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

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

The Northern Highlands in the Nineteenth Century
No. X

With the year 1816 a new era opens. The long peace had begun, and with it questions of domestic interest revived. In the Highlands the laws relating to distilleries assumed great importance. In the previous year the subject had been mooted, but it now became pressing. There was a moral and a financial question at stake. The people were greatly addicted to smuggling and averse to habits of steady industry; while the market for barley was so restricted that farmers connived at the practice of illicit distillation for the sake of selling their grain. As a remedy for both evils, the local authorities petitioned Parliament to legalise the erection of small distilleries, and to secure a free market in the Lowlands for the sale of Highland whisky. A considerable agitation arose on this subject, of which some particulars are given below.

In June 1816 came the announcement that Government and Parliament had sanctioned the erection of small stills in the Highlands, and county meetings were held to express satisfaction with the new law, and to take steps for supervising licences and putting down smuggling. Previous to this date licences had apparently been granted in a free and easy fashion, and there were many unlicensed houses. As the year advanced distress in the Kingdom became greater owing to the want of employment, and to the operation of the Corn Laws in keeping up the price of grain. In Inverness poverty seems for a time to have been relatively less than in other places, but its presence made itself felt. Towards the end of the year riots occurred in London.

The year is memorable for the earthquake which twisted the Inverness town spire. The shock was acute and created great consternation. It was felt over a wide area, extending from Caithness to the centre of Scotland.

From the "Inverness Journal."

January 5. - The New-Year opens with the following paragraph:- "We are happy in the opportunity, at the same time that we offer our readers the compliments of the season, of congratulating them on the prospect of a general and lasting peace, with which the New-Year has been ushered in. Its immediate conscquences bear hard on the husbandman, but we could scarcely regret effects resulting from a redundancy of the most necessary articles of life, were that redundancy less of an artificial nature than it is. As, however, the immense importations of foreign grain, which were made on the passing of the Corn Bill, wear away (the magnitude of which, with unusually prolific seasons, has lowered its rate to a degree quite beyond the other articles of consumption, and inconsistent with the interests of any class of society, for it is from unnaturally low prices that famine may again be apprehended), it may be expected that the produce of the country will again find its level, and being met by the falling wages and prices of a period of peace, that the farmer may again contemplate his prospects with comfort.’ The same number sums up the institutions which had been started in the town and district during the past few months. These were the Athenæum, a Savings Bank, an establishment for the suppression of begging, a Horticultural Society, a Highland Society, and "a Society of True Highlanders."

Ibid—"Died, last month, at Blaich, near Fort-William, Sergeant Alexander Fraser, late of the 21st Regiment, in the 99th year of his age. He is supposed to have been the last survivor of those who fought under his young Chief, in the cause of the unfortunate house of Stuart in 1746."

January 12—The collections in the High Church, the Gaelic Church, and the Chapel of Ease (East Church) for the Northern Infirmary, amounted to £127 7s 6d. The quartern loaf of fine flour, which previously sold at 11d, had been reduced to 10d, and there was a prospect that it would fall to 9½d. A proportionate reduction took place in inferior bread.

Ibid.—"Lord Saltoun, Colonels Macdenell and Mackinnon, and Mr Hamilton, in the name of the Scottish Highlanders, presented Louis XVIII. on the 29th ult. with a copy of Ossian in the Gaelic language."

January 19.—A full account of the above presentation, which was of quite a ceremonious character, appears in this issue. The Poems were presented from the Highland Society of London, and the deputation was introduced by the British Ambassador. Mr James Hamilton, the secretary of the Society, appeared in full Highland garb. The deputation had been also instructed to present a copy to Marshal Macdonald, Duke of Tarentum, but as he was absent on an important mission, it was, at the Marshal’s request, delivered to his daughter, the Duchess of Massa, "who gave a grand rout on the occasion to all the beauty and fashion of Paris."

Ibid.—There is a long article on the subject of smuggling and distilleries. Smuggling had increased in consequence of depression in farming, and the increased difficulty of finding a market for the sale of barley. "It is a fact well known that smuggled spirits at present are cheaper, more easily obtained, and consumed in greater quantities than for many years past. There is no duty paid for almost any part of the spirits of home manufacture consumed in the Highlands of Scotland, and we need not add that the quantity is very considerable and the consequent diminution of revenue very great. Indeed, it is very generally believed that the Excise duties levied in the Highlands, including the penalties recovered from delinquents, are scarcely sufficient to defray the expense of securing and collecting them." Justices of the Peace, sensible of the hardships of the country, were disposed to inflict slight fines. It appears that the market in the Lowlands had lately been opened to the legitimate Highland distiller, but this was subject to the condition of using a still of a large capacity, and very few could be found to embark in the business. The remedy proposed was to sanction 30 or 40 gallon stills in the Highlands, giving them a free market and fair and moderate duties. "The subject is, in our opinion, of vital importance to all classes of the community in this part of the Highlands."

January 26.—The County of Banff petitioned Parliament for the re-establishment of small distilleries, and for the equalisation of duties on spirits—Scotland being then subject to a duty of 3d per gallon more than England and Ireland.

February 2.—This issue contains a long list of premiums given by the Highland Society for agricultural improvements, essays, and inventions.

February 9.—A subscription library was established at Nairn, Mr James A. Grant of Viewfield, president.

Ibid.—"Died, on the 25th ult., at his seat of Ravenhead, near Liverpool, Colonel Fraser of Culduthel, a gentleman whose benevolent and friendly disposition, and whose upright and independent mind, make him equally a loss to his private friends and to this county."

February 16.—On Wednesday the 7th inst., the Inverness-shire Militia marched from Forres, where they were quartered for a time. "The Inverness-shire never were in quarters they liked better." On their leaving, a great crowd accompanied them to the Bridge of Findhorn, at which the regiment faced round and gave three cheers, "in token of their esteem and attachment for the kind friends they had left, and their good wishes for the success and prosperity of the town and its vicinity."

Ibid.—A decision of the Barons of the Exchequer again prohibited the southern market to Highland distilled whisky. The Inverness Farmer Society resolved to address Parliament on the subject. An Easter Ross farmer, writing in this isssue, says—"Many of our brethren have been ruined by the great depression of price for agricultural produce, and almost all of us are struggling with difficulties to save our credit."

March 8.—G. Macpherson-Grant, Esq. of Ballindalloch and Invereshie, was on the 6th curt. unanimously elected member of Parliament for the County of Sutherland.

March 15.—The resolutions are published of a county meeting in Sutherland called to consider the Distillery Laws. Mr Macpherson-Grant M.P., presided. The meeting complained of the excessive malt tax and other disadvantages. "That the provision in the Act 54 of the King, allowing the use of Stills, of at capacity not under 500 gallons, was by no means suited for the Highland District, which, though subsequently reduced by an order of the Treasury to 200 gallons, has, in such modification, and in the permission of exportation out of the Highland District, been entirely defeated by a recent judgment of the Court of Exchequer in Scotland, which has rendered nugatory the benefit intended by this Act." The meeting asked for a reduction of the malt duty by one-half; for the equalisation of duties between the Highland and Lowland districts; and for permission to work in the Highlands with stills of the capacity of 50 or 60 gallons.

March 22.—This issue gives the resolutions of a meeting of the County of Inverness on the subject of the Distillery Laws. Mr William Fraser-Tytler, Sheriff-Depute and Convener, was in the chair, and the resolutions were substantially the same as those adopted by the County of Sutherland, though differing somewhat in detail. A preamble to the substantive part of the resolutions declared that the changes asked for by the meeting were required "for the restoration of the moral character of the people, for the promotion of the agriculture of the county, and for the improvement and protection of the revenue." Meetings were held in other counties and by Farmer Societies, making urgent representations of the same character as those from Sutherland and Inverness.

lbid.—At a ploughing match at Spynie, in Moray-shire, "a considerable number of iron ploughs appeared, and it was remarked that their work was done in the neatest manner."

Ibid—"There is now living in the parish of Rafford, near Forres, an old man named James Watson, now aged 99 years, and his wife, C. Cumming, also alive in her 95th year. They have lived together for the space of 66 years as man and wife. Watson fought at the memorable battle of Culloden."

March 29.—A distiller in the neighbourhood of Inverness was ruined by the decision of the Barons of the Exchequer prohibiting the exportation of spirits to the Lowlands.

April 5—"During the last month 15 foxes, 5 wild cats, and 2 badgers were killed in the woods of Brahan by John Walker, gamekeeper to Lady Hood Mackenzie. All these animals were killed within a mile of the gamekeeper’s lodge."

Ibid.—Died, at Cantray, on 28th March, Sir David Davidson of Cantray, Knight.

April 12.—"The following is, we think, a curious and important fact. In 1812 an alarm being spread that a gang of coiners and thieves were on their way from Aberdeen to Inverness, the Magistrates, by way of precaution, desired all the publicans to be brought before them, licensed and unlicensed, and 128 were collected. As all those of the latter description were liable to prosecution, it may be supposed that many of them, from being overlooked, and from the favour of the officers, did not appear." These extra places, the writer thinks, may be "moderately rated" at 32, making 160 in all—"a number which, considering the population of Inverness, must have a very pernicious effect on the morals of the people, particularly as the unlicensed (forming a very great proportion) are subject to no check whatever."

April 26.—This number contains the report of the trial of Mr Sellar in connection with the evictions in Strathnaver. The jury returned a verdict of not guilty, and the report bears that "the highest character was established on the part of Mr Sellar for moderation, humanity, and kindness of disposition from his earliest days upwards."

Ibid.—"Died, at Nairn, on the 20th inst, in the 88th year of her age, Miss Alexandrina Rose of Kilravock, the last surviving daughter of Hugh Rose, Esq. of Kilravock, great-grandfather of the present Hugh Rose, Esq. of Kilravock; a lady most justly and universally esteemed and regretted by all who had the pleasure of her acquaintance."

Ibid.—Died, at Brora, on the 3rd, on his way home from Aberdeen, Hugh Mackay, eldest son of the late Captain John Mackay of Skerray. He was in his third session at the University of Aberdeen, and a student of exceptional promise.

May 3—The annual meeting of Commissioners of Supply was held, Sheriff Fraser-Tytler, Convener, in the chair. A communication was read from Mr Charles Grant, member for the County, on the subject of the Distillery Laws as affecting the Highlands, "from which there is the strongest grounds for believing that the exertions which have been made by the Highland Counties, for procuring a fair and deliberate investigation of their case are likely to be attended with the most beneficial results." The thanks of the meeting were conveyed to the hon. member, on the motion of Mr Grant of Corrimony, seconded by Raigmore.

Ibid.—"Died, lately, at Glencalvie, parish of Kincardine, Ross-shire, Alexander Campbell, alias Iverach, at the advanced age of 117 years. He was born in 1698, carried arms in 1716 under William, Lord Ross, and till his death showed the characteristic hardihood of a Highlander to an uncommon degree. In the severest weather he went with his neck and breast bare, and to the last walked perfectly erect; his dress the short coat, kilt, and plaid, and his staff generally across his breast. Till the uncommon storm of snow of last winter fell, he could walk down to Gledfield and the Manse in a day, the distance being about 11 miles. He entered as a scholar last year in one of the Gaelic Society Schools in this parish, actually learning the alphabet, and began spelling, when his further progress was arrested by the failure of his sight. He waited last harvest on the Right Hon. Lord Ashburton at Rosehall, when his lordship, with his wonted benevolence, gave him a shilling for every year of his life, and a further sum to buy a little of his favourite usquebagh, to keep his old age comfortable, in all upwards of six guineas. His lordship’s donation outlived Iverach’s days, and helped to put the hoary veteran decently under the turf."

May 10.—At a meeting of the Commissioners of Supply of the County of Ross, it was resolved to present a piece of plate, of not less than a hundred guineas value, to Donald Macleod, Esq. of Geanies, "as a mark of the high sense which they entertain of the services rendered by him, in the able, impartial, and successful discharge of the duties of Convener during the long period of forty years." Mr Macleod having resigned, Mr Mackenzie, yr. of Applecross, was elected Convener.

May 31.—There are two public ceremonies at Nairn reported in this issue. On 15th April the foundation-stone was laid of a monumental pillar to the memory of Mr John Straith, late schoolmaster. The monument was raised at the expense of the Nairnshire meeting in London, Mr Isaac Ketchen being secretary and treasurer. The foundation-stone was laid "in presence of all the resident scholars in the town and parish of Nairn; Robert Falconar, Esq., Sheriff-Substitute of the County; Robert Dempster, William Robertson, and John Ore, Esquires, present Magistrates of the Burgh of Nairn, and the other heritors and chief residenters of the parish. Mr Thomas Dick Lauder designed the pillar, and Mr John M. Watt, junior. Nairn, was architect. On the 28th of May there was another procession held by the resident scholars as a commemoration. Mr Isaac Ketchen spoke, and there was a public dinner, at which Mr Thomas Dick Lauder was one of the speakers.

June 14.—"In our paper of this date the Parliamentary debate which has taken place on our Distillery Laws will be found, and it will be seen that the two grand objects of our petitions have been granted, namely, a free market for our spirits and permission to erect small stills, even to forty gallons; the duty is also reduced 25 per cent., the Chancellor of the Exchequer stating that it could not be made lower without a corresponding deduction in the English duties. The superintendence of these small stills will, of course, be considerably more expensive to Government than the large ones. We have now a free market, with permission to use stills as much proportioned to small capital as could be expected; we cannot therefore complain of want of means to consume our barley, or being compelled to drink a bad spirit from a large still; and we do hope that the promises which accompanied our petitions, and under which the concessions of Government have been granted, will be fulfilled and the object of these concessions made effectual." Under the bill passed at this time the duty on spirits was reduced from 8s 4d to 6s 4d per gallon. It stands at present at 11s per gallon.

Ibid—"Married, at Ardersier, on Saturday, the 1st curt., John Macandrew, Esq., solicitor in Inverness, to Catherine, daughter of James Macpherson, Esq. of Ardersier." "Married, at Inverness, on Monday, the 10th inst., P. A. Fraser, Esq. of Culduthel, to Jane Anne Catherine, only daughter of E. S. Fraser, Esq. of Reilig."

June 28.—A correspondent at Thurso writes —"Although Government does not at present hold out any encouragement, yet emigration to America still continues to depopulate the Highlands. In the course of last summer 137 males and 79 females, in all 216 persons of all ages, were shipped at this port, partly for Lord Selkirk’s property on the banks of the Red River; and on the 12th of this month the brig Vine, of Peterhead, sailed hence to Picton with a cargo of the same description, to the number of 82 passengers of both sexes, being all that the vessel’s tonnage could admit by law. These last were engaged by a Mr Logan, a settler in Canada. We are informed, too, that another ship is expected here for the same object." While the Vine was at Thurso, its master, Captain Davidson, and other two persons, were drowned by their boat upsetting when crossing the bar.

July 5.—On the evening of the 1st curt.. the foundation-stone of one of the piers of the Dingwall Canal was laid by Mr Mackenzie of Hilton, Provost of the Burgh. The ceremony was followed by a luncheon.

July 12.—An Inverness Tobacco Manufactory established some time previously, advertises "a considerable quantity of fine and mid twist that will bear comparison with any in the kingdom."

July 19.—Report of a meeting of the Highland Society of Scotland in Edinburgh. "Walter Scott, Esq., in an eloquent address, brought under the view of the meeting the distinguished merits of Mrs Macleod of Macleod, who, since she became connected with the Highlands and Islands, has assiduously endeavoured to promote the industry and comfort of the peasantry where her influence extended, by establishing schools, building cottages, and such other measures as were conducive to their happiness; and with a view to enabling her to become more familiar with their habits and manners, had successfully studied their language. He concluded by moving that she should be elected a member of the Society, without the form of ballot, with which regulation in those instances where ladies of such distinguished rank and merit came forward in support of the Institution, the Society was in the habit of dispensing. This motion having been seconded by Henry Mackenzie, Esq., and supported by Lord Bannatyne, was unanimously adopted, and Mrs Macleod of Macleod was elected a member accordingly."

Ibid.—The report of the Highland Society also bears that in 1814 an honorary premium was awarded to Mr Mackenzie of Hilton for an improvement of waste land in the Valley of Strathpeffer. The Society’s highest gold medal was now awarded to Dr James Wishart, tenant of the farm of Waterloo, on the Tulloch estate, for improving about 70 acres in the same valley.

Ibid—The same issue reports the first anniversary meeting of the "Society of True Highlanders," held at Inverlochy on the 12th of June. Many ladies were present, and the gentlemen were "almost to a man" in the full uniform of their regiments or the Highland dress. There was a grand ball, which is described in glowing terms. "Colonel Stewart of Garth wore large, round Cairngorm buttons, richly set; others had the globular silver buttons of their ancestry, and the highly finished pistols, dirks, powder-horns, and other paraphernalia gave an air of magnificence to the whole far more brilliant than expectation had sanctioned." The ball was led off by Mrs Macdonell of Glengarry and Colonel Stewart. Glengarry himself was the chief organiser of this Society.

July 26.—The number gives an extract from a book published in Paris, "The Tour of a Frenchman" in Britain in 1810 and 1811. The writer, speaking of Scotland, says —"Even in Scotland civilisation makes sensible progress, but there may still be seen some fine women, very well dressed, with white muslin gowns, gloves, and even a parasol, holding their shoes and their stockings in their hands, and walking bare-footed through the mire. They defend the custom as cleanly, for it is absolutely necessary to wash the feet; as healthful, for they are sure not to have wet covering for the feet; and no one can deny that it is economical."

August 2.—Died, at Nairn, on the 25th July, Major J. G. King, of the Portuguese service. He served under the Duke of Wellington during the Peninsular War, and was present in every action down to Orthes, when he was severely wounded while gallant leading on his regiment. From the effects of these wounds he ultimately died at the early are of 25.

Ibid.—"At Aberdeen, on the 13th ult., in the 73rd year of his age, 52nd of his ministry, and 34th of his Episcopate, the Right Rev. John Skinner, senior Bishop and Primus of the Episcopal Church in Scotland, a man whose eminence and superior usefulness in his station are too deeply engraven on the hearts both of the clergy and laity of that communion ever to be obliterated."

August 9.—The "Journal" advertises itself as the only newspaper published north of Aberdeen, and as circulating extensively in the Highlands, in other parts of the United Kingdom, and in the Colonies. Mr James Fraser is mentioned as editor and publisher.

lbid—County meetings are advertised intimating the regulations required for the establishment of small stills of not less than 40 gallons. These stills had to be sanctioned and licensed by the Magistrates. The Ross-shire County meeting adopted a series of resolutions recommending the Michaelmas Head Court to divide the county into districts, the Justices in each district to meet twice a-year for the purpose of granting licences, and that afterwards "the members of the meeting will exert themselves to the utmost of their power for the suppression of all unlicensed tippling houses." One of the resolutions is as follows:—"That the meeting are of opinion that the practice of bestowing on the officers of Excise a proportion of the fines levied on delinquents, ought to be discontinued, and some other mode of remunerating their activity adopted, because, though no doubt it proves a stimulus to those officers to bring as many offenders into Court as possible, it gives them an interest in the continuance of the illegal trade, and forms a strong inducement to their using indirect means to prevent its extinction."

Ibid.—"We understand that on Saturday the young Chief of the Frasers came, for the first time, to make some stay on his property at Beaufort Castle, on which occasion numerous bonfires testified the congratulation of the tenantry and of the neighbouring gentlemen."

August 16.—On Tuesday, the 13th inst., about 20 minutes to 11 p.m.. a violent shock of earthquake was felt at Inverness. "Some of the inhabitants who had retired to rest were suddenly tossed out of their beds, and many were terribly alarmed by the universal shaking of the houses, the rattling of the slates, and the tremendous crash of large stones which were precipitated with violence from many of the chimney tops. Happily, however, from the lateness of the hour very few persons were then in the streets, and consequently no lives were lost." The concussion lasted about 20 seconds, and in many houses bells rung for nearly a minute. There was great consternation in the town, people rushing half-dressed into the streets, and some of them making for the country. "The atmosphere during the evening was clear and serene, and the thermometer stood at 54 degs. without variation. In the morning it appeared that the beautiful spire attached to the Jail was, at the distance of several feet from the top, completely rent and twisted several inches round, in a direction from the east towards the north-west. As most of the stones detached from the chimney tops appear to have been thrown in the same direction, it seems probable that the motion of the earthquake was from the north-west towards the south-east, because the motion of the undulation towards the south - east being communicated to the lower sooner than to the higher parts of the buildings, those parts of the latter whose cohesion was not sufficiently strong, would naturally be left behind, and projected in a north-west direction. This opinion is confirmed by a scientific gentleman well acquainted by experience with this awful phenomenon, who happened to be on the street at the time of the concussion. By accounts already received, it appears that the same shock was felt at Dingwall, Forres, and Pitmain; but that it was more violent towards the north and west than towards the south and east." The earthquake was also felt at Aberdeen, the time being given at 4 minutes to 11 o’clock, and the duration of the shock 6 seconds.

Ibid—The Inverness Highland Society had a short time before come to a resolution to establish a market for sheep and wool, to be held annually at Inverness on the first Tuesday after the Fort-William market, held in June. The proposal met with general approbation. The Inverness Farmer Society, at a meeting on the 9th inst., resolved to give it their support.

Ibid.—There is a paragraph reporting the examination of the Ladies’ School kept at Cromarty by Miss Bond. This is the lady who figures in Hugh Miller’s "Schools and Schoolmasters."

August 23.—There are continued reports of the extent of the earthquake. one giving minute details from Mr Dick Lander at Relugas. The shock was felt from Wick to Perth and Montrose. It seems to have been more violent at Inverness than any other part of Scotland. "A slight shock was felt here about 16 and another about 40 years ago: in 1755 when Lisbon was destroyed by an earthquake. Loch-Ness was thrown into violent agitation, but we do not find that this was apparent in the present instance."

Ibid.—"At the last Inverness-shire Farmer Society meeting, it was resolved with regard to servants hired from the town and neighbourhood, that no higher wages should be given than 6d a-day for women, whether working at turnips, hay, or any other employment, except shearing in harvest, when the highest wages should be 10d for women and 1s 6d for men." "Our fish market has of late been universally well supplied. Salmon sells from 4d to 6d per lb., and fine fresh herring at 1d per dozen."

August 25.—"The ports are definitely shut against the import of foreign corn and flour for the ensuing three months. The aggregate prices for the last three weeks, which regulate the imports, were—Wheat, 76s 5d; barley, 30s 1d; oats, 23s 3d; rye, 42s 1d; beans, 34s 7d; pease, 34s 8d. We trust that a continuation of the present most favourable weather will render us altogether independent of importation for another year."

Ibid.—For the first time, so far as we have observed, there are notes of sport in connection with the 12th of August. The weather had been unfavourable for shooting, "but the Marquis of Huntly’s party have had excellent sport, having killed during the first week 553 brace of muirfowl, 4 brace of ptarmigan, besides snipes, plovers, and hares." The name of the moor is not given. Another note states that a party at Invereshie would have killed a thousand brace by Saturday night; that in one party of three guns, each gentleman killed from 50 to 77 brace per day. "The writer fears the annihilation of the grouse; the storm is said to have driven them from the hills, and there being therefore no preserve, the slaughter in the lower lands is the more fatal."

September 6.—The weather is reported cold, with frequent showers of hail, sharp frost at nights, and snow on the higher hills. There was fear for the crops. "Since the year 1782 there has not been a more ungenial season."

September 20.—A festival and series of games were held at Invergarry on the 14th in connection with the Society of True Highlanders. "At sunrise the standard waved from the old castle tower." This was said to have been the first time it was hoisted since the flight of Prince Charles in 1746.

September 27.—James Robertson elected Provost of Inverness.

Ibid.—Several persons were tried at the Circuit Court for obstructing and assaulting Excise officers in the discharge of their duty. The persons found guilty were sentenced to terms of imprisonment. The presiding Judge again complained of the insufficient accommodation of the Court-house.

October 4.—Mr Charles Grant, senior, M.P. for the County, was elected President of the Inverness Auxiliary of the Bible Society, and being present, delivered an address.

Ibid.—Colonel Baillie of Leys gave £10 to the Society for Suppressing Mendicity, £5 to the Coal Fund, and £85 to the Northern Infirmary (to which on a former occasion he had given £15). It is stated that Colonel Baillie had been absent for 25 years, "during a considerable portion of which he filled so distinguished diplomatic situation with much credit to himself and much benefit to his country." He is complimented on the buildings and extensive improvements which he had in contemplation.

October 18.—"Died, on the 8th curt., at the Manse of Dornoch, in the 71st year of his age and the 39th of his ministry, the Rev. John Bethune, D.D., minister of Dornocb. As a man, a clergyman, a Christian, and a relation he was equalled by few and inferior to none. His memory will long be cherished with the warmest affection; his worth is deeply engraven on the hearts of all who had the happiness of knowing him; and his loss will be deplored not only by his sorrowing family, but by all to whom his merits and virtues were known.

October 25.—The Northern Meeting was held the previous week. "The meeting resolved that a plate of 50 guineas should be given next year out of the funds for any horse carrying 10 stone that never won a plate (Hunter’s Plate excepted), to be run for on Wednesday of the Meeting, and named a special Committee for providing a proper course; to defray the expense of which £20 was voted from the funds of the Meeting."

November 1.—the annual meeting of the Trafalgar Club was held at Forres on the 29th ult., Mr Dick Lauder of Relugas in the chair. The Marquis of Huntly was unable to be present owing to the illness of a relative. "On the motion of the Rev. John Macdonell, the large and handsome china bowl, a present from Lord Huntly, had three quarts of whisky put into it, which being made into excellent punch, was emptied to the health of the Noble Donor."

November 8.—It is stated that the Society for the suppression of begging had 160 pensioners. A sum of £400 had been subscribed by members of the Society for the requirements of the year and "£370 has already been recovered,"

Ibid.—"Died, at Ness-side, on the 1st inst., Angus Mackintosh of Holm, Esq., a man whose loss will be felt in private life as the kind and constant friend, the indulgent master, and the poor man’s counsellor and protector; in public life as one whose high and correct notions of probity furnished useful example and reproof; an upright and assiduous Magistrate, whom neither private views nor personal influence could sway from a conscientious discharge of his duty; a zealous and active supporter of every measure which he thought beneficial to the county."

November 15.—After the cold summer there had been an improvement in the weather, but the winter began with great severity, and a heavy fall of snow. "We regret to say that several lives have been lost; two days ago the bodies of two women and a child were found buried in the snow, about two hundred’ yards from the great road near Dalmagarry; the bodies of two men have been found in the hills of Aberarder, and two more are missing. A post-boy of Bennet’s, coming from the South, was obliged to leave his chaise. on the road, and would have been lost but for the lights shown from the windows of Moyhall, which he reached nearly in a frozen state. "—Bread was becoming more scarce and dear every day.

November 22.—The arrival is chronicled of a brig from Thurso at Halifax, Nova Scotia, with 139 passengers, chiefly farmers and mechanics. "About the first week in September 368 settlers or emigrants arrived at Quebec from Great Britain, and six other vessels were then reported going up the river St Lawrence with passenger’s." The economic condition of America was represented as very unfavourable, and emigrants were warned against going out.

Ibid,—"The average of the last six weeks having definitely been struck, the importation of wheat, barley. oats, and rye is permitted; the scarcity on the Continent is, however, so great that the importation will, we apprehend, be limited. The public is indebted to some active individuals for the quantity of grain and meal which has already been imported here—that the price rises is not owing to them but to the state of the times. Compared with our neighbours, we certainly have no cause for complaint. Whilst the population in other places are starving for want of employment, we have had abundance of work." It is stated, however, in another paragraph that there is a quantity of corn still unharvested.

December 13.—Riots in London due to distress and the growth of discontent are reported, but with expressions of strong disapproval. "The leaders affect to have held a correspondence with various other quarters, and dispositions to riot have manifested themselves at Dundee and other places, but quietness is again restored; and we trust the instigators of these outrages will not escape the punishment they merit." Movements to provide employment for the neighbouring poor are reported from Edinburgh and Aberdeen. In the North proposals are on foot for erecting small distilleries.

December 20.—Mr John Ross, Coram Street, London, sent a hundred guineas for the benefit of the poor of Tain, especially for families of the name of Ross. This was the fourth time he had contributed to the relief of the poor in Tain.

The following further items appear in Mr James Suter’s Memorabilia under date 1816 :—"Several private individuals commenced Sabbath Schools for poor children at their own expense. A fund of £118 a-year, which had been bequeathed to the Town Council by Mr Anderson, of Glasgow, formerly a merchant in the town, for relief of poor householders, was this year first distributed."

Return to Book index


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

comments powered by Disqus