Electric Scotland News
Scotland on TV
The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Book of Scottish Story
Good Words - Edited by the Rev Norman MacLeod
Poetry and Stories
Antiquarian Scottish Books in Adobe Reader format
The Scottish Tradition in Canada
Sketch of the Civil and Traditional History of Caithness from the
The Intellectual Development of Scotland
The History of the Highland Clearances (New Book)
Memphis Scottish Society Newsletters
The Celtic Monthly
National Scots, Scots-Irish Heritage Month
Polar Bear: I come in Peace!
ELECTRIC SCOTLAND NEWS
Sun, and more Sun this week... and
then I got a quote for a new roof! $7218.00! [gulp]
This week we've made a start at getting up our new forums software.
Likely take a week or so to do this as it's very rich in features
which just means it's a lot of work to get it all configured. We
also note that there is likely to be a new full release of the
software in the next couple of weeks which adds new functionality so
we may delay things a little to get this in place before launch. It
has moved from beta to release candidate 4 and so I understand when
it moves to 5 it will be released.
As the upgrade from the current release to the new release is simple
to do this will not hold us back from getting the software
The software we will be using is vBulletin and is the first phase of
bringing up our new Aois Community. The system will provide users
with both public and private messaging, buddy lists, Instant
Messaging, own area where each user can upload pictures and so photo
hosting. You will be able to create your own blogs, have your own
calendar with reminder system, do polls and lots more.
This is the first phase and to it we'll be adding additional
functionality down the road where you'll have text, audio and video
chat and be able to upload your own videos. We're even looking at a
dating service :-)
We intend to have several public message forums to get us started.
We'll have a clan area where folk can discuss their own clans and
should we get a request for a specific clan area we'll certainly
consider requests if there is enough support for one. We'll also
have our old Thistle & Whistle Pub forum and a few other general
There is a built in FAQ system which will help you understand the
various options and how to use them.
There are a lot of social networking features built in and I guess
it will take a little while for us to learn all the capabilities of
the system :-)
We do have lots of decisions to make as we progress with the system
but to start with the system will be free but we may implement a pay
system for those that want to make larger use of the system. For
example, while you can upload your own pictures we may set a cap on
the total number of megabytes you can store. Should you wish to
exceed this limit then there may be a small charge.
Overall this is a longterm project for us and we hope our new Aois
Community will become a great place to visit and make your home on
Made a start on a book about the Highland Clearances for which more
I noticed that only 56% of you
actually opened the newsletter last week. Given that I am wondering
how many are actually getting it. Mind you if you are not
getting you won't be able to tell me :-)
Coming soon are books about...
Scotland's Influence on Civilization
By The Rev. Leroy J. Halsey, D.D., LL.D.
Kind of self explanatory this one but
it is an American publication and looks to have been written there
Arbroath and its Abbey
By David Miller (1859)
As you will know the Declaration of
Arbroath was signed here and it gives an interesting account of the
Abbey and surrounding area. There is also some excellent information
going quite far back in time addressing how people lived in those
far off days.
Annals of Garelochside
By W. C. Maughan (1897)
This is a small area of Scotland and
thought it would interesting to see what happened there.
The Border or Riding Clans
By B. Homer Dixon (1889)
This is actually a book that was
produced as a private publication to tell fellow members of Clan
Dickson about their heritage. Due to requests the information was
expanded and published for general readership. It also gives some
quite detailed accounts of what life was like in the Scottish
Domestic Life in Scotland, 1488 - 1688
By John Warrack (1924)
This is actually a book about
furniture or lack of in Scotland. It gives an interesting
insight into how people lived during this time frame. It also alerts
us not to assume things using our current state of living when
examining old accounts of what life was like in the old days.
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 or on our site menu.
Alloway Auld Kirk - the inspiration for Robert Burns’ Tam o’Shanter
'She prophesied that late or soon,
Thou wad be found, deep drown'd in Doon,
Or catch'd wi' warlocks in the mirk,
By Alloway's auld, haunted kirk.’
This week, the kirkyard which inspired the location for the witches’
dance in Robert Burns’ poem Tam o’Shanter, was re-opened by
Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond following programme of
restoration and conservation work. Alex Salmond was on good form as
he attended the re-opening event, even quoting lines from Burns’
The kirk in South Ayrshire is also significant in the history of
Robert Burns’ life as it is the final resting place of Burns’
The completion of the restoration work was timed to coincide with
the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns’ birth as well as the
Homecoming 2009 events next year. It is hoped that many of the
ex-patriot Scots who are returning home to Scotland will want to
visit this place which played such a significant role in inspiring
the national Bard. With Ayrshire being ‘Burns Country’ it’s likely
to be on many an itinerary.
FLAG IN THE WIND
This weeks Flag is compiled by Donald Bain. It appears that this is
Donald's last contribution for the time being.
In Peter's cultural section we get...
In this week’s Scottish Quotations, the former footballer and
football pundit Pat Nevin reminds us that football has played an
important part in Scottish history and culture. Football, at a
rudimentary level, has indeed enjoyed a long history in Scotland and
was first mentioned in an act of the Scottish Parliament, The Three
Estates, banning the game! Too much time was being devoted to
football and golf as against, for the defence of the realm,
necessary archery practise. Football at that time was a very rough
game as recorded by an anonymous medieval poet –
Brissit brawnis and brokin banis, (torn muscles, broken bones)
Stride, discord and waisite wanis; (broken homes)
Crukit in eild, syne halt withal- (old age)
Thir are the bewties of the fute-ball. (The Bewties of the Fute-ball)
From the formation of Queen’s Park in 1867 the much more civilised
modern sport quickly expanded to every village, town and city in
Scotland. Indeed much of the expansion of football world-wide was
due to expatriate Scots. At home football still plays a vital role
in the social fabric of the nation and is much prized by local
communities as was evidenced on Saturday (19 April 2008) in the
towns of Hamilton, Dingwall and Methil as their local senior teams
won their respective Scottish Football League titles. Hamilton,
winners of the First Division will now ply their trade in the
Scottish Premier League, Ross County as Division Two champions
bounced back to the First Division after only one season in the
lower league, and East Fife in the Third Division enjoyed their
first league title success in 60 years. The Fife were the first club
in Scotland to achieve championship status (15 March 2008) this
season and with backing from businessmen Willie Gray and Sid
Columbine hope to make their mark in the higher division next
Since becoming the only lower division club ever to win the Scottish
Cup in 1938, East Fife supporters have always looked upon The Fife
as being the footballing ‘Kings of Fife’ and our recipe this week
features the King of Fish – the salmon.
Baked Salmon Escalopes
Ingredients: 450 g/1 lb salmon fillet, cut into 4 pieces; 30 g/1 oz
melted butter; 4 tbsp white wine; 4 bay leaves
Method: Cut 4 large discs of bakewell paper (12” diameter) and brush
them lightly with melted butter. Lay an escalope in the centre of
each, season well, place a bay leaf on top and pour a tablespoon of
wine over each. Fold the paper over the fish and crimp the edges ‘en
papillote’ – like a Cornish pasty. Lay the parcels in a hot oven
(200 deg C/ 400 deg F – Gas Mark 6) for 15-17 minutes. Unwrap the
papillotes and serve the escalopes with mange-tout and baby carrots.
The Scottish Nation
My thanks to Lora for transcribing these volumes for us.
We are now onto the M's with Moor, Moore, Moray, Mordington, Moreham,
Morison and Mortimer
Some good information on the Moore name with a famous Doctor, famous
General and a famous Poet...
MOORE, SIR JOHN, a distinguished British commander, son of the
subject of the preceding article, by his wife, a daughter of
Professor Simson, of the university of Glasgow, was born in that
city, Nov. 13, 1761. He received the rudiments of his education at
the local High School, and at the age of eleven accompanied his
father, then engaged as traveling physician to the duke of Hamilton,
to the continent. In 1776 he obtained an ensign’s commission in the
51st foot. He was next promoted to a lieutenancy in the 82d
regiment, and served in America till the conclusion of the war in
1783, when his regiment being reduced, he was put upon half-pay. On
his return to Britain, with the rank of captain, he resumed the
studies of fortification and field tactics, and on the change of
ministry, which soon followed the peace, he was, by the Hamilton
influence, elected to represent the Lanark district of burghs in
parliament. In 1787 he obtained the rank of major in the 4th
battalion of the 60th regiment, and in 1788 he exchanged into his
first regiment, the 51st. In 1790 he succeeded by purchase to the
lieutenant-colonelcy, and in 1791 he went with his regiment to
In 1794 Colonel Moore was ordered to accompany the expedition for
the reduction of Corsica, and at the siege of Calvi he was appointed
by General Charles Stuart to command the reserve, at the head of
which he gallantly stormed the Mozzello fort, amidst a shower of
bullets, hand grenades, and shells, that exploded among them at
every step. Here he received his first wound, in spite of which he
mounted the breach with his brave followers, who drove the enemy
before them. Soon after the surrender of the garrison, he was
nominated adjutant-general, as a step to farther promotion.
New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
The first volume I am dealing with is the one on Aberdeenshire.
There are some 85 parishes in this volume and a write up on each.
This week have added...
Parish of Tarland and Migvie
Here is a bit from the Antiquities section...
Antiquities.—About half a mile south from the church of Tar. land,
and in the parish of Coull, there is a small hill or emi-nence,
about 150 feet in height above the level of the Tarland burn; its
summit of conical form, about 100 feet in circumference, consisting
of solid rock and beautiful granite. On this summit may be seen the
distinct ruins of a distinguished Druidical temple, containing two
circles formed of large erect stones, at short intervals, from 4 to
5 feet in height, 3 broad, and 2 feet thick. The hill or eminence is
known by the name Tomnaverie, a word of Gaelic extraction, and said
to signify "the hill of truth, or worship, or of justiciary trial."
About 100 feet from this summit westward, are two distinct
inclosures, each about an acre of stony and uncultivated ground,
which might have served for camps, or such accommodating purposes as
the assembling worshippers required. On the east side of the
eminence, and about 200 paces from the temple, there is about an
acre of cultivated ground which was formerly enclosed, and is known
by the name of the "hangman's yard." From the centre of the temple,
pointing to the north-east, and about one mile distant, there may be
seen the site and ruins of a lesser Druidical temple, as if intended
for more frequent and ordinary worship. From the same centre, at the
same distance, and pointing to the north, are to be seen the ruins
of another Druidical temple: and from the same centre, at the same
distance, and pointing to the north-west, and upon the boundary
which separates Tarland from Coldstone parish, maybe seen the ruins
of another Druidical temple,—all three uniform in size, and
equidistant from the larger temple upon Tomnaverie. On the
north-west point of the eminence, and close by the large temple, are
to be seen evident traces of strong fire, which has shattered the
solid rock several feet deep. It may be worthy of remark that, in
the immediate neighbourhood of the lesser temple alluded to in the
north-east,.there was lately found in the cultivated soil, a small
stone of very hard texture, about 3 inches long, and 2 thick,
tapering at one end, and, though quite smooth, altogether of
rugged-like surface: the other end, impressed with two distinct
circles; beautifully polished, and in high preservation.
Book of Scottish Story
Our thanks to John Henderson for sending this in for us.
This week have added...
Nanny Welsh, the Minister's Maid and here is how it starts...
There are now—so far at least as my experience goes—fewer specimens
of homely, odd, and eccentric characters to be met with in Scotland
than in former years. In solitary nooks of the country, away from
the boom of cities, and the rush of railways, many doubtless still
exist, and contribute largely to the amusement of their rural
acquaintances; but it cannot be denied that the race of originals is
fast disappearing, and threatens ultimately to become altogether
extinct. Into the cause or causes of this I do not intend to enter;
it is sufficient to chronicle the melancholy fact. There may be a
beauty in similarity, but there is a higher beauty in diversity. Men
and women are now so very much alike, that the study of mankind is
not such a difficult task after all. The greater facilities for
intercourse which the present generation enjoys have tended to rub
off the angularities of individual character, and to create a
fusion, or confusion, of all classes in the community. Such being
the case, it is pleasant at times to revert from the present to the
past, and to recall the peculiar aspect, the odd sayings, and
eccentric doings of persons with whom we were familiar in former
Among a number of others, Nanny Welsh stands prominent in my
recollection. She was maid-of-all-work in the old home-manse of
Keppel, where I first saw the light of day, and for many years
afterwards. A rare specimen Nanny was of the departed or departing
race of familiar domestics. She had herded the cows of neighbouring
farmers, almost from her childhood, until she entered upon domestic
service, and life before she became minister’s maid, an honour which
she highly esteemed and long enjoyed. She was big-boned and
masculine in the build of her body. Her face was long and hard,
almost grim, and well freckled, and deeply browned by frequent
exposure to the sun and air. A white "mutch," with a high horse-shoe
shaped crown, surmounted her head at morning, noon, and night. With
her gown tucked up behind in the old familiar fashion of domestics,
and a youngster strapped on her back with a shawl, and peering with
his little pow over her shoulders, she went to work, as if the fate
of empires, not to speak of the honour of the old manse, depended
upon her exertions.
She used to boast that she could ‘pit mair’ through her hands in an
hour than ‘ony ither woman i’ the parish’. She was, in truth, a
capital worker; and while her hands went her tongue wagged. Nanny
could never endure either to be idle or silent. When engaged in
scrubbing pots and pans her back was not forgotten, but received all
the benefit of her sayings and soliloquies. In the discharge of her
domestic duties she liked to carry everything her own way, and
generally managed to take it, whatever orders might be given to the
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...
Lady Somerville's Maidens (Pages 441-445)
The Story of Cornelius (Pages 445-448)
Good Words for Every Day of the Year (Page 448)
Dr Wichern and The Rauhe House (Pages 449-453)
Journey by Sinai to Syria (Pages 453-456)
Here is how the second chapter of "The Story of Cornelius" starts...
Is there an exception to the rule which is implied in the words of
Jesus, ''Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find;
knock, and it shall be opened to you"? Of all the thousands who, in
the course of centuries, have heard and followed this invitation,
was there ever a single individual who could say, "I tested the
truth of this promise, I asked, I sought, I knocked, but in vain"?
No, not one. He may have asked for days, without receiving; he may
have been a seeker for months, without finding; he may have
anxiously knocked for a long period, without obtaining an entrance:
like John Bunyan and Martin Luther, he may for a long time have
languished in darkness and fetters; like Augustine, he may have made
many unsuccessful efforts, and been thrown back again and again by
the superior strength of the world and his unrenewed nature and
Satan; he may have been held captive by the dazzling sophistry of
human wisdom and philosophy, like many a sceptic in our own
day,—but, whenever God implants in the soul of man the desire after
truth, light, and peace, it cannot be otherwise but that finally the
victory is won—the weary pilgrim, roused by God to leave the city of
destruction, at last finds rest at the Cross of reconciliation. The
history of Cornelius speaks comfort and encouragement to all sincere
seekers, and tells them to wait patiently and pray
perseveringly—"The Lord will perfect that which concerneth you."
Cornelius was prepared to hear the Divine message, but the servant
of the Lord was not yet prepared to preach it to him. Peter, the
apostle of the circumcision, was chosen by God to admit the first
Gentile into the visible Church. It was through his instrumentality
that the Jewish Christian Church had been founded in Jerusalem. The
peculiar gifts which God had bestowed upon him, and which the Spirit
had sanctified, singled him out to be the representative and leader
of the apostles. We would naturally expect that the first Gentile
should be instructed and baptized by Paul, who was appointed to
labour, not so much among his kinsmen according to the flesh, as the
other nations, and to whom was given such a clear insight into the
counsel of God concerning Israel and the Gentiles. But, on a more
thoughtful consideration, it will appear that it was in a manner
meet that the admission of Cornelius into the Church of Christ
should be brought about by him who had planted the churches of
Antiquarian Scottish Books in Adobe Reader format
I said I'd do my best to add a book each week and so this week I've
Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, Bart.
In 7 volumes published in 1837.
The Preface start...
IN obedience to the instructions of Sir Walter Scott's last will, I
had made some progress in a narrative of his personal history,
before there was discovered, in an old cabinet at Abbotsford, an
autobiographical fragment, composed by him in 1808 shortly after the
publication of his Marmion.
This fortunate accident rendered it necessary that I should
altogether remodel the work which I had commenced. The first Chapter
of the following Memoirs consists of the Ashestiel fragment; which
gives a clear outline of his early life down to the period of his
call to the bar July, 1792. All the notes appended to this Chapter
are also by himself.
They are in a hand-writing very different from the text, and seem,
from various circumstances, to have been added in 1826. It appeared
to me, however, that the author's modesty had prevented him from
telling the story of his youth with that fulness of detail which
would now satisfy the public. I have therefore recast my own
collections as to the period in question, and presented the
substance of them, in five succeeding chapters, as illustrations of
his too brief autobiography. This procedure has been attended with
many obvious disadvantages; but I greatly preferred it to printing
the precious fragment in an Appendix.
I foresee that some readers may be apt to accuse me of trenching
upon delicacy in certain details of the sixth and seventh chapters
in this volume. Though the circumstances there treated of had no
trivial influence on Sir Walter Scott's history and character, I
should have been inclined, for many reasons, to omit them; but the
choice was, in fact, not left to me, for they had been mentioned,
and misrepresented, in various preceding sketches of the Life which
I had undertaken to illustrate. Such being the case, I considered it
as my duty to tell the story truly and intelligibly: but I trust I
have avoided any unnecessary disclosures: and, after all, there was
nothing to disclose that could have attached any sort of blame to
any of the parties concerned.
The Scottish Tradition in Canada
Edited by W. Stanford Reid
This week have added...
The Scot and Canadian Identity by W. Stanford Reid
Scottish Place-Names in Canada by Watson Kirkconnell
which now completes this book.
Here is how "The Scot and Canadian Identity" starts...
The preceding chapters of this book have indicated that Scots have
played an important role in Canada from the very beginning of its
history. Scottish names appear repeatedly at crucial turning points
in the Canadian story as well as in the more mundane aspects of its
development. In this, Scots have contributed certain characteristics
to Canadian identity. While some Canadians themselves may feel that
there is no truly Canadian identity or that what identity has
developed is now being eroded, to many who come to the country for
the first time, one thing stands out. It is the Scottish influence,
which, although metamorphosed by the Canadian geographical and
social environment, still remains strongly Scottish in flavor.
THE SCOT IN TWENTIETH CENTURY CANADA
While most of the chapters tend to end their story of the Scot in
Canada around 1900, the reason for this is not far to seek. From the
opening decade of the present century the pattern of Canadian
immigration has changed radically from what it was in earlier years.
Ever-increasing numbers of Europeans, particularly from eastern
Europe, Asiatics, West Indians and Americans have moved into Canada
to create a widely variegated ethnic mosaic. As a result the
proportion of the native English-speaking element in the population
has declined steadily, and as Scots were only a relatively small
part of that group their share in the population has likewise become
This development is indicated at least in part by the immigration
and population statistics. During the years 1898-1901, Scottish
immigration averaged around 1200 immigrants a year out of a
population in Scotland of 4,500,000. English and Welsh immigration,
on the other hand, was running at about 8,500 out of a home
population of 32,000,000 to 33,000,000. Thus Scotland was sending to
Canada an average proportion of its population. By 1967 the number
of Scots entering the country had risen to 15,575, although since
that time the figure has dropped to about one-third of that figure.
While the reasons for the increase in immigration in this century is
not always clear, some factors, both old and new, have acted to
maintain the flow of Scottish people of all classes and social
strata. The fact that friends and relatives have already migrated
sometimes acts as an incentive for a move to Canada. Perhaps more
important is the fact that ever since the 1820s Canada has been
regarded as the land of opportunity. This has been particularly true
as a result of the Depression of the 1930s and two world wars.
Canada did not seem to have been as hard hit by the Depression as
were some areas of Scotland where up to 25% of the labouring
population were, at the depth of the slump, out of work.
Furthermore, during the bombing raids of World War II Canada seemed
to be a very peaceful place to live, as testified by some of the
children who were evacuated to relatives in Canada for safety.
Another of the more recent causes has been the fear of the growing
socialism in Great Britain which has caused middle class families to
move. And probably one of the factors which went along with all the
others was the fact that it was felt that in Canada there were more
of the comforts of life, such as central heating! But even with the
increase in Scottish immigration since 1900, the Scottish proportion
of the population has declined. In 1901 it was just under 15%, by
1921 it had fallen to 13.3% and since 1941 it has remained
stationary at around 10%, although in the latest census the
differentiation between English, Welsh and Scottish has been dropped
in favour of "British." Yet Canadians of Scottish origin, from what
we can determine, still form the third largest ethnic group in the
country, with a total of around 2,000,000, as compared with
5,000,000 in Scotland.
In spite of the proportional decline of Scots and Canadians of
Scottish descent within the population, they still play an important
part in Canadian life and activity. Scots continue to come to Canada
from all levels of society: skilled workmen, professionals,
financiers, manufacturers. Moreover, even though they may have no
relations in Canada, they soon find that they are involved with
other Scots or Scottish Canadians who are very conscious of their
Scottish background and heritage, and of what Scots have meant to
the development of Canada and Canadian self-consciousness.
Sketch of the Civil and Traditional History of Caithness from the
By James T. Calder (1861)
This week have added Chapters 9, 10 and 11.
Tragical disaster which befel Colonel George Sinclair in Norway—The
Earl of Caithness employed by Government to quell a species of
rebellion got up by Patrick, Earl of Orkney, and his natural son
Robert—Takes the different posts occupied by the insurgents, and
sends the prisoners to Edinburgh—Two serious charges, the one of
incendiarism, and the other of being accessory to the slaughter of
Thomas Lindsay, brought against the Earl—He is outlawed and
denounced as a rebel—Escapes to Orkney—Sir Robert Gordon, who is
commissioned to apprehend him, has the keys of Castle Sinclair,
etc., delivered up to him— Lord Berriedale gets the management of
the property, and an annuity is settled on the Earl—Great distress
in Caithness and in Orkney occasioned by famine—The Master of
Berriedale (son of William, Lord Berriedale) takes the National
Covenant—Sir James Sinclair of Murkle raises a body of Caithness men
and joins the Covenanters—Mowat, the Laird of Freswick, espouses the
royal cause, and joins Montrose—Death of the old Earl—Affair between
Macalister, the Freebooter, and the inhabitants of Thurso,
George, sixth Earl of Caithness, not distinguished by any remarkable
qualities—Landing of Montrose in Caithness —He takes up his head
quarters in Thurso—Compels the heritors and ministers to sign a bond
of allegiance, which they all do except the minister of Bower—Is
joined by Sinclair of Brims, Hugh Mackay of Dirlet, and Hutcheon
Mackay of Scoury—Lays siege to the Castle of Dunbeath, which soon
surrenders—Is defeated on the confines of Ross-shire, apprehended by
Macleod of Assynt, sent to Edinburgh, and executed—Castle of
Dunbeath re-taken— Henry Graham, the brother of Montrose, makes his
escape to Orkney—Cromwell plants a garrison in Ackergill
Tower—Curious extracts from the Session records of Can-isbay
regarding some of his troops that were stationed there—Raids in
Caithness by the Mackays of Strathnaver —Severe reprisal by the
Laird of Dunbeath—The Earl of Caithness a supporter of the
Government in suppressing Conventicles—Appears before the Presbytery
in that capacity—His death,
The late Earl, before his death, sells his property and title to
John Campbell of Glenorchy—Glenorchy marries the Countess
Dowager—George Sinclair of Keiss disputes the title—Battle of
Altimarlach—The Sinclairs lose the day— Anecdote of Glenorchy's
piper—Glenorchy hated by the inhabitants of Caithness—His estate in
the county ultimately divided into separate portions and sold,
The Intellectual Development of Scotland
By Hector MacPherson (1911)
We've now progressed with this book by adding chapters...
The Reaction: Moderatism
The Crisis in Theology
The Rise of Philosophy
Recent Developments in Philosophy
The Scientific Movement
Here is how Chapter VI starts...
Readers of Buckle will remember the startling contrasts he draws
between the Scotland of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
According to Buckle, in the seventeenth century the Scottish clergy
kept the people in a state of intellectual bondage; in the
eighteenth century, thanks to men such as Hutcheson, Hume, and Adam
Smith, the chains which kept the people in bondage were broken, and
the country entered upon a glorious career of intellectual freedom
and discovery. It is remarkable that Buckle, who professed a high
regard for science, should have approached the history of Scotland
in a woefully unscientific spirit. The History of Civilization had
great vogue in its day, and even yet it may be read with profit by
those who like to have facts presented in the form of luminous
generalizations. Tried by modern standards, Buckle's book, however,
is found wanting, and that simply because the author, in approaching
the study of history, entirely ignored the great principle of
relativity, which plays such an important part in the interpretation
of the past. National institutions are no longer judged by absolute
standards; they are studied in relation to their historical
environments and estimated accordingly. Institutions which, tried by
modern standards, are condemned as obstructions to progress may find
their explanation and justification in the fact that they were the
natural and necessary products of the time in which they flourished.
Attention to the idea of relativity, which we owe to the evolution
conception of history, would save modern disciples of Buckle from a
partisan attitude towards Scottish history.
Certain writers, for instance, are
never weary of representing the Reformation as the substitution of
one kind of despotism for another— the despotism of Presbyterianism
for the despotism of Romanism. Thus it has come about that writers
who have no sympathy with the great religious movements of Scotland
contrast the turbulence and wranglings of the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries with the comparative calm of the eighteenth
century, and in a tone of contempt discuss the centuries of
religious struggle as a kind of prolonged Donnybrook. A deep study
of Scottish history shows that there is no such gulf as Buckle
represents between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The
antagonism lies on the surface. When viewed calmly and rationally,
it will be found that the seventeenth was the natural preparation
for the eighteenth century—that, in other words, the struggle for
religious liberty under the Reformers and the Covenanters was the
necessary preparation for the scientific movement. What the
Reformers and the Covenanters did was to secure liberty, without
which the cultivation of science was impossible. We see an
illustration of this in the case of Napier of Merchiston. He founded
no school. Why? As I have remarked elsewhere—
The History of the Highland Clearances
By Alexander MacKenzie (1914)
We have now made a start at this book which I hope you will learn
from and to set the scene here is how the Introduction starts...
IT is with great pleasure that I accede to the request that I should
write a short introduction to welcome this reprint of so interesting
and valuable a book as Mackenzie's Highland Clearances. It has long
been out of print, which anyone who recalls its first appearance
will easily understand. It was written by a Highlander who commanded
in a great measure the esteem of Highlanders, and it collected for
the first time the sane and authenticated accounts of the experience
of the Highlanders in the great agrarian crisis of their history. It
appealed to the race as no book within recent years has done. The
Highlander loves his past and his native land with a passionate
attachment, and the story of the great wrongs of the days of the
clearances is still deeply embedded in his mind. Within the last
year or two many accounts, more or less imaginary, have appeared
purporting to be true stories of those terrible days in the north,
and it is peculiarly appropriate that, when once again men's minds
are centred on the great problem of the land in this country as a
whole, and specific attention has been directed towards the
Highlands, this reprint should now appear. We are all, therefore,
under deep obligations to the public spirit and enterprize of the
publishers and others who have been good enough to secure in an
accessible form a reliable account of the conditions and events
which at once intensified the acuteness of the land-hunger in the
Highlands and constituted the blackest page in Highland history.
Many evil deeds have been associated with the abuse of the monopoly
power of land ownership in this and other countries, but it is safe
to say that nowhere within the limits of those islands, or, indeed,
anywhere else at any time have blacker or more foul deeds been
committed in the sacred name of property than in the Highlands of
Scotland in those days. It has always been a matter of astonishment
that a brave race should ever have submitted to them. This becomes
all the more remarkable, too, when one remembers that during those
very years regiments raised in these very districts of the finest
soldiers who ever marched to the stirring strains of the bagpipes,
were gaining for the empire and for British arms the most noted
achievements ever won in the Napoleonic wars and in the colonies. It
is true, of course, and it is an eternal discredit, that many of
these brave fellows came back wounded and war-scarred to find, not
that a grateful country had taken care that the homes and the
helpless ones they had left behind were kept sacred and immune from
the greed and ruthless savagery of the landlord or his hirelings,
but that their hearths and homes were desecrated and destroyed, and
every moral law of patriotism and honour had been violated. "Their
humble dwellings," says Hugh Miller, "were of their own rearing; it
was they themselves who had broken in their little fields from the
waste; from time immemorial, far beyond the reach of history, they
had possessed their mountain holdings,—they had defended them so
well of old that the soil was still virgin ground, in which the
invader had found only a grave; and their young men were now in
foreign lands fighting at the command of their chieftainess the
battles of their country, not in the character of hired soldiers,
but of men who regarded these very holdings as their stake in the
quarrel." Well has my friend Mackenzie MacBride expressed it:-
"Ye remnant of the brave!
Who charge when the pipes are heard;
Don't think, my lads, that you fight for your own,
'Tis but for the good of the land.
And when the fight is done
And you come back over the foam,
`Well done,' they say, `you are good and true,
But we cannot give you a home.
'For the hill we want for the deer,
And the glen the birds enjoy.
And bad for the game is the smoke of the cot,
And the song of the crofter's boy.'"
The Celtic Monthly
As some of you may remember I ocr'd in volumes 10 and 11 of this
publication some months ago. While searching for something else I
came across a collection of .pdf files of Volumes 1 through to 9 and
so I grabbed them and have added them to the site.
In the Introduction to Volume I. it gives its plans for what to
carry and it says...
IN the circular issued, announcing the CELTIC MAGAZINE, we stated
that it was to be a Monthly Periodical, written in English, devoted
to the Literature, History, Antiquities, Traditions, Folklore, and
the Social and Material Interests of the Celt at Home and Abroad:
that it would be devoted to Celtic subjects generally, and not
merely to questions affecting the Scottish Highlands: that it would
afford Reviews of Books on subjects interesting to the Celtic
Races—their Literature, questions affecting the Land—such as
Hypothec, Entail, Tenant-Right, Sport, Emigration, Reclamation, and
all questions affecting the Landlords, Tenants, and Commerce of the
Highlands. We will also, from time to time, supply Biographical
Sketches of eminent Celts at Home and Abroad, and all the Old
Legends connected with the Highlands, as far as we can procure them,
beginning with those of Inverness and Ross shires.
And so I hope you might enjoy a read of these at your leisure. You
can perhaps download one volume and browse through it as you get the
time... I know.. what time you ask :-)
National Scots, Scots-Irish Heritage Month
Now that Tartan Day has finally been signed and now complete, we
should join together towards the establishment of the entire month
of April as “National Scots, Scots-Irish Heritage Month” in the USA.
A full month of recognition would enable those aware of our ancestry
and heritage a fair opportunity to teach our children and others a
vast, rich culture, that has lead many civilizations to success.
Through the many innovations, inventions and social structuring.
Another benefit of a month’s recognition would also bring attention
to other days important to the Scottish, such as Tartan Day, Robert
Burns, and St. Andrew as well as many others. It would be the
perfect opportunity to inform the general public.
Many other groups have months to teach and recognize their
achievements. For instance;
June - Caribbean-American Heritage Month;
March - Irish-American Heritage Month;
May - Jewish-American Heritage Month;
May is also Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month;
February - African-American History Month.
There are others which can be seen at The White House website -
whitehouse.gov, then, “proclamations”. But, it seems the Scottish
and Scots-Irish are about the only group left out. In today's world
we must be aggressive, teach or be forgotten. We must be heard. We
have been working toward the establishment of the month of April as
“National Scots, Scots-Irish Heritage Month ”for over six years and
through that time many states have joined in the observances,
although some states have acknowledged other months (on a state
level), we seek a uniform national month as April and this would
clarify some confusion. Many Scottish Societies, Clan societies and
as mentioned states and municipalities support this.
We all know, strength in numbers gets things done. We ask that if
your organization has not joined, to do so, with a simple “Letter of
Support”, stating the support for the month of April as such and
there’s no other obligations involved. We ask your help in the
propagation as well. We’re also glad to assist states,
mayor/municipalities in acquiring Proclamations and Resolutions. Any
questions feel free to contact us and for more information, you can
also “google” - “national Scots, Scots-Irish heritage month” and we
look forward to hearing from you.
“National Scots, Scots-Irish Heritage Month”
2402 S. Scales st. Reidsville N.C.
Polar Bear: I come in Peace!
I got in an email which said...
If you don't already think animals are far more spiritually advanced
than we humans, think again. Stuart Brown describes Norbert Rosing's
striking images of a wild polar bear coming upon tethered sled dogs
in the wilds of Canada's Hudson Bay. The photographer was sure that
he was going to see the end of his dogs when the polar bear wandered
The Polar Bear returned every night that week to play with the dogs.
and finally a wee bit of Scot Wit
from the Flag...
used to be a longish stop at our local station when the
guard took the opportunity to have his tea on the
platform. On one occasion an impatient passenger,
knowing that the time for departure had come and gone,
finally asked the guard why the train had not departed.
canna stert till A blaw ma whussle" came the official
blow your whistle" protested the exasperated passenger.
hou kin A blaw ma whussle" replied the aggrieved guard "whan
ma mou's fu o biscuits?"
And that's it for now and I hope you all have an enjoyable weekend
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