness and
presence of mind. They issued a proclamation which was well adapted to
restore order and resolution. It took notice of the great rumour touching
their beloved monarch and his army, which had reached the city, dwelt on its
uncertainty, and abstained from the mention of death or defeat; it commanded
the whole body of the townsmen to arm themselves at the sound of the common
bell, for the defence of the city. It enjoined, under the penalty of
banishment, that no females should be seen crying or wailing in the streets,
and concluded by recommending all women of the better sort to repair to the
churches, and there offer up their petitions to the God of battles, for
their sovereign lord and his host, with those of their fellow citizens who
It was soon discovered that, for the moment at least, Surrey had suffered so
severely that he did not find himself strong enough to prosecute the
victory, and an interval of deliberation was thus permitted to the country.
Early in October, a parliament assembled at Perth, which from the death of
the flower of the nobility at Flodden, consisted
chiefly of the clergy. It proceeded first to the coronation of the infant
king, which was performed at Scone with the usual solemnity, but amid the
tears, instead of the rejoicings of the people; its attention was then
directed to the
condition of the country; but its deliberations were hurried, and
unfortunately no satisfactory record of them remains. Contrary to the
customary law, the regency was committed to the queen mother, from a feeling
of affectionate respect to the late king. The castle of Stirling, with the
custody of the infant monarch, was entrusted
to Lord Borthwick; and it was determined, till more protracted leisure for
consultation had been given, and a fuller parliament assembled, that the
queen should use the counsel of Beaton, Archbishop of Glasgow, with the
Earls of Huntly and Angus. It appears, however, that even at this early
period, there was a party in Scotland which looked with anxiety on the
measure of committing the chief situation in the government to a female,
whose near connection with England rendered it possible that she might act
under foreign influence; and a secret message was dispatched by their
leaders to the Duke of Albany, in France - a nobleman, who, in the event of
the death of the young king, was the next heir to the throne, requesting him
to repair to Scotland and assume the office of regent, which of right
belonged to his rank.'
Highlanders in Spain
By James Grant (1910)
Now up to Chapter 45 and here is how chapter 44 starts...
Chapter 44 - Passage of the Nive
An order having been issued for a general attack on the enemy's position at
the Nive, on the morning of the 9th of December, an hour before daybreak,
the allied army got under arms, in high spirits and glee at the prospect of
fighting monsieur on his own ground, and prosecuting their victorious career
still further into France. But as it is not my purpose . to give an account
of that brilliant affair, I will confine myself to the adventures of our
friends. In Stuart's quarter, or billet,—a miserable and half-ruined
cottage,—the officers who were to be under his command on a certain duty,
sat smoking cigars and carousing on the common wine of the country, until
the signal 'to arms' was given. The parly consisted of his own subs,—of
Blacier and a Spanish captain, Castronuno, a tall and sombre cavalier, lank,
lean, and bony, and who might very well have passed for the Knight of La
Mancha. Their supper consisted of tough ration carne (beef), broiled over
the fire on ramrods, and eaten without salt,—an article which was always so
scarce, that a duro would have been given for a teaspoonful. This poor fare
Blacier improved by swallowing an ample mess of chopped cabbage and vinegar,
and by puffing assiduously at his meerschaum. After having stuffed himself
until belt and button strained almost to starting, he deposited in his
haversack a quantity of spare bread and meat for his breakfast. Castro-hiuno,
who had been observing his gluttony with quiet wonder, recom. mended him to
eat his breakfast then, as it would save trouble on the morrow. This advice
Stuart enforced by adding that he might be knocked on the head before day
broke, and perhaps all his good provender would go to swell some other man's
'Mein Gott!' groaned the German, 'vat you say is right. I veel eat vile I
can. Hagel! mein Herr, you hab gibben de soond advice.' And he commenced a
fresh attack on the viands, and quickly transferred them from the haversack
to his distended stomach. He had scarcely finished, and let out four holes
in his sword-belt, before the sharp Celtic visage of Sergeant Macrone was
seen peering through the clouds of tobacco-smoke, as he informed Stuart, '
Tat ta lads were a' standin' to their airms on the plain stanes.'
It was then an hour before daybreak, and the sky was dark and gloomy. Stuart
noiselessly paraded his troops—the 'light-bobs,' Blacier's riflemen, and
Castronuno's Spaniards, and moved up the banks of the stream, to execute the
duty assigned to him. This was to carry by storm the castle of the Nive,
that the troops in its immediate neighbourhood might be enabled to cross by
the ford, the passage of which was swept by the guns of the fortress. The
day preceding the projected assault, Ronald and Blacier made a
reconnaissance of the place, and found that there was no other method but to
ford the river below the neighbouring cascade, and carrying the outer
defences by storm, trusting to Heaven and their own hands for the rest, as
the tall keep might be defended against musketry for an age, unless a piece
of cannon was brought to bear upon it.
At the time mentioned, an hour before dawn, the whole of the troops in and
about Cambo were under arms, and the signal to cross was to be the storming
of the chateau. The companies destined to effect this dangerous piece of
service marched up the bank of the Nive a few miles, and, favoured by the
intense darkness, halted immediately opposite to the scene of action among
some olive-trees, which were, however, bare and leafless. There a
consultation was held, and it was determined to proceed forthwith. All
appeared still within the chateau. The sentries on the bastions and
palisades were seen passing and repassing the embrasures, but the noise of
their tread was drowned in the rush of the cascade, which poured furiously
over a ledge of rock a few yards above the fort, and plunged into a deep
chasm, from which a constant cloud of spray arose. Desiring Evan Bean
Iverach to keep close by his side, Ronald, with a section of twelve picked
Highlanders carrying three stout ladders, led the way. Under the command of
Evan Macpherson, the rest of the company followed close upon his heels, with
their bayonets pointing forward, and every man's hand on the lock of his
musket. Old Blacier, who was as brave as a lion, notwithstanding all his
oddities, prepared to mount the works by escalade a little further up the
stream, where his riflemen were in imminent danger of being drenched by the
spray of the waterfall. Two companies of the 18th Spanish corps of the line
were to form a reserve, under the command of Don Alfonso de Castronuno.
'Now then, lads,' said Ronald, while his heart leaped and hfe breath came
thick and close, for the moment was an exciting one, 'keep up your locks
from the stream, and look well to your priming,—though we must trust most to
butt and bayonet.'
'Qui va là? challenged a sentinel.
'You'll soon find that out, my boy,' cried Stuart, brandishing his sword.
'Forward, Gordon Highlanders! Hurrah!'
'Demeurez la/' cried the Gaul in dismay, while he fired his piece in concert
with three or four others. A Highlander fell in the stream wounded, and was
sucked into the linn, where he perished instantly. His comrades let fly a
rattling volley, and pressed boldly forward. The water rose nearly to their
waists, but the Celts had an advantage over their comrades in trousers.
Raising the thick tartan folds of their kilts, they crossed the river,
keeping all their clothing, the hose excepted, perfectly dry.
The Nive, at the place where they crossed, was several yards wide, and the
current, on the surface of which some pieces of thin ice floated, was
intensely cold; but the hardy Highlanders pressed onward, grasping each
other by the hand, and crossed safely, but not without several unlooked-for
delays. The bed of the river was pebbly, slippery as glass, and full of
holes, which caused them to stumble every moment, and a scaling-ladder was
nearly carried away by the stream. The rocks were steep and precipitous,
rising to the height of several yards abruptly from the water. The ladders
were planted among the pebbles; and when one point of the rock was gained,
they had to draw them up before they could reach another, and so arrive at
the foot of the sloping bastion, which was now bristling with bayonets. By
the time the escalade approached the outworks, every soldier in the chateau
was at his post, and the cannon had begun to belch their iron contents,
which, however, passed harmlessly over the heads of the assailants. The
fierce northern blood of the latter was now roused in good earnest, and
their natural courage seemed only to receive a fresh stimulus from the din
of war around them.
Accustomed from infancy to climb like squirrels, the Scotsmen clambered up
the rocks, grasping weeds and tufts of grass,—finding assistance and support
where other men would have found none; and in less space of time than I take
to record it, they were all at the base of the bastion.
'Up and on! Forward, my brave Highland hearts!' cried Ronald Stuart,
springing recklessly up the perilous ladder, waving his sword, and feeling
in his mind the wild—almost mad—sensations of chivalry and desperation,
which no man can imagine save one who has led a forlorn hope. 'Death or
glory! Hurrah! the place is our own!' At that moment a twenty-four pounder
was run through the embrasure and discharged above his head. It was so
close, that the air of the passing ball almost stunned him; he felt the hot
glow of the red fire on his cheek, and the deadly missile whistled over his
bonnet, and boomed away into the darkness. Several fire-balls were tossed
over the works by the French. These burned with astonishing brilliancy and
splendour wherever they alighted,—even in the middle of water, where they
roared, sputtered, and hissed like devils, but would not be quenched until
they burned completely away.
Those which fell upon the rocks served to reveal the storming-party to the
deadly aim of the defenders, and at the same time added to the singularity,
the picturesque horror of the scene, by the alternate glares of red, blue,
and green light which they shed upon the castled rock, the bristling
bastions, the rushing river, the gleaming arms, and the bronzed features of
men whose hearts the excitement of the moment had turned to iron. Unluckily,
the first ladder planted against the breastwork broke, and the men fell
Enraged at this discomfiture, Stuart leaped up the rocks again, though
drenched with water,—but blows had been already interchanged. A second
ladder had been planted by Macpherson, who leaped into an embrasure at the
very moment a cannon was discharged through it, and he narrowly escaped
being blown to pieces. With charged bayonets the resolute Highlanders poured
in after him in that headlong manner which was never yet withstood, and a
fierce conflict ensued, foot to foot, and hand to hand. From their lack of
muscular power, the French are ever at disadvantage in such strife; and
although many of the assailants here forced over the parapet and slain, the
outworks were entirely captured in a few minutes. The Germans under old
Blacier, who led them on with his sabre in one hand, and his meerschaum in
the other, effected an entrance at one angle, while the Spanish officer
commanding the reserve bravely carried another, finding it impossible to
restrain his soldiers, whose triumphant shout of 'Santiago y Espana! Viva/'
struck the French with dismay. Finding themselves attacked successfully on
three points, they became distracted, and were driven tumultuously from
bastion and palisade, after which their own cannon were wheeled round on
them. Nevertheless they fought with the chivalrous courage of old France.
The top of the keep was lined with chasseurs, who madly continued to pour
down an indiscriminate fire of musketry on friends and foes, and the
barbican was full of blood and corpses in five minutes. Brilliant fire-balls
were also cast over, and the glare thrown by them on the bloody earth, the
flashing weapons and powder-blackened visages of the combatants, produced an
effect never to be forgotten by a beholder. Poor Blacier, who had been shot
through the lungs at the moment he entered the court, hurled his sabre among
the enemy and crawled away into a corner, where he smoked composedly as he
bled to death,—or at least appeared to smoke. The Gascon major of the 105th
was encountered by Alfonso de Castronuno, who at the second blow laid him
dead at his feet, but almost at the same moment the Spaniard himself
expired: a shot had passed through his heart. Remembering Louis Lisle, and
animated by a bitter hatred against all who wore the same garb, the duke,
with his cloak rolled round his left arm, and accoutred with sword and
dagger, leaped among the Highlanders, calling on the French to follow; but
no man obeyed. He would have been instantly bayoneted but for Ronald, who
was the first man he encountered, and who ordered the soldiers to leave them
hand to hand. In avoiding the duke's stiletto, Stuart stumbled over the
corse of Castronuno, and would have been instantly despatched, but for the
crossed bayonets of a dozen soldiers.
'Save him!' cried Stuart. 'Macpherson! Evan Bean! take him alive.' 'Haud!'
cried Iverach sternly. 'Stand, ye black son o' the devil ! Back—back! or my
bayonet's through ye in a twinkling.' But the furious Spaniard spat upon him
in the bitterness of his fury, and the next moment his blood was reeking on
Evan's weapon. He fell prone to the earth, and even while he lay choking in
blood, he continued to curse and spit at the conquerors, until the Spaniards
destroyed him by trampling him to death. The moment he fell, the French
surrendered, after being hemmed into a corner, and finding it impossible to
maintain the conflict longer. On both sides the slaughter was very great,
and upwards of two hundred lay killed in the court or barbican. The
chasseurs on the top of the keep did not yield until threatened that the
place would be blown up ; on which they laid down their arms, and joined the
other prisoners, who formed a sullen band, ranked in a corner and guarded by
the Spaniards, for whom they showed their scorn and contempt so openly that
three or four were killed.
Many of the captives were mere boys, poor conscripts, who only a month
before had been compelled to resign the shovel for the musket; and some were
the old and high-spirited soldiers of the Emperor,—stern fellows, with
bronzed and scarred cheeks, rough moustaches, and mouths black with the
cartridges they had bitten. They looked around them with an air of haughty
pride, defiance, and nonchalance, which only a Frenchman can assume under
such circumstances. When daylight dawned, Blacier was found lying dead. When
last seen alive, he was sitting philosophically watching the pool formed by
his blood; and thus he expired with his pipe in his mouth, an inveterate
smoker to the last.
Memoir of Norman MacLeod, D.D.
Minister of Barony Parish, Glasgow; one of Her Majesty's Chaplains; Dean of
The Chapel Royal; Dean of The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of The
By his brother The Rev. Donald MacLeod, B.A. (1876)
Got up five chapters this week covering...
Here is how the 1860-61 chapter starts...
AS the next twelve years were the last, so they were the most laborious and
most important, of his life. In addition to his onerous pastoral duties, he
now accepted the editorship of Good Words. The voluminous correspondence
which that office entailed necessarily occupied much of his time; but,
besides numerous minor articles, he contributed to its pages, between 1860
and 1870, "The Gold Thread," "The Old Lieutenant," "Parish Papers," "The
Highland Parish," "Character Sketches," "The Starling," "Eastward," and
"Peeps at the Far East," For the greater part of the same period he presided
over the India Mission of the Church; and during its course he had more than
once to engage in painful controversies on public questions, which, to a man
of his temperament, were more exhausting than the hardest work.
He had removed during the previous year from Woodlands Terrace to his future
home at 204, Bath Street; and here, as a refuge from interruption, he fitted
up a little library over an outside laundry, which was, to the last, his
favourite nook for study. His writing table was placed at a small window
which he had opened at a corner of the room, where he could enjoy a glimpse
of sky over the roofs of the surrounding houses. It was at the best only a
spot of heaven that was visible, but such as it was, it afforded him some
refreshment when, in the midst of his work, he caught a passing gleam of
Those who were admitted to this "back study" will remember the quick look
with which he used to turn from his desk to scan his visitor, and the
unfailing heartiness with which, even in his busiest hours, the pen was cast
aside, the small meerschaum lighted, and throwing himself on a couch covered
with his old travelling buffalo robe, he entered upon the business in hand.
But the continual interruptions to which he was exposed [Every forenoon
there was quite a levee at bis house, consisting chiefly of the poor seeking
his aid on all kinds of business, relevant and irrelevant. On these
occasions his valued beadle, Mr. Lawson, acted as master of the ceremonies.
One day when Norman was overwhelmed with other work, and the door-bell
seemed never to cease ringing, some one said, "I believe that bell is
possessed by an evil spirit." "Certainly," he answered, "Don't you know the
Prince of evil spirits is called Bellzebub—from his thus torturing
hard-worked ministers?"] and the pressure of literary engagements gradually
drove him into the habit of working far into the night, and as he seldom
failed to secure at least an hour for devotional reading before breakfast,
his sleep was curtailed, to the great injury of his health.
Good Words was not projected by him but by the publishers, Mr. Strahan and
his partner Mr. Isbister. When Mr. Strahan (to whose enterprise and genius
as a publisher the magazine greatly owed its success) asked him to become
its editor he for a time declined to accept a task involving so much labour
and anxiety. But he had long cherished the conviction that a periodical was
greatly required of the type sketched by Dr. Arnold, which should embrace as
great a variety of articles as those which give deserved popularity to
publications professedly secular, but having its spirit and aim
distinctively Christian. The gulf which separated the so-called religious
and the secular press was, in his opinion, caused by the narrowness and
literary weakness of even the best religious magazines. He could see no good
reason for leaving the wholesome power of fiction, the discussion of
questions in physical and social science, together with all the humour and
fun of life, to serials which excluded Christianity from their pages. His
experience while conducting the Edinburgh Christian Magazine served only to
deepen his desire to have an ably written periodical which would take up a
manly range of topics, and while embracing contributions of a directly
religious character, should consist mainly of articles "on common subjects,
written," as Arnold said, "with a decidedly Christian tone."
From his Journal:—
"January 1, half-past 12.—Into Thy hands I commit my life, my spirit, my
family, my all!
"I have had more pleasure in preaching this year than any year of my life.
Sabbath after Sabbath I have had joy in the work, and have been wonderfully
helped by God out of the pulpit and in it. I had my usual evening sermons
with the working classes. But, strange to say, though it was a time of
revival, and my heart longed for one, and a prayer-meeting was established
for one, and I preached two months longer than usual, the results as to
attendance and conversions were far poorer. I cannot yet account for this,
except on the supposition that the good which flowed through this channel
has gone through others into God's treasury. Amen.
[The following anonymous letter which he received expresses graphically the
impression these services had on the poor.
"I hope you will excuse me, Sir, a poor woman, to address you, one of the
greatest men of the City, but I feel so grateful for your unwearied kindness
in preaching to us working-people many winters, just out of pure good will
for the real good of our souls ; if the prayers of the poor are of any
avail, I'm sure you have them heartily, you have no idea how proud we are to
see yourself coining into the pulpit.
"I remember some of the lectures very well last winter on the Creation, on
the fall of Man, the Flood, and Abraham offering up his son Isaac, and how
delighted we were that night when you were on Lazarus, and Martha and Mary.
I heard you on the mysteries of providence, and I understood it well, Sir,
as I heard you mention how it was explained to yourself that night when you
thought Mrs. Macleod was dying.]
"The editorship of 'Good Words' was given me. I did not suggest or ask the
publication, and I refused the editorship for some time. On the principle,
however, of trying to do what seems given me of God, I accepted it. May God
use it for His glory!"
This is a rare wee book consisting of only 135 pages of pure delight about
whisky. (As a courtesy to our cousins across the pond, I will not spell
whisky with an “e”!) The author, George Malcolm Thomson, used the pseudonym
Aeneas MacDonald “in deference to his mother”. I was presented with this gem
by my good friend, Dave McDaniel, a fellow Scot. We are both members of the
St. Andrew’s Society of Atlanta. Dave wears a medallion acknowledging that
he is the “Keeper of the Bar” for our society. He knows whisky and pours a
Ian Buxton, one of the world’s greatest whisky authorities, in my opinion,
has a 25-page “Appreciation” or introduction at the beginning of this
epistle that, in and of itself, is worth the price of the publication. Mr.
Buxton has brought this very readable book, first published in 1930, to our
generation of readers and deserves the highest of accolades for doing so.
The book cover flap brags, and justifiably so I might add, that this “is
what everyone should know about the world’s noblest beverage”. After you’ve
read it, you will be hard pressed to disagree.
WHISKY is one of the best works I have reviewed in the six plus years since
beginning the column, A HIGHLANDER AND HIS BOOKS. Let me hasten to say this
is not a volume “just” for men. Women will find it enjoyable, factual, and
full of wit and interesting references, replete with historical anecdotes
throughout. Discriminating readers, as well as discriminating drinkers, will
find this manuscript of great value. You’ll love the book even if you do not
The name Aeneas MacDonald should resonate with all clan members, not just
Clan MacDonald. Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott each play a part in the
book. You’ll learn of the so-called “Squirrel” whisky produces an
“irresistible desire to climb trees” and “Rabbit” whisky creates an impulse
to leap and run.
You wouldn’t spend good money on bad whisky, and you will never, ever spend
good money on a better reading whisky book! Need I say more as to how
interesting you’ll find this book?
WHISKY by Aeneas MacDonald was re-published by Canongate Books Ltd, 14 High
Street, Edinburgh, ISBN
I 84195 857 3, and costs 9.99 pounds. (FRS: 5-21-07)
Scots Independent Newspaper
I got in my June 2007 copy of the Scots Independent Newspaper and felt that
as it was the first issue since the SNP got elected it was an "historical"
issue and so I took the liberty of taking pictures of the pages for you to
read. You can see these at
I might add that on their "Flag in the Wind" section they do have a button
where you can subscribe to the newspaper and get it delivered to you each
Galbraiths of the Lennox
Was sent in a reprint of this book by Bruce W. Galbraith (Galbraithbook.doc)
which is in word format.
The account starts with...
In many modern notices of the Galbraiths, a great deal of ambiguity has
crept in owing to inaccuracy in statements made about the early members of
the family, e.g. in the "Memoirs of the House of Hamilton," by John
Anderson, "Arthur, the father of William" and "Arthur, the son of Maurice"
seem to be taken as the same person, and there are other misstatements in
the same book.
The purpose of this inquiry is mainly to try to place in proper order the
ancient ancestors of the Galbraiths so far as this can be done from the
study of the charters in which the name appears, particularly the "Cartularium
Comitatus de Levenax."
Some attempt will also be made to bridge, or at least to narrow, the gap
separating the original families of Galbraith from the Culcreuch family,
whose head became the chief of the Galbraiths about 1400, when Galbraith of
Gartconnel died without leaving any male heir to succeed him. If this gap
could be successfully bridged it would appear that some Galbraiths of the
present day could show a line of generations, always bearing the same name,
which few families in Scotland could rival. This does not mean that there
are not other families who can show ancestors of greater antiquity, but,
owing to the early system of patronymics, very few can claim ancestors, of
the same surname, of greater antiquity.
It is strange that in more modern times the Galbraiths have never been
recognized as a separate clan. In lists of clans they are usually known as
septs or dependents of other clans, e.g. of the Macfarlanes and the
Macdonalds. But in the year 1489, Thomas Galbraith of Culcreuch, who was
hanged for taking part in a rising headed by the Earl of Lennox, Lord Lyle
and others is called "Chieffe of the Galbraiths" by Sir James Balfour in his
"Annals of Scotland." And in the Acts of the Scottish Parliament of 1587 and
1594, the Galbraiths are mentioned as a clan, along with many others, whose
"brokin men" are accused of being "wickit thevis and lyrnmaris." (Vide,
Historical Geography of the Clans of Scotland, by T. B. Johnston and Col.
James R. Robertson, 3rd Edition 1899.) But they do not seem to have emerged
as a later clan, like the other numerous clans of Scotland, including the
Colquhouns and Buchanans, among whom they lived and with whom they
It is not the place of a writer of a short family history such as this to
dwell at any length on the more general aspects of Scottish history which
can be found in other places. It is only necessary to indicate very briefly
the state of the country as it was when the first persons to be dealt with
appear upon the scene. For those who are interested in the history of the
Lennox and the origin of the first Earls of that name it is only necessary
for reference to be made to Sir William Fraser's book, "The Lennox." There
the story will be found of the Lennox from Roman times and also details of
the supposed origin of the Earls of Lennox. Fraser traces them from a
Northumbrian noble, Archill by name, who was driven out from his country by
William the Conqueror, and took refuge with Malcolm Canmore, who received
him well, his descendant, Alwyn, becoming Earl of Lennox, about the middle
of the 12th century. Fraser is careful to state that there were other
opinions as to the descent of the first Earl—Skene holding that he had a
Celtic and not a Saxon origin.
Pictures from around the world
From time to time folk send me pictures they've taken on their trips around
the world and am afraid that unless they are from Scotland I've usually not
posted them up on the site. Well... I got another set of pictures in this
week and I have decided to create a new section on the site where I will
post them up on the site. I figured many Scots live all over the world so it
might be nice to see areas that they might live.
So this new section means that if anyone out there would like to take
pictures of their own area I'd be happy to post them up on the site. To
start the section off I've posted up a collection of pictures from Derek in
Chatham when he visited his son in the Banff area of British Columbia in
Canada. You can see these at
And that's all for now and hope you all have a good weekend :-)
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