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The Northern Highlands in the Nineteenth Century
No. 12

The year 1836 was much less exciting in Parliament than its immediate predecessor. The policy of the Government regarding the Irish Church had, however, left acute symptoms, and in the North of Scotland Protestant feeling ran high. For England the Tithes Commutation Act was passed. An important step was the reduction of the tax on newspapers from fourpence a sheet to a penny. "This reduction," says Ransome, "forms an epoch in the development of the press. For a time the gross amount of duty fell; but the circulation increased so rapidly that in 1854 the proceeds of the tax were as much as at the old rate." In this year also Parliament began to publish its own division lists. "Hitherto these had been published on hearsay and without Parliamentary authority, and the right to keep them private had been jealously guarded by members." But the constituencies called into being by the Reform Act considered that they had a right to know how their representatives voted.

Locally two changes of interest occurred: a direct service of steamers was established with London, and a daily mail coach began to run between Inverness and Perth. Up till this time there was only a passenger coach on the Highland road, running twice a week in winter and three times a week in summer. Now, we are told, with pardonable gratification, that a person "might dine in Edinburgh one day and breakfast in Inverness the next." The Duke of Gordon, the last male representative of the old line, died this year.

From the "Inverness Courier."

January 6.—A meeting was held at Inverness of what was called "The Northern Protestant Association." It had been formed to maintain Protestant interests, which were supposed to be threatened by the policy of the Government in connection with the Irish Church. Prominent men in Inverness and neighbourhood disapproved of the Association, and there was a good deal of angry controversy.

January 11.—The elders, managers, and male communicants of the East Church met for the purpose of electing a pastor. Provost Fraser was in the chair, and moved the election of the Rev. David Campbell, minister of Glenlyon, Perthshire. Baillie George Mackay moved the election of the Rev. Archibald Cook, of Bruan. The vote stood— for Mr Campbell, 33; for Mr Cook, 25. Mr Campbell was declared duly elected. This was the beginning of a dispute which ended in the erection of the North Church.

Ibid.—A pontage of a halfpenny was charged at this time on every stranger passing the two bridges. A pontage was also levied on the peat-carts coming from the country, but their owners were turning sulky and refusing to pay. A man named Munro commenced an action for damages in the Sheriff Court against the tacksman of the Petty Customs at the Stone Bridge, who had detained his horse and cart. The case was brought before the Town Council by the tacksman, and it was agreed that, to prevent his levying a pontage on peats in future, a sum of £2 should be allowed him.

January 20.—A formidable fish was captured at Ardjachie, near Tain. It was pronounced to be a shark. Its length is given as 8 feet 1 inch and girth 4 feet 9 inches.

January 27.—It is stated that the Earl of Aboyne had recently purchased the estate of Glengarry.

Ibid.—The opening of the Ladies’ Female School in its new building is reported. The United Charities Institution combined in one establishment the Work Society (for aged female industry), the Clothing Society. the Female School, the Infant School, and the Observatory. The school was opened with a procession of children. It is stated that "afterwards a number of the ladies and gentlemen visited the Observatory, when the telescope was mounted, and some other optical instruments were exhibited for the entertainment of visitors."

February 10.—"Died, at Dalbreck, on the 25th of January, George Jeffrey, Esq., late of New Kelso, in the 79th year of his age. It has fallen to the lot of few men in the world to have been so universally esteemed as Mr Jeffrey was. Neither old nor young came within the pale of his acquaintance who did not cherish an affectionate regard for him. His remains were borne a distance of forty miles, on the shoulders of his countrymen, to the Churchyard of Lochcanon, where they were interred amidst the sorrowing regret of hundreds, who had gone through life with him, who had shared his friendship and enjoyed his society....For the last fifty years his word was law in the populous country of Lochcarron."

February 24.—"We are glad to learn that Inverness has been constituted a bonding port for wines, spirits, and timber directly imported, and for all other goods carried coastwise for home consumption, with the exception of silks and tobacco. This concession by the Treasury will be highly beneficial to the trade of this town and neighbourhood." The same issue records the presentation of plate to Mr Alexander Mactavish, solicitor, in recognition of his political services to the Conservative party at the last county election.

March 2.—A new steam vessel, "The Duchess of Sutherland," had been brought to the Moray Firth, to ply between Inverness and London. She is described as a handsome, well-equipped boat, and a fast sailer. "We congratulate the public," says the editor, "on the commencement of this new source of communication, which promises to be highly advantageous to the agricultural and commercial interests of the North of Scotland."

Ibid.—The dignity of a baronet of the United Kingdom was conferred on Colin Mackenzie, Esq. of Kilcoy, with remainder to his second son, Evan Mackenzie.

March 9.—Mr Stewart Mackenzie of Seaforth presented a petition to Parliament from proprietors and occupiers of land in the counties of Ross and Cromarty, complaining of agricultural distress. Among the remedies suggested by Seaforth was the removal of taxes on agricultural seeds (clover, tares, and linseed), which were then subject to duty. It was stated that the duty on clover seed alone amounted to £5600 per annum.

March 16.—The question of the election of a minister came again before a meeting in the East Church—Provost Fraser in the chair. The vote on this occasion showed 64 parishioners for Rev. Mr Campbell and 48 for Rev. Mr Cook, giving the former a majority of 16. The votes of other ten non-parishioners were tendered for Mr Cook, but the Session held that the votes of non-residents could not be received.

Ibid.—"Mr Mackintosh of Raigmore has very handsomely consented to feu out a site for the new church on the west bank of the river, immediately opposite to Fraser Street. The situation is one of the most desirable in town, and will prove very convenient for the inhabitants of both sides of the river."

March 23.—The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced his intention to bring forward changes in the Stamp Acts. Among others, the newspaper stamp duty was to be reduced from 4d, with twenty per cent. discount, to one penny without discount.

Ibid.—There was great delight at the success of the first trip of the steamer Duchess of Sutherland from Inverness to London. One tenant in the neighbourhood had shipped 61 sheep for the London market, and realised fully 7s a head more than he could have obtained for them in the North. Another had shipped ten stots, which brought from £3 to £3 10s more than they would have realised here if they had been kept till the end of April. "These favourable sales have stirred up a desire among our Northern agriculturists to rear fat stock on an extensive scale, and we have no doubt that the trade will go on prosperously. One immediate effect will be a rise in the price of beef and mutton in our local markets, but this will only be temporary, and will be more than compensated by the increased spirit and advantage which the trade will confer on the agriculture of the whole of the North of Scotland."

March 30.—Rev. Mr Campbell, Glenlyon, has accepted the appointment of minister to the East Church, Inverness. Rev. John Kennedy, of Inverness, was ordained a fortnight before to the pastoral charge of a Congregational Church in Aberdeen. The Directors of the Sessional School at Nairn had acquired a site. Subscriptions for the school are acknowledged in several issues.

April 6.—An Indian "Nawab" was executed some time before for the murder of a brother of Mr James B. Fraser, of Reelig, Inverness-shire. There is some account of the incident in this number. A full statement of the case was written for "Blackwood" by Lord Lawrence when he was shooting tenant of Reelig in 1877. It appeared in the number of the magazine for January 1878. Lawrence was in 1836 Magistrate of an Indian district adjoining Mr Fraser’s, and helped to bring the assassin to justice. [See The Frasers of Reelig]

Ibid.—The Rev. Allan Mackenzie was ordained and admitted as pastor of the parish of Kilmuir-Wester.

April 13.—A meeting was held to give a fresh fillip to the Mechanics Institution, which had to some extent languished. The Society had on hand a sum of £59, and the library contained eighty volumes. It was now expected that the institution would "enter on a new and more extended field of usefulness." A resolution declared it to be highly expedient that a portion of the funds should be applied to the purchase of books exclusively devoted to science and its application to the arts. Lectures on scientific subjects had been delivered and were to be continued.

April 27.—The right of shooting over extensive districts in the county of Sutherland is advertised as to let. The districts are seven in number—Achintoul, Gairnsary, Shiness, Bighouse, Armadale, Strathnaver, and Aultnaharrow. The shooting carried with it liberty of angling in rivers and lakes, and the advertisement added that "the right to shoot Red Deer, under certain limitations, will be added to each district."

May 3.—A singular complaint came before the Synod of Ross. The minister of Kinlochluichart stated that on the day appointed by last Assembly for humiliation and fasting, the proprietor of Kilcoy passed by the church of Kinlochluichart attended by a servant and loaded cart. This conduct the minister considered to be aggravated by the fact that the proprietor in question was an office-bearer in the Church of Scotland. The minister sent a complaint to the Presbytery of Chanonry, where the delinquent resided, but that Presbytery had taken no notice of it. Rev. Mr Sage, Resolis, on behalf of the Presbytery, defended their resolution to take no action, but he did not carry the Synod with him. On the contrary, Rev. Mr Carment submitted the following motion, which was unanimously agreed to :—"That the Synod sustain the petition and approve of the zeal of the Session of Kinlochluichart in maintaining the discipline of the Church, and instruct the Session of Knockbain, and, failing them, the Presbytery of Chanonry, to proceed in the business according to the laws of the Church." The editor, in commenting on the case, stated that "the public feeling here is almost universally opposed to the step of the venerable Synod." A letter in the next issue states that, when the incident occurred, the gentleman had been returning from his hill property, where he bad been staying for some days, and was not even aware that the day was a fast day.

Ibid.—The directors of the Inverness Academy voted a sum of £15 for the purpose of improving the Museum by a complete British herbarium and a local mineralogical collection. Mr George Anderson was appointed curator. He already possessed a set of specimens illustrative of the geology of a large district, and he hoped, with the help of Mr William Stables, Cawdor Castle; the Rev. Mr Gordon, of Birnie, and other friends, to make a complete set of British flora, all properly named and arranged, and embracing about 2000 specimens.

May 11.—The steamers advertised for the summer sailing on Loch-Ness bore the names "Helen Macgregor" and "Rob Roy." Captain Turner was in command of the "Helen Macgregor," and Captain Munro of the "Rob Roy."

May 18.—The workmen engaged in repairing Dornoch Cathedral raised up a few days before a handsome stone coffin, which was found buried in the choir. Some of the bones were entire, and covered with fragments of leather, which led to the belief that leather had been used as a winding sheet. The body of the coffin was formed of one entire stone, and its lid of another. On the outside of the latter was cut the figure of a knight and of a lion couchant. The remains were supposed to be those of Richard Murray, brother of Bishop Gilbert Murray, slain at Embo in a battle with the Danes in 1245.

May 23.—A correspondent gives a lamentable account of destitution in the Island of Lewis. The weather there (and elsewhere) had been very bad throughout the spring. Even in April there was hail, frost, and snow, accompanied by cutting gales from the north-east. It was computed that in the Lewis 700 head of stock, including horses, had died, besides several thousand sheep. Scarcely any lambs had survived. "The part which has suffered most is the parish of Barvas, where almost 300 cattle died, exclusive of sheep. The island is reduced to a state of dearth and desolation that is heart-rending to contemplate." A fund was raised in Edinburgh to toward meal and potatoes.

Ibid.—The estate of Lakefield was sold to Miss Fraser, Bruiach, at the upset price of £8000.

June 1.—The death of the Duke of Gordon, prominent in his father’s lifetime as the Marquis of Huntly, is announced. Born in February 1770, he was sixty-six years of age. "The Duke of Gordon was in appearance and deportment the very beau ideal of a British nobleman, and notwithstanding all recent political divisions and bitterness, he continued ‘Cock of the North,’ and with Whig and Tory was still the most popular peer in Scotland. He was generous, affable, and high spirited. He possessed an inexhaustible fund of gaiety and good humour, and was the life of all festive parties." The Duke was married to Elizabeth, daughter of Alexander Brodie of Arnhall, but without issue. Thus the title for a time became extinct. "The Earl of Aboyne (born June 28, 1761), though a very distant relative, succeeds to the ancient title of Marquis of Huntly. The princely residence of Gordon Castle and landed property of the value of £30,000 per annum, go to the Duchess-Dowager of Richmond, his Grace’s eldest sister, and on her decease to her descendants, in whose family it is entailed." The Duke died in London, but his remains were conveyed to the North, and interred in Elgin Cathedral.

June 8.—The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland censured one of its ministers because he had attended a public dinner given at Glasgow to Daniel O’Connell.

June 15.—This issue contains a long and interesting report of the funeral of the Duke of Gordon, which took place on Friday, 10th June. The remains were conveyed with great ceremonial from Gordon Castle to Elgin Cathedral. It was computed that at least 8000 persons were present. The account closes with the statement that the Duke had left to his widowed Duchess £80,000 in money on the estate, and £5000 a year for life, with Huntly Lodge as a jointure house.

June 22.—At the Inverness anniversary of the Northern Missionary Society, the collection amounted to £30 16s 4d, and Subscriptions to £18 14s 8d—total, £49 11s.

June 29.—It is announced that the principal part of the fortune of the late Sir William Fettes, including the estate of Redcastle, and amounting in all to about £400,000, is to be appropriated to the foundation of an educational establishment to be called the Fettes Institution. A few other bequests, of comparatively small amount, were left in the will.

July 6.—The establishment of a daily mail to Inverness by the Highland road from Perth had long been desired, but was only now granted. The service began on 5th July. An advertisement informs the public that the mail coach "will leave the George and Star Hotels, Perth, every evening at nine o’clock, and reach Inverness at half-past ten o’clock a.m.; will also leave the Caledonian and Royal Hotels, Inverness, every morning at nine o’clock, and arrive at Perth at half-past ten o’clock p.m., thus performing the journey in 13½ hours." In the case of the South-going mail, half-an-hour was allowed at Dalwhinnie for dinner. In consequence of the change the "Courier" was now published on Wednesday morning instead of Wednesday evening. The mail from Aberdeen remained as before.

July 13.—There is an interesting article on improved travelling in the Highlands. Since the new Post-office arrangement, it is pointed out, a person might dine in Edinburgh one day and breakfast in Inverness the next. The mail coach left Edinburgh at four o’clock in the afternoon, and reached Inverness at half-past ten next morning. This expedition seemed extraordinary. It "would have seemed improbable twenty years ago, and sixty years since would have been pronounced impossible." The writer recalls the experiences of travelling from Edinburgh by post-chaise, which the older townsmen would remember. The first day the party dined at Kinross and supped at Perth; the next day they breakfasted at Inver, near Dunkeld; and so they proceeded by Moulinearn, Blair, Dalwhinnie, &c., "husbanding the poor horses till, on the fifth morning, if the vehicle held good, the party was safely deposited in this town." The reminiscences of more recent times between Perth and Inverness are also amusing. "The Caledonian coach was, we believe, for some years a truly accommodating vehicle. The driver did not hesitate to give his passengers ‘a blink of the afternoon’ to discuss a bottle of port, or an extra tumbler of whisky punch, or to drive the vehicle a few miles off the road to oblige a lady, or an inquisitive tourist, who might happen to be a bit of an antiquary or a lover of the picturesque. At length, however, the utilitarian principle came into active operation; travelling began here, as elsewhere, to be systematised, as time came to be considered of greater value; and accordingly for the last ten years the Caledonian coach, twice a week in winter and thrice in summer, wound its way by rock and stream, through the defiles of Badenoch and the Grampians, and on ‘by the Tummel and Garry,’ with the usual plodding regularity and expedition of a long or heavy coach in any other part of the kingdom. During the summer and autumn months it was crowded with tourists and their baggage, a motley catalogue of guns, fishing rods, pointers, creels, and baskets. This useful vehicle, which in its day had the honour of introducing among our mountains some very distinguished individuals, including Southey, Sir Humphry Davy, and many other names eminent in literature and science, was withdrawn last week to make room for a daily mail coach, spick and span new, with new guards in new liveries, and bones that find no difficulty, even at the ugly pass of Slochmuich, in clearing nine miles an hour. For this we have to thank Lord Lichfield and the General Post-office."

July 20.—A paragraph records the unexpected death of the Rev. Donald Fraser, of Kirkhill, which occurred on the 12th inst. On the morning of that day Mr Fraser attended a funeral at Kiltarlity, and was returning home in a gig driven by a boy, when the horse stumbled, and he was thrown from his seat. Mr Fraser did not seem to be seriously hurt, but he grew worse during the afternoon, and expired the same evening at eleven o’clock He bad burst a blood vessel. "The deceased was a highly popular clergyman, of great talent, learning, and eloquence, and of accomplished manners. There was scarcely a pulpit within the wide circle of the Northern Counties in which his virtues were not eulogised last Sunday, in language which came from the heart, and awakened kindred emotion on the part of the congregation." The deceased was in the 54th year of his age, and succeeded his father as minister of the parish of Kirkhill in 1802.

[Rev. Donald Fraser, D.D. (1826-1892), second son of merchant and ship-owner John Fraser (1795-1852) by his first wife Lillias Fraser (1803-1835) wrote: "Soon after this my father became Provost of the burgh... My mother was Lillias Fraser, daughter of the Rev. Donald Fraser, M.A., Minister of the Parish of Kirkhill near Inverness." - see Chasing Ancestors]

Ibid.—The Sheep and Wool Market took place the previous week. "Thursday and Friday were the appointed days, but it was Saturday before the principal lots changed owners, or any idea of the prices likely to prevail could be obtained." The market was thus settling into the position which still exists, except that Thursday has long been a mere nominal day. The market of 1836 was good both for sheep and wool. On Cheviot wedders there was an advance over the previous year of from 15 to 20 per cent., and on lambs of from 1s to 2s per head. On ewes, Cheviot and black-faced, there was a slight fall. On the best clips of Cheviot wool there was a rise of from 4s to 5s per stone. Prices are quoted as follows :—Cheviot wedders, 24s to 31s 6d; ewes, 16s to 19s; lambs, 9s to 14s; blackfaced wedders, 18s to 21s; ewes, 9s to 12s; lambs, 8s 6d to 11s. Wool—laid blackfaced, 10s to 22s per stone of 24 lbs.; unlaid, 12s 6d to 14s. Unwashed cross-bred, 12s 6d to 14s; washed, 14s to 16s. Unwashed Cheviot, 17s to 18s; washed, 21s to 25s. The inns, we are told, were crowded before all former example. Public ordinaries were held in the Caledonian and Royal Hotels, and there was a talk of combining them in the Northern Meeting Rooms. It was also suggested that there should be a register of buyers and sellers, that they might be able more easily to pick one another up.

July 27.—It is announced that Mr Edward Ellice, junior, had withdrawn from the position of prospective candidate for the Inverness Burghs, as it was his object to stand for the Fife Burghs, and with every prospect of success. Mr Roderick Macleod of Cadboll, then member for Sutherland, "a long-tried and consistent friend of Liberal principles," offered himself as a candidate for the Inverness Burghs.

August 10.—A young man, a sailor, was found stabbed on the river bank, above the Stone Bridge, and died of his wounds. Inquiries led to the arrest of a youth named Mackintosh, nicknamed Sheely, who is described as a prowler. There had been a scuffle in the Haugh, in which soldiers and sailors were concerned, and Mackintosh was accused of having used a clasp-knife.

August 17.—A petition was presented in the House of Commons by Sir George Sinclair for the institution of a Gaelic Professorship in one, at least, of the Scottish Universities. It was signed by 500 persons resident in London and its suburbs. Many years, however, were to pass before a Celtic chair was founded, not by Government, but through the efforts of Professor Blackie.

August 31.—Major Cumming Bruce of Dunphail announces that he intends at next election to withdraw from the representation of the Inverness Burghs. The candidate in the Conservative interest was to be Mr Randoll Mackenzie, yr. of Scatwell, who had attained his majority a year before. At the election of January 1835 the contest was very close, Conservatives polling 344 and Liberals 340. The "Courier" urges that at the next contest both parties should endeavour to lessen the expenses. "The former struggle," it is said, "cost Major Cumming Bruce and Mr Ellice about £1500 each—a sum which seems far too high considering the number of the constituency. We know it is argued that the money so spent circulates among the community and benefits part of them; but we question whether any working man was ever made rich by such profusion, which strikes at the purity of election, and has a strong tendency to in-duos idleness and immorality."

Ibid.—Two public dinners are reported at length. One was given at Inverness to Mr Charles Macdougall, advocate, who had been appointed to a post in British Guiana. The other was given at Elgin to Sir Andrew Leith Hay, M.P. for the Elgin District of Burghs.

September 7.—"Died lately at Braemoray, John Ross, aged fifty, a tenant on Lord Moray’s property in the district, known as ‘Big John.’ He was the tallest and stoutest man in all that country, being 6 feet 8 inches in height, and proportionately well built and powerful."

Ibid.—At the County Registration Court, Sheriff Tytler was called upon to decide the question whether electors in Grantown should vote in the county of Inverness. The Liberal party objected to these votes on the ground that the district was insulated from the main body of the county, and ought to form part of the combined counties of Nairn and Moray for the purposes of the Reform Act. The decision depended mainly on the question whether a farm called Laggan was in the county of Inverness or the county of Moray. After a long hearing Sheriff Tytler held that the alleged disjunction of the Grantown district from the bulk of Inverness-shire had not been sufficiently established.

September 21.—The price of the "Courier," like the price of other newspapers had been until now sevenpence per copy. With the reduction of the stamp duty it was now reduced to 4d. In a note the editor says - "The stamp duty was formerly 4d, with twenty per cent. discount; it is now a penny without discount; and if our readers will take the trouble of calculating the difference, comparing the above with our former scale of charges, they will find that, besides the abatement of duty, they have an advantage of better than six per cent. The London weekly papers, and those of Liverpool, have fixed their price at fivepence. In Scotland, however, fourpence-halfpenny is the almost universal charge, and we cheerfully go along with our brethren in this reduced price, trusting and confidently anticipating that by increased sales and diminished risk and expenditure, we shall ultimately find ourselves remunerated for the immediate loss." The size of the paper consisted, as before, of four pages, six columns to the page, by-and-bye a little widened and lengthened. Apparently fears had been expressed that the reduction of newspapers to the price of 4½d would endanger their tone and character! The editor gravely says—"We do not think there is any inclination among the great body of the people for depraved sources of intelligence or objects of excitement. They are desirous, as we hope they will ever be, to possess information on all public questions, but the national mind, like the national commerce, is in a sound and healthy state. We do not fear any influx of worthless publications to injure the morals of the people."

Ibid.—The remains of the youngest daughter of the late Glengarry were interred on the previous Friday in the family burying-ground at Invergarry, on the banks of Loch-Oich. The young chief was the principal mourner, dressed in Highland costume, and other relatives and friends were present. The coffin was brought by steamer from Glasgow to one of the locks near the burying-ground. "The effect of the scene, after the coffin was taken from the vessel, and conveyed by the clansmen, amidst the wild music and the wilder hills and glens of the country, was highly impressive, especially to the English ladies and gentlemen, passengers in the vessel, who for the first time witnessed a solemnity of the kind in the Highlands."

September 28.—There is a long report of the trial of the young man Mackintosh, charged with having murdered a sailor by stabbing him. He was found guilty, with a recommendation to mercy, on account of his youth (twenty-one). Sentence of death was passed, but was afterwards commuted to transportation for life.

Ibid.—"We are glad to learn that the pontage charged to foot-passengers, strangers, passing the bridges of the town, is to be done away with in future. A resolution to this effect was passed at the Town Council yesterday."

Ibid.—On Friday, the 9th inst, the Marquis of Huntly (until the death of the Duke of Gordon, Earl of Aboyne) paid a visit to the Glengarry property which he bad recently purchased. The tenantry presented him with an address. There was a dinner at Invergarry Inn.

October 5.—Public dinners to Mr George Traill and Sir George Sinclair, M.P., were given at Thurso, and are reported. There was also a political meeting at Inverness to hear an address from Mr Macleod of Cadboll, M.P.

Ibid.—At a meeting at Forres it was agreed to form a company to introduce gas into the town. The old gaol at Forres, "which was long ago condemned as unsafe," had just been taken down to make room for a new structure.

October 12.—A fatal accident occurred on Ben Nevis. Three young men had climbed the mountain and were coming down. One of them, Samuel Macdonell, Fort-William, who had been frequently on the Ben, began to slide along certain parts of the slope. The grass, however, was slippery, and the young man, gathering momentum, lost the power of stopping, and his foot striking a stone, he was thrown headlong into a ravine and killed. The accident and its accompaniments—such as the search for the body by torchlight—make an impressive story.

October 19.—The county of Ross solicited the Government to turn part of Fort-George into a penitentiary for the use of the Northern Counties. "In the present state of the prisons of the North of Scotland," the report ran, "confinement within them is productive not of good but of unmixed evil to the community; while the public is also subjected to a very heavy expense, which would be greatly diminished by the conversion of such part of Fort-George into a Penitentiary as would make the change a gainful one even in a pecuniary sense, although that benefit be of much less importance than the moral good which would result from it." The same meeting resolved to renew an application for placing a mail curricle on the road from Dingwell to Lochcarron.

October 25.—The steamer "Duchess of Sutherland.," placed on the route between London and Inverness, was to discontinue plying sites 14th November until February "How far its voyages have hitherto remunerated the proprietors we cannot say, but the public have been great gainers by the speculation." It is observed that passengers could now take a trip from the Thames to Inverness with as much ease as they could formerly sail to Margate.

November 2.—There is a long report of a public dinner given to Lord Glenelg in the Northern Meeting Rooms. Mr Macpherson-Grant of Ballindalloch was in the chair. The company numbered about 250, and included many county gentlemen. Lord Glenelg delivered an eloquent and powerful speech in defence of the policy of the Reform Government.

November 2 and 9.—There was keen excitement at the Inverness municipal election this year. Of eight members elected to the Council six were Conservatives. Provost Fraser was defeated in the First Ward. One of the representatives in the Second Ward, however, declined to accept office, and Provost Fraser was elected without opposition. In the meantime it occurred to some persons that the Provost had no occasion to retire from the Council in the first instance, as by statute he was empowered to serve for not less than three years, and he had been re-elected to the chair only the year before. The dispute lasted for several weeks. In the end Mr John Ferguson was elected Provost, and Mr Fraser retired from the Council. The heat involved in course of the controversy almost led to blows.

November 9.—Dr John Smith was elected Provost of Nairn, Dr Tulloch Provost of Fortrose, and Mr William Dickson Provost of Forres.

November 16.—A great Conservative demonstration in Ross-shire is reported in this issue to the extent of nine and a-half columns—a large proportion of a four-page newspaper. The gathering took the form of a dinner which was held at Invergordon, in a flax factory at one end of the village. The attendance numbered 247 persons. Mr Duncan Davidson of Tulloch was in the chair and the croupiers were Colonel Munro of Teaninich and Mr John Hay Mackenzie of Cromartie. Mr Wilson, of the Caledonian Hotel, Inverness, purveyed an entertainment which must have taxed his resources, but for which he received great credit. A ship-load of provisions was brought from Inverness. "When the tables were laid out, the people were admitted to take a view of the place; and when the whole was over the different soups that remained were again warmed and distributed, with bread, among hundreds of poor persons. The dinner embraced every variety and delicacy, including a plentiful supply of game from hill and moor." The great topic of the speaking was the defence of Church and State.

November 23.—The Rev. David Campbell, late of Glenlyon, was inducted as pastor of the East Church. Mr Robert Ross was elected Provost of Cromarty. Mr Hugh Innes Cameron was re-elected Provost of Dingwall. The latter was also entertained to a public dinner.

December 7.—A meeting of Commissioners of Supply was held at Tain to discuss the state of the Ross-shire jails. The great grievance was that civil debtors and Excise prisoners were carried past the Dingwall prison and lodged in the prison at Tain, which was quite unfit for their accommodation. Scottish prisons generally were still utterly inadequate either for security or classification.

December 28.—A short account is given of a series of scientific lectures which bad been delivered in the Academy Hall by a qualified lecturer, Mr Keir. The course embraced optics and geology, and also phrenology, which was at that time engaging attention. There were four lectures on geology, with illustrations.

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