Electric Scotland News
The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
Poetry and Stories
New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Book of Scottish Story
History of Glasgow
The Scottish Historical Review
The Sea of Galilee Mission of the Free Church of Scotland
The Pioneers of Old Ontario
John Witherspoon (New Book)
Report on the Agriculture of Perthshire
Report on the Dietaries of Scotch Agricultural Labourers
Rob Donn MacKay (New Book)
On the Growth and Cultivation of Willows in Scotland
ELECTRIC SCOTLAND NEWS
The final reminder that our service is moving from Kentucky to
Michigan on Sunday 26th October around lunch time through to Monday
morning 27th October so the site will be down during that time. This
also includes our email service although you can still get to me on
my alternative email address at
I will also be away in Chicago Friday 24th October returning on
Sunday night 26th October at the Scottish North American Leadership
Our new site search engine is now in place at long last. The basics
are now there but still some tweaking to do. One of the things you
can do with it are to use wildcards. And so if you were searching
for MacIntyre you could type in M*Intyre and that would also find
MacIntyre, McIntyre and M'Intyre. We've currently indexed all htm,
html and txt files on the system.
We will get to the pdf files soon but as we store pdf files on the
system for reference we are re-organising things so that only the
pdf files that are available via the site are indexed.
Do let us know what you think of this new search facility.
As I like to keep you in touch with developments on Electric
Scotland I thought I would mention that I'm trying to get the
Scottish Government to do some educational advertising with me. As I
usually don't get anywhere with these things with Scotland I'm also
talking to various other countries. The point of these educational
adverts is to help educate folk on the countries where Scots settled
in large numbers or have a very special relationship with.
I've never seen myself as someone that is good at these types of
things but figured nothing ventured nothing gained.
I'm in discussions with a couple of Canadian provinces and a couple
of US States as well as New Zealand and Northern Ireland.
Whether anything will come of this is of course another matter but
thought I'd have a go. And I am always open to advice so if any of
you are marketing folk and have ideas on how I could do a better job
feel free to offer your advice :-)
Also got in a request which some of you might help with...
The Discovery Channel just started a new show called "Time Warp". On
it, they investigate and film tons of different subjects. I posted
the Scottish Highland Games Heavy Athletics in the hopes that they
would feature our sport on their show. But, votes must be cast on
their website. Most posts get VERY FEW votes! We have a perfect
chance here to kick the door open and get some great exposure! This
could be just the beginning for the revival we need. Here is the web
address for the 'Time Warp' forum.
Just look in the upper left area after finding the post titled:
Scottish Highland games Heavy Athletics - 8 mandatory events. Just
click on the "Rate It" link to post your vote.
I've added a wee section to our Books Index Page where towards the
top you'll find
"Books in our Electric Scotland Article Service" and under that
you'll find links to...
SF & Fantasy Books
Essentially authors or others can add their own articles to this
service and so these links will now take you to these sections of
our Article Service. I might add that there is only 1 article in
each section but hopefully as this gets discovered more articles
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.
THE FLAG IN THE WIND
This weeks Flag is compiled by Richard Thomson.
In Peter's cultural section he's telling us about bagpipes...
One aspect of Scottish life known the world over must be the playing
of bagpipes. Now, bagpipes are not unique to Scotland, eg they were
played by the early Persians, indeed, the first mention of bagpipes
in Scotland is reputed to come from the reign of James IV ( 1473 -
1513 ) and the pipers were neither Highlanders nor Lowlanders - but
Englishmen! But we can extol the uniqueness of the Great Highland
War Pipes, as the tradition arose in Scotland of the use of bagpipes
to act not only as a Gathering Call to the Clans, but as an
encouragement to Highlanders in battle. Little wonder that the Great
Highland War pipe was banned as an 'instrument of war' following the
1745 Jacobite Rising.
The classical music of the Highland Bagpipe is called Piobaireachd (
pibroch ) and the piping and compositional skills involved were
traditionally passed down in families. Chief amongst the piping
families were the Mckays of Raasay and Gairloch, the MacDonalds, the
MacArthurs, the MacDougalls, the MacIntyres and, perhaps, the the
most famous family of them all - the MacCrimmons of Skye.
The MacCrimmons, hereditary pipers to MacLeod of Dunvegan, were
leading pipers and piping teachers throughout the 17th and 18th
centuries. It is known that Donald Mor MacCrimmon, born about 1570,
was hereditary piper to MacLeod, and on his death in 1640 he was
succeeded by his son Padruig Mor, and then by his grandson Padruig
Og who died after 1730. Padruig Og seems to have been responsible
for the founding of the famous MacCrimmon piping school at Boreraig,
which finally closed around 1770. For the story of Duncan Ban
MacCrimmon's and the Battle of Inverurie in 1745 see item under
Mincemeat Crumble Squares.
Scottish stye Pipe bands are now to be found all over the world and
the standard of playing for both bands and solo pipers is now
recognised as being higher than ever. Long may that continue.
Now pipers are well known to be fond of a Dram so this weeks recipe
- Oatmeal Posset - combines three famous food-stuffs from Scotland -
oatmeal, heather honey and Whisky!
Ingredients: 1 pt/ 600 ml milk; 1/2 oz/ 15 g medium oatmeal; 1/4 tsp
salt; 2 tsp/ 10 ml clear Scottish heather honey; 1 tbsp/ 15 ml
Whisky; grated nutmeg, to taste. Serves 2
Method: Put the milk in a saucepan and add the oatmeal and salt.
Bring to the boil, stirring, then remove from the heat and leave to
stand for 10 minutes. Strain the liquid through a sieve into a clean
saucepan, pressing the oatmeal firmly to extract as much liquid as
possible. Stir in the honey, Whisky and nutmeg to taste. Reheat
until almost boiling, stirring all the time. Pour into mugs and
Christina McKelvie MSP's weekly diary for this week didn't arrive
sorry to say.
The Scottish Nation
My thanks to Lora for transcribing these volumes for us.
We're now onto the T's with Thane, Thom, Thomson, Thorburn,
Thriepland, Tilloch, Tod and Torphichen.
An interesting account of Torphichen which starts...
TORPHICHEN, a surname, now very rare, derived from the parish of
that name in the county of Linlithgow. Among the favourites of James
III. hanged by the incensed nobles over Lauder bridge in 1478, was
one Torphichen, a dancing-master.
“The name,” says Dr. Hetherington, in his description of the parish
in the New Statistical Account of Scotland, “is evidently Celtic in
its origin, but etymologists are by no means agreed with regard to
its true composition and meaning. The word Tor is unquestionably
hill, but the latter part of the name is more doubtful. Some assert
it to mean ten, and say that it refers to a range of hills in the
vicinity having ten summits. The range, however, has not more than
seven distinct summits; and the Gaelic word fichead means twenty,
not ten, as they assume. The most probable derivation seems to be
Torfeochan, or the hill of the Ravens. It may be regarded as some
corroboration of this meaning that there is an estate in the
neighbourhood of the village named Crawhill, and that the crest of
the most extensive land proprietor in the parish is a raven chained
to a rock, as if in allusion to the parochial name.”
TORPHICHEN, Baron, a title in the Scottish peerage, granted in 1563
to Sir James Sandilands, who at the Reformation was chief of the
knights of St. John of Jerusalem in Scotland. These knights were at
one time called knights of Rhodes, and finally knights of Malta.
Their principal residence in this country was a little to the
north-east of the village of Torphichen, and Sir James Sandilands
having acquired all their property there, got it erected into a
New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
We are now on the Lanark volume with the Parish of Lirberton and
Extent.-THE parish of Quothquan was annexed to that of Libberton in
the year 1669. The united parish extends from north to south about
seven miles, and from east to west about four and a-half miles. It
contains nearly 14 square miles, or 8703 imperial acres.
It appears from Wodrow's History that., in the year 1663, the parish
of Libberton was fined L. 252, 8s. Scots, and Quothquhan L. 182,
16s. Scots, for nonconformity to Prelacy.
Chief Land-owners.—The chief land-owner is Sir Norman Macdonald
Lockhart, Bart. of Lee and Carnwath.
Family of Chancellor of Shieldhill.—The second land-owner is
Alexander Chancellor, Esq. of Shieldhill, whose ancestors have been
in possession of this estate for the last four centuries, as appears
from a charter still extant, [This charter is referred to in the
Memoirs of the Sommervilles, Vol. i. p. 175. Ibid. pp. 240-248.]
granted by Thomas Lord Sommerville to William Chancellor of
Shieldhill and Quothquhan, A. D. 1432. In July 1474, William
Chancellor rode with the rest of the then Lord Sommerville's vassals
to meet King James on his way from Edinburgh to Couthally Castle, to
partake of the festivity of the "speates and raxes."
Book of Scottish Story
Our thanks to John Henderson for sending this in for us.
This week have added...
This is a large story and we have the final Chapter 3 up now which
Mary was too generous to be happy in the safety of her father, when
that was bought with the life of his brave deliverer. When Graham
was taken away, she felt a pang as if he had been led to execution.
Instead, therefore, of indulging in selfish congratulation, her
whole soul was taken up in the romantic and apparently hopeless
scheme of extricating him from his danger. There was not a moment to
lose; and she asked her father if he could think of any way in which
a rescue might be attempted.
"Mary, my dear, I know of none," was his answer. "We live far from
any house, and before assistance could be procured, they would be
miles beyond our reach."
“Yes, father, there is a chance," said she, with impatience. "Gallop
over to Allister Wilson’s on the other side of the hills. He is a
strong and determined man, and, as well as some of his near
neighbours, is accustomed to contest. You know he fought desperately
at Drumclog; and though he blamed you for not joining the cause, he
will not be loth to assist in this bitter extremity.”
Allan, at these words, started up as if awakened from a reverie.
"That will do, my dear bairn. I never thought of it; but your
understanding is quicker than mine. I shall get out the horse ;
follow me on foot, as hard as you can."
The History of Glasgow
By Robert Renwick LL.D. and Sir John Lindsay L.D. in 3 volumes
Now on the second volume of the three with...
Archbishop Lindsay and the Overthrow of Episcopacy
George Hutcheson, Notary, Banker, and Philanthropist
The Civil War
Domestic Annals about 1640
The Campaign of Montrose
Here is how chapter XXII starts...
WHILE Glasgow was thus playing a decided and vigorous part in the
larger affairs of the nation, it was also attending to its own
internal affairs with efficiency and credit. The municipal records
afford a picture of orderly and wise arrangement, with no
disturbance of steady progress and painstaking forethought.
Among many similar matters the annals of Glasgow throw valuable
light on the methods of government, local and national, of early
times. It is a common mistake to suppose that in the dawn of
history—an imagined golden age—communities elected their rulers by a
free vote of all their members, in the democratic fashion of to-day.
The facts of history show that this was not the case. The
Anglo-Saxon Witan, [Liebermann, National Assembly, 5.] the British
or Welsh Cantref, [Lloyd, History of Wales, i. 301-2.] the high
council of the Picts, [Adamnan's Life of Columba, ii. 36.] and the
governing bodies of the Irish Gael [Fustel de Coulange's Histoire, i.
1-22.] and the Gauls across the Channel were all alike selected
rather than elected assemblies, in the choice of whom the common
people had no part. It is interesting to find to what a late period
this system prevailed in Scotland. Even in the seventeenth century
the Assembly of the Scottish Estates, or Parliament, remained, like
the high councils of the Picts, Britons, Gael, and Saxons, a body
composed of nobles, landowners, clergy, and representatives of
burghs, no one of whom was elected by the people. The representative
of Glasgow was appointed by the Town Council, and the appointment
was in each case only for the duration of a single meeting of the
Estates. Thus on 14th October, 1637, the Council "ordaines" Walter
Stirling to ride to Edinburgh with "Maister Robert Wilkie" for the
next meeting of Parliament "to attend ane gracious ansuer of his
Majestie anent the buik of commoun prayer"; and a month later the
city fathers similarly "ordained" Matthew Hamilton to accompany
Wilkie for the same purpose. [Burgh Records, i. 385.]
But the magistrates and Council of Glasgow were not themselves
elected by the people. Down to the year 1637 the provost and
magistrates were appointed by the archbishop. After the abolition of
Episcopacy they were selected by a commissioner appointed by the
king. [Ibid. 432.] There appears, however, to have been no settled
or regular arrangement for the election of the Town Council. That
body, still a close corporation, was chosen, not by the citizens in
general, but by the provost and old and new bailies, with perhaps
the most influential members of the previous Council itself. [Burgh
Records, i. 375. It was by an Act of James III. in the 15th century
that retiring town councils elected their successors. This usage was
only abolished by the Burgh Police Act of 1833.] On 19th August of
that year, however, the provost, bailies, and Council took the
matter in hand. They formally resolved that in future the members of
the Town Council should be chosen, not in any haphazard fashion, but
by the provost and three bailies, along with the provost and three
bailies of each of the previous two years, a body of twelve in all,
which, in case of the death or absence otherwise of any of them,
should make up that number by co-opting other individuals for the
purpose. [Ibid. i. 382.] Accordingly, in the October following, the
archbishop having appointed James Stewart of Floack, a merchant
burgess, to be provost, and John Anderson and Ninian Anderson,
merchants, and Colin Campbell, craftsman (founder of the Blythswood
family), to be bailies, the provost and bailies of that and the two
previous years, with one person chosen to make up the number of
twelve, elected thirteen merchants and twelve craftsmen to act as
the council of the burgh. [Burgh Records, i. 384.]
The Scottish Historical Review
I have added several more articles from these publications...
Four Representative Documents of Scottish History
Life of St Columba by Adamnan, Life of St. Margaret, Book of
Discipline, Autobiography of Dr Alexander Carlyle Minister of
Intellectual Influences of Scotland on the Continent
It is a natural question to ask—has Scotland, on her part, exercised
any perceptible influence on the sister nations of the Christian
Narrative of a Journey from Edinburgh to Dresden in 1814
William Anderson journey from Edinburgh to Dresden and back in 1814,
on which he travelled as quickly as he could, partly post, partly by
Diligence, and faster than the mail, occupied fifty-nine days, of
which, however, in consequence of enforced delays, only thirty-six
were spent in actual travelling, when his progress was at the
average rate of eighty-eight miles a day.
Sir David Lindsay: 1490-1555
THERE was a time, not so long ago, when Lindsay's name was familiar
and honoured among the people of his native land, and when, as Dr.
James Taylor says, his writings were to be found in almost every
cottage north of the Tweed. In his Scottish History and Literature,
Dr. John M. Ross testifies to the piety with which Scotland
remembered her old "makar." During the sixteenth, seventeenth, and
eighteenth centuries upwards of twenty editions of his works were
published. His verses were on almost every tongue. Until Burns
appeared he was in fact the poet of the Scottish people.
The Sea of Galilee Mission of the Free Church of Scotland
Published for the Jewish Committee of the Free Church of Scotland
I have now completed this book and here is a wee bit from it...
IN 1884, I was appointed by the Free Church of Scotland to work as a
medical missionary amongst Jews and others around the Sea of
Galilee. My first months were spent with Dr. Vartan of Nazareth. He
had been in the country since about 1860, and being the only medical
man in Northern Palestine, he had often been called to minister to
the sick in Tiberias. His services were gratefully appreciated; and
it was through his influence that I was able to rent a house from
one of the chief rabbis, and so to establish myself as the first
resident missionary at the Sea of Galilee.
I had been well warned regarding the unhealthiness of the place,
[The deaths that have taken place in the mission circle have not
been due to any special condition of Tiberias. Apart from the
intense heat in summer, Tiberias is as healthy as most Eastern
towns, and quite bearable by Europeans. except during the three or
four hottest months.—D. W. T.] and the fanatical nature of the
inhabitants, Jewish and
Moslem; but the needs of the place appealed to me in a way that I
could not resist. Crowds soon came and besought me to heal them and
their sick friends; but when they understood that I was a Christian
missionary, and commended to them Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah
and as the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world, their
indignation was roused, and they determined to rid their holy town
of this deceiver of the people." The rabbi who had let me the house
was denounced in the Hebrew newspapers, and he tried to get me to
leave. Once when very ill I was taken by night by Dr. Vartan to
Nazareth. I soon recovered, but a report that I had died was spread
in Tiberias by some of the Jews, evidencing what they hoped or
anticipated. "Cherems " or bans of excommunication from the
synagogue on any who, whether sick or not, visited the missionary
were publicly proclaimed from the various synagogues. The "haluka,"
or alms from Europe, etc., would not be distributed amongst any who
disobeyed the order of the rabbis ; and so for a time the mission
was boycotted by the Jews.
There were, however, Moslems and a few Greek Catholic Christians in
Tiberias who continued attending the dispensary, and in many cases
they were greatly benefited. So some sick Jews, and especially some
Jewesses with sick children, braked the bans of the rabbis, and
sought the aid of the Christian doctor. Now was the critical time;
but the devotion of the mothers to their children proved strongest,
and the bans began gradually to be forgotten, though now and then
there would be a fresh outburst of opposition. Very gradually the
opposition was overcome, and on passing through the streets grateful
patients would take off their hats, children would run to kiss the
doctor's hand, and many would entreat him to step aside and see
their sick ones.
The Pioneers of Old Ontario
By W. I. Smith and Illustrations by M. McGillvray (1923)
I really enjoyed this book and hope you will too. There are many
illustrations in the book which I think you'll enjoy. I have up
several chapters for you to read this week...
From Southern Homes
Within reach of the St. Lawrence
On the Penetang Trail
By way of Yonge Street
When Oakville rivalled Toronto
Here is how the account starts from "When Oakville rivalled
Some fragmentary references have already been made to "The
Summerless Year" of 1816. But the real story of that season of want
and nightmare was related to me by Benjamin D. Waldbrook, whom I
interviewed near Oakville in the first year of the present century.
Mr. Waldbrook's father came to Canada in 1817, when memories of the
event were still fresh, and his own recollections went back to the
beginning of the third decade of the last century.
"The spring of 1816," Mr. Waldbrook said, "opened with as fair
prospects as have ever appeared at the same season since. But the
sunshine of the year's morn was followed by a long night of black
despair. Snow commenced falling in June, and until spring came again
the whole country was continuously covered by a wintry blanket.
Practically nothing was gathered in the way of a crop. Everything
rotted in the ground. There was no flour, there were no vegetables;
people lived for twelve months on fish and meat—venison, porcupine,
and ground-hog being varied with the thin meat of cattle slaughtered
because there was no vegetation to sustain them. Hay was sent from
Ireland to save the stock of the starving people of Quebec; and some
brought here sold for forty-five dollars per ton. Even when father
carne in the following year, flour was seventy dollars per barrel at
Quebec, potatoes were a penny a pound, and the country was full of
stories of the horrors endured during the winter of a year's
"Happily the year 1817 was as prolific as the year before had been
barren. Happily, too, there was a considerable migration in 1817
from Nova Scotia, which had escaped an affliction that appears to
have been confined to Ontario, Quebec, and the Eastern States. The
newcomers from Nova Scotia brought with them potatoes, that provided
seed not only for themselves but for neighbours in Ontario who were
without seed. These potatoes had a blue point and our Ontario people
gave them the name of `blue-noses.' From the potatoes the name
passed to Nova Scotians themselves. I am told that the people of
Nova Scotia do not like the title. They should be proud of it. The
name recalls the time when help from that province by the sea proved
the salvation of sorely stricken Ontario.
"Even I have been witness of afflictions little less grievous than
those of the 'summerless year,'" continued Mr. Waldbrook. "About
1833, army worms came in countless millions. They literally covered
the ground and trees were left bare of foliage as in mid-winter. At
the doors of houses they swarmed like bees at the entrance to a
"About the same time a deluge of frogs fell upon the land. In the
blazing heat of noonday sun these rotted and filled the air with
poisonous vapors. For a time this province was cursed with a West
Indian climate; cholera developed, and people died by hundreds.
As John Witherspoon was a signatory to the American Declaration of
Independence I thought it would be appropriate to put up a biography
In the Preface the book says...
WITHERSPOON'S life is notable in connection with four important
movements: the struggle for popular rights in the Church of
Scotland; the administration of Princeton College; the organization
of the American Presbyterian Church; and the American Revolution. I
have tried to tell the story of his life simply and accurately. As I
have avoided the use of foot-notes I shall indicate here the sources
of my information. For the Scotch period these were Cunningham's
"History of Scotland," "Auto-biography of Rev. Alexander Carlyle,"
and the Minutes of the General Assembly; for the American period,
Bancroft's "History of the United States," "Sprague's Annals,"
Sanderson's "Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of
Independence," Tyler's " Literary History of the American
Revolution," McLean's "History of the College of New Jersey," John
Adams' Diary, the Writings of Washington. But in all cases I have
also used the original documents. These are the minutes of the Board
of Trustees of Princeton College, the minutes of the Presbytery of
New Brunswick, of the Synod of New York and Philadelphia, and the
records of the Presbyterian Church; the minutes of the Provincial
Congress and Council of Safety of New Jersey; the Secret Journals of
Congress; Thompson's Journal; Wharton's edition of the "Diplomatic
Correspondence of the American Revolution." For both periods I have
used the American edition of Witherspoon's Works, my own collection
of his manuscripts, and letters found in various publications.
I here express, also, my grateful appreciation of many courtesies
extended to me by the librarians of Princeton University and
Theological Seminary and Pennsylvania College; by the historical
societies of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and by the state
librarians of these commonwealths. I am also indebted to the late
Senator M. S. Quay for printed copies of government documents.
Report on the Agriculture of Perthshire
This is an account taken from a volume of the Highland Agricultural
Society of Scotland and starts...
PERTHSHIRE has been called the Yorkshire of Scotland; and if great
extent, central position, diversity of soil, and variety in the
characteristics and configuration of the county, and the existence
of a large body of influential resident proprietary, are the
distinguishing features of Yorkshire, the suggestion of a
correspond-inn position for Perthshire, in Scotland, is not without
It contains 1,596,160 imperial acres, and extends in length from
east to west 67½ miles, and in breadth from north to south 61½
miles. Its rental by the last valuation is L.777,294; and though the
per acreage rental of some other counties in Scotland is higher,
that circumstance is attributable to their mineral and manufacturing
wealth, for no county in Scotland, with the exception of Aberdeen,
yields so large a purely agricultural rental as Perthshire. There is
no coal in the county north of the Ochils, and the only limestone
within its bounds is found in the far Highlands to the north of
Len-y-Vrachie, in Glen Goulandie, and in the mountain ranges
surrounding Lochs Rannoch, Tay, and Earn, places where, hitherto at
least, it has been of no commercial use or value, except for
enriching the pasture of a few spots in their immediate
neighbourhood. Neither is the richness of its foliage marred by
hot-blast furnaces, for blackband ironstone is unknown within its
borders. The shaft of a steam-engine is here and there visible, but
in most cases they are attached to thrashing mills on large farms,
and to thriving bleach-fields of old standing, within a few miles of
Perth on the Tay and the Almond. The county, from these causes,
forms a great contrast to its next neighbour, the kingdom of Fife,
teeming with treasures and industries, which, while they augment its
wealth, do not enhance its natural beauties.
From some, or all of these causes combined, there has been much
competition for property in the county, and the price of land is,
consequently, as a general rule, very high,—many estates having been
sold at prices 50 per cent, higher than they would have realised in
other counties in Scotland, when the intrinsic value, or value
estimated by produce instead of by rental in both cases, is taken
Report on the Dietaries of Scotch Agricultural Labourers
It's often interesting to see what Scots labourers ate in olden days
and I came across this report in the Highland Agricultural Society
of Scotland and decided to add it to the site.
Here is how the account starts...
A CAREFUL investigation of popular dietetics forms a subject of
interesting research, from the accurate study of which much
practical good may be anticipated if it leads to the adoption of any
improvement; and the present is certainly the time to make such an
inquiry, when the course of events arising out of the recent
prevalence of rinderpest, and consequent enhanced valise of butcher
meat and other articles of daily food, threatens to retard and
impede, if not entirely to throw back for a time, the spontaneous
improvement of the dietaries of the rural population of the country.
The school of Lienig have, doubtless, done much good, but their
statistical basis seems too narrow, and they have, perhaps, at so
early a period of the inquiry, formulated the ingesta of various
dietaries too precisely and minutely, and hence the results of their
theories have not obtained such practical and popular support and
trial as the elaborate nature of their investigations deserves, and
which the general confidence theoretically placed in their system
appears to suggest. The difficulty, moreover, of undertaking
experiments, or of obtaining returns upon a satisfactory scale, and
with an equality of fairness in all points, leaves the matter still
vague, and as regards the agricultural dietary in Scotland at least,
susceptible of munch further useful investigation. For if the daily
consumption of nutritive food by the Scotch peasant and his family
can be proved to be inadequate in many cases to the maintenance of
the body in physical and muscular health and strength, any
improvement upon such a state of the social condition of this class
of the population would be most invaluable, seeing there can be no
doubt that an insufficient supply of the nourishment required by the
animal wants of the body is productive of an impaired condition of
health, derangement of the functions of the system and consecluent
disease, and in extreme cases, where the absence of proper nutriment
reaches the point of privation, of starvation and death. Without,
however, going so far as to expect to find in the low-fed population
of the country extreme cases of starvation, even in isolated
instances, to be common, there can be no doubt that we may naturally
expect to hear of some families amongst the poorer classes in remote
rural districts, who do not feed themselves adequately.
This idea receives an appearance of truth, when we find in some
places in the agricultural mainland of Scotland, that the death-rate
of the population is far above what it might be expected to be,
considering the salubrity of the situation; while in those
localities also, many of the peasantry who do survive to advanced
years are generally martyrs to chronic catarrh and rheumatism; and
although, doubtless, the ailments referred to arise in great measure
from the peasant's regardlessness of exposure to cold and damp,
still an insufficient diet may have much to do with the matter, and
it is therefore quite fair to infer that, with more attention to a
proper and adequate dietary, or by an assimilation of the dietary of
these districts to those of other quarters similarly situated, where
the mortality exhibits a decreased ratio, the death-rate of the
low-fed population would be lessened. Take, for example, and by way
of comparison between two districts where a dissimilar dietary
prevails, the following statistical figures, calculated from the
"Eighth Detailed Annual Report of the Registrar-General of Births,
Deaths, and Marriages in Scotland, 1866." In the agricultural
districts of Moffat (Dumfriesshire) the salubrity of which cannot be
denied, the percentage of deaths is 1.747; in Glencairn parish (Dumfriesshire),
it is 2.142; in Kirkmabreck district (Kirkcudbrightshire), it is as
high as 2.755; and in the rural portion of Newton-Stewart parish (Wigtonshire),
it is 1.945. In all these localities the fare of the agricultural
classes is very poor and scanty, and the use of peasemeal is almost
unknown. On the other hand, in the Border counties to the eastward,
where the diet is more liberal, and the use of peasemeal, rendered
palatable by admixture with barley-meal, is very common, if not
general, and forms a considerable portion of the daily food of the
same classes, we find the death-rate is a good deal lower.
In the parish of Traquair (Peeblesshire), for example, it is only
1.015 per cent.; in Drumelzier (Peeblesshire), it is 1.435 per
cent.; in Yarrow (Selkirkshire), 1.400; and in Linton (Jedburgh), it
is only 0.493 per cent. It must, therefore, be evident that the
primary classification of foods into "heat-producing" or respiratory
food (carbonaceous), and "flesh-forming" food (nitrogenous) is, if
attended to in practical use, highly important; and it is an inquiry
worthy of more consideration than has hitherto been given it,
whether the labouring classes might not with advantage partake more
liberally than they do in their daily dietary of a mixture of pease
and beans with other farinaceous food, so as to render the mixed
dish or bread really palatable. In India, where animal diet is not
allowed at all, the Brahmins understand the advantages of the use of
such a diet as we recommend; and the laity who dare to eat of
"Brahmin's food" (a mess of rice and lentils), are punished. The
most palatable and wholesome way in which we advise the use of pease
or beans, is in the form of soup, made with a very little suet, or
dripping, or pork-bone. Cooked in this manner, pease or beans (dry)
afford an agreeable dinner, and a diet possessed of highly nutritive
Rob Donn MacKay
This book was a wee bit of a challenge in that there is so much of
the Gaelic language in it. I thus decided to scan each page as an
image and so when you read a page at the foot you'll find a link to
the Previous and Next pages.
Rob Donn MacKay was a major Gaelic poet and song writer and so
believe it is important to have a copy of his works on the site. I
hope you'll enjoy the translations of some of his poems in the event
you don't know the gaelic language.
Here is what the Preface has to say...
THE poetical works of Rob Donn have already been published in three
editions, the first in 1829, the second in 1870, and the third so
recent as last year. These several editions agree in so far as they
include such of the bard's compositions as are worthy of
preservation, much that is not, and probably some pieces which were
not his work at all. The first and third editions have each
glossaries, which are by no means complete. Generally speaking, the
later editions adhere to the text and orthography of the first,
which, having been rendered according to the literary usage of the
time, gives an impression of defective rhyme and rhythm. The only
aim of the editors seems to have been the rendering of the bard's
meaning. The present edition has other important claims on the
reader's interest. The text has been revised and made to conform, as
nearly as can be advantageously done, to the bard's own native
dialect. By this change the ordinary reader loses nothing, while the
student gains much. A full and carefully compiled glossary of all
the local words, and dialectic forms of words used by the bard, as
well as many which do not occur in his works, with their meanings in
the English language, and their etymologies, where these can be
given, together with a treatise on the Reay Country pronunciation of
Gaelic, is appended, and will be found of great value.
The melodies of about fifty pieces, taken principally from a
manuscript collection of airs of Rob Donn's songs noted down in the
Reay Country by the late John Munro, a native of the district, and
printed in both notations, further enhance the work. The surname of
the bard has of late given rise to a good deal of controversy, in
view of which the chapter treating of that subject will doubtless be
read with more than ordinary interest.
It is doubtful if the inclusion of every composition alleged to have
been made by Rob Donn has tended to increase the bard's reputation
as such. Keeping this in view only the principal compositions, and
such of the minor pieces as were necessary to display the style and
range of subject which were his, are reproduced.
This volume is unique in many ways. We do not know that the works
and music of any Gaelic bard have ever been published in this form
before; indeed, we doubt if it would be possible to give fifty of
the songs of any other Gaelic bard set to the original melodies. It
is to the credit of Sutherland people that they have preserved so
well the old songs and the old music, of which we believe a great
deal could yet be taken down from the natives of the county.
It has often been stated that Rob Donn has been fortunate above all
other Gaelic bards in having so many editions of his works
published, and so much prominence given to them by writers of
distinction, such as Mr. J. G. Lockhart, son-in-law of Sir Walter
Scott, and others. However that may be, we have endeavoured in this
instance to present his songs and poems to our countrymen in as
pleasing a form as possible, with-such additional matter as we
believe would add to their interest.
On the Growth and Cultivation of Willows in Scotland
This is a good account of the Willow Trees in Scotland and also
details some of the uses that the tree is put to. Here is how the
THERE are only two species of willow that can be profitably grown as
timber trees, Salix alba or the white willow, and S. fragilis or the
brittle willow. In describing the above the same difficulty exists
as in describing the varieties of basket willow, viz., that the
species of willow is a subject of controversy. Under each of the
names above I include several that are usually called species, but
which thirty years' experience has convinced me are only varieties;
but as I have been for some years collecting information upon this
subject, with the view of ultimately making it known, it will
perhaps be deemed sufficient if the varieties named are so described
as to be clearly recognised.
The first and most important as a timber tree is the S. alba and its
varieties. This species is conspicuous by reason of the soft silvery
pubescence of its leaves. Other willows have the under side of the
leaves covered with down, but no other willow has both the upper and
under sides so distinguished. All the leaves are not so covered, but
the young leaves found at the ends of the twigs or branches always
are. This is characteristic. The leaves are small, lance-shaped, and
finely serrated on the edges. The twigs of several of this group are
beautifully coloured, from a deep carmine, to a rich orange colour.
The wood is light and extremely tough, and for this purpose it is
used by cricket bat makers, and for cutting boards, and other
purposes where extreme toughness is required. The three best
varieties of this class are the following:—S. alba or
Huntingdon.—these are identical; S. sanquisea, or the Ardennes
willow; S. coccinnea, the latest out, and the most beautiful. My
experience of this tree only extends over a period of six years, and
with the following results, in the trial ground at Basford, Notts.
At five years old it measures 24 feet high, and at 1 foot from the
ground 23 inches in girth, in rich alluvial soil, and near running
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