Search just our sites by using our customised search engine
Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

The Northern Highlands in the Nineteenth Century
No. 1

Our Second Series of Notes on the Nineteenth Century begins with the year 1825. It will be observed that the Northern Institution, a society of the same nature as the Inverness Field Club, was started this year through the energy of the late Mr George Anderson, solicitor. The institution existed for a good many years, and formed a Museum, of which some fragments still remain in the Free Library Buildings, augmented by subsequent donations. The most interesting articles in the old Museum, however, disappeared before it was resuscitated. The Northern Institution did good work in its day. Unfortunately it did not issue Transactions, and no permanent record remains, except a prize essay written by Mr John Anderson on the State of Society in the Highlands in the period succeeding 1745.

In the summer of 1825 Marshal Macdonald, Duke of Tarentum, visited the battle-field of Culloden and the home of his parental ancestors in the Hebrides. He was the son of Niel Macdonald or Mackichan, a preceptor in the Clanranald family, who accompanied Prince Charles and Flora Macdonald in their hazardous journey through Skye. He had been educated at the Scots College in Paris, and it is recorded, "proved a great comfort to the Prince in his wanderings, by talking to him in the French language about matters of importance in their difficulties" Mackichan himself escaped to France, where he was appointed an officer in Lord Ogilvie's regiment of the Scots Brigade in the French service.

His son, the famous Marshal, was born in 1765, and entered the army at an early age. Though one of Napoleon’s Marshals and faithful in his service, Macdonald was a man of the old school, and refused to rejoin the Emperor when he returned from Elba. He was honoured by the restored sovereigns, and was made Chancellor of the Legion of Honour. He died in 1840. Contemporary notes of his visit to the Highlands are given below. Born at Sedan in November 1765, he was at the time of his visit in his sixtieth year.

The state of Scottish prisons was at this time deplorable. The details which are given in an official report under date November 16th, seem almost incredible at the present day.

From the "Inverness Courier."

January 6.—The Rev. James Morrison was appointed assistant and successor to the Rev. Roderick Morison in the parish of Kintail and Presbytery of Lochcarron.

Ibid.—An abstract is given of the Act for the final repeal of the Salt Tax, passed in the previous June, and brought into operation on 5th January. It is stated that exactly two years before the duty on English salt was reduced from 30s to 4s per cwt. while the duty in Scotland was generally relinquished altogether. "Salt is now selling in town at fivepence per peck. In a few days it ought to be still less."

January 20.—While some workmen were digging a new road on the estate of Drumduan, near Forres, they found a skeleton on the Gallow Hill, about 200 yards east of Nelson’s Monument. "The circumstances connected with this discovery are curious and indisputably true. About eighty years ago a soldier was sentenced to be shot for desertion, and to heighten the impression he was led out from the jail of Forres to the Gallow Hill, dressed in his grave clothes, on a St Lawrence Market day. The runner, who had stopped at Burn-end (formerly a public-house about two miles east from Forres), arrived about an hour after the sentence had been executed with, among other official despatches, a reprieve for the poor fellow. The spot where the skeleton was found was generally known by the name of the ‘Sodger’s grave’; and there are two or three of the inhabitants who remember the day on which he was shot. It is not long since the man who made the coffin died." Several other skeletons were found in the immediate neighbourhood.

January 27.—"On a late visit at Dunvegan Castle, the seat of Macleod of Macleod, the Duke of Buckingham being informed that a daughter of Flora Macdonald was present, desired to be introduced to her; he walked across the room and kissed, in a very respectful manner, this venerable old lady, now nearly 70 years of age. During an entertainment in the Castle, his Grace treated her with marked attention—invited her to a fete on board his yacht and attended her on shore. At parting, he took from his pocket a beautiful snuff-box, and throwing out the contents, placed within it a white rose (the well-known emblem of Prince Charles), and presented the box to the daughter of Flora."

February 3.—It is announced that the shares of the Inverness Water and Gas Company, amounting to £10,000, had all been taken up and the lists closed. The whole sum, with the exception of about £500, was subscribed by persons immediately connected with the town and neighbourhood.

February 17.—At a Court at Tain no fewer than 130 persons were prosecuted for offences against the Excise laws. Heavy fines were imposed, in one case as much as £100 for illicit distillation. The Justices expressed their determination to put down smuggling. Heavy fines were also imposed at a Court in Dornoch. It was stated that in the County of Cromarty smuggling had been almost entirely abolished.

March 10.—A meeting of gentlemen desirous to form an institution for the promotion of science and literature, and for the establishment of a museum, was held on the 4th inst., Provost Robertson in the chair. About twenty gentlemen attended. Mr George Anderson explained the views of the projectors, and the meeting formed itself into an Association, to be called "The Northern Institution for the Promotion of Science and Literature." Mr George Anderson was appointed interim secretary, and he received a vote of thanks for bringing forward the scheme.

March 17.—" Within the last twelvemonth a number of valuable estates in the County of Ross have changed proprietors. The wide districts of Strathconon, Ardross, Muirtown and Milncraig now yield their annual returns to some gentlemen of the Law in Edinburgh—the owners. Last week the estate of Redcastle and the Ferry of Kessock, in the same county was purchased by Sir William Fettes for the large sum of £135,000. In 1785 the property was bought for £26,000. The whole of the Island of Lewis (with the exception of Stornoway) was also last week brought to judicial sale before Lord Medwyn, and after being set up at £136,000 was purchased by Mr Mackenzie of Seaforth for £160,000. The Joint Stock Property Company of Edinburgh were said to be the opposing bidders. This state of affairs is not unlikely to create a change in the political state of the County of Ross."

Ibid.—A meeting of the Celtic Society was held in Edinburgh, Mr Macdonald of Staffa presiding. One of the objects of the Society was to distribute a hundred guineas in prizes to the leading scholars at 25 of the most extensive Highland schooIs. Among the qualifications entitling candidates to compete, it was resolved that "after the present year" they should "habitually wear the Highland dress." A general rule was laid down that wherever two candidates seemed to be possessed of equal merit, as to the special subject of competition, the prize should be given to the better proficient in the Gaelic language.

Ibid.—Died, at the Manse of Kingussie, on the 4th inst., after a severe and lingering illness, which he bore with the greatest patience and resignation, the Rev. John Robertson, minister of that parish, in the 68th year of his age and the 38th of his ministry. "In Mr Robertson the Church of Scotland has been deprived of a distinguished ornament, and his family and parish have sustained an incalculable loss. There was in his character a happy union of great intellect, fervent and rational piety, and zeal tempered by judgment and controlled by discriminating prudence. As a preacher his talents were of no common order."

Ibid.—Died, at Langwell, in the parish of Loch-broom, on the 13th ult., Thomas Mackenzie, Esq., aged 82. "He was the last in that part of the country of the well-educated, well-bred, and intelligent class of farmers called ‘the old school.’ He was the sixth in succession of the same family on the same farm. His body was conveyed over a distance of eleven miles to the place of interment, on the shoulders of above five hundred Highlanders, who spontaneously assembled to render to his memory that last melancholy tribute: and he was laid in the grave amidst a multitude of weeping relatives and friends, by six sons, all grown up and able men."

March 24.—The first general meeting of the Northern Institution was held on the 23rd inst., Sir George Mackenzie, Bart. of Coul, in the chair. Mr George Anderson presented to the meeting a great variety of donations forwarded by several contributors. These included a complete series of the coal deposits of Brora. Mr Naughton presented thirty-two varieties of Ancient Scottish and English coins, and a two-edged Andrea Ferrara, found some years ago in the neighbourhood of the town. Specimens of vitrified matter gathered from the vitrified forts in the counties of Inverness and Ross were given by Mr Anderson. The office-bearers were elected as follows:—President, the Duke of Gordon; non-resident vice-presidents — Sir George Mackenzie of Coul, Sir Thomas Dick Lauder, Professor William Fraser-Tytler; resident vice-presidents: Provost Robertson, Captain Fraser of Balnain, and Mr Grant of Bught; treasurer, Mr Reach, solicitor; general secretary, Mr George Anderson; Latin secretary, Mr Scott, Royal Academy; Gaelic secretary, Rev. Duncan Mackenzie; inspector of ancient manuscripts, Mr Ales. Mackenzie of Woodside; curator of the Museum, Mr Naughton, jeweller; members of Council—Dr Nicol, Mr Suter, junior; Rev. Mr Clark, Rev. Mr Fyvie, Rev. Mr Fraser, of Kirkhill; and Mr Macbean, solicitor. There were also corresponding members, and a number of distinguished non-resident honorary members. Sir George Mackenzie offered a gold medal for the "best account of the State of Society and of Knowledge in the Highlands of Scotland, particularly in the Northern Counties, at the period of the Rebellion of 1745, and of their progress up to the establishment of this Institution." The meeting resolved to circulate queries throughout the Northern Counties for the purpose of collecting accurate and detailed information regarding the remains of Celtic and Danish antiquities, and any ancient MSS., traditions, &c., deserving preservation; also to frame an address to be circulated at home and abroad for the purpose of soliciting contributions for the Museum.

Ibid.—The Morayshire Farmer Society announces that the Highland Society has offered a prize of ten sovereigns for the best field of turnips in the County of Moray, not under ten Scots acres in extent, to be eaten off the land by sheep in winter and spring. This offer was made "with the view of introducing that great and long-wished desideratum in Morayshire farming— eating turnip off the land by sheep—and to excite the attention of the storemasters (?flockmasters) in Inverness, Ross, and Sutherlandshires, to a warm and dry situation, where they could depend on finding abundance of winter food to fatten their stock for the early markets, or to increase the fleece and carcase."

March 31.—"In framing the conditions of the leases on an extensive estate in this county, among many beneficial regulations to be observed by the tenant, the proprietor has introduced one clause to the following effect:— ‘That any tenant convicted of illegal distillation or of any offence therewith connected, either by himself or by any person or persons on his farm, shall thereby forfeit his lease, and subject himself to immediate removal from his farm.’ Another clause set forth that ‘each tenant possessing a house and offices of the value of £100 and upwards, shall be bound to have the same regularly insured against fire, in some established insurance office, at his own expense.’"

April 14.—.On the 9th inst., while workmen were engaged trenching ground about half-a-mile distant from the Druid Temple at Leys, they came upon a stone coffin about three feet long, two feet broad, and two feet deep. The interior of the coffin was filled with a mixture apparently composed of sand and burnt bones or ashes, rolled quite smooth on the top; and imbedded in it were two small urns.

April 21.—The Public Records of Scotland were lately printed by his Majesty’s command under the direction of the Deputy-Clerk Register. A copy, consisting of fourteen large folio volumes, was presented to the Northern Institution.

Ibid.—The same number contains an extract from the Report of the Parliamentary Commissioners, containing a high tribute to the services of the late Mr Mitchell their principal Road Inspector, who had died the previous year, at the age of forty-five. The minute states that for eighteen years Mr Mitchell had superintended the formation of all the Parliamentary Roads and Bridges; which with military roads had latterly been upheld under his most vigilant inspection to the extent of 1183 miles. "Mr Mitchell’s personal exertions in an office of the most laborious description always surpassed what was expected of him, and the desire of the Commissioners to limit the extent of his journeys may be traced in their restriction of his travelling allowances to 7000 miles per annum; but his zeal outran all personal considerations, and the whole of his journeys, as ascertained by the daily account of his occupations, were not charged against the Commissioners; in fact, he travelled little less than 10,000 miles annually, without regard to the weather, the most violent storms usually calling him out to administer prompt remedy to the casualties then most likely to occur." The Minute continues—"When intelligence of Mr Mitchell’s dangerous illness reached London, great uneasiness was felt at the difficulty of supplying a temporary substitute, the roads being likely to suffer from any relaxation of attention to them. In this difficulty Mr Telford, not without inconvenience to himself, was prevailed on to despatch to Inverness one of his assistants, Mr Joseph Mitchell, who was familiar with the progress of Highland road-making from his earliest youth, and had also been trained to masonry before he had an opportunity to acquire skill in surveying and other accomplishments under Mr Telford. Mr Joseph Mitchell now continues to fill his late fathers office to the entire satisfaction of his employers, and of all those with whom he has occasion to transact business."

lbid.—A Select Committee on the Salmon Fisheries of Scotland prepared a Report recommending the extension of close time and other important changes. The Committee recorded their opinion that the Salmon Fisheries of the United Kingdom had for many years rapidly decreased, and there was reason to apprehend that this decrease would proceed still more rapidly unless effectual measures were taken for their preservation.

April 28.—"The Rev. Mackintosh Mackay, who has for some time past been engaged upon the publication of the Gaelic Dictionary, has been presented to the parish of Laggan, which becomes vacant through the translation of Rev. Mr Shepherd."

May 4.—Report of meeting of Northern Institution. Among articles presented were a collection of Prince Charles Edward’s Proclamations and Papers; beautiful etchings of the inscriptions on stones in the North of Scotland, by Mr D. C. Petty, Kent; and by Dr Nicol a leaden heart formed in the manner described in the Pirate for a charm. "In this specimen the resemblance to a human heart and the great blood vessels proceeding from it are very striking."

May 12.—An important alteration is announced in the running of the mail coach between Edinburgh and London. "The whole distance will be performed within forty-six hours including stoppages." This was connected with an acceleration of the mails to and from the North.

May 19.—"The Catholic Relief Bill passed the House of Commons Tuesday week by a majority of 21, and was borne in triumph to the Lords by Sir John Newport and a throng of members on Wednesday night. It was then read in the House for a first time. The second reading, when a great stand will be made upon it, is appointed for Tuesday." The bill was then thrown out by a majority of 48.

Ibid.—At a meeting of the Inverness Auxiliary of the Bible Society, it was stated that out of 31,396 families in the Highlands and Islands, whose circumstances had been examined, there were 11,944 families still without copies of the Bible. The sums remitted by the Auxiliary to the parent Society had been, up to date, £1630.

June 9.—The Inverness Society for the suppression of begging had a struggle for existence, subscriptions being apt to fall behind. At this time an effort was made to increase the contributions, as the Society was considered highly beneficial. The number of poor on the Society’s list at the end of the first year (1816) was 168. The number at present was 123. The funds had decreased from nearly £500 to £200 per annum.

Ibid.—At a meeting of the Northern Missionary Society, held at Inverness, the collection "at the gate" amounted to £50, and subscriptions and donations, £32 13s 1½d; total, £82 13s 1½d.

June 16.—On the 9th inst. the foundation-stone of a new jail and court-house at Tain was laid with Masonic honours by Mr Donald Macleod of Geathes, Sheriff of the County, and Right Worshipful Master of St Duthus Lodge. Provost Murray and the Town Council assisted at the ceremony, and the Rev. Dr Mackintosh offered prayer.

June 16 and 22.—At the Wool Market reported in these issues the attendance was large and prices high, but business, especially in wool, was stiff. "The buyers and sellers of wool continued to its close so far asunder in their ideas of prices, that although there was a great extent of conditional business transacted, yet very few sales were finally settled. It is therefore not very easy to give precise information. Some Inverness-shire Cheviot of superior quality is said to have been sold at 18s, while a lot of Sutherland Cheviot fetched 22s. The average prices of Cheviot may be stated from 19s 6d to 22s, and of blackfaced at 20s and 21s; but in almost every case there was a reference of 1s or more in favour of the sellers. The following are the other market prices —Cheviot wedders, 29s to 32s; ewes, 15s to 19s; lambs, 9s to 10s; black-faced wedders, 22s to 26s; ewes, 11s to 13s; lambs, from 6s to 9s." [In consequence of the change in the mail service, the date of publishing the "Courier" was changed from Thursday to Wednesday.]

June 29.—Field-Marshal Macdonald Duke of Tarentum, arrived at Inverness on Sunday, the 26th, and put up at the Caledonian Hotel. He was accompanied by an aide-de-camp, and by Mr Macdonald of Staffa. Previous to his arrival, he visited the Battlefield of Culloden. There "he expressed his surprise at the imbecility which dictated the choice of that spot for the position of the Pretender’s army. No spot could be worse chosen for the position of an irregular body of men acting on the defensive against regular troops; and the wonder was increased, the General observed, when the neighbouring high grounds behind the water of Nairn afforded as fine a position as could be wished to obtain the objects and suit the circumstances of the Jacobite forces." Marshal Macdonald is described as thin in person and rather above the middle size; his hair quite grey, his eyes dark, his countenance rather round and sedate, and not indicative of the mental qualities he was reported to possess. He was plainly dressed in black, and like Napoleon took snuff in large quantities. He spoke little English, and that little imperfectly. "The fatigues of a soldier’s life and the anxieties of political struggles appear to have brought on premature age, for he walked rather feebly, and with a manner that indicated an infirm state of health." Marshal Macdonald left on the Monday by the steamer Comet, for the West Coast, intending to visit South Uist the birthplace of his father.

July 6 and 13.—Marshal Macdonald travelled by the comet to Fort-William, going thence to Arisaig, where a sloop of war was in waiting to carry him to Skye and the Uists. The Marshal breakfasted and dined with the passengers on board the steamboat. Loyal toasts were exchanged, and the health of the distinguished visitor pledged. In Skye Marshal Macdonald was entertained at Armadale Castle, where two hundred of the tenantry gave him a welcome. Lord Macdonald was not at home but his representative in the island did the honours. Marshal Macdonald passed the night in the Castle.

July 27.—Mr Davidson, yr. of Tulloch who is described as a "most patriotic and beloved Highlander," brought home his young wife, daughter of Lord Macdonald of the Isles, to Tulloch Castle on the 25th inst. They were met by the tenantry, in Highland dress, on the north bank of the Conon, who unyoked the horses and drew the carriage to the Castle. A dinner was given at Dingwall, and the countryside blazed with bonfires.

August 3.—This number contains a full account of the tour of Marshal Macdonald through the Western Islands. In South Uist, his father’s native island, he was welcomed by an assemblage of six hundred persons at Houghbeg. There he met with some of his own relatives, and distributed two hundred sovereigns in donations. He dined at Nunton, and slept in the room which had been occupied by Flora Macdonald.

Ibid.—There is a review of Mr John Anderson’s History of the Frasers, just published.

August 10.—The Commissioners appointed to establish new churches in the Highlands and Islands give in their first report.

September 14.—A report of the Commissioners of Revenue states that illicit distillation has greatly diminished, but express disappointment at the extent to which it is still carried on. This they attribute to the mistaken opinion still entertained by Magistrates in certain districts that they are at liberty to mitigate penalties according to their own discretion.

September 28.—The Northern Meeting was held the previous week. The horse racing excited lively interest. Two gold cups were given, each value a hundred guineas, besides minor prizes. The Ross-shire gentry, headed by Mr Davidson, yr. of Tulloch, seem to have taken the most active part in the races.

October 5.—Alexander Mackenzie elected Provost of Fortrose; Major Charles Lennox Cumming Bruce of Roseisle and Kinnaird, elected Provost of Nairn; and James Augustus Grant of View-field elected Provost of Forres.

Ibid.—The Provost and Town Council of Forres conferred the freedom of the burgh on Sir James Maqgrigor, M.D., Director-General of the Medical Department of the Army. On the same occasion Sir James was entertained to dinner by the local authorities. He was married to a Forres lady, daughter of the late Provost Grant, and sister of distinguished officers. The death of Lady Macgrigor’s mother is noticed below.

October 12.—A meeting of Magistrates and inhabitants was held for the purpose of promoting a Police and Improvement Bill for the Burgh of Inverness.

October 19.—The Synod of Sutherland and Caithness having resolved to aid the Society for Educating the Poor in the Highlands the Society appointed the Rev. Mr Fraser, of Kirkhill, and the Rev. Mr Sage, of Resolis as a deputation to preach and receive contributions. The amount collected in the Synod was £124 16s 11d.

Ibid.—"Died, at Forres, on the 11th inst., aged 82, Mrs Jean Grant, relict of the late Duncan Grant, Esq., Provost of Forres. This much-respected lady having been deprived of her valuable husband while their numerous family were young, had great merit and satisfaction in their progress in life. It is remarkable that at one period of the late war she had not, out of six sons in the service of their country, one in Europe; but three of them having accidentally returned to the parental roof just previous to her decease, they had the melancholy satisfaction of solacing her latter moments and of attending her remains to the grave."

October 26.—Very painful feelings were excited by the loss of the steamer Comet, plying between Inverness and Glasgow. On the morning of Friday, the 21st inst., she was run down between Gourock and the Clough Lighthouse by the steamer Ayr, outward bound. In rounding the point the vessels came in contact with such force and violence that the Comet went down almost instantaneously. Only ten persons were saved out of 80 who were believed to be on board. One of the saddest cases was that of Captain Wemyss Sutherland and his young wife, who were married at Muirtown, Inverness, in the beginning of September. Mrs Sutherland was the eldest daughter of Mr Duff of Muirtown.

Ibid.—"A bet between Mr Fraser of Culduthel and Mr Shepherd, of Inverness, was this day decided in favour of the latter gentleman. Culduthel wagered that Mr S.’s bay mare would not trot a distance of eight miles in half-an-hour, and this distance was trotted in twenty six minutes and a-half with great ease by Mr Shepherd on the Aird Road, from near Bogroy to the Canal Bridge of Muirtown."

Ibid.—At the Michielmas Head Court for Ross-shire, Sir Wm. Fettes proposed the establishment of a steamboat at Kessock, which was agreed to. At the same Court strong complaint was made that many clergymen insisted on dispensing the Communion at times "when the labours of seed-time and harvest were being earned on," thus in some instances causing serious loss. Special mention is made of a case in which the minister, in the end of the August preceding, insisted on having the Communion in spite of the remonstrances of his heritors. The meeting adopted a series of resolutions on the subject, concluding as follows:—"That this meeting feel that great inconvenience to the community and injury to our holy religion and to morality is occasioned by the immense assemblages usually convened on these occasions, in consequence of that solemn rite being too unfrequently dispensed in the several parishes; therefore, that the very reverend the Synod of Ross be further requested to enjoin their members to dispense, in their respective parishes, this sacred ordinance at least annually—specially avoiding the periods of seed-time and harvest, agreeably to the spirit and in conformity with the injunctions of the Directory for the public worship of God in our Church, which particularly require "that the Communion be frequently administered, and at such periods as may be moast convenient for the comfort and edification of the people."

November 16.—The condition of the Scottish gaols was at this time the subject of official inquiry. A Committee of the County of Inverness, of which Mr Grant of Rothiemurchus was convener, considered the subject and issued a report. It appears that in 1818 no fewer than 38 of the Royal Burghs of Scotland returned their gaols as insufficient in point of security and accommodation. The following is one of the paragraphs in the Report :—"For neither the religious nor moral instruction, nor medical care of the prisoners, is there any provision whatsoever in any of the ordinary gaols of Scotland. There is no chapel nor assembly of the prisoners, on any occasion, for religious worship, in any one of them; no chaplain nor regular attendance of any clergyman; no surgeon or medical visitor, nor any provision for a gratuitous supply of medicine and advice. Lastly, so far from any attempt being made to encourage or promote habits of industry, the construction of the gaols and their crowded state, render it impossible for those who might be the most industriously inclined to betake themselves to any useful employment." Another paragraph says—"Anything like well-aired places of confinement, either for debtors, for persons committed for trial, or for convicts; any fire-places in the cells or apartments of criminals; any means of taking air or exercise by any prisoner; any attention to cleanliness— these things are almost entirely unknown." The burden of maintaining prisoners and prisons fell on the burghs, and most of the burghs were little better than insolvent. The gross income of the burgh of Inverness is stated at £1559 12s 4d, but after deducting sums applied to particular purposes, only £425 1s 6d was left at the command of the burgh for the administration of the law, "so that the most rigid and parsimonious economy will hardly keep the towns debt from increasing." The Report states that the gaol in the Burgh of Inverness was not sufficient for the accommodation of either the civil or criminal prisoners confined therein; but so far as the accommodation went the gaol was perfectly adequate for the secure custody of its inmates. The question for consideration was whether the cost of maintaining the gaols should be extended to the counties, or whether it should be borne by the national exchequer.

December 7.—"At Nagpore, on the 29th June last, Alexander Fraser Maclachlan, assistant surgeon on the Madras Establishment, eldest son of the Rev. James Maclachlan, Moy." Mr Maclachlan was M.D. of Edinburgh, and had a distinguished University career.

December 14.—A meeting of Commissioners of Supply and Freeholders of the County of Inverness was called to discuss the question of the Corn Laws. A long series of resolutions was proposed in favour of maintaining these laws. An amendment was proposed declaring that it was premature to enter on such a discussion, and that the interests of the County of Inverness were more pastoral than agricultural. The most animated speech against the resolutions was made by Mr Grant of Corrimony. On a division, the amendment was adopted by 32 votes to 7. The "Courier" in an article commending the decision of the meeting, says "Probably ten times as much corn is brought into this county as can be sent from it; and a large part of the population are, from utter want of bread, compelled to subsist for months every year on potatoes, shell fish, or sea weed; and yet this is the county in which it is attempted to take a lead in getting up petitions crying out for dear corn."

December 21.—"We have frequently adverted to the salutary effects produced by the Distillery Laws, which came into operation about this time twelve months. From North to South we are gratified with the certain and pleasing intelligence that the pernicious traffic of the smuggler, with all its baneful effects, is going down fast before the operations of the large distiller. Thus has a judicious and well-directed legislative measure, affording encouragement and protection to the lawful trader, effected in one short year more than a host of Excisemen were able to accomplish in the Highlands for the last half-century, and more than they would do for fifty years to come. The revenue at the same time has been much benefited. We learn from unquestionable authority that the duties on malt and spirits alone, in the Inverness District, amounted to £1300 for the last six weeks, giving an increase of £870 on the duties of the corresponding six weeks of the former year. These duties were paid from the Inverness, Fortrose Millburn, and Brackla Distilleries; and we learn further that from an extension of the works just mentioned, and the establishment of new distilleries at Inverness and at Dores, on Loch-Ness, it is probable that the duties for the ensuing six weeks will nearly double those of the last. This is exclusive of licences of all kinds. In Ross-shire, Sutherland, and Caithness the effects of the new Distillery Laws are equally satisfactory."

December 28.—"The University of Edinburgh has conferred the degree of D.D. on the Rev. Alexander Rose, one of the ministers of Inverness. This degree, we have occasion to know, was bestowed quite spontaneously on the part of the University; and the honour is the more marked inasmuch as it is the first of this kind which has been conferred by that distinguished body for a considerable period."

lbid.—There is a notice of the "Sutherlandshire Magazine," which was to be published about the middle of January.

Ibid.—There is a report of the trial of the master of the steamer Comet on a charge of culpable homicide. The indictment stated that the number of persons drowned was "62 or thereby." The master was convicted of neglecting to display lights, and was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment.

Return to Book index


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus