It's your Electric Scotland newsletter meaning
the weekend is nearly here :-)
You can view what's new this week on Electric Scotland at
http://www.electricscotland.com/update.html and you can unsubscribe to
this newsletter by clicking on the link at the foot of this newsletter.
See our Calendar of Scottish Events around the world at
Electric Scotland News
New Advertiser in the Scottish Travel Trade
Scotland on TV
The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Good Words - Edited by the Rev Norman MacLeod
Rolphin's Orb - A Children's Story
Hamish McWallace and the Leprechaun Treasure (A new children's story)
Poetry and Stories
Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland in 1876
Book of Scottish Story
History of the County of Bruce
History of Ulster
A fisherman’s Reflections on a beautiful but troubled world
Ocean to Ocean, Fleming's Expedition Through Canada in 1872
Restless English and Quisling Scots
ELECTRIC SCOTLAND NEWS
This week we've produced a new site search engine for the site from
Microsoft's Live Search. And today I saw a wee about it...
The US Search Engine rankings for September have been released and, as
expected, Google are still firmly at the top with an estimated 54 percent of
the market share. But the surprising news was the impressive growth of
According to Nielsen Online, Microsoft's MSN/Windows Live Search achieved
71.5 percent growth in just one year, with an estimated 890.7 million search
queries in September alone.
While Live Search is still ranked third - and they are a long way from
Google's impressive command of the market - it seems that the improvements
Live Search have implemented in the last year have made a difference to
I was doing some testing between the two search engines and I found that
Live Search was giving slightly better results. Mind you I do find it a pain
that Wikipedia keeps coming up No.1 on so many searches when they often have
less information to offer than other links further down.
Anyway... with this new site search I'm able to combine up to 10 domains and
so have been able to bring together electricscotland.com,
electricscotland.net, scotsindependent.org and scotsearch.org into one site
search. This is something I've been asking Google to do for quite some time
but they've never moved on this.
The other thing about this site search is that it gives the ElectricScotland
results but there is a Tab for the web and so if you don't find it on
ElectricScotland you just need to click on the Web Tab to get full web
results instead of having to do another search.
The whole purpose in having a site search is that pretty well all of our
material is something to do with Scotland and so doing a search on our site
will produce Scottish results. When I do a search on Live Search for "site:www.electricscotland.com"
I get 210,000 whereas on Google I get 20,300.
Mind you... I did a search on both search engines for "Scotland" and
Microsoft Live has us listed on the second page whereas Google has us listed
on the first page. I was actually a bit surprised at that as Google has
listed us on the third, fourth or fifth pages for some time now on that
I'd welcome your feedback on this change and in fact I think I'm close to
doing another Electric Scotland survey to get your opinions on a variety of
things on Electric Scotland.
And while I'm talking about changes... I did a makeover of our index page as
I've come to an end on the pictures I was posting on that page. I'm now
listing the books I'm currently working on and when one is complete it will
be removed and any new ones added. This way it perhaps makes it easier to
find out what books we're working on so you can read along with us as we put
Also... I am hoping that at long last we'll have our Postcard program
Postcard Direct works by MIME encoding any images, midi, flash etc. This
means everything that is needed to display the postcard is contained in the
I felt this option was best as there has been a great deal of spam from so
called postcard sites and so this way the full postcard is delivered in the
PD also works with two other modes:
1. Web mail - Most web mail sites can't/won't handle embedded images in the
email, so this mode references the images from the website the postcard was
sent. Note that Yahoo Mail and Hotmail, in particular, change their
interfaces reasonably regularly.
2. Traditional mode - Works like all other postcard programs, ie: stores the
card on your webserver and mails out a ticket to the recipient.
And so it will be interesting to see how it all works. I've already placed a
placeholder page for it at
We're also working on new forums software and we have 4 to choose from so
will see how that goes in the weeks ahead.
And I'm told by Julia of ScotlandOnTV that we can start working next week on
emeding some of their videos onto the site so that should be interesting.
We also have a new advertiser from Scotland for which see more below :-)
Added "Die Strathallan Drummonds" which is a German translation provided by
Michael Pick which you can read at
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
We have a new advertiser from Scotland and here is a wee intro they've sent
If you're looking for ideas on what to do or where to visit for your
holidays in Scotland, TravelScotland
http://www.scotland.org.uk/ brings you the best Scottish hotels and
guesthouses, tours and itineraries, self catering holiday cottages
http://www.scotland.org.uk/cottages/ and apartments, activities, guided
tours and even mountain walks - all in all the perfect holiday destination
whether you are single, couple or family group.
http://www.scotland.org.uk/scotland-travel.htm allows to you to build a
wonderful Scottish holiday. Book accommodation on line, day trips and tours
around Scotland. You can combine hotels and itineraries to make your ideal
http://www.scotland.org.uk/scotland.htm is packed full of useful travel
information which will help you plan or dream in detail about a holiday in
Scotland. Our Guide to Scotland
http://www.scotland.org.uk/guide/ is one of the most detailed Scottish
Travel guides on-line and will help you decide what to see and do before you
We now also have of the largest selection of Holiday Cottages in Scotland,
http://holiday-cottages.scotland.org.uk/ you can check out our cottage
http://www.scotland.org.uk/cottages/index.php?op=map to find what's
available by date and group size. We've also just recently added our own
http://news.scotland.org.uk/ section with the latest news and major
stories happening in Scotland.
So there you have it... lots of interesting information to view :-)
Scotland on TV
Visit their site at
The history of the town of Pitlochry in Perthshire goes back to Roman times,
its name dating back to the 3rd century AD when Emperor Septimus Severus
marched his forces across Scotland to the Moray Firth. The town really
flourished during the 19th century after Queen Victoria visited during her
stay at nearby Blair Castle in 1844. The area is also said to have inspired
Robert Louis Stevenson, amongst other great Scots.
Anyone who has ever been lucky enough to visit the area around Pitlochry
knows that it’s a pretty magical place, especially during the autumn months.
Faskally Wood, one mile north of Pitlochry and just south of the historic
Pass of Killiecrankie and the site of the famous battle, is one of the
highlights of this area that has become known as ‘Big Tree Country’.
And now Faskally Wood has become even more enchanted - for the past two
weeks it has been transformed into the Enchanted Forest - a spectacular show
which combines sound and lighting to transform the forest into a truly
The show finishes this weekend, but we got in there a few evenings back to
capture some of the experience on video for our worldwide audience. It was a
great display – see for yourself!
THE FLAG IN THE WIND
This weeks Flag is compiled by Ian Goldie and quite naturally he gives us a
review and reaction to the SNP's first conference since winning the
In Peter's cultural section we learn how fit the Scots used to be when we
ate lots of oats...
Over many centuries oatmeal formed the basis of the Scottish diet –
porridge, brose, gruel and oatcakes together with plenty exercise kept our
forebears lean and wiry, generation after generation. The popular image of
Scottish students from rural areas was arriving at university with a bag of
oatmeal and a barrel of pickled or salted herring to see them through the
term. The traditional Lads o Pairts were thus fed through their education
and many went on to find fame not only in their native land but world-wide.
But with some 25% of 21st century Scots being deemed to be obese perhaps it
is time that we got back to the traditional Scottish diet!
The medieval French chronicler Jean Froisart certainly found a very
different picture when he visited Scotland in 1364 as the guest of David 11,
King of Scots. He very much admired the hardiness and energy of Scottish
soldiers which he put down to their diet. I well remember being told at
Primary School of his description of how the fit Scottish soldiers fed –
‘Under the flaps of his saddle each man carries a broad plate of metal, and
behind the saddle a little bag of oatmeal. They place the plate over the
fire, mix their oatmeal with water, and, when the plate is heated, they put
a little of the plate upon it, and make a thin cake or biscuit, which they
eat to warm their stomachs.’
The Scottish Government are making strenuous efforts to promote healthy
eating in schools to help combat the problem. That added to providing more
sporting centres, like independent Norway, would help to stop the projected
worsening obesity problem. The announcement this week by Sports Minister
Stewart Maxwell that the Scottish Government will help fund (£7 m) a new
sports facility on the site of the former Ravenscraig steelworks is a
welcome step in the right direction.
This week’s recipe has obviously got to be oatmeal based and Quick Orange
Porridge For Two would make a tempting breakfast treat for bairns of all
Quick Orange Porridge For Two
Ingredients: 80 g (3 oz) porridge oats; 300 ml (1/2 pint) cold unsweetened
Method: Mix the porridge oats and orange juice in a medium sized
microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until
the orange is absorbed. Add more orange juice if necessary. Stir and top
with fresh orange slices.
You can read the Flag, listen to the Scots Language, enjoy the Scots Wit and
lots more at
The Scottish Nation
My thanks to Lora for transcribing these volumes for us.
Onto the K's with Kirkcudbright, Kirkpatrick, Kirkwall, Kirkwood, Kneland
Here is how the account of Knox starts...
KNOX, the surname of a family designed of that ilk, who once possessed the
lands of Knock, or Knox, in the county of Renfrew, and which claimed to be
derived from Utred, the Saxon earl of Northumberland. Several of the name
are to be found witnesses, in the reigns of Alexander II. and III., in the
charters of the abbacy of Paisley. The family was also frequently designed
of Ranfurly and Craigends, lands which they also possessed in the same
county. Nisbet mentions a charter of confirmation of James III., of a
resignation of the barony of Ranfurly and Grief castle, by John Knox of
Craigends, in favour of Uchter Knox, about 1474. Andrew Knox, a younger son
of John Knox of Ranfurly, was in 1606 bishop of the Isles, and in 1622 was
translated to the see of Raphoe in Ireland. His son, Thomas Knox, succeeded
his father as bishop of the Isles. The family failed in the person of the
grand-nephew of Andrew Knox, viz., Uchter Knox of Ranfurly, who had but one
daughter, and who sold that estate in 1663, to the first earl of Dundonald.
The celebrated Reformer, John Knox, is traditionally supposed to have been a
cadet of this family. This however is doubtful, although Dr. M’Crie (Life of
Knox, Appendix to vol. i. note A), states that in a genealogical account of
the Knoxes, in possession of the family of the late Mr. James Knox, minister
of Scone, the Reformer’s father is said to have been a brother of the family
of Ranfurlie, and “proprietor of the estate of Gifford,” in Haddingtonshire.
In David Buchanan’s Memoir of Knox, prefixed to the edition of his
“Historie” of 1644, it is also stated that his “father was a brother’s son
of the house of Ranferlie.” Dr. M’Crie does not place much reliance on the
assertion that the Reformer’s father was “proprietor of the estate of
Gifford,” and thinks that his ancestors had settled in East Lothian as early
as the time of his great-grandfather. This he infers from Knox’s own words,
quoting from his ‘Historie of the Reformation, (p. 306, edit. 1732), a
conversation that the Reformer had with the earl of Bothwell, in which he
gave the following account of his ancestors: “My lord,” he said, “my
great-grandfather, gudeshir, and father, have served your lordship’s
predecessours, and some of them have dyed under their standards; and this is
a pairt of the obligatioun of our Scottish kindnes.” For some curious facts
relative to the birthplace of John Knox, the reader is referred to a paper
by John Richardson, Esq., Haddington, with supplementary notices by Mr.
Laing, in the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, vol.
iii, part 1, 1860.
In Ireland there are several families of this surname, proprietors of
estates, of Scottish descent. One of them, originally from Glasgow,
possesses the earldom of Ranfurly (created in 1831) in the Irish peerage,
and is said to be the representative of the family of Ranfurly in Scotland.
KNOX, JOHN, the chief promoter of the Reformation in Scotland, was born in
1505, at a place called Giffordgate, a suburb of Haddington. The statement,
that the village of Gifford, East Lothian, was his birthplace, is a mistake.
It was not then built. In the suburb of Giffordgate, there were some houses
known by the name of Knox’s Walls. His mother’s name was Sinclair, and in
subsequent times many of his letters were, for precaution’s sake, subscribed
‘John Sinclair.’ He received the rudiments of his education at Haddington
grammar school, and studied philosophy and theology at St. Andrews, under
John Major, then principal of St. Salvator’s college. His progress in
learning was rapid, and he took the degree of M.A. before the usual time,
after which he taught philosophy as regent of one of the classes in the
university. About the same time he was admitted into priest’s orders long
before the age appointed by the canons for receiving ordination. The
writings of the ancient Fathers, particularly of Jerome and St. Augustine,
opened his eyes to the subtleties of the school theology, and he resolved to
attach himself to a more plain and practical method of interpreting the
Scriptures than that offered by the writings of the scholastic divines.
While yet engaged enquiring after the truth, he attended the sermons of
Thomas Gwilliam, or Williams, a friar, who had the boldness to preach
against the Pope’s supremacy. In 1543 Gwilliam was chosen preacher to the
Regent Arran. “The man,” says Calderwood, (vol. i. p. 155), “was of a sound
judgment, reasonable good literature in respect of the time, of a prompt and
good utterance: his doctrine was wholesome, but without vehemencie against
superstitioun. Johne Rough, who after suffered for the truthe in England,
howbeit not so learned, and more simple, and more vehement against all
impietie, preached also sometimes. This Thomas Gwilliam was a blacke frier,
borne beside Elstone-furde (Athelstaneford) in East Lothian, and provinciall
of the blacke friers of Scotland. He was the first man from whome Mr. Knox
receaved anie taste of the truthe.” But Knox was still more impressed with
the unsoundness of the popish system by the preaching of the celebrated
George Wishart, who afterwards suffered martyrdom at the stake, through the
persecution of Cardinal Bethune.
You can read the rest of this entry at
You can read the other entries at
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.
This week have added...
Parish of Glenbucket at
Parish of Tullynessle and Forbes at
Here is a bit about Glenbucket...
Name.—This parish derives its name from two Gaelic words, gleann, a glen,
and buidhe, signifying yellow, or from the stream of Bucket, which
intersects the glen, taking its rise among the lofty mountains; separating
Glenlivat and Glenbucket, and which falls into the Don below the venerable
castle, the seat of the ancient Gordons of Glenbucket. The castle stands in
a commanding and beautiful situation, totally neglected, and fast falling
into complete ruin.
Extent.—The average breadth of the parish is about one mile arable, and,
including the mountain ranges, about 2½ miles; its length arable about 6
miles,—including the mountains, 10 miles.
The parish is almost surrounded by Strathdon: for a small space to the
north-west it adjoins Cabrach and Glenlivat. But from these, it is separated
by a regular range of lofty mountains.
A narrow and romantic pass leads into the parish from the east, commencing
at the confluence of the rivers Don and Bucket, below the castle.
Craigenscore is the highest hill in the parish; it lies to the north, and
rises about 2000 feet above the level of the sea. Benneaw is the next
highest, and is 1800 feet above the level of the sea, The castle is built on
the acclivity of this hill.
Climate.—The climate is severe. In the summer months it is sometimes
excessively hot; in winter, north winds, deep snows, and keen frosts
prevail, which frequently continue long, and make late and bad spring
Geology.—The rocks are generally primitive. There are to be found,
hornblende, felspar, gneiss, mica-slate, granite, and primitive limestone in
great abundance, which contains about seventy per cent. lime. It is worked
to great advantage by the tenants, both for their own use and for sale.
Zoology.—The breeds of cattle, horses, and sheep, have been much improved
within these few years, and bring annually a considerable sum of money to
the glen. The wild animals are, foxes, hares, common and alpine; roe and
red-deer frequent Glennoughty. Birds; eagles, hawks, black-game, grouse,
ptarmigan, snipes, dotterel, plover, partridges, &c. and a great variety of
small birds. Fish; salmon, trout, and eels are found in the Don and Bucket.
You can read the rest of this account at
On the index page of this volume you can see a list of the 85 parishes and
also a map at
Good Words - 1860 Edition
Edited by Rev. Norman MacLeod
You should note that as this is a weekly publication you'll find larger
articles are continued week by week.
This week have added articles on...
Out of the Depths - In Christ (Pages 157-158)
Good Words for Every Day in the Year (159-160)
God's Glory in the Heavens (161-164)
Unpublished Letter by John Newton (164-165)
A String of Pearls (165-168)
I also added an interesting article "Gleanings from the Talmud" from the
THE present paper makes no pretensions beyond its title; but as the subject
is not very familiar to the general reader, it may be well to make a rapid
survey of the field to be gleaned from, and to indicate the principle that
guides the selection.
The Talmud has little claim to be considered a book beyond the mere fact of
its consisting of so many volumes, for it is the product of many minds and
the growth of ! centuries. The scribes who succeeded Ezra and Nehemiah in
that misty period within which lies the boundary line between Old Testament
Scripture and tradition, rallying round the Mosaic law, as the only means of
preserving the people from heathen contamination, on the one hand, and
internal corruption, on the other, made every effort to bring its precepts
to bear upon all the relations, civil and sacred, in which the colonists
were placed. They made a "fence to the law," as their own phrase has it;
that is, they endeavoured, by minor and detailed prescriptions, to secure
the great precepts of the law from infringement, and to apply them to all
the details of daily life. The hedge of prickly pear, seen everywhere in the
East, is a fair illustration of what that "fence round the law" became. The
few well-meant regulations of the scribes, like the blades of the cactus
first set in the soft sand, and liable to be displaced by a passing
footstep, became the starting-point for new developments, and bristled over
all their borders with a formidable array of prescriptions, till the whole
was grotesque in the extreme, and the hedge actually choked the law which it
was to have preserved.
We cannot trace here the expansion of this work of the scribes and their
successors, as, believing in the all-sufficiency of the law, they sought in
its compass authority for every new "fence" and ground for every existing
usage, and invented for this purpose methods of connection — they cannot be
called methods of interpretation — between the written law and their own
ordinances. Two institutions, with which the reader is familiar, were the
channels through which it operated. These were the School and the Sanhedrim.
Connected with the synagogues there were common schools for primary
education, and local courts for the judgment of cases that might arise: the
rabbins of distinction had also their higher schools, and the highest court
in the land was the great Sanhedrim at Jerusalem. It was before this court
that Christ was arraigned, and Peter and John were tried; and it must have
been in a school in the Temple that the child Jesus was found, and in
another such that Saul of Tarsus studied under Gamaliel. The schools were
the arena in which the learned men and their pupils sharpened their wits in
discussion; and it will be readily understood how, while the Sanhedrim was
occupied with actual cases brought before it, the schools would be employed
in the solving of possible and imaginary cases—with casuistry, in fact. We
have already in the pages of the New Testament indications of a reverence
for the letter of the law to the neglect of its spirit in these casuistical
discussions; and this tendency, increasing to a prodigious extent, and
combined with a reverence for great names, kept alive the tradition of the
decisions of the courts and the opinions of the doctors, which in time was
invested with divine authority, as an unwritten law delivered to Moses on
Sinai, as an explanation of the written, and handed down in unbroken
succession from age to age.
In the troubles that came upon the Jewish people the Sanhedrim suffered
much, and was deprived of the power of enforcing its sentences; but the
activity of the schools continued, notwithstanding persecution; and when
finally the synagogue took the place of the Temple, the college remained as
the representative of the Sanhedrim, and study, taking the place of
judgment, ran riot in its handling of the law. The schools of Babylon,
swelled by refugees from Palestine, kept pace with, and even outstripped,
those of the Holy Land for a time; but when the stricter edicts against the
study of the law were relaxed, the College of Tiberias again took the lead,
and then for the first time, towards the close of the second century a.d.,
under the presidency of Rabbi Judah the Holy, the oral tradition was
collected into an authoritative form. It was called Mithna, or "teaching,"
from the formula by which the decisions of the doctors of the period were
conveyed, but came to be known as Mishna, or "repetition," from the idea
that it is but the expansion or iteration of the written law. It consists of
six treatises, in which are given, under separate heads, the decisions of
the doctors to the minutest details on all the subjects of civil, criminal,
and ceremonial law that had occupied their attention; recording also, as a
guarantee of the thorough preservation of the tradition, the rejected
decisions or opinions of the minority.
You can read the rest of this account at
You can read the other articles at
Many of you will remember us adding this 12 book story from Margo Fallis.
Well she has now added a 13th book called "The Beginning" to give an
introduction to how the series came about.
We have now completed thjs book and you can read the final chapters at
Hamish McWallace and the Leprechaun Treasure
by Laura Lagana
A new children's story has been sent into us by Laura which is actually a
book so we'll be adding this chapter by chapter until complete.
The Prologue starts...
Finnegan scratched his pointed ears and laid the four-leaf clover on the
nearby tree stump. He added several more logs to the fire under the boiling
black cauldron. A moment later, steam burst from the pipe as the whiskey
bubbled over, signaling that the brew was finished. Using a scarred wooden
ladle that his grandma had given him on his fiftieth birthday, he poured the
golden liquid into glass bottles and popped a cork into the top of each one.
Finnegan sniffed the pungent air and sneezed. “Grandma would be right proud
of this batch.” He tilted his head toward the sky while the bright moon
bathed him in silvery light. A moment later, he glanced at the rock next to
the cauldron. A bright smile spread across his face as he skipped around the
fire before doing a jig in front of the rock. Golden light spilled from the
rock’s interior when the top opened to reveal the leprechaun’s treasure,
hidden safely within. Finnegan squealed with delight, running his hands
through the gold and letting the coins slip through his fingers to join the
rest of his treasure. Every year, Finnegan returned to the same spot to brew
his whiskey and bask in the glow of his gold. He spied the empty basket of
clover lying next to him on the ground. “The moon is at its fullest.” He
chuckled, rubbing his small hands together with anticipation. “This is the
best time to pick more clover for my whiskey.” Finnegan stared at his gold
treasure a moment longer, wiping away the tear that trailed down his cheek.
After kissing one of the coins for good luck, he closed the rock and tucked
the basket under his arm before disappearing from the campsite into the
velvety black darkness. A faint glittering of dust scattered behind his feet
as Finnegan the leprechaun left the clearing.
You can read the rest of this and the first few chapters at
Poetry and Stories
John sent in three doggerels...
Lemon Drizzle Cakes, at
Cluck! Cluck! Ull Luck! at
Flooers Jiggin at Hallowe'en at
Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland
Am adding a variety of articles from this publication and this week have
On St. Kilda and its Inhabitants from the 1878 volume which you can read at
also added from the 1879 volume...
On the Agriculture of the County of Sutherland which is another huge account
which you can read at
Improvements on the Estate of Denbrae, Fifeshire which can be read at
Here is how the St. Kilda article starts...
Having been instructed by the Directors of the Highland and Agricultural
Society of Scotland to proceed to St Kilda in H.M.S. "Flirt," ordered by the
Government to convey to the island provisions, seed, &c, for the
inhabitants,—supplied partly from the donation of £100 given by the Austrian
Government in return for kindness and hospitality shown to a few of its
subjects who were shipwrecked on the island last winter, and which was
intrusted to the Society for distribution—and partly from a fund held by the
Society for the benefit of the St Kildians,—I started for Greenock, where
the "Flirt" was stationed, on Monday the 7th of May, and got all the goods
on board on the following forenoon.
The whole of the goods were procured for the Society by Mr David Cross,
Argyll Street, Glasgow, whose kindness and willingness in getting everything
ready for despatch so promptly, and on such short notice, shows the warm
interest he takes in the welfare of these remote islanders. Mr Cross on
former similar occasions undertook the same duty.
The "Flirt," commanded by Lieut. O'Rorke, left Greenock about 10.30 on
Tuesday evening, encountered a very heavy sea and rather severe gale in
rounding the Mull of Cantyre, and on Wednesday could not proceed farther
than Lowlander Bay, a small inlet on the south-east coast of Jura, where
anchor was dropped about 1.30 p.m., and where we remained till 6 a.m. on
Thursday. On Thursday we went to Tobermory, where we anchored for that
night; made Portree on Friday, and remained there over the night. Left
Portree about 4 a.m. on Saturday, and passed through the Sound of Harris
about 1 p.m. Soon after, a good stern breeze getting up, all sails were
unfurled, and we were swiftly wafted over the western main towards St Kilda,
whose sharp outline could be dimly discerned through a misty haze about 4
P.M. At 9.30 the rattle of the anchor-chain over the bow proclaimed that we
were really in St Kilda Bay, and under the shadow of the towering cliffs of
"Iort" (Gaelic name for St Kilda).
The natives had sighted us a long way off, and were afraid we were to pass.
They lined the shore as we arrived, and a boat manned by four active young
St Kilda men was soon alongside, and in a twinkling landed us safely on the
rocky shore, where we received the very hearty greetings and kindly
blessings of these simple-minded people. By this time the whole of the
inhabitants had appeared on the scene. A few words spoken in the vernacular
conveyed and spread the welcome intelligence that the supplies had come,
upon which there arose a great shout, or rather wail, of gladness and
thankfulness, the very dogs, of which there would be about a dozen, joining
in the refrain, and, combined with the hollow murmuring sound of the
Atlantic waves, made a weird din that sounded strange in our ears, and the
memory of which will not soon be effaced. The exuberant joy having somewhat
subsided, and a kind of order restored,—the weather being fine, and knowing
how unsafe and uncertain the anchorage was,—we proposed to land the goods at
once, and asked the natives to give us assistance with their boats. But here
came a hitch in the proceedings: the old men shook their heads and gathered
around their minister in solemn conclave; the minister thrust his hands deep
into his trouser pockets, and cast his eyes upon the ground in pensive
meditation; eager, anxious women and amazed children stood with bated breath
awaiting the result of the deliberation. An answer was given, that as it was
now drawing near the Sunday, and as the people must be prepared for the
devotions of the morrow, they could not think of encroaching on the Sabbath
by working at the landing of the goods. This ultimatum was like the laws of
the Medes and Persians, for no entreaty, expostulation, or persuasive
language on our part, though uttered in the hardest Gaelic, would make them
alter their decision; and as for reasoning with them upon its being a work
of necessity, such a conception seemed to have no place in their creed. They
told us that rather than land the goods on Sunday they would prefer sending
to Harris for them, should we be compelled by stress of weather to betake
ourselves there before Monday. The captain endeavoured to land a few bags
with the "Flirt's" boats, but was completely baffled on account of the surf.
The boats were not strong enough to withstand the force with which they
would be pitched on to the rocks. The attempt had to be abandoned; and as
nothing more could now be done, on the minister's recommendation we resigned
ourselves to Providence, and waited patiently for Monday's dawn, trusting
the weather might be propitious.
You can read the rest of this article at
You can get to the other articles at
Book of Scottish Story
Kindly sent in to us by John Henderson
The Book of Scottish Story - Historical, Humorous, Legendary, Imaginative
by Standard Scottish Writers Published by Thomas D. Morison, 1896
This week we have...
The Freebooter of Lochaber by Sir Thomas Dick Lauder at
An Hour in the Manse by Professor Wilson at
Here is how The Freebooter of Lochaber starts...
Towards the end of the seventeenth century, there lived a certain notorious
freebooter, in the county of Moray, a native of Lochaber, of the name of
Cameron, but who was better known by his cognomen of Padrig Mac-an-Ts'agairt,
which signifies, "Peter, the Priest's Son." Numerous were the "creachs," or
robberies of cattle on a great scale, driven by him from Strathspey. But he
did not confine his depredations to that country; for, some time between the
years 1690 and 1695, he made a clean sweep of the cattle from the rich
pastures of the Aird, the territory of the Frasers. That he might put his
pursuers on a wrong scent, he did not go directly towards Lochaber, but,
crossing the river Ness at Lochend, he struck over the mountains of
Strathnairn and Strathdearn, and ultimately encamped behind a hill above
Duthel, called, from a copious spring on its summit, Cairn-an-Sh' uaran, or
the Well Hill. But, notwithstanding all his precautions, the celebrated
Simon Lord Lovat, then chief of the Frasers, discovered his track, and
despatched a special messenger to his father-in-law Sir Ludovick Grant of
Grant, begging his aid in apprehending Mac-an-Ts'agairt, and recovering the
It so happened that there lived at this time, on the laird of Grant's
ground, a man also called Cameron, surnamed Mugach More, of great strength
and undaunted courage; he had six sons and a stepson, whom hi- . wife,
formerly a woman of light character, had before her marriage with Mugach,
and, as they were all brave, Sir Ludovick applied to them to undertake the
recapture of the cattle. Sir Ludovic was not mistaken in the man. The Mugach
no sooner received his orders, than he armed himself and his little band,
and went in quest of the freebooter, whom he found in the act of cooking a
dinner from part of the spoil. The Mugach called on Padrig and his men to
surrender, and they, though numerous, dreading the well-known prowess of
their adversary, fled to the opposite hills, their chief threatening bloody
vengeance as he went. The Mugach drove the cattle to a place of safety, and
watched them till their owners came to recover them.
You can read the rest of this story at
The index page of the book where you can read the other stories is at
The History of Ulster
From the Earliest Times to the Present Day by Ramsay Colles (1919)
This week have added another 5 chapters to the first volume...
Shane again in Ulster
Sussex v. Shane
Sir Henry Sidney and Shane O'Neill
Death of Shane O'Neill
Here is how the chapter "Attempted Plantation" starts...
The death of Shane O'Neill was followed by a short period of quietude, in
which sweeping changes were made and the cost of the war with Shane
ascertained. The figures must certainly have given the Queen, who was noted
for her thrift, great uneasiness. From the Vth and Vlth of Philip and Mary
to the XVIth of Elizabeth, the expenditure of the Irish Government amounted
to £490,779, 7s. 6 3/4d., of which £120,000 represented the Irish receipts,
and £370,779, 7s. 6 3/4d., at the yearly average of £23,179, was transmitted
from England. It is not strange that her ministers dreaded to approach the
Queen on the subject of money for Ireland. She grudged every shilling which
was expended in the government of the country, and was constantly requiring
schemes from her deputies for the making of the Irish Government
The condition of the country was indeed serious. The state of Ulster was
bad, but, as Sir Henry Sidney discovered on a visitation to the south and
west, which he had now leisure to make, that of Munster and Connaught was
appalling, many districts being so wasted by the war that they "had but
one-twentieth part of their former population". The Earl of Desmond he found
to be "a man both devoid of judgment to govern and will to be ruled". In the
territory of Ormonde he noted a "want of justice, judgment, and stoutness to
execute", and Clanrickard "was so overruled by a putative wife as ofttimes
when he best intendeth she forceth him to do the worst". The strength and
wisdom of Sidney is seen in his denouncement of the "cowardly policy" that
would rule the nation by sowing divisions among the people, or, as he
himself expressed it, "by keeping them in continual dissension, for fear
lest through their quiet might follow I wot not what"; and, he added, "so
far hath that policy, or rather lack of policy, in keeping dissension among
them, prevailed, as now, albeit all that are alive would become honest and
live in quiet, yet are not left alive, in these two provinces, the twentieth
person necessary to inhabit the same!"
It is not our province to follow Sir Henry into either Munster or Connaught,
but his report is interesting as showing the general state of the 'country.
Suffice it to say that he dealt so severely with the offenders that even
Elizabeth became alarmed at the number of military executions which marked
his progress; and, as she did not share his sentiments as expressed in his
jubilant remark: "Down they go at every corner! and down, God willing, they
shall go!" he sought permission to explain his conduct in person, and
proceeded to England" for that purpose in October, 1567, taking with him the
Earl of Desmond and his brother John, and being also accompanied by Hugh
O'Neill, Baron of Dungannon, the O'Conor Sligo, and other Irish chieftains,
the country being left in the charge of Lords Justices.
You can read the rest of this chapter at
The rest of the chapters can be read at
A fisherman’s Reflections on a beautiful but troubled world
By David B. Thomson
We are getting a lot of interest in this book and this week we've added
Chapter 4 - Ireland
Chapter 5 - Scotland
Chapter 6 - The Zambesi Valley
Chapter 7 - Canada
Chapter 8 - The USA
Chapter 9 - Russia
Chapter 10 - Indonesia
Here is how the Chapter on The USA starts...
I had not read much U.S. history before moving to America, but had immersed
myself in some of its poetry and light fiction. My father used to recite
John Greanleaf Whittier’s “Barbara Frietchie”, with great gusto, and I later
came to enjoy the verses of Longfellow, Lowell, Poe, Whitman, and others, as
well as the songs of Stephen Foster and Cole Porter, and the books by
O’Henry, Mark Twain, Zane Grey, Herman Melville, and Richard Henry Dana. As
a boy I loved to watch western movies, and devoured the romanticized
versions of the ‘wild west’ history, with the detailed accounts of the
different Red Indian tribes, that were probably as manufactured as those of
the different clans in Scotland. Much later, books like “Bury My Heart at
Wounded Knee”, gave a more factual and far sadder account of that period of
The picture most of us in UK or Europe acquire of the United States, is
taken largely from the cinema and television. Alistair Cook’s long-running
“Letter from America”, gave radio listeners a more observant picture of the
land of the free and its colourful people. When I first went to work in the
USA, it was a surprise to learn that most Americans were quite cautious and
conservative, unlike the swashbuckling characters of Western movies or
Rambo-like films. I lived in Rhode Island, New England for two years, and
that admittedly is quite unlike the south or west of the country. New
Englanders are often termed “swamp Yankees”, a description that emphasizes
their dry uncommunicative characteristics. But the area like much of
America, is also a melting pot of Irish, Italian, English, Scandinavian,
Portuguese, and other European immigrants, so generalizations are just that.
I recall in New Bedford stopping a stranger to ask the way, and being
surprised by the response : “Sorry, me Portuguese, - me no speak English” !
Rhode Island had been founded by a Baptist, Roger Williams, who was hounded
out of Massachusetts by its Calvinist leaders. The descendants of the
Pilgrim Fathers who left Britain to seek freedom to worship God, were not
prepared to grant the same freedom to others whose beliefs differed slightly
from theirs. Baptism of believers by immersion was not in their tenets. So
Williams moved south-west and founded the State of Rhode Island and
Providence Plantations, the smallest in the Union. By the time I came to
work there, there were not so many Baptists around. Churches were fairly
conservative, unlike in California or the Southern States. But little Rhody
had a reputation as a centre of Mafia activity, and the first few week-ends
I was there, the local godfathers were shooting each other in supermarkets
or restaurants. The police appeared to leave them to it, perhaps reasoning
that a self-inflicted cull of gangsters might be in the State’s interest.
You can read the rest of this chapter at
The rest of the chapters can be read at
Ocean to Ocean, Fleming's Expedition Through Canada in 1872
by The Revd. George M. Grant (1873).
As some of you may know Sandford Fleming, a Scot, was the chief engineer for
the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway and this book is a diary of his
survey of the line. Quite apart from being a Scot this is a most interesting
account and I hope you'll enjoy reading it.
We have added three chapters this week...
Chapter IV - Province of Manitoba
Chapter V - From Manitoba to Fort Carlton on the North Saskatchewan
Chapter VI - Along the North Saskatchewan to Edmonton
Here is how the account of Province of Manitoba starts...
August 1st.—Fort Garry.—The Province of Manitoba, in which we now are, is
the smallest Province in the Dominion, being only three degrees of
longitude, or one hundred and thirty-five miles long, by one and a-half
degrees of latitude, or a hundred and five miles broad; but, as it is
watered by two magnificent rivers, and includes the southern ends of the two
great lakes, Winnipeg and Manitoba, which open up an immense extent of
inland navigation, and as almost every acre of its soil is prairie, before
many years it may equal some of the large-Provinces in population. At
present the population numbers about fifteen thousand, of whom not more than
two thousand are pure whites. One-fifth of the number are Indians, either
living in houses or wanderers, one-third English or Scotch half-breeds, and
rather more than a third French half-breeds. "Order reigns in Manitoba,"
though wise ruling is still required to keep the conflicting elements in
their proper places. By the legislation that made Manitoba a Province,
nearly one-sixth of the land was reserved for the half-breeds ; owing to
some delay in carrying out this stipulation, the Metis, last year, got
suspicious and restless, and the Fenians counted on this when they invaded
the Province from Pembina and plundered the Hudson's Bay Company's post near
the line. As the half-breeds live along the Red River from Pembina north,
the situation was full of danger; had they joined the Fenians, the frontier
would have been at once moved up to Fort Garry. Everyone can understand the
serious consequences that would have followed the slightest success on their
part. Happily the danger was averted by prompt action on the part of the
Governor. The whole population rallied around him, and the Fenians, not
being able to advance into the country, were dispersed by a company of
United States regulars, after being compelled to disgorge their plunder. A
Battalion of Canadian militia, stationed at different points along Red
River, now keeps the peace and guarantees its permanence. The land
difficulty has been settled by faith being kept with the half-breeds; a
treaty has been made with the Indians that extinguishes their claims to the
land; and, as the whole of the Province has been surveyed, divided off into
townships, sections, and sub-sections, emigrants, as they come in, can
either get accurate information in the Winnipeg Land-office as to where it
would be best for them to settle, or they can visit and then describe the
piece of land they wish to occupy. There is room and to spare for all, after
doing the fullest justice to the old settlers. Even the one-sixth reserved
for them cannot, in the nature of things, be permanently held by those among
whom it may now be divided. There is no Jewish law preserving to each family
its inheritance forever. The French half-breeds do not like farming, and
they therefore make but poor farmers; and, as enterprising settlers with a
little capital come in, much of the land is sure to change hands. The fact
that land can be bought from others, as well as from the Government, will
quicken instead of retarding its sale.
After breakfast this morning, we had an opportunity of conversing with
several gentlemen who called at Government House: the United States Consul,
the Land Commissioner, Officers of the Battalion, Dr. Schultz, and others.
All spoke in the highest terms of the climate, the land, and the prospects
of the Province and of the North-west. Nothing shows more conclusively the
wonderful progress of Manitoba and the settled condition into which it has
emerged from the chaos of two or three years ago, than the fact that the
Hudson's Bay Company sold at auction, the other day, in building lots,
thirteen acres of the five hundred of their Reserve around Fort Garry, at
the rate of $7000 per acre. At half the rate, for the rest, the Hudson's Bay
Company will receive for this small reserve more than the money payment of
£300,000 stg., which Canada gave for the whole territory ; and, if a few
acres favorably situated bring so much, what must be the value of the many
million of acres transferred to the Dominion ? The policy of the Company now
is exactly the opposite of what it used to be; formerly all their efforts
were directed to keep the country a close preserve; now they are doing all
in their power to open it up. The times have changed and they have changed
with them. And, regarding them merely as a Company whose sole object has
been and is to look after their own interests and pay good dividends to the
shareholders, their present policy is as sagacious for to-day as the former
was for yesterday. While a fur trading Company with sovereign rights, they
did not look beyond their own proper work; they attended to that, and, as a
duty merely incidental to it, governed half a continent in a paternal or
semi-patriarchal way, admirably suited to the tribes that roamed over its
vast expanses. But, as they can no longer be supreme, it is their interest
that the country should be opened up; and they are taking their place among
new competitors, and preparing to reap a large share of the fruits of the
development. For many a year to come they must be a great power in our
You can read the rest of this chapter at
You can read this book at
Restless English and Quisling Scots
I got this compilation article in from Jim Lynch of the Scots Independent
Newspaper and thought I'd share this with you.
Here is how he introduced the article...
We are picking up quite a lot of material now about the restlessness of
English people with the present constitutional arragements, now that the
Scots are quite clearly fed up with them. This is particularly true in East
Anglia (Norfolk and Suffolk) and the Home Counties, the heartlands of
English England. The early answer to English concerns, real and imagined,
regarding the Barnett formula is a negotiated deal between Holyrood and
Westminster on North Sea Oil revenues. If Scottish ministers have to go into
negotiations on this in the early future they must remember the political
slogan which Jim Mather MSP, Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism who
is just back from an official Canadian visit, tells us is dominating
politics in Alberta. It is 'Albertan oil for the Albertans'. The Albertan
government has just sent out a cheque for $400 to every man, woman and child
in the province. 90% of oil revenues go to Alberta. We demand no less.
Mediawatch would very much like a large and extremely polite number of
responses to this as Graham Dines has invited reponses. He is at;
You can read this article at
And that's all for now and hope you all have a good weekend :-)
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