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The Northern Highlands in the Nineteenth Century
No. XV

George III. died 29th January 1820, in the 82nd year of his age and the 60th of his reign. He had been mentally incapacitated for more than nine years, and was blind for some years before his death. The Prince Regent now ascended the throne as George IV. The first year of the new reign was greatly troubled. A plot was discovered for the assassination of Ministers, devised by a man named Thistlewood, who was apprehended with his companions on February 22nd as they were arming themselves in a hayloft in Cato Street, off the Edgware Road. The ringleaders were tried and executed. About the same time Glasgow and the neighbouring towns were disturbed by a threatened rising. Queen Caroline, who had been living abroad, returned home on the accession of her husband, arriving in London on the 6th of June. Negotiations had been in progress to induce her to remain on the Continent, but the order to omit her name from the Liturgy excited her indignation and prompted her return.

In June of this year the first steamboat was placed on the Canal, to run between Inverness and Fort-Augustus. From Fort-Augustus to Fort-William communication was established once a week by coach.

During the second half of 1820, the nation was deeply moved by the trial of the Queen. The Government had appointed a Secret Committee, which reported on the 4th July that the charges against her Majesty affected not only the honour of the Queen, but also the dignity of the Crown, and the moral feeling and honour of the country. In the opinion of the Committee, it was indispensable that the charges should become the subject of a solemn inquiry, and they recommended that the investigation should take the form of legislative proceedings. On the 5th, Lord Liverpool introduced a measure in the House of Lords to deprive the Queen of her rights and privileges as Consort, and to dissolve the marriage between herself and the King. The bill was immediately read a first time, and a protracted inquiry followed. "To the great scandal of the whole nation," says Ransome, in his historical summary, "a series of Italian witnesses were publicly examined as to the minutest details of the Queen’s life. This evidence was printed in the newspapers, and became the daily talk of all classes. As evidence, however, on which to found a divorce, it was quite inconclusive, and was unmercifully discredited under the cross-examination of Brougham and Penman, who conducted the case for the Queen. The second reading of the bill was only passed by 28; the third reading by only 9. In these circumstances Ministers saw that there was not the remotest chance of the bill passing the House of Commons, and it was accordingly abandoned. While it was possible that the bill might pass, the feeling of the nation had been strongly in the Queen’s favour; but a reaction now took place. The evidence, though inconclusive, was most discreditable to her fair fame, and the number of her supporters rapidly diminished." This passage fully represents the facts as exhibited in the newspaper columns of the day. At Inverness there was a partial illumination on receipt of the news of the abandonment of the bill.

A step in advance was taken this year by the formation in the town of what was called a Sacred Music Institution. Towards the end of the year a steamer made the first voyage to Kyleakin.

From the "Inverness Courier."

January 6.—"The North Mail Coach has been prevented for some time back from proceeding further than Tain owing to the deep fall of snow. The road between Tain and Thurso is in some places covered with snow to the depth of from 6 to 15 feet. The mail is carried forward on horseback, with great difficulty, and the hours of arrival are quite uncertain. The snow is also so deep between Aberdeen and Fochabers that the South Mail Coach, which used to reach Inverness about eleven at night has not arrived for some days until seven in the morning."—It is stated that at Inverness on the 4th and 5th inst. 295 barrels of coal were distributed from the Poor’s Coal Fund to 723 poor persons residing within the town; also that on New-Year’s Day Provost Robertson ordered 150 loaves of bread to be distributed among the poor people connected with the Soup Kitchen.

Ibid.—The following curious notice is addressed to a correspondent: —‘We are extremely sorry that we cannot insert the communication from Ross-shire, as every article bearing a real signature that appears in a newspaper is charged by the Stamp Office as an advertisement."

Ibid.—An article referring, among other subjects, to burgh reform, throws some light on the conditions of the question. The writer, after expressing approval of the "prudent and cautious extension of the elective franchise," says—’We have not been clamorous for the revival (if, indeed, they ever existed) of those silly and narrow laws and obsolete privileges, the benefit of which is claimed by ancient crafts and corporations, to the manifest exclusion of all the property, talent, and respectability existing in modern times, under the denominations of lawyers, physicians, clergymen, teachers, men of letters, artists, printers, annuitants, &c., because we have no motive in representing the interests of miserable local factions as the interests of the community." The writer implies that the "set" or constitution of any burgh was at best of a restricted kind, and excluded many of the most intelligent classes from the administration of municipal affairs.

January 13.—A record of the number and tonnage of vessels entered at the Custom House of Inverness for the year ending January 5th, 1820, shows an increase on the previous year of 259 vessels and 15,498 tons. The statement comprehends "all the minor ports within the limits of the Inverness Custom House," but even so there was room for congratulation on the rapid progress of the shipping trade.

January 27.—Complaint is made that a recent change in the malt duty was unfavourable to the agricultural interests of Scotland generally and of the Northern districts in particular. "We are glad to understand, on the authority of a letter from the Convener of Ross-shire, that the member for that county, before the adjournment of Parliament, had an interview with the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the purpose of pointing out the extreme injustice and impolicy of a measure which imposes a higher malt duty on Scotland than was paid during the war; and which must compel all the distillers in the Northern Counties to abandon their works, and thus operate as a direct encouragement to smuggling."

Ibid.—"At Moness House, on the 13th curt., James Robertson, Esq., late of Killichangie, aged 96. He outlived all his own family (the male part of which honourably bled and died in the service of their country), and also all the companions of his youth. We have frequently observed the death of ‘the last’ of Prince Charles Edward’s followers announced, and now venture to assert, without fear of contradiction, that this is the last of the officers who fought under him at the battle of Culloden in 1746. He commanded a company of the Athole Highlanders upon that memorable day; and being perfectly collected in his senses to the last moments, his enthusiastic accounts of the deeds of other years were truly interesting."

Ibid.—"Died, at Grant’s Braes, near Haddington, on the 14th inst., Agnes Brown, the mother of Burns the Poet, in the 88th year of her age."

February 3.—"Died, at Moyhall, on Thursday the 20th ult., Sir Æneas Mackintosh, Bart., Chief of the Clan Mackintosh, who was justly endeared to his numerous friends, relatives, and dependents, by singular uprightness of mind and amenity of disposition. Sir Æneas makes the fourth great Clan Chief whom this part of the country has lost within the last few years— Seaforth, the Chief of the Mackenzies; Lovat, the Chief of the Frasers; The Chisholm; and Sir Æneas Mackintosh, having all died within a short period of each other." A paragraph in the same issue states that the remains of the deceased Chief were interred in Petty on New-Year’s Day, the funeral procession being a very imposing spectacle.

Ibid.—"On the 21st ult., at the Manse of Abernethy, the Rev. John Grant, minister of that parish, in the 81st year of his age. Early in life Mr Grant was presented to the living of Arrocher, in Dumbartonshire whence he was in 1765 translated to Abernethy. In the latter parish he discharged the duties of his station with exemplary fidelity for the unusual period of 55 years. Happy in the attachment of his family, and in the respect and esteem of his neighbours, his time and attention were devoted with unwearied zeal to the spiritual and temporal interests of his parishioners, by whom the memory of his good offices and paternal care and solicitude will long be cherished with feelings of gratitude and veneration."

Ibid.—A list of premiums is given, awarded by the Highland Society of Scotland to farmers in Nairnshire, Caithness, Skye, and other districts, for improvements in land and stock.

February 10—The death is announced of King George Third, in the 82nd year of his age and the sixtieth of his reign. The same issue contains an announcement of the proclamation of George Fourth at the Exchange of Inverness, "with due solemnity." A salute was fired by a party of the Inverness Local Militia who attended, and patriotic and national airs were played by the band.

Ibid—An advertisement announces that the Caledonian Coach, beginning on 1st March, would be run thrice every week, instead of twice as formerly, "betwixt Inverness and Perth, across the Grampian Mountains." In compliance with a wish very generally expressed, it was to be run in one day between these places. "To attain this end, the innkeepers on the road have become contractors, and the horses will be changed at every stage. The days for starting from Inverness will be every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; and from Perth every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday of each week. The coach will be despatched from both places at 5 o’clock in the morning; and will, from calculations made, after allowing ample time for breakfast and dinner, at suitable stations, reach its destination by ten o’clock at night at farthest."

February 17.—A proposal was at this time on foot for establishing a musical society in Inverness, to be called the Sacred Music Institution. The promoters were in correspondence with Mr George Thomson, the friend of Burns, with the view of securing a teacher.

March 2—This number contains an account of the conspiracy of Thistlewood and others (known as the Cato Street Conspiracy) for the assassination of his Majesty’s Ministers. "The traitors were actually met, in a loft they had hired as a rendezvous, and were completely armed and ready to commence the butchery, when they were surprised by the peace-officers and a party of the Coldstream Guards."

Ibid.—The exclusion of the Queen’s name from the Liturgy, recorded in this issue, was the beginning of the bitter struggle over the claims and character of the Consort of King George IV.

March 9.—Parliament was dissolved on the 1t inst, and a new Parliament called for the 21st of April.

Ibid.—A riot occurred on the estate of Culcairn through an attempt to remove the tenantry. A force, consisting of twenty-five men of the Ross-shire Militia and forty constables, was compelled to beat a retreat by a body of three or four hundred people, chiefly women posted behind a stone dyke, "who rushed out upon the soldiers with a hideous yell and attacked them with sticks, stones, and other missiles." The Sheriff of the County, who accompanied the party, suffered some injury, and had the panels of his carriage broken. A few shots were, without orders, fired by the soldiers in self-defence, and two or three women were severely wounded.

Ibid.—"Married, on the 1st March, Lieut.-Colonel Colquhoun Grant, Forres, to Miss Margaret Brodie, second daughter of James Brodie of Brodie, Esq."

Ibid.—"At Ardfreck, in the Isle of Skye, on the 2nd ult., Mrs Macleod, Dowager of Talisker, at the advanced age of 91. This excellent and accomplished lady had passed the earlier years of her life in the politest circles of society in Europe. On the Colonel’s death, in the year 1789, she retired to her jointure house, where she passed her disconsolate widowhood, an eminent example of female worth and dignity to her sex, in the duties of fervent Christian devotion and extensive charity."

March 16.—In course of the General Election now in progress, there was a keen struggle between the Fife and Seafield interests in Elgin. Two of the Councillors in Colonel Grant’s interest were picked up and carried off to the coast of Sutherland. A day or two afterwards a force of tenantry from the Grant estates in Strathspey assembled and marched to Grant Lodge at Elgin. A short account of this, the last Highland Raid on record, is given in this issue. Full particulars appeared in our columns some years ago, written by the late Bailie Stuart. The paper was republished in the 21st Volume of the Transactions of the Gaelic Society.

Ibid.—"We state with deep regret the death of Sir Alexander Mackenzie of Avoch, who on Saturday last suddenly expired at Mullinearn, on his way to the North to attend the Ross-shire election." Sir Alexander was sixty-five years of age, having been born in 1755. He discovered and explored the Mackenzie River in the North-West of America, and was the first white man to cross the Rocky Mountains and reach the Pacific Coast.

Ibid—"Died, at the Manse of Tain, on the 3rd curt., Mrs Margaret Brodie, widow of the late Rev. Charles Calder, minister of Urquhart." A long paragraph speaks very highly of this lady’s character and accomplishments.—"At Sharrow Head, near Sheffield, on the 7th inst., Major-General Patrick Mackenzie, colonel of the 3rd Royal Veteran Battalion, after 42 years’ active employment in the service of his country."

Ibid.—It is stated that Colonel Baillie of Leys had been returned as one of the representatives of the burgh of Hedon.

March 23.—An important meeting at Dornoch complained of an Act passed for the encouragement and improvement of the Irish fisheries. This Act granted higher bounties to the Irish fish-curers, and privileges not enjoyed by their British competitors; and as a consequence the latter could not compete in the market with the Irish fish-curer. It was stated at the meeting that "in several parts of the North of Scotland, and particularly in the county of Sutherland, the prosecution of the herring and white fisheries is of recent date"; that in Sutherland the industry had been fostered by the patronage of the Marquis of Stafford, and gave employment to a numerous population.

Ibid—Mr Thomas Mackenzie, yr. of Applecross, was re-elected member for Ross-shire without opposition. His election was proposed by Mr Macleod of Cadboll, and seconded by Sir Hector Mackenzie of Gairloch.

Ibid.—Rev. Alexr. Macbean, minister of Kincardine, writes on the subject of the Culrain riots. He strongly disapproves of the removal of the tenantry, but announces that they had accepted the writs served on them by the Sheriff Officer.

Ibid.—The contest at Elgin, with kidnapping of voters and incursion from Strathspey, recalls the following anecdote:—"Seventy years since the proprietor of Kinsteary was opposed to the Laird of Grant as a candidate for representing the county of Inverness. The men of Strathspey, indignant that any Lowlander should presume to compete with their Chief, came in datached parties to the neighbourhood of Inverness, pretending to have lost a great number of cattle. Ten chosen scouts watched even movement of their destined prey, and seizing a favourable moment, one threw a plaid over Kinsteary’s head and the others hoodwinked his companions in the same manner. The candidate for the county was detained among the hills until the Laird of Grant was returned for the county, and several years passed before that Chief was informed what individuals made the bold effort to insure his election."

March 30.—On the 23rd, Mr Macpherson-Grant of Ballindalloch was elected M.P. for the county of Sutherland. On the same day Colonel Francis William Grant of Grant was elected member for the county of Moray.

April 6 and 13.—The Right Hon. Charles Grant was unanimously re-elected member of Parliament for the county of Inverness. The nomination was made by Glengarry and seconded by Glenmoriston. Mr Grant delivered a speech, which is reported at considerable length, and in the evening entertained a large party to dinner in the Northern Meeting Rooms. A few evenings thereafter he gave a supper and ball to the young people.—Mr George Cumming, London, was re-elected member for the Inverness District of Burghs, the election taking place at Forres.—The Hon. George Pryce Campbell, captain, R.N., second son of Lord Cawdor was elected member for the county of Nairn.—Sir Hugh Innes of Lochalsh was re-elected for the Northern Burghs.—Mr Archibald Farquharson of Finzean was elected for the Elgin District of Burghs by the casting vote of the delegate for Cullen, the presiding burgh, General Duff being the defeated candidate. In this case no commissioned delegate appeared for Elgin, but competing minutes of Council were read in favour of two nominees, each appointed to vote for the rival candidate; but both votes were rejected.—The Earl of Fife was re-elected member for Banffshire.

April 13.—This issue gives an account of proceedings in Glasgow and Paisley in connection with a general strike of workmen and a threatened rising. Disturbances also occurred at Greenock.

Ibid.—An epidemic of influenza is reported in Inverness, the illness being attended by headache, sore throat and other disagreeable symptoms.

May 4.—This issue contains a report of the trial of Thistlewood and his companions. Five were sentenced to death.

Ibid.—A vacancy in the situation of Latin teacher in the Inverness Academy was filled by the appointment of Mr Carmichael from the School of Crieff. "The filling up of this vacancy," says the report, "is known to have excited a very deep interest in this part of the country. We formerly mentioned that the contest had added £1000 to the funds and 20 names to the list of directors; but before the day was done the money and the names were more than doubled." This is an indication of the strife of local parties in those days in the burgh.

May 11.—The Treasurer of the Inverness Auxiliary of the Bible Society reported receipt of sums from town and county amounting to £248 7s.

Ibid.—"Died, at Garguston of Redcastle, on the 28th uIt., Alexander Macfarquhar alias Roy (one of the oldest men in this pert of the country) at the advanced age of 103 years; he was one of those whose attachment to the unfortunate and Royal Family of Stewart led him in 1746 to support their cause at the battle of Culloden."

May 18.—At Milnfield, on the 7th curt., Mr Alexander Macdonell, who for 37 years practised as a writer in Inverness.

May 25.—The death is recorded on the 12th inst., in the 70th year of his age, of the Rev. Isaac Ketchen, for upwards of 40 years minister of the Secession Congregation at Nairn. "No minister could be better entitled to the character of father and friend of his people, or more beloved by them and respected by all classes of the community in the town and neighbourhood. The circumstances of his death were remarkably solemn and impressive. He had preached on Sabbath with great animation and effect, on Matthew, 25th chapter, 13th verse: ‘Watch, therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour when the Son of Man cometh’— rose in his usual health on Friday morning— had come from his closet (after praying for the last time to his Father who seeth in secret) to the breakfast room, where the family were assembled for social worship, and had the Psalm-book in hand to begin, when he leaned his head on the table, and without a groan breathed his spirit into the hands of his Father and his God.’

June 15.—The return of the Queen to England is chronicled, and the excitement which her claims created. The sympathy of the people was in her favour.

Ibid.—The annual meeting of the Northern Missionary Society was held on the 14th at Inverness. Collections were intimated amounting to £93 19s 6d.

June 22.—The annual Sheep and Wool Market began on the 20th. Little business was done in sheep, but wool sold at prices rather higher than were expected. Common wool per double stone from 18s to 20s; Cheviot wool per single stone from 20s to 22s; Cheviot sheep from 20s to 25s; blackfaced sheep from 20s to 23s; Cheviot lambs from 10s to 11s; blackfaced lambs from 7s to 8s 6d; croke ewes from 16s to 17s; wedder hoggs from 15s to 16s. At Fort-William Market the previous week no business was directly done in wool the highest price offered being 16s; but some sales were conditionally made, the prices to be determined by the Inverness Market

Ibid—The Rev. Mr Martin, of the Chapel of Ease, Inverness, was presented to the Church of Abernethy, vacant by the death of Mr Grant.

Ibid.—A steamboat, owned by Mr Bell, arrived in the Canal Basin, to ply on Loch-Ness. "It is intended that the steamboat shall go to Fort-Augustus every morning and return to Inverness at night."

June 24.—"The steamboat has now performed six successful voyages on Loch-Ness and the Caledonian Canal, going off in the morning, and returning from Fort-Augustus every night. Nothing more forcibly shows the rapid improvement of this country, and the enterprising commercial spirit spread abroad among the people than the facility afforded to travellers. Three daily coaches, and one coach on alternate days, now set out from and arrive at Inverness, which very few years back no public vehicle approached; and which within the memory of living men seemed as unapproachable as Stornoway or Lerwick. The former, by the way, is now to be brought home, for we understand that a steamboat is to be established at Stornoway." In the same issue there is an advertisement of through communication between Inverness and Fort-William. It was announced that a steamboat would ply regularly three times a-week between Inverness and Fort-Augustus; and that every Saturday a two-horse conveyance (or if business would admit one with four horses) and a light waggon would run from Fort-Angustus to Fort-William, returning the following Monday. This was to connect with the steamer Comet plying between Fort-William and Glasgow. The enterprising person who started the conveyance was Mr. William Geddes, vintner, Inverness. He also proposed to establish at an early date a conveyance from Invermoriston to Kyle Rhea, on the Sound of Skye. The fare from Inverness to Fort-Augustus was—Cabin, 5s; steerage, 3s 6d; and from Inverness to Fort-William, 12s. "Thus it will be in the power of the tourist to go in handsome style from Inverness to Edinburgh, including boat and coach hires, for the small sum of 54s, and steerage passengers may go the same distance for the very moderate fare of 32s." As regards the Loch-Ness steamer, it was stated that it was "elegantly and commodiously fitted up." that refreshments of every description, of the best quality, would be sold on board on reasonable terms; and that books and music would be provided. The vessel sailed from Muirtown Locks every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, and made the return journey from Fort-Augustus every Monday, Wednesday. and Friday.

July 6.—Died, at Inverness, on Sunday 25th June last, aged 60, Mr Donald Macpherson, many years one of the Magistrates of Inverness.

July 13—This issue contains an account of the proceedings of the House of Lords, when the report of the Secret Committee on the Queen’s case was submitted, and Lord Liverpool brought in a bill for the dissolution of the Royal marriage and depriving the Queen of her rights and privileges.

Ibid.—The Sacred Music Institution formed at Inverness advertises classes to be conducted by Mr Huntly. A long letter appears from Mr George Thomson, the correspondent of Burns, on the improvement of psalmody.

July 27.—A cattle market was held for the first time at Bridge-End of Alness, on the 19th curt.—The Invergordon Horticultural Society held its first meeting for the distribution of premiums "at the village of Invergordon Ness" on the 15th.

August 3.—On Monday, 31st July, the Rev. Hector Bethune, minister of Alness, was inducted into the church and living of Dingwall, vacant by the translation of the Rev. Dr A. Stewart to the Canongate Church of Edinburgh.

August 10.—The hotels and lodging-houses in Inverness are reported as very crowded. This was partly due to the facilities afforded by the steamer recently placed on Loch-Ness, with its through connection via Fort-William. It was announced that the steamer was to go down the Moray Firth the following week, "for the purpose of exhibiting her usefulness and stirring up gentlemen of public spirit to establish a boat on the Firth for conveying goods and passengers." On several occasions the vessel had been unable to carry all the goods sent to Muir-town Wharf.

Ibid.—"The Airs and Melodies Peculiar to the Highlands of Scotland and the Isles, vocally arranged with symphonies and accompaniments for the pianoforte, &c. Vol. I." is announced by the editor, Captain Fraser, as about to be published by subscription. Captain Fraser had before this issued a volume of Highland melodies, which met with much success in his native country. He had, however, sent a large consignment abroad, which had resulted in serious loss, owing, apparently, to the competition of a pirated edition published in America.

August 17.—A meeting was held and a Committee appointed for the establishment of a subscription library in Inverness.

August 24.—It is stated that markets had recently been established at Muir of 0rd, and promised well. The number of cattle exposed for sale were computed to be from three to four thousand head.

Ibid.—"Arrived at Bennet’s Hotel, John Gladtone, Esq., of Liverpool, M.P., and family."

August 31.—A large part of this issue is devoted to speeches and evidence at the Queen’s trial.—The Rev. Legh Richmond, of Purvey, in Bedfordshire, visited Inverness to commend a movement for promoting Christianity among the Jews.

September 7.—The Northern Missionary Society held its anniversary meeting at Tain on the 30th ult. Subscriptions and donations were announced to the amount of £122 19s 6d.

lbid.—"Married, on the 23rd August, at La Columbriere, Jersey, by the Dean of the Island, Major William Mackay, 68th Light Infantry, to Margaret, only child of Captain Robert Mackay of Hedgefield, Inverness."—"At Hartfield House, on Tuesday, 22nd August, James Macdonald, Esq. of Balranald and younger of Lyndale, to Miss Jane Mackenzie, third daughter of the deceased Captain Mackenzie of Hartfield. The event was celebrated in the true old style of Highland hospitality, there being upwards of 30 ladies and gentlemen present, who did not separate till the end of the week, but tripping it on the light fantastic toe to the enlivening sounds of Mr Morrison’s excellent band, and sharing in the liberal hospitalities of Hartfield and Applecross House, the residence of the worthy member for Ross-shire."

September 14.—The whole of the evidence for the prosecution of the Queen was now ended, and the House of Lords adjourned to the 3rd of October.

Ibid.—Three civil cases were tried at Inverness before Lord Gillies and a jury. The first had reference to a weir on the River Ness. the second to a commonty claim from Sutherland, and the third was an action by the Rev. Dr Ross, Lochbroom. The special interest affecting these cases arose from the presence of Mr Jeffrey and Mr Cockburn as counsel. The Court was crowded almost to suffocation during the three days, and the eloquence and ingenuity of the advocates created a great impression.

September 21.—There was some commotion in prospect of the annual election of the Town Council of Elgin. Eight of the members issued a circular, in which they declared that their intentions are "to vote into the Town Council such gentlemen only as are fully qualified agreeably to the set of the burgh," and that "neither threats nor any consideration whatever" would deter them from exercising their just rights "in order to restore to the burgesses of Elgin their lawful franchise, and thereby to put an end to a yoke of the most degrading and arbitrary nature." The subscribers of the circular call upon the Sheriffs of the county, the Magistrates, and every good citizen, to give them that protection which as loyal subjects they were entitled to claim. In the same issue there is a report on the Royal Burghs of Scotland by a Select Committee of the House of Commons. Among other matters, this report calls attention to an extraordinary set of facts disclosed by Colonel Francis William Grant, M.P. "It appears that Colonel Grant was Provost of the burgh of Elgin during the years 1816, 1817, and 1818; also Provost of Forres during two of those same years, 1816 and 1817; and also in the Council of the burgh of Nairn from the year 1812 to the present time inclusive. It is required by the sets of three out of the four burghs, of which Colonel Grant was in Council at the same time, that the members of Council should be merchants or traffickers within the respective burghs. It must be superfluous to the Committee to observe that these four burghs are so far distant from each other as to render the observance of this provision of the sets of three of them wholly incompatible with the facto detailed in the evidence." The Committee, however, add that the irregularity was due rather to the defects of the system than to the individual.

September 28.—A correspondent writes:—"A complete revolution has been effected in the burgh management of Elgin at the present election. The contending parties approached the goal neck and neck, but the F— interest finally predominated. We now stand—Alexr. Innes, Esq., Provost; Messrs John Forsyth, Peter Nicholson, David Connie, and William Dunbar, Bailies; Lewis Anderson, Dean of Guild; Robert Dick, Treasurer. Last night the town of Elgin was brilliantly illuminated, and numbers of the inhabitants paraded the streets with torch-lights to celebrate the present election of Magistrates and Town Council." This was probably a reaction against the Strathspey Raid.

September 28.—This issue contains extracts from Mr Loch’s work on the Improvements in Sutherland.

October 5.—Sir William Gordon-Cumming of Altyre elected Provost of Nairn.—Mr Macpherson-Grant of Ballindalloch, M.P., elected Provost of Wick. This compliment was paid to Mr Macpherson-Grant on the motion of Sir John Sinclair, in recognition of his services to the fisheries.

Ibid.—A sum of £50 was remitted by Mr Kenneth Macpherson of Jamaica, being subscriptions collected in the Colony in aid of the Society for Educating the Poor in the Highlands.

October 12.—A long report is given of the proceedings connected with the trial of the Queen, and the same subject continues to engross subsequent issues.

Ibid.—"The ladies of Elgin have presented the new Provost with a handsome gold chain, to be worn by him and his successors in office so long as the Magistrates and Council maintain their independence"—Colin Mackenzie of Kilcoy was elected Provost of Dingwall, and Roderick Macfarquhar Provost of Fortrose.

October 19.—The steamboat between Glasgow and Fort-William had been so successful that another boat was to be put on the route, and the voyage performed twice a week.

Ibid—"So great is the interest excited by the trial of the Queen that a Reading-room has been established at Brora, where the principal London papers are taken in."

October 26.—The Northern Meeting was held the previous week. The Marquis of Huntly (described as "the life and soul of every society") was absent, but otherwise there was a satisfactory attendance. The chair was filled successively by Mr Macleod of Cadboll, Sir James Dunbar, and Sir William Gordon-Cumming. Neighbouring proprietors sent presents of game.

Ibid.—The premiums given by the Board of Agriculture for the best cultivated farm in the county of Moray had been adjudged in the previous May to Mrs Geddes of Orbliston, The lady was permitted to make her own choice of plate, and now received two handsome cups, a tea-pot, milk-ewer, and sugar bowl, with a suitable inscription. The improvements were planned by her deceased husband "at a period when the spirit of agricultural exertion in Morayshire was by no means so conspicuous as at present" They consisted in the conversion of "fifty acres of moorish ground, on which previously not a blade of grass or corn had ever grown, into excellent arable land, by the liberal use of lime and a judicious mode of subsequent improvement." Mrs Geddes had continued the work on obtaining a renewal of the lease.

Ibid.—The Right Hon. William Dundas, M P., was elected Provost of Tain, and the Marquis of Stafford Provost of Dornoch.

November 9.—Mr J. Murray, who was lecturing on chemistry in Inverness, contributes an article on the constituents of the water of the River Ness. He says that Loch-Ness does not freeze because the water is so deep that the severest of our winters fails to reduce the surface to freezing point.

November 16.—The second reading of the bill for divorcing the Queen was carried in the Lords by a majority of 28. On the third reading, however, the majority fell to 9, and Ministers then abandoned the bill.

November 23.—This issue contains a report of rejoicings throughout the country on the abandonment of the Divorce Bill. At Inverness an intimation was circulated that a number of the inhabitants intended to illuminate on the evening of Tuesday, 21st. The Magistrates thereupon announced that this intimation was wholly unauthorised by them, and that if any illumination took place, steps would be taken to secure the public peace. With this view, and to protect those who did not illuminate, the Magistrates invited a number of gentlemen to assist in keeping the peace, and also called out the Civil Force and the detachment of Militia stationed at Inverness. "This force," says the report, "assembled on Tuesday evening, but happily there was no occasion for their interference, as the people behaved with propriety and good humour, which do credit to the character of the town. At the hour announced (6 o’clock) those intending to illuminate, lighted up; and as the evening was uncommonly soft and beautiful, a very great concourse of persons of both sexes traversed the streets to enjoy the novelty of the scene. The illumination was very partial in the principal streets of the town, the thick blaze being confined to the west side of the river and the different suburbs. Fire-works and huzzaing completed the circle of the ordinary accompaniments of illumination; and if the people were occasionally a little loud in their exultation, it all passed off very well on a night consecrated by them to enjoyment. We have heard of no offence being committed; and have much pleasure in stating that no insult was offered to the private feelings of either the Lighters or Non-Lighters."

December 21.—"Sir Hugh Innes, Bart., has made arrangements for plying a large steamboat, calculated for the conveyance of bulky commodities between Kyleakin, in Lochalsh, and Glasgow, once a week, to commence early in spring." The next issue states that a steamboat called the Highland Chieftain made the first voyage to Kyleakin about a fortnight before.

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