Electric Scotland News
The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Scottish Canadian Newspaper
Clan Newsletters and Information
Poetry and Stories
Proceedings of the Scotch-Irish Fourth Congress at Atlanta, GA., April 28 to
May 1, 1892
History of Scotland
Good Words - Edited by the Rev Norman MacLeod
Perth on the Tay
Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland in 1876
The Island Clans During Six Centuries (New Book)
Highlander and his books
Robert Burns Lives!
A wee chuckle
Got a CD in from Michael Craig who took photos of the Grandfather Mountain
Highland Games in North Carolina for me. He had all the photos arranged in
different folders to reflect the various subjects which made my life a whole
lot easier. Mind you it still took me a full day to get them all up.
Should any of you that attended this event have any other photos I'd be
pleased to add them to this collection. And should you notice yourself in
any of the pictures and would like your name added to it then just identify
the photo and email me with the information and I'll add you in :-)
I've also made a start at a great wee book, "Island Clans over six
centuries", which I hope you'll enjoy and of which more below.
I am looking to visit the Fergus Highland Games in Ontario this Saturday so
if you spot me please feel free to say hello :-)
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. He has an interesting article
about "Greasy Polls" in which he discusses whether the new Prime Minister
might call an early election and also discusses the debt or lack of it of
the major political parties.
In Peter's cultural section I notice an old favorite recipe...
In by-gone days before the turnip was introduced as winter food for animals,
Martinmas, 11 November, was the time of year for killing the animals which
Scots could not afford to keep during the winter. It was a busy time of year
as families strove to ensure that nothing was wasted. Meat was salted down
and the innards made into black and white mealie puddings.
Most people now-a-days buy puddings at the butcher but Skirlie is still made
at home. Skirl-i-the-pan is made with the same ingredients as mealie
puddings but is fried in a pan rather than boiled in a skin. Also known as
Poor Man's Haggis, Skirlie is splendid with neeps an tatties and also be
used as stuffing for any kind of poultry or game. Here is the Aberdeenshire
and North-East Scotland method of cooking:-
Take oatmeal, suet, onion, salt and pepper. Chop two ounces of suet finely.
Heat a pan very hot and put in the suet. When it is melted add one or two
finely chopped onions and brown them well. Now add enough oatmeal ( about
four ounces ) to absorb the fat - a fairly thick mixture. Season to taste.
Stir well till thoroughly cooked ( a few minutes ). Serve with potatoes.
The Scottish Nation
My thanks to Lora for transcribing these volumes for us.
Now onto the H's with Horner, Horsburgh and Horsley added this week.
Here is the account of James Horsburgh...
HORSBURGH, JAMES, F.R.S., a distinguished hydrographer, was born at Elie,
Fifeshire, September 23, 1762. His parents, though in a humble sphere of
life, were pious and respectable. At the age of sixteen, having acquired the
elements of mathematical science, book-keeping, and the theoretical parts of
navigation, he sailed in various vessels, chiefly in the coal trade, from
Newcastle and the Firth of Forth to Hamburgh, Holland, and Ostend. In May
1780 he was captured by a French ship of twenty guns, close to Walcheren,
and detained in prison at Dunkirk for a short time. After his liberation he
went on a voyage to the West Indies, and on his return proceeded to
Calcutta. In 1784 he was made third mate of the Nancy, bound for Bombay, in
which trade he continued for about two years. In May 1786, when proceeding
from Batavia towards Ceylon, as first mate of the Atlas, he was wrecked upon
the island of Diego Garcia, owing to the incorrectness of the charts then in
use. On his return to Bombay he joined, as third mate, the Gunjava, a large
ship belonging to a respectable native merchant, and bound to China. On the
vessel’s arrival at Canton, he became first mate, in which capacity he
continued to sail, in that and other ships, between China, Bombay, and
Calcutta, for several years.
Mr. Horsburgh’s experience and observation had enabled him to accumulate a
vast store of nautical knowledge, bearing especially on eastern hydrography.
By the study of books, and by experiments, he familiarized himself with
lunar observations, the use of chronometers, &c. He also taught himself
drawing, etching, and the spheres. During two voyages to China, by the
eastern route, he constructed three charts, one of the Strait of Macassar,
another of the west side of the Philippine Islands, and the third of the
tract from Dampier Strait, through Pitt’s Passage, towards Batavia,
accompanied by a Memoir of Sailing Directions, which were published under
the patronage of the court of directors of the East India Company, for the
use of their ships.
In 1805 Mr. Horsburgh returned to England, and soon after he published a
variety of charts, with Memoirs of his Voyages, explanatory of Indian
Navigation. In the Philosophical Transactions for 1810 appeared several of
his papers which he had presented to Sir Joseph Banks; while others were
inserted in Nicholson’s Philosophical Journal. In 1809 he brought out
‘Directions for Sailing to and from the East Indies, China, New Holland, the
Cape of Good Hope, and the interjacent Ports,’ compiled chiefly from
original journals and observations made in the Eastern seas during
twenty-one years. This invaluable work has now become a standard authority.
In 1810, on the death of Mr. Dalrymple, he was appointed hydrographer to the
East India Company. His energies were now devoted to the construction of
various valuable charts and works; amongst which were, an Atmospherical
Register for indicating Storms at Sea, published in 1816; a new edition of
‘Mackenzie’s Treatise on Marine Surveying,’ in 1819; and the ‘East India
Pilot.’ He also contributed a paper to the Royal Society on the Icebergs in
the Southern Hemisphere, which is printed in the Philosophical Transactions
for 1830. In 1835 he published a Chart of the East Coast of China, having
the names in the Chinese character and in English, translated by himself,
which was his last work. He died May 14, 1836. He was married in 1805, and
left one son and two daughters, A striking public acknowledgment of his
merit is contained in the Report on Shipwrecks of the Select Committee of
the House of Commons, which refers to the highly valuable labours of the
East India Company’s maritime officers, and “the zealous perseverance and
ability of their distinguished hydrographer, the late Captain Horsburgh,
whose Directory and Charts of the Eastern Seas have been invaluable
safeguards to life and property in those regions."
New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Have made a start at this huge publication which will likely be with us for
a few years. The first volume I am dealing with is the one on Aberdeen.
There are some 85 parishes in this volume and a write up on each.
Antiquities.—There are two cairns in the parish, but their origin is
unknown. The present minister when improving his glebe dug up the
foundations of some buildings, supposed to have belonged to the Abbacy of
Lindores, in Fife; a branch of which is said to have stood where the
principal burying ground of this parish now is; in which burying ground, a
vault of extraordinary strength was built a few years ago by the
parishioners, to secure dead bodies from resurrectionists; from whence,
after remaining perhaps three months or more, the bodies are removed and
regularly interred. The proprietor of the lands of Fintray collects and pays
to the Exchequer the feu-duties which belonged to the Abbacy of Lindores—several
of the landed estates in this part of the country holding of said Abbacy,
and paying feu-duty thereto.
The buildings (denominated the Northern Abbey) are supposed to have been
erected about the year 1386, from a stone bearing that date having been
observed many years ago in the dike of the burying ground, which had
probably been composed of fragments of the demolished abbey, whereof no
vestige now remains above the surface of the ground; but foundations of its
walls occasionally interrupt the digging of graves.
The minister has in his possession a silver cup belonging to the parish,
bearing date 1632, which tradition says was formed from a silver head of St
Meddan, the tutelar saint of the parish; which, in the days of Popish
superstition, was wont to be carried through the parish in procession, for
the purpose of bringing down rain, or clearing up the weather, as
circumstances might require.
Proceedings of the Scotch-Irish Fourth Congress at Atlanta, GA., April 28 to
May 1, 1892
Added more sections to this volume...
Scotch-Irish in Georgia. By Hon. Patrick Calhoun, of Atlanta, Ga.
The Ireland of To-day. By Rev. Dr. John Hall, of New York
The Scotch-Irish in America—Who are they? and what are they? By Dr. A.
Given, of Louisville, Ky.
Here is how The Scotch-Irish in Georgia starts...
Mr. President, Ladies, and Gentlemen: The Scotch-Irish have stamped an
imperishable impression upon Georgia. For those homely virtues of thrift,
industry, and economy which have caused the people of this state to be
termed the Yankees of the South; for that dauntless and invincible courage
which has immortalized the conduct of her soldiers upon the fields of
battle; for all those splendid qualities which enabled her people to erect
the fabric of pure and honest government out of the corrupting chaos of
reconstruction, and to move forward so rapidly and successfully in the march
of progress as to justly win for her the proud rank of the "Empire State of
the South," Georgia is deeply indebted to that noble race in whose history,
traced through their career here, and their earlier settlements in the
Carolinas, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, back to old Ulster, and further still
to the lowlands and craggy highlands of Scotland, the electric search light
of the nineteenth century discloses not a single page blurred by servile
submission to native wrong or foreign yoke. [Applause.]
How deep is this debt is not readily apparent. The youngest of the colonies,
Georgia, has drawn her population largely from her older sisters. The blood
of several races mingles in the veins of her people. Intensely American in
their lives, their characteristics and their habits of thought, they trace
their ancestry back to one of the older states that fought with England for
the liberty of this now great and powerful Union. And they could afford to
stop there. For what princeling in all Europe has so good a title to that
true nobility which should characterize a man as those whose ancestors
fought for liberty at Lexington and Concord, Trenton or Monmouth, King's
Mountain or Cowpens? The brilliant glory of the American revolution, by the
shadow it cast upon antecedent events, veils from view the earlier ancestry
of our people. But long before America was even discovered the Scotch-Irish
blood which poured out so freely in the battles of the Revolution flowed in
the veins of hardy and brave ancestors, who, from prehistoric days,
transmitted the power and the strength to their descendants to withstand all
forms of oppression.
For that ancestral pride which rests supinely upon the greatness and the
glories of the past, there are no words but those of contempt; but in that
ancestral pride, which sees in the great deeds of past generations the
incentive to purer lives, higher purposes, and loftier ambitions, we have
the strongest guarantee for the perpetuation of our institutions. To-morrow
will rise upon a Union more homogeneous, and with less cause for sectional
division, than ever existed in the past. May I digress to add: May the great
Protestant Churches, which are now divided, become as indissolubly united as
the states! [Applause.] But below the surface there are evils which are
likely, in the not distant future, to grow to grave dangers; and there is no
such antidote for the poison lurking in the body politic as to drink deep at
the fountain of inspiration flowing from the noble lives and the great deeds
of the race to which we have the honor to belong. [Applause.] With these
sentiments I enter upon the pleasant task assigned me to-night.
It would be impossible to give the number of Scotch-Irishmen in Georgia who
have reached distinction in every walk of life. My friend, Col. George
Adair, read to you yesterday a list of a few who have helped to build
Atlanta. To read to you a list of those who have contributed to the
greatness of the state would more than consume the session of our
Convention. The limitations of the occasion necessarily confine me to a few
general remarks upon the part the Scotch-Irish have played in the settlement
and development of the state; their contribution to its population; their
influence upon its civilization; and an observation or two pertinent to the
facts presented, and just a word in regard to the duty we owe the present
and the future.
The illustrious character and philanthropic motives of Oglethorpe threw a
luster about the colony he planted at Savannah. McMaster justly classes him
as the most interesting of all the men who led colonists to America. His
fame shines resplendent even by the side of the gifted Raleigh's. He was the
associate of great men. He lived in the public gaze. Heralded in advance by
royal command, every detail in the history of his colony was recorded by
polished pens. We can see the good ship "Annie" as she cast anchor off the
bar of Charleston on January 13, 1733, and the distinguished reception
accorded Oglethorpe by the authorities of South Carolina. We follow the
colonists to Beaufort; we note Oglethorpe's visit to Tomo-chi-chi; and we
watch him mark out the site of Savannah. We return with him to Beaufort and
reembark with the colonists. We stop with them on the way to regale
ourselves with the plentiful supply of venison awaiting their coming. The
next day when they cast anchor off the bluffs of Yammacraw, we hear the
joyous words of hope uttered by the destitute men who had been weighed down
with misfortune in crowded old England, as they set foot on unpeopled
In what striking contrast was the advent of the hardy pioneers who had left
home and fireside, for conscience sake, to seek liberty and freedom in the
wildernesses of America! They wrote their history with the rifle and the ax,
the sword and the plow! [Applause.] There was no herald of their coming save
the splash of the pole as they pushed the rude ferryboat across the upper
waters of the Savannah, or the crack of the whip as they urged their tired
beasts drawing primitive wagons over rough mountain roads. The record of
their coming was lost as the ripples of the river sunk back into its
current, or the echoes of the mountain died away in its silence. We know
neither the day nor the month nor the year when thousands came. But the fact
that they had come was attested by the falling of the trees. Cabins rose and
fruitful farms appeared where forests grew and Indians roamed. And not far
off the church—the house at once of worship and instruction. What man reared
in the country does not recall the old schoolhouse with its backless wooden
benches and the Sabbath morn at the country church! The whole community
gathered there. Some came on foot, some on horseback, the better to do in
wagons and old-fashioned carriages. With what reverence they entered the old
church! with what devotion listened to the minister! And after church came
the kindly greetings, the words of sympathy and cheer. The highest and the
lowest met on terms of equality. Such communities knew not the much talked
of aristocracy of the South. No-purer democracy ever existed in the world.
Before my mind rises the picture of an old stone church built in the last
century, surrounded by a beautiful grove of oak and hickory; and near by,
the old graveyard, with its fence crumbling to decay, and its rude stones
mouldering in the dust of time, marking in more than one instance the final
resting place of men of national reputation. Statesmen worshiped there;
plain Scotch-Irishmen, who helped to mold and sway the destinies of the
Oglethorpe's colony encountered many privations. It was threatened by
Spaniards, it fought with Indians, and it languished under restrictions more
crushing than either. Dark clouds gathered o'er its fated head, rent only
here and there by the arrival of fresh emigrants. Most noted among these
were the brave Scotch colonists, who, when told at Savannah that at the
place chosen for their settlement the Spaniards could fire on them from
their fort, replied: "Very well, we will take the fort and find homes
already built." [Applause.]
As I have said, I cannot individualize, but who can speak of that colony
without mentioning the immortal name of Mcintosh. [Applause.] Who could fail
to recall Gen. Lachlan Mcintosh as he took charge of the first regiment in
Georgia raised to fight for American independence; or the reply of Col. John
Mcintosh to the English colonel 'who demanded the surrender of Sunbury under
a threat of destroying the town, "Come and take it" [applause]; or the
gallant James Mcintosh who fell at the head of his columns at Moleno del Rey.
In 1752 the trustees of the Georgia colony, harassed by complaints, beset by
difficulties, and unable to maintain the colony, surrendered their
privileges to the king. A year later the entire white population is
estimated to have been only 2,381. In the language of McMaster, Oglethorpe's
noble charity "had failed;" and in the language of Bancroft, Georgia was
indeed "the home of misfortune." But English policy and English folly,
operating in distant fields, uninfluenced by the broad principles of
philanthropy, but governed alone by the narrow lines of bigotry and
intolerance which would force men's consciences to conform to the dogmas of
an established Church, were then, and had been for more than half a century,
laying the foundation for the independence of America and the greatness of
this state. Thirty-eight years later the site of old Ebenezer, the town of
the Salzburger settlement, was a cow pen; New Ebenezer scarcely more than a
name. [McMaster, Vol. II., p. 3.] Frederica was in ruins; Sunbury, which the
New England colonist had built with so much hope, had fallen to decay; the
Medway no longer bore upon its bosom the proud ship of commerce; and
Sunbury's docks slowly rotted away. And yet Georgia was a sovereign state, a
free compeer among the sisters of an independent republic, and its
population had grown to eighty-two thousand, fifty-two thousand of whom were
whites. Forty-seven thousand of these lived in the counties of Burke,
Franklin, Greene, Richmond, Washington, and Wilkes.
Whence came these people? Chiefly from the mountain and Piedmont regions of
the Carolinas and Virginia. And whence came their ancestors? The answer to
that question tells the part the Scotch and Irish have played in the
settlement of Georgia.
The letters of Queen Elizabeth given in the Appendix to this Volume, and now
printed for the first time, are taken from originals written entirely in the
Queen's own hand, or from contemporary copies of such originals. They were
her private and confidential letters; a circumstance which renders them
highly valuable, both as throwing light on the personal character and
peculiarities of this famous Queen, and on the secret history of the times.
The letters of Elizabeth, which have hitherto been given to the world, have
been almost exclusively letters of State, written by Lord Burghley, or some
other of her Councillors, and signed by the Queen. It is scarcely necessary
to point out the difference between the generality of these last, which are
indeed public papers, and the individuality of the letters printed in this
Volume, which were strictly sealed, and meant only for the eye of the Prince
to whom they were addressed.
Of these latter, some of the most curious are preserved in the MS.
Collections of the Right Hon. Sir George Warrender, already alluded to in
the Preface to Volume Eighth of this History; and of which his liberality
has, for the last two years, permitted the Author the fullest use.
Here is how the article "Sketches in Natural History" starts...
The fireside is peculiarly a British institution, as the people of this
country are peculiarly a home-loving and domestic people. When our
countrymen travel abroad, they uniformly miss the cheerful fireside of their
English home, and feel that the stove, however efficient as a heating
apparatus, is a sorry substitue for the enlivening blaze of a coal-fire,
even with the occasional drawback of a smoky chimney. To an Englishman, the
fireside is the emblem of home comfort. As for our French neighbours, having
neither fireside nor home habits, there is no equivalent term in their
language to the English word comfort. Cowper was the poet of domestic life,
and there is nothing finer in our literature than his tribute to fireside
happiness, at the opening of the "Winter Evening" in "The Task;" and the
most charming thing about it is the homeliness and truthfulness of the
picture, which belongs exclusively to no grade of society, but may, in its
essential element, be realised every winter night in the year, in every
well-conditioned workman's family in the land. Thomas Campbell expressed his
admiration for Cowper's verses in words which render it unnecessary to quote
them here, since the reader can find no stronger inducement to turn up "The
Task," and peruse, or re-peruse, the passage, than the commendation of one
of the last and best of the British poets. "Of all the verses," says he,
"that have ever been devoted to the subject of domestic happiness, those in
his 'Winter Evening,' at the opening of the fourth book of 'The Task,' are
perhaps the most beautiful. In perusing that scene of 'intimate delights,'
'fireside enjoyments,' and 'home-born happiness,' we seem to recover a part
of the forgotten value of existence, when we recognise the means of its
blessedness so widely diffused, and so cheaply attainable; and find them
susceptible of description, at once so enchanting and so faithful."
As we sit absorbed in a brown study, looking into the parlour fire, and
perhaps, like Harley in the tale, trying to find a body for a Turk's head we
have detected amongst the fantastic shapes of the glowing embers, how rarely
does it occur to us to reflect on the far-seeing wisdom and goodness evinced
in preparing the vast deposits of coal, iron, and other minerals, which
minister in such a remarkable manner to the necessities and comforts of
mankind! It was a striking observation of Playfair's, when speaking of the
teachings of Hut-ton, the founder of the modern geology, that "the mind
seemed to grow giddy by looking so far into the abyss of time; and while we
listened," said he, "with earnestness and admiration to the philosopher who
was unfolding to us the order and series of these wonderful events, we
became sensible how much further reason may sometimes go, than imagination
can venture to follow." And surely it is fitted to exalt our conceptions of
Divine benevolence to reflect that, throughout the inconceivably remote and
prolonged ages which preceded the appearance of man upon the earth, and
amidst all the amazing vicissitudes and perturbations which have left their
traces upon its surface, creative wisdom was contemplating a prospective
arrangement, so manifestly designed and fitted to promote the physical
prosperity and social progress of the future race of intelligent beings, as
that which has yielded to the successive families of mankind "the chief
things of the ancient mountains, and the precious things of the lasting
hills." If men could perceive these evidences of the goodness of God and be
silent, "the stones would cry out."
Perth on the Tay
A Tale of the transplanted Highlanders by Josephine Smith (1901)
Have now completed this book and here is a bit from the addenda...
The letters and other matter in the Addenda are copied from original
correspondence and other official documents in the Canadian Archives; for
that reason everything therein contained can be depended on as authentic.
They are each worth reading, telling truly the story of long ago, and more
vividly than any historian of to-day could write it.
The collecting, arranging and caring for the precious historical matter in
the Archives is one of the most important branches of our Civil Service. Dr.
Brymner is an ideal archivist, being thoroughly conversant with all points
of Canadian history, and devoted to the office. Mr. Duff, assistant, and
Miss Casey, are genial and helpful, and can offer many valuable suggestions
to the seeker after knowledge of men and manners of the far away past. It
cannot but be gratifying to every Canadian to have our history so well
guarded, and find the lively interest in and affection for it evinced by all
connected with the Archives.
The addenda is a .pdf file but here is one of the letters in it...
Quebec, Nov. 21st, 1815
Sir, I have the honor to report to His Excellency that, of the Settlers
recently arrived from Scotland in the Transports "Dorothy," "Atlas" and "Baptiste
Merechant," and since forwarded to the Upper Province, eight or nine
unmarried men have proceeded to Kingston, and are there employed by the
Engineer Department on the King's works. At Brockville thirty large families
are accommodated in the Barracks, in some adjoining huts, and in the
neighboring farm houses, where most of them have procured employment. This
station being considered the principal depot of the Settlement about to be
formed under the superintendence of Alex. McDonell, Esq.; the Staff Surgeon,
Mr. Thorn; the Deputy Adjutant Commissary-General, Mr. Greig; and Lieut.
McTier, Act. Deputy Superintendent, are paid for the present. The Barracks
are comfortable and in good order, under the charge of -,whom I have ordered
to furnish such a proportion of fuel during the winter as may be deemed
necessary for the cooking and comfort of the Settlers' families, subject to
the recommendation of Mr. Thom, and the approval of the Superintendent.
At Fort Wellington there are a few families whom it is contemplated to
settle on the Rideau. These are accommodated in a stone building on the
wharf. I found it necessary to direct some slight repairs being made upon
the building, which was used during the late war as a barrack and store. It
is, I understand, the property of an American now in the United States, but
a claim is made to the disposal or letting of it by Col. Hagerman.
The Settlers at this station are under the charge of Acting Lieutenant at
Fort, Adjutant Foort, who has been authorized by Major.General Sir Frederick
Robinson to perform the duties of the Quartermaster General's department,
and whom I therefore take the liberty of recommending to Your Excellency's
favourable consideration for a small increase of allowance. A trifling
repair has been made in the Barrack at Johnstown, which is now in a
tolerable state for the accommociation of Settlers and their families.
At Montreal are a few families whom the confinement of the wives or the
sickness of the children rendered unable to proceed.
I beg leave to state, for Your Excellency's information, that as the
Major-General, Sir Frederick Robinson, had directed the Superintendent to
submit the name of a proper person to fill the situation of secretary and
storekeeper, no one has yet been named to that important duty. I therefore,
with the concurrence of Mr. McDonell, submit for your approbation the name
of Mr. Daniel Daverne, senior clerk of the Quartermaster-General's
Department in Upper Canada, as a person well versed in accounts and of a
good general information; and recommend at the same time his being allowed
ten shillings per
diem and Captain's lodging money.
Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland in 1876
Am adding a variety of articles from this publication and this week have
On Planting in Exposed and Maritime Situations
On the Soils and Subsoils suited for Planting
On the Cultivation of the Potato
On the Cultivation of the Potato article starts...
By Mrs Paterson, now Roger, Potato Merchant, 38 Union Street, Dundee.
What method of cultivation ought to be adopted in order successfully to
prevent a total failure of the potato crop, and to produce a vigorous habit
and constitution to resist the attacks of disease to which the old varieties
have been so long subjected, is a question of vital importance to our
country and to the world, the potato being a necessary auxiliary of food,
and consequently the cultivation of it a great commercial enterprise. This
question, for many years past, has attracted the earnest attention of the
statesman, the philosopher, the economist, and the man of science, and now
that disease again threatens this palladium against famine (when this phrase
was first used, I question much if it was thought the object of the eulogy
should itself be the cause of famine and consternation), it must be obvious
that great necessity exists in agriculturists devoting their utmost thought,
care, and attention to the culture of new varieties of potato.
Potato disease is the result of degeneration and decay, caused by repeated
propagation from the old varieties. As a natural consequence the plant must,
and will wear out. It becomes weak in constitution, worthless as a cropper,
and subject to many forms of disease from the vicissitudes of climate or
atmospheric action, not only after it has developed its stems, but before
the germ has risen out of the ground.
From the experience I have had of potato raising and potato culture, my
conviction is there is no remedial cure for the disease, it being inherent
in the plant, caused partly by atmospheric action, the plant having the
seeds of disease within itself ready to be developed under favourable
circumstances, and that the present stock will be more or less subject to
The potato is only destined to serve its day and generation the same as
animal life, and a successive and regular renewal of the esculent from the
small seed found in the plum of the potato, thus producing an infusion of
new blood, is no doubt the only effectual remedy for disease, restoring
vigour and saving the plant from annihilation. It was only about the year
1826 that disease in the potato seems first to have attracted the attention
of agriculturists. As to the cause many conjectures were put forth, and all
experiments tried that human skill could devise to ward off the epidemic and
regenerate the old plant to its original strength, but in vain. Previous to
the visitation of the fatal blight of 1846, which in one night nearly
destroyed the whole crop of the nation, the potato had become so weakened in
constitution from repeated planting, that the plant had almost ceased to
flower, and the potato plum so entirely disappeared that I question much if
the rising generation were aware that ever the plum existed, or that new
varieties could be grown from them. Each plum has its small seeds
innumerable, every one of which produces potatoes of varied form, colour,
habit, and constitution, and wonderful to relate, perhaps none of them the
same as the mother plant, and great difficulty is experienced in getting one
good seedling out of the many varieties.
In the year 1853 the potato in this country had ceased to flower or bear
plums, which necessitated an amalgamation of varieties blended together by
atmospheric action and insect labour, in order to produce plums.
Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) from Central America, Chili, East and West
Indies, Australia, and Cape of Good Hope, were imported into Scotland and
planted promiscuously with the "Rock" potato (brought into Scotland from
Ireland in 1848), in a field of newly taken in land where the atmosphere was
damp, and the field previously manured in the autumn with farm-yard dung.
Most of these plants produced flowers, but only a few bore plums, and still
fewer plums ripened. However, the experiment was successful; new seed was
obtained, and from these insignificant looking things have been produced the
countless new varieties that have restored the potato to the comparatively
healthy state it is now in from the dead rot of 1845, which threatened to
exterminate it from off the face of the earth.
The Island Clans During Six Centuries
By The Rev. Canon R. C. MacLeod of MacLeod (1920's).
This is a wee gem of a book which I hope you will enjoy. The chapters
Chapter I - The Norse Occupation of the Hebrides
Chapter II. - The Clan System
Chapter III. - The Clansmen
Chapter IV. - Home Life
Chapter V. - Internal and External Warfare
Chapter VI. - Scottish Kings and Island Chiefs
Chapter VII. - The Passing of the Old Order
Chapter VIII. - Employment and Unemployment
Chapter IX. - A West Highland Estate During Four Centuries
Chapter X. - Some Island Folklore
I have the first chapter up now which starts...
The Norse occupation of the Hebrides and of some of the mainland of Scotland
has left much more important and lasting results than is generally realised.
If we consider the length of time during which this occupation lasted it
would be strange if it had not exerted a great influence in many directions.
The raids of Norse pirates began at a very early period. There may be some
doubt as to whether the burning of the religious houses at Eigg in April 617
was the work of Norsemen, but the repeated attacks on Iona between 794 and
825 were certainly carried out by them, and, indeed, all the West Coast of
Scotland as far as Galloway in the south was being constantly laid waste by
Norse rovers during the first half of the ninth century.
Probably the brochs and duns were built by the Celtic inhabitants during
this period as places of defence against the Norse raiders. These are found
in large numbers where-ever the Vikings are known to have come, and they are
found in no other part of Scotland. We may look on them, therefore, as
records of the appalling period during which the Western Isles were being
ravaged by the Vikings.
These raids, however, destructive as they were, could have no permanent
results on the character of the people who suffered from them; but, towards
the end of the ninth century, the Norsemen began to settle in the Western
Isles. Harold Haarfagre had made himself Master of all Norway, instigated by
the ambitious lady he wished to marry. The numerous petty kings who had
ruled as independent sovereigns on the Fjords of Norway, unable to resist,
and unwilling to submit, sailed forth to carve out for themselves new
principalities in the west. Some went to England, some to France, some to
Italy, some took service in the famed Varangian guard at Constantinople,
many found new homes in the Isle of Man and in Ireland, and towards the end
of the ninth, and during the tenth century, the Vikings were settling in the
Hebrides, reducing the Celtic chiefs to obedience, and making the Islands
They did not exterminate the Celtic inhabitants of the country. It was not
to their interest to do so; their own numbers were not very large, and they
needed people to cultivate the soil, to row their dragon ships, and to
perform other menial duties. Probably some of the Celtic tribes may still
have retained possession of their lands, but it is certain that by the end
of the tenth century the Norwegians had become predominant in the Western
Isles ; as indeed they were in the Orkneys and Shetlands, in the north-east
of Scotland, on the seaboard of Ireland, and in the Saxon kingdom of
Author Alan Axelrod has written an interesting and compelling book which
gives us a new, insightful look into young George Washington! Any student of
history or Washington will find Blooding at Great Meadows a wonderful and
stimulating read, beginning with the title itself. This book is simply as
good a book on Washington’s early years as one can find.
The section dealing with Washington’s defeat at Fort Necessity (a/k/a Great
Meadows) in the western part of what is now Pennsylvania is material worthy
of being made into a movie. “Why?” you ask. Because Axelrod’s chapter titled
“Anatomy of Surrender” deals with the first of Washington’s many defeats
during his military career, and his only battlefield surrender! Leading his
first major command, Washington, having been given the honors of war,
marched out of Fort Necessity with drums beating and colors raised high. He
picked a fight with a superior force and lost. To put it mildly, he simply
got thrashed! Although humiliated, young George Washington marched out of
Fort Necessity “a soldier, a leader of soldiers - and more”. The French and
Indian War had begun and would last seven years. And in a staccato sentence,
the author reveals, “The day was July 4, 1754.” But Washington would
experience another July 4, this one in 1776, and it would have a different
The 22-year-old Washington returned from his humiliation at Great Meadows,
Axelrod writes, neither shocked, cowed, or chastened. He returned bloodied,
now a mature soldier, and could recall something charming in the sound of
bullets whistling by his head. Axelrod says of Washington that he “fought,
led, watched, and learned. Washington survived. More than that, he
prevailed.” And, history was to record George Washington as a great leader
of men but not a great tactician. Choosing to build Fort Necessity on the
site he did was the first of many errors in judgment that Washington would
make over a long, distinguished career. After the surrender, it took
Washington and his men nearly two weeks to reach Williamsburg where he was
generally greeted as a hero since most of his critics were silent. But, that
was not the end of the matter.
Horace Walpole said it better than anyone else when he wrote in his Memoirs
of the Reign of King George II, “The volley fired by a young Virginian in
the backwoods of America set the world on fire”. The book’s subtitle, “Young
George Washington and the Battle that Shaped the Man” could just as easily
have been “Young George Washington Who As a Man Would One Day Shape the
Ask for Blooding at Great Meadows (Running Press Book Publishers) at your
local book store - ISBN-13: 978-0-7624-2769-7 or ISBN-10: 0-7624-2769-8.
This publication lists for $22.95, and you’ll be glad you added it to your
library. (FRS: 8-06-07)
Now, What Has This Got To Do With Scottishness?
With all due apologies to Alan Axelrod, I will venture into another area of
interest to our Scottish readers that has nothing to do with his book. It
was Light Horse Henry Lee (father of General Robert E. Lee) in his eulogy of
Washington who described him as “First in peace, first in war, first in the
hearts of his countrymen.” He has often been referred to as an Englishman
throughout history. One author and Scottish scholar, Duncan Bruce (The Mark
of the Scots and The Scottish 100), notes that Washington was of “solid
However, Bruce goes on to say in The Mark of the Scots that an unusual
discovery was made in 1964 by George S. H. L. Washington, himself an
Englishman, who found that our George Washington had a Scottish connection
to Malcolm II, King of Scotland from 1005-1034. Listen up, this information
has been verified and accepted by the Garter King of Arms, the official
arbiter of English genealogy. Bruce supports this discovery, as did Nigel
Tranter, “Scotland’s Story Teller”. I certainly have found no reason not to!
And that, dear reader, is why I’ve reviewed this excellent book by Alan
Axelrod on the young George Washington! (FRS: 8-06-07)
Robert Burns Lives!
My Favorite Burns Poem
By way of introduction, Dr. Tom Burns, immediate Past President of The Burns
Club of Atlanta, has challenged its membership to submit one or more poems
by Robert Burns for a book to be published by the club. The book of poems is
to be sold at the 35th Annual Stone Mountain Scottish Festival & Highland
Games October 19-21, 2007. One contributor to this publication will be Dr.
Ross Roy, honorary member, and the world’s leading Burns scholar. The
following is my contribution to the project.
And finally.. I was reading the book "History of Bruce County" and came
across this wee story in the chapter on Education which gave me a wee
"In a school in Kinloss was a little boy who would persist in saying 'have
went.' The teacher kept him in one night and said, 'Now, while I am out of
the room you may write "have gone" fifty times.' When the teacher came back
he looked at the boy's paper, and there was, 'Have gone fifty times.' On the
other side was written, 'I have went home.'"
And that's all for now and hope you all have a good weekend :-)
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