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Weekly Mailing List Archives
2nd November 2007

It's your Electric Scotland newsletter meaning the weekend is nearly here :-)

You can view what's new this week on Electric Scotland at and you can unsubscribe to this newsletter by clicking on the link at the foot of this newsletter.

See our Calendar of Scottish Events around the world at 

Electric Scotland News
New Advertiser in the Scottish Travel Trade
Scotland on TV
The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Good Words - Edited by the Rev Norman MacLeod
Rolphin's Orb - A Children's Story
Hamish McWallace and the Leprechaun Treasure (A new children's story)
Poetry and Stories
Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland in 1876
Book of Scottish Story
History of the County of Bruce
History of Ulster
A fisherman’s Reflections on a beautiful but troubled world
Ocean to Ocean, Fleming's Expedition Through Canada in 1872
Restless English and Quisling Scots

This week we've produced a new site search engine for the site from Microsoft's Live Search. And today I saw a wee about it...

The US Search Engine rankings for September have been released and, as expected, Google are still firmly at the top with an estimated 54 percent of the market share. But the surprising news was the impressive growth of Microsoft Live.

According to Nielsen Online, Microsoft's MSN/Windows Live Search achieved 71.5 percent growth in just one year, with an estimated 890.7 million search queries in September alone.

While Live Search is still ranked third - and they are a long way from Google's impressive command of the market - it seems that the improvements Live Search have implemented in the last year have made a difference to searchers.


I was doing some testing between the two search engines and I found that Live Search was giving slightly better results. Mind you I do find it a pain that Wikipedia keeps coming up No.1 on so many searches when they often have less information to offer than other links further down.

Anyway... with this new site search I'm able to combine up to 10 domains and so have been able to bring together,, and into one site search. This is something I've been asking Google to do for quite some time but they've never moved on this.

The other thing about this site search is that it gives the ElectricScotland results but there is a Tab for the web and so if you don't find it on ElectricScotland you just need to click on the Web Tab to get full web results instead of having to do another search.

The whole purpose in having a site search is that pretty well all of our material is something to do with Scotland and so doing a search on our site will produce Scottish results. When I do a search on Live Search for "" I get 210,000 whereas on Google I get 20,300.

Mind you... I did a search on both search engines for "Scotland" and Microsoft Live has us listed on the second page whereas Google has us listed on the first page. I was actually a bit surprised at that as Google has listed us on the third, fourth or fifth pages for some time now on that search term.

I'd welcome your feedback on this change and in fact I think I'm close to doing another Electric Scotland survey to get your opinions on a variety of things on Electric Scotland.

And while I'm talking about changes... I did a makeover of our index page as I've come to an end on the pictures I was posting on that page. I'm now listing the books I'm currently working on and when one is complete it will be removed and any new ones added. This way it perhaps makes it easier to find out what books we're working on so you can read along with us as we put them up.

Also... I am hoping that at long last we'll have our Postcard program working again.

Postcard Direct works by MIME encoding any images, midi, flash etc. This means everything that is needed to display the postcard is contained in the mail body.

I felt this option was best as there has been a great deal of spam from so called postcard sites and so this way the full postcard is delivered in the email.

PD also works with two other modes:

1. Web mail - Most web mail sites can't/won't handle embedded images in the email, so this mode references the images from the website the postcard was sent. Note that Yahoo Mail and Hotmail, in particular, change their interfaces reasonably regularly.

2. Traditional mode - Works like all other postcard programs, ie: stores the card on your webserver and mails out a ticket to the recipient.

And so it will be interesting to see how it all works. I've already placed a placeholder page for it at

We're also working on new forums software and we have 4 to choose from so will see how that goes in the weeks ahead.

And I'm told by Julia of ScotlandOnTV that we can start working next week on emeding some of their videos onto the site so that should be interesting.

We also have a new advertiser from Scotland for which see more below :-)

Added "Die Strathallan Drummonds" which is a German translation provided by Michael Pick which you can read at

Some of the stories in here are just parts of a larger story so do check out the site for the full versions. You can always find the link in our "What's New" section at the link at the top of this newsletter and pick up poems and stories sent into us during the week from Donna, Margo, Stan, John and others.

New Advertiser
We have a new advertiser from Scotland and here is a wee intro they've sent in...

If you're looking for ideas on what to do or where to visit for your holidays in Scotland, TravelScotland brings you the best Scottish hotels and guesthouses, tours and itineraries, self catering holiday cottages and apartments, activities, guided tours and even mountain walks - all in all the perfect holiday destination whether you are single, couple or family group.

Scotland Travel allows to you to build a wonderful Scottish holiday. Book accommodation on line, day trips and tours around Scotland. You can combine hotels and itineraries to make your ideal trip.

Travel Scotland is packed full of useful travel information which will help you plan or dream in detail about a holiday in Scotland. Our Guide to Scotland is one of the most detailed Scottish Travel guides on-line and will help you decide what to see and do before you arrive.

We now also have of the largest selection of Holiday Cottages in Scotland, you can check out our cottage map to find what's available by date and group size. We've also just recently added our own Scottish news section with the latest news and major stories happening in Scotland.


Mark Scott

So there you have it... lots of interesting information to view :-)

Scotland on TV
Visit their site at

The history of the town of Pitlochry in Perthshire goes back to Roman times, its name dating back to the 3rd century AD when Emperor Septimus Severus marched his forces across Scotland to the Moray Firth. The town really flourished during the 19th century after Queen Victoria visited during her stay at nearby Blair Castle in 1844. The area is also said to have inspired Robert Louis Stevenson, amongst other great Scots.

Anyone who has ever been lucky enough to visit the area around Pitlochry knows that it’s a pretty magical place, especially during the autumn months. Faskally Wood, one mile north of Pitlochry and just south of the historic Pass of Killiecrankie and the site of the famous battle, is one of the highlights of this area that has become known as ‘Big Tree Country’.

And now Faskally Wood has become even more enchanted - for the past two weeks it has been transformed into the Enchanted Forest - a spectacular show which combines sound and lighting to transform the forest into a truly magical space.

The show finishes this weekend, but we got in there a few evenings back to capture some of the experience on video for our worldwide audience. It was a great display – see for yourself!

This weeks Flag is compiled by Ian Goldie and quite naturally he gives us a review and reaction to the SNP's first conference since winning the election.

In Peter's cultural section we learn how fit the Scots used to be when we ate lots of oats...

Over many centuries oatmeal formed the basis of the Scottish diet – porridge, brose, gruel and oatcakes together with plenty exercise kept our forebears lean and wiry, generation after generation. The popular image of Scottish students from rural areas was arriving at university with a bag of oatmeal and a barrel of pickled or salted herring to see them through the term. The traditional Lads o Pairts were thus fed through their education and many went on to find fame not only in their native land but world-wide. But with some 25% of 21st century Scots being deemed to be obese perhaps it is time that we got back to the traditional Scottish diet!

The medieval French chronicler Jean Froisart certainly found a very different picture when he visited Scotland in 1364 as the guest of David 11, King of Scots. He very much admired the hardiness and energy of Scottish soldiers which he put down to their diet. I well remember being told at Primary School of his description of how the fit Scottish soldiers fed –

‘Under the flaps of his saddle each man carries a broad plate of metal, and behind the saddle a little bag of oatmeal. They place the plate over the fire, mix their oatmeal with water, and, when the plate is heated, they put a little of the plate upon it, and make a thin cake or biscuit, which they eat to warm their stomachs.’

The Scottish Government are making strenuous efforts to promote healthy eating in schools to help combat the problem. That added to providing more sporting centres, like independent Norway, would help to stop the projected worsening obesity problem. The announcement this week by Sports Minister Stewart Maxwell that the Scottish Government will help fund (£7 m) a new sports facility on the site of the former Ravenscraig steelworks is a welcome step in the right direction.

This week’s recipe has obviously got to be oatmeal based and Quick Orange Porridge For Two would make a tempting breakfast treat for bairns of all ages!

Quick Orange Porridge For Two

Ingredients: 80 g (3 oz) porridge oats; 300 ml (1/2 pint) cold unsweetened orange juice

Method: Mix the porridge oats and orange juice in a medium sized microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the orange is absorbed. Add more orange juice if necessary. Stir and top with fresh orange slices.

You can read the Flag, listen to the Scots Language, enjoy the Scots Wit and lots more at

The Scottish Nation
My thanks to Lora for transcribing these volumes for us.

Onto the K's with Kirkcudbright, Kirkpatrick, Kirkwall, Kirkwood, Kneland and Knox

Here is how the account of Knox starts...

KNOX, the surname of a family designed of that ilk, who once possessed the lands of Knock, or Knox, in the county of Renfrew, and which claimed to be derived from Utred, the Saxon earl of Northumberland. Several of the name are to be found witnesses, in the reigns of Alexander II. and III., in the charters of the abbacy of Paisley. The family was also frequently designed of Ranfurly and Craigends, lands which they also possessed in the same county. Nisbet mentions a charter of confirmation of James III., of a resignation of the barony of Ranfurly and Grief castle, by John Knox of Craigends, in favour of Uchter Knox, about 1474. Andrew Knox, a younger son of John Knox of Ranfurly, was in 1606 bishop of the Isles, and in 1622 was translated to the see of Raphoe in Ireland. His son, Thomas Knox, succeeded his father as bishop of the Isles. The family failed in the person of the grand-nephew of Andrew Knox, viz., Uchter Knox of Ranfurly, who had but one daughter, and who sold that estate in 1663, to the first earl of Dundonald.

The celebrated Reformer, John Knox, is traditionally supposed to have been a cadet of this family. This however is doubtful, although Dr. M’Crie (Life of Knox, Appendix to vol. i. note A), states that in a genealogical account of the Knoxes, in possession of the family of the late Mr. James Knox, minister of Scone, the Reformer’s father is said to have been a brother of the family of Ranfurlie, and “proprietor of the estate of Gifford,” in Haddingtonshire. In David Buchanan’s Memoir of Knox, prefixed to the edition of his “Historie” of 1644, it is also stated that his “father was a brother’s son of the house of Ranferlie.” Dr. M’Crie does not place much reliance on the assertion that the Reformer’s father was “proprietor of the estate of Gifford,” and thinks that his ancestors had settled in East Lothian as early as the time of his great-grandfather. This he infers from Knox’s own words, quoting from his ‘Historie of the Reformation, (p. 306, edit. 1732), a conversation that the Reformer had with the earl of Bothwell, in which he gave the following account of his ancestors: “My lord,” he said, “my great-grandfather, gudeshir, and father, have served your lordship’s predecessours, and some of them have dyed under their standards; and this is a pairt of the obligatioun of our Scottish kindnes.” For some curious facts relative to the birthplace of John Knox, the reader is referred to a paper by John Richardson, Esq., Haddington, with supplementary notices by Mr. Laing, in the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, vol. iii, part 1, 1860.

In Ireland there are several families of this surname, proprietors of estates, of Scottish descent. One of them, originally from Glasgow, possesses the earldom of Ranfurly (created in 1831) in the Irish peerage, and is said to be the representative of the family of Ranfurly in Scotland.

KNOX, JOHN, the chief promoter of the Reformation in Scotland, was born in 1505, at a place called Giffordgate, a suburb of Haddington. The statement, that the village of Gifford, East Lothian, was his birthplace, is a mistake. It was not then built. In the suburb of Giffordgate, there were some houses known by the name of Knox’s Walls. His mother’s name was Sinclair, and in subsequent times many of his letters were, for precaution’s sake, subscribed ‘John Sinclair.’ He received the rudiments of his education at Haddington grammar school, and studied philosophy and theology at St. Andrews, under John Major, then principal of St. Salvator’s college. His progress in learning was rapid, and he took the degree of M.A. before the usual time, after which he taught philosophy as regent of one of the classes in the university. About the same time he was admitted into priest’s orders long before the age appointed by the canons for receiving ordination. The writings of the ancient Fathers, particularly of Jerome and St. Augustine, opened his eyes to the subtleties of the school theology, and he resolved to attach himself to a more plain and practical method of interpreting the Scriptures than that offered by the writings of the scholastic divines. While yet engaged enquiring after the truth, he attended the sermons of Thomas Gwilliam, or Williams, a friar, who had the boldness to preach against the Pope’s supremacy. In 1543 Gwilliam was chosen preacher to the Regent Arran. “The man,” says Calderwood, (vol. i. p. 155), “was of a sound judgment, reasonable good literature in respect of the time, of a prompt and good utterance: his doctrine was wholesome, but without vehemencie against superstitioun. Johne Rough, who after suffered for the truthe in England, howbeit not so learned, and more simple, and more vehement against all impietie, preached also sometimes. This Thomas Gwilliam was a blacke frier, borne beside Elstone-furde (Athelstaneford) in East Lothian, and provinciall of the blacke friers of Scotland. He was the first man from whome Mr. Knox receaved anie taste of the truthe.” But Knox was still more impressed with the unsoundness of the popish system by the preaching of the celebrated George Wishart, who afterwards suffered martyrdom at the stake, through the persecution of Cardinal Bethune.

You can read the rest of this entry at

You can read the other entries at 

New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Have made a start at this huge publication which will likely be with us for a few years. The first volume I am dealing with is the one on Aberdeen. There are some 85 parishes in this volume and a write up on each.

This week have added...

Parish of Glenbucket at
Parish of Tullynessle and Forbes at

Here is a bit about Glenbucket...

Name.—This parish derives its name from two Gaelic words, gleann, a glen, and buidhe, signifying yellow, or from the stream of Bucket, which intersects the glen, taking its rise among the lofty mountains; separating Glenlivat and Glenbucket, and which falls into the Don below the venerable castle, the seat of the ancient Gordons of Glenbucket. The castle stands in a commanding and beautiful situation, totally neglected, and fast falling into complete ruin.

Extent.—The average breadth of the parish is about one mile arable, and, including the mountain ranges, about 2½ miles; its length arable about 6 miles,—including the mountains, 10 miles.

The parish is almost surrounded by Strathdon: for a small space to the north-west it adjoins Cabrach and Glenlivat. But from these, it is separated by a regular range of lofty mountains.

A narrow and romantic pass leads into the parish from the east, commencing at the confluence of the rivers Don and Bucket, below the castle.

Craigenscore is the highest hill in the parish; it lies to the north, and rises about 2000 feet above the level of the sea. Benneaw is the next highest, and is 1800 feet above the level of the sea, The castle is built on the acclivity of this hill.

Climate.—The climate is severe. In the summer months it is sometimes excessively hot; in winter, north winds, deep snows, and keen frosts prevail, which frequently continue long, and make late and bad spring months.

Geology.—The rocks are generally primitive. There are to be found, hornblende, felspar, gneiss, mica-slate, granite, and primitive limestone in great abundance, which contains about seventy per cent. lime. It is worked to great advantage by the tenants, both for their own use and for sale.

Zoology.—The breeds of cattle, horses, and sheep, have been much improved within these few years, and bring annually a considerable sum of money to the glen. The wild animals are, foxes, hares, common and alpine; roe and red-deer frequent Glennoughty. Birds; eagles, hawks, black-game, grouse, ptarmigan, snipes, dotterel, plover, partridges, &c. and a great variety of small birds. Fish; salmon, trout, and eels are found in the Don and Bucket.

You can read the rest of this account at

On the index page of this volume you can see a list of the 85 parishes and also a map at

Good Words - 1860 Edition
Edited by Rev. Norman MacLeod

You should note that as this is a weekly publication you'll find larger articles are continued week by week.

This week have added articles on...

Out of the Depths - In Christ (Pages 157-158)
Good Words for Every Day in the Year (159-160)
God's Glory in the Heavens (161-164)
Unpublished Letter by John Newton (164-165)
A String of Pearls (165-168)

I also added an interesting article "Gleanings from the Talmud" from the 1875 edition...

THE present paper makes no pretensions beyond its title; but as the subject is not very familiar to the general reader, it may be well to make a rapid survey of the field to be gleaned from, and to indicate the principle that guides the selection.

The Talmud has little claim to be considered a book beyond the mere fact of its consisting of so many volumes, for it is the product of many minds and the growth of ! centuries. The scribes who succeeded Ezra and Nehemiah in that misty period within which lies the boundary line between Old Testament Scripture and tradition, rallying round the Mosaic law, as the only means of preserving the people from heathen contamination, on the one hand, and internal corruption, on the other, made every effort to bring its precepts to bear upon all the relations, civil and sacred, in which the colonists were placed. They made a "fence to the law," as their own phrase has it; that is, they endeavoured, by minor and detailed prescriptions, to secure the great precepts of the law from infringement, and to apply them to all the details of daily life. The hedge of prickly pear, seen everywhere in the East, is a fair illustration of what that "fence round the law" became. The few well-meant regulations of the scribes, like the blades of the cactus first set in the soft sand, and liable to be displaced by a passing footstep, became the starting-point for new developments, and bristled over all their borders with a formidable array of prescriptions, till the whole was grotesque in the extreme, and the hedge actually choked the law which it was to have preserved.

We cannot trace here the expansion of this work of the scribes and their successors, as, believing in the all-sufficiency of the law, they sought in its compass authority for every new "fence" and ground for every existing usage, and invented for this purpose methods of connection — they cannot be called methods of interpretation — between the written law and their own ordinances. Two institutions, with which the reader is familiar, were the channels through which it operated. These were the School and the Sanhedrim. Connected with the synagogues there were common schools for primary education, and local courts for the judgment of cases that might arise: the rabbins of distinction had also their higher schools, and the highest court in the land was the great Sanhedrim at Jerusalem. It was before this court that Christ was arraigned, and Peter and John were tried; and it must have been in a school in the Temple that the child Jesus was found, and in another such that Saul of Tarsus studied under Gamaliel. The schools were the arena in which the learned men and their pupils sharpened their wits in discussion; and it will be readily understood how, while the Sanhedrim was occupied with actual cases brought before it, the schools would be employed in the solving of possible and imaginary cases—with casuistry, in fact. We have already in the pages of the New Testament indications of a reverence for the letter of the law to the neglect of its spirit in these casuistical discussions; and this tendency, increasing to a prodigious extent, and combined with a reverence for great names, kept alive the tradition of the decisions of the courts and the opinions of the doctors, which in time was invested with divine authority, as an unwritten law delivered to Moses on Sinai, as an explanation of the written, and handed down in unbroken succession from age to age.

In the troubles that came upon the Jewish people the Sanhedrim suffered much, and was deprived of the power of enforcing its sentences; but the activity of the schools continued, notwithstanding persecution; and when finally the synagogue took the place of the Temple, the college remained as the representative of the Sanhedrim, and study, taking the place of judgment, ran riot in its handling of the law. The schools of Babylon, swelled by refugees from Palestine, kept pace with, and even outstripped, those of the Holy Land for a time; but when the stricter edicts against the study of the law were relaxed, the College of Tiberias again took the lead, and then for the first time, towards the close of the second century a.d., under the presidency of Rabbi Judah the Holy, the oral tradition was collected into an authoritative form. It was called Mithna, or "teaching," from the formula by which the decisions of the doctors of the period were conveyed, but came to be known as Mishna, or "repetition," from the idea that it is but the expansion or iteration of the written law. It consists of six treatises, in which are given, under separate heads, the decisions of the doctors to the minutest details on all the subjects of civil, criminal, and ceremonial law that had occupied their attention; recording also, as a guarantee of the thorough preservation of the tradition, the rejected decisions or opinions of the minority.

You can read the rest of this account at

You can read the other articles at

Rolphin's Orb
Many of you will remember us adding this 12 book story from Margo Fallis. Well she has now added a 13th book called "The Beginning" to give an introduction to how the series came about.

We have now completed thjs book and you can read the final chapters at

Hamish McWallace and the Leprechaun Treasure
by Laura Lagana

A new children's story has been sent into us by Laura which is actually a book so we'll be adding this chapter by chapter until complete.

The Prologue starts...

Finnegan scratched his pointed ears and laid the four-leaf clover on the nearby tree stump. He added several more logs to the fire under the boiling black cauldron. A moment later, steam burst from the pipe as the whiskey bubbled over, signaling that the brew was finished. Using a scarred wooden ladle that his grandma had given him on his fiftieth birthday, he poured the golden liquid into glass bottles and popped a cork into the top of each one. Finnegan sniffed the pungent air and sneezed. “Grandma would be right proud of this batch.” He tilted his head toward the sky while the bright moon bathed him in silvery light. A moment later, he glanced at the rock next to the cauldron. A bright smile spread across his face as he skipped around the fire before doing a jig in front of the rock. Golden light spilled from the rock’s interior when the top opened to reveal the leprechaun’s treasure, hidden safely within. Finnegan squealed with delight, running his hands through the gold and letting the coins slip through his fingers to join the rest of his treasure. Every year, Finnegan returned to the same spot to brew his whiskey and bask in the glow of his gold. He spied the empty basket of clover lying next to him on the ground. “The moon is at its fullest.” He chuckled, rubbing his small hands together with anticipation. “This is the best time to pick more clover for my whiskey.” Finnegan stared at his gold treasure a moment longer, wiping away the tear that trailed down his cheek. After kissing one of the coins for good luck, he closed the rock and tucked the basket under his arm before disappearing from the campsite into the velvety black darkness. A faint glittering of dust scattered behind his feet as Finnegan the leprechaun left the clearing.

You can read the rest of this and the first few chapters at

Poetry and Stories
John sent in three doggerels...

Lemon Drizzle Cakes, at
Cluck! Cluck! Ull Luck! at
Flooers Jiggin at Hallowe'en at

Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland
Am adding a variety of articles from this publication and this week have included...

On St. Kilda and its Inhabitants from the 1878 volume which you can read at

also added from the 1879 volume...

On the Agriculture of the County of Sutherland which is another huge account which you can read at

Improvements on the Estate of Denbrae, Fifeshire which can be read at

Here is how the St. Kilda article starts...

Having been instructed by the Directors of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland to proceed to St Kilda in H.M.S. "Flirt," ordered by the Government to convey to the island provisions, seed, &c, for the inhabitants,—supplied partly from the donation of £100 given by the Austrian Government in return for kindness and hospitality shown to a few of its subjects who were shipwrecked on the island last winter, and which was intrusted to the Society for distribution—and partly from a fund held by the Society for the benefit of the St Kildians,—I started for Greenock, where the "Flirt" was stationed, on Monday the 7th of May, and got all the goods on board on the following forenoon.

The whole of the goods were procured for the Society by Mr David Cross, Argyll Street, Glasgow, whose kindness and willingness in getting everything ready for despatch so promptly, and on such short notice, shows the warm interest he takes in the welfare of these remote islanders. Mr Cross on former similar occasions undertook the same duty.

The "Flirt," commanded by Lieut. O'Rorke, left Greenock about 10.30 on Tuesday evening, encountered a very heavy sea and rather severe gale in rounding the Mull of Cantyre, and on Wednesday could not proceed farther than Lowlander Bay, a small inlet on the south-east coast of Jura, where anchor was dropped about 1.30 p.m., and where we remained till 6 a.m. on Thursday. On Thursday we went to Tobermory, where we anchored for that night; made Portree on Friday, and remained there over the night. Left Portree about 4 a.m. on Saturday, and passed through the Sound of Harris about 1 p.m. Soon after, a good stern breeze getting up, all sails were unfurled, and we were swiftly wafted over the western main towards St Kilda, whose sharp outline could be dimly discerned through a misty haze about 4 P.M. At 9.30 the rattle of the anchor-chain over the bow proclaimed that we were really in St Kilda Bay, and under the shadow of the towering cliffs of "Iort" (Gaelic name for St Kilda).

The natives had sighted us a long way off, and were afraid we were to pass. They lined the shore as we arrived, and a boat manned by four active young St Kilda men was soon alongside, and in a twinkling landed us safely on the rocky shore, where we received the very hearty greetings and kindly blessings of these simple-minded people. By this time the whole of the inhabitants had appeared on the scene. A few words spoken in the vernacular conveyed and spread the welcome intelligence that the supplies had come, upon which there arose a great shout, or rather wail, of gladness and thankfulness, the very dogs, of which there would be about a dozen, joining in the refrain, and, combined with the hollow murmuring sound of the Atlantic waves, made a weird din that sounded strange in our ears, and the memory of which will not soon be effaced. The exuberant joy having somewhat subsided, and a kind of order restored,—the weather being fine, and knowing how unsafe and uncertain the anchorage was,—we proposed to land the goods at once, and asked the natives to give us assistance with their boats. But here came a hitch in the proceedings: the old men shook their heads and gathered around their minister in solemn conclave; the minister thrust his hands deep into his trouser pockets, and cast his eyes upon the ground in pensive meditation; eager, anxious women and amazed children stood with bated breath awaiting the result of the deliberation. An answer was given, that as it was now drawing near the Sunday, and as the people must be prepared for the devotions of the morrow, they could not think of encroaching on the Sabbath by working at the landing of the goods. This ultimatum was like the laws of the Medes and Persians, for no entreaty, expostulation, or persuasive language on our part, though uttered in the hardest Gaelic, would make them alter their decision; and as for reasoning with them upon its being a work of necessity, such a conception seemed to have no place in their creed. They told us that rather than land the goods on Sunday they would prefer sending to Harris for them, should we be compelled by stress of weather to betake ourselves there before Monday. The captain endeavoured to land a few bags with the "Flirt's" boats, but was completely baffled on account of the surf. The boats were not strong enough to withstand the force with which they would be pitched on to the rocks. The attempt had to be abandoned; and as nothing more could now be done, on the minister's recommendation we resigned ourselves to Providence, and waited patiently for Monday's dawn, trusting the weather might be propitious.

You can read the rest of this article at

You can get to the other articles at

Book of Scottish Story
Kindly sent in to us by John Henderson

The Book of Scottish Story - Historical, Humorous, Legendary, Imaginative
by Standard Scottish Writers Published by Thomas D. Morison, 1896

This week we have...

The Freebooter of Lochaber by Sir Thomas Dick Lauder at

An Hour in the Manse by Professor Wilson at

Here is how The Freebooter of Lochaber starts...

Towards the end of the seventeenth century, there lived a certain notorious freebooter, in the county of Moray, a native of Lochaber, of the name of Cameron, but who was better known by his cognomen of Padrig Mac-an-Ts'agairt, which signifies, "Peter, the Priest's Son." Numerous were the "creachs," or robberies of cattle on a great scale, driven by him from Strathspey. But he did not confine his depredations to that country; for, some time between the years 1690 and 1695, he made a clean sweep of the cattle from the rich pastures of the Aird, the territory of the Frasers. That he might put his pursuers on a wrong scent, he did not go directly towards Lochaber, but, crossing the river Ness at Lochend, he struck over the mountains of Strathnairn and Strathdearn, and ultimately encamped behind a hill above Duthel, called, from a copious spring on its summit, Cairn-an-Sh' uaran, or the Well Hill. But, notwithstanding all his precautions, the celebrated Simon Lord Lovat, then chief of the Frasers, discovered his track, and despatched a special messenger to his father-in-law Sir Ludovick Grant of Grant, begging his aid in apprehending Mac-an-Ts'agairt, and recovering the cattle.

It so happened that there lived at this time, on the laird of Grant's ground, a man also called Cameron, surnamed Mugach More, of great strength and undaunted courage; he had six sons and a stepson, whom hi- . wife, formerly a woman of light character, had before her marriage with Mugach, and, as they were all brave, Sir Ludovick applied to them to undertake the recapture of the cattle. Sir Ludovic was not mistaken in the man. The Mugach no sooner received his orders, than he armed himself and his little band, and went in quest of the freebooter, whom he found in the act of cooking a dinner from part of the spoil. The Mugach called on Padrig and his men to surrender, and they, though numerous, dreading the well-known prowess of their adversary, fled to the opposite hills, their chief threatening bloody vengeance as he went. The Mugach drove the cattle to a place of safety, and watched them till their owners came to recover them.

You can read the rest of this story at

The index page of the book where you can read the other stories is at

The History of Ulster
From the Earliest Times to the Present Day by Ramsay Colles (1919)

This week have added another 5 chapters to the first volume...

Shane again in Ulster
Sussex v. Shane
Sir Henry Sidney and Shane O'Neill
Death of Shane O'Neill
Attempted Plantation

Here is how the chapter "Attempted Plantation" starts...

The death of Shane O'Neill was followed by a short period of quietude, in which sweeping changes were made and the cost of the war with Shane ascertained. The figures must certainly have given the Queen, who was noted for her thrift, great uneasiness. From the Vth and Vlth of Philip and Mary to the XVIth of Elizabeth, the expenditure of the Irish Government amounted to £490,779, 7s. 6 3/4d., of which £120,000 represented the Irish receipts, and £370,779, 7s. 6 3/4d., at the yearly average of £23,179, was transmitted from England. It is not strange that her ministers dreaded to approach the Queen on the subject of money for Ireland. She grudged every shilling which was expended in the government of the country, and was constantly requiring schemes from her deputies for the making of the Irish Government self-supporting.

The condition of the country was indeed serious. The state of Ulster was bad, but, as Sir Henry Sidney discovered on a visitation to the south and west, which he had now leisure to make, that of Munster and Connaught was appalling, many districts being so wasted by the war that they "had but one-twentieth part of their former population". The Earl of Desmond he found to be "a man both devoid of judgment to govern and will to be ruled". In the territory of Ormonde he noted a "want of justice, judgment, and stoutness to execute", and Clanrickard "was so overruled by a putative wife as ofttimes when he best intendeth she forceth him to do the worst". The strength and wisdom of Sidney is seen in his denouncement of the "cowardly policy" that would rule the nation by sowing divisions among the people, or, as he himself expressed it, "by keeping them in continual dissension, for fear lest through their quiet might follow I wot not what"; and, he added, "so far hath that policy, or rather lack of policy, in keeping dissension among them, prevailed, as now, albeit all that are alive would become honest and live in quiet, yet are not left alive, in these two provinces, the twentieth person necessary to inhabit the same!"

It is not our province to follow Sir Henry into either Munster or Connaught, but his report is interesting as showing the general state of the 'country. Suffice it to say that he dealt so severely with the offenders that even Elizabeth became alarmed at the number of military executions which marked his progress; and, as she did not share his sentiments as expressed in his jubilant remark: "Down they go at every corner! and down, God willing, they shall go!" he sought permission to explain his conduct in person, and proceeded to England" for that purpose in October, 1567, taking with him the Earl of Desmond and his brother John, and being also accompanied by Hugh O'Neill, Baron of Dungannon, the O'Conor Sligo, and other Irish chieftains, the country being left in the charge of Lords Justices.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The rest of the chapters can be read at

A fisherman’s Reflections on a beautiful but troubled world
By David B. Thomson

We are getting a lot of interest in this book and this week we've added chapters on...

Chapter 4 - Ireland
Chapter 5 - Scotland
Chapter 6 - The Zambesi Valley
Chapter 7 - Canada
Chapter 8 - The USA
Chapter 9 - Russia
Chapter 10 - Indonesia

Here is how the Chapter on The USA starts...

I had not read much U.S. history before moving to America, but had immersed myself in some of its poetry and light fiction. My father used to recite John Greanleaf Whittier’s “Barbara Frietchie”, with great gusto, and I later came to enjoy the verses of Longfellow, Lowell, Poe, Whitman, and others, as well as the songs of Stephen Foster and Cole Porter, and the books by O’Henry, Mark Twain, Zane Grey, Herman Melville, and Richard Henry Dana. As a boy I loved to watch western movies, and devoured the romanticized versions of the ‘wild west’ history, with the detailed accounts of the different Red Indian tribes, that were probably as manufactured as those of the different clans in Scotland. Much later, books like “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”, gave a more factual and far sadder account of that period of American history.

The picture most of us in UK or Europe acquire of the United States, is taken largely from the cinema and television. Alistair Cook’s long-running “Letter from America”, gave radio listeners a more observant picture of the land of the free and its colourful people. When I first went to work in the USA, it was a surprise to learn that most Americans were quite cautious and conservative, unlike the swashbuckling characters of Western movies or Rambo-like films. I lived in Rhode Island, New England for two years, and that admittedly is quite unlike the south or west of the country. New Englanders are often termed “swamp Yankees”, a description that emphasizes their dry uncommunicative characteristics. But the area like much of America, is also a melting pot of Irish, Italian, English, Scandinavian, Portuguese, and other European immigrants, so generalizations are just that. I recall in New Bedford stopping a stranger to ask the way, and being surprised by the response : “Sorry, me Portuguese, - me no speak English” !

Rhode Island had been founded by a Baptist, Roger Williams, who was hounded out of Massachusetts by its Calvinist leaders. The descendants of the Pilgrim Fathers who left Britain to seek freedom to worship God, were not prepared to grant the same freedom to others whose beliefs differed slightly from theirs. Baptism of believers by immersion was not in their tenets. So Williams moved south-west and founded the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, the smallest in the Union. By the time I came to work there, there were not so many Baptists around. Churches were fairly conservative, unlike in California or the Southern States. But little Rhody had a reputation as a centre of Mafia activity, and the first few week-ends I was there, the local godfathers were shooting each other in supermarkets or restaurants. The police appeared to leave them to it, perhaps reasoning that a self-inflicted cull of gangsters might be in the State’s interest.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The rest of the chapters can be read at

Ocean to Ocean, Fleming's Expedition Through Canada in 1872
by The Revd. George M. Grant (1873).

As some of you may know Sandford Fleming, a Scot, was the chief engineer for the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway and this book is a diary of his survey of the line. Quite apart from being a Scot this is a most interesting account and I hope you'll enjoy reading it.

We have added three chapters this week...

Chapter IV - Province of Manitoba
Chapter V - From Manitoba to Fort Carlton on the North Saskatchewan
Chapter VI - Along the North Saskatchewan to Edmonton

Here is how the account of Province of Manitoba starts...

August 1st.—Fort Garry.—The Province of Manitoba, in which we now are, is the smallest Province in the Dominion, being only three degrees of longitude, or one hundred and thirty-five miles long, by one and a-half degrees of latitude, or a hundred and five miles broad; but, as it is watered by two magnificent rivers, and includes the southern ends of the two great lakes, Winnipeg and Manitoba, which open up an immense extent of inland navigation, and as almost every acre of its soil is prairie, before many years it may equal some of the large-Provinces in population. At present the population numbers about fifteen thousand, of whom not more than two thousand are pure whites. One-fifth of the number are Indians, either living in houses or wanderers, one-third English or Scotch half-breeds, and rather more than a third French half-breeds. "Order reigns in Manitoba," though wise ruling is still required to keep the conflicting elements in their proper places. By the legislation that made Manitoba a Province, nearly one-sixth of the land was reserved for the half-breeds ; owing to some delay in carrying out this stipulation, the Metis, last year, got suspicious and restless, and the Fenians counted on this when they invaded the Province from Pembina and plundered the Hudson's Bay Company's post near the line. As the half-breeds live along the Red River from Pembina north, the situation was full of danger; had they joined the Fenians, the frontier would have been at once moved up to Fort Garry. Everyone can understand the serious consequences that would have followed the slightest success on their part. Happily the danger was averted by prompt action on the part of the Governor. The whole population rallied around him, and the Fenians, not being able to advance into the country, were dispersed by a company of United States regulars, after being compelled to disgorge their plunder. A Battalion of Canadian militia, stationed at different points along Red River, now keeps the peace and guarantees its permanence. The land difficulty has been settled by faith being kept with the half-breeds; a treaty has been made with the Indians that extinguishes their claims to the land; and, as the whole of the Province has been surveyed, divided off into townships, sections, and sub-sections, emigrants, as they come in, can either get accurate information in the Winnipeg Land-office as to where it would be best for them to settle, or they can visit and then describe the piece of land they wish to occupy. There is room and to spare for all, after doing the fullest justice to the old settlers. Even the one-sixth reserved for them cannot, in the nature of things, be permanently held by those among whom it may now be divided. There is no Jewish law preserving to each family its inheritance forever. The French half-breeds do not like farming, and they therefore make but poor farmers; and, as enterprising settlers with a little capital come in, much of the land is sure to change hands. The fact that land can be bought from others, as well as from the Government, will quicken instead of retarding its sale.

After breakfast this morning, we had an opportunity of conversing with several gentlemen who called at Government House: the United States Consul, the Land Commissioner, Officers of the Battalion, Dr. Schultz, and others. All spoke in the highest terms of the climate, the land, and the prospects of the Province and of the North-west. Nothing shows more conclusively the wonderful progress of Manitoba and the settled condition into which it has emerged from the chaos of two or three years ago, than the fact that the Hudson's Bay Company sold at auction, the other day, in building lots, thirteen acres of the five hundred of their Reserve around Fort Garry, at the rate of $7000 per acre. At half the rate, for the rest, the Hudson's Bay Company will receive for this small reserve more than the money payment of £300,000 stg., which Canada gave for the whole territory ; and, if a few acres favorably situated bring so much, what must be the value of the many million of acres transferred to the Dominion ? The policy of the Company now is exactly the opposite of what it used to be; formerly all their efforts were directed to keep the country a close preserve; now they are doing all in their power to open it up. The times have changed and they have changed with them. And, regarding them merely as a Company whose sole object has been and is to look after their own interests and pay good dividends to the shareholders, their present policy is as sagacious for to-day as the former was for yesterday. While a fur trading Company with sovereign rights, they did not look beyond their own proper work; they attended to that, and, as a duty merely incidental to it, governed half a continent in a paternal or semi-patriarchal way, admirably suited to the tribes that roamed over its vast expanses. But, as they can no longer be supreme, it is their interest that the country should be opened up; and they are taking their place among new competitors, and preparing to reap a large share of the fruits of the development. For many a year to come they must be a great power in our Northwest.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

You can read this book at

Restless English and Quisling Scots
I got this compilation article in from Jim Lynch of the Scots Independent Newspaper and thought I'd share this with you.

Here is how he introduced the article...

We are picking up quite a lot of material now about the restlessness of English people with the present constitutional arragements, now that the Scots are quite clearly fed up with them. This is particularly true in East Anglia (Norfolk and Suffolk) and the Home Counties, the heartlands of English England. The early answer to English concerns, real and imagined, regarding the Barnett formula is a negotiated deal between Holyrood and Westminster on North Sea Oil revenues. If Scottish ministers have to go into negotiations on this in the early future they must remember the political slogan which Jim Mather MSP, Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism who is just back from an official Canadian visit, tells us is dominating politics in Alberta. It is 'Albertan oil for the Albertans'. The Albertan government has just sent out a cheque for $400 to every man, woman and child in the province. 90% of oil revenues go to Alberta. We demand no less. Mediawatch would very much like a large and extremely polite number of responses to this as Graham Dines has invited reponses. He is at; 

You can read this article at

And that's all for now and hope you all have a good weekend :-)


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