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The Northern Highlands in the Nineteenth Century
No. 14


When the year 1855 opened, the country was greatly perturbed by the reports which were coming to hand of the condition of the British Army in the Crimea, exposed, as it was to a severe winter without sufficient clothing or protection. In the House of Commons on 25th January Mr Roebuck gave notice of his intention to move for a Committee of Inquiry. Lord John Russell wrote to the Prime Minister saying that he did not see how this motion could be resisted, and tendering his resignation. This step paralyzed the Government, and on a division Mr Roebuck’s motion was carried by a majority of 157. Thereupon Lord Aberdeen resigned, and after Lord John Russell and Lord Derby had each failed to form an administration, Lord Palmerston was called to the head of affairs. But the difficulty was not at an end. The new Prime Minister accepted the motion for an inquiry, while substituting a new Committee. Mr Gladstone, Sir James Graham, and Mr Sidney Herbert were opposed to an inquiry, and persisted in resigning. Sir Comewall Lewis succeeded Mr Gladstone as Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Lord John Russell returned to the Government as Colonial Minister in place of Mr Sidney Herbert. Lord Panmure (Fox Maule) combined in his own person the hitherto distinct functions of Secretary at War and Secretary for War.

Another dispute soon arose. A European Conference took place at Vienna, to which Lord John Russell had been accredited. On his return Lord John stronglv condemned in the Commons the proposals made at Vienna. Thereupon the Austrian Plenipotentiary declared that at Vienna Lord John had approved of these very proposals. This Lord John admitted, but said he had since changed his opinion. Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton gave notice of a motion of want of confidence in Lord John, and the latter withdrew from the Ministry.

In March the Czar Nicholas died, and in June Lord Raglan. Commander-in-Chief of the British forces in the Crimea, also passed away. He was succeeded by General Simpson. The south side of Sebastopol fell in September. This practically put an end to the war, but our soldiers were obliged to spend another winter in the neighbourhood of Sebastopol. They were, however, comfortably clad and housed in wooden huts. Negotiations for peace continued during the rest of the year.

In August the Inverness Suspension Bridge was opened for traffic, and in November the railway was opened from Inverness to Nairn.

From the "Inverness Courier.”

1855.

January 4.—The “Times” had begun its sweeping charges against the administration of the army in the Crimea, and public opinion was in an unsettled and angry state. The arrival of winter clothing, however, for at least a portion of the army, was to some extent reassuring.

Ibid.—A proposal to adopt the Public Libraries Act in Inverness was brought before a public meeting, but the attendance was so small that the motion was not proposed. More than twenty years had to pass before the Act was adopted. In 1855 it was stated that the penny rate in Inverness would yield only a sum of about £72 a year.

Ibid.—Quotations are given from an autobiography contributed to the “Gardener’s Chronicle” by Mr Donald Beaton, a gardener who had done good work at Altyre and in the south of England. It is stated that when he was at Altyre the garden boy there was James Sinclair, who afterwards entered the service of Prince Woronzoff in the Crimea, where he laid out beautiful gardens, which were much admired by the allied armies when they went there.

January 11.—A report on plantations on the estate of Fairburn, by Mr Stewart-Mackenzie of Seaforth. received the gold medal of the Highland Society, and is published in this issue. The total extent of the plantations was 363j acres, and the expenditure £389. “The profits from plantations,” says the writer, “can only be looked forward to at a distant period; this more than any other cause impedes their spread throughout the country. But though their profits are slowly realised, yet ultimately, with ordinary skilful treatment, they amply repay every outlay."

Ibid.—The small estate of Wester Newton, in the neighbourhood of Nairn, was sold by public auction. The property consisted of one farm of about sixty acres and 12 acres of firewood, and was purchased for £2340 by Mr Augustus J. Clarke of Achareidh.

January 18.—A Scottish Judge, Lord Robertson, died the previous week. He was a friend of Lockhart, the biographer of Scott, and was famous for his wit and humour. It was Robertson who said to his fellow-advocates, when he saw the tall, conical white head of Scott approaching, “Hush, boys, here comes old Peveril. I see the Peak.” When the witticism was reported to Scott, he retorted, “As well Peveril o’ the Peak as Peter o’ the Painch” (paunch), and the epithet stuck to the portly humorist. At the age of fifty Patrick Robertson came forward, to the surprise of his acquaintances, as a sentimental poet, and his caustic friend Lockhart privately circulated the still remembered epitaph—

“Here lies the peerless paper peer,
Lord Peter,
Who broke the laws of gods and men and metre.”

As an advocate Robertson was an admirable and effective speaker, and both at the bar and on the bench displayed sagacity and sound judgment.

Ibid.—War steamers were at this time stationed in Cromarty Firth, and bodies of sailors, recruiting from the Baltic, were daily visitors to Inverness, driving about in an open omnibus, and otherwise filling the pockets of horse-hirers. Culloden Moor was a favourite place of resort. They were full of fun and frolic, and a source of great entertainment to the younger generation. “Yesterday a good-humoured battle took place on Petty Street; the tars bought a great quantity of turnips and potatoes, with which they pelted a crowd of urchins through the whole street.” There was, however, no violence or outrage

January 25.—An ancient cairn had been opened by workmen at Guisachan, Strathglass. It contained a stone coffin and a quantity of moist earth and dust.

February 1.—The Right Rev. David Low, D.D., late Bishop of the Scottish Episcopal Church in Ross. Morav, and Argyll, died at Pittenweem on the 26th. ult., in the sixty-seventh year of his ministry and the 35th year of his Episcopate. He was elected Bishop of Ross and Argyll, at Inverness, in 1819, and on the death of Bishop Jolly in 1838, the district of Moray was added to his diocese. Bishop Low made many factions to the church, and was a man greatly respected.

Ibid.—-Lord John Russell had resigned office, and Mr Roebuck’s motion for inquiry into the condition of the army before Sebastopol had been carried by a large majority. The result was the resignation of Lord Aberdeen as Prime Minister, and the reconstruction of the Government, with Lord Palmerston as Premier.

February 8 to 22.—The political crisis and discussions on the progress of the war fill up a large part of the space. The Militia had been embodied and billeted on the citizens, a practice which naturally caused annoyance. Sir Charles Napier, home from the Baltic, gave voice in an after dinner speech to complaints of the Admiralty, and on the same occasion Lord Cardigan gave his account of the charge of the Light Brigade.

February 22.—North Uist had been purchased by Sir John Orde, Bart, of Kilmorey, “and thus,” says a correspondent, “the whole of the Long Island has changed hands within the last quarter of a century.”

Ibid.—Mr Brown of Dumbrcxliill a gentleman long connected with the Highlands, died the previous week at the age of 81. In his youth he had the management of the Clanranald estates, and afterwards of the Seaforth estates. In the Islands he encouraged the crofters to grow flax, and established industrial schools. Latterly Mr Brown acted as commissioner for the Duke of Hamilton

March 1.—This issue records the resignation of Sir James Graham, Mr Gladstone, and Mr Sidney Herbert, who retired from the Ministry rather than agree to the inquiry into the war administration proposed by Mr Roebuck, even although the censure implied in the motion had been modified by the nomination of a Committee selected by the new Government. The London correspondent refers to the rout of the Peelites, indulging in the following lines after the style of Sir Walter Scott: —

Vain was then the Gladstone brand,
Vain Sir James’s vaunted hand,
Vain long Herbert’s twist and quirk,
Showing how he spoiled his work;
Solemn Cardwell sped away,
Sped their chieftain, stern Lord A.,
And in triumph stood alone
Henry, Viscount Palmerston.

“We have now,” says the correspondent, “a pure blood Administration, and not a coalition. All the new men are Whigs and a little more.” It was in the debate on this occasion that Mr Bright delivered his famous speech on the war. “The angel of death,” he said, “has been abroad throughout the land; you may almost hear the very beating of his wings.” The news from the Crimea, however, was now re-assuring, though the hospitals at Scutari were crowded. At home there had been severe frost and snow, but a thaw had set in. The issue records the death of Mr Joseph Hume, M.P., a man whose integrity and public services were acknowledged by all parties.

Ibid.—A great part of Armadale Castle, the seat of Lord Macdonald in Skye, was destroyed by fire on the 18th of February. The Castle had been erected about 1815 after a design by Mr Gillespie Graham.

Ibid.—Sergeant John Macpherson, of the 42nd Highlanders, died at Kingussie the previous month, in the 83rd year of his age. Ho served under Abercromby in Egypt, and was wounded at Aboukir. He was body servant to Abercromby, and was one of the sergeants who accompanied his remains to Malta. Discharged in 1801, he drew a pension for fifty-four years. On his return to his native district, he was appointed head gamekeeper to the Duke of Gordon in Badenoch. It was to Sergeant Macpherson that Sir Robert Peel wrote and sent a present on the occasion of his last visit to the Highlands.

Ibid.—Extracts are given from Sir John M'Neill’s report on the administration of the poor law in Glenelg, the result of an inquiry arising out of the Knoydart evictions. Sir John’s report was favourable to the local authorities, but the editor holds that he was misinformed, and adduces evidence in support of his view. Sir John mentions that the change from crofting to sheep farming had brought an increase of revenue to the estate of £166 4s lid, as compared with the average of the five years from 1847 to 1852. The editor points out that the years selected for comparison were chiefly years of famine, and says that the evictions were disgraceful, and could not be justified by any increase of rent to the proprietor.

March 8.—The sudden death of the Emperor Nicholas created throughout Europe “a mingled feeling of astonishment, awe, and hope.” The war, however, went on under his successor, the Emperor Alexander.

Ibid.—A veteran officer, Lieutenant Kenneth Murchison, died on the 21st ult., at the age of seventy-eight. In his day he was “one of the handsomest and strongest men in the British Army.” Mr Murchison was a native of Skye, and saw a good deal of service, but for many years conducted at Inverness the recruiting service of the 78th Highlanders. He had a family of five sons, who all became military officers, and his wife, who' was a Miss Urquhart from Fort-George, also had four officer brothers.

Ibid.—The Rev. Alexander Fraser, Free Church minister of Kirkhill, had been sent out as chaplain to the Crimea. It is stated that after a few days’ stay at Scutari he had gone to Balaclava.

Ibid.—The Provost of Inverness, Mr Sutherland, resigned office on account of pressure of business and growing infirmities. Cordial tributes were paid to his services.

March a and 15.—A dispute was going on between the directors of the Inverness Royal Academy and the directors of the Inverness and Nairn Railway Company, the latter proposing to acquire or feu part of the Academy grounds for the purposes of their undertaking. The Academy directors offered to sell their whole buildings and grounds for the sum of £5000, but the railway company refused this offer, and served compulsory notices for a portion of the ground. Ultimately the difference was arranged by the Academy directors agreeing to feu an angle of their ground to the Company, at 4s per foot of frontage.

Ibid.—The Rev. Mr Macnaughton, Belfast, had declined to allow the call from the congregation of the Inverness Free High Church to be proceeded with, and the congregation now resolved to give a call to the Rev. W. Trail, Manchester. In a subsequent issue it is stated that in a single day over 540 names were adhibited to the call.

March 22.—Daniel Grant, Manchester, one of the “Cheeryble Brothers” immortalised by Dickens, died the previous week, his brother William having pre-deceased him in 1842. Their father was a Strathspey farmer, whose losses led him to seek employment in England, where the sons built up a great business. A Manchester paper, at the time of Daniel’s death, declared that “the man docs not live who can accuse the house of Grant Brothers of one single shabby transaction.”

Ibid.—Letters are given from the Rev. Mr Fraser, Kirkhill, with particulars relating to his mission to the seat of war. He says that at Scutari there were 7500 patients, and the deaths while he was there were from 60 to 70 per night. Mr Fraser sends the names of men connected with Inverness who were in the Highland Brigade, and who were either in good health, sick, or convalescent. Most of them were well.

March 29.—The Governor of Gibraltar, Sir Robert Gardiner, had erected a monument in the Cathedral Church of Gibraltar in memory of his respected companion in arms, Major Rose of Kilravock. The following was the inscription on the monument—“Sacred to the memory of Brevet-Major John Baillie- Rose of the 55th Regiment. Among the brave and honourable who fought and1 gained the ever-memorable battle of the Alma, on the 20th September 1854, he fell mortally wounded, and died on the following morning at four a.m.” Major Rose was on the staff of Sir Robert Gardiner when at Gibraltar.

April 5.—Mr C. Lyon Mackenzie of St Mlartins was elected Provost of Inverness, in room of Air Sutherland, resigned. The motion for Mr Lyon Mackenzie’s election was made by Mr Mackintosh of Raigmore, and seconded by Bailie Andrew Fraser. The election was unanimous.

Ibid.—The London letter describes a dramatic performance given in behalf of Mr Angus B. Reach, who had been for many months disqualified for mental exertion. The writer, after a warm encomium on Air Reach, says :—“His Inverness letter was always a labour of love; he struggled to write it when he had abandoned other work, and he persevered in seeking to frame it at a time when prudence warned him to repose. It was with reluctance that he acceded to the arrangement which transferred the work temporarily to the hand of a friend.” This friend was Air Shirley Brooks, and it was he and Air Albert Smith who arranged for the dramatic performance, in which they received most willing assistance. Among the audience were the Duke and Duchess of Wellington, the Lord President of the Council, the Marchioness of Ailesbury, and nearly all the literary men of mark in London, including Dickens and Thackeray.

Ibid.—A fire occurred in the village of Auldearn in a house and shop occupied by one Robert Donaldson, who lost his life in the disaster. There was an explosion of gunpowder, which had been kept on the premises.

April 12.—There is news of the defeat of the Russians in a desperate sortie which they made on the night of the 22nd March on the French camp before Sebastopol. Among the incidents of the siege, it is mentioned that “Sir Colin Campbell stops the grog of all his men who do not occasionally write home to their parents.”

Ibid.—“We understand that the property of Strichen, in Aberdeenshire, has been sold by Lord Lovat for the sum of £140,000. It is said that this is from £20,000 to £30,000 beyond what it was valued at a few years ago, when it was offered in three several lots, but failed to attract purchasers."

April 19.—The Emperor and Empress of the French had arrived at Windsor on a visit to Queen Victoria. They met with an enthusiastic reception in their progress through London.

April 26.—The Vienna Conference had ended in the rejection by Russia of the demands of the Allies. “She will risk the consequences of the war rather than yield her preponderance in the Black Sea, and the negotiations are therefore at an end.” The bombardment of Sebastopol was in progress.

Ibid.—Mr Robert Sinclair, Borlumbeg, Glen-Urquhart, died on the 5th inst. in the 68th year of his age. He had been for many years factor on the estate of Glenmoriston, and was held in great respect. “He possessed a rich fund of anecdote connected with the manners and customs of the Highlanders of bygone generations; and with their achievements from the times of Montrose and Dundee to the memorable episodes of the ’15 and the ’45.”

May 3.—While the Emperor Napoleon was riding in the Champs Elvsees. ail Italian named Liverani fired a pistol at him from a distance of a few paces. The Emperor was not hit, and rode quietly forward. Much satisfaction was expressed that no attempt was made on his life during his visit to England.

May 10.—The Rev. William Trail was on this date inducted as minister of the Inverness Free High Church. The Rev. Mr Campbell, Petty, preached, and the new pastor received a hearty welcome.

Ibid.—The two regiments of Inverness-shire and Ross-shire Militia were under orders to occupy Fort-George. The Master of Lovat was gazetted captain in the Inverness-shire Militia. He was at the moment at Sebastopol, a spectator of the operations at the seat of war, but was expected home in a short time.

Ibid.—Five persons were drowned off the coast of Stoer, in Sutherland, by the swamping of a boat. The boat was overladen, and was filled and overturned by a heavy wave.

Ibid.—The London correspondent mentions that in the Sculpture Room a t the Exhibition of the Royal Academy, the post of honour in the centre was given to a lovely group of children by Alexander Munro (Inverness.) Munro had no fewer than seven works in the Exhibition, among them a bust of Mr Gladstone. There were also some good busts by Park, including that of the French Emperor.

May 17.—A movement for the erection of a Lunatic Asylum at Inverness was in progress. Representations had been made to the Lord Advocate by local authorities, and a commission had been appointed to make enquiries. A Scottish Education Bill was before Parliament, but was meeting with! strong opposition. It is stated Mr Cumming Bruce of Dunphail appeared to be acting as Conservative leader on Scottish questions.

May 24.—The Rev. John Mackenzie, Established Church clergyman at Williamston, in Glengarry, Canada, died on 21st April. He was a native of the parish of Urquhart. in Inverness-shire, and had laboured1 for thirty-five year* in the country of his adoption. Mr Mackenzie was known as “The Father of the Church in Canada.”

May 31.—News had come of the fall of Kertch, brought about by an expedition which sailed under the command of Sir George Brown. “Their very appearance was the signal of success. The Russians blew up their fortifications and fled, having also, in the fierce and savage spirit of their war policy, destroyed their magazines at Kertch, and sunk thirty vessels. An equal number of vessels has, however, fallen into our hands, with fifty guns, and the batteries on the coast at Kertch and Yenikale are now in our power. The sea of Azoff is thus in the occupation of the Allies, and the principal source whence the Russian army at Sebastopol derived their supplies has been cut off.” A London newspaper compared Sir George Brown’s exploit to that of Caesar—“Certain it is that Sir George landed, saw, and conquered.”

June 7.—The estate of Kilmuir, in Skye, was sold to Captain Fraser of Culbokie for £80,000.

Ibid.—One of the oldest generals in the British service, Sir William Macbean, died on the 24th ult., at Brompton. Born in 1782, he entered the army [it is stated] in his thirteenth year, and saw much service in Ireland, the Peninsula, and the Cape. Descended from a race of soldiers, he had a distant connection with Inverness, his great-grandfather, the Rev. Mr Mac-bean, having been one of the ministers of Inverness in the begining of the eighteenth century. Sir William was colonel of the 92nd Regiment.

Ibid.—The newspaper Stamp Bill, which had been under discussion during the session, had now passed the House of Lords. It then became optional to print stamped or unstamped newspapers, the stamped copies, however, having the right to be retransmitted through the post-office. The “Courier,” unstamped, was now to be had for 3|d per copy.

June 14.—Rapid progress is reported in the construction of the Inverness and Nairn Railway. The cuttings had been easy, except for a rather stiff piece of work on the estate of Raigmore, below Stoneyfield, about two and a half miles from Inverness'. Underneath the gravel a bed of hard clay—the boulder clay of geologists— had been found, which required the free use of the pick-axe. Several large boulders of granite had been turned out, showing very decidedly the rubbing and high polishing to which they had been subjected by ice. In the sandy district of Petty, the materials cut through had been open and loose, generally shingle or pure sand; “and in some places, such as at the Tom-Mhoit, an old Court-hill on the edge of the moss at Petty, the sand is so exceedingly small and light that the slopes will require to be sown with grass, silver-weed, and other binding plants, to keep them from slipping or being injured bj- the rain and winds.”

Ibid.—One of the workmen employed by Mr Rose, Kirkton, at his farm on Culloden Moor, had recently discovered, at a place adjoining the scene of the battle, a pocket knife which bore every trace of being a genuine relic of the period of the ‘45. “It consists of a strong steel blade and a large steel pin, which was probably used for pricking the touch-hole of the musket. Both double into the handle by means of an excellent joint. The handle appears to be of common horn; it is handsomely ornamented with the brass of the same pale colour as the brass of which Highland ornaments of a much older date were usually formed. A brass plate is affixed to the end of the instrument, on which a seal appears to have been engraved, but tho tracings are obliterated. Round the fastenings of the point is a star in brass very well executed. The workmanship and quality of the knife are very superior, and the relic is in excellent preservation.”

Ibid.—A public meeting was held in Inverness to protest against militia, billeting, and to recommend the erection of barracks.

Ibid.—The hunting trophies of Roualevn Gordon Cumming had been removed from Inverness for exhibition in London. “The collection is probably the most extraordinary ever made by one individual; some idea of its extent may be form eel from the fact that when removed last week by the Martello steamer, it was found to require three hundred barrels-bulk for the accommodation of the different articles.”

June 21.—The Suspension Bridge over the Ness was now nearly finished, and it was understood that the cost, including the approaches, had exceeded the original estimate by not less than £U000. “According to the Act of Parliament, Government made a grant of £7700, and advanced £10,700 by way of loan, to be repaid by an assessment on the counties of Inverness, Ross, Sutherland, and Caithness. This, we presume, has all been spent, and £6000 in addition, making the whole cost of the bridge and the approaches £24,400.”

Ibid.—Mr George Giant, of the firm of Messrs Gladstone, Wylhe, and Co., Rangoon, and third son of the late Rev. James Grant, of Nairn, died at sea on 22nd April. He was one of the earliest commercial pioneers in Burmah, but lived only to see his efforts successful and his work beginning to assume form and shape. It was believed that only one Englishman besides himself had visited Ava during the previous quarter of a century. Mr Grant was only thirty years of age.

Ibid.—A magistrate of Inverness, who had recently resigned, Bailie Angus Macbean, No. 15 High Street, was about to proceed to Canada West. Before his departure he was entertained to a public dinner in the Guildry Hall.—The sann issue records that no fewer than forty-two whales went ashore at Sconser, in Skye, and were left by the tide on the beach. The largest measured about twenty-one feet in length, and the others averaged about sixteen feet.

June 21 and 28.—The failure of the London banking house of Strachan, Paul, and Co. (Sir John Paul was the best known partner) excited much comment. The liabilities were very heavy, and many prominent people suffered.

July 5.—A communication to the county of Inverness from the Commissioners of Highland Roads and Bridges showed that the cost of the Ness Suspension Bridge was even higher than the latest expectation. The figures submitted by Mr J. M. Rendel, C.E.. gave the total amount “expended and to be expended to complete the bridge” at £27,057. The county had to bear its proportion of the extra cost. Air Rendel’s report stated that to render the bridge safe beyond all doubt, it had been deemed necessary “to lay its foundations so much below the level of the bed of the river, that the intended deepening of the harbour on the one hand, and the violence of Loch-Ness on the other, should not scour the river at the new bridge to such a depth as to undermine the bridge works.” The excavations went down twenty-three feet below high flood and spring-tide level. The expense had also been increased by the failure of two contractors.

Ibid.—The Mackintosh of Mackintosh had presented seats for the Ness Islands. He had also previously given a large donation of trees and shrubs for planting.

Ibid.—Mr James Loch, formerly M.P. for Sutherland, died the previous week. He was born in 1780. and was n member both of the Scottish and English bar. Mr Loch was commissioner for the Duke of Sutherland and for other great estates. He was the author of an “Account of the Improvements on the Marquis of Stafford’s Estates in Stafford, Salop, and Sutherland.”

Ibid.—The death of Lord Raglan, Commander-in-Chief in the Crimea, is announced.

July 12.—Air Ross of Cromarty, who had been Provost of the burgh for some years, intimated his resignation, because he found that “by the articles of war, no officer in the army or militia, can legally hold any municipal situation.” Mr Robert Ross, banker, was elected Provost in his room.

July 14 and 19.—These dates include the Wool Market Circular. The market was stiff, but for lambs and wedders there was a slight advance in prices, Cheviot lambs realising from £14 10s to £10 10s per clad score, and wedders from £29 to- £31, a few exceptional cases bringing £35 and £30. In ewes there was a decline. For wool, however, there was a brisk demand, and prices were good. “Little business was done last year, and the highest price then obtained for Cheviot wool was 11s 6d per stone. This afternoon various lots have been sold from 17s to 18s Gd. and some as high as 20s. The bulk of the Sutherland wool may he quoted at 18s 6d, and the Inverness-shire and Ross-shire at 17s 6d.” There were few transactions in blackfaced stock.

July 19.—Lord John Russell had resigned office on account of his speech relating to the Conference at Vienna.

Ibid.—An account is given of the plantations made at Reelig by the proprietor, Mr J. B. Fraser, who was a practical improver, as well as a traveller and author. He had planted not only fir and larch, oak and beech, but also on both sides of the picturesque Reelig burn, more delicate trees such as the turkey or evergreen oak, the Spanish chestnut, the hemlock pine, the black American spruce, and the silver and balm of Gilead Fir. Among shrubs were quantities of laurels, rhododendrons, yews, hollies, &c. Mr Fraser was also fond of the Cedar of Lebanon, which he planted in groups and single trees in his lawn and garden. Speaking generally of the North Highlands, the writer says— “Not sixty years ago, there were no plantations, except a few woods of sombre Scotch fir, and no drives or pleasure grounds, except round the castellated mansions of our feudal aristocracy. Now the reclaimed grounds of the arable farmer, and the wooded slopes which lead on tlhe eye to the bare upland pastures, nearly divide, in many districts, the lower portions of the country into pretty equal but beautiful variegated sections. The larch and many species of the pine tribe now show themselves to be nearly as hardy as the native fir, and the homesteads of our enterprising farmers, partly at their expense, and partly by the wise expenditure of landlords, are becoming in many places as highly and richly decorated with trees and gardens as the seats of our older gentry.”

Ibid.—A great number of bottle-nosed whales, which had been moving about the Moray Firth, advanced up the Cromarty Firth, and were stranded about two miles from Dingwall. The number is given at 114, or according to another account 164. The whales varied from 12 to 20 feet in length.

Ibid.—An officer of the Royal Marines, Lieutenant Macintyre, died on the 30th of June at Inverness, where he had been resident for more than forty years. He was born at Camusnaherie in Lochaber, and served in the war with France in the Virginia frigate, under Captain Brace. When placed on half-pay he settled at Inverness, of which he was made a burgess in April 1812. In a collection of Gaelic lyrics, the “Filidh,” published about 1840, there were several pieces by Mr Macintyre under the signature of “Cruachan.” By his special directions his remains were laid with those of his ancestors in the Isle of Mung, in Loch Leven.

July 26.—Notice is taken of a- gradual improvement in the quality and variety of the vegetables exposed for sale in the Inverness market. The writer says:—“At present fruits and vegetables are sold in Inverness three or four times dearer than in England, and nearly six times higher than in the commonest villages on the Continent.” The opening of the railway, it was hoped, would put an end to this costliness. A small sale was springing up in bouquets of flowers.

Ibid.—A bill for advancing a loan of £3000 for completing the Ness Bridge had passed through the House of Commons. Meanwhile the works were suspended for want of wooden blocks to finish the roadway. They were lying at Leith waiting for shipment. This leads to strong criticism, ending with the remark—“Every step with regard to this bridge seems doomed to misfortune or mismanagement.”—Note is made of a party of visitors to Inverness “under the auspices of Mr Cook of Leicester.”

August 2.—The scheme for the completion of railway communication by a line to connect the Inverness and Nairn Railway with the Great North of Scotland Railway was now launched. It was known as the Inverness and Aberdeen Junction Railway. The Chairman was the Earl of Sea-field, and the Deputy-Chairman the Marquis of Stafford.

Ibid.—A great storm of thunder and lightning, accompanied with torrents of rain, is reported from Skye. The river which flows from the Coolin Mountains rose into uncontrollable fury, and at Rhuendunan, the residence of Mr Hugh Macaskill, carried away the garden wall- and burst into the house in a stream three feet deep. The inmates were rescued with difficulty.

August 9 and 16.—The stir and excitement at the opening of the shooting season are mentioned, the town being then more lively than it is nowadays with the arrivals and preparations. Rumours had been current that the severity of the winter and spring, and the return of disease among grouse, had all but ruined the prospects of the season, but these reports proved fallacious. “The quantity of grouse is not less than the average of years, and is scarcely below last season—an extraordinary one in sporting annals ; while the maturity to which the young birds had attained in many instances exceeded our expectations.” The season was memorable for whales. A large number appeared off the Lews, and 64 were captured at Back.

Ibid.—The Inverness Town Council was interested in the right of way in Godsman’s Walk. One of the magistrates, Bailie Dallas, carried a motion for the preparation of a memorial on the subject. He gave an interesting history of the lands of Aultnaskiach and the footpath. Some fifty or sixty years before the lands belonged to the Duke of Gordon. They were, he said, comparatively valueless, but were occupied together with Aultnaskiach Cottage by an Englishman named Captain Godsman, who acted as factor for the Duke of Gordon. At that time, “and from time immemorial before it,” there was a right of way for the citizens of Inverness to pass through the moorland, covered with whin and broom, to the lands of Drummond and Campfield, and towards Essich. To get rid of many foots paths, Captain Godsman made a walk, and fenced it with stones gathered from the fields. About forty-seven years prior to 1855 Captain Godsman died, and was succeeded in the occupancy of the lands and cottage by Dr Robertson, who subsequently purchased the property. At that time the path was open, but Dr Robertson, in concert with a solicitor, set about shutting it up. They first built a dyke and placed a gate upon it, without a lock; then the gat© came to have a lock upon it; and ultimately the gate was converted into a dead stone wall. This was the narrative on which the motion was adopted. Another member of Town Council revived the proposal for adopting the Free Libraries Act, but in the end the proposal was again found to be premature. The revenue of the town had first to improve.

August 23.—Queen Victoria with Prince Albert, the Prince of Wales ami the Princess Royal, went to France on a visit to the Emperor and Empress of the French. They travelled by way of Boulogne, and had a splendid reception. The Royal visitors made a State entry into Paris, and stayed with their hosts at St Cloud.

Ibid.—Me Patric Park, sculptor, who was on a professional visit to Mr Pender of Speke-hall, died at Warrington, in Lancashire, in his 41tli year. When Air Park was at the railway station, observing a porter struggling to lift a hamper of ice, he stepped forward to lend assistance, and in the effort burst a blood-vessel. Though the bleeding was staunched, it burst out afresh, and the effects proved fatal. The deceased was a native of Glasgow, and studied under Thorwaldsen at Rome. All the public journals spoke highly of his genius as a sculptor. His portrait busts were best known. Among those who sat to him were the Emperor Napoleon, the Duke of Cambridge, Lord Dundonald, Sir Charles Napier, Sir Harry Smith, and Alison, the historian. Air Park was a son-in-law of the late Dr Carruthers.

Ibid.—'The Suspension Bridge across the Ness was at last open for traffic. “Carriages and foot passengers have to-day (August 23) for the first time had a free passage across it, and throughout this week Mr Rendel has endeavoured to give every accommodation in his power to vehicles having occasion to cross the river. Now that the bridge is all but finished, we must do it the justice to say that it is by far the finest construction of the kind in the North of Scotland. The span is 225 feet, and the solidity and finish of the work are spoken of by all competent judges as unequalled in the Highlands, and unsurpassed anywhere.” Six and a half years had passed since the stone bridge was swept away in 1849.

Ibid.—The estate of Mountgcrald, near Dingwall, was purchased by Mr Mackenzie of Findon for £15,000.

August 30.—The Earl of Derby, the ex-premier, paid a visit to the Duke of Richmond at Gordon Castle. He spoke at an agricultural dinner.

Ibid.-Mr Andrew Dougall, of the Dundee and Perth Railway was appointed general manager of the Inverness and Nairn line. —At a public meeting in Inverness Mr Dallas’s motion for the adoption of tho Public Libraries Act was rejected.

September 6.—An account is given of the battle of Ichernava, where the Busmuiis attacked the French and Sardinians, but after a fierce conflict were driven back with great loss. The attack was partly a surprise. resembling the battle of Inkermann. The defeat of the Russians was largely due to the excellent service of the Sardinian artillery.

September 13.—News bad come of the fall of Sebastopol. The French had succeeded in capturing the Malakoff, and though the British had failed to take the Redan, the town became untenable, and Sebastopol was evacuated during the night. Full details of the desperate fighting and the evacuation are given in subsequent issues. General Sir George Brown, who had returned from the Crimea owing to ill-health, was entertained to a public banquet at Elgin. He was the first general officer to mount his charger on the landing of the British troops in the Crimea, and one of the first on the heights of Alma. He was severely wounded at Inkermann, but returned to active service until ill-health compelled him to return home.

September 13 and 20.—The Northern Meeting is reported in these issues. The proceedings were of the usual kind, but it is stated that the attendance at the second ball was larger than on any similar occasion for a number of years.

September 27.—Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander Brodie Campbell, formerly of the Bombay Army, died at Elgin on the 17th inst. He bequeathed £500 to build a school in the vicinity of Fornighty, parish of Ardclaoh, where he was born, and £2500 as a fund for perpetual endowment. To each of the parish ministers of Ardclaoh-Auldearn, and Cawdor he left a legacy of £100. Several legacies were left to private friends, and the residue of his fortune went for bursaries in King’s College, Aberdeen, at from £10 to £20 per annum. Another paragraph states that the late Major Rose of Kilravock, who fell while leading the Light Company to the heights of Alma, was an enthusiastic horseman. He had left a manuscript, which had just been published in a small volume of fifty pages, entitled “Four Short Chapters on Horses, Hunting, and the Turf.” The produce of the sale was to be paid over to the Soldiers’ Infant Home.

Ibid.—Mr James Ross, Colombo, had collected the sum of £58 3s 9d from friends in Ceylon to assist in defraying the expense incurred in opening the Ness Islands to the public.

October 4.—An interesting article appears on the population of the Highlands. In view of the rather meagre enlistment of 60)kliers from the district, the question had been discussed by London and Scottish newspapers—one side maintaining that there had been depopulation, the other that the Highland counties had been increasing in a greater ratio than other Scottish counties. The writer in the “Courier” points out that, according to the census returns, there had undoubtedly been a large increase of population, but that important changes had taken place in the condition and distribution of the people, and that forty years of peace had made them less inclined to join the army. “The fact seems strangely omitted in all these discussions, that the difficulty of recruiting is felt q.11 over the three kingdoms, and not merely in the Highlands.” The decrease in Highland population, it may be observed, occurred after this period.

Ibid.—A short article oil sport says:—“The season has been an excellent one for grouse-shooters, with a very few exceptions, and there has not been such havoc among the feathered tribes as to leave us without hope of as good sport next year. One of the best moors this season has been that of Sir Henry Wilmot and party, Carr-Bridge. Up to Saturday last they had bagged 2843j brace of grouse, upwards of 300 hares, and other game in proportion.” The deer forests had also yielded satisfactory results.

Ibid.—The Rev. Alexander Fraser, Free Church minister of Kirkliill, had been obliged to return from his work in the Crimea. He had suffered severely in health, but was recovering.

Ibid.—Mr Lachlan Cumming died at Hoy, near Thurso, in his fifty-sixth year. He had been Controller of Customs at the port of Inverness for twenty-five years, when he retired on a pension. He then took to business as an importer of guano, and afterwards rented the large farm of Ratter in Caithness. A man of active mind, and of great kindliness and integrity, he had made many friends. Mr Cumming was a native of Caithness.

October 11.—Sir James Macgrigor, late Director of the Army Medical Department, wrote to Sir James Matheson suggesting the erection of some memorial to Assist-ant-Surgeon Thomson of the 44th Regiment, who fell a victim to his exertions in succouring the wounded, both British ind Russian, after the battle of the Alma. Sir James sent the letter to Seaforth, to be brought before the Ross-shire County Meeting, and subscribed a sum of ten guineas for the proposed object. Surgeon Thomson was a native of Cromarty, and the meeting, having cordially approved of the proposal, asked Mr Ross, convener of Cromarty, to organise measures for raising the necessary funds and for determining the kind of monument to be erected.

October 18.—A public meeting was held in Inverness, the Provost in the chair, for the purpose of enforcing the propriety of the different Presbyterian congregations in town holding the sacramental fast-days and observances at the same time. A change in dates had previously been made, which all the congregations, owing to some misunderstanding, did not accept. The question had evidently aroused public feeling, and the report extends to more than four closely-printed columns. Resolutions in favour of observing the fast-days at the same time were passed, and concurred in by the clergymen present.

Ibid.—The Highland Society of Scotland awarded a gold medal to Mr John Mitchell, factor for Seaforth, for a report of improvements on the estate at Arcan, in Ross-shire. A large extent of swampy land had been reclaimed and protected from the river by embankment. The operations, it was stated, had proved to be profitable.

October 25.—A correspondent sends particulars of Surgeon Thomson’s work after the battle of the Alma. It appears that when the British Army was about to move away, 750 Russians were lying on the ground in agony and unfit for removal. Lord Raglan was averse to leave them without help, and Dr Thomson volunteered his services, although there was danger from prowling Cossacks. For many a week he laboured among the wounded, assisted only by a private soldier named Maccarthy, who acted as his servant. British ships appeared just in time to enable them to escape from a band of Cossacks who were approaching. Dr Thomson, however, had been able to rescue from death 340 men, who were full of gratitude, and were able to take ship for Odessa. He reached the British headquarters, but died of cholera next day, worn out by the hardships he had undergone.

Ibid.—Under a new Act Mr W. R. Grant, assessor, had completed the valuation of the county of Inverness. The estimated rental was £196,275. It is stated that a valuation was made for the Property Tax in 1814, which included the burgh of Inverness, and the total was then £152,078. This latter valuation included the rent derived from kelp, which at that period was at its highest price.

Ibid.—Mr Henry Cocbburn Macandrew, afterwards so well known as a distinguished townsman, was on this date .admitted a Procurator before the Sheriff and other Courts of Inverness.

Ibid.—On the 8th inst., during service, the roof of the parish church of Kintail partially gave way, causing great alarm to the congregation. Happily the falling roof rested on the sarking and plaster, and did not drop into the body of the church. The clergyman, Mr Morrison, by appealing to the people, averted a panic, and no one was injured, although the danger was more serious than any one at the moment knew. The church was a very old fabric, dating, it was believed, from pre-Reformation times.

November 1.—The amount collected for the Patriotic Fund in Inverness-shire was £2427 6s 10d, of which £571 16s was raised in the burgh and £1855 10s 10d in the county.

November 8.—On Monday, the 5th, the railway from Inverness to Nairn was opened. A great crowd gathered to see the first train start. There were two engines decorated with flags, and the stokers turned out in spotless white. “By noon everything was in readiness; the carriages were crammed by nearly 800 people, and the Provost and Magistrates with the directors, headed by Raigmore and Aldourie (their names, by the way, being appropriately bestowed upon the two locomotives), had taken their seats. The doors of the carriages were then closed, and after two or three whistles from either end of the train, Mr Dougall, the manager of the line, gave the final order to start, and in a moment the train was in motion. A couple of small guns were fired; ai row of flags drawn across the opening were hitched some yards higher, and amidst deafening cheers the train launched forth upon its first trip.” Next day there was a similar trip from Nairn to Inverness, of which between four hundred and five hundred persons took advantage The line was regarded as being, what it was, the beginning of through railway communication. A proposal had been on foot for a branch line to Burghead, but this was abandoned.

Ibid.—The Hon. John Macgillivray, a native of Inverness-shire, died at Williamstown, Glengarry, Canada, at the age of 84. He had formerly been a partner in the Hudson’s Bay Company, from which he retired with a competent fortune, and filled many offices in the colony.

November 15.—An amended prospectus of the Inverness and Aberdeen Junction Railway Company was issued, the junction with the Great North to be at Keith. By abandoning the proposed branch line to Burghead, the Company had secured the co-operation of Morayshire and Nairn, which had previously opposed the scheme. The capital required for the extension from Nairn to Keith was put at £325,000. It was expected that steamers would run between Invergordon, Nairn, and Lossiemouth.

Ibid.—Mr Lyon-Mackenzie was re-elected Provost of Inverness, and Mr John Maciver, banker, was elected Provost of Dingwall, in place of Sir James Matheson, who had declined to be again nominated.

November 22.—A Council of War in the Crimea had decided that further operations against the enemy were to be abandoned during the winter, and that arrangements should be completed for the comfortable accommodation of the troops. The allied troops were in good winter quarters, and ample stores were daily pouring into the camps. In this district the Militia were still maintained at Fort-George, the battalion consisting of Forfarsliire Artillery, Ross-shire Rifles, and some companies of the Inverness-shire Light Infantry. They had been in camp during the summer, but were now in barracks.

Ibid.—Mr Keith Thomson, music master, Inverness, died on the 17th inst., aged 83. “He was one of the gentlest and most amiable of men, retiring and unobtrusive; but as a teacher of music, a citizen, and elder of the Church, he was regarded with the highest esteem and respect. Mr Thomson was a half-brother of Mr George Thomson, the correspondent of Burns, and like him was enthusiastically devoted to music. The magistrates of Inverness induced him to teach here, guaranteeing him a sum of £40 per annum; and arriving in 1795, Mr Thomson taught for the long period of sixty years."

November 29.—Mr Murdo Cameron, Town-Clerk of Dingwall, died on the 21st inst., in the 62nd year of his age. He had been Town-Clerk of Dingwall for twenty years, and took an active interest in the affairs of the burgh.

December 6.—The estate of Flichity, in the county of Inverness, had boon purchased by Mr John Congreve, who had been a shooting tenant in Easter Ross for several years. The purchase price is not mentioned.

December 13.—A Hungarian band, consisting of eleven musicians, gave two concerts in Inverness in connection with the Mechanics’ Institution. Their leader was named Kalozdy, and their performances excited great interest.

Ibid.—Mr Alexander Mactavish, Town-Clerk of Inverness, died on the 8th inst. in his fifty-sixth year. He was a native of Stratherrick, and had been Conservative agent for the county. Besides being a solicitor in good practice, he was an enterprising agriculturist. “He carried into the practice of the law the same active and fearless energy which he displayed as a sportsman or improving farmer among the hills, and as a political agent or leader at a public meeting he had few equals in the North. He was well versed in all local interests and affairs; as fluent in Gaelic as in English, fertile in resources and prompt in action. He was, indeed, a man of indomitable spirit and strong natural talent, capable also of close application and study, and possessing a considerable range of information on most subjects, fitting him equally for society and business.”

December 20.—There is a notice of the death of Samuel Rogers, the poet (in his 93rd year), and also a notice of two volumes of Macaulay’s History of England, with extracts from his account of Inverness and the Highlands. As regards Macaulay’s description of Inverness in 1689, the editor says:—“It is an error to suppose that there were even then no slated houses in the town. The old town residences of the neighbouring gentry, though few in number, were substantial buildings; and as Inverness had then nearly all the trade north of the Spey, some of the burghers enjoyed a share of substantial comfort and prosperity. Claret and brandy were cheap, game and fish could be had at a nominal price."

Ibid.—A short period of intense frost had been followed in some parts of the northern district by heavy rain and floods. In Lochbroom the rivers had risen to a height unexampled even bv the flood of 1849, and bridges had been carried away.

Ibid.—It is noted that Inverness had so far advanced that it was deemed expedient to issue a local Directory. The compiler and publisher was Mr P. Grant, High Street, and the work was pronounced a full and correct local guide.—The issue gives an extract from a magazine describing Roualeyn Gordon Cumming and his exhibition in London.

December 27.—A public meeting in Tain adopted a resolution in favour of celebrating the New-Year holiday on the 1st of January instead of the 12th (old style) as formerly. The meeting also resolved to send a copy of the resolution to the ministers in Easter Ross, “requesting their cooperation in this desirable reform, by bringing the subject before their respective congregations.” Another paragraph says that through the exertions of the Rev. Mr Cameron, Ardersier, the Justices of the Peace, ministers, farmers, and leading tradesmen in the Ardersier district had resolved to keep the 25th of December and the 1st of January as holidays instead of the old style. One of the speakers at the Tain meeting observed that Russia was the only great Power that adhered to the old style, and “that we ought to show that we were opposed to them on this as well as on other questions".


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