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The Northern Highlands in the Nineteenth Century
No. 4

The year 1845 is of exceptional interest both in national and local affairs. It was the year that formed the turning point in the fortunes of Sir Robert Peel’s Government, which entered on office with such confidence and enthusiasm in 1841. At the opening of the session of 1845 Mr Gladstone had to explain why he had resigned office as President of the Board of Trade. Sir Robert Peel had made up his mind to propose an increased grant to the Maynootli Catholic College in Ireland; and though Mr Gladstone did not personally disapprove of this, he had expressed different views in his book on Church and State, and retired rather than expose himself to the charge of interested motives. Before the year was out he had returned as Secretary for the Colonies in a reconstructed Ministry. The features in the political history of the first six months of the year consisted in the debates on the Maynootli grant (which was carried), in a Budget which made a further step in a Free Trade direction, and in debates and legislation on Scottish questions, which included the Bank Act and the Poor Law Act. The passing of the latter Act was preceded by a report which threw painful light on many aspects of Scottish poverty.

As the winter approached a critical situation arose. There had been a cold, damp summer and a poor harvest generally, rather better, however, in the Highlands than in the rest of the country. Towards the end of autumn a potato famine was seen to be imminent. Disease on an extensive scale had appeared at home and abroad, most of all in Ireland, where a large and congested population depended on potatoes for their food supply. Distress sprang up almost at once, and threatened to spread to an alarming extent. Peel saw that corn must be admitted duty free. He made the proposal at a Cabinet meeting on the 1st of November, but found support only from three of his colleagues, Lord Aberdeen, Sir James Graham, and Sir Sidney Herbert. On 22nd November Lord John Russell published a letter declaring in. favour of free trade in corn. On 8th December Sir Robert Peel tendered his resignation, and Lord John Russell was asked to form a Government. He failed to do so, chiefly because Earl Grey declined to serve with Lord Palmerston; but even if this had not happened, Lord John could have done little without a dissolution of Parliament, and after that might have found the opposing forces too strong for him. The result was that Peel returned to office with a free hand, and supported by all his colleagues in the Cabinet except Lord Stanley, whom Mr Gladstone succeeded at the Colonial Office.

The year was remarkable for the extraordinary rush of railway schemes, involving hundreds of millions of capital. Warning voices were heard, but were little heeded. In the Northern Counties we had schemes for railways from Inverness to Perth, from Elgin to Inverness, from Aberdeen to Inverness, from Inverness northwards through Ross-shire, and as far as Wick and Thurso. The trunk lines were to be supplied with branches. None of these projects came to fruition at the time, but the leading routes were adopted in subsequent years. In 1845, however, hopes ran nigh, and there was enormous activity among lawyers, engineers, and promoters. Directors had the privilege of making their selection from the crowds of applicants for shares. It was while this excitement was fermenting that the potato famine fell on the country. The Northern Highlands escaped the visitation in 1845, and so did the coast of the Moray Firth. But in Perthshire, Fifeshire, Lanark, and some of the Southern Counties the crop suffered severely, and neither Forfarshire nor Aberdeenshire was exempt. The notes that appear in the newspaper files on this subject and on the position of the Government, enable us to see the situation with contemporary eyes.

The year is memorable in other respects in the North. Notices had been issued for an extensive removal of small tenants in Ross-shire, including those of Glencalvie in Kincardine. The “Courier” was the first paper to draw attention to the serious state of affairs, and the subject was taken up in Parliament. The “Times” sent down a Commissioner, who reported his impressions. In our columns during the year there is a great amount of material, official and nonofficial which illustrates the condition of the people, not only at the time, but during the former part of the century.

Improvements in agriculture went eagerly forward at this time, the prospects being considered good. Scientific lectures fostered the movement as they are doing at present. There was also a good deal written about afforestation, especially in the way of exhibiting profitable results. A project was on foot for erecting a northern lunatic asylum by private effort, considerable sums being promised in subscriptions. Preparations were also being made at the close of the year for the administration of the new Scottish Poor Law Act.

An adjourned meeting of the Free Church Assembly, held at Inverness in August, proved a subject of great interest in the Highlands.

From the “Inverness Courier-”

January 1.—Lieutenant-Colonel Macpherson, youngest son of Mr Lachlan Macpherson, Ralia, Badenoch, died on 16th October in Cevlon. He entered the army as ensign in 1808, and served in the Peninsular war and in Bumiah. “This officer was the first to enter the tower of the Castle of Badlajos, and although badly wounded at the escalade, climbed up the flagstaff and captured the French colour, and was desired by the late Sir Thomas Picton to present it to the Duke of Wellington. In consequence he received the personal thanks of these two great generals.” General Stewart of Garth says that on this occasion Macpherson headed the forlorn hope, “ and planted a soldier’s red jacket on the crest of the enemy’s citadel.”—The same issue records the death at Creich, in Sutherland, of Lieut. -Colonel Campbell, an officer who fought at Corunna and in the Peninsular war under Wellington. He was a native of Halkirk, in Caithness. “It is a most remarkable fact that although engaged during service in about thirty battles he never received a single scar. Once a ball penetrated his saddle, and on another occasion a ball went through his cap, and in neither instance did *be least injury to him.”

January 8.—Dense fogs prevailed throughout the greater part of England and Scotland, but were “ almost unknown ” in Inverness. During a frost which had just passed away Loch-indorb had been frozen over.—Lord Lovat was employing a. teacher in Strathglass to instruct the people in the elements of agricultural chemistry.

January 22.—At a meeting of Academy directors, the rector, Mr Gray, resigned office, as he had been appointed to the Chair of Natural Philosophy in Marischal College, Aberdeen. Legal action had been threatened against the Town Council for non-payment of its contribution to the Academy. A compromise was now approved of, namely, that the Council should) pay £70 a year and an annuity of £11 heritably secured as the interest of arrears.

Ibid.—Sir Colin Mackenzie, Bart, of Kilcoy, died at Belmaduthy in his 64th year. “He discharged the duties of Vice-Lieutenant and Convener of the county of Ross in a manner that secured the approbation of all parties.” The next issue states that his remains were interred at Killearnan, and that the funeral was attended by fully four thousand persons.

Ibid.—Lime-works were in operation at Easter Moniack, the product of which was certified! to be good both for agricultural and building purposes.—A fresh series of extracts begins from the Wardlaw Manuscript.

January 29.—Illicit distillation showed some signs of reviving. “It appears that there are still parties who roam among the rocks making a livelihood by defrauding the revenue and evading the law.”

February 5 and 12.—There was a good deal of comment on the resignation by Mr Gladstone of the office of President of the Board' of Trade. He is represented by the London correspondent as Sir Robert Peel’s “best ally in the House of Commons—his right hand man —the exponent and advocate-in-cliief of his commercial policy.” The resignation was due to the Prime Minister’s intention to increase the grant to Maynooth College, Ireland. Long articles appear in these and subsequent issues on the condition and claims of the poor.

February 12.—Dr Allan, Forres, had propounded a plan for penny receipt stamps, and expanded his scheme into a proposal for abolishing the existing system of taxation, “substituting in its place direct taxation on the money every man receives.” The phrase “tariff reform” was in common use at this time.

February 19.—Sir Robert Peel’s Budget was liberal and important. It swept off taxes that yielded a revenue of £3,338,000, including a reduction of about three halfpence per pound on sugar, and the entire abolition of the duties on cotton, wool and glass, on sales by auction, on coal, and on various minor articles.

Ibid.—“Our readers are aware that the parish of Daviot has now been vacant for several years, with the exception of a short period, during which it was filled) by Mr Clark, who, in May last, was called to Dunoon. We are happy to be able to report that the vacancy has at length been supplied, the Presbytery of Inverness, as patrons jure devoluto, having issued a presentation in favour of the Rev. P. Mac-ichan, late of Canada.”

Ibid.—The Rev. Dr Ro^e, of the High Church, Inverness, on the completion of the fiftieth year of his ministry, was presented with a tea and coffee service, salver, &c. The articles cost about £200 Ibid.—A paper on the plantations of Lamington and Lairg, forming part of the forest of Balnagown, Ross-shire, was prepared for the Highland Society by Mr Grigor, solicitor, Invergordon. The two plantations covered 1200 acres imperial, and were founded about the year 1774 or 1775. It was calculated that the total return for the period came to £43,626, giving a gross return of £35 10s 5d per acre, and over the period of seventy years, affording a rent of 10s per acre for the land—'“a result highly calculated to induce proprietors to plant their uplands even with Scots fir.” February 26.—A meeting was held at Elgin to promote a scheme for the construction of a railway between Elgin and Inverness. Opinion was in favour of it in other northern towns. An Inverness county meeting resolved to petition in favour of a line from London to York, which was known as the “Direct Northern Railway,” and was considered preferable to other schemes.

March 5.—The duel between Mr Disraeli and Sir Robert Peel had) begun. The London correspondent describes the scene when Mi Disraeli taunted the Prime Minister on his supposed defection from Canning; and applied to him the memorable taunt that the right hon. gentleman caught the Whigs bathing and walked away with their clothes.

“This felicitous expression was caught up by the He use at once, and roars on roars of laughter followed.” Peel declined to reciprocate personalities. “I have no intention of adopting such a course, but if I had I must say that the hon. gentleman possesses a great advantage over me, possessing as he does so much leisure to prepare his sudden attacks.” The correspondent observes that Peel spoke with much feeling, “but with none of those backward glances at the Tory bene lies that used to be so successful in days of yore. That day has gone by.”

Ibid.—The publication of extracts from the Wardlaw Manuscript had “revived a sort of antiquarian zeal in the north.” One of the results was that Mr Robertson of Inshes submitted to the editor a large mass of papers, the collections of the family from 1448, from which he was allowed to make gleanings. The articles based on these papers extend over two issues. They include many items of interest.

March 12.—Skye was interested in what was called Highland! guano, consisting of considerable quantities of goat and sheep dung found in caves and crevices of rocks on the farm of Scorrybreck. The application of this manure had proved very successful, and only small doses were required.

March, 19.—The project of erecting a lunatic asylum for the use of the five Northern Counties was again under consideration. Northern proprietors promised handsome subscriptions. A sum of £22l)0 had been subscribed.

Ibid.—In course of a fight with native tribes in Kolapore, a brave young officer, Lieut. Campbell, of the 3rd! Europeans, was shot in a narrow defile choked with bushes. He was at some distance from his men. When they were able to reach him they found his body defended by a single rifleman of the 16th Native Infantry ((Madras), who had kept the enemy at bay for half-an-hour. The tribesmen were in the habit of mutilating the dead, and the gallant Sepoy was determined to save Campbell's body from outrage.

March 26.—Mr Disraeli declared at this time that in his opinion “Protection appeared to be in about the same condition as Protestantism in 1828.” He considered the Conservative Government to be “an organised hypocrisy ”—

Mr Morrison, the member for Inverness, introduced resolutions into the House of Commons on the necessity for establishing some control as to prices over railway companies. Prospectuses are advertised by the promoters of the Inverness and Elgin Railway, and by “the Great North of Scotland Railway,” on behalf of a line between Aberdeen and Inverness. The Board of Trade had! reported in favour of the line from Aberdeen to the South.

Ibid.—Recently there died at Hedgefield, Inverness, Lieut.-Colonel William Mackay, late of the 68th Light Infantry. In this issue a sketch is given of his career. He joined the army as an ensign in 1803, and went through the Walcheren expedition and the Peninsular war. In an action which preceded the battle of Salamanca, Mackay displayed extraordinary valour and had a remarkable escape. Napier in his History says—“In this skirmish an officer of the 68th, Mackay, being suddenly surrounded, refused to surrender, and fighting singly against a multitude, received more wounds than the human frame was thought capable of sustaining, yet he still lives to show his honourable scars.” Our paragraph states that the scars were indeed numerous and severe. “The brave officer received no less than twenty-two bayonet wounds, one of which entered his body below the heart and passed through his ribs; by another attack he was rendered powerless, the bayonet passing through his face and carrying off part of the jaw and teeth. His recovery was slow and doubtful, but Colonel Mackay was afterwards employed with his regiment in America., and continued in the 68th until his retirement on half-pay in 1821.”

Ibid.—The London correspondent writes—“ The deputation from your good town, whoin you have sent up to push the affair of the Grampian railway, are progressing manfully in their labours. Immediately upon their arrival they put themselves in communication with some of the most influential men in the railway world, from whom, lam authorised to say, both they and their scheme met with a most favourable reception. I can state, too, upon the highest authority, that the deputation are confident that, in the course of a week, every share in the undertaking will be subscribed for. The

Great North of Scotland line is getting to be a favourite one in the share market. This is the last day for receiving applications for shares, and the speculators aro pouring them in rapidly.” A paragraph states that the capital stock of the Inverness and Elgin Railway had been subscribed for to the amount of £2,193,040, being £1,893,000 above the required capital

April 9.—Peel’s bill for increasing the Maynootli grant to £30,000 was approved on the first reading by a majority of 102. It was obvious that this settled! the principle.

Ibid.—Railway schemes remain in the front. The Inverness and Perth Railway had been ushered in with the support of an array of influential names, “which insure it undoubted success.” The advice is given to lodge prompt application for shares. “London has demanded one-half of the capital, and the proprietors of the Caledonian and Scottish Central Railways have so deep an interest in the project that we believe not more than ten or twelve thousand shares can be reserved! for the general Scottish public.” An Aberdeen paper states that the applications for the shares of the Great North of Scotland v ere so numerous that only one-seventh could be granted.

April 16.—There was a proposal toi establish railway communication between Inverness and Tain. Meantime the steamer “ Duchess of Sutherland ” was conducting a satisfactory trade between the North and London. “ The last trip of the ‘Duchess’ cairied to London a goodly cargo of Highland products—49 fine large cattle of the Highland and shorthorn breeds, 230 sheep, 220 pigs, 100 packages of dead meat, and some fine ponies, with a vast quantity of eggs, haddocks, lobsters (from Burghead), and several boxes of salmon. The demand for dried haddocks seems greatly on the increase, and. in a former passage the ‘Duchess’ took no less than 300 barrels. By calling at the intermediate ports of Cromarty, Invergordon, and Burghead, the vessel affords facilities for different districts disposing of their surplus produce, and the people are becoming keenly alive to the advantages they thus possess. Burghead is still the staple port for fat beasts, but our Ross-shire friends are rapidly expanding their operations, and their stock is well known and highly prized in Smithfield. The rearing of pigs for the South may be pronounced almost a new trade in many of our Highland localities. The people used to entertain a sort of Jewish antipathy to pork, and toi the whole genus swine; but they now find that the pig is by no means an unproductive consumer, and that he is both easily fed and easily sold. In the matter of passengers, too, the ‘Duchess’ is a public advantage to the North. In three days, for the cost of exactly £4 3s, the tourist is conveyed from Inverness to London—his table is furnished sumptuously; his attendance as good as can be enjoyed at any hotel; and his accommodation altogether of a superior class. We venture to prophecy that at no distant day the traffic along this line will call for another vessel.”

Ibid.—“We understand that upwards of four hundred tenants have this year received notices to quit in the counties of Ross and Cromarty—making at the average rate of five individuals to a family a population of probably not less than two thousand persons. Whether this extensive number of removals is, partly or in whole, mere shiftings of the population for the purpose of improved arrangements, or the entire ejection of small tenants, we have not ascertained, but the fact of the notices being served is undoubtedly correct.”

April 23.—li The Maynooth Bill occupied the House of Commons all last week.” This was the debate on the second reading. Among the memorable speeches was that of Macaulay, who attacked Sir Robert Peel, but supported the bill. It was in this speech that he used the expression, ‘‘ Exeter Hall sets up its bray.” He said that he supported the bill “regardless of the obloquy that may be poured upon me, and regardless of the risk I well know I run of losing my seat in Parliament. Obloquy I will meet; as to my scat in Parliament, I will never hold it by an ignominious tenure, and I am sure I could never lose it in a more honourable cause.” The second reading was carried by a majority of 147, and the bill afterwards passed through the further stages.

April 30.—Sir Robert Peel introduced his measure dealing with Soottish banking. It had been anticipated with some apprehension, but people breathed freely when they found that the issue of one-pound notes was to be retained.

Ibid.—Mr Peter Wilson, Professor of Natural Philosophy and Mathematics in Anderson’s College, Glasgow, had been appointed Rector of the Inverness Royal Academy. The appointment was made on the joint recommendation of Lord Moncrieff and Lord Cockbum, who had been requested to make the selection.

May 7.—In a previous issue there was a quotation from the “Elgin Courant” stating that a destructive disease had broken out among grouse, and that by the sides of streams they were often found lying dead in pairs. The editor of the “Courier” having made inquiry on the subject, observes that the disease, whatever it might be—and it was possibly tape-worm—affected only a limited area. “Except on one little spot, where a few dead birds are reported to have been found, adjoining that part of the country where the disease is destructive, all our information goes to prove that a fuller or better conditioned stock has seldom been seen on the lower grounds.

Ibid.—A Berwick paper announces the death of Mr James Balfour, who, by the purchase of the Strathconan property, became connected with the North. “He was a younger son of the family of Balbimie, in Fife, and early in life proceeded to India as a merchant, where he accumulated a large fortune, and returned to this country in 1813. In 1816 he purchased the estate of Whittinghame from Mr Hay of Drummelzier, and at different times afterwards he bought the estate of Blaekcastle, in East Lothian; Plendeigast and Butterdean, in Berwickshire; Balconie, Fifeshire; and Strathconan, in Ross-shire—so that for lane I alone he must have paid! from £700,004 to £800,000, and has died, without doubt, one of the wealthiest commoners of Scotland. Mr Balfour married in 1814 a daughter of the Earl of Lauderdale, by whom he had seven children, of whom four survive their parent. J M. Balfour, Esq., M.P. for the Haddington District of Burghs, is heir to his immense landed property. Mr Balfour was twice in Parliament as representative for the county of Haddington.’

Ibid.—An account of a “Highland gathering” in London, a dinner in aid of the funds of the Highland School Society, is an interesting sketch, still worth reading. The Marquis of Lorne (late Duke of Argyll) was in the chair.

May 14.—The Poor Law (Scotland) Bill was introduced, and' was received with mixed feelings. The necessity fur a poor-rate was questioned in many quarters. Mr Dempster of Skibo argued that the burden would amount to 37 per cent, on the income of Highland proprietors. His fears, however, were thought to be groundless, or at least exaggerated.

Ibid.—There is a notice of a memoir of Thomas Simpson, the Arctic explorer, written by his brother, Alexander Simpson. He was a son of the parish schoolmaster of Dingwall, who was also a magistrate of the burgh.

Ibid.—Mr Levis Maciver, known as of Gress, in the Lews, died on the 26th ult., at the age of 63. He was a leading man in the island, remarkable for energy and enterprise. His funeral was the occasion of a large gathering of islanders, who carried the bier a distance of eight miles to the burying-ground. The late Evander Maciver, Soomrie, was one of his sons.

Ibid.—General Sir Lewis Grant had purchased the old castle and grounds at Forres. In course of digging, workmen came upon portions of the old wall at eighteen inches below the surface. According to the “Forres Gazette,” the foundations showed that the Castle was of much larger extent than was indicated by the remains above ground. “The ancient foundation-wall, which is of run lime and small stones, yet as firm as a rock, extends on the north in a direct line from east to west, 26 yards. It Is 6 feet thick, and has included an area of 200 by 100 feet. On the outside of this was a parapet wall between 4 and 5 feet high; and at 20 feet distant, still further to the outside, another parapet of 3 or 4 feet; a third wall skirted the moat which surrounded the castle, access to which probably was obtained by a draw-bridge at the east. The western approach has been defended by strong angular turrets at the corners, as shown by the foundations. The old orchard, in close proximity to the castle at the south, was four acres in extent, and till within the last half-century was well furnished with fruit trees, some of them so extremely old as to warrant the supposition that they had furnished dessert to the royal table! The grounds were also intersected with ash, elm, and sycamore trees of a hoar antiquity, which were sold by the proprietor, and, along with others, cut down by a wood-merchant from Aberdeen fifty years ago, and the royal garden converted into an arable field. At the southwest corner the workmen employed levelling the present public road some years ago dug tip immense quantities of bones, intermingled with the antlers of various kinds of deer, which had doubtless afforded sport to our native sovereigns in the royal forests of Stronakaltyr and Tarnaway.”

Ibid.—The same issue records the discovery of a stone cist, composed of six rough flags, in a sand-bank about three feet below the surface on the farm of Cuthberton of Delnies, two miles west of Naim. The coffin was five feet six inches long, three feet broad, and two feet deep, and contained a quantity of bones and two small urns “elaborately ornamented.” The bones included two skulls, which were supposed to be those of a male and' female.

May 21.—Mr William Laidlaw, famous as the friend, factor, and amanuensis of Sir Walter Scott,' died at Contin on the 18th inst. “He was the life and animating spirit of that interesting and classical property [Abbotsford] from 1817 till the death of Scott in 1832, when the curtain fell on what might be considered a brilliant pageant, or dream of the morning, ending abruptly in blackness and desolation. Mr Laidlaw afterwards removed to the North, where his two excellent and affectionate brothers have been long resident as tenants of large pastoral farms; and he was engaged successively as factor on the estates of Seaforth and Balnagown, both in Ross-shire. His health at length gave way, and he retired to Contin. His time was occupied in reading and studying botany, in which, as in most rural matters, he was a great enthusiast; but he declined all efforts to engage him in writing a domestic life of Scott, or record of his intimacy with him. for which he might seem to be peculiarly well qualified. His thoughts and recollections, however, were seldom long absent from that memorable period of his life. He loved to dwell on the warm benevolence and kindness of his great friend, on his marvellous genius and unconquerable spirit, and one of the last sensations which death tore from the breast of William Laidlaw was the image of his beloved Abbotsford.” Mr Laidlaw was 65 years of age. He was the author of a pathetic Scottish ballad, “Lucy’s Flittin,” which still finds a place in anthologies.

Ibid.—A column and a-half on forestry shows that the subject was then, as full of interest as it is at the present day.—Professor Gray, on quitting Inverness Academy, was entertained to a dinner in the Caledonian Hotel.—Mr Evander Maciver, agent for the Caledonian Bank in Dingwall, had been appointed factor for the Duke of Sutherland at Scourie. He was succeeded at Dingwall by his younger brother, Mr Lewis Maciver, formerly of Liverpool.—Mr Dougal, who had recently become proprietor of Glenferness, on the banks of the Findhorn, was making many improvements. A new mansion-house was nearly finished.

May 28.—Attention had been directed in the House of Commons to the statement that four hundred tenants in the shires of Ross and Cromarty including with their families probably four thousand persons, had been served with summonses of removal. The Home Secretaiy, Sir James Graham, while he condemned such proceedings, expressed the hope that the statement was greatly exaggerated. The editor says there was no exaggeration, but rather an under-statement. He gives lists of tenants and sub-tenants showing that the total number was 430, but adds that he understands that a large proportion of those who had been summoned were to be continued in their farms. He also gives a history of some former evictions, or proposals of eviction, including the case of Glen-Calvie, in the parish of Kincardine, in Ross-shire. The first attempt at evicting these tenants occurred in 1842. There were only four tenants recognised by the landlord, but there were fourteen sub-tenants, making up a population of about ninety souls. They were warned out again in 1844, and this year (1845) they had to quit their possessions. The “Times” sent down a. correspondent to inquire into the whole situation, and this issue contains his letter on the case of Glen-Chlvie, on which he writes with indignation. There were no arrears of rent on the property. The proprietor was absent with his regiment in Australia.

June 11.—The Admiralty surveys of the Beauly Firth and the approaches to Inverness had just been completed! by Captain Otter and the officers of the Sparrow. “It appears there are two channels leading up as far as a shoal called the Meikle Mee, extending out from Craigton Cottage. On parts of this there are not more than three feet of water. The Channel then becomes so contracted and uneven for a short distance as to render it difficult for vessels to pass drawing more than nine feet at low water. From this point we have deep water all the way up to Kessock Road. The no now part of the Channel could be dredged at comparatively little expense; but at all events a few buoys should be put down.”

Ibid.—There was a proposal at this time to sell the picture of the Holy Family belonging to the Inverness Royal Academy. The picture was valued at sums varying from £500 to £3000. The directors, however, adopted a resolution declaring that it would be illegal to sell the picture. It is stated that the gentleman who presented it to the Academy was Mr Clark, a native of Inverness, and an artist by profession, who was sent to Italy by Sir James Grant of Grant and other kind patrons. He also left £680 to the Academy. The picture is now in the Town Hall.

June 18.—“A curious half-witted creature, James Mackay, but better known by the soubriquet ‘Bobby All’—a name familiar to every man, woman, and child in Inverness, died here last week.” Anecdotes are given illustrative of habits and his tenacious memory. Bobby on one occasion hid himself on board a ship, and had a free passage to London and back again.

Ibid.—On the previous Thursday the Free Presbytery of Inverness inducted the Rev. George Mackay, formerly of Clyne, to the pastorate of the Free North Church. The Presbytery also appointed a committee to make arrangements for a meeting of the General Assembly, to be held at Inverness on the 21st of August.

Ibid.—The case of Glen-Calvie was referred to in the House of Commons. The following is the official version as given by the Lord Advocate :—“The proprietor of that estate was at present residing abroad, in New South Wales, and the estate was under the care of managers in his absence; and though he (the Lord Advocate) was by no means disposed to approve or defend the system of a wholesale removal of a tenantry from a property of this kind—that was, where the tenantry held small possessions—yet he must say that the result of the inquiries he had made with regard to this case were such as to satisfy him that greatly exaggerated statements had gone abroad with regard to it. It was not a case, in the first place, where the persons were suddenly ejected, because negotiations had been going on between the landlord and his tenantry for a period of two years with regard to their removal, and arrangements for that purpose had been concluded to their satisfaction, and they declared a year ago that they would remove at a certain period. On the faith of that the land was let to another person, and it was therefore impossible that the landlord could continue them when they changed their minds and desired to remain. Further, the landlord, as he had been informed, had given them an abatement of rent, and had made some of the payments in money, and had made them offers of assistance in the way of emigration if they chose to emigrate; and so far from their being in a state of destitution, £100 bid been paid to some of the parties, as the value of the stock .upon their lands, so that altogether the statement Was greatly exaggerated. At the same time he did not defend this system of wholesale removal.”

June 25.—The Rev. Mr Guthrie, Edinburgh, preached to a crowded congregation at the opening of the Free Church of Rosskeen. “The church is built in a very central part of the parish, on a site granted by Mr Macleod of Cadboll, whose name will be handed down to succeeding generations for his liberality towards the Free Church in the various parishes in which hi* property is situated.”

July 2.—Mr Patrick Sellar publishes a letter and statement relating to the Sutherland evictions of 1814. He says that he left one-half of the farm taken by himself in possession of the old tenantry for four years, and that “in point of fact there were removed m 1814 only twenty-seven tenants and one tinker or caird, who had taken possession of a piece of extremely wild ground in a morass among the mountains,’’ and who was regarded as a bad character. He gives particulars in order to support his contention that the ejectments, when they took place, were carried out with due consideration.

July 9.—There was a long debate on the bill for the amendment of the Scottish poor law, and the condition of Sutherland figured largely in it. The motion for going into Committee on the bill was carried by a majority of 43.

Ibid.—A bill was before the House of Commons proposing the abolition of religious tests in Scottish Universities, except ill the case of theological professors. The Synod of Moray at a special meeting resolved to oppose the bill by every constitutional means.

Ibid.—A curious incident happened at Tain in connection with the summer communion services. The Gaelic services of the Free Church had been held on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, in the old church-yard, but the minister was served with an interdict on Saturday evening prohibiting the Sunday services, and the seats were speedily transferred to a grass park in the vicinity of the Free Church. It seems that there had never been a bell in the Established Church, and that a dispute had occurred about the use of the town bell. At i/iie Thursday services the bell, rung from tho Established Church, had given annoyance to the people worshipping in the old churchyard, and the Magistrates, who belonged to the Free Church, ordered the kirk-officer either to ring the town bell for a short time or not at all. “ Hence arose the interdict. One of the heritors applied for the interdict, being determined! that if lie could not have the use of the bell the people would be driven from the station in the vicinity.”

Ibid.—The Inverness Town Council unanimously agreed to give the use of Bell’s Park for the meeting of the Free Church Assembly to be held in the town in August. They granted permission to erect a pavilion, and placed the class-rooms at the service of the Assembly.

July 16.—The second reading of the bill for abolition of tests in the Scottish Universities was discussed in the House of Commons. Mi Macaulay, in the absence of Mr Rutherfurd, took charge of the bill and delivered a powerful speech in its favour, attacking Ministers for opposing the measure. The bill was lost, but only by a majority of eight votes. ‘‘It gives us pleasure,” says the editor, “to observe that both our county and burgh member (Mr Henry Baillie and Mr Morrison) voted together in favour of the repeal of tests.”

Ibid.—Almost the whole of the fine mansion-house of Tulloch Castle, near Dingwall, with a large portion of its rich and valuable furniture, some family portraits and pictures, the library and other effects, was burned down on Monday, the 14th inst. The fire appears to have originated from a lighted candle left in a bedroom. The old castle or chateau of Tulloch was said by a correspondent to have been built originally in the reign of William the Lion, and to have been added to by several successive lairds, the main part in 1762. “The barony of Tulloch was in possession of Mr Davidson’s maternal ancestors, the Baynes, from the twelfth century, and from these it came into his paternal ancestor’s possession in 1752.” The principal rooms, including the drawing-room, which was 50 feet long, 30 wide, and 20 high, were destroyed by the fire. The tower, the oldest part of the building, was reduced to ruin.

Ibid.—At the Inverness Wool Market the demand for sheep was brisk, but dull for wool. In Cheviot wedders and lambs there was a rise of from 3s to 3s 6d per head as compared with the previous year; for ewes, the advance was smaller but considerable. The scale of figures quoted was as follows : —Cheviot wedders, 23s to 33s; ewes, 13s to 20s; lambs, 8s to 13s. Cross wedders, 22s to 26s 6d ; ewes, 12s to 14s ; lambs, 7s to 9s. Black-facedi wedders, 14s to 23s; ewes, 8s to 12s; lambs, 6s to 8s. In wool dealers were reluctant to giro even last year’s prices, and several Sutherland fleeces remained unsold.

Ibid.—A letter on the reports sent by the “Times” Commissioner is written by a correspondent at Strathpeffer, who is certified as a practical agriculturist, well acquainted with the Northern Counties for more than forty years. It contains the following singular statement:—“I shall never forget a journey I made to Strathnaver in 1805 with two other men in charge of a lot of lambs. For two days the natives could furnish ius with no kind of food, but new green potatoes and whisky, and this not from any churlish disposition on their part, for no people could be kinder than they were, but they had nothing else to give, nor do I believe there was a peck of meal at the time in the whole strath. Our poor dogs we had to support by cutting off and giving to them the tails of certain of the lambs, and had we not done this our dogs would have failed us entirely. Such was the destitution in Sutherland I was witness to in those days.” July 25.—The Marquis of Salisbury is reported to have purchased the island of Rum for the sum of £24,000 in order to form a shooting ground or deer forest. “The size of the island is about eight miles long and seven broad. In consequence of two great emigrations of the people in 1826 and 1828 the population was reduced from 400 to 100 or 150.”

Ibid.—The new works on the Caledonian Canal were proceeding on a great scale. From 1500 to 1800 men were employed, with about 100 horses, and a. great deal of complicated] machinery. “The greater proportion of the labourers, we are happy to say, are natives of the Highlands—men of strong thews and sinews from Skye and other districts; the masons are chiefly from Morayshire, and the carpenters and others from Inverness and its neighbourhood.”

Ibid.—A statement of facts “as to the past and present state of the estate of Sutherland, the Reay country, and Assynt,” obviously a carefully compiled official communication, appears in this issue. It begins by stating that previous to 1811 “the people were generally subtenants to middlemen, by whom high rents, delivery of poultry, eggs, &c., and numerous personal services were exacted without payment, such as so many days’ labour in harvest, spring, and other times, cutting and carrying peats, carrying stones for building, and repairing parish and other buildings.” Since 1811 “the people, with the exception of labourers, have all become immediate tenants to the landlord, paying lower rents than they did under their former condition, with exemption from delivery of poultry, &c., and released from all personal services.” The reduction of rent amounted to as much as 36 per cent, in the parish of Farr. The statement speaks of the privations and poverty of former times, of the sums spent in relief, and latterly in building houses, farm steadings, churches, schools, and harbours, making roads, building bridges, running mail coaches, &c. “It may be safely stated that hardly any rent had been received from the estate since 1811.” Many particulars are communicated, in order to show the comfort enjoyed at the time of publication as compared with the conditions twenty or thirty years before.

Ibid.—Mr Evander Maciver was entertained to a public dinner at Dingwall on his departure to become factor for the Duke of Sutherland at Scourie.

July 30.—Lieutenant-Oolonel Macdonald, deputy-adjutant-general, Bombay, died on 31st May. He was a native of the parish of Laggan, and fifty-four years of age. He had served in Sweden, in the Peninsula, in the East and West Indies, and had fought at Waterloo.

August 6.—“Among our visitors [to Inverness] this season are Colonel and Major Burns, sons of the Scottish poet, who arrived here on Saturday last, accompanied by Mr Macdiar-mid, of the ‘ Dumfries Courier.’ The party have been on a tour in the Western Highlands, in which they visited Glencoe, Staffa, Iona, &c. A public dinner is to be given to these gentlemen this day (Wednesday) in the Caledonian Hotel, on the occasion of their being presented with the freedom of the town. The Provost, Magistrates, and Town Council are entitled to the thanks of the community for their prompt and handsome conduct in thus awarding civic honours to the descendants of our great national poet. Colonel Burns returned to this country about two years since, after the long period of thirty-two years’ uninterrupted service in the Madras army. His younger brother, Major Burns, retired in 1839, having been about twenty-seven years in the company’s service in the Bengal establishment.” The report of the dinner is given in the next issue (August 13). It was held; in the Caledonian Hotel, and was attended by about ninety persons. Provost Sutherland was in the chair, and in name of the Council presented the sons of Burns with the freedom of the town. Colonel Burns replied, and at a later stage Major Bums, in lieu of a speech (he said he was no speaker), sang his father’s song in honour of his mother, “O’ a’ the airts the wind can blaw.” Visits were paid to Kilravock Castle, Culloden battlefield, and the Falls of Foyers, all of which the poet had visited in 1787. “While standing on the Green Point at the Falls of Foyers, the descendants of Burns drank to the sons and daughters of Caledonia, as their father had done fifty-eight years before.

August 13.—The bill for amending the Scottish Poor Law received the Royal assent.—Professor Johnstone was again in the north giving lectures on agriculture at Inverness and other places.

Ibid.—There was a considerable increase in the letting of shootings this year. A list of over 100 is given. “The demand for places with from 5000 to 10,000 acres of moor has been beyond precedent.”

August 20.—The visit of the “Times” commissioner to the north, discussions in Parliament, and the passing of the poor law bill, bad directed attention to the condition of the Highlands. The editor acknowledges the sufferings of the Highland poor, but he thought that Englishmen familiar with the comforts of their own country forgot that there were different standards of subsistence. “Thus in most parts of the Highlands it is well known that few in the labouring classes, or even of the small farmers—say those under £50 rent— ever taste animal food, with the exception of a salt herring, or the mutton of such sheep as are unfit for market; but live upon porridge of oatmeal, or potatoes, with or without a little milk or butter, as the case may be, and such other seasoning as the kail-yard may supply; while in England the labourer is seldom satisfied without his wheaten bread and bacon, or something equivalent in the way of food; and the former is proportionately better off. The wages of an able bodied labourer in the northern districts does not exceed Is 6d per day, and those of a girl or woman 6d to 7d; and it is not probable that the scale can rise; yet on these earnings are families brought up in tolerable comfort.” A long article follows on the changes that had taken place in the Highlands during the century. It does not seem to be by the editor, as it gives a good1 deal of special information. Incidentally he mentions that in fifteen years a sum of from £200,000 to £300,000 had been laid out on the Sutherland estates.

August 23, 26, and 28.—There were three issues of the “Courier” within six days, two of them extra, in order to provide reports of the adjourned meeting of Assembly of the Free Church, held at Inverness. Long reports are given of the proceedings, which excited great interest. It is impossible to enter into details here, but we may quote some sentences from an article which appeared on 23rd August. “Notwithstanding the unfavourable state of the weather the attendance has been unprecedentedly large. The pavilion [in Bell’s Park] is constructed to contain about 3300 persons, and there has seldom been less than apparently ;J500 present. Nearly one half of these are strangers from the south, the coaches and steamboats from Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Aberdeen having been filled with parties proceeding to the Assembly. The exertions of the Committee to procure accommodation for so vast an influx of strangers have been highly successful, and we have heard various parties speak in terms of the warmest acknowledgment with respect to the reception they have experienced in Inverness. The absence of Dr Chalmers, the Marquis of Breadalbane, and Dr Gordon is deeply regretted, but the other leading members of the Free Church, Dr Oandlish, Dr Cunningham, Mr Guthrie, Mr Begg, &c., in addition to the missionary clergymen and various distinguished laymen, could not fail of strongly arresting public attention. The eminent Principal of St Andrews, Sir David Brewster, the Hon. Fox Maule, and Mr Campbell of Monzie, appear to take a deep interest in the proceedings. The Gaelic singing was an interesting novelty to part of the audience. It is at once simple and solemn, and the melodies are characteristic of the antique .solitary grandeur of our hills and glens.” Dr Chalmers appeared at a Later stage of the proceedings and delivered an eloquent address. The 'Assembly met on 21st August and rose on the 27th. The position of the Church in the Highlands, and the refusal in some places of sites, occupied one long sederunt. Touching reference was made to the death of Mi Mackenzie, minister of Tongue.

Ibid.—In the three issues the general state of the district is recorded. On the 23rd it is stated that the weather had been very wet, and the general complexion of the season was disastrous in the extreme. On the previous Wednesday there had been a terrible storm at sea, resulting at Wick in the loss of five lives and damage to boats and gear, estimated at £10,000. —A notice of the late Lady Gordon-Cumming of Altyre, who was greatly interested in geology, is quoted from the “North British Review.”—The issue of the 26th records a centennial celebration of the rising of the clans at Glenfinnan in August 1745. Between four and five hundred people were present, ana the celebration took the form of a. luncheon, procession, and games. Mr Macdonald of Glenaladale made arrangements for the gathering, and Mr Eneas Macdonald of Morar presided at the luncheon.

Sept. 3.—Queen Victoria was at this time on a tour in Germany. The previous issue mentions her visit to the Wartburg, where Luther lived for a time, her journey to Coburg, and the meeting of royalties. Her Majesty stayed at Rosenau, near Coburg, where Prince Albert was born. The present issue gives further particulars of the journey and the residence at Rosenau. A quotation from the “Examiner” is as follows : —“There cannot bo a simpler or plainer person than the King of Prussia. He was quite perplexed what to do with all the people who cam© with the Queen. There were not waggons enough at Cologne to carry them to Bruhl, and so Lord Aberdeen and a crowd of Ministers and aide-de-camps were thrust into third-class carriages with gentlemen who had pipes as big as themselves. Apropos of pipes, the chief magistrate of Bonn, who led the procession in pontificabilis, smoked his pipe as he proceeded, and therefore led! the way in a cloud, quite like a fabulous personage. The Queen was highly amused at this civic Jupiter.”

Ibid.—Further particulars are given of the recent storm, which had resulted, it was now found, in the loss of eight lives in Caithness and damage of the most extensive kind. “On the coast of Caithness alone upwards of ninety boats have been shattered to pieces, and about half as many drift of nets have been lost; and nearly 500 industrious men have been thrown out of employment, during the fishing, involving a loss of nearly £10,000, falling chiefly on poor fishermen.” Committees were appointed to give assistance.

Sept. 10.—Mr James Matheson of Achany, M.P., was entertained to a public dinner at Stornoway, on his arrival, after becoming proprietor. Mr Roderick Morison, banker, was in the chair, and the company numbered about a hundred. In reply to the toast of his health, Mr Matheson said that his first effort would be to draw forth the energies of Highlanders. With this view I made up my mind to engage a Highland factor (Mr Scobie), and employ Highlanders on all occasions when practicable ; and I have every reason to congratulate myself on adopting such a course. It is true we hope to benefit by the skill and great experience of our southern friends, such as Mr Smith of Deanston and Mr Alexander of Agnish; but I am anxious that the main improvements should rest with our own people, and that the executive should be in their hands.” Education was to form a prominent feature in his schemes.

Ibid.—In spite of the unfavourable weather in the early autumn, crops were now in excellent condition, and the harvest was abundant. The sporting season had also been successful.

Sept. 17.—“On the night between the 2nd and 3rd inst., the wind blowing freely from the north-west, a shower of fine impalpable dust, evidently of volcanic origin, fell upon the whole mainland of Orkney. The dust fell in such quantities as to cover the whole island, and admit of being easily gathered. It is presumed to have been caused by an eruption of Mount Hecla, in Iceland.”

Ibid.—Quotations from English papers state that distemper among potatoes prevailed to a great extent in the south of England, though it had hardly reached the midland counties, and in the north of England was unknown. The disease had, however, attacked the tubers in some parts of Scotland. In the next issue it is stated that the ravages of the disease had not extended to this quarter.

Sept. 24.—A vessel of 170 tons was launched at Beauly.—A shark measuring 7½ feet in length was captured at Lossiemouth. This was the second capture of the kind within a few weeks. —The potato blight had extended to Dumfriesshire and Ayrshire, the loss being calculated at £50,000.

October 1.—An enormous capture of whales had taken 'place at Quendall Bay in Shetland The triumphant Zetlanders gloated over a jirize of 1540 whales. “The history of whale catching in Shetland does not afford an instance of such an extensive capture in such an incredibly short space of time.”

October 8.—Railway projects had been numerous during the previous session of Parliament, and the ardour for new schemes continued unabated. Attention is directed afresh to the proposed railway between Inverness and Perth. ‘‘Our southern readers can have but a faint idea of the crowds of tourists who annually, even now, frequent the Highlands; and who can calculate the increase of those pleasure and health-making visitors? This, however, is only one source of traffic. It is well known that vast flocks of sheep and herds of cattle are, for six months every year, sent south from the north to the south country markets, all of which could be conveyed by rail.” The line was also expected to foster manufactures, and confer other improvements. — The Northern Meeting was held the previous week, but presented no special feature.

Ibid.—'“We are glad to see that Mr J. Howie has just issued a map or chart of Culloden Moor and part of the adjacent country, on which are laid down the different roads leading to the field of battle, the positions and lines of march of the respective armies before the engagement; also ancient tumuli, drui-dical circles, vitrified forts and! other objects of interest to strangers. The map will form an excellent companion to parties visiting the field. It is accurate and complete, and very neatly engraved. The references are numerous and distinct, and from these and the ‘enlarged plan of the order of battle any person can trace out the position of the different armies and regiments, and thus people in imagination the solitary field with all the busy strife and varied scenes and emotions of that eventful day.”

Ibid.—The Rev. Simon Fraser, Kilmorack, died on the 26th ult., at the age of eighty. He was much respected in the district.

Ibid.—A man from Portmahomuck was tried at Tain for inflicting a wound with a knife on the forehead of an old woman, and was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment. He believed that the woman had bewitched1 him and his nets, and the rest of the crew were not willing to go out with him while he was under the curse. Accordingly he took an opportunity to cut her “above the breath,” be-lieviug that with the first drop of blood the woman would lose the power of harming him.

October 15.—A fire occurred on the previous Wednesday (the 8th), destroying the greater part of the pile of buildings in Inverness, extending from Inglis Street to Theatre Lane, including a shop, and extensive premises in Hamilton Place. The fire broke out about half past three in the morning in an upper flat, a tailor’s workshop. There was no wind, but unfortunately there was delay in procuring the fire-engines, and when they arrived they were found to be utterly inefficient. No less than thirteen families, comprising sixty-two individuals, were deprived of their home's. No lives were lost, but there were narrow escapes.

October 22.—The weather was stormy during the previous week, and ou Monday the wind rose to a hurricane. “On the Castlehill it seems impossible to stand or work, unless under cover of the building.” There was a good deal of damage, but not of a serious kind.

October 29.—The newspaper columns continue to be full of railway projects. This issue contains the prospectuses of various schemes, including the proposed Inverness and Perth and Inverness and Elgin railways, and preliminary proposals for lines through Ross-shire, and even to Wick and Thurso. There is also a prospectus of an Inverness and Northern Counties Insurance Company.

November 5.—The failure of the potato crop in Ireland) was now known to be extensive, almost every district of the country being affected. A Cabinet Council had been held at which it was believed the situation had been discussed. In the North of Scotland the potato crop was stated to be fully an average, and wholly free from disease. There was a little in the neighbourhood of Aberdeen, and a good deal in Fifeshire. The disease was severe in Belgium and Denmark, and had also appeared in Sweden. It was reported that the crop had suffered badly in Canada.

Ibid.—A civil trial arose out of one of the Church riots which occurred in 1843. Five men had been confined for over six hours in a bank safe, cell, or chamber, in Invergordon, and four of them now claimed damages for illegal imprisonment. The bank safe was described as a place of security for papers, 9 feet Ilf inches in length, by 3 feet 8[ inches in breadth and 6 feet Ilf inches in height. “There was no window in the safe, no aperture for ventilation, no air-hole of any kind, with the exception of a crevice three-eighths of an inch wide, between the bottom of the door and the floor.” The case was raised against John Macbean, messenger, superintendent of the Inverness-shire county police, to whom the warrant of apprehension was entrusted, and John Finlayson, criminal officer in Dingwall, his assistant. It was admitted that no injury had resulted to the men from their confinement, and it was proved that Mr Macbean, who was a careful officer, had! not himself put them into the small apartment. Nevertheless, he was considered responsible. The action was tried before a jury in Edinburgh, with the Lord Justice-Clerk on the bench. “The result of half-au-hour’s deliberation by the jury was to find that Mr Macbean was not present when the men were put into the safe, but that he knew they were there, and thereafter they awarded against him £50 damages to each of the four. They simply censured Finlayson for not remonstrating with Macbean.”

November 12.—A communication from the Long Island states that extensive improvements has been going forward on Colonel Gordon’s estates there. “These properties extend over Benbecula, South Uist, and Barra. Roads are formed, lakes drained, flood-embankments raised, and water plains made arable. The allotment system is also extended—the manufacture of kelp, the cod and ling fishing, the improvement of stock, the introduction of hemp and lint, and various other measures of amelioration, are well worthy of notice and imitation. The whole is managed by native skill and industry (the proprietor encouraging, with an evident solicitude for their welfare, every effort of his Highland tenantry), with the exception of one or two experienced agriculturists, introduced by Colonel Gordon. Under their guidance several hundred acres of morass and drift land have been converted into arable fields, yielding heavy crops of grain and hay.” It is stated that no fewer than fifty ploughs were present at a ploughing match held on a field of South Uist in the end of August.

November 19.—The movement for erecting a lunatic asylum in the neighbourhood of Inverness had made remarkable progress. The subscribed funds amounted to £4700. The committee thought that steps should be taken for the erection of an asylum without delay. There was, however, considerable difficulty in the negotiations for a site.

November 26.—The famine which appeared to be approaching in Ireland was causing apprehension. Nothing was yet known as to the intentions of Ministers, and a cloud rested on the public mind. “Railway speculation is in abeyance—scrip shares unsaleable, and the best made lines depressed beyond their due value. The ‘Times,’ with the aid of Mr Rackmaii, an accountant, has been still further deepening the alarm and dejection of shareholders by publishing a list of all the schemes completed, constructing and projected, giving a total of 1^28 railways, requiring a capital of seven hundred millions sterling! The new projects alone amount to a cost of five hundred and sixty-three millions. Many of these, however, will be withdrawn, and many amalgamations have already taken place. Still, the very uncertainty attending these projects is well calculated to excite embarrassment.”

Ibid.—“A sale of wood took place here yesterday, which forcibly illustrates the value of plantations. The quantity sold was 76 imperial, or 60£ Scots acres, of fir wood on the estate of Tarradale, Ross-shire, and the price was £2360, or £39 per acre. The plantation is just forty-two years old; and if we reckon the thinnings for the last twenty years at £14 per acre, the land has produced £1 5s per acre during the whole period it has been under wood. What adds to the remarkable result is that the plantation disposed of was by no means extraordinary for growth.’’

Ibid.—“We are sorry to find that the potato murrain is gaining ground. Tire disease is yet abroad, and extending over the three kingdoms, and no human agency can foresee to what extent the pestilence may spread. We are glad to say that in the whole of the seven Northern Counties there is no mention of the potato distemper, with the exception of one trilling instance in Sutherland, where it is stated to have appeared, but not to such an extent as to cause great alarm.”

December 3.—Lord John Russell’s letter to the electors of the city of London advocating a repeal of the Corn Laws appears in this issue. He had previously been in favour of a fixed duty, but thought it was no longer worth while to contend for it. The duty at the time was 15s. Cabinet Councils had been held the previous week, but their deliberations were still a secret.

Ibid.—The plans, sections, and books of reference for the Inverness and Perth railway had now been completed and duly lodged.—The potato disease had appeared in the island of Lewis. In Fifeshire the potatoes were almost totally destroyed, and the disease had made great ravages in Perthshire.—Two columns are devoted to an article on the island of Barra and some of the neighbouring islands, “by a late resident.” The writer mentions that the previous spring a report had been circulated that the inhabitants of St Kilda had been all carried off by an American slaver! Naturally the rumour caused, great consternation. The article is continued in the next number.

December 10.—On the 4th inst the “Times” published the startling announcement that Ministers had resolved to summon Parliament in January for the purpose of proposing the total repeal of the Com Laws. The statement led to a furious newspaper discussion. The London correspondent writes that “this has been an exciting, a bewildering week.”

Ibid.—The verdict of the jury in the Invergorilon Bank Safe case came before a bench of judges in the Court of Session. The majority held that “as the defender had taken no exception in point of law, and had also departed from his motion for a new trial on the facts, the verdict must now he considered as final and acquiesced in by him.”

December 17.—‘‘The Peel Ministry is at an end —not sapped by slow decay, but broken up by sudden and voluntary dissolution. With a majority in both Houses of Parliament, the favour of the Crown, and no decided hostility among the people, the State vessel has gone down in fair weather.” Sir Robert’s resignation took place ou the 6th inst., and Lord John Russell was sent for by the Queen. Graham on the 12th inst. assured Lord John of the readiness of Peel and himself to support a measure for the “adjustment of the great question ” of the Corn Law. See Graham’s life recently published.

Ibid.—The lighthouse at Ckanonry Point was now nearly completed. It was considered “a chaste, substantial, and elegant erection.” Ibid.—From the “Fiorres Gazette”—“Several old trees have lately been felled on the Brodie estate. Part of the trunk of a venerable ash, about 200 years old, and measuring four feet on the side, or sixteen feet in circumference, passed through this place the other day. We counted the rings of another Brodie ash, which gave indication of one hundred and fifty years of age. The timber of these trees is fresh throughout, and bears no marks of decay. There are others on the estate of a much larger size, and of nearly twice the age of those now cleared away.”

December 24.—It was now becoming known that Lord John Russell had failed to form a Government. A member of the House of Commons wites to the “Courier” on the afternoon of Saturday, 20th inst.: —“It is quite true that the Wliigs, after accepting office two days ago, have this day finally renounced the attempt. They could not see their way how to overcome the Tory majority of ninety by a dissolution. Lord John has gone to Windsor to the Queen, andl by a singular coincidence, Sir ttobert Peel has gone down by the same train.” Sir James Graham notes under date December 21—“Sir Robert Peel has undertaken the Government, and the Duke of Wellington in office cordially supports him, declaring that in his opinion ‘it is no longer a question of measures but of Government itself."

December 31.—The return of Sir Robert Peel to office and the reconstruction of his administration was now announced. Lord Stanley resigned the seals of the Colonial Office and his seat in the Cabinet, and went into active opposition. The London correspondent writes—“The change, although numerically small, is yet intrinsically great. Lord Stanley resigns: Mr Gladstone succeeds.

The proud, clever, and irascible aristocrat marches out, and the clever, able, and well-informed plebeian, marches in.”

Ibid.—There is a summary of the schemes lodged by companies for railways in the northern counties. They were—1, The Great North of Scotland, 107 miles long, by way of Huntly and Keith to Elgin, Forres and Inverness. 2, The Perth and Inverness Railway, 130 miles. It proposed to cross the river Findhorn at Dulsie. 3, The Inverness and Elgin Railway, with branches to Findhorn, Rurghead,, and Lossiemouth. The third scheme was amalgamated with the line from Perth to Inverness

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