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The Northern Highlands in the Nineteenth Century

A General Election occurred in the summer of 1818, when Mr Charles Grant, senior, retired from the representation of the County, and the younger Charles, afterwards Lord Glenelg, succeeded him as County member. The latter, since November 1811, had represented the Inverness District of Burghs, and was now succeeded by Mr George Cumming. The highland Lady, daughter of Sir J. P. Grant of Rothiemurchus, has an interesting passage in her Reminiscences regarding the two Grants. Writing under date 1814 she says : —"There was a party at Belleville during some days when, for the first time to my recollection, I saw him whom by courtesy for many years we continued to call young Charles Grant. Writing that ones familiar name is pleasant to me, recalling so much that was enjoyable, although some little that awakens regret. He was no ordinary man, and to be so thoroughly estranged from one who had been quite a son of the house, a dear elder brother, is cause for grief in a world where few of us ever suit sufficiently for intimacy. There was no fault on either part, it was merely that our paths through life lay differently. His father had been with us most summers; he was our county member, so had to come to look after political interests. He was now intending to introduce his son to the electors against the time when he should himself, from age or weariness, disincline to continue in Parliament. The north country owed him much; we got canals, roads, bridges, cadetships, and writerships in almost undue proportion. My father, his firm friend and most useful supporter, seldom applied in vain for anything in the old Director’s power to give. We had reason to be grateful for all his many kindnesses, but he was never to any of us the delightful companion that we found his son.

"Young Charles was at this time deeply in love with Emilia Cumming [of Altyre]. She was a lovely-looking woman—not a regular beauty, but more attractive than many handsome persons. Old Charles Grant had reasons for forbidding a marriage between them, and they were good ones, acquiesced in by his son, who yet had not the resolution to avoid her society. Year after year he dangled about her till her youth and her beauty went, and he found absence no longer a difficulty. Neither of them married.

"Mrs Macpherson [of Belleville] who had known him from a child, was really absurdly attached to him. She was anxious we should make an agreeable impression on each other. I do not remember that he spoke ten words to me, nor looked a second time at the childish girl quite overpraised to him. On my part half a look was enough; I thought him hideous, tall, thin, yellow, grave, with sandy hair, small light eyes, and a shy, awkward manner, though nearly as old as my father and already of some note among clever men. These were the dear friends of other days! We have often laughed over our introduction."

The action which was raised at the instance of Mr James Lyon for the reduction of the election of the Town Council and Magistrates of Inverness came to a close in December 1818. The burgh was for a time disfranchised. The late James Suter says, under this year’s date —"The late Magistrates were appointed by the Court of Session interim managers for two years, at the termination of which they were re-appointed." This is substantially, but not strictly, accurate. According to the set or constitution of the burgh framed in 1676 it was provided that "all persons to be chosen Councillors or Magistrates in time coming, within this burgh, shall be actual residenters within the samen and liberties thereof, and actual trafficking merchants or maltment allenarly." The objection taken by Mr Lyon was that one Councillor (an ex-Provost) and two Bailies were neither trafficking merchants nor maltmen. The Magistrates contended that this supposed requisite had been abrogated by usage and had fallen into desuetude. The Court of Session resolved to have the following issue tried by jury —"Whether it has been an usage or practice in the Burgh of Inverness, for a period of forty years or upwards, to elect Magistrates or Councillors without regard to the fact whether the said persons were or were not at the period of such election actual trafficking merchants or maltment within the burgh." When the issue had been specified, the question arose as to where the trial should take place. The Provost and Magistrates wished to have it at Inverness. Mr Lyon contended that a fair trial could not be obtained before an Inverness jury, and moved to have it in Edinburgh. The point was decided in his favour, and the Magistrates then abandoned the defence and allowed judgment to be given against them, "rather than submit to the inconvenience, disadvantages, and expense" that a trial in Edinburgh would involve. The Court of Session, however, disposed to countenance authority, and considering the error a mere technicality, supported the Magistrates and Town Council as far as they could. They retained all the qualified Magistrates as managers of the town’s affairs, and allowed them to select other two in room of the men whose qualifications were found inadequate.

The same year the question which had arisen in Aberdeen was decided. The state of affairs in that city had no parallel in Inverness. Behind the question of technicality there were grievances of the most substantial kind. "Aberdeen," says Mr Spencer Walpole, "was one of the worst examples of an unreformed corporation. The burgh was corrupt; the revenues were insufficient to pay the interest of its debt; the Magistrates were themselves of opinion that some change should be effected in the manner of electing the Council, and that an effectual control should be given to the citizens over the expenditure of the town’s office-bearers. An opportunity for reforming Aberdeen occurred in 1817. By the constitution of the burgh forty persons were appointed to take part in the annual election of the Magistrates. In the absence of one of the forty, a person possessing the qualification of the absentee was required to be elected as proxy for him. In 1817 a proxy was elected who could not prove that he was a burgess. The Government, on being made acquainted with the facts, ‘reduced’ or voided the election. Instead, however, of declaring a poll election, and authorising the burgesses to elect their own Magistrates, the Government authorised the Magistrates to proceed to a fresh election. The Magistrates at Aberdeen, in their judgment, had innocently fallen into a trivial error." At this time, indeed, the Government, alarmed by agitation, set their face against anything in the nature of reform.

From the "Inverness Courier."
1818 (Continued).

May 14.—It is stated that within the last few years the exportation of wood from the port of Inverness had become a business of considerable importance, and the Magistrates now appointed two competent persons as sworn measurers. The two were Evander Campbell and Hector Douglas.

Ibid—"At a Justice of Peace Court held here on Tuesday last, for the conviction of persons for trespasses against the Excise laws, sixteen offenders were fined £20 and nine £25 for illegal distillation, and two from Strathglass to the extent of £60 each. Several persons were fined smaller sums for malting, &c. The Justices expressed their determination to put a stop to a traffic so extremely injurious to the best interests of the country."

Ibid.—"The news of the birth of a son and heir to the ancient and popular family of Seaforth has been received by the Clan Mackenzie and throughout the North with lively demonstrations of joy. From this quarter we could descry the bonfires playing on the hills of Ross-shire in honour of the welcome stranger."

May 21.—"Upwards of 1500 head of cattle passed through this town last week, and about 500 were driven to the west, by Fort-Augustus. They were purchased at the Ross-shire Trysts at nearly double the price which the same description of cattle brought last season."

Ibid.—.The County of Banff, at their general meeting on 30th April, resolved on making an application for a mail coach with the full complement of four horses, to the North of Aberdeen, in place of the present mail diligence.

May 28.—"The Highland Society of Scotland have, in a very patriotic manner, offered a premium of 50 guineas for the best essay on the means of attaining so desirable an object as the introduction of railways for the purposes of general carriage."

Ibid.—It is stated that 30 Chelsea pensioners, afflicted with blindness, were residing in Inverness and neighbourhood. Fourteen had been selected to go to London to undergo an operation in the hope that they might recover their sight.

Ibid.—"Loch-Ness is now enlivened by a number of small vessels passing to and from Fort-Augustus, where the operations of the Canal are in the greatest activity. During the last week eight sloops were on the lake at one time."

June 4.—"The advantages of the Caledonian Canal to the district through which it passes begin already to be manifest. English coals, which formerly were carried over-land from this town to Fort-Augustus, and sold there at 4s 6d per barrel, have been sold this summer in that neighbourhood, when brought by the Canal, at 2s 6d."

Ibid.—A paragraph from an Aberdeen paper states that on the 23rd ult., the dead body of a man named Robert Gooden or Goodwin, a soap-boiler, and a native of the parish of Forres, had been found in the Clyde. The "Courier" adds—"We observe from the description and name of the person alluded to that he was the same individual who, on the 12th March 1801, while employed in his usual occupation of candle-making in Inverness, left his tallow kettle to boil over, by which the house was set on fire, and before the accident was discovered, the fire had communicated to a quantity of gunpowder (not less than 8½ barrels), which exploded: 14 persons lost their lives, and the shock and destruction thus occasioned will ever be remembered in Inverness by all who experienced the sad effects of it."

Ibid.—"On Saturday the General Assembly took into consideration a reference from the Presbyteries of Strathbogie and Aberlour, referring to the Assembly the conduct of Mr John Macdonald, minister of Urquhart, in preaching in other parishes than his own within the bounds of the above Presbyteries. Mr Cruickshanks, a member of the Presbytery of Strathbogie, was heard in support of the reference, and Mr Macdonald in explanation. After long reasoning, a motion was made and carried prohibiting the practice referred to." A somewhat fuller report of the case is given in the next issue.

June 11.—"We are glad to observe that the Magistrates have employed workmen to make a covered drain to convey the water which runs down Church Street, from the old Grammar School lane across the street and through the opposite lane to the river. Independently of the comfort that will be derived from having the dirty water conveyed under ground, instead of on the surface of the street, this will really be a considerable improvement, by doing away with the disagreeable hollow in the street at that place, which was very dangerous and annoying for carriages and carts."

lbid.—The annual meeting of the Northern Missionary Society was held at Inverness. Appropriate sermons were preached by the Rev. John Macdonald of Urquhart and the Rev. Angus Mackintosh, of Tain. The amount of collections, subscriptions, and donations was £88 13s 4d, including £10 from the parish of Killearnan, sent by the Rev. John Kennedy.

June 18.—On Wednesday, 10th curt., Parliament was dissolved by the Prince Regent in person, who went in state to the House of Peers.

Ibid.—There is a glowing report of the Inverness Sheep and Wool Market, which had "answered every expectation formed of it." It is stated that blackfaced wool, which sold last year at 10s and 19s per double stone, brought this year from 40s to 45s. Cheviot wool, which brought last year 20s to 21s, sold this year from 40s to 42s per single stone. Wedders, which sold last year at 15s and 16s, sold this year at from 20s to 30s. Lambs brought last year 5s, this year from 8s to 10s. "Thus the prices are fully a hundred per cent. above those of last year, and about 150 per cent. above those of 1816. We learn that one gentleman has refused £5 per stone for a parcel of merino wool."

Ibid.—There is a report of a duel in Ross-shire between two gentlemen, designated as Messrs H.M. and D.R. They met at an early hour, and fired at the same time without effect. Their friends suggested a reconciliation, but one of the parties insisted on another exchange of shots. On this occasion the pistol of one (the less aggressive) missed fire, and he declined to avail himself of the advantage of firing again. "Such honourable conduct disarming hostility, a reconciliation was effected, and the parties left the field good friends."

Ibid—The same issue contains the address of Mr Charles Grant, senior, who was retiring from the representation of the county of Inverness, and the address of his son, Mr Charles Grant, junior, who was leaving the Burghs to succeed as member for the County. The father, who had sat through a period of sixteen years, full, as he said, "of momentous events" observed that he could not "contemplate the cessation of the public connection which had so long subsisted without feelings of affectionate regret." His wishes had been ardent both for the great interests of the country, and for the particular welfare of the county to which he was bound by so many ties. "But of any services that I have rendered to either, it will perhaps be safer for me to rest in the opinion which your kindness may have led you to form than to offer any sentiment of my own; for I indeed sincerely lament that I have not done more." His son, in soliciting election, expresses the desire to be useful both to the county of Inverness and to the country at large. He does not think it necessary to say much, because with many of the freeholders he enjoyed the happiness of private friendship, and to all of them his public principles and conduct were sufficiently known.

Ibid.—"Died, on the 12th inst., in the 60th year of his age, Robert Nicholson, Esq., late Adjutant of the Inverness Recruiting District, having faithfully served his King and country in different quarters of the globe for the long period of 43 years."

Ibid.—An advertisment states that the Marquis of Stafford has agreed to erect a distillery on the river Brora for the accommodation of the Sutherland tenants. They desire to engage "with some person of skill and capital inclined to embark in such an undertaking."

Ibid.—"The non-commissioned officers and privates of the 93rd Regiment of Sutherland Highlanders, while serving their country in the South of Africa, contributed in the course of 18 months no less than £1000 in aid of missionary societies; and at the same time they subscribed £78 to the Gaelic School Society. So distinguished an instance of liberality on the part of these men, in connection with their exemplary moral conduct and their bravery in the field, completely justifies that illustrious statesman Lord Chatham in the encomiums which he bestowed on these hardy mountaineers."

June 25.—"We see with much pleasure that a new line of road to the town from Telford Street, by the Stone Bridge, has just been marked out. The present entrance in that direction passes through all the filth of the Green of Muirtown, which is by far the most disagreeable and irregular access to the town; the new entrance will pass directly from the line of elegant buildings in Telford Street, through the field on the north of the hovels on the Green, by Well’s Foundry, to the fine embankment lately formed on the west side of the river. The ground to be occupied by the new road, which is to be forty feet broad, has, we understand, been liberally given for the purpose by the proprietor, Mr Duff of Muirtown, without any remuneration; and we have no doubt that his public spirit will be rewarded by the enhanced value of his fine property adjoining, which affords most eligible sites for building. Few individuals in this quarter have done more for the improvement of the neighbourhood of Inverness than this gentleman."

July 2.—"The Court of Session has ordered a proof to be taken before a jury in the question now pending regarding the last election of Magistrates for Inverness. The point at issue is this—The set of the burgh, according to the letter, requires that the Town Council should consist of 21 members, viz., 18 burgesses, who are actually trafficking merchants or maltmen and 3 deacons of crafts. The complainer, James Lyon, asserts that at the last election three gentlemen were appointed, viz., Provost Gilzean, Bailie Alexander Mackenzie, banker; and Bailie Farquhar Macdonald, who, though resident burgesses and guild brethren, yet are neither trafficking merchants nor maltmen; and prays for this reason that the whole election be declared null and void. The Town Council defends the nomination of the persons objected to on various grounds, but principally on that of confirmed usage. The Court sustains the argument of the Magistrates that in such a case a certain extent of practice may sanction a deviation from written law, and orders the present proof to ascertain how far the Magistrates can on this plea support their election." The case was not expected to be submitted to the jury until the following November.

Ibid.—Mr J. P. Grant of Rothiemurchus lost his seat for Grimsby.

Ibid.—"Died here on the 16th June, aged 89 years, Alexander Macbean, who for a number of years acted as janitor of the Inverness Academy. Many of our young countrymen now situated in distant regions will read this notice with affectionate regret; the name of this once lively friend of their ‘smiling boyhood’ will call back to memory the sportful scenes of early years, and 'touch a chord in their hearts that will vibrate with the sounds of other times.’"

July 9 —There was a contest for the representation of the County of Ross, the candidates being Mr Thomas Mackenzie, yr. of Applecross, and Mr Alexander Fraser of Inchcoulter. The free-holders met at Tain. The first trial of strength was for the election of Chairman, when Sir Hector Mackenzie, Bart. of Gairloch, was appointed by a majority of 6 votes, in preference to Mr Hugh lnnes of Lochalsh (28 to 22). The election of Mr Mackenzie, yr. of Applecross. was moved by Mr Mackenzie of Kilcoy, and seconded by Mr Macleod of Geanies, Sheriff of the County. The election of Mr Fraser of Inchcoulter was moved by Colonel Munro of Culcairn, and seconded by Mr Mackenzie of Mount-gerald. The vote resulted—For Applecross, 29; for Inchcoulter, 23; majority for Apple-cross, 6. The Highland Lady describes the new member as a man of ability and "the catch of the North Country from the extent of his property." He never, however, enjoyed robust health. "Immediately after his election, Mr Mackenzie ordered a dinner to the prisoners in the jails of Tain, Dingwall, and Fortrose. He also sent a donation to the poor of each of these burghs."

July 16.—On the previous Tuesday Mr Charles Grant. yr., was unanimously elected M.P. for the county of Inverness. His father presided at the meeting. The election of the new member was moved by Colonel Macdonell of Glengarry, and seconded by Mr Baillie of Dochfour. Mr Charles Grant, yr., now became Secretary for Ireland.

Ibid.—At the same meeting of freeholders, Macleod of Macleod proposed that Mr Charles Grant, senior, be requested to sit for his portrait, to be hung up in the Court-room as a permanent mark of the esteem which the county entertained for him on account of his Parliamentary conduct and private worth and virtues. This proposal met with cordial approbation. At the same time an address, signed by the freeholders, was presented: to the late member.

Ibid.—Mr George Cumming, London, one of the Altyre family, was elected M.P. for the Inverness District of Burghs. The returning burgh was Nairn. The name of Sir Wm. Gordon Cumming was first mentioned for the vacancy, but he gave way to his relative.—Mr Hugh Innes of Lochalsh was re-elected member for the Northern Burghs.—Mr Macleod, yr. of Cadboll, was elected for the counties of Cromarty and Nairn.—Colonel Francis William Grant of Grant was elected for Morayshire.—Mr Robert Grant (another son of Mr Charles Grant of Waternish) was elected for the Elgin District of Burghs.—Mr Grant of Ballindalloch was elected for the County of Sutherland —The Earl of Fife was elected for the County of Banff.

July 23.—Mr George Sinclair, yr. of Ulbster, was elected M.P. for Caithness.—Captain G. H. Dundas, R.N., was, after a contest, elected for Orkney and Shetland.

Ibid.—"The site of the stronghold. of the once powerful Earls of Ross at Dingwall has been levelled this season, and is now under crop. There remaineth but a single fragment of the building to mark where a castle had been." This fragment, we believe, still remains.

August 6.—It is stated that the summer was the warmest since that of 1779. A very early harvest was expected.

Ibid.—A correspondent complains that horses were driven like sheep or cows to be watered at the river. "It is a common thing to see half-a-dozen of them at a time galloping through one of those very narrow lanes which run from Church Street to the river, and that, too when the lane is full of people passing and repassing."

August 20—"The new walk on the bank of the Ness, called the Ladies’ Walk, from its having been formed last year at the expense of some respectable ladies, has lately been much improved; and the injuries done to it by the high floods during the last winter are now completely repaired. The money presently laid out on this pleasant promenade is supplied by the amount of a bet on the issue of the late Parliamentary election for this District of Burghs, which the winner generously appropriated for the purpose; and some small subscriptions from a few individuals."

August 27.—A paragraph draws attention to the hardships to which Highland reapers were exposed by going South before there was employment for them. This season, however, the harvest was so early that little harm could be done by an early arrival.

September 3.—The annual report of the Caledonian Canal (dated October 1817) mentions that the quarry at Redcastle had been worked from March to July in order to procure stones for the hollow quoins, segment stones. and pavement for the lower recesses of the lock at Fort-Augustus. "The vessels which carry materials, &c., from Clachnaharry to Fort-Augustus have now navigated Loch-Ness two years without any accident or even the slightest injury.

Ibid.—The Inverness Town Council made some modification on the table of shore dues. "It is said that the value of these dues, which sold at the roup last year for £685. will be reduced about £60 by the change."

Ibid.—The nineteenth anniversary of the Northern Missionary Society was held at Tain on 26th August, when the Rev. John Macdonald of Urquhart preached in English, and the Rev. John Kennedy, Killearnan, preached in Gaelic. "The collections, donations, and subscriptions on this occasion amounted to £88 18s 3½d, in which sum is included £10 per the Rev. Mr Macdonald, from the Ferrintosh Penny-a-Week Society, and £6 8s, per the Rev. Mr Forbes, from a similar Association in the parish of Tarbet; by this accession to their funds, the Society were enabled to vote for the London Missionary Society. £100; the Edinburgh Missionary Society £100; the Hibernian Society, £50; the Moravian Society, £50; and to the Society for the Conversion of the Jews, £50; total—£350."

lbid.—"In the little port of Helmsdale, where six years ago there was not a hut nor a fishing boat, several curing-houses are erected on the most approved plan, and the number of boats amounts to 140. Upwards of 15,000 barrels of herrings have been cured here this season, besides a quantity which has been smoked."

September 17.—An advertisement in this issue calls a meeting for the purpose of taking steps to erect bridges connecting the Islands with "the much-frequented walks on both sides of the river." A paragraph states that excellent paths had already been formed on both banks of the river, but the Islands remained isolated. [By the way, the spot is called "Island," not "Islands"; possibly the central channel had not then been formed.]

Ibid.—"The workmen employed in digging out gravel from the summit of the Hill above the Haugh Brewery found last week the skeletons of three grown persons in coffins, the bones perfectly entire. A body was found in a similar situation last year near the same place. Report will have it that the brow of the hill was used in former times as a burying-place for the unfortunate persons who were executed in this quarter, and there is some colour of truth in the supposition from its vicinity to the old place of execution in the Gallow Muir. Some old inhabitants of the town, on the other hand, say that when the Duke of Cumberland’s army visited Inverness in April 1746, after the battle of Culloden, many deaths occurred amongst his men, and that some of them were interred in this ground."

September 24.—The previous day a meeting took place in the Athenæum to consider the proposed erection of chain bridges to connect the Island with the river banks. Mr Fraser, yr. of Torbreck, presided. The meeting resolved to proceed with the scheme, and upwards of £100 was at once subscribed. A week afterwards the subscriptions amounted to £200.

lbid.—Mr James Robertson, M.D., was re-elected Provost. There were two ex-Provosts in the Council, namely, James Grant and Thomas Gilzean.

Ibid.—A proposal was made to start a mail diligence to Thurso. The Magistrates and Council agreed to allow it to pass either of the bridges toll free, and the same privilege was granted at Bonar-Bridge and Helmsdale. The counties of Ross and Sutherland had each subscribed £200 to assist the movement. The diligence was expected to start in the following spring.

The Old Stone Bridge

Ibid.—At the Circuit Court, held on the 18th inst. there were nine cases, six of which were for assaulting and deforcing Revenue officers. The persons convicted were sentenced to various terms of imprisonment.

October 1.—At the Michaelmas Head Court the Constables for the current year were sworn in. Provost Robertson addressed them on the occasion. "He stated that they were chosen from among their townsmen as Constables in consequence of being heads of families and men of respectable character; and he requested that they should continue to exhibit that propriety of behaviour and moderation in the exercise of their public duties which had hitherto distinguished them. He especially recommended to them a rigid enforcement, in so far as depended on them, of the public duties of the Sabbath, and a vigilant superintendence of public-houses; also a constant co-operation with the Society for the suppression of begging. He next stated that it was the firm determination of the Magistrates to put a stop to the pernicious and dangerous practice of allowing horses to go to the water without some persons to lead them, and requested the Constables, for the safety of their own families as well as for the good of the community, to be vigilant in detecting and bringing to punishment any who might henceforth offend in this particular. He also generally recommended to them the care of the public walks, the banks of the river, and other matters of police regulation. He concluded the address with an earnest exhortation to them, and to heads of families in general, to impress on the minds of their inmates and of all under their guidance the necessity of keeping regular hours."

Ibid.—The revenue of the town from Petty Customs and pontages amounted this year to £308; from shore dues and anchorage, £575; from all sources, £990. In 1817 the total was £1096, but in 1816 only £882.

October 8.—"On Tuesday evening a meeting of the Corporation of Wrights and Coopers was held for the purpose of forwarding the cause of Burgh Reform in this town; several resolutions in favour of that object being proposed, were rejected without a division. This Corporation is the most numerous and respectable of the six Trades; it contains above 30 out of the 75 burgesses which form the whole of the Trades’ Burgesses of this town."

October 15.—The Right Hon. Charles Grant, M.P. for the county of Inverness, and Chief Secretary for Ireland, was present with his father, and with the Lord-Lieutenant and other distinguished guests, at a banquet given at Dublin on the 3rd inst. by the new Lord Mayor, Alderman M'Kenny. The health of the Chief Secretary was drunk amid loud applause, and Mr Grant replied. An incident is noticed in the report. ‘When Mr Grant concluded and took his seat, the band instantly played ‘Crop-pies lie down.’ The Lord Mayor directed a look of astonishment and rebuke towards the orchestra, and the tune was discontinued."

Ibid.—The Magistrates and Town Council voted £70 to assist in the construction of the new line of road "marked out in the direction of Telford Street from the river side to avoid passing through the Green of Muirtown."

Ibid.—Many ingenious efforts were made about this time to discover "perpetual motion," and claimants to the discovery frequently appeared. Among the rest, Mr Lewis Bayne, officer of Excise, Inverness, believed that he had constructed a perpetually moving timepiece. "The machine is kept in motion by means of magnetic attraction; but in the construction of it Mr Bayne makes use of but one magnet [another inventor required two]. It is only about six months since this very ingenious timepiece was shown to us, but there are several inhabitants of this place who have seen it going these two years past."

October 29.—The Northern Meeting began on the 21st. The Marquis and Marchioness of Huntly were present. Hon. Mrs Stewart Mackenzie of Seaforth and Hon. Mrs Fraser of Lovat sent in abundant supplies of venison, muirfowl, and ptarmigan.

Ibid.—At a meeting of the Forres Trafalgar Club a sum of forty guineas, to purchase a marble bust of Lord Nelson to be placed in the monument on Cluny Hill, was announced as the donation of the Rev. Hugh Fraser, Georgetown, South Carolina. The Rev. John Macdonell proposed that a Committee should be appointed to procure busts both of Lord Nelson and the Marquis of Huntly. This was agreed to with acclamation. The company consisted of fifty-five gentlemen, some of whom had come from a great distance. Among them were many naval and military officers who had distinguished themselves in the service of their country.

November 5.—The woollen factory at Inverness belonging to Messrs Mackenzie, Gordon, & Co. is advertised for sale. The houses were in the Haugh, the store room at the Shore, and the carding and waulk mills on the bank of the river.

Ibid.—"It is calculated that the black cattle, wool, sheep, and herrings sold and sent from the Highland district of Scotland north of the Spey to the other quarters of the Kingdom within the last six months amount in value to at least £500,000; a greater sum than was perhaps ever before received in one year from the whole produce of this district. We are happy in being able to state that these great branches of our provincial exports have been at no period in more flourishing circumstances than at present. The only extensive manufactories in this quarter, namely, those of hemp-bagging, begin to participate likewise in the rapidly returning prosperity of the country."

Ibid.—An article appears in the same number on the subject of burgh reform. The writer is in favour of reform, but points out that the affairs of the town of Inverness are well administered. "The revenue of this town," he says, "is £1559, of which every shilling is honestly expended for the public good, and, in as far as we can judge, as discreetly as honestly. In this town more money is devoted to the support of schools than in any other town of the Kingdom with double the revenue; and it is a singular and an honourable fact that not a single glass of wine is from year’s end to year’s end paid for from the public funds for the entertainment of public men" This, it may be remarked, forms a striking contrast to the state of affairs in the burgh of Pittenweem. The revenue of that burgh was £300, and it was represented in Parliament by the Lord Advocate. In a note to a Parliamentary return, it is stated, on the authority of the Provost and Town-Clerk, "that the balance of its income is mostly expended in the annual election dinner of the Magistrates and in celebrating the King’s birthday.

November 12.—A smart shock of earthquake was felt in Inverness and neighbourhood on 10th inst. It occurred at 20 minutes past midnight, and was felt along the banks of Loch-Ness.

November 19.—A Society was formed in Inverness to co-operate with a Society in Edinburgh for the support of Gaelic schools in the Highlands. It was stated that 70 schools had already been erected. The object of the Society was to teach Gaelic in the districts where that language prevailed, and in certain cases English and writing.

Ibid.—A correspondent of the "Times" gave a very unpleasant account of the gaol in Inverness; "a corner building at the junction of the two main streets," namely, Bridge Street and Church Street. "The outer door of the prison opens into the main street, and immediately on entering you perceive a flight of steps on either hand; that on the left leads to the court-room, where prisoners are tried; the deal boards with which the court is fitted up have never been painted, and the dirt on them and on the walls gave to both rather a miserable appearance." At the top of the opposite flight of steps a door opened into a stone gallery facing the cells. This gallery was the appointed place for airing and recreation, "and as often as the prisoners avail themselves of it," says the writer, "they are exposed like wild beasts in a cage to every passenger below." At the time of his visit there was only one criminal prisoner, who had been tried for an attempt to assassinate, and sentenced to confinement on account of derangement. This poor man’s cell is described as horribly loathsome. He had been in it for six years. "There were no other prisoners at the time I am speaking of, except seven debtors; one of these was by himself in a room sufficiently commodious, but very dirty; the other six were in a room much smaller, but still more dirty; they all looked very sickly." The "Courier" devotes an article to this communication, which it describes as exaggerated. It says that the prison certainly ought not to be in the centre of the town, but that in many respects its construction was better than, that of most Scottish prisons. "The grated gallery or arcade which extends along the whole front of the prison, whatever it may appear to chance visitors, affords the prisoners the liveliest amusement. It overlooks the busiest part of the town, and gives them an opportunity of seeing and hearing all that is going forward. There may be some solid objection to this too familiar intercourse with the street, but the charge of exposing them like wild beasts in a cage must be laughed at by every one who knows anything about the real condition of the persons said to be exhibited." As for the poor criminal, the writer says, he had since his commitment become furiously mad, and annoyed the whole town by his "nocturnal bellowings." He was, however, confined under a warrant of the Justiciary Court till bail could be found and the town was meantime obliged to submit to the infliction. If six debtors were found in one room, it must have been from their own choice and in the day-time only.

November 26.—This number contains an account of the death of Queen Charlotte, which occurred on the 17th November. The Magistrates of Inverness directed that the pulpit of "the English Church" should be draped with black cloth as a mark of respect for her late Majesty.

Ibid.—The prevalence of strong southerly winds favoured the passage of vessels coming North. "The smack George, from London, arrived at Cromarty on Saturday, 21st inst., after a passage of 84 hours, having left Gravesend on Wednesday, 18th. The Lizard, from Leith, arrived also at Crornarty on Monday last, the 23rd, after a passage of only 33 hours."

December 3.—"We understand a new complaint has been instituted in the Court of Session by Mr James Lyon, ironmonger, aided by Deacon Alexander Petrie, of the Shoemakers, and Deacon Donald Macbean, of the Tailors, against the last election of the Magistrates and Town Council of Inverness."

December 10.—A Committee of the House of Commons were at this time considering the condition of the burgh gaols in Scotland, and nearly two columns are devoted to a statement furnished by Provost Robertson. The Provost says frankly that the gaol was not sufficient for the accommodation of either the civil or criminal prisoners confined therein; but so far as the accommodation went it was perfectly adequate to the secure custody of its inmates, The gaol was built about 30 years before, chiefly at the expense of the burgh, with a contribution of £1000 from the Government, made out of the confiscated estates, and some assistance "comparatively trifling" from the counties of Inverness, Ross, Nairn, and Cromarty. The gaol had since been kept in repair solely at the expense of the burgh. The Steeple had been erected at the expense of the burgh, aided by individual subscriptions.

Ibid.—The action of James Lyon v. the Magistrates and Town Council of Inverness was originally fixed to be tried before a jury in the town of Inverness, but was afterwards changed to Edinburgh, and the 14th December fixed for the proceedings. The Magistrates, however, considered it inexpedient to go to Edinburgh, and the disfranchisement of the burgh was now anticipated.

December 24.—The dignity of a baronet of the United Kingdom was conferred on Hugh lnnes of Lochalsh, in the county of Ross and of Coxton, in the county of Moray.

Ibid.—This issue gives a full narrative of the action raised by James Lyon against the Magistrates and Town Council and of its result. The Magistrates abandoned the defence rather than submit to the inconvenience and expense of presenting their case before a jury in Edinburgh. A petition was then presented for the appointment of interim managers, and the Second Division took the matter into consideration on the 19th December. As the interim management was claimed exclusively by the late Magistrates, the petition was in so far opposed by Mr Lyon, who asked that himself and two persons of his nomination should be introduced into the temporary administration of the burgh. The precedent of Aberdeen was quoted in support of this application. The Lord Justice Clerk expressed himself in substance as follows:—"That the high opinion which the Court entertained of the gentlemen who had been in the Magistracy of Inverness was in no degree shaken by the recent proceedings at Mr Lyon’s instance; that the Magistrates having been unanimously elected, were bound to support their offices, and the Court did not misconstrue the grounds upon which they had been recently advised to abandon their case; that although the Court were compelled to sustain the legal objection offered to the election now reduced, they yet did not view with any favour, and far less with any approbation, the proceedings which rendered that decision necessary; that the Court had resolved to commit the interim management exclusively to the former Magistrates, and their lordships did so with entire confidence in the well known respectability and worth of these gentlemen." The Counsel for Mr Logan, however, insisted that the two persons who had been complained of as ineligible should be kept out of the nomination. The Court acquiesced in this, but allowed the Provost and remaining Magistrates to select their two colleagues. And so the case closed.

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