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7th August 2009

Alastair McIntyreElectric Scotland's Weekly Email Newsletter

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Dear Friend

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. In the event the link is not clickable simply copy and paste the link into your browser.

See o
ur Calendar of Scottish Events around the world and add your own at

Electric Scotland News
The Flag in the Wind
Poetry and Stories
The Writings of John Muir
Book of Scottish Story
The Bark Covered House
Fraser's Scottish Annual
Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario
The Sailor Whom England Feared
Recollections of a Long Life 1829 - 1915
Robert Burns Lives!
Oor Mither Tongue
John's Scottish Sing-Along
John Ramsay of Kildalton (New Book)
Blackfriars of Stirling (Report)
Songs of Lowland Scotland (New Book)
Clan Chiefs at the Scottish Parliament
Scotland's National Borders

No real news this week although I did spend several hours watching the videos of the events at the Scottish Parliament to do with the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs and also an event on the Scottish Diaspora.

There does seem to be a disconect between the Diaspora and local Scots in that the Diaspora see a need to be educated about the Scotland of Today whereas the local Scots don't seem to think this is needed.

In any event you can make up your own mind by watching these events but be warned you'll need to organise a drink and a wee snack as there are hours of viewing! :-)

See below for the links and a summary of each session.


As you'll note below we've completed the 10 volumes of the Writings of John Muir. I personally really enjoyed reading these volumes and am pleased to now have them all available on the site.

I now propose to do another multi volume set starting next week and these are the stories of John McDougall growing up in what is now known as the Province of Alberta in Canada. These are stories of his life before roads and railways when you had to get around by foot, dog sleigh, horse and canoe. Each chapter is quite small and so would be easy to read in your lunch break or at any time you have a few minutes to spare. I intend posting up a chapter a day until complete.

In his later years, John McDougall, wrote his memoirs in six volumes. His popular style and romantic imagery fed the imagination of his readers. As controversial as some of his writings may appear today, they describe the environment and people of Western Canada in luscious detail and discuss many of the debates that occurred during that turbulent period. They help to create a picture of a generation of Albertans and, consequently, remain a source of information for historians.

And so I hope you'll enjoy reading his books as I get them up.


I might also add that Steve has found himself a job renovating a house and so getting some much needed extra cash. He hopes to have this complete by next weekend and will then return to working on our Aois Community. He's still approving members and we're now up to 375 members last time I looked.

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 or on our site menu.

This weeks Flag is compiled by Jim Lynch where he covers a wide range of subjects. I found the article on the whisky industry to be very informative,

You can read the Flag at

Christina McKelvie MSP's Weekly diary is not available as the Parliament are now on the Summer recess.

Clans and Families
Got in the newsletter for the Clan Munro of Australia at

Got in information about the Clan Leslie Commissioner for North America which you can read at

Got in some pictures of the MacIntyre's at the Clan Gathering in Edinburgh at

Poetry and Stories
We got in an article about "The Heir of Linne", a Scottish Balad in our Article service which you might enjoy.

You can read other stories in our Article Service and even add your own at

The Writings of John Muir
We've now completed these 10 volumes with...

Chapter XVII. Unto the Last
I. 1897-1905
II. 1905-1914
Chapter XVIII. His Public Service

Chapter XVII starts..


THOUGH little evidence of the fact appears in extant letters, the year 1897 was one of great importance in Muir's career. So significant, indeed, was his work in defending [This service was specially recognized in 1897 by the University of Wisconsin, his alma mater, in the bestowal of an LL.D. degree.] the recommendations of the National Forest Commission of 1896 that we must reserve fuller discussion of it for a chapter on Muir's service to the nation. With the exception of his story of the dog Stickeen and a vivid description of an Alaska trip, appearing respectively in the August and September numbers of the "Century," nearly the entire output of his pen that year was devoted to the saving of the thirteen forest reservations proclaimed by President Cleveland on the basis of the Forest Commission's Report.

During the month of August he joined Professor C. S. Sargent and Mr. William M. Canby on an expedition to study forest trees in the Rocky Mountains and in Alaska. To this and other matters allusion is made in the following excerpt from a November letter to Professor Henry Fairfield Osborn.

I spent a short time [he writes] in the Rocky Mountain forests between Banff and Glacier with Professor Sargent and Mr. Canby, and then we went to Alaska, mostly by the same route you traveled. We were on the Queen and had your staterooms. The weather was not so fine as during your trip. The glorious color we so enjoyed on the upper deck was wanting, but the views of the noble peaks of the Fairweather Range were sublime. They were perfectly clear, and loomed in the azure, ice-laden and white, like very gods. Canby and Sargent were lost in admiration as if they had got into a perfectly new world, and so they had, old travelers though they are.

I've been writing about the forests, mostly, doing what little I can to save them. "Harper's Weekly" ["Forest Reservations and National Parks," June 5, 1897.] and the "Atlantic Monthly" have published something; the latter published an article ["American Forests."] last August. I sent another two weeks ago and am pegging away on three others for the same magazine on the national parks - Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Sequoia - and I want this winter to try some more Alaska. But I make slow, hard work of it - slow and hard as glaciers. . . . When are you coming again to our wild side of the continent and how goes your big book? I suppose it will be about as huge as Sargent's "Silva." One of the pleasant by-products of Muir's spirited defense of the reservations was the beginning of a warm friendship with the late Walter Hines Page, then editor of the "Atlantic." The latter, like Robert Underwood Johnson, stimulated his literary productiveness and was largely responsible for his final choice of Houghton, Muffin & Company as his publishers. Some years later, in 1905, Mr. and Mrs. Page paid a visit to Muir at his home in the Alhambra Valley. The articles contributed to the "Atlantic" during the nineties were in 1901 brought out in book form under the title of "Our National Parks."

Apropos of Muir's apologetic references to the fact that he found writing a slow, hard task, Page remarked: "I thank God that you do not write in glib, acrobatic fashion: anybody can do that. Half the people in the world are doing it all the time, to my infinite regret and confusion.... The two books on the Parks and on Alaska will not need any special season's sales, nor other accidental circumstances: they'll be Literature!" On another occasion, in October, 1897, Page writes: "Mr. John Burroughs has been spending a little while with me, and he talks about nothing else so earnestly as about you and your work. He declares in the most emphatic fashion that it will be a misfortune too great to estimate if you do not write up all those bags of notes which you have gathered. He encourages me, to put it in his own words, to 'keep firing at him, keep firing at him."

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The rest of the chapters can be read at

Book of Scottish Story
Thanks to John Henderson for sending this book into us.

This week he's sent in chapter 2 of "Basil Rolland" which starts...

We shall now conduct the reader to a shop in the Broadgate, over which appeared in ancient characters,-


It is not to be supposed that the street had the same appearance which it now exhibits ; neither are the unsophisticated to imagine that the shops resembled those of our own times, with lofty roofs, gigantic windows, mahogany counters, splendid chandeliers, and elegant gas burners. The windows were not much larger than the loop-holes of a modern prison; the roof was low and covered with cobwebs, and the goods exposed for sale were all lying at sixes and sevens. The forepart of the shop extended about ten feet forward into the street, and was decorated on the outside with swatches of the various commodities that were to be sold within. In the back shop, which was nearly as dark as midnight, were deposited the whole of the goods, except the specimens just mentioned. In the inmost recess of these penetralia, was Provost Leslie, with three or four stout fellows, removing, under his command, the goods in the back shop or warehouse.

"Saunders,” said the provost, "ye’ll tak awa yon silks an’ velvets, and put them into the vault i’ the dryest—ay, that’s anither flask broken, ye careless gowk! I’ll set ye about your business gin ye wunna tak mair tent. As soon’s you get that barrel awa, ye’ll tak down the Prayer-Books from that shelf, and put up twa or three dozen o’ Confessions o’ Faith. An’, my little man, ye’ll run up to my lasses, and tell them to leave a’ their wark an’ come down to grease the sword blades, for fear that they rust in the cellar, an’ syne tell the same to Sammy Fairtext’s maidens, an' bring them a’ wi’ you as fast’s ye can.—Ay, Basil, are ye there? Troth, gentle or semple, ye maun help’s the day. You are a canny lad, sae try if ye can collect a’ the trinkets and the siller cups and spoons, and take them up by to my chamber.—Ye ne’er-do-weel ! ye haverel, Sandie Hackit, what garred you spill the wine on that web? Ye needna mind it now, ye sorrow ; it’s nae worth puttin’ out o’ Montrose’s way."

When Basil Rolland returned from executing his commission, the stranger whom he had seen on the former day was in the shop, engaged in conversation with Fairtext. The latter bade Basil conduct him to his house, whether he himself would follow when he had dispatched some necessary business. When they were seated, the stranger began--

"Thou hast seen, youth, that the things which I hinted to thee are in part come to pass. The city is in confusion, the men of war are discouraged, so that they will assuredly be a prey, and a spoil, and a derision to their adversaries. What dost thou now intend?”

"What but to join the army of Aboyne, and do battle with my best blood against these murdering rebels."

The rest of this chapter can be read at

All the other stories can be read at

The Bark Covered House
We have several new chapters up for you to read...

Chapter 20. Drawing Cord-wood—How the Railroad Was Built—The Steam Whistle
Chapter 21. How I Hunted and We Paid the Mortgage
Chapter 22. Bear Hunt of 1842
Chapter 23. Grandfather's Powder Horn—War with Pirates
Chapter 24. Light Begins to Dawn
Chapter 25. Making a Bargain
Chapter 26. How I Commenced for Myself—Father's old Farm in 1843

Here is how "How I Hunted and We Paid the Mortgage" starts...

THE mortgage which had hung so long over us, like a dark cloud obscuring our temporal horizon and chilling our hopes, was at last removed, May first, 1841. After the mortgage was on the place it hardly seemed to me as if it were ours. It was becoming more and more valuable all the time, and I thought it was dangerous to let the mortgage run, as the old lady might foreclose at any time and make us trouble and expense. The mortgage was like a cancer eating up our substance, gnawing day and night as it had for years. I made up my mind it must be paid. I knew it caused mother much trouble and, although father said very little about it, I knew that he would be over-joyed to have it settled up. I told him I thought I had better hunt during one fall and winter and that I thought I could, in that way, help him raise money to pay the mortgage. I was about twenty years old at that time and thought I had a very good rifle and knew how to use it.

I went to my friend William Beal, and told him I had concluded to hunt through the winter. I asked him if he didn't want to join with me and we would hunt together, at least some of the time. He said he would. I told him I thought we could make more money by hunting than we could in any other way as deer were worth, on an average, from two and a half to five dollars apiece at Detroit, and we could take them in very handily on the cars.

We found the deer very numerous in the town of Taylor, next south of the town of Dearborn. Sometimes we went and stayed a week. We stopped nights with an old gentleman whose name was Hodge. He always appeared very glad to see us and gave us a hearty welcome. As he and his old lady (at that time) lived alone, no doubt they were glad of our company. They must have felt lonesome and they knew they would be well rewarded with venison and money for the trouble we made them. Mrs. Hodge took as much pains for us and used us as well as mother could have done. We carried our provisions there on our backs, flour, potatoes, pork and whatever we needed. We carried pork for the reason we relished it better a part of the time than we did venison. Mrs. Hodge prepared our meals at any time we wanted them. Sometimes we ate our breakfast before daylight and were a mile or two on the runway of the deer when it became light. The woods and oak openings abounded in deer and we had very good luck as a general thing. We made it a rule to stay and not go home until we had killed a load, which was not less than six. Then we went and got father's oxen and sled to go after and bring them home. After we brought them home we took the hind quarters, the hide, and sometimes the whole deer, to Detroit and sold them. In this way we got considerable money. In fact my pocketbook began to pod out a little. Of course, we saved enough, of the fore-quarters for our family use and for our old friends, Mr. and Mrs. Hodge. But we couldn't afford to let them have the saddles; we wanted them to sell as we were going in for making money.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

You can read the other chapters at

Fraser's Scottish Annual
We have now completed this publication with...

Ontario's Great Heritage
Book Reviews
In Lighter Vain

Here is the entire "In lighter vain" article...


There is a good story told of a golfer. He was playing when he noticed the ragged condition of his caddie.

Rather touched by this, he gave the boy something to get some food with, and promised him a suit of old clothes. Later, hearing about a dependent mother, he dispatched a load of coal and a round of beef. The lad was very grateful indeed for all this kindness, and, with his eyes brimming with tears, he tried to say something befitting the occasion. "Please, sir "he began, and then he halted, "Oh, that's all right, my boy," said the benefactor, cheerily; "say nothing: be a good lad, that's all." Then the caddie could no longer restrain himself. The kindly thought which lay at the bottom of his heart broke through. "Please, sir," he cried; "I'm sorry you're such a bad player!"


"Are you good at solving riddles?" inquired Ross of Reid the other day.
"What have you got?" replied Reid.
"Well, supposing a train leaves London for Edinburgh and travels sixty miles an hour, and another train leaves Edinburgh for London at the same time and travels fifty miles an hour, which will be the farthest from London when they meet?
Reid pondered a moment, and then confidently replied—"I should say the train which left London, seeing that it travelled ten miles an hour faster than the other."
Ross laughed, and told Reid to try again, but the latter maintained that he was right.
"Umph!" remarked Ross, preparing to mount an approaching tramcar, "now, don't you think both trains would be the same distance from London when they met?
And when Reid thought a moment and saw through the puzzle Ross was several hundred yards away.


An Irish witness was being examined as to his knowledge of a shooting affair.
"Did you see the shot fired?" asked the magistrate.
"No, sorr, I only heard it," was the evasive answer.
"That evidence is not satisfactory," replied the magistrate, sternly, "stand down!"
The witness proceeded to leave the box, and directly his back was turned he laughed derisively.
The magistrate, indignant at this contempt of court, called him back, and asked him how he dared to laugh in court.
"Did you see me laugh, yer honor?" queried the offender.
"No, sir, but I heard you," was irate reply.
"That evidence is not satisfactory," said Pat quietly, with a twinkle in his eye.
This time everybody laughed except the magistrate.

The other articles can be read at

Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario
Our thanks to Nola Crewe for sending these into us.

This week we've added the mini bio of Thomas Brown, a prosperous farmer and influential citizen of Raleigh township, is a son of Jonathan and Isabella (Stephenson) Brown, both natives of Scotland, and was but a babe when the family crossed the ocean, from Penicuick, Scotland, where he had been born April 25, 1848.

He was but two and a half years old when his father brought him to Raleigh township, and left him with an uncle, Charles Clark, of the County of Leeds, Scotland, who died in Chatham, Ontario, in April 1898. The vessel on which Mr. and Mrs. Brown crossed the ocean was shipwrecked on the banks of Newfoundland, and Mrs. Brown was drowned. The father for his second wife, married Mary Ferguson, by whom he had four children, namely: Alexander, who is an attorney of Detroit, Michigan; Charles, a farmer in Howard township, County of Kent; James, a hardware merchant of Thamesville, Ontario; and John, a farmer of Howard township. The father now lives retired on a farm in Howard township, and though past eighty, having been born December 25th, 1821, enjoys good health and is quite active.

You can read the bio at

The Sailor Whom England Feared
Being the Story of John Paul Jones, Scotch Naval Adventurer and Admiral in the American and Russian Fleets By M. Mac Dermot Crawford.

We now have up the following chapters...

Chapter I - 1747-1773
Chapter II - 1773 - 1775
Chapter III - 1775 - 1777
Chapter IV - 1777
Chapter V - 1777
Chapter VI - 1777
Chapter VII - 1777
Chapter VIII - 1777
Chapter IX - 1777 - 1778
Chapter X - 1778
Chapter XI - 1778
Chapter XII - 1778
Chapter XIII - 1778
Chapter XIV - 1778

Here is how Chapter X starts...

PAUL JONES was once again at sea, with the salt spray stinging his lips; living, as he had lived for so many years, between sea and sky, with every sense on the alert for adventure. The seductions of the court were forgotten, the fair women who flattered and caressed, wraiths of his dreams, to fade vaguely into nothingness before the cold light of reality.

Jones sailed on the Ranger from Brest on April 10th, his course was shaped for the west coast of Ireland, but the terrific gales encountered the second day out forced him to change the plans of his cruise and run up St. George's Channel to the Irish Sea. His own letter is the best description of the cruise—

"I sailed from Brest on the 10th April; my plan was extensive, I therefore did not at the beginning wish to encumber myself with prisoners. On the 14th I took a brigantine between Scilly and Cape Clear, bound for Ostend, with a cargo of flax-seed for Ireland, sunk her, and proceeded into St. George's Channel.

"On the 17th I took the ship Lord Chatham, bound from London to Dublin, with a cargo consisting of porter, and a variety of merchandise, and almost within sight of her port; this ship I manned and ordered into Brest."

The following night he planned a descent on White- haven, which the wind obliged him to abandon. On the 18th in Glentinc Bay, on the south coast of Scotland, he "met with a revenue-wherry"; it being the common practice of these vessels to board merchant ships, the Ranger then having no external appearance of war, it was expected that this rover would have come alongside, "which, however, to his surprise, she did not, though the men were at their quarters"; but sailed away despite a severe cannonade.

"The next morning off the Mull of Galloway I found myself so near a Scotch coasting schooner loaded with barley that I could not avoid sinking her." The letter goes on with much similar detail; then, on the 21st, he saw the Dia/e of twenty guns, which he determined to attack in the night. "My plan was to overlay her cable, and to fall upon her bow, so as to have all her decks open and exposed to our musketry, etc.; at the same time it was my intention to have secured the enemy by grapplings, so that, had they cut their cables, they would not thereby have attained an advantage. The wind was high, and unfortunately the anchor was not let go as soon as the order was given, so that the Ranger was brought to upon the enemy's quarter at the distance of half a cable's length. We had made no warlike appearance, of course had given no alarm; this determined me to cut immediately, which might appear as if the cable had parted, and at the same time enable me, after making a tack out of the loch, to return to the same prospect of advantage which I had at the first." This he was unable to do, as the weather grew very stormy, and forced him "to shelter under the south shore of Scotland."

These gales, which first caused Jones to alter his cruise, equally upset the arrangements of his foes. When the first "provisional plan" had been made, Lee's secretary, Thornton, lost no time in sending all details to the Admiralty, and two heavy sloops of war and a thirty-two gun frigate were ordered to the west coast of Ireland. They left Plymouth on the 12th, two days after the Ranger sailed, but the same gale which affected Jones drove them into Falmouth for shelter. When the three ships arrived at their destination they could, naturally enough, find no trace of the Ranger. Until the news sent by Thornton reached the Admiralty, there was no idea of Jones being in the vicinity, much less cruising in home waters.

Paul Jones had planned this cruise with the hope of crippling English shipping. With this in view, he intended to make a descent on Whitehaven, a "considerable port," where he had the advantage of knowing every foot of the ground from his boyhood. He has been the victim of abuse from all sorts of writers for attacking a town where he had associations, perhaps even friends. But in war there is no sentiment, and it is open to question whether little Johnnie Paul was much spoiled or fêted when he returned from his voyages in his poor and unknown days. He intended on such destruction of life and property as King George's brutal Hessian soldiers inflicted on the Americans, and who had spared his plantation and slaves when Lord Dunmore made that devastating raid? The age was more rugged than the one we live in, and conflicting parties did not go to war for the sake of exchanging civilities.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The other chapters can be read at

Recollections of a Long Life 1829 - 1915
By Isaac Stephenson (1915)

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

Chapter V
Mr. Sinclair takes up lumbering and farming in Wisconsin - School in Milwaukee - Plowing on the prairie - The Lovejoys -Traffic on the Janesville road-Lodging houses - Lead wagons from Galena fields - Hauling flour - "Ague and chill fever" epidemics - Logging at Escanaba - Lumbering north of Green Bay - Conditions on the northern peninsula of Michigan - Carrying mails in the wilderness - Timber cruising

Chapter VI
Early lumbering methods in vogue along Green Bay - Invasion of the Maine lumbermen - Introduction of sawed shingles - Marketing lumber at Chicago and Milwaukee - Masting on the Great Lakes - Life in the logging camps - Tea drinking - Log driving on the Escanaba - Locating timber lands - Offering of public lands for sale in 1848 - Trip to the "Soo" -First entry of pine lands on the Menominee River - Meager returns for lumbering

Chapter VII
The problem of transporting lumber - Great Lakes neglected by federal government - Dangerous voyages - Inaccessibility of Green Bay region - Experiences as a sailor before the mast - I ship as mate - I purchase interest in schooner Cleopatra and become captain - Development of shipping on the lakes - Early trips up Green Bay rivers - Introduction of tugs

Chapter VIII
Lack of efficient lumbermen and migration from East - I take charge of logging camps - Logging by contract- Offer of half interest in Ford River property-Trip to Maine in 1851 - Camps on the Marquette trail - Development of northern peninsula of Michigan and discovery of mines - Lack of doctors, lawyers, and preachers - Travel through my canips Plank road projected from Negaunee to Marquette - Pinch of famine at Marquette in 1852

Chapter IX
Prosperity of the early fifties - High cost of living - Beginning of work on the canal at the "Soo" -"King" Strang and the Mormon colony on Beaver Island - Production of timber for breakwater at Chicago - Establishment of camps on the Menominee River - Cholera epidemic in the Middle West - Narrow escape from the disease - Extensive logging operations at Masonville

Chapter X
Responsibilities of camp management - Experiences in medicine and surgery - Adjusting disputes - Lack of machinists - I leave Mr. Sinclair - Negotiations for purchase of interest in Masonville property - Changes in Sinclair and Wells company - Death of Mr. Sinclair - Panic of 1857 - Purchase of interest in N. Ludington Company at Marinette

Chapter XI
Marinette in the early fifties—Queen Marinette—Menomninec River becomes greatest timber producing center in time world - Difficulties due to panic of 1857 - Disappearance of forests and growth of farms - Vicissitudes of travel on Green Bay - Diversions of early lumbering villages

Here is how Chapter VI starts...

THE methods of lumber manufacturing in vogue at this time in the pine districts along Green Bay in Wisconsin and Michigan were crude compared to the elaborate system which has since been perfected. The mills, during the decade between 1840 and 1850, were small establishments operated by water power, making approximately one million feet of lumber a year. The type of saw known as the "mulay" had just come in and not a few of the mills were still equipped with the old-fashioned sash saws. The circular saw and the band saw, together with most of the mechanical apparatus now in use for handling logs, had not then been perfected.

In logging, driving and sawing the lumbermen of Maine and New Brunswick were the most expert of their time, and it was largely under their direction and through the introduction of the methods which prevailed along the St. John and Penobscot rivers that lumbering in Wisconsin and on the northern peninsula of Michigan, of the West generally, was brought to the point of its greatest development.

In this respect the firm of Sinclair and Wells enjoyed a decided advantage over their competitors. As I have said Mr. Sinclair was probably the greatest practical lumberman hi the country and had not only acquired a large experience but had directed operations of magnitude in Maine. In addition he had brought to Wisconsin men who were schooled in lumbering methods in the Pine Tree State. Among them were David Langley, who came west with us in 1845; Silas Howard, who went oil from Milwaukee to Flat Rock the same year, and others. For some time afterward his forces were constantly being recruited from Name. Some of the men I brought out with me when I returned from my trips to the East. When the forests in this territory were cut and opportunities for employment became restricted, thousands of the men who had grown up in them went still farther West to the Pacific coast where they are at work to-day. In this way has time enterprise of Maine exerted a marked influence upon the entire lumber industry of the United States.

It was not long before members of my own family, attracted by the prospects which I unfolded in my letters to them, decided to follow in my footsteps. Two of my brothers, Robert and Samuel, came to Escanaba from their home in Maine in 1849 but remained for only one winter. Perhaps they regarded my enthusiasm over the growing West as unfounded. In June, 1852, however, they made a second venture and this time remained permanently. Both of them took up logging by contract near Masonville, Michigan, and afterward occupied conspicuous places in the lumbering industry on Menominee River, whither I had preceded them, taking charge of and becoming the owners of some of the important mills on the river at that time.

About 1850 the moving stream from the eastern pineries to the West attained large proportions, the result, very largely, of a business depression which left many of the lumbermen in the older region without occupation. Many also were attracted to the newer field by Mr. Sinclair, and following their example still more responded to the growing demand for experienced men. There were no less than thirty of them one winter at Escanaba who had been camp "bosses" or logging contractors in Maine.

These men were very different from the workmen of the present day, a fact due to some extent, possibly, to the environment in which they lived. In the absence of a highly organized system of industrial interchange they were obliged to depend upon their own resources to supply their needs and their capacity for doing things was developed accordingly. They could erect camps, make axe handles and sleighs and many of them were blacksmiths, sawyers and carpenters capable of undertaking almost any variety of work. Two-thirds of the men in logging crews I have had could do these things and, in addition, were excellent boatmen. At present in a crew of fifty men there is rarely one man who can do any of them, even the "boss" himself. To supply the deficiency it is necessary to send blacksmith and a mechanic into the woods and the axe helves and other tools are made in factories and included in the list of supplies. It is said, in explanation, that it is cheaper to buy articles of this sort than to make them. But they cost us very little sacrifice of time as we did most of these tasks at night or on Sundays. The same rule of conduct applied to the women in the mill settlements who devoted their evenings and spare moments to knitting instead of occupying themselves with the diversions of the present day which were, as a matter of fact, unknown.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

We now have several chapters up which can be read at

Robert Burns Lives!
By Frank Shaw

'To Mr Robert Burns’: Verse Epistles from an Irish Poetic Circle by Jennifer Orr

Let me introduce you to Jennifer Orr whom I met while attending the excellent international conference on Burns sponsored by the University of South Carolina in April of this year. She was one of three young ladies from the University of Glasgow speaking at the conference. Jennifer is currently a doctoral candidate from that outstanding university and she also tutors at the university in the Department of Scottish Literature. Her studies are supervised by world renown Robert Burns scholar, Dr. Gerard Carruthers. Jennifer is a recipient of the Faculty of Arts Scholarship and the Walter Scott award for Scottish Literature. In 2006, she earned a BA in English Language & Literature (Medieval) with Honours from the University of Oxford in England. Her current research draws upon her undergraduate thesis research into the ‘Rhyming Weaver’ poets of Ulster, a group of largely labouring-class poets who wrote in both English and vernacular Scots verse during the ‘long’ eighteenth century.

Her doctoral thesis focuses on the life and works of the County Antrim poet, Samuel Thomson, a Presbyterian schoolmaster who produced three volumes of verse between 1790 and 1810 and was a regular contributor to the Belfast press and periodicals, including the politically-radical Northern Star newspaper. Thomson was a correspondent of Robert Burns and, following the Bard’s gift to Thomson of Fergusson’s poetic works, Thomson travelled to visit the poet in Dumfries in 1794. Jennifer’s doctoral thesis revises the reception of Samuel Thomson and seeks to establish him within an important Romantic poetic circle operating out of Ulster in the ‘long’ Eighteenth century. The author should like to acknowledge the Board of Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland for permission to cite the correspondence of Samuel Thomson, MS 7257.

You can read this article at

You can get to all the articles at

Oor Mither Tongue
An Anthology of Scots Vernacular Verse by Ninian Macwhannell (1938) and our thanks to John Henderson for sending this into us.

We have the poems of ABEL GEORGE, AINSLIE, HEW and ANGUS, MARIAN up now which you can read at

John's Scottish Sing-Along
Provided by John Henderson

This week we've added...

Waggle O' The Kilt
Sailing Up the Clyde

You can find these songs at

John Ramsay of Kildalton
We posted up this entire book this week.

This is what the Foreword has to say...

Rarely have I been privileged to read a story as impressive and touching as that recorded in the diary of John Ramsay, Esq., depicting the incidents of his journeyings in Canada in the year 1870, at which time he visited the new homes of those who had been his tenants on the Island of Islay, Argyllshire, and had later emigrated to the Province of Ontario where they settled and prospered in the counties of Ontario, Victoria, Simcoe, Grey and Bruce.

Several years earlier Mr. Ramsay, realizing that the land on the Island of Islay could not sustain its ever increasing population, had the practical vision to see that those courageous and determined Scots, if given an opportunity in the New World, had the capacity, industry and determination for success to a degree which they themselves did not visualize. In order to facilitate their emigration he arranged with the steamship company for substantially reduced fares and in some cases paid the fares himself. In the years 1862-63 about four hundred Islay people settled in Canada.

History does not record, to the best of my knowledge, any other Scottish landlord who, in addition to following the course of adventure of his tenants in the New World, actually crossed the Atlantic to learn for himself the state of their progress. Happily he found that they, as a result of their unfaltering faith, invincible courage and unremitting toil, had built for themselves pleasant and comfortable homes, cleared much land which yielded bountiful crops, and were, on the whole, a happy and contented people. The warm welcome cordially given him by those who at one time were his tenants testifies to the ingratiating qualities which characterized this intrepid humanitarian.

Mr. Ramsay's concern for the welfare of Scottish emigrants generally is further evidenced in the early pages of his diary by his visit to those Highlanders from the island of Lewis who had settled in the vicinity of Stornoway and Lake Megantic in the Eastern Townships of the Province of Quebec.

Mrs. lain Ramsay, whose late husband was a grandson of the author of this diary, has written in concise and dignified style. With the hand of a master she portrays the privations and hardships which the tenants endured in Islay and the contribution made for their relief and eventual prosperity by John Ramsay, a man who added to his humanitarian interests those of an eminent scholar, a wise counsellor, an outstanding parliamentarian and a successful industrialist.

Mrs. Ramsay is now engaged in extensive historical research for the University of Glasgow in relation to the worldwide emigration from Scotland during the past centuries. Moreover, she is lending her fine literary talent to the publication of a history of Islay during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Mrs. Ramsay's daughter Janna, Mrs. Henry Best of Moffat, Ontario, is the fifth generation of the Ramsay family to come to Canada.

Those of Scottish birth or extraction, indeed all who are interested in Highland Scottish colonization in Canada, should be deeply indebted to Mrs. Ramsay for making this record available.

J. Keiller Mackay

Toronto, Ontario,
December. 14, 1968

You can read this book at

Blackfriars of Stirling
Our thanks to John Henderson for sending in this report

Here is a very revealing research article about the history of land ownership in Stirling, Scotland. The Notes and References at the end are also superb. You can read this at

Songs of Lowland Scotland
From the times of James V, King of Scots, A book of c. 600 pages of songs published in Scotland in 1870, and arranged in episodic form by John Henderson.

Extract from the main Introduction to this book of c. 600 pages of songs published in 1870 ....

“The songs of Scotland, so far as they are left to us, begin at the period when the ancient minstrels, on whose social position so much valuable time, paper, and temper has been wasted, had fallen into the deepest disgrace, and were classed in Acts of Parliament along with beggars, rogues, and vagabonds. The decline of their influence, and in all likelihood the comparative worthlessness of their later compositions, caused the people generally to cherish more fondly the songs and ballads that had arisen amongst themselves, no one could tell how, and which better assisted their varying mood than the long rhymes of the strolling bard, and enabled them to keep men oft the questionable character, which the representatives of the old minstrels had won for themselves, away from their dwellings and merry meetings.

The pastoral life which, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, was followed by the majority ofthe people of the lowlands, would also favour the growth of song; and in each little community one man’s success doubtless excited the emulation of his neighbour, and each would strive to be reckoned best at rhyming, particularly if some rustic beauty were the prize to be won, However it may be, there is new hardly a village, river, or glen without a song in its honour; all the favourite names of the lassies, Mary, Kate, Jean, Meg, or Annie, are duly enshrined: every battlefield has been celebrated or wailed, while the popular enemies of the country, whether internal or external, are bedecked in satire which, justly or not, has sent them down to all posterity with an evil prominence that can never be removed.

A collection like this can only deal with the songs of the Lowlands. Could the Highland minstrelsy be collected and edited, it would be seen that the north is not behind the south in little pieces that touch the heart and fire the soul. Many of the Gaelic Airs especially, convey the impressions of love, sorrow, grief, and triumph in a manner at once beautiful, musical, and impressive.”


We're adding chapters each week and you can read the first chapter and the full Introduction at

Clan Chiefs at the Scottish Parliament
I just found videos of the conferences held at the Scottish Parliament over the Clan Gathering period over 2 days and thought I'd make them available to you in case you hadn't known about them.

Clan Convention (morning)
Clan Convention (afternoon)
Part of the Scottish Government’s Homecoming 2009 celebrations, the Convention, was chaired by Alex Fergusson MSP, Presiding Officer, and brought together Scotland’s clan chiefs and clan representatives from across the world. Delegates explored tradition and culture and debated how the kinship embodied by Scottish clans, names and families has a relevance to 21st-century Scotland. Included an address by Jim Mather MSP, Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism.

Diaspora (morning)
Diaspora (afternoon)
The event, entitled ‘A future for our past’, discussed and debated the heritage of the Scottish diaspora; the values of Scottish identity; the links between Scotland and its diaspora; and the ways to work better together, to mutual advantage. The Presiding Officer chaired the event, with contributions from former presiding officers Sir David Steel and George Reid. The event featured a Dragon’s Den-style debate and includes high-profile speakers such as Professor Tom Devine, Jim Naughtie, Lesley Riddoch and Michael Russell MSP, Minister for Culture, External Affairs and the Constitution.

I have made available a link to the Scottish Parliament web side so you can download those videos. They are several hours of viewing.

The "download" link is the one to use as they are streamed from the Scottish Parliament site but as they state that they only keep these for 30 days we have taken the precaution of saving them on Electric Scotland in case they are removed.

You can get to these at

Scotland's National Borders
Scotland's national borders comprise one terrestrial border with England and sea borders, two with England and several with other countries. The western sea border with England extends seaward from the Solway Firth.

The eastern border extends into the North Sea from the mouth of the River Tweed.

The government of the United Kingdom has attempted to make unwarranted changes to the east end of the terrestrial border and to the entire North Sea border. The purpose of this paper is to expose these cynical "stealth" maneuvers and to provide the Scottish people with additional information on Scotland's borders.

You can read the report at 

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


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