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Weekly Mailing List Archives
21st December 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
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
Poetry and Stories
Book of Scottish Story
History of Ulster
Reminiscences and Reflections of an Octogenarian Highlander
Sketches of The Character, Manners, and Present State of the Highlanders of Scotland
John Donald Carrick
A fisherman’s Reflections on a beautiful but troubled world
Sketches of Early Scotch History
Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland 1881
Household Encyclopaedia (New)

We are now in the last week leading up to Christmas so hope you have your shopping done and wishing you all a Very Merry Christmas :-)

Next week I'll be adding a wee book on "Smuggling in the Highlands", an account of Highland Whisky with Smuggling Stories and Detections by Ian MacDonald, (late of the Inland Revenue). Thought this might be an interesting wee story for you to read over the holiday season :-)

As to Scottish News... seems that the Scotsman has changed it's coding for the news feed we've been doing over the many years and so it is now not showing on the site. I hope to get a new feed from STV shortly so I'm going to wait for that and use this as a substitute for the Scotsman news seeing as it is a video feed and should be interesting.

I've also decided to make available an old Household Encyclopaedia which I've started to scan in which I hope you'll enjoy. There is more about this project below.

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.

Scotland on TV
Visit their site at

Scotland on TV visit Islay

Last month, the good people at Bowmore Distillery invited Scotland on TV to visit the beautiful island of Islay and its distillery there. Known as the Queen of the Hebrides, Islay is the southernmost of the Inner Hebridean islands - it lies just to the west of Jura and just 25 miles north of the Irish coast.

Islay has stunning scenery with beautiful lochs and sandy beaches all around the island that offer some of the most impressive sunsets in Scotland. Furthermore, Islay is inhabited by an amazing and diverse wildlife, with more than 200 different species of birds, dolphins, seals and deer, amongst others, and also some very rich and interesting historic sites such as Bowmore’s Round Church or the remains of the settlements of the Lords of the Isles in Finlaggan.

The isle of Islay is famous around the world mostly for one thing: its malt whiskies. This small island has eight whisky distilleries and is a must for any single malt lover. Islay boasts the perfect natural resources to produce the Uisge Beathe (water of life): clean air, unlimited supplies of peat and abundant pure water.

Located in the centre of the stunning village of Bowmore, on the Hebridean Island of Islay, Bowmore distillery has stood on the shores of Loch Indaal since 1779 and is the oldest distillery on the island. Bowmore’s rich history and long tradition is present in every corner of the distillery and still today expert and experienced craftsmen laboriously hand turn the barley used to produce their whisky. In all, we produced three separate videos on Islay – sponsored by Bowmore Whisky.

When on Islay we were blessed with beautiful weather, even though it was November. So to see the island looking just wonderful and to find out more about its people and its long history of whisky-making make you sure you come visit us at

Or you can go straight to each film by clicking on these links:

Islay – Queen of the Hebrides

Islay – The Whisky Island

Bowmore – Islay’s Oldest Distillery

This weeks Flag is compiled by Ian Goldie.

In Peter's cultural section he tells us...

J.R. (Johnny) Cash (1932-2003)

I enjoy writing a simple love ballad or a simple song. I just wrote a Scottish folk song called “A Croft in Clachan”, and it’s just a simple story set in the seventeenth century about this boy leaving the town of Clachan to fight the English and then coming back home to the girl he’s going to marry. When I was writing it, Paul McCartney was talking about “Mull of Kintyre” and he said, “You should finish it. ‘Mull of Kintyre’ was the biggest song I ever wrote.” That’s something to think about! A Scottish song was the biggest song he wrote! So I finished it.

(Interview with Steve Turner, Brighton England 1988)

Flagnote: The great American singer and songwriter Johnny Cash was proud to trace his family roots back to Strathmiglo in Fife. In 1677 his forebear William Cash sailed from Glasgow aboard the Good Intent and settled in Essex County, Massachusetts. Subsequent generations of the Cash family moved south to Virgina, further south to Georgia, and eventually inland to Arkansas where J’R: Cash was born at Kingsland in 1932.

Here is the song he wrote...

Well, the Campbells and McDonalds, it was in their blood to fight
With each passing generation, it became a man's birthright
But they always had one common enemy
Never would the English Crown take Scottish independency

Oh, the battles raged in Glasgow and majestic Edinburgh
And they came with war machines and in the Highlands, shots were heard
Then the people rose in union and the forces moved as one
And the clans all joined together to see English on the run

And in a tiny croft in Clachan sat a mother, Peg MacDunn
And she sewed a coat together for her sixteen-year-old son
And she cried as he was leaving, don't forget to keep you warm
And come you back to Clachan when the English are all done

Now Rob MacDunn was ready, as he left the croft behind
And he joined the Highland Pipe Brigade with one thing on his mind
There to keep his home in freedom, he must face it like a man
So he marched in common kilties, with his musket in his hand

And he met the hell of battle in the Highlands and the Low
And the reason for the fighting, long was in his blood to know
In the middle of the rumble, he went forward, gaining ground
And the bag-pipes still were piping as the dead lay all around

-Bag-pipe Solo-

Then he moved with no direction till he faced the winds of North
And he boldly climbed the Highlands, farther from the Firth of Forth
Then one freezing blowing morning came the cry of Peg MacDunn
Back to my croft in Clachan, God has sent me home, my Son

And in another croft in Clachan, 'cross the way from the Mac Dunn's
With her face against the window, stood a young girl, tired and warm
And she smiled a secret knowing, as she breathed a prayer alone
I thank Thee Lord for bringing Rob MacDunn back safely home

-Bag-pipe Solo-

Back to the croft in Clachan, he returned to peace again
He had gone, a boy of sixteen, but he came back as a man

-Bag-pipe Solo-

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.

We are now onto the L's with Low, Lowe, Lumsden, Lundin, Lundie, Lyell and Lyle

Here is how the interesting account of Lumsden starts...

LUMSDEN, a surname derived from the manor of that name in the parish of Coldingham, Berwickshire, formerly belonging to an ancient family, the Lumisdens of Lumisden. In a charter of King Edgar, who began to reign in 1098, we find the lands of Lumisden mentioned. The first of the family settled there as early as the reign of David I. Gillem or William and Cren de Lumisden attested a charter granted to the priory of Coldingham by Waldeve earl of Dunbar, between the years 1166 and 1182. Adam de Lumisden took the oath of fealty to Edward I. at Berwick, on three successive occasions, namely, in 1292, 1296, and 1297. About 1335 David de Lumsden made a donation to the monks of Coldingham for the redemption of his grandfather, who had been condemned to died for a crime which is not recorded. Gilbert de Lumsden, about 1320, married the heiress of Blenerne of that ilk, also in the Merse, and on the 15th June of that year, he received from John Stuart, earl of Angus, a charger, investing him in the lands of Blenerne, in the parish of Bunkle. On acquiring these lands, the family erected on the banks of the Whitadder a picturesque tower, whither they removed their residence. In 1607 David Lumsden of Blenerne and Lumsden sold the lands of Blenerne to Archibald Douglas, Esq.. Of Tofts. Sir James Lumsden or Lumsdaine, of Airdrie in Fife, descended of a second son of Lumsden of Lumsden and Blenerne, purchased, about 1640, the lands of Innergellie in the parish of Kilrenny, Fifeshire, and shortly thereafter recovered the lands of Blenerne. He had two sons, Sir James, and Robert of Stravithie. The former, Sir James Lumsdaine of Innergelly, a major-general under Gustavus Adolphus, king of Sweden, distinguished himself by the taking of Frankfort on the Oder. He afterwards served in the Scots army, and in 1650 was taken prisoner by Cromwell, at the battle of Dunbar. He was at one time governor of Osnaburg, and afterwards of Newcastle. The Rev. E. Sandys, having married the daughter and heiress of James Lumsdaine, Esq. of Innergelly, assumed the name and arms of the family.

You can read the rest of this account at

You can read the other entries at 

New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
The first volume I am dealing with is the one on Aberdeenshire. There are some 85 parishes in this volume and a write up on each.

This week have added...

Added the Parish of Crathie and Braemar at

Here is some information on the Parish...

Name, Extent, Boundaries, &c.—The name Crathie is evidently of Gaelic origin, and seems to be a compound of the two words, Crag and tir, or thir, signifying the rocky, or stony land. The face of the country favours much this derivation. Braemar was anciently styled the parish of St Andrews, but after Malcum Ceann Mor, who had a hunting-seat there, threw a bridge across the Cluney at Castletown, it obtained the name of Ceann-drochit, that is, Bridgend. And about the close of Queen Mary's reign, when the Earl of Mar became proprietor of the lands about Castletown, the name of the parish was again changed to the present name of the district. At what time it was annexed to Crathie is not known, but there is every reason to believe it must have been far back, as nothing can be learned concerning it, either from the records of session or presbytery. The form or figure of the parish is an oblong, lying from west, northwest, to east by south. It contains, according to Robertson's survey of the county, 199,658 acres.

It is bounded on the east, by Glenmuick; on the south, by Glenmuick, Glenisla, Kirkmichael, in Perthshire, and Blair-Athole; on the west, by Inch, Inverness-shire, Rothiemurchus, and part of Abernethy; and on the north, by part of Abernethy, Kirkmichael, Banffshire, by part of Strathdon, and by Glenmuick.

Surface, Mountains, Valleys, &c.—This united parish contains a greater variety of beautiful scenery, and richer display of what may be styled the grand and sublime, than any other district in Aberdeenshire. Its towering mountains, with their bold and shelvy cliffs, covered by lofty trees of variegated hue and deepening shade, and its sloping hills diverging into deep valleys and verdant plains, —afford such picturesque and diversified prospects, as delight every admirer of the works of nature.

The principal mountains are Lochnagar, [On the north-east side of Lochnagar, there is a small lake, or loch, from which, unquestionably, that far-famed mountain must have got its name. Gar is a contraction of the Gaelic word garren, which signifies underwood, or small thickets. This lake is 2500 feet above the level of the sea, and the perpendicular height of the huge rock close to it is 1315 feet, which has an awfully majestic and overpowering appearance when viewed from the edge of the lake.] Cairntoul, Benna-muickduidh, [According to the last geometrical survey by order of Government, this mountain was found to be 20 feet higher than Ben Nevis, which was before considered to be the highest in Britain.] Bennabuird, &c. The first of these is situated on the south side of the parish, and is partly in Glenmuick. According to the latest surveys, its height above the level of the sea is 3815 feet. The other three are on the north-west boundaries of Braemar, and are respectively in the order stated above, 4220 feet, 4390 feet, and 3940 feet above the level of the sea.

The ranges of mountains and hills here lie in general from east to west, from which lower and shorter ridges are at various distances jutting out in a south and north direction; and between these are embosomed fertile valleys of different sizes and exposure, according to their position, on the north or south of the river Dee.

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...

Incident in the Sikh War (Pages 246-247)
Ministering to Christ (Page 247)
"Work" (Pages 249-250)
Aspects of Indian Life During the Rebellion (Pages 250-253)
The Divine School (Pages 253-255)

Here is "Incident in the Sikh War" for you read here...

Time has rolled on, and the Crimean battles and Indian mutinies have in a great measure dimmed the memory of the terrible struggles of the first and second Sikh war, which shook our Indian empire to its foundation.

They can, however, never be forgotten by those of us who took part in them, and whose strange work it was to lead on the late Bengal army against the very Sikhs who, fighting under our orders, have, during the last two years, so materially assisted in destroying it.

Being one of those present in the battle of Chilianwalla, I think it may interest to tell of a scene which occurred on that terrible day.

On the 13th of January 1849, the Sikh army, 45,000 strong, was drawn up there in a line, two or three miles in length, partly in an open space,, but concealed from us, behind a dense jungle.

About one o'clock p.m., our army, nearly 14,000 strong, had arrived within range of their guns, though we did not know it. We were preparing to pitch our tents, when the lobbing of their shot into our lines told of their being too close to allow of our encamping.

Our own army, in its advance, had been formed in order of battle, and was prepared for the order to attack.

The brigade to which I was attached had to-advance obliquely, with the object of attacking those guns that had already opened from the enemy's left. To do this, we advanced through a thick tree-jungle, which interfered much with the regularity of our line, and, consequently, with the steadiness of the native regiments. It, however, at the same time, covered the advance of the troops from the observation of the Sikhs; so that, on their becoming aware of our approach to their batteries, they were so uncertain of our whereabouts, that their shot flew harmlessly over our heads.

When our line came within sight of the Sikh guns, the Queen's regiment, which formed the centre of our brigade, was formed up in an open space to charge and take them. The Sepoy regiment, on its right, could not be got, by the utmost exertion of its officers, to take up its position in line with the above regiment, but sheltered itself behind it, from the terrible storm of bullets that assailed them.

Seeing this, the young ensign, (an English boy,) who carried the colours of the native regiment, turning to another ensign who stood by, called out, "Come along with me, G------."

They both started off at a run to the front, and planted the colours in line with that of the European regiment. In doing this, they thought to induce their men to come forward and save the colours from falling into the hands of the Sikhs. Their men, however, did not support them; and a party of the enemy's cavalry, seeing the two young officers standing alone, made a dash at the colours. Observing the critical position of the officers and colours, the mounted European officers of the native regiment rode to the rescue, followed by some of the sepoys. A short, sharp struggle ensued, in which several lives were lost, and young G------- severely wounded; but the colours remained safe. Bleeding and insensible, he was carried to the surgeon of his regiment, who stopped the flow of blood at once. I had been similarly engaged, binding up the wounds of other soldiers, and seeing no one immediately requiring assistance, ran up to the surgeon to help, if necessary. He asked me to stay by G--------, and watch the vessels till he fetched another instrument. While watching, I observed a European soldier kneeling at the other side of the wounded officer, who, drawing a long breath, sighed out, "O God." On hearing this, the soldier, speaking with an earnestness well befitting such a scene, said, "Yes, young man, call now on Jesus, He is sure to hear you ; call now on Him, and He will save you."

I tried to take in, and realise the strange scene. In the background, at a short distance, a terrible struggle, and deafening noise of battle, extended along at least a couple of miles. Here, a poor sick soldier, who, though unable to carry his arms, had come out of hospital to look for, and render assistance to the wounded, was telling of a Saviour's love to, as he thought, a dying officer.

I could not but feel ashamed to think of the boldness of the soldier, in comparison with my own silence. Strong, indeed, in his weak state of body, must his love for souls have been, to bring him to the field to seek their comfort amid such danger as then surrounded us. Doubtless God's grace was strong in his own soul, and a rich blessing his reward.

The scene lasted but a moment. Other bleeding men called me away, and I saw the soldier no more. Years after, I met the officer, strong and well, on the banks of the Cabul river.

If, dear G------, a copy of Good Words, with this scene in it, fall into your hands in India, I know you will not be angry with me for recording it; for I know your every wish is to tell of this same Saviour's love to all about you.

You can read the other articles at

Poetry and Stories
John sent in a doggerel, Kep Yir Speerits Up at

And another doggerel, Ready Reindeer at

and also Chapter 66 of his Recounting Blessings 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...

Graysteel: a Traditionary Story of Caithness
from the John a' Groat Journal

Here is how it starts...

In a beautiful valley in the highlands of Caithness, Les embosomed a small mountain tarn, called the Loch of Ranag. The hill of Bencheildl, which ascends abruptly from the water's edge, protects it on the north. On the south it is overlooked by a chain of lofty mountains, individually named Scarabine, Morven, and the Pap, which form a natural barrier betwixt Sutherland and Caithness. Morven, the highest in the range, is nearly two thousand feet above the level of the sea, and turns up conspicuously over the neighbouring summits, like a huge pyramid. The extensive wild lying between this magnificent chain of hills and Ranag, is clothed in the autumnal season with rich purple heather; and here the plover and the grouse, the denizens of the solitary waste, live unmolested, except by the murderous gun of the sportsman. Near the north edge of the loch to which we have just alluded, there is a small island, on which may be still seen the ruins of an old keep or castle. The last proprietor of this fortalice is said to have been a noted freebooter of the name of Graysteel, who kept the whole county in alarm by his predatory incursions from the Ord to Duncansbay Head, and. like Rob Roy and others of the same stamp, rigorously exacted "black mail." or protection money. Tradition also reports, that, besides being possessed of great bodily strength, he was an expert swordsman, and a person of such a jealous and tyrannical disposition, that none durst venture to hunt or shoot on his grounds, without being challenged to single combat ; and it may be added, that none whom he encountered trespassing in this way ever escaped alive out of his hands. It happened that one of the family of Rollo, while pursuing his sport in the direction, one day unfortunately encroached on the sacred property of the robber.

Being informed by some of his retainers that a stranger was hunting on the west side of the lake, Graysteel immediately sallied forth, and, running up towards the sportsman with menacing looks and gestures, gave him the accustomed challenge. Rollo saw he had no alternative but to give him combat, and being a high-spirited young man, he instantly drew his sword; and, although he defended himself for some time with great skill and courage, it is needless to say that he sank at last, mortally wounded, under the more powerful arm of his antagonist. The ruffian afterwards stripped the dead body of every thing that was of any value, and then threw it into the loch.

The account of this melancholy occurrence, as soon as it reached the family and relatives of the unfortunate youth, plunged them into the deepest distress; but none did it inspire with more poignant regret than the young laird of Durie, who was his bosom friend, and had just been affianced to his sister, a very beautiful and interesting girl of sixteen. The moment he heard of Rollo's tragical death, he determined to avenge it, although he knew he had little chance of surviving a personal encounter with such a desperado as Graysteel. Accordingly, having furnished himself with a good Highland broadsword, and without communicating his intention to any one, he set off for the residence of the freebooter. Nor was the route he had to take, any more than the occasion of the journey, agreeable. A trackless moor, of some miles in extent, lay between him and Ranag, so very bleak and barren, that, in the words of the poet,

The solitary bee
Flew there on restless wing,
Seeking in vain one blossom where to fix.

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 we have completed Volume II with

Chichester Retires
The Closing Years of James's Reign
Charles I and the Three Graces
"Like Master, like Man"
The Wiles of Wentworth
The Scottish Scare

Here is how the chapter "The Scottish Scare" starts...

Many of the acts of Wentworth, our attention being devoted to Ulster, do not concern us. His methods of government, being applied to the whole country, have been dwelt upon on account of their affecting Ulster as well as the other provinces, and as showing the general trend of events.

In one particular Wentworth's actions greatly influenced the well-being of the northern province: he introduced "the making and trade of linen cloth", "the rather", he wrote, "in regard the women are all naturally bred to spinning, that the Irish earth is apt for bearing of flax, and that this manufacture would be in the conclusion rather a benefit than other to this kingdom. I have, therefore," he adds, "sent for the flax seed into Holland, being of a better sort than we have any, sown this year a thousand pounds' worth of it (finding by some I sowed last year that it takes there very well); I have sent for workmen out of the Low Countries and forth of France, and set up already six or seven looms, which if it please God to bless us this year, I trust so to invite them to follow it, when they see the great profit arising thereby, as that they shall generally take to it, and employ themselves that way, which if they do, I am confident it will prove a mighty business, considering that in all probability we shall be able to undersell the linen cloths of Holland and France at least twenty in the hundred." Thus Ulster owes to the government of Wentworth the establishment of one of her most important manufactures, the Deputy himself contributing £30,000 out of his private fortune towards the experiment.

Such were the arts of Peace in Ulster, the arts of War were soon to be displayed. It will be remembered that Chichester, in a desperate attempt to clear the country of idle swordsmen and youths who would not work, shipped them away to Sweden, and that later, in James's time, recruiting in Ireland by rulers on the Continent was permitted. The evil results of this laxity were now evident. The descendants of the old native Irish chiefs, now men of broken fortunes and ready to follow any desperate courses that held out hopes of recovering them, conspired together, and communicated with their kinsmen serving in the armies of Sweden, Spain, and elsewhere.

Wentworth, from the day he was appointed Lord Deputy, had looked with alarm at the policy of the preceding reign, and he more than once expressed his belief that the men who thus in foreign warfare became experienced soldiers would one day return to be dangerous enemies at home. Intelligence reached him of some Irish "that nest them- selves in Flanders", who "hold intelligence and correspondence with their countrymen in Ulster, and continually practise and plot their return by arms".

The troubles in Scotland at this time (1638), caused by attempts to enforce uniformity in religious doctrines, produced much agitation in Ulster, which contained a large proportion of Scots. It was commonly reported in England that the Scots in Ulster amounted to 40,000, and that they were in close communication with their brethren in Scotland, and were prepared to support them in their resistance to Charles's plan of forcing English church government on his northern subjects.

The extent of this agitation may be gathered from a letter written to Wentworth on the i8th of October, 1638, by Henry Leslie, Bishop of Down, in which the writer says: "Since His Majesty hath been pleased to condescend so far unto them in Scotland by his last proclamation, against which, notwithstanding, they have protested, there is such insulting amongst them here, that they make me weary of my life. . My officers have been lately beaten in open court. . . . They do threaten me for my life; but, by the grace of God, all their brags shall never make me faint in doing service to God and the King."

The Lord Deputy could not fail to be alarmed at the agitation in Ulster, and his uneasiness was now increased by an appeal for arms from a hot-headed, irresponsible nobleman. In the last rebellion in the north the Scottish-Hibernian clan of the MacDonnells, or MacDonalds, had rendered considerable service to the Crown, and, as we have seen, their chief, Randal MacSorley MacDonald, in recognition of these services, had been granted large tracts of forfeited lands in Ulster, had been created Viscount Dunluce by James, and, later, was raised by Charles to the Earldom of Antrim. The son of this chief, also a Randal, was on his father's side a descendant of the famous Sorley Boy, and he was a grandson of Hugh, Earl of Tyrone, his mother having been a daughter of that great Irish chieftain.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The rest of the chapters can be read at

Reminiscences and Reflections of an Octogenarian Highlander
By Duncan Campbell (1910)

This week we've added the following chapters...

Chapter XIX.
The Church Controversy in Glenlyon
Chapter XX.
The Outside Discussions
Chapter XXI.
The Veto Act
Chapter XXII.
The Coming of the Queen
Chapter XXIII.
A Parish Vacancy
Chapter XXIV.
The Presentee
Chapter XXV.
On the Edge of the Precipice

Here is the chapter on "A Parish Vacancy"...

I SHOULD here refer to the losses suffered by Highland farmers in the hard years "Na Bliadhnachan Cruaidh" between 1836 and 1841, but as it would break the thread of discourse on the ecclesiastical subject, I will postpone my remarks till another time.

The war was at a roaring height of mutual exasperation the State bullying through the Courts of Law, and the dominant party in the Church bullying through the General Assembly, and from pulpits, platforms, and press when Mr Duncan Campbell left Glenlyon in 1842 for the parish of Kiltearn in Ross-shire. The Glen people had not fixed their minds on any particular person as the man they would like to get as his successor. They were not, however, left long to seek for a successor. The dominant party in the Assembly took good care that a follower of theirs should be recommended to every vacant Highland charge where there was the slightest chance of winning a victory, or failing that, of raising a loud cry against patrons, the Peel Government, and minatory Tory lairds. A Mr Hamilton, of whom the Glen people knew nothing at all, was provided for the Glenlyon vacancy. Presbytery of Weem ministers of his party gave him their turns for preaching in the Glen. He came, was welcomed hospitably, and preached on two Sundays, in English and in Gaelic, as the rule then was. He seemed to be of the sound, solid, and somewhat heavy class of preachers. The general verdict was that he could not stand favourable comparison with any of the three former ministers. But as he belonged to the popular side, and was recommended from headquarters, the Glen people were easily induced to sign a petition to the Government requesting that he should be presented. Sir Niel Menzies, chief of his clan, a kindly old fashioned resident landlord, and a ruling Church of Scotland elder, knew Glenlyon and its people very well; for besides old social intercourse between Castle Menzies and Meggernie Castle, he was one of the three trustees who managed the Culdares estate during the long minority and absenteeism of young Culdares. If Sir Niel, like the new Tories, thought the tenant voters should take their politics from their proprietors, he led his tenants in the shoulder to shoulder way, without a hint of coercion. Now when the Glen people finished the signing of their petition, they appointed a deputation of three to go over the hills to Rannoch Lodge to see Sir Niel to tell him what they wanted and to beg him to lend them his support I do not know exactly in what way and to assure him that why they petitioned in favour of Mr Hamilton was because they desired to keep out of the Veto Act trouble, which they could not do unless their petition was granted. I suppose what they asked was gi-anted, for they came back highly delighted with their reception, and not a little amused by Sir Niel's discovery that one of their number, Archibald Macdiarmid, in Glen parlance, "Gilleaspa Mor Scoileir," or "Big Gillespie the Scholar," was as like Dr Chalmers as if they had been twin-brothers. The likeness was striking, although not so twin-like as Sir Niel declared it to be.

The petition was sent to the proper quarter, and its receipt was duly acknowledged. The sanguine waited in hope that the prayer would be granted, and the whole congregation would have been very glad indeed to get a decent minister without being hauled into the turmoil connected with the operation of the Veto Act north, south, east, and west of them.

The other chapters added so far can be read at the index page of the book at

Sketches of The Character, Manners, and Present State of the Highlanders of Scotland
by Major-General David Stewart (1822)

This week we've added...

Section 5
Highland Garb
Section 6
Section 7
General Means of Subsistence—Checks on Population—Salutary Influence of Custom in the Absence of Laws
Section 8
Love of Country—Early Associations—Traditional Tales and Poetry
Section 9
Disinterested, but mistaken, Loyalty and Fidelity—Conduct in 1745
Section 10
Abolition of Hereditary Jurisdictions—Disarming Act-Suppression of the Highland Garb


Section 1
Influence of Political and Economical Arrangements—Change in the Character of the Clans—Introduction of Fanaticism in Religion

Here is how Section 1o starts...

Abolition of Hereditary Jurisdiction— Suppression of the Highland Garb.

The alarm occasioned by this insurrection, determined government to dissolve the patriarchal system in the Highlands, the nature, as well as the danger of which, had the power of the clans been properly directed, was now exhibited to the country. It would appear that it was considered impracticable to effect this dissolution of clanship, fidelity, and mutual attachment, between the Highlanders and their chiefs, by a different and improved modification of the system and state of society; and, unfortunately, no course was pursued short of a complete revolution. For this purpose, an act was passed in 1747, depriving all chiefs and landholders of their jurisdictions and judicial powers; and in August of the same year, it was also enacted, that any person in the Highlands, possessing or concealing any kind of arms, should be liable in the first instance, to a severe fine, and be committed to prison without bail till payment. If the delinquent was a male, and unable to pay the fine, he was to be sent to serve as a soldier in America, or, if unfit for service, to be imprisoned for six months; if a female, she was, besides the fine and imprisonment till payment, to be detained six months in prison. Seven years' transportation was the punishment for a second offence.

The Highland garb was proscribed by still severer penalties. It was enacted, that any person within Scotland, whether man or boy, (excepting officers and soldiers in his Majesty's service,) who should wear the plaid, philibeg, trews, shoulder belts, or any part of the Highland garb; or should use for great coats, tartans, or party coloured plaid, or stuffs; should, without the alternative of a fine, be imprisoned, on the first conviction, for six months without bail, and on the second conviction be transported for seven years. [Considering the severity of the law against this garb, nothing but the strong partiality of the people could have prevented its going entirely into disuse. The prohibitory laws were so long in force, that more than two-thirds of the generation who saw it enacted had passed away before the repeal. The youth of the latter period knew it only as an illegal garb, to be worn by stealth under the fear of imprisonment and transportation. Breeches, by force of habit, had become so common, that it is remarkable how the plaid and philibeg were resumed at all.]

The necessity of these measures is the best apology for their severity; but, however proper it may have been to dissolve a power which led to such results, and to deprive men of authority and their followers of arms, which they so illegally used, the same necessity does not appear to extend to the garb. "Even the loyal clans," says Dr Johnson, "murmured with an appearance of justice, that, after having defended the king, they were forbidden to defend themselves, and that the swords should be forfeited which had been legally employed. It affords a generous and manly pleasure, to conceive a little nation gathering its fruits and tending its herds, with fearless confidence, though it is open on every side to invasion; where, in contempt of walls and trenches, every man sleeps securely with his sword beside him, and where all, on the first approach of hostility, come together at the call to battle, as the summons to a festival show, committing their cattle to the care of those, whom age or nature had disabled to engage the enemy; with that competition for hazard and glory, which operate in men that fight under the eye of those whose dislike or kindness they have always considered as the greatest evil, or the greatest good. This was in the beginning of the present century: in the state of the Highlanders every man was a soldier, who partook of the national confidence, and interested himself in national honour. To lose this spirit, is to lose what no small advantage will compensate, when their pride has been crushed by the heavy hand of a vindictive conqueror, whose severities have been followed by laws, which, though they cannot be called cruel, have produced much discontent, because they operate on the surface of life, and make every eye bear witness to subjection. If the policy of the disarming act appears somewhat problematical, what must we think of the subsequent measure of 1747, to compel the Highlanders to lay aside their national dress? It is impossible to read this latter act, without considering it rather as an ignorant wantonness of power, than the proceeding of a wise and a beneficent legislature. To be compelled to wear a new dress has always been found painful." [Dr Johnson's Journey to the Highlands.] So the Highlanders found; and it certainly was not consistent with the boasted freedom of our country, (and in that instance, indeed, it was shown that this freedom was only a name) to inflict, on a whole people, the severest punishment short of death, for wearing a particular dress. Had the whole race been decimated, more violent grief, indignation and shame, could not have been excited among them, than by being deprived of this long inherited costume. This was an encroachment on the feelings of a people, whose ancient and martial garb had been worn from a period reaching back beyond all history or even tradition.

You can read the rest of this at

You can read the other chapters at

John Donald Carrick
As the Editor of the First Series of "Whistle-Binkie," and a literary man of considerable reputation, we think some account of this amiable and lamented individual, will be acceptable to our readers.

John Donald Carrick was a native of Glasgow, and was born in April, 1787. His mother is reported to have been a woman of superior powers of mind, and in particular, to have possessed a fund of humour, with great acuteness of observation, qualities for which her son John was very remarkable. Carrick's education was necessarily limited, from the narrow circumstances of his parents ; but in after life, when he had raised himself into a respectable station in society, the activity and vigour of his mind enabled him to supply in a great degree the deficiencies of his early education. When very young, he was placed in the office of Mr. Nicholson, an architect of considerable eminence in Glasgow; and he continued to feel a partiality for that branch of art during his lifetime.

Young Carrick possessed great resolution of character, at times amounting to obstinacy. This quality of mind accompanied him through life, and if it, now and then, communicated a rather too unbending turn to his disposition, was undoubtedly the origin of that vigour and independence of mind which never deserted him. Whether influenced by this feeling, or impatient of the uncertain and cheerless character of his youthful prospects, the rash lad determined on sallying forth alone into the world, to push his fortune, as the phrase is. Accordingly, sometime in the autumn of 1807, without informing any one of his intentions, he set off for London, full of adventurous hope and courage. This, be it remembered, was a journey of four hundred miles, to he performed on foot, for the few shillings which constituted his worldly wealth, precluded any more expensive conveyance; and whatever may be our opinion of the prudence of such a step, we cannot but feel respect for the stout-heartedness of the mere youth who could undertake it. The first night, our youthful adventurer arrived at Irvine, in the county of Ayr, and prudently economizing his limited means, instead of putting himself to expense for a lodging, he took up his abode in the cozie recess of a "whinny knowe," where he was awoke in the morning by the roar of the ocean-tide, which was rapidly advancing on his heathery couch. Strong in the sanguine hopefulness of youth, he pursued his solitary way, living on the poorest fare, and sleeping sometimes in humble road-side hostels ; but more often encamping under the kindly canopy of heaven, amid the sheaves, with which an early harvest had covered the ground, or nestling snugly in some green and leafy nook, on he went, we may be sure, fatigue-worn, and perhaps heart-worn, until he reached the town of Liverpool.

In after life he often reverted to his feelings on entering that town, and meeting with a recruiting party, gay with ribbons, and enlivened by the sound of fife and drum. The animating sight suggested to him the idea of enlisting, and so strong was the temptation, that, unable to decide for himself, he threw up his stick in the air, to be guided in his decision by the direction in which it should fall. As his cudgel fell in the direction of London, he resolved to follow its prudent dictates, and girding up his loins, manfully continued his journey to the metropolis, where he soon after arrived, with only half-a-crown in his pocket. Carrick delighted in after years to refer to this ambitious sally of his wayward youth—his bivouac at night in the snuggest retreat he could find, with the solemn quiet of the green woods above and around him, and the gentle breeze of an autumn evening to lull him to rest,—or sometimes, the doubtful shelter that he found in humble alehouses and bush-taverns.

Arrived in London, the friendless youth offered his services as a shopman. His Scottish accent, and rough appearance after such a journey, with awkward, unformed manners, would no doubt operate against him with the more polished citizens of the capital. At length a shopkeeper, himself a Scotsman, captivated by the music of his mother-tongue, engaged him in his service. He appears to have been employed in this way by various individuals until the spring of 1809, when he obtained a respectable situation in an extensive establishment, in the Staffordshire Pottery business. His stay altogether in the metropolis appears to have been about four years. He returned to Glasgow early in the year 1811, and opened a large establishment in the same line of business, which he understood thoroughly, from having been employed for a considerable time in the great house of Spodes & Co., of London. In this occupation Mr. Carrick continued for fourteen years, with various success. His prospects at one period were of the most flattering kind, but becoming unfortunately involved with a house in the foreign trade, of which a near relative was a partner, these promising hopes were blasted.

You can read the rest of this story at

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

We now have the final chapter 25 of this book and here is how it starts...

What a beautiful world we are privileged to live in. What lovely diverse peoples we share this planet with. It would be truly wonderful if we could live together in harmony, and cooperate in building peaceful and sustainable societies and systems. Surely no amount of national or ethnic pride, or greed for an ever-larger share of trade and resources, could justify our abuse of each other, or our determination to enforce our way of life on other peoples.

It is also a troubled world, and there are no end of issues with the potential to alienate nations and governments, or to feed the military monsters’ appetites for war and destruction. If in six millenniums of human history we have not yet learned how to resolve disputes without recourse to murder on a massive scale, there is little hope for us. Our mechanisms and avenues of diplomacy (like the UN) may well be very imperfect and often yield limited results, - but still they are preferable to unleashing Armageddon on the world.

The past 67 years of my life have seen the rise and fall of many ideologies and philosophies. Some took a while to be discredited, and some withered quickly, only to reappear in a different guise. I daresay it was ever thus. Solomon declared that “there is nothing new under the sun”. A wise old Irish Jesuit priest who laboured all his life in Africa, used to tell me that the real issues and questions of life were not modern at all, and modern learning had little to add on these subjects. The ancient virtues were still valid, and the deadly sins recognized by sages and saints of old, were still around us today.

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Sketches of Early Scotch History
By Cosmo Innes (1861)

Got in another section of this book, Kelso, which includes accounts of Situation—Old Roxburgh—Population of the district—Character of the Borderers—Abbey changed from Selkirk to Kelso —Historical curiosities—Edward III.'s renunciation of the superiority of Scotland—Charter of John Balliol in the tenth year of his reign—The Douglas origin—Proxies to Parliament—Boundaries of the kingdoms; of the Bishoprics of Durham and Glasgow—Celibacy of the Clergy—Wycliffe's followers—Agricultural occupation of the Abbey lands—Rental of 1290—Sheep, cattle, and brood-mares—Steel-bow —Services of tenants—Multures—Rents—Military services —Character of the Monks—Abbey buildings—Destruction of Kelso—The Abbey defaced—Style of Architecture.

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Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland 1881
Added a huge account of "On the Agriculture of the Counties of Forfar and Kincardine" and here is how it starts...

The counties of Forfar and Kincardine are bound in by the counties of Perth and Aberdeen and by the Firth of Tay and German Ocean. The former, by far the larger of the two, is separated from Fifeshire on the south by the Firth of Tay; washed on the south-east by the German Ocean; bounded on the north-east by the North Esk; and on the north and northwest by the parishes of Aboyne, Birse, Glenmuick, and Crathie in Aberdeenshire, and by the Grampian Watershed; while Perthshire lies on the west. The most southern point, near Dundee, is in 56° 27', and the most northern, near Mount Keen, in 56° 59' N. lat.; the most easterly point, near Montrose, being in 2° 27', and the most westerly, at Blacklunans, in 3° 24' W. long. The distance from north to south is about 38 miles, and from east to west 27 miles. The coast-line is about 45 miles long. Forfarshire stands eleventh among Scottish counties as to extent. There are different estimates of the exact acreage. In the Ordnance Survey it is stated at 569,850. Of these, 6486 are taken up by foreshores and 3178 by water. The return of owners of lands and heritages, compiled in 1872-73, gives the "acreage of property" at 553,850 acres.

Kincardineshire is bounded on the south and west by the North Esk and Forfarshire, and on the north by the Dee and Aberdeenshire, and washed on the east for about 35 miles by the German Ocean. It is triangular in form, extending 32 miles from south-west to north-east, and 24 miles where broadest from south to north. Ranking twenty-first among Scotch counties, its area is stated in the Ordnance Survey to be 248,195 acres. The foreshores extend to 1385 and the surface covered by water to 1463 acres. In the return of owners of lands and heritages, the area is stated at 244,585 acres.

According to the return of owners of lands and heritages there are in Forfarshire in all 4898 owners of land, whose, property is stated at 553,852 acres, and estimated at £795,581, 7s. of gross annual value. Of these, 971 possess one acre and upwards each, and their total acreage is given at 552,708 acres, or an average of about 569 acres each. The 3927 owners of land under one acre in extent have only 1144 acres amongst them, being less than one-third of an acre each. In Kincardine, there are 1384 owners of land having amongst them 244,585 acres, and a gross annual rental of £253,392, 12s. The average sizes of the properties is under 179 acres. There are 195 owners of one acre and upwards, the total extent of their estates being 244,396 acres, and their gross annual value £236,021, 17s. These 195 landed proprietors have an average of over 1253 acres each. Among the 1189 owners of lands under one acre in extent, there are only 180 acres, or less than one-sixth of an acre to each.

The assessor's roll for Forfarshire for 1880-81 states the valuation of the county at £649,372, 17s. In 1879-80, the valuation for Kincardine was £259,102, inclusive of £28,464 for railways, &c.

Forfarshire is divided into 55 parishes, but of these six are only partly within it. Edzell extends into Kincardineshire, while pretty large portions of Alyth and Coupar-Angus, and smaller portions of Liff, Kettins, and Airlie, lie in the county of Perth. In Kincardineshire, including Edzell, there are 21 parishes. Each county sends a representative to Parliament, while Dundee has two members, and Montrose with Arbroath, Forfar, Brechin and Bervie, one. Sheriff Courts are held at Dundee and Forfar. The sheriffdom of Kincardineshire is joined with that of Aberdeen, weekly courts being held in Stonehaven.

In Forfarshire there are five royal burghs—Dundee, Arbroath, Montrose, Brechin and Forfar. Dundee, "The Hill or Fort of the Tay" was a place of considerable importance as early as the twelfth century. Situated on the left bank of the estuary of the Tay, about 10 miles from where that river falls into the sea, it has a population of about 119,000, including 10,812 in Lochee, which lies within the boundary of the town. It thus in population ranks third in Scotland, and next to Glasgow in trade and manufactures. It is the chief seat in Scotland of the manufacture of coarse linen fabrics and of jute. The more modern parts of the town are well laid off, and it can boast of some fine public buildings, the Steeple, Town House, Albert Institute, the Free Library, &c. It is well provided with public parks. The chief one, the Baxter Park, laid off by Sir Joseph Paxton, and costing in all £50,000, was presented to the town by Sir David Baxter and his two unmarried sisters. The town is historically interesting in many ways. James VI. visited it in 1617; Charles II. in 1651; and Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Consort landed and re-embarked at it in 1844, on their journey to and from Blair-Athole. To commemorate this last event, the Royal Victoria Arch was raised. Dundee has often been the scene of burning and pillage, and down to the middle of the sixteenth century it had walls and gates. Among the eminent men connected with the town are Sir William Wallace, who, as well as his companion in arms Scrymgeour, is said to have attended school there, and who defended its walls in 1303 against Edward I.,—and Hector Bœthius, the first Principal of King's College, Aberdeen.

Household Encyclopaedia
This is by way of being a personal project of mine. My mother kept this publication with her in whatever country we lived in and so I can never remember this large book not being in the house. It contains a huge amount of information and some 6000 illustrations and would have been published around 1930. I took this Encyclopeadia with me to Canada when I left Scotland and have had occasion to look up a couple of items since I got here. One day I thought it would be fun to put this up on the site and so I started scanning in some of the pages. I've been scanning in the odd pages when I find the time and eventually I hope to get it all up.

It's not a Scottish publication but is a British one and I've decided to make it available on the site for you to enjoy. There are a goodly number of recipes in it and you may well be amused at some of the suggestions contained within it. Advice on the first year of a Baby's life, some beauty tips, suggestions on how to build a carpenters workshop, bee-keeping, and lots more.

I'm just working on the B's at the moment so around 100 pages into this and with some 1400 pages in total it will take a while to get it up.

You can view what I've done so far at

And finally... a wee children's Christmas poem...

by J K Annand

I'm gaun to hing a stockin up,
I'll borrow my big brither's,
It's bigger nor my sister's ane
And strang-er nor my mither's.

I'll be in bed on Yule E'en
When Faither Christmas comes.
I ken he'll wale oor chimley oot
Amang the ither lums.

On Yule richt early I'll be up
Afore the screich o day
To see what ferlies Santa Claus
Has brocht me for my play.

I hope he'll mind a cuddly bear,
And cups for dolly's tea
Wi lots o ither bonnie toys
For a guid wee lass like me.

And that's all for now and hope you all have a great weekend and a Very Merry Christmas :-)


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