January 3.—What is described as "a
numerous and highly respectable assemblage of Catholic noblemen and
gentlemen" presented the Right Hon. Charles Grant with an address on the
occasion of his retiring from the office of Chief Secretary of Ireland.
The address expresses unfeigned respect and regard for Mr Grant, and
adds—"Your able assertion of our rights in Parliament was the first demand
upon our gratitude, and we have had repeated proofs, in your official
conduct, of the consistency of that principle which awakened in our
vindication your eloquence and your zeal."
January 31.—The publication of James
Suter’s Memorabilia of Inverness began on this date, and was continued in
February 7.—"On Wednesday the 30th
ult., the Rev. James Mein was ordained pastor of the United Associate
Congregation of Nairn. The Rev. Andrew Kennedy, of Keith, preached and.
presided, and the Rev. Thomas Stark, of Forres, delivered the usual
addresses and conducted the solemn services. The Rev. James Grant,
minister of the parish, with a kind, Christian, and truly liberal spirit,
gave the use of his church on account of its more ample accommodation.
The church was crowded to excess,
many could not gain admittance, and during the whole of the services the
very large assembly exhibited the most becoming attention. Afterwards the
Presbytery, with the Rev. Messrs Grant and Barclay, the resident
Magistrates of the burgh, the Dean of Guild, the Sheriff-Substitute, and
about twenty other gentlemen of the town and county, dined together in
Richardson’s Inn; a circumstance which affords a very pleasing proof of
the prevalence of liberal and kindly feeling in Nairn and its
neighbourhood. In the evening a sermon was preached before the Presbytery
by Mr George Kennedy, student in Divinity, as part of his trials for
licence, and after various examinations he was licensed to preach the
Ibid.—The condition of Ireland was
going from bad to worse. Numerous crimes of violence are reported. At the
same time the landed interest in England and Scotland was suffering
severely from the pressure of the times. A quotation in this issue from an
agricultural journal is in an exceptionally gloomy tone.
February 14.—The Highland Society of
Scotland, among other premiums, offers a piece of plate, value fifty
guineas, "for the best and approved essay on the construction of railroads
for the conveyance of ordinary commodities." The essay was to be
accompanied by models or drawings to illustrate its statements.
March 21.—"A conspiracy was formed
by the prisoners in the common room in the Dingwall Jail last week, to
overpower the keepers of the jail, seize the keys, and set themselves at
liberty. By the spirited resistance of the jailers, however, they failed,
and a guard of the Militia staff is now placed over them."
March 28.—The Rev. Alexander Clark
was on this day week ordained and admitted to the third charge in the
parish of Inverness. The Rev. A. Campbell, of Dores, preached and presided
on the occasion.
April 4.—There is an account of the
famous duel near Balmuto, in Fife, between Sir Alexander Boswell of
Auchinleck and Mr Stewart of Dunearn. Sir Alexander was severely wounded
and died the following day.
Ibid.—This issue contains an
exceedingly interesting report by a Committee of the Highland Society on
the subject of distillation in the Highlands. It seems that the Act of
1816 legalising the establishment of small stills had, to begin with, a
wonderful effect. The first year of the operation of the Act legal
distillers increased in the Highlands from 12 to 30; the number of
additional gallons distilled was 99,121, and the additional duty paid
£18,195. The second year a still further increase took place, but
subsequent to that there was a gradual decrease in the number of
distillers and a diminution of revenue. The statutory regulations were
found too vexatious. By Act 1., George
IV., some of these regulations were modified,
and a slight revival followed, though not equal to the first movement.
Smuggling had not been put down. A numerous class of the community,
"chiefly of the lower order of tenantry and crofters," had leagued with a
number of desperate characters to violate the law. The Committee, who had
circulated a schedule of queries on the whole subject say that "nothing
can possibly exceed the distressing description which is given in the
different reports, of the falsehood, intemperance, and brutal ferocity
which characterise those who are engaged in this illicit trade." The
Committee admit as a point of importance that smuggled whisky was then of
better quality then the whisky legally distilled. This disparity was due
to the Excise regulations. The legal distiller was obliged to make his
wash of a specific strength and to pay duty on a specific quantity of
spirits, whether he was able to extract the required amount or not. Owing
to the inferiority of the grain grown in the Highlands, "the 100 gallons
of wash do not produce the quantity of spirits on which the law calculates
and charges duty. In point of fact, the legal distiller is compelled to
produce one-fourth or one-fifth more than the smuggler— the consequence of
which is that he is under the necessity of using a stronger wash than he
would do if left to his own discretion." The Committee call for the
abolition of these and other regulations. They entertained little doubt
that by the simple expedient of enabling the legal distiller
to compete on nearly
equal terms with the illicit trader, and by encouraging the use of
home-grown barley, smuggling would soon languish and decay.
April 25.—"The obsequies of the late
Colonel Grant of Moy, which were recently celebrated in Glen-Urquhart, may
be noticed as another lingering instance of a genuine Highland funeral.
Besides the gentlemen who attended from all parts of the country, it is
calculated that about 4000 Highlanders were assembled, chiefly from
Kintail, Strathglass, Glenmoriston, and Glen-Urquhart. The quantity of
whisky expended on this occasion is variously estimated. As most of our
readers are tolerable judges of Highland capacities when excited by zeal,
it is data sufficient to mention that the whole of this funeral train
were, according to their own ideas, comfortable. The gentlemen who rode
off the scene of action late in the evening give a very ludicrous account
of the appearance of the field. The first return of killed, wounded, and
missing was truly alarming. We are glad to learn from subsequent accounts
that only one individual, a native of Abriachan, was immolated to the
manes of the Colonel. The wounded have recovered and the missing have been
found. One of those last, having slumbered out the night of the funeral
and the whole of the succeeding day and night, awoke at a late hour on the
third day, and found himself cradled under the falls of Divach, in a
situation to which no sober person would have clambered, much less have
chosen for a place of repose."
[According to The Chiefs of
Grant (1883) by Sir William Fraser (1816-98), Colonel Hugh Grant of
Moy was a younger son of Alexander Grant of Sheuglie by his second wife,
Isabel, eldest daughter of John Grant of Glenmoriston. Colonel Grant,
who died 1 April 1822, aged 89, had amassed a considerable fortune in the
East Indies, before returning to Scotland in 1775 when he purchased the
estate of Moy and others from Sir James Grant of Grant. He married but
left no issue and, on his death, his estate of Moy passed, by entail, to
James Murray Grant of Glenmoriston.]
Ibid.—"On Tuesday last the Synod of
Ross, at their meeting in Tain, unanimously resolved to petition both
Houses of Parliament against any further relief being granted to the Roman
Catholics. The Synod of Glasgow petition has been already presented, and
many similar petitions are in agitation."
May 9.—The annual meeting of the
Society for Educating the Poor in the Highlands was held on the 1st inst.
The report bore that thirty-five schools had been established in various
remote districts in the Highlands, and it was estimated that daily
instruction was imparted to 1746 poor children. Among the donations to the
Society was one of £50 from the free-holders of the county of Inverness.
May 16.—Donations to the amount of
£107 were reported to the Inverness-shire Auxiliary of the Bible Society.
The Society during the year remitted £180 to the British and Foreign Bible
Society, and distributed 395 Bibles and Testaments.
May 30.—General indignation was
expressed in the town at the cutting down of the fine, old trees.—"the
only trees in Inverness, indeed"— which had for a century formed the
appropriate ornament of the Church-yard. The reason for this destruction
no one professed to know.
May 30.—There is a report of the
proceedings of the General Assembly in the Kiltarlity case. A Protestant
Commissioner, acting for Mr T. A. Fraser of Lovat, a Catholic, had issued
a presentation in favour of the Rev. Colin Fraser. The Presbytery of
Inverness appointed the presentee in preach in the church, and generally
acted at first on the assumption that the presentation was valid. Some of
the parishioners, however, applied and got an interdict from the Lord
Ordinary on the ground that the patron was a Roman Catholic and had no
right to issue a presentation either by himself or through a Commissioner.
This staggered the Presbytery, and the majority wished to delay procedure
till the civil question was settled. The interdict was afterwards recalled
on the ground "that the complainers had no civil right or title to
interfere." Still the Presbytery hesitated, but as they had begun by
accepting the presentation, the Assembly now instructed them to proceed
with the settlement. Though Mr Fraser was ultimately ordained, the case in
one form or other was before the Church for two years after this date.
June 6.—The season is said to be the
warmest for a long series of years.
June 13.—The Northern Missionary
Society held its twenty-second anniversary on the 12th. Collections and
subscriptions amounted to £106.
June 27.—At the Wool Market a great
deal of business was done, but not much to the satisfaction of
sheep-farmers. Prices were stated as follows —Cheviot wool per stone of 24
lbs. English, 12s 6d; one or two lots only sold at 14s 6d. Blackfaced
sheep wool per double stone, 12s 6d and 13s. Cheviot wedders, 12s 6d and
13s. Cheviot ewes, 8s. Blackfaced ewes, 6s. Blackfaced wedders, 11s 6d to
13s 6d. Cheviot and blackfaced lambs, 4s 6d.
July 11.—"A number of parties from
this town and neighbourhood, with much laudable curiosity, have taken
advantage of the opportunity afforded them by the proprietors of the Comet
steamboat, and have proceeded to visit the celebrated islands of Staffa
and Icolmkill. Many gigs and horses, hired and borrowed, besides the
Lochness steamboat, conveyed away all those who had little to detain them;
and their return is eagerly looked for, to repeat the oft-told tale of the
wonders of these western lands."
July 18.—A paragraph gives an
account of the trip from Fort-William to Staffa and lona. The steamer left
Fort-William on a Tuesday and returned on Thursday. The passengers
numbered upwards of fifty.
Ibid.—Died in India, on the 31st
January, in the 37th year of his age, Captain Beauchamp Mackintosh, of the
Madras Artillery, second son of the late Colonel William Mackintosh of
Millbank. He was an active and intelligent officer, and much respected.
July 25.—A meeting was held in
Inverness on the 19th inst. to raise a fund for the relief of the
distressed poor in Ireland. There was at this time great suffering in
Ireland, and relief funds were raised throughout England and Scotland.
Collections were made in the churches.
August 1.—Notice is taken of the
progress made by the town of Wick. In 1809 there were not above three
houses in Pulteneytown, and in 1822 there were upwards of 400, inhabited
by a thriving population. Port Dunbar, below the old town of Wick, had
also been formed, with an excellent harbour.
August 15.—The visit of King George
IV. to Scotland was exciting widespread interest. Loyal addresses were
voted by the counties and chief towns. It is stated. in this issue that "a
tail of sixty-five Highlanders have gone from Sutherlandshire to attend on
Lord Gower, who will appear in his Majesty’s Court in Edinburgh as
representing the Earl of Sutherland." Other chiefs and clans sent
August 22.—An account is given of
the arrival and reception of the King in Edinburgh, and of a levee and
Court held at Holyrood Palace.—The same number records the death of the
Marquis of Londonderry, better known in history as Lord Castlereagh. His
mind had become unhinged, and he died by his own hand.
September 2.—The anniversary of the
Northern Missionary Society was held at Tain on the 29th ult. Collections
and contributions amounted to £92 18s 2d.
September 19.—A letter draws
attention to a bill which was passed at the close of the session, reducing
the duty on barilla to less than one-half of what it had been for many
years. The writer pointed out what a disastrous effect this would have on
the manufacture of kelp in the western islands, and the misery which the
people would suffer. "A thriving population must be destroyed to gratify a
few individuals, and when no remedy will be effectual, Government will
feel the consequences that have been stated." The counties interested were
urged to petition against the reduction of the duty, which was not to take
effect until the following January.
October 3.—A full report appears of
the proceedings at the Michaelmas Head Court, when the reduction of the
duty on barilla was discussed. Mr Charles Grant, M.P., was present, and
explained the proceedings of the Government and the House in detail. The
value of kelp was in the first instance affected by the reduction of the
duties on salt; and then suddenly a bill was introduced to reduce the duty
on barilla, just because the salt duties had been diminished, and this had
laid the basis for the further claim. Mr Grant said he and other Scottish
members had strongly represented to the Government and the House of
Commons what consequences would follow from the above measures to the
people of the Highlands and Islands. The alteration of the Salt Duties,
however, was in itself a most beneficial measure, and in carrying this
into effect neither Government nor Parliament could be induced to consider
local interests. The meeting adopted the following resolution:—"That a
Committee be appointed to consider the Act for reducing the duty on
barilla and for drawing up a petition to Parliament for its repeal or
modification, as it is directly calculated to throw idle a large body of
the population of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, who must become a
burden on the country or starve, unless the duty on barilla is reduced."
October 10.—The Northern Meeting was
held the previous week. The attendance was thinner than usual, but the
proceedings were carried out with the customary success. Following the
Meeting is an account of Highland games held under the presidency of
Glengarry at Dunaincroy. These games do not seem to have formed part of
the programme of the Meeting, but the management apparently assisted them
with funds. The report is couched in an entertaining style, making fun of
Glengarry and of the sports. Glengarry, it is said, presided in all his
glory, and had the field almost wholly to himself, "the other judges
probably conceiving themselves ill qualified to decide in matters which
lay altogether between the chief and the gentlemen of his tail." The
sports included a foot race of eight miles, and the report has it that
four of the runners, who came in first, arrived at the goal in the costume
of Adam. Time, 50 minutes. Another item was to lift a boulder 18 stone
weight, and throw it over a bar five feet from the ground. The feat was
accomplished by "a mere stone mason," after having foiled all the other
"pretty men." The most remarkable feature, however, was the tearing of
three cows limb from limb after they had been felled and stunned by the
blow of a sledge-hammer. The dissection of the poor cows was far from
easy. "Even the most expert of the operators took from four to five hours
in rugging and riving, tooth and nail, before they brought off the limbs
of one cow. This achievement was paid at the rate of five guineas per
joint, so that we hope this rise in the value of black cattle will make
the Glengarry men some small amends for the fall of ewes and wedders at
Falkirk Tryst, lately noticed by their chief." The report is written in
this sarcastic vein. It is evident that no love was lost between the
Editor and Glengarry.
October 24.—The opening of the
Caledonian Canal from sea to sea is recorded in this issue. "At ten
o’clock yesterday morning the Loch-ness steam yacht, accompanied by two
smacks, departed from the Locks of Muirtown on the first voyage through
the Canal, amidst the loud and enthusiastic cheering of a great concourse
of people and the firing of cannon. The morning was peculiarly favourable,
although rather calm. There was scarcely a breath of wind to disperse the
smoke, which ascended unbroken after the firing of the guns. The banks of
the Canal were crowded with spectators, a great number of whom accompanied
the party from the Muirtown Locks to the Bridge of Bught. The band of the
Inverness-shire Militia went on board at Dochgarroch Lock, and immediately
played the national air of ‘God save the King." Among the gentlemen on
board the steamboat were the Right Hon. Charles Grant, M.P.; the Hon.
William Fraser, Mr Grant of Waternish. Mr Fraser of Lovat, Mr Fraser of
Inchcoulter, Mr Mackenzie of Kilcoy, Mr Mackenzie, yr. of Gairloch;
Provost Robertson of Aultnaskiach; Mr Fraser of Fingask, Mr Fraser of
Culduthel, Mr Inglis of Kingsmills, Mr Fraser of Torbreck, Bailies
Simpson, Cumming and Smith; Mr Edwards, solicitor; Mr Johnstone; Mr
Cameron, yr. of Letterfinlay; Captain Edward Fraser, Mr Davidson and Mr
Hughes, of the Canal. On the way they were joined by Redcastle, Foyers,
Balnain, Glenmoriston, Glengarry, and may other proprietors. In passing
Dochfour the steamer fired a salute, which was answered by a round of
fire-arms and loud cheering.
Ibid.—"Died, at Glenalbert, on the
estate of Dalguise, Perthshire, on Sunday, the 22nd ult. in her 100th year
Mrs Margaret Low, widow of the late James Steuart, Esq. of Tulloch, near
Blair. Her husband was a captain in one of the Athole regiments, under
Lord George Murray, and carried the Royal Standard of Prince Charles
Edward at the battle of Culloden in 1746. Of that unfortunate Prince, Mrs
Steuart had a perfect recollection, and till within a few days of her
death spoke with the fondness of long-cherished reminiscence, and with the
accuracy of a mind and memory perfectly entire, of his dress, manner, and
appearance. It was at Dunkeld on his way to Edinburgh, in September 1745,
that she had seen the Prince, and presented a pair of brogues to his Royal
Highness, of which, to her, momentous occurrence she had a complete
remembrance. After the forfeiture of Mr Steuart's estate, he retired to
the village of Glenalbert, and died there in 1807, at the advanced age of
96. His widow continued to occupy the same humble cottage, and to live in
respected retirement on the small part of their fortune, which had been
saved, until the day of her death."
November 7.—A remittance of £300 was
received from Mr John Stewart, Bombay, to account of subscriptions in
support of the Society for educating the poor in the Highlands. Mr Charles
Grant, M.P. gave £50 for the same object.
Ibid.—"Agricultural reports for many
of the Scottish counties have appeared for October. They all represent the
state of agricultural affairs in as deplorable a light as possible."
Ibid-—A biographical sketch appears
of Mr Thomas Mackenzie of Applecross, M.P. for the county of Ross, who had
died recently in London. Mr Mackenzie was an accomplished man, possessing
talents and endowments of a high order, but suffered from a delicate
constitution. "In the course of the few years he had been in Parliament,
he had acquired a station and influence among the representatives of
Scotland, which few at any period since the Union had ever possessed." Mr
Mackenzie died unmarried, and was succeeded by a sister. The date of his
death is given incorrectly in the late Mr Mackenzie’s History of the Clan—
one of the few errors in that carefully-compiled volume. The year is given
there as 1827, whereas, as we see, it was 1822.
Ibid.—The same number contains a
biographical sketch of the Rev. Dr Thomas Ross, parish minister of
Kilmonivaig, who died on 15th October. He was a native of Fearn, in
Ross-shire, licensed by the Presbytery of Tain in 1775, and ordained to
Kilmonivaig in 1776. Marischal College, Aberdeen, conferred on him the
degree of D.D. in 1818. Dr Ross was married to a daughter of Fassifearn, a
niece of Lochiel of the ‘45, and had a large family of sons and daughters.
One of his daughters became the wife of Patrick Robertson, Lord of
Session. Dr Ross went to Lochaber at a time when the people, though bold
and brave, were uncultivated and little disposed to religion. As a native
of Ross-shire, he was at first regarded as an intruder. "Soon, however,
was every prejudice removed, and the warmest affection and sincerest
respect called forth by the manly and judicious conduct of the young
minister. Though not tall nor particularly athletic, Mr Ross possessed
personal strength and agility which made him absolutely invincible. Long
has it been the familiar boast in Lochaber that no man ever saw him laid
on his back. One of his first acts of pastoral duty was to trip up the
heels of a bully who knew no standard of merit but stability of limbs and
strength of arm. Having obtained the respect and confidence of his people,
he became eminently successful in impressing their minds and influencing
their conduct by the great principles of Christian equity and
benevolence." The writer goes on to say that never did clergyman unite so
much zeal for religion with such unbounded charity towards those who
differed from him. Envy and resentment were utter strangers to his spirit.
Some striking peculiarities, however marked his character. "He was what in
the Highlands is significantly called clannish. Not only was every Ross
presumed to be meritorious till he was proved worthless, but his
worthlessness was of a better order than the unalleviated demerit of less
virtuous names. The family, the history, the residence of the chief were
hallowed beyond anything in Greek or Roman story. The Camerons ranked
next. The Macdonalds, the illustrious Lords of the Isles, had been in
early history allied with the Earls of Ross, and therefore received the
partial favour of Dr Ross, of Kilmonivaig. The Mackenzies were worse than
heathens, for they robbed or defrauded the name of Ross of almost all its
territory. Yet some of the most valued friends of the Doctor had the
misfortune to bear the obnoxious name. He hated only the Clan." The date
of Dr Ross’s birth is not given, but it is stated that he lived the full
measure of fourscore in entire rigour of mind and body.
November 18.—An extract is published
from a report by the Rev. D. Fraser, of Kirkhill, one of the secretaries
of the Society for the Education of the Poor. The Society was doing
excellent work. One clergyman mentioned that in a certain district of his
parish, out of a population of 600, only 8 persons could read anything
some years ago, and that now 240 could read the Gaelic with ease, while
there was no family without a Bible. "If anything," adds the report,
"could be said to be painful, it was the manifest proof before one’s eyes
of the existence of extreme poverty and wretchedness. The immediate
sources of it were the failure of the crop last year, and of the herring
fishing this season; but it was supposed to have a more permanent source
in the excess of the population over the means of subsistence." Since the
finishing of the roads in the Highlands, there was no stated labour, and
the fishing was exceedingly precarious. In one district, before the potato
crop ripened, hundreds of people had to support themselves on shell-fish,
collected from the rocky shore. Another district was scourged by fever,
brought on by poverty and want of food. "It was mentioned by several
intelligent persons of the country that they believed that the state of
some districts in Skye and the neighbouring coasts was just as wretched as
Ireland was represented to be during the late scarcity, although the
people bore it quietly and made shift to exist. The effect of this poverty
was manifest in the pallid looks and tattered garments of the poor
children in the schools."
Ibid.—The Magistrates and Council of
Inverness were served on the 9th inst. with copies of a summons of
reduction and declarator, at the instance of Jonathan Watson, weaver; John
Maclean carpenter; and James Cameron, coppersmith, concluding for the
reduction and annulment of the last election of Magistrates and
councillors made under the authority of a Privy Council Warrant. The
summons bore that no new legal or valid election could take place except
by a poll of the whole burgesses of a disfranchised burgh; and that
therefore the warrant of the Privy Council was illegal, and absolutely
null arid void.
December 12.—Lord Cawdor presented
the Rev. Mr Campbell, the minister of Dores, to the Church and Parish of
Croy, vacant by the death of the Rev. Mr Calder.
December 26.—On the 20th inst., Sir
James W. Mackenzie of Scatwell was unanimously elected member of
Parliament for the county of Ross. The election took place at Tain. Sir
Hector Mackenzie of Gairloch was in the chair. and the nominators were Mr
Mackenzie of Kilcoy and Mr Macleod of Geanies. A party of a hundred
afterwards dined in the Mason Hall.