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The Northern Highlands in the Nineteenth Century

The subject of Burgh Reform continued to excite attention for several years. We have already referred to the cases of Montrose, Inverness, and Aberdeen. To make the history of the times intelligible, and yet to avoid making long detached quotations from newspaper files, we may once more avail ourselves of Mr Spencer Walpole’s History of England from 1815. He relates how, in the Session of 1818, Lord Archibald Hamilton drew attention to the case of Montrose, and afterwards threatened to bring up the whole subject of the condition of the burghs. Public opinion having been thus aroused, the Lord Advocate introduced a bill for the better regulating of the revenues of the royal burghs of Scotland. Mr Walpole tells the story as follows : —

"He [the Lord Advocate] proposed that the Magistrates should be compelled to publish their accounts, and that the Court of Exchequer, on the complaint of five burgesses, should have the power of controlling the expenditure. The remedy was a mild one; and, mild as the measure was, it was not persevered with. Its introduction, however, created a profound impression in Scotland. Six-sevenths of the populations of the royal boroughs petitioned for reform. Hardly a single petition was presented on the other side. Hamilton, finding his case thus strengthened, moved that all the petitions should be referred to a select committee, ‘to examine the matter thereof, and to report their observations and opinion thereon to the House.’ It was in vain that William Dundas, speaking with the authority which his name gave to him, resisted all change. It was in vain that Canning warned the House against the experiments of rash speculators in Parliamentary Reform. Two months before, on the 3rd of March, the Ministry had been defeated by Mackintosh on the Criminal laws. Four days before, Grattan’s motion for Roman Catholic emancipation had been carried in the teeth of the Tories. Hamilton’s motion was now adopted by 149 votes to 144, or by a majority of 5.

"The Committee, which was thus appointed in 1819, was revived in the new Parliament of 1820, and practically continued its labours for three years. Early in 1822, Hamilton. after referring to the numerous abuses which the reports of tie Committee had disclosed, moved that the House should resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House upon the royal burghs of Scotland. He dwelt on the absurdity of allowing the Magistrates to elect their own successors, and insisted on the necessity of instituting some more popular method of election. But the Ministry was not ready to adopt his views. It was willing to impose some checks on the expenditure of the public funds by the Magistrates, but it was unwilling to adopt any remedy which would open the door to reform. The temporary force which petitions had imparted to Lord Archibald’s motion was expended; the Opposition, ignorant of Scotland, were languid; Lord Archibald was defeated by a majority of 81 votes to 46; and the Lord Advocate’s counter-proposal was adopted. Some checks were placed on the expenditure of the royal burghs; some restrictions were enforced against the improvident creation of debt; but the burghs themselves were unreformed; the Magistrates were allowed to go on electing their own successors; and the whole population of the towns of Scotland were excluded from the franchise as completely as the settlers in the backwoods of Canada."

The second half of 1819 was a time of great agitation in the industrial centres of England and the south of Scotland. There were frequent meetings and demonstrations, and the upper classes entertained fears of an attempted revolution. A great gathering held near Manchester in August was dispersed by the Yeomanry and a regiment of cavalry, resulting in the loss of several lives and the injury of many persons. This is known as "the Peterloo Massacre." The Government threw its shield over the local Magistrates, who were primarily to blame, and much controversy ensued. In the autumn session of Parliament the Government succeeded in passing a series of measures called the Six Acts. "These were of varied importance. The first made it easier to prevent out-of-door meetings for political purposes, and was to be in force for five years. The second enabled trials for misdemeanour, which was the usual charge under which political agitators ware prosecuted, to be held with less delay. The third, very properly, forbade private persons to engage in military drill, a proceeding tolerated in no civilised State. The fourth was for the more effectual prosecution and punishment of blasphemous and seditious libels. The fifth authorised Magistrates to seize arms in sixteen counties said to be disturbed, and was to be in force for three years. The sixth was a distinct check on the liberty of the press, for it required all publishers of newspapers to give security in advance for any fines they might incur by uttering blasphemy or sedition. Such an enactment made it harder for a poor man to start a newspaper, and as it stood was an insult to the press at large. All these Acts were stoutly opposed by the Whigs, and, with the exception of the third, were sooner or later repealed" (Ransom's History). During this time the North of Scotland was undisturbed, but reports of the state of affairs fill columns of newspaper files. County meetings were held to support the Government.

The extension of a mail coach service to Wick and Thurso was at this time an important incident. Mr John Anderson, in his Essay on the State of the Highlands, written in 1826, says that previous to the year 1819 the post was conveyed from Inverness to Tain on horseback, and thence across the firths of Dornoch and Loch-Fleet by post-runners to the North Coast. "In 1819 the benefit of the mail coach system was extended even to the Pentland Firth. Horses were brought from Edinburgh, and stables and inns erected by Lord Stafford at very considerable expense. By one common bond of intercourse, the two most distant parts of the island, the one situated at the extremity of the English Channel, the other in the latitude of John O’Groat’s House. were thus joined together, at a distance of 1082 miles. In no country, it may safely be said, is there a parallel of so rapid a change." Notes on this subject will be found below.

From the "Inverness Courier."

January 7.—The workmen employed in levelling a piece of ground round Dr Robertson’s house at Aultnaskiach discovered urns containing human bones. In one of the urns was a flint arrow head, elegantly shaped and doubly barbed. In digging the foundations of the house some years before stone coffins were discovered. Paragraphs on the subject appear in several issues. Another stone coffin was found.

January 14.—John Macleod, the man who had become insane when incarcerated in the prison of Inverness, received a pardon from the Crown. He was then "lodged in one of the lunatic apartments of the Royal Infirmary, with some prospect of cure."

Ibid.—On the 3rd inst., the dwelling-house of Auchterblair, parish of Duthil, occupied by Major and Mrs Grant, was burned to the ground. The first notice is in this issue, but there are subsequent accounts. Valuable furniture, china, and books were destroyed.

January 27.—The growth of shipping and the improvement of harbours in the Moray Firth are commented on. "At Inverness the harbour has been greatly improved and extended; at Dingwall a canal and pier have been completed; excellent harbours have been formed at Burghead, Fortrose, Brora &c., and we understand that the new pier at Nairn is now in a way of being speedily erected." The following statistics are given from the books of the Inverness Custom-house for 1817 and 1818. In 1817 the vessels entered inwards from foreign ports numbered 4; cleared outwards to foreign ports, 4; entered inwards coastwise, 516; cleared outwards coastwise, 439; total number of vessels. 963, and total tonnage, 57,591 In 1818 8 vessels entered from foreign ports; 17 cleared outwards to foreign ports; 521 vessels entered inwards coastwise; 560 cleared outwards coast-wise; total number of vessels, 1106; total of tonnage, 6,.429. Registered at Inverness to 30th September 1818, 56 vessels of 3391 tons.

February 4.—"The subject to which our attention is at present most strongly attracted is the state of the Burghs in Scotland. This, we are assured, will become an object of legislative interference at no distant period. The state of Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness, and many others, we may rather say every other burgh in Scotland, is such as imperiously calls for some remedy for the ferment which prevails." The subject was brought up in Parliament, as stated above.

Ibid.—List of awards by the Highland Society of Scotland to farmers in the Northern Counties, including Nairnshire, Morayshire, and the districts of Badenoch and Strathspey, for improvements in cultivation and in stock.

Ibid—"On Monday last Mr Bayne exhibited in the basin of the Caledonian Canal the model of a frigate, to be impelled by the power of the screw against wind and tide." The vessel is fully described on 4th March. Mr Bayne was evidently a man of inventive talent.

February 18.—"On the welcome news of the birth of an heir to the venerable family of Culloden being received in our neighbourhood, Culloden lighted all its beacons. We would not envy the feelings of a Scotchman who could look on the misty stretch of Cullodon Moor, ruddied for the birth of an heir to the line of Duncan Forbes, without some melting of the heart or kindling of the fancy." The birth thus announced was that of the late Arthur Forbes of Culloden.

lbid.—"Died, on the 8th inst., at Clachnaharry in the 63rd year of his age, Mr Davidson, resident engineer of the Caledonian Canal. Whether we view Mr Davidson in his official situation, discharging an important trust, or engaged in the relative and social duties of life, he claims our highest admiration. No man possessed a more delicate sense of honour, was actuated by a stricter integrity, or maintained a loftier feeling of independence. When discussion elicited the various stores of his vigorous mind, he gave an inimitable and peculiar strength of expression to his sentiments. His masculine wit was never wielded to wound the feeling of any individual. His benevolence was active, his beneficence unwearied, and his charity unostentatious. It may be safely asserted that, of those who had access to his society, none ever left him without becoming either wiser or better."

Ibid.—"At Fermoy, on the 20th ult., Kenneth Mackenzie, Esq., postmaster of that town, and late Captain and Adjutant in his Majesty’s Caithness Highlanders. Mr Mackenzie was born at Castle Leathers, and published a collection of excellent Gaelic songs before he left this country." The paragraph speaks of Mr Mackenzie as a man of sterling worth and an ornament to society.

March 18.—On the previous Tuesday the Right Hon. Charles Grant was unanimously re-elected member for the county of Inverness on his appointment as Secretary for Ireland. The nomination was moved by Sir Æneas Mackintosh of Mackintosh and seconded by Mr Baillie of Dochfour.

Ibid.—The death is recorded of Captain John Stewart, of the 53rd Regiment of Foot. which took place at Knock of Kincairn, Strathspey. He was only 33 years of age. and had served for 16 years. At the storming of Fort Calliger, in the East Indies, in 1812, when leading the Grenadier company up to the breach, he was precipitated down the perpendicular rock on which the fort is built, apparently killed. Although he survived the fall, his death seems to have been ultimately caused by its effects.

March 25.—"Lately died here, James Simpson, glover, aged 97, the oldest man in the town. He had three several times entered the holy state of matrimony, but died a widower. He was a canny, tidy, old man, and took good thought for the morrow. At a distant period he obtained the lease of a small house during the joint lives of himself and his wife, Kate. In his subsequent matrimonial connections he took care to make the most of his bargain, and successively married a second and a third Kate."

April 15.—An article, two columns long, appears on the subject of Burgh Reform. The points in the Lord Advocate’s Bill (see introduction) are carefully discussed.

April 22.—On the 14th inst. Lord Reston arrived at Inverness "during terrible weather" to hold the Circuit Court. A number of cases were tried, chiefly connected with smuggling and sheep-stealing. "With regard to the former, he was satisfied that much had already been done to suppress a practice so pernicious to the morals and habits of the people, but much still remained to be done, and the learned Judge strongly recommended that proprietors should declare smuggling to be an irritancy in the leases to be granted by them as one of the most effectual preventives of the crime."

April 29.—"Died, at Glendoich, in the neighbourhood of Perth, on Friday, Lord Reston. His lordship was on his way from this place to Perth to open the Circuit. Those who lately saw him in this town, in the full vigour of his mind and in apparently high health, cannot be otherwise than deeply affected by this afflictive event. Lord Reston was esteemed a good lawyer and an excellent judge. His judgments were all characterised by much tenderness to the criminal and an evident leaning to the side of mercy."

Ibid.—A chapel "in the Independent or Congregational connection," capable of seating about 500 persons, and built for the accommodation of Mr Dewar and his people, was opened at Avoch on April 21st. Mr Spence of Inverness, preached in the morning, and Mr Dewar, of Nairn, in the evening. The building was opened free of debt.

May 13.—A good deal of interest was at this time taken in the construction of velocipedes, concerning which paragraphs circulate from various parts of the country. The following notice appears on 13th May —"A machine of this kind has been constructed by William Macdonald, cartwright, here, under the direction of Mr Smith, the finishing writing master, with which that gentleman makes daily excursions in the neighbourhood of the town. It appears to answer the desired purpose very well, and is every day more easily managed by its rider, who now travels with great velocity."

June 3.—At the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland a petition was heard from Mr John Anderson, minister of Bellie, appealing against sentences of the Synod of Moray and Presbytery of Strathbogie, prohibiting him from acting in the capacity of factor, and confining him to the exercise of his clerical functions. The Assembly sustained the appeal in respect of certain irregularities of procedure, but declared it impossible that they should not highly disapprove of ministers of the Church engaging in such secular pursuits as might be inconsistent with the discharge of their spiritual functions, and recommended the Presbytery of Strathbogie to see that these pastoral duties were fully performed in the parish of Bellie, and in all other parishes within their bounds.

June 17.—"The state of the Wool Market in England is so fluctuating at present that both the wool-growers and purchasers who came North to attend the sales here have hung off, and it is only this morning that business was done in earnest. The price is 20s 6d the double stone for wool of the blackfaced sheep. No sales of Cheviot wool have been made in Inverness, but at Fort-William two parcels were sold at 21s and 22s per single stone." Cheviot lambs were quoted 10s 6d to 12s; three-year-old Cheviot wedders 25s to 27s 6d; cast Cheviot ewes, 15s to 17s 6d; blackfaced lambs, 8s to 9s; ditto wedders, 22s to 24s; cast ewes, 12s to 15s. At a meeting of wool-growers it was agreed to request members of Parliament to give their support to a bill then pending for the protection of the British wool-grower.

June 24.—A girl, eight years of age, was suddenly killed by the falling of the flag-staff on the Castle Hill.

Ibid.—"It is with much pleasure we notice that the handsome Pump-Room erected at this celebrated spring [the Strathpeffer Mineral Well] by Mrs Hay Mackenzie of Cromarty, has been recently opened for the accommodation of the ladies and gentlemen attending there. A respectable servant man is in attendance, who conducts the business of the place with much decorum. The reputation of this Spa is yearly increasing, and nothing is now wanting to render the delightful valley of Strathpeffer a place of fashionable and beneficial resort but a few neat cottages to accommodate invalids, and a hotel or boardinghouse, which would perhaps better answer the purpose of fashionable visitors."

July 1.—"Died, at Dornoch, on the 31st May, John Law, Esq., Sheriff-Substitute of the county of Sutherland. As a husband and a parent he was most affectionate; as a judge he was upright and impartial; and as a member of society he possessed those amiable qualities which command esteem."

Ibid.—Meetings of operatives in the large towns of England were agitating for reform and for the redress of grievances.

July 8.—The Highland Society of London voted one hundred guineas in aid of the Society for the Education of the Poor in the Highlands, and private subscriptions in London produced a further sum of £108.

Ibid.—On the 18th ult., the foundation stone of a new parish church at Rosemarkie was laid. The Heritors and Magistrates met in the Town Hall of Fortrose and walked in procession to the site. The Rev. Alexander Wood, minister of the parish, delivered an address, and Mr Mackenzie of Flowerburn, the principal heritor, deposited papers and coins in the foundation stone.

Ibid.—"Died here, on the 2nd curt., in his 67th year, universally regretted, Mr James Wills, who had been one of the teachers to the Inverness Academy since its institution. The life of Mr Wills was wholly devoted to the faithful and zealous discharge of his professional duties; and his exertions as a teacher were rewarded by the veneration and grateful affection of his pupils, in every quarter of the globe, and by the general esteem of his fellow-citizens."

July 15.—The first monthly corn market was held at Inverness on the previous Tuesday.

Ibid.—The new mail coach to run between Inverness and Thurso started this morning. It was timed to leave Inverness at 6 a. m., arriving at Wick at half-past seven the following morning and at Thurso at half-past eleven.—"An elegant new mail coach, built on the patent principle, and drawn by four horses, now runs between the town and Aberdeen, and leaving that city at the usual hour of despatching the North Mail, reaches Inverness so early as eleven at night. The Thurso mail departs in the morning, and passengers to the northward are thus permitted to enjoy a few hours of repose before setting forward.’

Ibid.—Died, at Milnfield, on the 9th curt. Ann, wife of Mr Macdonell, writer, Inverness. A tribute is paid to her upright, intelligent, and genial character.

Ibid.—"In the last report of the Gaelic School Society, we have the following account of the deplorable state of ignorance of the Highlands of Scotland: ...Out of a population of 22,501 (belonging to a few parishes of which returns had been made), 19,367 are incapable of reading either English or Gaelic. Connected with this melancholy fact it must be observed that the proportion who are able to read reside in or near a district where a school is taught; but in the remote glens, or subordinate islands of almost every parish, few or none can be found who know even the letters."

July 22.—Lord Archibald Hamilton laid before the House of Commons a report from the Select Committee on Scottish Royal Burghs. After a keen contest it was ordered to be printed.—A petition from Inverness praying for reform was presented to the House of Commons by Sir James Mackintosh.

Ibid.—Died, at the Manse of Duthil, on let July, the Rev. John Grant, in the 77th year of his age. "Mr Grant filled the situation of minister in various parishes for about 50 years, and discharged the parochial duties with such kindness and attention as to attract the universal esteem of his parishioners. He possessed all the hospitality of the Highlander, tempered with the moderation and mingled with the benevolence of the Christian, and he was ever the friend of the poor and their ready shield against oppression. He had a capacious and original mind, cultivated to the highest degree by study, and was one of the most profound classical scholars of the present day. He delighted in the Greek and Latin authors, who were his constant and familiar companions; and as he possessed a most retentive memory, the conversation was enriched and adorned by frequent ready quotations and happy allusions, illustrative of any subject under discussion. He was a great enthusiast in the Gaelic language, with which he was perfectly conversant. He was passionately fond of music, especially of Highland airs and Gaelic songs, and felt peculiar interest in the traditionary tales, the deeds of arms, the feats of strength and activity of the heroes of feudal times. Being himself a poet. he had a very delicate and nicely discriminating taste in poetry as well as in general criticism, and his mind was deeply stored with every species of literary acquirement. As a genealogist he had no superior, his knowledge in that particular extending not only to the history of families of his own and neighbouring counties, but to that of families dispersed all over the kingdom. This served to give an interest and historical truth and body to his anecdote that rendered his company peculiarly agreeable and instructive. His wit, which was caustic and original, frequently expanded into a broad and good-natured humour that carried balm along with it, and spread cheerfulness around him, so that those against whom his shafts were thrown joined in the hilarity they produced."

July 29.—This issue contains numerous extracts from other papers describing or discussing the removal of people in the inland districts of Sutherland to villages on the seashore. A statement which seems to have been official appeared in the "Times," beginning as follows :—"In 1817. a year of great distress in the Highlands, Lord Stafford extended his relief to the ‘poorer tenants on the estate of Sutherland to the amount of £10,000. This distress was much increased by the numbers of people who had settled on the estate without permission, 1500 of them paying rent to no person; and many more of them holding entirely of the inferior tacksmen. The extreme misery endured by these poor people (a state of things occurring every three years on the average), the great improvement among those who had been settled on the coast, and the rapid extension of the fisheries, pointed out the necessity of delaying no longer the removal of the remainder of the people who still dwell on the hills to the sea-coast—a measure as necessary for them as beneficial to the estate and advantageous to the country." Removals from Kildonan appear to have been the chief cause of the correspondence and discussion at this time.

Ibid.—An officer of a Revenue cruiser. under an order from the Sheriff-Substitute of Orkney, examined the condition of an emigrant vessel from Cromarty lying near Stromness and bound for Pictou, in Nova Scotia. The vessel carried 87 passengers and the officer found a large quantity of its provisions unfit for use. He reports with indignation on the state of the vessel.

Ibid—Mention is made again of the mail diligence which commenced running on the 15th inst between Inverness and Thurso, "thus completing the mail coach conveyance from Falmouth to London, and from London to the Northern Ocean. This great advantage to the remote district through which it runs has been secured within a twelvemonth after there were roads made fit to convey it, and is in a great measure owing to the exertions of the Marquis of Stafford." A paragraph in a later issue says that the journey was now made "in the short space of three days and three hours."

August 5.—A report on the Burgh Jails of Scotland gives an account of the state of the prison in Tain. The following is the opening paragraph :—"The Magistrates have but too much reason to say that the jail at Tain is not sufficient either for the accommodation or secure custody of any prisoner, civil or criminal. There is hardly a criminal confined in it who has much difficulty in making his escape; for the walls are now so old that, though of considerable thickness, they are easily gone through with a common chisel, the stones easily giving way and reduced to sand; and such has been the situation of the Magistrates, and such would be their situation now, were a criminal lodged for any atrocious crime, that, contrary to the laws of Scotland, they would be obliged instantly to put that criminal in irons, otherwise they might lay their account with an escape in forty-eight hours." The Magistrates, it is stated, had during the last 20 years lost about £150 through cases arising from the escape of prisoners confined for debt.

lbid.—"Died here, on the 26th ult., in the 76th year of his age, the 50th of his ministry, and the 32nd of his Episcopate, the Right Rev. Andrew Macfarlane, Senior Bishop of the Scots Episcopal Church."

August 26.—Account of the dispersion of the Reform meeting near Manchester, known as the Peterloo Massacre. Five persons lost their lives, and about a hundred were injured. From this time forward there are frequent paragraphs and articles about the agitation in England and the south of Scotland, chiefly Glasgow. The presence and activity of spies are condemned.

Ibid.—Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, the husband of the late Princess Charlotte, and afterwards King of the Belgians, at this time visited the North. He was entertained at Dalwhinnie and Kinrara by the Marquis and Marchioness of Huntly, and ascended to the summit of Tor Alvie, where he was met by almost all the country gentlemen of the district, by several of their ladies, and between five and six hundred people, mostly dressed in Highland garb. "At the first appearance of his Royal Highness, the Marquis of Huntly’s piper commenced playing and the people starting suddenly from behind the Waterloo Monument, formed a circle round the Prince, who affably spoke to every one who came within speaking distance, drank to their health, and took snuff from those who presented their snuff horns. The Marquis of Huntly provided an entertainment suitable to the occasion, consisting of two deer, an immense quantity of beef and mutton, one hundred quartern loaves of bread, several ankers of strong whisky, some ankers of beer, and a large hogshead of cold punch." The scene on the summit seems to have been intended to realise the description in the Lady of the Lake, when the clansmen sprang from the hillside at the signal of Roderick Dhu. When at Dalwhinnie the Prince attended service in Laggan Parish Church. The Marquis of Huntly gave £20 to the minister of Alvie to be distributed among the poor.

Ibid.—From the report of the Northern Infirmary it appears that for the year 1818, 21 persons classed as "maniacs" were admitted for treatment.

September 2.—On the 30th August Prince Leopold left Kinrara, and after lunching at Moyhall, arrived at Inverness. He was met outside the town by some of the county gentlemen, who formed an escort, and at the Hotel he was received by the Magistrates. Next day he drove to Loch-Ness, lunched at Dochfour, and in the evening was entertained by the Magistrates and a distinguished company to dinner in the Northern Meeting Rooms. Provost Robertson was highly praised for the arrangements made in connection with the visit. On Thursday (2nd) the Prince was to leave for Fort-George, and proceed afterwards to Gordon Castle.

Ibid.—The Northern Missionary Society held its twentieth anniversary at Tain, when the Rev. Donald Fraser of Kirkhill, and the Rev. John Kennedy of Killearnan preached. The collection at the church door amounted to £32 9s 8d, and the subscriptions of members and donations to £94 12s 10d, making a total of £127 2s 6d, being the highest sum ever collected. by the Society at one meeting. A considerable part of it was contributed by prayer meetings and penny-a-week associations. The Society voted £150 to the Edinburgh Missionary Society, and £50 to the Society in Bengal (Serampore Mission) for translation of the Scriptures. Seventy new members were added to the list of contributors.

September 9.—On the previous Thursday, after visiting Fort-George. Prince Leopold passed through Nairn and Forres, where he was received with fitting distinction. At Forres he received the freedom of the burgh. He was entertained at Grant Lodge, Elgin, and arrived at Gordon Castle in the evening. On Saturday he returned with the Marquis of Huntly to Kinrara, breakfasting at Arndilly and lunching at Ballindalloch. "He was received," says the report, "in this country with a Highland welcome, he has shared our hospitality with cheerfulness and kindness, and from his engaging manners he has departed with our love and esteem." The Prince gave £100 to the funds of the Society for the Education of the Poor in the Highlands, and £20 to the poor of the parish of Alvie.

Ibid.—Mr Telford, the engineer, and his friend Southey, the poet, were in Inverness the previous week, on a visit to the Highlands.

Ibid.—"The smack George, which sailed from London on Thursday, the 2nd inst. arrived at Findhorn on Tuesday, the 7th."

September 16.—"The inhabitants of the town will be glad to learn that the repair of the road from Church Street to the Shore, so long in contemplation, has been contracted for, and will be commenced immediately. There will be a foot-path of considerable width along its whole extent."

lbid.—"Died, on the 19th of March last, Lieut.-Colonel Fraser, of the Royal Scots. This gallant officer was killed while rallying the advanced party of our troops before Asserghur, upon whom a desperate and unexpected attack had been made by a sally from the fortress. His loss is deeply regretted by his companions in arms throughout India, where he has served with distinguished reputation for many years."

Ibid.—"At Hull, on the 22nd ult., aged 84, Roderick Macleod, of the 15th Regiment of Foot, who fought at the Siege of Quebec, under the gallant General Wolfe, and was in various other engagements. About eighteen years ago this veteran had a grave-stone put down in the Trinity Church new burying-ground, in the place where he intended to be interred, bearing this inscription—’This is the burying-place of an old soldier who has served four Princes: the first was the last and the last was the best."

September 23.—It is stated that the plumbago mine in Glenstrathfarar was affording employment to a considerable number of persons. Large quantities of the mineral were sent to London by the smacks for sale.

Ibid.—"Married in the Parish Church of Trentham, in the county of Stafford on Thursday the 16th curt., by his Grace the Lord Archbishop of York, the Right Hon. Lord Viscount Belgrave, eldest son of the Earl Grosvenor, to the Right Hon. Lady Elizabeth Mary Leveson Gower, younger daughter of the most noble the Marquis of Stafford."

Ibid.—"At her house, Crown, Inverness, on the 3rd inst., in the 78th year of her age, Jane, relict of the Hon. Archibald Fraser of Lovat, and sister of the late Sir William Fraser, Bart."

Ibid.—A proposal is on foot to run a coach between Inverness and Fort-William, with a possible connection to Skye. A meeting to support the scheme was held at Fort-Augustus, and £500 was subscribed to further the project, Glengarry giving £100.

September 20.—Beginning of historical and miscellaneous notices of Inverness, "to be continued occasionally." They were no doubt contributed by Mr James Suter.

Ibid.—"Died, at Gravesend, on his passage from London to Inverness on the 24th inst., Mr William Ettles, bookseller, of this place."

October 7.—At the Michaelmas Head Court, on the roll of freeholders being made up, Colonel A. Macdonell of Glengarry rose and read a protest against the designation of Ranald George Macdonald, Esq. of Clanranald, on the ground that that gentleman had no lands or charters that entitled him to be designated of Clanranald—his true and legitimate title being of Moidart, or Captain of Clanranald. "To prove this averment, Glengarry entered into a detail of the genealogical history of the Family of Moidart explained the etymology of the word Clan, and concluded (with an accompaniment of some animated remarks) that he would consider it personal to himself if any gentleman should henceforward mention Mr Macdonald otherwise than as Captain of Clanranald. Mr Mackenzie of Woodside having, on behalf of his client, answered the gentleman’s objection, and some observations having been made thereon by several other members, it was rejected as incompetent to be entertained by the meeting. Glengarry here intimated that he would bring the question before the Court of Session, and thence, if necessary, to the House of Peers."

Ibid.—The birth of an heir to Clanranald was celebrated with great rejoicing in the Long Island.

Ibid.—The imprint to the "Courier" now bears that it is "printed and published by John Johnstone."

October 14 and 21.—At the Northern Meeting this year Lord Saltoun presided. There was a long discussion on questions relating to the Secretary, but he was unanimously re-appointed. The ball-room, it is stated, had received a new and most appropriate ornament in a finely executed, full-length painting of the Marchioness of Huntly.

October 21.—Died, at London, on 1st October, Benjamin Ross, banker, Tain, his death is spoken of with marked regret. It is said that "by no similar dispensation, since the lamented death of Sir Charles Ross of Balnagown, has such a general gloom been cast over the Easter parts of Ross and Sutherlandshires."

Ibid.—A full account is given of the blacklead mine of Glenstrathfarar. "The mine was discovered, in the year 1816, and the proprietor, Fraser of Lovat, immediately determined on its being mined. The working is carried on by ten or twelve men, and is entirely at the day, the miners not having sunk more than a few yards from the surface. The quantity hitherto raised has been inconsiderable: last year for instance, the quantity sent to London did not exceed five tons. This was sold at the rate of £93 per ton, thus affording a great profit to the proprietor, as the average expense of mining and transport did not exceed £17 a ton."

October 28.—In consequence of the agitation and disaffection in the country, the Cabinet proposed to raise an additional force of 11,600 men. They dismissed Earl Fitzwilliam from the office of Lord-Lieutenant of the West Riding of York for countenancing a meeting which demanded inquiry into the conflict at Manchester.

Ibid.—An Inverness Juvenile Bible Society was formed. Seven hundred young persons enrolled themselves.

Ibid.—An account is given of the journey of Mr James B. Fraser of Reelig to the sources of the Jumna and the Ganges. This journey was undertaken in 1815. The account is made up from Mr Fraser’s journal, and communicated by Mr Fraser-Tytler.

November 18.—A meeting of the county of Ross adopted a loyal address to the Prince Regent, and condemned "the alarming progress of insubordination and studied contempt of the law and its administration in many parts of the United Kingdom." Mr Mackenzie of Seaforth wrote disapproving of the meeting as being in his opinion unnecessary, and tending to create mischief and alarm.

lbid.—A project was on foot to establish religious libraries in the Highlands.

November 25.—County meetings in Inverness, Nairn, Cromarty, and Sutherland adopted loyal addresses to the Prince Regent.

December 2.—A list of places is given, in which the Society for the Education of the Poor have established gratis schools. Six "aid" schools were also established in the parish of Moy, under circumstances explained as follows:— "These stations are in the parish of Moy, Inverness-shire, which runs for 15 miles along the river Findhorn, besides several lateral glens; in all of them the people have been in the habit of employing teachers whom, for want of means, they could only keep for a part of the year. With the aid of the Society, which in money will not amount to more than £13 sterling, or 2s per annum per scholar, for the whole six schools, the people hope to be able to employ the teachers all the year, and to carry on the education of their children with more effect than heretofore."

Ibid.—An affray occurred near Banff between smugglers and a party of Excisemen, aided by a detachment of soldiers. The soldiers fired, and one of the smugglers was wounded, it was feared mortally.

December 9.—"Died, after a short illness, in the Cantonment at Dhapoolu, near Severndroog, in the East Indies, Lieutenant and Adjutant William Macdonell, of the 1st Battalion 10th Native Infantry and son to Coll. Macdonell, Esq. of Barrisdale. His brother-officers of the regiment have, in token of their very great esteem and sincere regard for him, built a splendid monument to his memory, on the spot where he lies interred."

December 16.—"Mr John Anderson, minister of Bellie, and Commissioner to the Duke of Gordon, has tendered to the Presbytery of Strathbogie the former of these offices—which was accepted of, and intimation thereof appointed to be made from the pulpit of Bellie."

December 30.—Lord Archibald Hamilton’s motion for the renewal of the Committee on the Scottish Burghs was approved of by the House of Commons.

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