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Electric Scotland News
The Flag in the Wind
Books of John McDougall
Clans and Families
Poetry and Stories
Book of Scottish Story
Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario
The Sailor Whom England Feared
Recollections of a Long Life 1829 - 1915
Robert Burns Lives!
Oor Mither Tongue
John's Scottish Sing-Along
Songs of Lowland Scotland
"Curdies" a Glasgow Sketch Book
The Black-Bearded Barbarian
The Life and Public Services of Henry Wilson (New Book)
The 48th Highlanders of Toronto (New Book)
A Voice in the Wilderness (New Book)
The Scottish Studies Society is hosting its Annual Scottish Sailing
Cruise on Sunday, September 6th, 2009. For those close to Toronto
this is a really great event. The afternoon sailing is now totally
sold out but there are still a few places left on the morning
sailing which boards from 11.00am. The cruise is 2 hours long. The
Empire Sandy will be docked on the south side of Queen's Quay West,
directly opposite Lower Spadina. You can book online at
http://www.scottishstudies.com and you can also contact Maggie
McEwan by email at
email@example.com or phone her at 905 301 5475 or contact
Gordon Hepburn on 905 881 5780.
And if you do manage to make it you must try the haggis pies!!! :-)
I am also getting an increasing number of emails about various
events taking place around the world and in Scotland. I am thus
starting to add this information to our Aois Community "The
Conservatory" forum. You can get to this 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 or on our site menu.
THE FLAG IN THE WIND
This weeks issue was compiled by Jennifer Dunn.
Christina McKelvie MSP's Weekly diary is not available as the
Parliament are now on the Summer recess.
Books of John McDougall
We've now added more chapters to the first book, Forest, Lake and
New mission - The people - School - Invest in pups - Dog-driving -
Foot-ball - Beautiful aurora.
First real winter trip - Start - Extreme fatigue - Conceit all gone
- Cramps - Change - Will-power - Find myself - Am as capable as
others - Oxford House - Jackson's Bay.
Enlarging church - Winter camp - How evenings are spent - My boys -
Spring - The first goose, etc.
Opening of navigation - Sturgeon, fishing - Rafting timber - Sawing
Summer transport - Voyageurs - Norway House - The meeting place of
many brigades - Missionary work intensified.
Canoe trip to Oxford - Serious accident.
Here is how chapter IX starts...
DURING our first winter I accompanied father on a trip to Jackson's
Bay and Oxford House. This is about 180 miles almost due north of
Norway House, making a trip of 360 miles.
Our manner of starting out on the trip was as follows: William
Rundle, father's hired man, went ahead on snow-shoes, for there was
no track; then came John Sinclair, the interpreter, with his dogs
hitched to a cariole, which is a toboggan with parchment sides and
partly covered in, in which father rode, and on the tail of which
some of the necessary outfit was tightly lashed; then came my train
of dogs and sleigh, on which was lashed the load, consisting of fish
for dogs and pemmican and food for men, kettles, axe, bedding~ez_mdash~in
short, everything for the trip; then myself on snow-shoes, bringing
up the rear.
Now, the driver of a dog-sleigh must do all the holding back going
down hill; must right the sleigh when it upsets; keep it from
upsetting along side hills, and often push up bids; and, besides all
this, urge and drive the dogs, and do all he can to make good time.
This was my first real winter trip with dogs, and I very soon found
it to be no sinecure, but, on the contrary, desperate hard work.
Many a time that first day I wished myself back at the Mission.
The hauling of wood, the racing across to the fort~ez_mdash~all that had been
as child's play; this was earnest work, and tough at that.
My big load would cause my sleigh to upset; my snow-shoes would
likewise cause me to upset. The dogs began to think, indeed, soon
knew I was a "tenderfoot," and they played on me.
Yonder was William, making a bee-line for the north, and stepping as
if he were going to reach the pole, and that very soon, and Mr.
Sinclair was close behind him; and I, oh! where was I, but far
behind? Both spirit and flesh began to weaken.
Then we stopped on an island and made a fire; that is, father and
the men had the fire about made when I came up. Father, looked
mischievous. I had bothered him to let me go on this trip.
However, the tea and pemmican made me feel better for a while, and
away we went for the second spell, between islands, across portages,
down forest-fringed rivers and bluffs casting sombre shadows. On my
companions seemed to fly, while I dragged behind. Oh, how heavy
those snow-shoes! Oh, how lazy those dogs! Oh, how often that old
sleigh did upset! My! I was almost in a frenzy with mortification at
my failure to be what I had presumed to think I was. Then I did not
seem to have enough spirit left to get into a frenzy about anything.
When are they going to camp? Why don't they camp? These were
questions I kept repeating to myself. We were going down a river. It
was now late. I would expect to find them camped around the next
point, but, alas! yonder they were disappearing around another
point. How often I wished I had not come, but I was in for it, and
dragged wearily on legs aching, back aching, almost soul aching.
Finally they did camp. I heard the axes ringing, and I came up at
They had climbed the bank and gone into the forest. I pushed my
sleigh up arid unharnessed my dogs, and had just got the collar off
the last one in time to hear father say, "Hurry, John, and carry up
the wood." Oh, dear! I felt more like having someone carry me, but
there was no help for it.
Carrying ten and twelve feet logs, and you on snow-shoes, is no fun
when you are an adept, but for a novice it is simply purgatory. At
least I could not just then imagine anything worse than my condition
Snow deep and loose, by great dint of effort get the log on to your
shoulder and then step out; bushes and limbs of trees, and your own
limbs also all conspiring, and that successfully, to trip and
bother, and many a fall is inevitable, and there is a great number
of logs to be carried in, for the nights are long and cold.
We've also started a thread to discuss the state of Clan Societies
in which we're investigating why more people don't join their clan
society. We'd certainly welcome your input to this discussion which
you can get to at
Book of Scottish Story
Thanks to John Henderson for sending this book into us.
This week he's sent in chapter 4 of "Basil Rolland" which starts...
Basil was dreaming about Mary Leslie when he was awakened by the
dreadful note of preparation. The bugles were sounding, men and
horses hurrying to and fro, and a body of Cameronians- or "hill-fouk
"~ez_mdash~had formed themselves into a conventicle beside his tent, and were
listening with the greatest attention to a favourite preacher. When
he came out, the scene was beyond measure animating. There was no
trace of the late storm, and the little birds sang their accustomed
songs. All was bustle, both in the camp of the Covenanters and that
of the royalists. The latter were repairing the fortifications of
the bridge, which had suffered in the last night~ez_rsquo~s attack. The
royalists were already under arms, but Montrose had no design of
attacking them, till the ebbing of the tide should render the lower
fords passable in case he should be unable to force the bridge. The
Covenanters remained idle during the forenoon, while the royalists
stood in order of battle, uncertain as to the time of attack.
About two in the afternoon, the shrill sound of a bugle collected
the Covenanters to their standards ; and Aboyne~ez_rsquo~s sentinels, who
till now had kept on the south bank of the river, fell back to the
main body. Our hero was ordered by Montrose to lead a body of
horsemen to the lower ford, to remain there till informed of the
bridge~ez_rsquo~s being taken, when he was to push to the town and guard
Aboyne~ez_rsquo~s house from being plundered, and seize on all papers that
might be found in it. He departed accordingly.
Aboyne, being aware that Montrose~ez_rsquo~s intention was to storm the
bridge, drew all his forces to its defence. In a valley, at a small
distance from the bridge, Montrose stationed the flower of his army,
and, with the rest, including the waggoners and other followers of
the camp, to make a more formidable appearance, made a feint as if
he intended to ford the river above the bridge. This stratagem
succeeded, for Aboyne instantly withdrew the greater part of his
forces to oppose them, and thus left the most important station
almost at the mercy of the enemy. The ambuscade rose immediately and
advanced even to the cannons~ez_rsquo~ mouths. The artillery, however, of
that period, was not so formidable as it is now. It was ill~ez_bull~served,
ill-directed, and did little execution. A brisk engagement took
place at the bridge, which, however, was maintained but a few
minutes ; for the Covenanters, clearing the bridge of its defenders,
and quickly removing the barricades, opened to the right and left a
path for their cavalry, who drove the citizens off the field with
considerable loss. Aboyne returned quickly with his men to assist
the citizens, but their courage was now damped with their loss ; so
that, by the first charge of the Covenanters, their ranks were
broken, and they began to fly in every direction. It was no longer a
battle but a rout. The Covenanters hewed down without mercy their
flying enemies; and, so exasperated were they at their obstinate
fickleness in former times, that the more merciful among them were
hardly able to obtain quarter for those who confessed themselves
vanquished. Aboyne, with great exertion, having rallied one hundred
horse, made for the town, determined if possible to defend it.
Montrose dispatched a party after him, and both, plunging their
rowels into their horses' sides, dashed forward over friends and
enemies indiscriminately, and arrived close at each other~ez_rsquo~s heels in
the town. There was no possibility of shutting the gates; so both
entered by St Nicholas Port at the same instant. The intention of
Aboyne was thus frustrated, and he found it not an easy matter to
escape with his followers by the Gallowgate Port.
Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario
Our thanks to Nola Crewe for sending these into us.
WILLIAM GRANT, a retired agriculturist of Dover township, has for
nearly half a century prominently identified himself with the
industrial and public affairs of his township. Strength in
overcoming obstacles, courage in making new ventures, and a
persistency in carrying forward each undertaking to a successful
issue are among his dominant traits. Mr. Grant is a thorough
Scotchman both by birth and ancestry.
William Grant, his grandfather, a shepherd by occupation, passed his
life for the most part among the rugged hills of Scotland. There, as
a young man, he married Margaret Halliday, and among their children
was a son James.
James Grant, father of William, passed his early life in Coldingham,
Scotland. In that country he married Elizabeth Brown, daughter of
Thomas Brown, a blacksmith, and his wife, Margaret (Blair). Mrs.
Grant died in 1888, at the age of eighty-two years, and is buried in
Maple Leaf Cemetery. Their union was blessed with seven children:
William, who is mentioned below; Thomas, a retired farmer, now
residing in Detroit, Michigan; John (deceased), who was a prominent
contractor and builder of Chatham, Ontario; Peter (deceased), who
was a farmer in Iowa; Maggie, who married Jonathan Woodall, a
shoemaker of Port Dalhousie, Ontario; Jennie, widow of William
Breckenridge, now residing with her brother Thomas; and Elizabeth,
who married Alexander Robertson, a wagon and carriage manufacturer,
of Fletcher, Ontario.
OUT of touch as he was with the hourly changes, the gossip and
intrigue of his Paris, Jones came back very quietly, wishing to pick
up the broken links before announcing his return. With this end in
view, he went to the Hotel de Beauvois, where he was unknown,
sending word to the American Minister, Thomas Jefferson, of his
arrival, and Jefferson called on him immediately. We know from his
complaints to Aimee de Telusson that letters had been few and far
between, and if those from her had never reached their destination,
such as were written by casual correspondents shared a like fate,
and Jefferson's gossip fell on eager ears long strangers to news of
a world which held for him such brilliant and tender memories.
Aimee, he learned, had received the appointment of Court reader,
translator of English plays and periodicals, and was living at
Versailles. Almost in the same breath Jones received information
which radically changed his future career, for Mr. Jefferson told
him he had been requested by Baron Simolin, the Russian Ambassador,
to lay before him a proposition which was, in brief, an unofficial
offer of service in the Russian navy.
In his journal Jones says, "I was at first inclined to view the
proposition as chimerical, though I knew that the impending war
between Russia and Turkey must afford grand possibilities of naval
operations, because an indispensable factor in it would be the
destruction of the Turkish navy in the Euxine, and the conversion of
that land-locked sea into a Russian lake...
"On the other hand, I knew little of Russia or the Russians. My
acquaintance with them was limited to less than a dozen personages
in Imperial diplomatic service. . . . I knew not one word of the
language. I could not see how it would be possible to satisfactorily
direct operations of subordinates in warfare through interpreters. .
. . I had formed impressions as to the genius and methods of
government in Russia that accorded ill with any conception of what
ought to be in that respect . . . these impressions had been wholly
derived from reading. I was, of course, open to whatever lessons
actual observation and experience might teach. . . . I admitted to
him that it opened up a vision of ambitious hopes and dreams of
glory on a grand scale too powerful and too vivid to be lightly cast
"Mr. Jefferson was complimentary enough to say that while my
knowledge of French would enable me to deal fully with Russians in
high station, he was persuaded that my aptness at learning foreign
tongues would doubtless soon remove the objections on the score of
the Russian language itself. He said he had but one more duty to
discharge in the premises, namely, to bring me personally in contact
with the Russian ambassador.
Recollections of a Long Life 1829 - 1915
By Isaac Stephenson (1915)
We've now completed this book with thr following chapters...
Early events in senatorial career - Failure to arrive at working
agreement with La Follette over patronage - Requests for aid for La
Follette presidential campaign - Convention of 1908 - The La
Follette Platform - Nomination of Taft - The senatorial campaign of
1908 - Announcement of my candidacy
Difficulties of primary campaign - Hostility of the La Follette
organization - Setting up an organization and obstacles encountered
Tactics of opposition Election and repudiation of primary by La
Follette forces Investigation by state legislature - Standards of
propriety in campaign expenditures Vindication by investigating
committee - Investigation by United States Senate - Retirement from
Changes in social fabric and customs in three-quarters of a century
- Adaptability of human nature - Hardships of old not measure of
happiness - Demand for luxuries and growing extravagance - The high
cost of living - Surplus of doctors and demand for drugs - Lawyers -
Dangers from excess of professional men - Work and sleep - Time and
Here is how Chapter XXI starts...
CASTING back over my experiences of almost fourscore years in this
cursory fashion brings into rather strong relief, in my own mind at
least, some interesting social phenomena which have been lost sight
of under the shadow of more important and more conspicuous events.
The readiness with which human beings adapt themselves to their
environment and the conditions of living oftentimes outranges the
comprehensibility of those whose experiences are embraced within a
limited field and an unvaried manner of living. Within my own
lifetime the changes have been vast. It is difficult sometimes to
convince people of the present day that human nature was able to
withstand the rigors we repeatedly encountered three-quarters of a
century ago, and the recital of some of my own experiences will
probably be received with some incredulity. The whole fabric of
living has been altered within that time. The things that go to make
up the day's routine, work or play, are different. And who knows
what changes the next fifty years will have wrought?
Nevertheless, human nature has conformed to the changes that have
occurred with much greater facility than might be imagined by those
whose span of life has been too short to enable them to realize
their extent. People met with equanimity the rigors of old. With
probably too much equanimity they have accepted the comforts and
luxuries of the new scale of living, a fact worthy of consideration
in weighing the morals of our present community life.
In my early boyhood in New Brunswick, one of the oldest settled
regions on the western continent, work began at early dawn, as I
have said, and continued until darkness brought it to an end. Every
family was clothed with the wool from its own flock of sheep grazed
on the commons, and the carding, spinning, weaving, and knitting
went on incessantly. There were no stoves nor lamps nor many of the
conveniences now regarded as necessities. Domestic activity,
centered upon the big open hearths, and for artificial light we
depended upon candles of our own molding. No moment was wasted. The
exigencies of the time afforded no leisure. And even these
conditions, I have no doubt, were an improvement upon those which
confronted the greater number of immigrants to the western world.
Yet life seemed to hold its full measure of happiness. There was no
idleness to breed discontent. There were no false standards of
living to stir up dissatisfaction and envy. The luxuries which now
afford so many opportunities for excursions into the field of
extravagance simply did not exist.
Songs of Lowland Scotland
From the times of James V, King of Scots, A book of c. 600 pages of
songs published in Scotland in 1870, and arranged in episodic form
by John Henderson.
The Black-Bearded Barbarian
The Life of George Leslie Mackay of Formosa by Marian Keith
we now have further chapters up from this book...
Chapter 3 - Reconnoitring the Territory
Chapter 4 - Beginning the Siege
Chapter 5 - Soldiers Two
Chapter 6 - The Great Kai Bok-Su
Chapter 7 - Besieging Head-Hunters
Chapter 8 - Cities Captured and Forts Built
Here is how Chapter 5 starts...
And now a new day dawned for the only lonely young missionary. He
had not a convert but a helper and a delightful companion. His new
friend was of a bright, joyous nature, the sort that everybody
loves. Giam was his surname, but almost every one called him by his
given name, Hoa, and those who knew him best called him A Hoa.
Mackay used this more familiar boyish name, for Giam was the younger
by a few years.
To A Hoa his new friend was always Pastor Mackay, or as the Chinese
put it, Mackay Pastor, Kai Bok-su was the real Chinese of it, and
Kai Bok-su soon became a name known all over the island of Formosa.
A Hoa needed all his kind new friend's help in the first days after
his conversion. For family, relatives, and friends turned upon him
with the bitterest hatred for taking up the barbarian's religion.
So, driven from his friends, he came to live in the little hut by
the river with Mackay. While at home these two read, sang, and
studied together all the day long. It would have been hard for an
observer to guess who was teacher and who pupil. For at one time A
Hoa was receiving Bible instruction and the next time Mackay was
being drilled in the Chinese of the educated classes. Each teacher
was as eager to instruct as each pupil was eager to learn.
The Bible was, of course, the chief textbook, but they studied other
things, astronomy, geology, history, and similar subjects. One day
the Canadian took out a map of the world, and the Chinese gazed with
amazement at the sight of the many large countries outside China. A
Hoa had been private secretary to a mandarin, and had traveled much
in China, and once spent six months in Peking. His idea had been
that China was everything, that all countries outside it were but
insignificant barbarian places. His geography lessons were like
His progress was simply astonishing, as was also Mackay's. The two
seemed possessed with the spirit of hard work. But a superstitious
old man who lived near believed they were possessed with a demon. He
often listened to the two singing, drilling, and repeating words as
they marched up and down, either in the house or in front of it, and
he became alarmed. He was a kindly old fellow, and, though a
heathen, felt well disposed toward the missionary and A Hoa. So one
day, very much afraid, he slipped over to the little house with two
small cups of strong tea. He came to the door and proffered them
with a polite bow. He hoped they might prove soothing to the
disturbed nerves of the patients, he said. He suggested, also, that
a visit to the nearest temple might help them.
The Life and Public Services of Henry Wilson
A new book we're starting about the Late Vice President of the
United States by Rev. Elias Nason and Hon Thomas Russell (1876)
A STATESMAN eminent for patriotism and integrity is a national
instructor. The record of his life, his services, and his opinions,
is, to some extent, an exposition of the spirit and progress of the
people whom he represents; and the people have the right to claim
it, not only as a memorial of the past, but as an inspiration for
the present, and a light for times to come.
Pre-eminently may this be asserted in regard to the distinguished
man whose biography we now purpose to write.
Holding himself steady to his noble purposes, he was so prominent an
actor in the remarkable events of the last twenty years, he was so
identified with the life of the republic, that an account of his
official career becomes, in some respects, the key to the history of
the country for that period; while in the development of the
principles of freedom which he made, in the consistent life he led,
and in the counsel he imparted, we have our hopes in the permanency
of popular government brightened, and our steps directed as we rise
to national strength and grandeur.
In making a register of his life, the authors have had access to
original sources of information, and have availed themselves of
every aid within their reach for the verification of their
statements as to matters of fact. They have endeavored to present
opinions frankly and fairly, and to render this biography as
complete as the allotted time and space would permit.
If this book, in spite of any errors, tends to do justice to the
character and course of one of the representative men of the present
times, to give dignity to labor, to inspire working-men with
confidence in themselves, and stronger love for our country, the end
for which it is written will be attained.
The 48th Highlanders of Toronto
By Alexander Fraser, M.A. (1900)
Another new book we're starting and here is what the Preface has to
In writing the history of a regiment formed not more than nine years
ago, the advantage lies in the abundance of the material at hand.
Brief the period may be, and uneventful the record, but the whole
story is still fresh in the memory, and no fact of interest or
importance need be overlooked. On the other hand, it is a matter of
constant regret with respect to some of the old regiments,
particularly some of the old Highland regiments that so little is
definitely known of the details of their organization, and much
would be given if the neglect of the time long ago could be
repaired. I entering upon the last year of its first decade as its
military organization the time seems opportune to place on permanent
record in a worthy and befitting form the interesting story of the
origin and growth of a regiment occupying so conspicuous a place in
Active Militia of Canada as does the 48th Highlanders of Toronto.
Though one of the latest battalions added to the Canadian Militia,
it is one of the most distinguished, efficient and popular of them
all. Wearing the Highland uniform, and headed by a band of pipers.
It is a gallant corps, of which members of all nationalities, but
especially those of Scottish connection, are justly proud. It has
attracted to its ranks all body of men, who have at all times taken
a part in maintaining the honour of the regiment worthily, and a
morale of the very highest character. This was to have been expected
from the history of Highland regiments in the past, when, under all
circumstances, duty and discipline have ever been the watchword and
motto of the Highland soldier, and the gallant 48th has shown itself
to be mindful of the glorious traditions of its predecessors.
While this work is essentially a history of the 48th Highlanders, it
is but natural to suppose that the idea such a Corps represents is
wider and touches interests beyond the regiment itself which are
dear to the Scotchman the world over, and are appreciated wherever
the true military spirit exists. The martial ardour of the Gael, his
aptitude for soldiering, and his services in the held have been the
subject of fitting. though necessarily brief, reference in these
pages. The association of Highland regiments of the regular army
with Canada has been also briefly noticed, and an unbroken
Connection from Quebec to the present duty traced between the
highland soldier and the Dominion.
The official documents from which the information was drawn were
placed in the hands of Mr. Alexander Fraser, the well-known
journalist and Scottish author, who was Secretary of the Citizens
Committee which carried the movement for the establishment of the
48th Highlanders to a successful issue. He is thoroughly conversant
with all the details of the formation of the regiment from inception
of the movement, and with the record of the corps up to the present.
He received all necessary assistance from the officers of the
regiment, so that this work may be taken as accurate and complete.
I now have up...
Chapter 1 - The Martial Spirit of the Gael
Chapter 2 - Highland Regiments in Canada
Chapter 1 - Forty-Eighth Highlanders: Formation of the Regiment
A Voice in the Wilderness
By Duncan Shaw (1995)
Ranald McIntyre advised of this book which he thought would be well
worth reading and he kindly contacted the author for us and got his
permission to put the book on the web site and so we now have the
first chapter up for you to read. Here is something about him to set
The Very Reverend Duncan Shaw, Ph.D., Th.Dr., Dr.h.c, minister of
the parish of Craigentinny and formerly of St. Margaret's,
Dumbiedykes, both in Edinburgh, stands in the old tradition of a
scholary tradition of a scholarly committed professional whose
entire life has been spent in areas where the church has always had
to stuggle for a relevant place. While widely recognised and
honoured as a historian, theologian, administrator and international
ecumenical personality his primary concerns have been well educated
apposite parish ministry and the reform of the Church of Scotland
enabled again to relate vitally to a nation faced with radical
changes in every aspect of its life. The contents of this little
book reflect this.
At the request of a number of friends, I have selected a few
addresses, some previously circulating in typescripts, which
encapsulate some of my continuing concerns. They now appear, as
delivered, in chronological order.
I must acknowledge that the strength to persevere in the Christian
ministry has been rooted in the faithful remnant which appreciates
that the church can only remain alive when continually undergoing an
This modest work is published in the hope that those, who share my
commitment to the Kirk, will not lose heart and who may yet
creatively shape the future of the church in Scotland.
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