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The Northern Highlands in the Nineteenth Century
No. 10

The year 1851 is known in British annuls as the year of the Great Exhibition, which was supposed to inaugurate a new and peaceful era. Prince Albert waa its most active promoter, and the glass and iron palace, designed by Mr Paxton and erected in the southern part of Hyde Park, was regarded as one of the wonders of the world. It was opened by the Queen on the 1st of May. “A grander spectacle,” says Sir William Moles-worth, “or more striking pageant than that which took place within wras perhaps never exhibited, when, amidst all the pomp and splendour that the Court of England could display, amidst the sound of many trumpets, the solemn and jubilant strains of loud-pealing organs, amidst a crowd of eminent Englishmen and illustrious foreigners, the Queen, then in the prime of her youth and beauty, opened this unrivalled collection of the triumphs of human genius, in the most striking building that any age has produced, am] that human skill and perseverance have ever erected.” This reads nowadays as extravagant, but it reflects the feelings that existed not only at the moment but for many years afterwards, until, indeed, international exhibitions became no unusual events.

The political history of the year was troubled. Lord John Russell passed his Ecclesiastical Titles Bill, to repress what was considered Papal aggression, but its provisions have proved abortive. The nation, indeed, soon became ashamed of its spasm of apprehension. Mr Locke King began a movement for assimilating the county franchise with that of burghs, and on the motion to introduce a bill defeated the Government by a majority of 100 to 52. This shook Lord John Russell’s Ministry, and, as the Budget was unsatisfactory, he sent in his resignation. Lord Stanley (soon to be Earl of Derby) failed, however, to form an administration, and the Whigs returned to office. Lord John promised to bring forward a. measure of reform in the following session. In spite of the opposition of Government a motion in favour of the ballot was carried by a majority of 37. Alderman Salomons, a Jew, was elected member for Greenwich, and endeavoured to take his seat, but the attempt was declared to be illegal.

In December came the coup d’etat in France, which led to the second Empire. The same event brought about the dismissal of Lord Palmerston from the Foreign Office, on the ground that he had expressed approval of Prince Louis Napoleon’s action without consulting the Prime Minister or the Sovereign.

The West Highlands and Islands continued to be in a poverty-stricken state, which produced much controversy and agitation.

From the “Inverness Courier."


January 2.—The Finance Committee of the county of Inverness had under consideration the offer of the Chancellor of the Exchequer respecting the new Ness Bridge, and approved of his proposals.—A vigorous effort was going on to make the Inverness Mechanics’ Institute popular and useful. A public soiree was held in the Northern Meeting Rooms, and at the ordinary meeting the President, Mr George Anderson, lectured on Geology.—A public meeting had been held in Skye, at which very gloomy accounts were given of the condition and prospects of the people. The meeting proposed to ask the assistance of the Government for a grant of money on favourable terms for carrying out land improvement, facilitating emigration, and other purposes. They also suggested the formation of a railway to Oban.

January 9 and 16.—The state of the West Highlands and Islands again occupies considerable space. The Highland Destitution Board had brought their relief operations to a close, and the Glasgow section had submitted a report. During the past year this section had spent £21,402, and had a balance in hand of £2000. They, had relieved distress, and had assisted in making roads and piers, but acknowledged that they had not succeeded in effecting any improvement in the condition of the people. In fact, it is stated that many of them were in a worse position than when the destitution, dating from 1846, began. The attempts of the Board to improve the fishing in Mull, Barra, and Loch-Tarbert, in Harris, had resulted in heavy financial failure. A letter appears from Dr Alexander Macleod, of Portree, formerly factor for Barra and South Uist, giving his views on the causes of distress in these districts. He attributes their destitution to the condensing of the population into small areas, and in Barra to the increase of rents imposed by Colonel MacNiel, when he found himself in difficulties brought about by a mistaken attempt to establish works for refining kelp. He believed Colonel Gordon had bought the estate without knowing the fictitious character of the rental, and gives him credit for reducing rents and spending large sums for the benefit of the people. A subsequent paragraph gives figures from an abstract of receipts and expenditure on Colonel Gordon’s Long Island estates, from August 1846 to August 1850. In these years the excess of expenditure over income amounted to no less than £5609. At a meeting held in Inverness in connection with the Royal Patriotic Society, its secretary, Mr Bond, stated that there were 50,000 persons in the West Highlands and Islands then very nearly destitute, if not entirely so. Other estimates limited the number of the destitute to 20,000.

January 23.—The Right Rev. Dr Low having now resigned the Bishopric of Moray and Ross, the clergy of the diocese met at Elgin to elect a successor. The Rev. James Mackay, Inverness, protested that he had previously been elected coadjutor bishop by a majority of legal votes, and the Rev. Dean Moffat concurred. The meeting, however, proceeded to an election, and the Rev. Robert Eden, M.A., Rector of Leigh, in Essex, was chosen by five votes, as against two given for Mr Ala okay.

Ibid.—A meeting of the county of Inverness confirmed the resolution of the Finance Committee approving of the offer of the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the erection of a new bridge over the Ness. The Chancellor’s offer was to advance the whole sum necessary for construction, half by way of grant, and half by way of loan. The loan was to be paid out of the sum annually allotted to the four counties of Inverness, Ross, Sutherland, and Caithness for the repair of Highland roads and bridges, spread over twenty-two years, at the rate of 6^ per cent. The contribution of each county was to be in proportion to the sum allotted to it. From the two plans proposed, the meeting selected the Suspension Bridge.

January 30.—At a meeting in Fort-William figures were submitted showing that 3784 persons were destitute in the district, comprising the parishes of Kilmallie, Kilmonivaig, Ardnamurchan, and Glenelg.

February 13.—It is announced that the line of Highland steamers had now passed from the hands of Messrs G. and J. Bums into those of Messrs David Hutcheson and Co. Mr Hutcheson had long held the management of this and other lines of steamers, of which Messrs Burns were the proprietors.

Ibid.—A poverty-stricken party from Barra, men. women, and children numbering sixty-one souls, arrived by steamer one Saturday night in Inverness, and took up their position opposite the Inverness Town House, “to see what the authorities were to do with them." Their condition excited great compassion. The authorities admitted forty-five into the Poor-house, and found lodgings for the rest in the Merkinch. A few days afterwards they moved away eastwards, hoping to find employment with the fishermen on the Buchan coast. Their story was that in former days they enjoyed a fair amount of comfort, but about ten years ago their crofts had been taken from them and thrown into large farms, and they themselves crowded on patches of ground, hardly at all reclaimable, for which they paid increased rates of rent. Failure of the kelp trade and the potato crop, and a falling off in the fishing, had reduced them to complete destitution.—A letter from Islay in the same issue describes the increasing pauperism and destitution in that island.

Ibid.—Lord John Russell introduced his bill dealing with the Papal aggression implied in the assumption of ecclesiastical titles. The measure proposed to prohibit any Roman Catholic prelates from assuming titles taken from any territory or place in the United Kingdom, declared that gifts to such persons should be null and void, and that property bequeathed for such purposes should pass to the Crown. A luke-warm reception was given to the bill. “No enthusiasm,” says the editor, “will be excited in its favour. It is neither good enough nor bad enough in its present shape.”

February 20 and 27.—The political situation became complicated. The introduction of the Papal Aggression Bill was carried by 395 votes to 63. During the same week Mr Disraeli proposed a motion calling on the Government to bring forward measures for relieving agricultural distress, and this motion was only defeated by a majority of 14. The following week Mr Locke King, in opposition to the Government, carried by 100 votes to 52 a motion to equalise the elective franchise in counties and burghs. At the same time the Budget was unpopular. In consequence, Lord John Russell tendered the resignation of the Cabinet, and Lord Stanley was sent for by the Queen. He failed, however, to form an administration.

February 27.—The Longman Road was reported to have been satisfactorily completed.

March 6.—The issue records the recall of the Russell administration. In the local news it is stated that a movement was on foot among young men in the town to have the Islands, as before, connected by bridges with the banks of the river and with each other. The Town Council exposed feus on their farm of Muirfield, but there was no offer. Some lots were feued at Island Bank by the Gas and Water Company, and by Mr James Falconer, teacher, the latter for the house occupied by him, and the offices and garden connected with it.

March 13.—The Rev. Robert Eden was consecrated Bishop of Moray and Ross in St Paul’s Episcopal Church, Edinburgh.

Ibid.—There is a notice of local contributions to the great Exhibition. Mr Macdougall, of the Tartan Warehouse, sent a large collection of goods, which included tartans, tweeds, shawls, Shetland wool, and native dyes; also fine specimens of Cairngorms lent by the Countess of Seafield, and a deer’s head, eagle, and heron from gentlemen in the county and in Ross-shire. Mr Mackillican, Piperhill, Nairn, despatched specimens of wheat and rye-grass seed. A model apparatus for measuring the girth of growing timber at any distance from the ground, invented by Mr Alexander Davidson, Whitemire, Darnaway, was forwarded by Dr Grigor, Nairn. An improved design in forceps used in dental surgery, and a new vehicle called the Victoria car, were contributed from Elgin, the one by Air Stewart, dentist, the other by Mr Andlepson, coachbuiilder. Three models were sent by Air Bremner, Wick, one showing the method by which he had floated the steamer Great Britain in Dun-drum Bay, another his plan for the construction of Lossiemouth Harbour, and the third his design for building harbours by caissons, showing how several hundred feet of harbour could be built in the caisson, then towed by steamers and placed on the intended site. “Our nearest local committee is that of Elgin, and to its accomplished secretary, Patrick Duff, Esq., the local contributors are much indebted.”

Ibid.—The principal tenants in Glen-Urquhart had formed themselves into a committee for the purpose of trying experiments in the growth of flax.—Sir John Macneill, of the Board of Supervision, had been entrusted by the Government with an inquiry into the condition of the Highlands. There was some revival of smuggling in the Highlands, and cases are reported in this and other issues.

March 20.—Some of the men from Barra who had come north found employment with Mr Mackintosh, Auchnacloich, near Nairn, and with Air Bain, builder, Inverness. There are notices of land reclamation at Drumin and Milton, near the cross roads, and at Culblair in the same neighbourhood.—Mr Dunbar, innkeeper at Lochinver, was sending to the Exhibition a large case of the game of Sutherland.— Mr Robert Anderson, Cooperhill, Darnaway, better known in later years as Mr Anderson of Lochdhu, was entertained at a public dinner at Nairn, and presented with handsome gifts. It is stated that the people of Nairn were chiefly indebted to him for the establishment of their corn market.

March 27.—The final report of the Edinburgh Highland Destitution Board was published, hut the accounts were delayed for professional examination. Only £1900 was now in the hands of the Committee, and they recommended tha^, £500 should he set apart for Shetland, and the remaining £1400 distributed over destitute districts for the relief of extreme cases of distress. In Sutherland, nineteen miles of the Loch-Laxford Road were formed, and a sum had been set apart to secure the completion of fifteen miles still to he made. In Waster Ross all the great lines of road undertaken by the proprietors in conjunction with the Board, extending to ninety miles, had been completed. Fourteen piers had been built in Wester Ross and ten in Skye. The advances made by boat crews in Skye had not proved remunerative. The committee, however, believed that they had succeeded in establishing a permanent hosiery trade in the island.

Ibid.—The solicitors of the Inverness bar asked Mr Fraser-Tytler, sheriff of the county, to sit for his bust. In complying, he said he had presided in the Court for forty-one years, and survived two generations of practitioners.

April 3.—The birth of an heir to Mr and Mrs Arthur Forbes of Culloden was celebrated by the tenantry on the estates. The child grew up to manhood, hut died in 1874, and the present Culloden (1909) is a grand-nephew of the proprietor of that date. He lives in Australia, and the property is managed by trustees.

April 10.—Sir John Macneill wrote a strong letter to the inspectors of poor in Skye insisting on the duty of providing relief for destitute persons, and intimating that if any person who had been refused relief should perish from want of food, the official would be liable to a charge of culpable homicide. The editor interpreted this as meaning that the destitute population of the Highlands and Islands was now committed to the unassisted care of the Parochial Boards. “The results we contemplate with alarm. Bad as the past condition of the Highlands has been, it must become rapidly worse under the pressure of such a weight. The effect of one year’s destitution falling upon the comparatively few solvent ratepayers in these districts will embarrass them deeply, and spread a depressing influence over all for years to come.

Ibid.—The small estate of Glenmoidart in the parish of Ardnamurchan, the property of Mr L. Chisholm, was put up for sale at £4500, and disposed of for £5050. The new proprietor’s name was not mentioned.

Ibid.—Sir John Macleod, C.B., K.C.H., died on the 2nd inst. He entered the army in 1793 as an ensign in the 78th Regiment, and served in Holland under the Duke of York. He commanded the 2nd Battalion of the 78th in the campaign in Flanders in 1814, and was in command of the brigade which carried the village of Mexem on 14th January of that year, on which occasion he was severely wounded. Sir John belonged to the Bernera family, and Mr Alexander Mackenzie states in his history of the Macleods that he was born 1766.

April 17 and 24.—Petitions against Papal aggression were extensively signed throughout the Highlands as well as in other parts of the country.—The Free Church congregation of Knockbain, in the Black Isle, had been eighteen months without a minister, and was now divided asi to the election of a successor. One half of the congregation had signed a call, but a large number, amounting nearly to another half, petitioned against it. The Synod of Ross resolved to remit the case to the Presbytery, with instructions to begin proceedings afresh, but appeal was taken to the General Assembly.

May 1 and 8.—The opening of the Great Exhibition is referred to in the first issue, and described at length in the second. The marriage of Lord Ward, then proprietor of Glengarry, to Miss Selins Constance de Burgh: of West Drayton, was celebrated by rejoicings on the estate.—In Inverness a number of young men had established a town missionary scheme supported by voluntary contributions. The first missionary was Mr Alacbeth, who long discharged the duties, and ultimately became a Free Church clergyman in the Island of Lews.—Dr John Tulloch, Professor of Mathematics in King’s College, Aberdeen, died on the 4th inst. He was a native of Caithness, and taught Latin in the Inverness Royal Academy before his appointment to King’s College in 1811.

May 15 and 22.—The long accounts of the Exhibition, written by a special correspondent, show what an impression the undertaking produced on the public mind. In the sculpture rooms the writer remarks a group of Francesca and Paolo, contributed by Mr A. Munro, Inverness. In the agricultural department he devotes special attention to the samples of wheat and perennial ryegrass seed grown by Mr Mackillican, Piperhill, Cawdor. “The wheat is of the white description of crop 1850. It was raised from newly improved land, previously not worth a shilling an acre. It was a first crop, the manure, 3 cwts. of Peruvian guano to the acre, and the produce was about five quarters per imperial acre, weighing 65 lbs. 1 oz. to the bushel. The ryegrass seed was the produce of the third year s crop, and its weight is enormously large, namely, 37 lbs. 3 oz. per bushel, ft carried the silver medal at last Inverness Show, besides a premium of £2 2s. What the foreign departments may produce in this branch of competition is not yet apparent, but among the few samples of ryegrass seed in this gallery there is none to compare with Mr Mackillican’s by 6 lbs. weight per bushel. Nor under the circumstances is his wheat beaten. The weight of the Windsor Home Farm wheat, shown by the Prince Consort, is not more than 66½ lbs.”

Ibid.—The Highland stall, bearing the name of D. Macdougall, Inverness, is described as occupying the finest site in the whole Exhibition, shaded by an old elm, whose green leaves sheltered and embraced the eagles that adorned the stall. Surmounted by a splendid deer’s head, with the two eagles on the side pillars, the stall with its tartans, brooches, Cairngorms, and tweeds made a brave show. The stall, says the writer, “attracts much notice among the many prominent points of the Exhibition, and I never went up to it without finding parties of the nobility examining, and apparently with interest, the multifarious contributions from many Highland homes which it presents.” Another Inverness contributor, Mr Masson, jeweller, sent a uniquely-mounted ram’s horn, a silver brooch, etc. Sir James Matheson sent from the Lews two pair of very fine hand-screens made from the feathers of Hebridean wild birds by Miss Cameron, Stornoway. Mr Dunbar’s wild animals and birds from Sutherland had an appropriate place.

Ibid.—The estate of Kinlochluichart was purchased by Mr Andrew Jardine, partner of Mr Alexander Matheson of Ardross, but the price is not mentioned. The estate of Letterfinlay, Loch-Lochy, was sold for £20,000. It is subsequently stated that the purchaser was Mr Henry J. Baillie, M.P. for the county.—A paragraph on antiquities mentions a curious horn, which had come into the possession of Captain Douglas, Scatwell. It was of large size, richly carved with acorns, flowers, and scrolls, and bore the date 1597. The relic appears to have been used as a sounding horn or trumpet, but it occasionally did duty as a drinking cup, a stopper being inserted at one end.—A specimen of the Iceland falcon, rare in this country, had been shot at Inverbroom.

May 29 and June 5.—The copious articles on the Exhibition are brought to a close on the latter date, having occupied many columns, which may yet be read with interest.—The Ness Islands were still without bridges, and efforts were suggested for raising money to erect them.

June 12.—The returns of the census taken on 31st March were now being published. The population of the burgh of Inverness was 12,667, being an increase of 1110 since 1841. The landward part of the parish gave a total of 3758, being a decrease of 103. The population of the county of Inverness was returned at 96,280, showing a decrease of 1212. This decrease occurred chiefly in the western parishes and islands.—The new market buildings at Elgin were opened for the transaction of business on the previous Friday.

June 19.—Daniel Grant, Manchester, a member of the firm drawn by Charles Dickens under the name of the brothers Cheeryble, died on the previous Thursday at his residence, Ramsbottom, near Bury. His elder brother, William, died about four years earlier. When boys they left Strathspey with their father for the manufacturing districts of England, and in process of time they became very prosperous. “Their benevolence was known throughout the manufacturing districts as well as their gre^t wealth, and it was an oft-quoted remark of the elder brother, ‘that the more money they gave away the more they made.'”—Dr Joseph Wolff, missionary and traveller, was at this time in the North preaching and delivering lectures. His adventurous journey to Bokhara in 1843 had created great interest.

June 26.—A party of emigrants had left Scrabster for Quebec. The Sutherland contingent wrote a letter to the Duke thanking him for paying their passage and providing comforts for themselves and their families during the voyage.—A movement in favour of protection was active all over the country. In this issue there is a correspondence on the subject between Mr W. H. Murray of Geanies and Sir James Matheson, member for Ross-shire.

July 3.—The foundation stone of what is now the Inverness United Free High Church was laid on the 1st inst. It was then called the new English Free Church. Before the ceremony service was conducted by the Rev. Charles Brown, New North Free Church, Edinburgh, in the church which was erected in Bank Street immediately after the Disruption. The foundation stone of the new church was laid by Mr Forbes of Culloden (Mr Arthur Forbes), after an address by the pastor of the congregation, Rev. Joseph Thorburn. “The weather was fine, and from the picturesque grouping of the people, with the river flowing closely past, the scene must have appeared to the passer beautiful and impressive.”

Ibid.—A Stornoway correspondent writes: — “Emigration has now for this season ceased, the last ship with her living cargo having left Loch-Roag on Saturday evening. In all upwards of 1000 persons, old and young, have shipped from here to America, and under circumstances which reflect the highest credit and honour on Sir James Matheson.” Sir James had foregone all arrears, taken the effects of the people at valuation, and transferred them free of expense across the Atlantic. He had also engaged to have them conveyed to any spot in Upper or Lower Canada which they might select. It is stated that most of the emigrants had friends and relations before them in com fortable circumstances.

Ibid.—There is an interesting paragraph about a brace of eagles and an eaglet captured by Mr Ross, gamekeeper at Gair-loch. On the third day of their captivity the parent birds showed remarkable tameness, the female feeding the young bird “with as much ease and freedom as if still at liberty in her native mountains.” The male bird weighed fully 9 lbs., and the female close on 11 lbs.—A meeting of shareholders in the Shrewsbury and Chester Railway was held at Inverness to promote an agreement with the London and North-Western Companies. The meeting was convened by a gentleman then well known in Inverness, Major-General Machines, who was accompanied by a few friends from London. Ultimately the shareholders preferred the Great Western alliance.

July 10.—A poor man in the parish of Snizort in Skye, a pauper, was reported by the medical officers to have died of starvation.

July 17.—At the Wool Market this year there was a rise of price for sheep of Is to Is 6d, and in some cases 2s above the previous year. Lambs showed ten per cent, of an advance. In wool there was a fall of from Is 6d to 2s per stone. A well-known salesman, Mr John Pagan, from Liverpool, died at Inverness a few days after the market, aged about sixty. "He was a native of Moffat, in Dumfriesshire, and an extensive farmer before he removed to Liverpool. For twenty-five years or more he never missed attending the Inverness market, purchasing each year stock to the amount of from £10,000 to £15,000. “No man ever had to complain of unfairness or of a shade of meanness on the part of John Pagan. He was a genuine Dandie Dinmont in sterling honesty and kindness of heart, as well as in his broad athletic frame and speech.”

Ibid.—The same issue records the death of the poet Wordsworth’s son-in-law, Edward Quiljinan, of Loughrigg Holme, near Ambleside, who had been a frequent contributor to the literary columns of the “Courier.” The deceased was the son of an English merchant in Oporto, and when the English residents were driven out of Oporto by the French in the Napoleonic War, he entered the British Army as a cornet of dragoons, and was actively engaged down to the termination of the war. “He quitted the service in 1821, and settled in the Lake country, near Rydal, the residence of his friend Wordsworth. He was twice married, and may be said in both instances to have been singularly felicitous and singularly unfortunate in his domestic life. His first wife, a daughter of Sir Egerton Brydges, was burned to death, ‘by flames caught at her own fireside,’ at the age of twenty-eight, leaving two daughters, the chosen favourites of Wordsworth in his walks and in his poetry. His second wife, Dora Wordsworth, the beloved daughter of the poet, died in 1847, a few years after their union, having shortly before published a Journal of a Few Months’ Residence in Portugal, whither she had gone in pursuit of health.”

July 24.—The ex-Queen of the French, Marie Amelia, the Duchess d’Orleans, the Prince de Joinville, and other members of their families and suite, visited the Highlands. The ex-Queen stayed at Oban, but the Duchess and her friends came through the Caledonian Canal to Inverness, and thence drove to Aviemore on their way to Blair Atholl.

Ibid.—The London correspondent says: — “There are many northern readers who will be glad to hear that Mr A. Munro, the sculptor, has been commissioned by Mr Gladstone, M.P., to execute for him in marble the group of Franoesca and Paolo Rimini, which is exhibited in the sculpture room of the Crystal Palace. I may add that Mr Munro’s work has excited great attention, and has been generally and favourably noticed. The ‘Spectator’ considered it by far the most promising work of the younger sculptors exhibited."

July 31.—Sir John Macneill’s report on the state of the Highlands had been presented to Parliament. It formed a blue-book of two hundred pages, and its contents led then and afterwards to much discussion. It was, however, satisfactory to be told that though much general suffering had been endured, no case of actual want of food could be discovered. The care of the people was now left to the parochial boards. Sir John concluded as follows:—“There is good reason to hope that this season will pass away, not certainly without painful suffering, but without the loss of life in consequence of the cessation of eleemosynary aid. But if henceforth the population is to depend for subsistence on the local resources, some fearful calamity will probably occur before many years unless a portion of the inhabitants of those parishes remove to where they can find the means of subsistence in greater abundance and with greater certainty than they can find them where they now are.” Sir John recommended extensive family emigration as a first step, leaving to those interested the subsequent measures for the permanent improvement of the people who remained, pointing to the granting of leases as likely to fostei industrious habits where the disposition existed, and the importance of improved education to remove false impressions and ideas from the minds of the Highland population. A measure to facilitate emigration was at once introduced by the Lord Advocate into Parliament, authorising the advance of money for the purpose to landlords on the principle of the Drainage Act, at the rate of 6j per cent.

Ibid.—The foundation stone of a new Free Church at Portree had been recently laid by the Rev. Mr Macleod, Snizort. The church was to be built at the expense of Miss Louisa Macdonald of Brighton, a lady connected with the Macdonald family. It was to accommodate 500 people, and to cost £800.—Mr Gabriel Reid, Gordon-bush, Sutherland, took ill on his way home from the Wool Market, and died at the house of his son-in-law in Tain. He was greatly respected, and much regretted.

Ibid.—Mr Gladstone’s letter to Lord Aberdeen on the cruelty of the King of Naples had been published, and was creating a profound impression.

Ibid.—The following paragraph in the London letter is of some length, but deserves to be quoted in full: —“There is a common pedestrian of London streets well known to all who are acquainted with their notabilities. He is a short, stout, sturdy, energetic man. He has a big round face, and large, staring and very bright hazel eyes. His hair is cut short, and his hat flung back on the crown of his head. His gait is firm and decided, with a little touch of pomposity. He is ever provided with an umbrella, which he swings and flourishes and batters on the pavement with mighty thumps. He seems generally absorbed in exciting and impulsive thought, the traces of which he takes no pains to conceal. His face works, his lips move and mutter, his eyes gleam and flash. Squat as is the figure, and not particularly fine the features, there is an unmistakeable air of mental power and energy, approaching to grandeur, about the man. He is evidently under the influence of the strong excitement of fiery thought. People gaze curiously at him, and stop to stare when he has passed. But he heeds no one—seems indeed to have utterly forgotten that he is not alone in his privacy, and pushes energetically on, unwitting of the many who stare and smile, or of the few who step respectfully aside, and look with curiosity' and regard upon Thomas Babington Macaulay. Occasionally, however, the historian and poet gives still freer vent to the mental impulses which appear to be continually working within him. A friend of mine lately recognised him dining in the coffee-room of the Trafalgar Hotel, at Greenwich—a fashionable whitebait house, which it appears he frequently patronises. He was alone, as he generally is, and the attention of more than one of the company was attracted by his peculiar muttering and fidgetiness, and by the mute gestures with which he ever and anon illustrated his mental dreamings. All at once—it must have been towards the climax of the prose or verse which he was working at in his mind—Mr Macaulay seized a massive decanter, held it a moment suspended in the air, and then dashed it down upon the table with such hearty good-will that the solid crystal flew about in fragments, while the numerous parties dining round instinctively started up and stared at the curious iconoclast. Not a whit put out, however, Mr Macaulay, who was well known to the waiters, called loudly for his bill to be made out at the bar, and then, pulling with a couple of jerks his hat and his umbrella from the stand, clapped the one carelessly on his head, and strode out flourishing the other.”

August 7.—The ex-Queen of France and party travelled from Oban to Inverness by steamer. They stayed a night at Banavie, and on their way through Loch-Ness visited the Falls of Foyers. The party remained for two days at the Caledonian Hotel, Inverness, and had excursions to the Falls of Kilmorack and Culloden Moor. The Queen returned by steamer to Oban, while the Duke of Nemours and the Prince de Joinville went north to visit Caithness and the Orkneys.

Ibid.—The Inverness Bridge Bill had passed its third reading in the House of Lords.— The Town Council had agreed to purchase from the Prison Board the old jail in Bridge Street at a valuation of £420, and intended to convert the lower flat- into shops.—The editor gives his annual paragraph on steamers and coaches. He mentions that a very fast and finely equipped new steamer, the Duke of Sutherland, “one of the quickest and most comfortable vessels afloat,” was plying to London. The Exhibition had reduced the ordinary number of English and Scottish tourists, but large contingents of foreigners, chiefly French and German, were visiting the Highlands, Street musicians were so numerous that it seemed as if “all the boys, the young men, and the old in Italy, not to speak of Italianised English and Irish,” had speculated in a musical excursion to Scotland.

Ibid.—Extensive emigration was going on from Barra and South Uist, the property of Colonel Gordon. Four ships were embarking the people, a thousand from South Uist, and five hundred from Barra. The vessels were apparently provided by the proprietor, but the Parochial Boards were furnishing the outfit.

August 14.—The list of shootings let, as published this year, numbers about 150. Besides sportsmen there was now an increase in the number of English tourists.—The new settlement of the Sollas crofters, undertaken by the Perth Committee, was not proving a success. The Committee said the people were indolent, but critics said that a fundamental error had been committed in placing the settlement too far from the shore. The season had also proved unfavourable.

August 21.—The search for Cairngorm stones was renewed in the mountains this season. It was believed that a good many stones had been found the previous year, but that few had enriched strangers. “To find a stray needle in a haystack is as easy a task as to search out a good crystal on Cairngorm.”

August 28.—The Rev. John Kennedy, of Hampstead, London, who had visited Skye, issued a report on the subject. He found that there was no risk of suffering for months to come, but he regarded the future as very dark. The Parochial Boards would not again carry out the exceptional measures they had recently taken, as their legality was doubtful; and he believed the Government scheme of emigration would prove a dead letter so far as Skye was concerned. The insuperable difficulty lay in this, that nearly the whole island was under trust, and it was not likely that the trustees would further burden the properties for emigration purposes. Meanwhile, however, a committee was (formed under the chairmanship of the local sheriff, Mr Fraser, to form a voluntary Emigration Association.—Mr Robert Brown, Hamilton, formerly a factor in Argyll and in Ross-shire, strongly recommended the cultivation of flax in the Highlands and Islands.

Ibid.—Alexander Macdonell of Milnfield died at Edinburgh on the 11th inst. He was Sheriff-Substitute of Wigtownshire for seventeen years, and his remains were interred in the churchyard of Wigtown.

September 4.—The London correspondent warmly defends the Highland crofters and cottars against charges brought by southern writers. He says—“When nearly all the valuable and productive grounds were taken away from the poor cottars, and given on lease in huge allotments to stock farmers with large capital, the former were left almost without a motive to exertion or industry of any kind. All their efforts could not extract food for their families from the miserable and barren pendicles allotted to them for their subsistence. Hence were generated the habits of idleness and apathy. It was of no use to work when work could not produce any beneficial result. No people can work better, or fight better, when there is occasion for it, than the Highland and Island Celts; they are kinder in their disposition, naturally much more graceful in their manners; with, bodies less bulky, it is true, but more active, and capable of enduring more fatigue and hardship than their burly neighbours in the Lowlands.” The writer’s proposals for amelioration were, first, emigration on a large scale ; second, the prosecution of fisheries on a better basis, helped by the colonisation of east coast fishermen; third, conversion of peat moss into charcoal and manure; and fourth, the cultivation of flax.

Ibid.—The Home Secretary, Sir George Grey, and Lady Grey, were cruising in northern waters, and paid a visit to the gorge of the Black Rock, at Novar, and to Fortrose Cathedral.—Mr Robert Harper, a Cambridge scholar, was elected rector of Inverness Royal Academy.

Ibid.—The United Presbyterian congregation at Nairn had adopted plans for a new church. The old building had been sold for 400 guineas, and Colonel Ketchen had contributed £200 to the building fund.

September 11.—The Mackintosh Trustees accepted an offer of £890 for the construction of an embankment and roadway from Kessock towards the Canal. “The proposed embankment is to begin at the roadway at Kessock Pier, and proceed towards the Canal, to the bank of which the road will be joined, should Mr Duff of Muir-town proceed with the embankment of that portion of the ground which belongs to his estate.”—The issue contains a notice of a pamphlet by Dr Mackenzie of Eilean-ach, replying to statements made by Sir John Macneill in his report on the Highlands.

Ibid.—An extensive series of thefts of sheep had been going on in Badenoch. At length a lot of twenty sheep was sold to a flesher in Campbelltown, and as they bore the marks of a Badenoch sheep farm, the seller was apprehended. He had gone about his business -with great deliberation, having apparently gathered a large drove.

September 18.—Reaping machines were much talked of about this time. It is stated in this issue that in course of a few days there would be a dozen new reaping machines in operation in Easter Ross.

September 25.—There are long and interesting extracts from an article on the Highlands and the Exhibition which had appeared, with pictorial embellishments, in the “Illustrated London News.” The writer, evidently Mr A. B. Reach, had taken his text from the Highland stall.

Ibid.—The Northern Meeting of the previous week presented the usual features. “A number of the chiefs and other gentlemen wore the dress of the clans. Air Roualeyn Cumming was particularly distinguished by the singularity of the costume he wore, and his popularity amongst the townspeople was abundantly evidenced during the Meeting by the admiring crowds who followed whenever and wherever he appeared.”

Ibid.—“We understand that arrangements have been completed for the purchase of the property known as Castle Tolmie, the removal of which is rendered necessary by the nature of the proposed new bridge and approaches.”

Ibid.—The “Courier” had an excellent correspondent in Skye, who sent many interesting notes during the year. In this issue he gives an account of a visit to the settlement of Sollas crofters in North Uist, which was called New Perth, as it was carried out at the expense of a Perth Committee. The results are again reported as altogether unsatisfactory. Tile correspondent thinks that the people had laboured well, but they had an exceedingly poor subject to work upon. “Either the place is quite unsuited for the purpose, or the nature of the soil has been entirely misunderstood by the person in charge of the affair; for such a display of failure in the first instance, I should think, has never been witnessed anywhere.” The writer thinks that the money laid out, at least £1000. would have been much better employed in sending the people to some of the colonies, or in paying the arrears of their rent at Sollas, and helping them to improve their stock and crofts.

October 2.—Mr Joseph Hume, M.P., who has been described as “one of the most practical reformers in a reforming age,” was on a visit to Redcastle, and was presented by the Inverness Town Council with the freedom of the burgh. The ceremony took ‘place in the Northern Meeting Rooms, and Mr Hume delivered a long speech.—The Industrial Society in Sutherland held a show of home manufactures in Sutherland. Plaids, flannels, druggets, and socks formed the staple of the exhibition. A show of cattle and home-mades was also held at Lochinver.

October 9.—There is a column of “closing notes” on the great Exhibition. The writer regrets that but for Mr Macdougall’s stall, which was universally allowed to be most creditable to him, the Highlands were practically unrepresented. “With the exception of a few pavement slabs from Caithness, of an indifferent collection of granites from Argyllshire, and of the metallic ores in Lord Breadalbane’s mines, and of the lead mines at Strontian, belonging to Sir James M. Riddell, there is nothing in the great Exhibition to indicate that the North of Scotland contains anything curious or suited for the use of man.'’ The writer contrasts with this the vases, cisterns, and polished slabs sent from Sweden, Wales, and Cornwall.

October 9 and 16.—Lieutenant-General Sir Hugh Fraser of Braelangwelf died there on the 6th inst. Sir Hugh was a son of Commissary Fraser, of Inverness, and went early to India, where he achieved distinction. “Some years after his return home, he became proprietor of Braelangwell, iii Cromartyshire, which he made the place of his residence, and which, by a judicious expenditure of money, he greatly improved and enhanced in value.” He is described as a single-hearted, honourable man.

October 23.—Notwithstanding the recent complaint about the Highlands and the Exhibition, the editor notes that the North did not come off without honour. Mr D. Macdougall had received a prize medal for his display of native industries, and Mi Mackillican, Piperhill, Cawdor, one for his sample of wheat. The jury also considered his ryegrass seed an extraordinary sample, but no exhibitor could receive more than one prize medal. Messrs Bremner and Sons. Wick, had received honourable mention for tbeir plan of keeping out the sea while harbour works were going on; and J. Gordon the same for an anatomical model in ivory. The latter was a native of Nairn though long resident elsewhere. Notice was also taken of J. Sinclair, Thurso, for Forss pavement. Mr Masson, jeweller, Inverness, had sent contributions, which appeared under the name of Lister and Son, Newcastle, and that firm had received a medal.

October 23 and 30.—The “Quarterly Review” had an article on the religious class in the Highlands known as “The Men,” founded on two recent publications, one on the Church in the Far North, by Investigator, and the other “Notes on the Construction of Sheep Folds,” by John Ruskin. The London correspondent gives a series of extracts from the review in the issue of the 23rd. On the 30th there ij, a vigorous reply to the strictures of the reviewer, written by a Highland minister.

October 30.—Mr Patrick Sellar of Ardtornish, whose name is associated with the clearances in the early part of the nineteenth century in the county of Sutherland, died at Elgin on the 28tli inst., in the seventy-third year of his age. He was an extensive sheep farmer, proprietor of the estates of Ardtornish and Acharn. in Argyllshire, and also of the small estate of Westfield, near Elgin, which he had inherited from his father. Mr Sellar was one of the original founders of the Inverness Wool Fair, and a man of great energy and perseverance. It is stated that no one could meet him even accidentally without being struck with the vigour and originality of his mind. “It is a curious fact in the life of a gentleman so conspicuous for his knowledge and success in the rearing of stock that he was bred to the law, and became a sheep farmer by a sort of accident. His father was one of eight Morayshire proprietors who bought Burghead, and built a harbour there. They established a packet vessel to sail between Burghead and Sutherland, and in the first trip of the vessel in May 1809, Mr Sellar embarked to see the terra incognita of Sutherland. One of the parties in this scheme was the late Mr William Young, who was also commissioner or manager for the then Marquis of Stafford. Mr Sellar was related to Mr Young, and being delighted with the appearance of the country, he gladly obtained a sheep farm, and relinquished the pursuit of the law." In private life Mr Sellar was an agreeable companion, ever lively and acute, and well-informed on the literature and public questions of the day.

Ibid.—A monumental fountain, erected at Golspie to the memory of the late Duchess-Countess of Sutherland, had just been completed. The memorial was mainly of blue granite, with vase and upper basin of red granite. Contributions to the amount of £700 had been given by all classes in the county.

Ibid.—Mr Lewis, “a gentleman of colour," had been giving expositions of electro-biology or mesmerism in Inverness and other northern towns His experiments created great astonishment.

Ibid.—Kossuth, the Hungarian orator and patriot, had been liberated by the Porte, and came with his family to England. On coming ashore at Southampton he shook hands with the Mayor, and other friends, and exclaimed—“Ah, now, I feel I am free. I am free when I touch your soil.”

November 6.—A Greenock paper announces the death of Mr Mackenzie, a member of the firm of Messrs Stevenson, Mackenzie, and Brassey, the eminent contractors, who died at Liverpool, in his 57th year. Mr Mackenzie was a native of Ross-shire, and spent part of the previous season at Strathpeffer Spa.

Ibid.—At a meeting of the Inverness Farmer Society a report was read in favour of the cultivation of flax. Some of the members, however, who had either tried experiments or knew of them, suggested caution. Mr Gentle Dell, said that flax was a deteriorating crop, and far from remunerative.

November 6 and 13.—Information was lodged with the police that a forged cheque for £150, purporting to be signed by the Duke of Buccleuch, had been passed by a lady visitor in the Isle of Man, and that a vessel on which she was travelling was expected to pass through the Caledonian Canal. The vessel came to Inverness, and the lady, who was accompanied by relatives, was apprehended, and remitted, in charge of an officer, to the Isle of Man.

November 20.—A monument was erected in the churchyard of Dingwall to Captain Donald Maclennan, a citizen who died in 1848. He had a remarkable career in the Indian and South Seas before he settled down in his native town, and an account of the adventures of himself and his brothers is given in this issue. Captain Maclennan purchased the site of the ancient Castle of the Earls of Ross, and erected on it the present house, which is known as Dingwall Castle.

November 27.—Five fishermen were drowned at Nairn by the upsetting of a boat, when they were making for the mouth of the river. They had attempted to enter in a north wind, without shortening 6ail, with the result that the boat was caught broadside, and capsized.—A communicated article on “The Laigh of Gruinard” is another contribution to discussion on the condition of the Highlands.

December 4.—The Great North of Scotland Railway Company was now moving for the construction of a line between Aberdeen and Inverness, and had entered into provisional contracts for the purpose. They did not expect, however, to make the line at the time beyond Keith.—Contractors had already commenced operations on the line from Elgin to Lossiemouth.

Ibid.—Record is made of the death of Mr Colin Alexander Mackenzie at his house in Hyde Park, London, in the 73rd year of his age. He was a native of London, but his grandfather had been a bailie of Dingwall. In 1810 he was sent by the British Government to Morlaix to negotiate an exchange of prisoners with Napoleon, and was afterwards employed in other missions. Mr Mackenzie left a sum of money to establish a museum and library in Dingwall.

Ibid.—Mr Thomas Morrison, headmaster of the Free Church Institution in Inverness, had just been appointed rector of the Free Church Normal School, Glasgow. He had been successful in his work in Inverness, and for many years thereafter discharged his duties in Glasgow with distinction.

December 11.—There had been a municipal crisis in Dingwall, resulting in the resignation of Provost Ross and five councillors. The remaining councillors, in filling up the vacancies, promoted Sir James Matheson, who had been an honorary burgess, to the status of a full burgess, and then proceeded to elect him as Provost of the burgh.

Ibid.—The cowp d’etat of Napoleon in France is the exciting topic of public interest. For months the state of affairs had been such that some strong step on the part of the President was expected. It may be .noted that Marshal Soult, the first Napoleon’s famous officer, died only a few days before the third Napoleon struck his revolutionary blow

December 18.—Mr Thomas Fraser of Eskadale, Paris correspondent of the “Morning Chronicle,” had been ordered to leave France on account of his letters commenting on the proceedings of Napoleon and his associates. A remonstrance, however, was signed by the British residents, and Mr Fraser was allowed to remain.

Ibid.—Throughout the year there had been frequent references to the movement for the adoption by women of the costume known as “Bloomerism,” which originated in America, and crossed the ocean. At length a lady appeared in the costume in Lowe’s Hall, Inverness, and delivered a lecture in advocacy of the so-called reform. Her appearance, however, in a short skirt, or kilt, and wide Turkish trousers, did not commend the innovation.

December 18 and 25.—A whale made itself at home for a week in the narrows of Kessock Ferry and neighbourhood without being captured. Boats did not venture to approach it close enough to drive it ashore. At length it grounded on a bank between Redcastle and Charlestown, and a Clachnaharry crew were the first to approach, and succeeded in killing it.

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