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The Northern Highlands in the Nineteenth Century
No. 3


In 1844 there was great political activity and agitation. The controversy on the Corn Laws was approaching its acute stage, and Factory Legislation was initiated. Lord Ashley, afterwards Lord Shaftesbury, made a strong effort to secure a ten hours day, but he did not as yet succeed, although on a resolution he twice defeated the Government. In their bill, however, Ministers successfully resisted the clause, but their measure contained useful provisions regulating the labour of children. The long trial of Daniel O’Connell and his confederates on charges of conspiracy and sedition resulted in their conviction in Dublin, but the judgment was upset by a majority of the House of Lords. Peel passed his Bank Charter Act for England, and there was considerable apprehension of his interference with the Scottish Banking system. Mr Gladstone carried a bill for the improvement of railway carriages for third class passengers. Mr Disraeli was beginning to make his influence felt in the House of Commons. A dispute with France about Tahiti was settled this year. There was much indignation in this country at the repudiation of debts by public authorities in the United States. Socially, the visits to England of the Czar Nicholas and King Louis Philippe excited interest.

In Scotland the expansion of the Free Church was earned forward. New churches were rapidly erected in the Highlands. There was a good deal of friction in connection with sites, but only a few of the northern proprietors refused for any length of time. The first scheme for a railway between Inverness and Perth was put forward. In the town of Inverness there was a warm dispute between the High Church and the Town Council on the subject of seat rents. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited

Blair-Atholl, and the Grown Prince of Denmark and the King of Saxony had a tour in the Highlands, which included Inverness.

From the “Inverness Courier-”

January 3.—The new English Free Church in Inverness, the first building erected in Bank Street by the Free High congregation, was opened on the previous Sabbath, when Rev. O. C. Mackintosh, of Tain, afterwards of Dunoon, conducted the services forenoon, afternoon, and evening. The church was crowded all day, and in the evening the standing-room in the passages was occupied. The total collection amounted to £61 3s 11d. It is stated that two beautiful collection plates, presented by Mr Forbes of Culloden, were used for the first time on this occasion.

Ibid.—An account is given of the raising of the “Uncertain,’’ of Sunderland, a vessel which had sunk in eleven fathoms of water in Broad-bay, island of Lewis, by Mr Bremner, shipbuilder and civil engineer, Wick. It is stated that the vessel was the heaviest ever lifted in Britain in such an exposed place.

January 10.—A service of plate was presented to Provost Sutherland, Inverness, on the occasion of his opening the Glenalbyn Distillery, in testimony of his enterprising spirit and public services.

January 17.—Several persons concerned in the mobbing and rioting at Cromarty and Resolis in connection with Church affairs were tried at the High Court of Justiciary in Edinburgh. Two were sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, and a third who had assisted in breaking into Cromarty jail was sentenced to imprisonment for nine months. It turned out that the cell from which the mob had released the woman was known as the black hole, and had no window except a hole unglazed and with iron stanchions on a level with the ground. The size of the cell was eleven feet by twelve. The woman, however, was in it only a short time. When the mob attacked the jail the jailer locked himself in another room.

Ibid.—It is announced that the island of Lewis has been purchased by Mr James Matheson of Achany, M.P., for £190.000. The population of the island at the time is given as about 15.000, but it was really over 17,000. At the census of 1901 the population was close on

29.000. The purchase by Mr Matheson was regarded as matter for rejoicing. “Thousands of the poor islanders are in a wretched! condition; the worst fed, worst clothed, and worst housed peasantry in Britain are to be found in this remote, uncultivated island.’’ It has been calculated that between 1844 and his death in 1878 Sir James Matheson (he was created a baronet in 1851) spent on his island property £384,363, besides the purchase money, making a total of £574,363.

January 24.—There is notice of a pamphlet by Sir George Mackenzie of Coul on the choice of wheat for seed.—A meeting of Ross-shire farmers petitioned against any interference with the Corn Laws.

January 31.—Major Mackenzie, Fodderty, died the previous week in his seventy-fifth year. He is described as an eminent agriculturist, who might lie said to have introduced scientific culture into Ross-shire. He was the first to apply lime to the soil.

February 7.—In this issue a letter appears from London headed “From our Private Correspondent.” It is contemporaneous with the opening of Parliament. In previous years there had been an occasional letter, written probably by a friend or by the editor himself on his visits to London. This date, however, is the beginning of the series written by Mr Roderick Reach, and continued afterwards by his son, Mr Angus B. Reach, and by other correspondents for many years. Mr Roderick Reach had been a solicitor and accountant in Inverness, but he went to London in 1843, and lived there till his death in 1853. His letters were much appreciated in the North of Scotland. In the first lie describes a bout between Sir Robert Peel and Mr Villiers on the subject of the Corn Laws. Sir Robert declared “that the Ministry had never contemplated and did not now contemplate making anv change on the existing Corn Laws.” The correspondent, however, shrewdly observed that the words did not convey as much consolation as they seemed to do; that they almost appeared like an invitation for more pressure from without. “We are squeezable, but the screw wants a turn or two yet.” It is stated that the earnestness of Mr Villiers, at that time the champion in Parliament for the removal of the Com Laws, “gave great and telling effect to the fierce denunciations which he hurled at the aristocracy and the landowners.”

Ibid.—There was a meeting of agriculturists in Dingwall which passed resolutions against the repeal of the Corn Laws. Provost Cameron dissented, and proposed an amendment, but found no seconder.

Ibid.—The parish minister of Kilmnllie, in Lochaber, had cut down a number of trees on the glebe before his demission. The heritors raised an action in the Fort-William Sheriff Court, and it was decided that he had exceeded his right of administration, and that the heritors were entitled to take possession of the timber.

February 14.—The widow of Mr Robert Logan, of Egham Lodge, Surrey, whose maiden name was Elizabeth Mackenzie, died recently in London. She was a granddaughter of Provost Hosack, of Inverness, and daughter of the Rev. Murdoch Mackenzie, one of the ministers of the Inverness High Church, whose work in the eighteenth century was long remembered. It is stated that he was a warm friend of evangelical religion, and admitted John Wesley to the High Church pulpit.

February 21.—The trial of Daniel O’Connell and his colleagues for sedition and conspiracy in connection with the agitation for the repeal of the Union hadi been going on for weeks in Dublin. The jury had now returned a verdict of guilty. The editor expressed considerable hesitation in accepting the judgment as sound. It was a case of constructive conspiracy, as not a single act committed was in itself illegal.

Ibid.—The London correspondent writes— “Lieutenant Grant, the second of Lieutenant Munro in the late unfortunate duel, has been acquitted. There is of course no moral doubt as to his having acted as second, but the legal proof as to his identity was deficient. There is a very strong impression that had Lieutenant Munro surrendered, the same absence of legal proof of identity would have led to his acquittal also.”

Ibid.—'a difference has for some time past existed between the Magistrates and Council [of Inverness] and a portion of the seat-holders of the High Church, who demand that a sum of £70 shall be annually appropriated from the seat rents towards augmenting the stipend of the minister of the third charge. The seat-holders having obtained an opinion of counsel on their case, proposed a conference with the Council, which the latter declined on the ground that it was premature, until an opportunity was afforded to the Magistrates and Council of examining and materially considering the memorial and opinion of counsel obtained by the seat-holders." The Council circulated a paper dated 1769, showing how the Magistrates and Council had undertaken the building of the existing church, borrowing £1000 for the purpose.

February 28.—Further particulars are given of the dispute Between the Kirk-Session of the High Church and the Town Council, and a copy is published, of the legal opinion obtained by the seat-holders. It is stated that in 1769, when the old church had! fallen into disrepair, the Presbytery threatened a prosecution of the Magistrates and heritors, and that this led to the agreement to build the new church. The Magistrates borrowed a considerable sum of money, and Sir Hector Munro gave a donation of £1000 to aid in the erection of the church. It was contended that by uplifting the seat-rents the original cost of the building, principal and interest, had long been repaid.

Ibid.—There is a paragraph on the death of an old man named Robert Grant, Grantown, who had acted for many years as ferryman at Gromdale. He possessed an inexhaustible fund of traditionary lore, and an extraordinary power of narrative and description.

March 6.—The London correspondent refers to the “Young England” group of the Conservative party. He gives as the principal members Lord John Manners, Lord Mahon, Mr Smythe, Mr Raillie Cochrane, Mr Monckton Milnes, “and last, not least,” Mr Disraeli. The writer says their notions are extreme, yet generally advocated with a talent and acuteness that secure the attention of the House. “But it is the sort of attention which grown-up folks bestow on clever, precocious children.” He notes that they blow hot and cold on Sir Robert Peel’s Government.

Ibid.—An obituary notice from a Toronto paper records the death at River Raisins, near Williamstown, Glengarry, of Captain Donald M’Gillis, “A U.E. Loyalist, and a native of Glengarry, Inverness-shire, from which he emigrated in 1773, along with his father’s family and a number of his countrymen, who formed a settlement on the banks of the Mohawk River, in the then province of New York.” On the outbreak of the Revolutionary War he took an active part on the Loyalist side, and in 1784 settled at Charlottenburgh. Captain M’Gillis was eighty years of age.—Another notice records the death of Captain Gregory Grant, a distinguished officer of the Royal Navy, who died at Burnside, Cromdale, aged 66.

Ibid.—A meeting was held to revive and improve the Mechanics Institution. There was still a sum of from £30 to' £40 at the credit of the institution, and a good collection of books. It was proposed to raise subscriptions and establish a reading-room.

March 13.—The death is recorded of Captain George G. M. Cobban, of the 50th Foot, “Onr brave townsman’’ who fell at the battle of Penniar in India. He was gallantly leading his company to capture some guns when he was struck down by grape-shot.

Ibid.—A largely attended meeting of heritors and farmers was held at Inverness in support of the Corn Laws—Mackintosh of Mackintosh presiding. The speakers in favour of the existing laws were the Chairman, Mr Fraser-Tytler, convener of the county; Mr Burnett, Kinchvle; Mr Baillie of Leys, Dr Nicol, Mr Mactavish, town-clerk; and Mr France, Wester Lovat. A resolution recommending a moderate fixed duty was proposed by Mr Grant, yr. of Ballindalloch, seconded by Lord Lovat, and supported by General Sir John Rose of Holme ; Mr Gentle, Dell; the Provost of Inverness, &c. The vote stood 45 in favour of the existing protection as against 18 in favour of a fixed duty. Mr C. Rose, Dean of Guild, proposed a motion on behalf of total abolition of the Corn Laws, but he found no seconder.

Ibid.—In removing, some stones from a large cairn at the foot of Graigoury, in the barony of Kincardine, Abemethy, the workmen discovered a small vault, about five feet long and three wide, which contained a quantity of human bones, including two skulls of uncommon size. It was obvious that the bodies could not have been laid at full length. The cairn was known to old residents as Carn-na-fheal, translated by the contributor as “Cairn of flesh.” It is stated that “there are many cairns and other vestiges of old warfare interspersed throughout the truly romantic district of Kincardine.”

March 20.—A Ross-shire meeting advocating the retention of the Corn Laws was held at Dingwall, and resolutions were passed on the subject. There were, however, a few dissentients, consisting of Colonel Ross of Strathgarve, Provost Cameron, Mr Ross, Humberston; Provost Gillanders, Fortrose; and Mr Laidlaw, Contin. Sir George Mackenzie of Coul and the Hon. Mrs Stewart Mackenzie of Seaforth wrote letters condemning the Corn Laws. The meeting otherwise was unanimous, and was large and influential. General Munro of Teaninich was in the chair, and Mr Davidson of Tulloch was one of the chief speakers.

Ibid.—The winter had been long and severe. The snow-storm was of seven weeks’ duration, and still remained. Shortly afterwards, however, it disappeared.

March 27.—It is mentioned as a sign of progress that a reading-room had been established at Invergordon. “A century has not passed away since the first bookseller’s shop was established! in Inverness. Matters have now assumed a different aspect, and intelligence travels with the rapidity of a steam-carriage.”

April 3.—The workmen engaged in the Caledonian Canal found at Bona, near Loch-Ness, a silver coin of the reign of Queen Elizabeth in excellent preservation.

April 10.—“Generations have passed away without seeing a rat on the island of Tarinsay, on the west coast of Harris. An innumerable swarm of these annoying and destructive vermin has, of late, spread over the island, notwithstanding the efforts made by Mr Macdonald, the tacksman, to extirpate them. They appear to be increasing so fast that they threaten to over-run the whole island, and keep violent possession of it. They are supposed to have come from the island of Soay, wliich lies at the distance of about three miles from Tarinsay, and into which the Earl of Dunmore, some years ago, ordered some rabbits to be sent. Soon after this the rats, which were formerly very numerous in the island of Soay, completely disappeared, having removed in a body to the neighbouring island of Tarinsay, from which they are not inclined' to make their departure in a hurry.”

April 17.—The English Free Church congregation of Inverness had agreed to give a call to the Rev. Joseph Thorburn, Forglen. The call came before the Synod of Aberdeen on the 9th inst. Mr Thorbum expressed his desire to remain in Forglen, as he considered it the field for which he was most suited. The Synod accordingly declined to translate him, but the parties from Inverness appealed to the General Assembly.

Ibid.—The death is announced of Lord Abinger, Chief Baron of the Exchequer, long known as Sir James Scarlett. “His active and1 distinguished life was passed during the reigns of four sovereigns.”

Ibid.—A presentation was issued in favour of Mr Alexander Macgregor, M.A., licentiate of the Church of Scotland, to become assistant and successor to his father, the Rev. Robert Macgregor, in the parish of Kilmuir, Skye. Mr Macgregor was afterwards minister of the West Church, Inverness.

April 24.—'The revived Mechanics’ Institute had been established in Inverness, and promised to prove a success.

May 1.—Mr Macpherson-Grant, yr. of Ballindalloch, and Mr Ogilvy of Corriemony, were appointed joint conveners of the county of Inverness.—The Rev. John Lees, M.A., was presented to the Church and parish of Stornoway. He was the father of Dr Cameron Lees, Edinburgh.

May 8.—Alastair Muidhe Maelodair, who was regarded as the last of the Gaelic bards, died in Gairloch, Ross-shire, at the age of 84. He was bard to the lairds of Gairloch, from whom he had a pension. The editor reminds his readers that a young hard had arisen, Evan Maccoll, author of “The Mountain Minstrel.”

May 15.—A preliminary meeting of gentlemen connected with the North was held in the Inverness Town Hall, on the requisition of Provost Sutherland, to consider the practicability of constructing a railway between Inverness and Perth, by the way generally of the Highland road, through Strathspey, Badenoch, and Athole. A report was read from Mr Joseph Mitchell, C.E., which suggested a route through Petty, across the River Nairn at Geddes, and thence by Dulsie towards Lochindorb and Strathspey. A committee of inquiry was appointed.

May 22.—The London correspondent records the ceremony of laying the foundation-stone of the Girls’ School to be attached to the Caledonian Asylum.—The fee for membership of the Inverness Mechanics’ Institute was fixed at 5s per annum, and 3s for apprentices.

May 29.—The Free Church General Assembly resolved by a majority to translate the Rev. Joseph Thorbum from Forglen to Inverness. Mr Thorburn said that though he continued of the same opinion as he had formerly expressed, he left the case to the wisdom and prayers of his fathers and brethren. The Assembly also dismissed on appeal from Marvburgh, in Ross-shire, and confirmed the proposal to transfer the Rev. George Macleod from Maryburgh to Lochbroom.

June 5.—The judgment in the Irish State trials is reported. Daniel O’Connell was sentenced to be imprisoned for twelve months, to pay a fine of £2000, to enter into his own recognisances for good behaviour for the space of seven years in the sum of £5000 and two sureties of £2500 each. The other parties were sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment each, a fine of £50, and to enter into security, themselves in £1000, and two sureties of £500 a-piece. There was an a,ppeal pending to the House of Lords, but meantime execution of the sentence was not delayed.

Ibid.—The General Assembly came to a decision respecting questions at issue between the West Church and the Presbytery of Inverness. The Assembly found that it was ultra vires of the Church Courts to divide the parish of Inverness in the manner arranged in the Presbytery minutes, and declared that the united parish of Inverness and Bona was still but one parish quoad omniae and that the ministers and elders connected with the English, Gaelic, and West Churches formed one united session, the communicants in each church being entitled to the same standing in the communion roll of the entire parish. It appeared that the debts still due on the West Church amounted to £1807, and that Mr Clark had accepted the sole liability, holding the building and property as his security. The Assembly declared that their finding was not to be understood as in any respect weakening this security.

Ibid.—The Inverness Town Council agreed to confer the freedom of the burgh on Mr Rowland Hill in recognition of his services in establishing the penny post.

June 12.—The death is announced of Dr J. G. Malcolmson, a native of Forres, which took place at Dhoolia on the 21st of March. “Dr Malcolmson’s attainments in science were of a high order. In geology he particularly excelled, and his writings in connection with that science called forth the unqualified approbation of some of the most eminent philosophers of the day.”

Ibid.—There is a long extract taken from the report of the Poor-Law Commission, on the condition of the poor in the Highland districts. The poverty in the western districts was set down largely to the desultory habits of the people and the lack of regular employment. Their ignorance of the English language operated against them. The relief of the able-bodied by means of a poor-law seemed to the Commission and their witnesses to be of doubtful expediency. What was required was “the full development of industrious habits. ”

Ibid.—A suggestion was made from Aberdeen for a railway between that city and Inverness. “No railway in the kingdom, of the same length, could be executed with more facility or at less expense.”

June 19.—Frederick, Grown Prince of Denmark, who was on a tour through the country, visited Inverness the previous week, having come with his suite through the Caledonian Canal. He paid a visit to Culloden battlefield, where Mr George Anderson acted as guide. Mr Forbes of Culloden and Mr Mackintosh of Raigmore were also present, and the former presented the Prince with part of a pistol and a cannon ball both dug up on the field. The Prince was entertained to luncheon in the Northern Meeting Rooms, and afterwards travelled across the Black Isle to Cromarty, where he embarked on board a Danish frigate for a visit to the Faroe Islands.

Ibid,—“ Mr Macgiliivray, schoolmaster at Farr, Strathnairn, lately discovered while trenching his garden to more than the usual depth, an ancient and very rude stone patera, or drinking cup, formed out of a solid piece of granite, or rather primary hornblende rock. It is 3^ inches wide and about 1£ deep, with a knob or handle on one side of it, which was perforated so as to receive a string or thong for carrying it. It weighs one pound nine ounces, and holds a gill of imperial measure. Two rude lilies are carved round the lip, with cross lines scooped between them, after the form common on the most ancient sepulchral urns.” It is added that several cups of the same kind were in the museum.

June 26.—On the 17th inst. Mr Stewart Mackenzie of Seaforth was married in London to Miss Hope Vere, eldest daughter of the late Mr Hope Vere of Craigieliall and Blackwood. The 'bride was given away by the Duke of Wellington. Rejoicings were held on the Seaforth estates.

Ibid.—About 1500 workmen were at this time engaged in the deepening and repairing of the Caledonian Canal, There had been a drought which reduced the waters of Loch-Oich to an exceptionally low level, and this afforded facilities for removing from the channel some hundreds of trees, consisting chiefly of the finest black oak—some of the blocks 3j feet in diameter, and other logs from 25 to 30 feet in length. Several were in a high state of preservation, others charred by fire. “There were also found a few logs artificially hollowed out, which, to all appearance, were made for serving the purpose of canoes. These interesting relics were almost completely destroyed in being fished up, with the exception of one, which, though materially injured, is in a better state of preservation. It is about 15 feet in length—the sides of the hollow 15 to 18 inches deep, curving inwards a little at one end, and the width at bottom being 9 or 10 inches.” Mr Jackson, the contractor, proposed to have the pieces of the canoe put together and deposited in the Inverness Museum. It is not there now.

Ibid.—The death is announced of the poet Thomas Campbell, and a sketch of his life extends to a column-and-half.

July 3.—The opening of Mazzini’s letters by the authorities of the Post-office vas a subject of Parliamentary and public controversy. Sir James Graham bore the brunt of the attack, which was afterwards renewed. It was found that he had not overstepped the law, and the power still remains in the hands of Secretaries of State. Mr Stuart Parker, however, in his Life of Sir James, acknowledges that probably “this furious outburst of ill-informed popular indignation’’ has restricted the use of warrants for inspection.

Ibid.—Several items may be grouped. The Inverness Town Council appointed a committee to see whether arrangements could be made for running an omnibus from the Exchange to Kessock Ferry at a fare of threepence. The idea was to offer a premium not exceeding £5 to a contractor. The same meeting appointed a committee to communicate with the Avoch fishermen with the view of procuring a supply of white fish for the town during the season of the herring fishery.—A young roe swimming in Loch-Ness was pursued and captured by Captain Turner and crew of the steamer “Helen Macgregor.”— The Inverness and Northern Horticultural Society had a successful summer exhibition. —The Duke of Sutherland had now granted sites for Free Churches in every parish in Sutherland.—A boat was upset at Ness, in the Lews, and five lives were lost.

July 10.—Several persons attempted to resist, in the Sheriff Court, the payment of an assessment for the relief of the poor. Decrees, however, were given against them.—Two attempts were made at Nairn by resurrectionists to open a child’s grave, but on both occasions they were discovered and fled.

July 17.—’A large number of noblemen and gentlemen in the Northern Counties formed themselves into a committee to inquire into the scheme for constructing a railway between Inverness and Perth.

Ibid.—The prices at the Inverness Wool Market were particularly good. Compared with the previous year the advance on sheep was from 20 to 25 per cent., and on wool from 30 to 50 per cent. Prices for Cheviot wedders ran from 21s to 24s and 26s, and in one exceptional case to 29s; for ewes, from 10s to 16s; blackfaced wedders fetched on an average about 15s or 16s, but a few lots reached 18s and 19s, and one lot fetched 21s; blackfaced ewes ran from 6s 6d to 10s 6d. The best Cheviot lambs realised 10s 6d and 11s, blackfaced lambs from 5s to 7s, and in one case 8s. Crosses were also in active demand at high prices. Cheviot wool was quoted from 15s to 17s; the Dunrobin lot sold at 18s. “A lot of Cheviot wool, prepared in a peculiar manner, without the usual tar aud butter, was sold by Dr Mackenzie, Kinnellan, at 19s 6d.” A lot of half-bred wool realised 25s 6d. On the market days Professor Johnston, chemist to the Agricultural Chemistry Association, delivered in the Sheriff Court House a series of three lectures on soils, manures, and vegetable produce. His services had been obtained by the Inverness Farmer Society.

Ibid.—A large school of whales was driven on the 1st inst. into a bay near Stornoway, and slaughtered. The total number is given as 179. The whales were sold for £483. In subsequent issues there are notices of captures in the Orkneys and Shetland. The season was remarkable for the movement of whales.

July 24.—The Inverness Town Council agreed to give £10 to assist in running an omnibus to Kessock Ferry. They also agreed to offer a premium of Is 3d “for every full-sized creel of fish brought into the town during the time of the herring fishing."—The Gaelic Church congregation proposed to give a call to the Rev. D. Maconnochie, late of the Presbytery of Picton, Nova Scotia. The charge had been vacant since 27lli September, but the Presbytery had waived their right of presentation, and at their next meeting sanctioned the call.—The Rev. Joseph Thorburn was inducted to the charge of the Free English congregation.

July 31.—A correspondence between the Rev. John Mactavish, Free Church of Baliachulish, and Mr Maclean of Ardgour, regarding a site for a Free Church, illustrates the temper of the times.—The visit to Inverness of a famous vocalist, Mr Templeton, created “admiration amounting to enthusiasm.”—A paragraph from the “John o’ Groat Journal” states that “the implement of household use on which the celebrated John o’ Groat was accustomed to hang his kettle over the fire is now in the possession of a woman in the parish of Caaiis-bay.” Naturally she attached great value to the old “crook.”—No fewer than 500 bottlenosed whales appeared in Soapa Bay, Orkney, and 100 of them were captured.

Ibid.—The King of Saxony was on a tour through Scotland. He visited Staffa and Iona and Glenfinnan, and would have climbed Ben-Nevis had it not been for the unfavourable weather. On his way through the Caledonian Canal he sketched Invergarry Castle and visited the Falls of Foyers. Sunday was spent in Inverness. In the morning his Majesty went to examine the vitrified fort of Craig-Phadrick, and afterwards attended service in the Roman Catholic Chapel. In the afternoon he drove to Culloden Moor, Kilravock, and Cawdor. The King returned south by way of Dunkeld. “Nothing could be more simple or unostentatious than the demeanour of the Saxon monarch. He is strongly attached to geological and botanical pursuits, and seems averse to all courtly splendour and display.”

August 7.—The marriage of Lady Elizabeth Georgina, eldest daughter of the Duke of Sutherland, to the Marquis of Lorne, only son of the Duke of Argyll, took place the previous week at Trentham. Rejoicings were held on the Sutherland estates.—A list of shooting tenants in the Highlands consists of about ninety names.

August 14.—A great Burns festival took place at Ayr, at which the sons and near relatives of the poet were present. The editor, who gives a long and graphic account of the pageant, procession, and banquet, says that from fifty to sixty thousand persons assembled to do honour to the memory of the poet. He mentions the presence of one faithful friend—“one on whom Time has gently laid her hand, as if in fulfilment of the poet’s dying benediction. We allude to Mrs Thomson, Dumfries, the Jessie of some of his sweetest lyrics and verses, who helped to support his sinking frame the last time he was seen abroad, and on whom, while she ministered to his relief in sickness, he made his last effort at poetical composition.” The Earl of Eglinton was in the chair at the banquet, and Professor Wilson (Christopher North) was croupier.

Ibid.—The property of Kernsary was purchased by the tutors of Sir Kenneth Mackenzie of Gairloch for £6000.

Ibid.—A memorandum on the proposed railway from Inverness to Perth states that “there are at present nine daily coaches, as well appointed as any in Britain, starting from and arriving at Inverness; regular steamers ply thence to London, Leith, and Glasgow ; and our Highland roads are confessedly inferior to none. Why then should not the Northern Counties communicate with the south by railway?”

August 21.—An Ayr newspaper acknowledges “a very ingenious and tasteful piece of penmanship’’ executed by one of the pupils of Mr Falconer, of the Inverness Royal Academy, and transmitted by Mi Carruthers as an offering for Burns’ monument. The sheet contained in the centre an excellent portrait of Burns, round which was wreathed a tribute to the immortal genius of the poet. The young artist was Arthur Joass, aged thirteen years. “The present well deserves a niche in the monument. It does credit to the young gentleman both as respects its merits and the feelings which prompted its execution.”

Ibid.—The death took place at Forres of Lieut. -Colonel Lewis Carmichael, aged 52. He began his career as an ensign in the 59th Foot in 1809, and was on active service in the Peninsula and in India. At St Sebastian he was the only officer out of thirteen who accompanied the advance which entered the town. During the disturbances in Canada “the Glengarry Highlanders looked up to him as a brother, while they obeyed him as a chief. The cairn raised by them in honour of Lord Seaton was planned at the suggestion of Colonel Carmichael, and his own assistance in rearing this singular structure was not wanting.” Colonel Carmichael cherished the language and customs of the Gael. His remains were interred among his native hills in the Church-yard of Cromdale.

Ibid.—This week the first number of a monthly publication called “Tlio Inverness and Northern Agriculturist,” price twopence, was issued from the “Courier” Office. It was undertaken by Mr Carruthers at the recommendation and request of Professor Johnston, and a large number of the landed proprietors and farmers of the Northern Counties.

August 28.—An attempt was made at this time to naturalise in this country the alpaca of Peru1, “an animal valuable both for its fleece and carcass.” This issue mentions that the total of pure and mixed breeds in the country, apparently both in England and Scotland, was estimated at 210, divided among various individuals. The Marquis of Breadalbane had a few for a short time, but they all died except one. “It was the opinion of the Marquis’s people who had charge of them that the pasturage was too rich, and that they would have done better on hill ground.” The alpaca and llama were to be seen grazing on fields belonging to Mr Stevenson near Oban, feeding exactly like Highland cattle, and going out with the cows to pasture. One authority believed that the alpaca could thrive in Scotland! as well as blackfaced sheep. From a book published at this time it would seem that experiments at naturalising the alpaca had been going on for about twenty-five years.

Ibid.—Mr Sim, Scotsburn, Ross-shire, gives an account of the application of guano to the soil. “It is three years since the first few experiments were made with this manure in Britain. Their success led to further ones. But it is only now, in 1844, that a general impression of its importance has been arrived at.”

Ibid.—The new omnibus between the Inverness Exchange and Kessock Ferry began running the previous day.—The freedom of Dingwall was conferred on Mr Matheson of Achany, M.P....There is a long notice of the second number of the “ North British Review,” signed R. R., probably Roderick Reach. The contribution contains an appreciative account and some criticism of an article attributed to Hugh Miller, on Scottish Fishermen.

September 4.—“We understand that our countryman, John Fraser, Esq., formerly Provost of Inverness, has just removed from Sherbrooke, in Canada, to Chatham, in the Western district, as agent for the Montreal Bank. Our respected townsman will there be in a milder climate, at the head of the Thames River navigation, and surrounded by a splendid and improving country. We cordially wish him all health and prosperity.’’

September 11.—A show of Cheviot sheep was held at Lairg, in Sutherland, the previous week. The editor took occasion to pay a visit to the spot, and) wrote two very interesting columns on the district and its traditions.

Ibid.—The writ of error brought by O’Connell and his colleagues against the judgment of the Irish Court was sustained by a majority of the House-of Lords. “The question being put, Lords Denman, Cottenham, and Campbell voted for the reversal of the judgment, and the Lord Chancellor and Lord Brougham for its affirmation. The decision of the Court then was that the judgment of the Court below ought to be reversed, and the traversers were virtually declared innocent and once more free.”

September 18.—The Queen and Prince Albert visited Scotland. They travelled by their yacht to Dundee, and thence proceeded to Blair Castle.

Ibid.—“Many of our northern parochial schoolmasters having joined the secession of last year, have been called upon by the Presbyteries to re-subscribe the Confession of Faith and formula of the Church of Scotland, and upon their refusal to comply have been summarily deposed from their office. Some of them resolved on retaining possession notwithstanding, and it has in consequence been deemed necessary to apply for the aid of the civil authority to expel them.” One of these cases occurred at Contin, in Ross-shire.

September 25.—A communication from Mr Grant of Kincorth to the Inverness Farmer Society describes the plantations he had made on the outskirts of the Sands of Culbin, near Forres. These plantations covered about seventy acres, in the form of a belt extending about a mile in length, and varying from 100 to 400 yards in breadth. Part of the ground was a flat, sandy moor, but a large part consisted! of sandhills alone. The planting began in 1837, and was continued annually in portions of from fifteen to twenty acres. Mr Grant was satisfied that he had made a successful attempt to clothe pure sand hills with thriving plantations of Scotch and larch firs. He did not expect the timber to be of any great size or value, but the trees clothed a sandy spot, and might be useful for many rural purposes.

Ibid.—A sum of £75 9s 6d was collected in Inverness for the National Memorial to Rowland Hill.

October 2.—It is mentioned that at the annual ball given by Mr and! Mrs Lowe to their pupils in the Northern Meeting Rooms the great novelty of the evening was the polka, which had lately become fashionable. “The dance was exhibited here for the first time, and excited a strong interest, especially when performed in the Bohemian costume.”

Ibid.—The same issue contains a description of Falkirk Tryst, a market of long standing, and then steadily rising in importance. It is stated that occasionally there had appeared at the market 25,000 head of cattle and 45,000 sheep; and that the total amount of money which changed hands at the three markets in August, September, and October was estimated at upwards of half-a-million sterling.

October 9.—Satisfactory progress was being made with the preliminaries of the proposed railway between Inverness and Perth. Mr Joseph Mitchell, C.E., was carrying out a fresh survey for the promoters.—Mr Thomas Fraser, solicitor, Inverness, was appointed Sheriff-Suibstitute of Skye.

Ibid.—In carrying out the improvement of the Caledonian Canal considerable excavations were made at Bona and the site of the ‘‘ rude keep or fortress ” called Castle Spiritual. “In removing some of the ruins of the Castle, a number of human bones, the teeth being remarkably fresh and entire, and one complete skeleton, were found. Some coins of the reign of Elizabeth were also dug up; but what occasioned most surprise was the discovery of a nest of toads, completely encased in the solid wall, with apparently not the slightest opening by which ingress could be obtained. In a small cavity, about three inches in diameter, were found six toads and a lizard. On their first admission to the light of day the toads appeared insensible, but on being touched by the men they speedily revived!.”

Ibid!—Races, Highland games, and a competition of pipers formed the outdoor programme of the Northern Meeting. The weather was not very favourable, but the attendance was as large as usual. The Duke of Richmond presided on Thursday and Lord Saltoun on Friday.—A column and a-half, bearing the initials A. B. R. (Angus Bethunc Reach), describes Boulogne and Picardy.—A public meeting was held at Dingwall to instal Mr Dickson, the new teacher of the Burgh School, and his assistant, Mr Borthwick.

Ibid.—On the previous Tuesday the Queen and Prince Albert brought their visit to Blair Castle to a close, joining their yacht at Dundee for Woolwich. On the day before their departure the Queen and Prince drove down Glen-Tilt. “It is stated that no fewer than fifteen thousand deer were collected before the view of her Majesty, who was so delighted1 that she looked on the scene for hours, causing them to be repeatedly separated and driven back, and then again sent forward to disport on the beautiful slopes with which the banks of Glen-Tilt abound.”

October 16.—A numerous and well-mounted party of gentlemen in hunting dresses met for coursing at the Longman. They failed to start a hare, and then let out a bagged fox. No persuasion, however, could make him run. As he moved about watching the crowd, the hounds dashed in, but were driven off with whips. “In the course of half-an-hour some hundred or so of boys, headed by a yelping cur dog, bore down on the field, and great was their joy when the fox, no longer able to brook their din, sprang over the dyke, and at a rattling pace dashed down the Longman, closely followed by his tormentors, with the dogs snuffing at his heels; but in spite of them all he pursued the even tenor of his way, turning in the direction of the river’s mouth, where he took the water, amid a volley of stones, but, heeding them not, he breasted the billows and landed safe in Ross-shire.’’

October 23.—“The old bell in our fine steeple, which was broken at the time of the rejoicings consequent on the victory of Waterloo, was taken down on Friday week, to be recast or exchanged for a new one. It was found to weigh nearly 3 cwt., and bears the following inscription: —‘Recast and augmented by Sir Alexander Grant of Dalvey, Bart., Member of Parliament for Inverness, &c. Anno 1763.’ ”—The Town Council at this time subscribed £10 to have a clock placed in the Merkinch, in a new liouse which was being built at the junction of four streets.

Ibid.—As part of the improvement of the Caledonian Canal, it was resolved to construct a new lock at Gairlochy, at the western end of Loch-Lochy, to serve as a protection against the rise of floods in the lake. The foundation-stone was laid with great ceremony on the 16th inst. by Mr James Loch, M.P., one of the Commissioners. It is stated that the principal contractor was Mr Thomas Jackson, from Aston, Birmingham, whoso contract ran to £137,000.

Ibid.—At the October meeting of the Inverness Farmer Society there was a discussion on the best mode of applying guano.

October 30.—“Dr Mackenzie, Kinellan [better known in later days as of Eileanach, Inverness], is about to confer on the tenants of Gairloch the practical benefits of the allotment system, which is to be commenced on a liberal scale, namely, to the extent of 700 allotments, varying from two to four acres. Dr Mackenzie visited Eastbourne, in Sussex, where the allotment system is pursued; and so perfectly satisfied was he of its simplicity, general practicability, and results that he has unceasingly laboured to introduce a similar practice into the Highlands. Whether oup inferior soils and climate will suit as well as the richer lands of Sussex for the small allotment system may be doubted, but the experiment, under benevolent guidance and support, is at least worth a trial.”

November 6.—The Calcutta mail brought news of the death of Lieut. Mackintosh, formerly aide-de-camp to Lord Ellenborough, to whom was confided the safe custody of the Mysore princes. He was the youngest son of the late William Mackintosh of Balnespick, and an officer of great promise.

November 13.—The Inverness municipal elections created little interest. In Dingwall Mr Hugh Innes Cameron was re-elected Provost.

November 20.—A report is given of a lecture on the Island of Lewis, delivered in Glasgow by Mr Smith of Deanston. He describes the mode of life andl husbandry. Mr Smith thought that if the land were properly improved, it would maintain twice the number of the then inhabitants.—The same issue devotes four columns to a report of the soiree of the Mechanics’ Institution.

November 27.—The Nairnshire Farmer Society had offered premiums for the best experiments in raising turnips or potatoes by means of guano or other new manure. A long statement of the results is published.

December 4.—At the Inverness Martinmas market there was a competition in butter and cheese for premiums offered by the Highland and Agricultural Society. There had been a competition for butter the previous year, but not for cheese. “The effect of these competitions on the district generally was observable in the vast quantities of butter and cheese exhibited! at this Martinmas market, which in general, for quality and cleanliness, were decidedly and greatly superior to what they used to be.”—In the same issue the editor makes a strong appeal for the repair and improvement of the Ness Islands. “The bridge on the Bught side of the river is an eyesore, broken down as it is, and half-covered with water.”

Ibid.—Lieut.-General Sir John Cameron, K.C.B., nephew of Cameron of Callart, died recently in Guernsey. Born in 1773, he entered' the army in 1787, and served with great distinction in the West Indies and in the Peninsula. Sir John was subsequently appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Plymouth, and had the military command of the western district, which he held for fourteen years. In 1835 he was appointed to the colonelcy of the 9th Regiment.

December 18.—An agitation had been going on in Scotland against interference with the system of Scottish banking, which Sir Robert Peel was believed to have in contemplation. A meeting was held in Inverness, with Mr Henry J. Baillie, M.P., in the chair, which passed resolutions of protest.—The same week there was a meeting to consider a proposal for the erection of a lunatic asylum at Inverness. A sum of £1700 had been subscribed, which included £200 from the Duke of Sutherland and £500 from Mr Matheson of Achany.

December 25.—The London correspondent records long-continued depressing weather in the metropolis. “Bitterly severe winds, almost blistering to the skin, prevail to the great discomfort of man and beast. Until yesterday we had not seen one blink of the sun since 28th October, when the Queen visited the city.”


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