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The Northern Highlands in the Nineteenth Century
No. 5

The year 1846 is memorable for the adoption of Peel’s policy for the abolition of the Corn Laws and the extension of free trade in the case of manufactures; also for the calamitous famine in Ireland and the failure of the potato crop in the Highlands, which had mostly escaped the previous year. The debates in Parliament on the new policy were protracted and angry. Mr Disraeli, who had previously been a severe critic of Peel, sprang forward as the real leader of the Protectionists, although Lord George Bentinck, also a man of force and capacity, was the nominal chief. There was no choice but to pass Peel’s measure, as he was supported by Whigs and Radicals, and by such Conservatives as saw no other alternative. His opponents, however, soon had their revenge. Ministers brought forward a Protection of Life Bill to strengthen their hands in Ireland, which was disturbed by outrage as well as by famine. This measure was obnoxious to the Liberal Opposition and to Irish members, and the Protectionists joined them. The Corn and Customs Bill passed the Lords on the 25th of June, and the same night Peel was defeated in the Commons on his Coercion Bill. The abolition of the corn duties was intended to be gradual, extending over three years. From the 1st of February 1849 the amount would fall to one shilling registration duty.

Before Peel’s fall, news had come of the great battles in which Sir Hugh Gough, Sir Henry Hardinge, and Sir Harry Smith defeated the Sikhs in India, driving them back across the Sutlej. About the same time intelligence came of the settlement of the Oregon dispute with the United States. Lord John Russell was called upon to form the new administration, and became Prime Minister in a Whig Government.

In our local annals there are numerous subjects of interest. Potato riots on a serious scale occurred in Inverness in February. The potato failure in the Highlands was a widespread calamity, the results of which came to be more fully realised in the following year. The railway mania was running its course with disastrous results. The formation of a railway between Inverness and Perth had to be postponed for seventeen years.

From the “Inverness Courier

January 7.—“In the island of Eigg, Dr Macpherson, the proprietor, has granted a site for a church and; manse.” This was in connection with the Free Church. The refusal of a site had long been a subject of dispute. Ibid.—The horn and bones of a stag were found near the church of Dores, under nine feet of successive strata of gravel, the diluvium of the burn of Dores.—The old building known as Dunkinty House, Elgin, the manor place of the family of Innes of Dunkinty, was in course of removal. The house was built in 1688 by Stewart, Commissary of Moray and Commissioner for the Earl of Moray. The initials over the entrance were D. S., for David Stewart, and M. M., for Mary Mel-drum, his wife.—The issue contains long extracts from the “Quarterly Review” on sport in the Highlands.

January 14.—“The number of projected railways that have deposited the necessary documents, contracts, &c., in the Private Bill Office is 721—about 57 less than those deposited with the Board of Trade. Other bubbles are expected soon to burst.” Meanwhile the various railway projects in the North of Scotland were vigorously discussed. Another scheme mooted at this time was the construction of a bridge across the Moikle Ferry, between the coasts of Ross-shire and Sutherland. The cost was estimated at £10,000. It is stated that the fares at the ferry exceeded on both sides £400.—A long article appears on potato disease, with suggestions for securing sound seed.

Ibid.—Notes from the island of Hands are of interest. “The natives,” we are told, “wear clothing entirely of their own manufacture. They dye their stuffs with an infusion extracted from some native plants; and as a number of the females are taught to ply the shuttle, they get up their coarse webs at a comparatively small expense.”

January 21.—A crowded meeting was held in the Northern Meeting Rooms to pass resolutions and adopt petitions in favour of the repeal of the Corn Laws. Provost Sutherland was in the chair, and among the chief speaker's were the Rev. Mr Clark, Rev. Mr Kennedy (of the Congregational Chapel), Rev. Mr Macconnochie, and Rev. Mr Scott. The petitions were to be presented to Parliament through Lord Lovat and the burgh member, Mr Morrison.

January 28.—Parliament opened on Thursday, 22nd inst. The great question at issue was the repeal of the Corn Laws and the adoption of Free-Trade. The Royal speech spoke of the “deficient supply of an article of food which forms the chief subsistence of great numbers of my people.’’ This referred to the failure of the potato crop in Ireland. After the speeches of Sir Robert Peel and Lord John Russell iu the House of Commons, Mr Disraeli opened his campaign against the Prime Minister. The editor attributed his attack to political animosity, but adds—“Mr Disraeli, however, says splendid and witty things—he has always some truth on his side —and the House applauds with a malicious pleasure those sallies of a rich, inflamed imagination.” The London correspondent says—“Mi Disraeli was very clever, very bitter, and his sesthetical epigrams were as brilliant as their point was keen. His speech told amazingly. It gave utterance to the torrent of pent-up Tory wrath. It was admirable to listen to. Everybody but Peel enjoyed it; but you felt that after all Peel was in the right. Disraeli might be very well—in fact, he was very well—but he was fencing, Peel was fighting.” The writer added) that the one had intellectual power only, the other intellectual and moral power combined.

Ibid.—Mr Mackintosh of Haigmore died suddenly on the 25th inst. at his residence in the neighbourhood of Inverness. He was in his 75th year, and had spent part of his early life in India, where he founded a prosperous mercantile house. On his return home lie became a zealous rural improver, and took an active part in all local questions connected with the town and county. The editor had differed from him in matters of controversy, but he felt safe to say “that there never was a man who devoted more of his time and attention to objects in which he had, no personal interest or advantage.”

Ibid.—An outbreak of smallpox occurred in the town at this time. It was, however, not very severe, as the practice of vaccination had become general.

February 24.—The number contains an analysis of Sir Robert Peel’s great scheme for the reform of the Com Laws and the reduction or abolition of duties on manufactures. A letter is published from the Duke of Sutherland expressing approval of the policy of Musters. “My own feeling,” he says, “is in favour of the free current of national industry—of unfettered commerce—of purchase and sale generally, without excepting any trade on which the sustenance of the people depends.” The London correspondent thinks it worthy of note that of the thirteen Cabinet Ministers five were Scotsmen, and all firm supporters of Free-trade policy. These were the Duke of Buccleuch, the Earls of Aberdeen, Haddington, and Dalhousie, and Mr Gladstone.

Ibid.—An aged widow named Mackenzie, who lived in the small island of Rhona, between Skye and Applecross, kept a lamp burning in her window at night to act as a beacon-light to mariners. “Many a cold and shivering seaman on landing has been indebted to her for warmth and sustenance.” The case was accidentally discovered by a correspondent of the “Courier,” and the Committee of Lloyds, as individuals, assisted by some other members, raised a contribution of £20 as a gift to the widow.

Ibid.—The season is recorded as remarkable. “Hardly any of the characteristics of winter have been experienced during the past three months, and now that we have entered into February, we are apparently to have a still longer period of mild weather. In the garden of Mi’ Black, plumber, there is a pear-tree already in leaf, and a cherry tree also far advanced.” High tides, however, had occurred at Inverness and all round the coast.

Ibid.—A few further notes may be quoted from this issue. The estate of Aberarder, in the county of Inverness, was purchased by Capt. Sutherland of Udale for £30,050.—A crowded public meeting in Inverness, which included many spirit dealers, resolved to petition Parliament against the sale of liquor on Sunday.—A great deal of discussion had taken place, both in committee and public meetings, within the previous fortnight, regarding the principle of assessment under the new poor-law. The community was divided on the question whether the rate should be on “means and substance,” according to rent, or by an actual scrutiny of incomes; and in the end the Board of Administrators came to the conclusion to impose the assessment according to rent, subject to certain modifications, such as had been adopted in Aberdeen.

February 11.—In the previous issue a short paragraph recorded the beginning of opposition to the shipment of potatoes from the Thombush, Inverness. Several potato-laden carts were turned back and conveyed out of the town—“ a venerable dame leading the first horse with a spirit worthy of old Jenny Geddes.” The present issue states that this opposition developed into a series of riots, which are described. The disturbance extended over several days. The windows of the Provost’s house and of the houses of other prominent citizens were broken. The shipment of potatoes was prevented, one load being emptied on the pier, and the cart thrown into the river. Two hundred special constables were sworn in, and a detachment of the 87th Regiment brought up from Fort-George. A number of the leading rioters were arrested. At one exciting time the mob is said to have numbered 5000 persons. They were reinforced by navvies working at the canal. The riot arose from a fear of scarcity and high prices. Corn was said to be unsaleable, on account of the Ministerial measures, and potatoes were the only product that realised money to the farmer. A disturbance on a small scale also occurred at Nairn.—A meeting of agriculturists was held at Invergordon to petition against the abolition of the Corn Laws.

Ibid.—A candle factory in Inverness, belonging to Mr J. Forsyth, was destroyed by fire.— The Lands of Millbank, Naim, were exposed to public roup in Edinburgh, and purchased hy Colonel Findlay for £3200

February 18.—The member for the county of Inverness, Mr Henry Baillie, took part in the debate in the House of Commons on the subject of the Corn Laws. Mr Baillie was personally opposed to the Government scheme; but the House, he considered, had only the choice of two alternatives—they must either accept the compromise now offered them or throw out the present Administration to make room for another equally pledged to the abolition of all duties on the importation of foreign corn. Accordingly, be concluded by stating that he would support the proposition of the Government from a conviction that in doing so he was supporting the best interests of the British Empire.

Ibid.—Quiet was restored in the town of Inverness. Thirty-nine rioters had been committed to prison, but of these nineteen were liberated and twenty remained for trial. A provision Society was formed to purchase potatoes and dispose of them to the poorer classes of the town. Potatoes in pits which had been recently opened in Lochcarron were found to be mostly rotten.—'The number contains notes on sea weed as a manure in the Western Islands, and on “A Simple Hebridean Wedding.”

February 25.—A dispute had arisen among the subscribers for the proposed Northern Asylum. The name of the Provost of Inverness had been omitted from the sub-committee, though it was on the general committee. The Town Council regarded this as a slight. At a meeting of subscribers, the name of the Provost was added to the sub-committee by a majority, but the minority resented the step. At the same time they protested that they had no intention of casting any indignity on the Provost of Inverness. His name bad been omitted only because the sub-committee was limited and representative of a wide district. March 4.—Full accounts are given of the bloody battles with the Sikhs who had crossed the Sutlej into British territory with a force of

60,000 men and 150 pieces of cannon. The battles took place in the previous December between the 18th and 22nd, at Moodkee and) Ferozeshah, about twenty miles from Ferozepore. The British army, under Sir Hugh Gough and Sir Henry Hardinge, defeated the enemy, but at great cost to our troops. In three battles our losses amounted to 3295 killed and wounded, including 50 British officers killed and 117 wounded. Among the killed were Sir Robert Sale and Sir John MacCaskill, the latter a native of Skye, and an officer of great distinction. Major P. Grant, Auchterblair [afterwards Field-Marshal Sir Patrick Grant] had hie horse shot under him, and received three desperate wounds, but was recovering. “ Two sons of Sheriff Tytler, and a son of Mr Macandrew, solicitor, of this town, were also in the actions, but escaped! unhurt.” Captain John Munro, A.D.C., second son of General Munro of Tea-ninich, was severely wounded and afterwards died.

Ibid.—The protracted debate on the measure for the repeal of the Corn Laws ended in a majority of 97 for the Government. The condition of Ireland was afterwards discussed!. “We observe that all the papers mention the decay of Mr O’Connell’s physical powers. The reporters can hardly catch his words, so tremulous and feeble is his voice, which once filled the house with its rich full tones, and his fingers seem unable to turn over the leaves of any book or document he may chance to refer to.”—A pamphlet by the burgh member, Mr James Morrison, on “The Defects of the English System of Railway Legislation,” is noticed in the paper at some length.

Ibid.—There are reports of several meetings of Farmer Societies. At the Inverness meeting the relative merits of Drill and Broadcast Sowing, and Thick and Thin Sowing, were discussed. The Wester Ross Farmer Society examined samples of potatoes, which were found to be in a healthy state. It was noticed that several farms in the neighbourhood of Inverness had been taken at an advance of rent, which showed that tenants were not alarmed at the abolition of the Corn Laws.

March 18.—“At length the fearful crisis, for some time apprehended, has arrived in unhappy Ireland. Famine, with its dreadful concomitants of fever and dysentery, prevails in almost every county and locality of the ‘ 13

sister kingdom.” A bill was brought in lor the establishment of a Central Board of Health in Dublin, with branches in the different parishes and unions, and with provision for the supply of medicines, food, and other necessaries.

Ibid.—Captain Mackay Sutherland, formerly of Udale, addressed a circular to the tenantry on the estate of Aberarder, offering to convert the money rent into a com rent, according to the fiars’ prices each year. It is stated that several other proprietors in Inverness-shire and Ross-shire intended making a similar offer.

March 25.—Three Highland dwarfs from Loch-carron excited some interest at this time, and were engaged to go to London. They consisted of two brothers and a sister named! Macfinlay. The eldest was twenty-two years old and forty-five inches in height; the second, twenty years, and forty-four inches; the third, a girl, eighteen years and forty-three inches. They had double elbow and knee joints. They were dressed in Mackenzie tartan, and could chant Gaelic melodies.—The death is recorded from Harris of a patriarch, John Martin, who was said to be 112 years old. As a boy he attended Macleod, Bernera, when in hiding after the battle of Culloden.—A letter gives an account of the fate of an Assynt witch, who was strangled by a party of boys in 1769. The story is related by Pennant, who visited Assynt in 1772. The letter is in correction of an article which had appeared in “Tait’s Magazine.”

April 1.—There is an account of the victory of Aliwal, obtained over the Sikhs on 28th January by Sir Harry Smith. It may be added here that on 10th February Gough and Hardinge finally crashed the Sikh forces at Sobraon.

Ibid.—At 8 o’clock on the evening of the 26th ult. fire broke out in the lower part of the Athenaeum Buildings, the large pile at the corner of High Street and Church Street, Inverness. There was a copious supply of water, but the fire engines were in wretched order, the principal engine having been sent to Glasgow for repair! After two hours’ labour, however, the fire was subdued, the damage being less than was anticipated. The fire had broken out in a coal-cellar.

Ibid.—The removal of stones and rock from the side of Loch-Ness road, near Abriachan, led to the discovery of a cavern largely filled with stalactite and] stalagmite. The cavern extended twenty-one feet inward, varying in height from ten to twelve feet, and from one to two yards in breadth.

April 8.—There is an account of improvements made within the previous four years on the estate of Rothiemurchus. Waste land had been reclaimed, roads and drains constructed, plantations renewed, and an embankment upwards of three miles long raised] to check the inundations of the Spey. It is mentioned that for seventeen years the mansion-house and shootings had been rented by the noble family of Bedford, and that the Duchess Dowager had evinced no small zeal and taste in embellishing the pleasure grounds.

April 15.—On this date there is an article on the centenary of the battle of Culloden, falling the following day. The battle was fought on 16th April 1746, old style, and! in spite of the change from old style to new, making the real anniversary the 27th, the 16th holds its ground in public memory. In a short description of the battlefield the editor speaks of part of it being under the plough, but otherwise mentions all the familiar features—the graves, the marsh which impeded the English artillery, the Well of the Dead, the Cumberland Stone. He adds—“We can trace parts of the important stone-wall which, for a space, defended the right of the Highland) army, but which the Argyllshire Campbells broke down.” There is thus conclusive proof that remains of the wall were in existence in 1846. Gowie’s map, as we formerly mentioned, was published in 1845.

Ibid.—It is stated that Mr James Matheson of the Lews, M.P., had purchased the estate of Bennetsfield, in Ross-shire, for £12,500.

April 15 and 22.—A movement had arisen to drop for the time the scheme of a railway between Perth and Inverness. The rush of schemes had raised the price of labour 50 per cent., and depressed the money market. The stock of the Inverness and Perth Company was selling at 25s discount. A meeting of shareholders, which was held in the Caledonian Hotel on the 18th April, adopted by a large majority a resolution declaring that though they highly approved of the railway, they considered that it should not be proceeded with meantime. The meeting, however, was called by an anonymous advertisement, and the directors did not appear. The issue contains announcements of the winding-up of railway projects both in England and Scotland.

April 22.—The 16th inst. was a bright, pleasant day, and great crowds of persons, old and young (the Inverness schools had a holiday), visited Culloden battlefield. ‘‘The scene was highly animated and striking, presenting a vivid contrast to the usual quietude of that large, sombre, tableland, the solitary scene of the battle.” At a dinner held in the evening in the Caledonian Hotel (Mackintosh of Mackintosh in the chair), stories were told about the battle and the rising. The proposal was then made to erect a memorial cairn on the battlefield, and £30 was subscribed on the spot. Afterwards Mr Patric Park, London, wrote offering to execute, free of cost, except for the material, the statue of a Highlander twelve feet high. The outcome of the offer was probably the design which is now in the Inverness Museum.

Ibid.—Six persons were indicted at the spring Justiciary Court at Inverness in connection with the potato riots in the preceding February. Three cases went to trial, and ended in conviction. Two men were sentenced each to nine months’ imprisonment, and one to four months.

April 29.—An interesting account is given of the “Battle of Little Ferry,” fought between a hastily assembled force of Sutherland Militia and a Jacobite force under the Earl of Cromartie, on 15th April 1746. The Jacobite force was dispersed, and the Earl of Cromartie captured. The account was contributed by some writer well acquainted with Sutherland, and who drew on original sources.

May 6.—It is announced that contracts for a new prison on the Castle Hill had been entered into, and the work was to be immediately proceeded with.—The first election was held to the Parochial Board of Inverness. —Mr Hugh Innes Cameron resigned his offices of Clerk of Supply in Ross-shire and Clerk of the Heritors and Commissioners in the affairs of Parliament. Mr Alexander Mackenzie, Muirton Cottage, was appointed his successor.

May 13.—The railway schemes of the Great North of Scotland and the Perth and Inverness line were now undergoing investigation before a Committee of the House of Commons. The evidence of Mr Joseph Mitchell for the Perth to Inverness route is given in this issue.

May 20.—“We resume our notices of the northern railways. The Perth and Inverness Bill has been rejected on the ground of engineering difficulties, or obstacles, while the Aberdeen companies have all been triumphant. The affairs of the former will soon be wound up, and the secretary announces that the probable expenses will not exceed 15s per share. A lesser sum, we trust, will be found sufficient, for the northern scrip-holders already smart sufficiently under the loss, delay, and disappointment.” The London correspondent says that the difficulty on which the Committee stumbled was the steepness of some of the gradients on the Grampian line. “In vain did seven engineers of the highest professional reputation depone that there was no difficulty in the case—that several steeper gradients were now successfully worked on many of the existing lines. ‘But none of such length as is proposed on this line?’ ask the Committee. No, answer the engineers, but that is of little consequence, for if you get an engine to ascend a steep gradient five yards in length, you can get it to proceed in the same way for fifty or five thousand yards. Engines don’t get exhausted, as animals do, by a long ascent.” The Committee, however, demurred, and there was an end of it. The Aberdonians appear to have made much of the possibility of snow-blocks, but the Inverness promoters replied that their climate was better than the climate of Aberdeen. “We can raise wheat, you can’t. We have the finest and driest temperature in Scotland, and even in our Alpine regions we have evidence to show that our Highland road was frequently open when your coast roads were blocked up with snow.” The correspondent observed that the Aberdonians had got the seven northern counties thirled to them indefinitely for the means of locomotion and transport, but this prediction was premature. The future had other things to show.

Ibid.—On the night of Friday last lights were exhibited for the first time in the lighthouses lately erected at Chanonry Point, Cromarty, and the Covesea skerries in Morayshire.

Ibid.—Mr John Denham, tenant of Dunglass, in Ross-shire, died on the 8th inst., and his remains were interred in Fodderty Churchyard. He was one of the most spirited and! scientific agriculturists in the North.

May 27.—The Factories Bill, restricting the hours of labour to ten hours a day, was rejected in the House of Commons by the small majority of ten—193 for and 203 against. The Government opposed it.

Ibid.—“We are informed that the Lords of the Treasury have directed several Roman and English coins (including groats and silver pennies of Edwards I., H., and in.) to be sent to Inverness to be deposited in the Museum of the Northern Institution, now in the Academy Hall. The collection is already rich in early Scotch and English coins, and this liberal donation, when it arrives, will form a valuable addition to it.”

June 3.—“On Monday, 18th nit., Mr Matheson, of the celebrated firm of Matheson & Co., China, accompanied by Miss Matheson, sister of the proprietor of the Lews, paid his first visit to his recently purchased estates in Kintail; and as might have been expected the warm-hearted inhabitants of that non mantic locality, and the numerous tenantry on the estates, bestirred themselves to testify their joy on the occasion of placing bonfires on every butting cliff in the neighbourhood1, and quaffing bumpers to the health and happiness of their esteemed landlord.”

June 10.—An article on this date speaks of the angry feeling entertained by some northern landlords and farmers against Sir Robert Peel in connection with the abolition of the Corn Laws. The feeling, however, was by no means universal, and the editor was convinced that farmers had little to fear. He points to the high price of cattle, and believes that demand and consumption will so increase as to secure steady and remunerating prices for grain. As to the landlords, if any of them put their estates into the market, they would fetch as high a price as they would have done in the most palmy days of the Corn Laws. Another subject of great importance was the administration of the new Poor-Law. One gentleman stated that he had paid £500 of poor-law assessment, and he thought that the tendency of the burden was to increase; indeed, he feared that unless proper attention was paid to the working of the law, landlords would be compelled to become absentees. The editor says—“We believe the assessment to be very heavy in some of our northern parishes, and yet the poor are but inadequately supplied with the necessaries of life, owing to the smallness of their allowances and the comparatively limited exercise of private charity. It is unquestionably the duty of the local boards to resist and defeat attempts at imposition. It is equally their duty, however, to take care care that the just claims of poverty are not opposed1 or disregarded.”

Ibid.—The weather was extremely hot, the thermometer ranging from 75 degs. to 85 degs., and at Elgin it was as high as 86 degs. A thunderstorm and floods occurred in the uplands of Morayshire. “The heat and drought have had the effect of reducing the river Ness even below its level in the dry season of 1826. For days back boys might be seen wading across the stream.”

Ibid.—A paragraph tells of the number of coaches and steamers in connection with Inverness. One coach ran between Inverness and Naira, passing through Culloden Moor twice a day. Two steamers were on Loch-Ness, one the “Culloden,” commanded by Captain Turner. The “North Star” was running between Inverness and London, the “Duke of Richmond” between Inverness and Leith, and the “Maid of Morven” twice a week along the shores of the Moray Firth, calling at the coast of Sutherland.

Ibid.—A correspondent sends some anecdotes of the siege of the Castle of Inverness in 1746, as told by his grandfather, who was in the Castle at the time. The commander, Major Grant, gave the garrison spirits to stimulate their courage, and they engaged in shooting for a time. The first round carried away a bundle of straw from the back of a man who was crossing the stone bridge, the man himself being little hurt. He crawled away on all fours. “The Castle kept up this hot chance peppering for about thirty minutes, when in a moment it was stopped in consequence of a Highlander getting up to a garret, or rather to the rigging of a house, on the Tomnahurich side, and there taking a deliberate aim. A ball from his trusty gun penetrated the skull of a red-coat within the battlements, causing instant death—hence the cessation alluded to. The brave (though little) major expostulated, threatened, and promised rewards, but to no effect—all as one man refused resuming operations.”

June 17.—Mr Fox Maule had moved the second reading of his bill for compelling proprietors to grant sites to the Free Church. Sir James Graham opposed the bill, but in a conciliatory speech. The editor says that the number of “repudiators” was now small, the most uncompromising being the Duke of Buccleuch. Numerous concessions had1 been made in Ross-shire and other counties, “where proprietors have withdrawn their refusals, ‘softened by time’ and the return of kindly feelings.” The bill was afterwards withdrawn.

Ibid.—Great destitution is reported from the island of Harris. The potatoes stored in pits had turned out a complete failure. “Such is the destitute state of the poor that they go to the seashore and gather limpets, cockles, and other shell-fish, and by digging in the sands of Sacrista they get a species of small fish called sand-eels. On these and these only do they subsist.”

June 24.—There is a long notice of the work on the Costume of the Clans issued by John Sobieski and 'Charles Edward Stuart. The two brothers were still at Eilean Aigas.

July 1.—The Corn Law Bill had passed, and Sir Robert Peel had been defeated in the House of Commons on the Irish Coercion Bill. “A Prussian vessel from Dantzic is now lying at our port [Inverness] freighted with wheat for our enterprising townsman, Mr D. Rose. This is the first importation of wheat made for at least half-a-century in Inverness for the consumption of the district.”

Ibid.—The fine weather had been broken by thunderstorms and heavy rains. Rivers, except the Ness, were in heavy flood. The lightning caused considerable damage. Several persons were struck and stunned, and one life was lost in Orkney. A fine ash tree at Reelig, one of the largest in the North, was shattered, and a sow was killed at Culbokie with a litter of ten pigs and a stirk. Ten rafts of wood were swept an ay by the Spey. The thunderstorms extended all over the north as far as Shetland.

July 8.—Sir Robert Peel had resigned, and Lord John Russell was called to be Prime Minister, and had formed a new administration. Lord Palmerston was at the Foreign Office, Sir George Grey at the Home Office, and Earl Grey at the Colonial Office. Mr Macaulay was Paymaster-General. Among the household appointments, the Duchess of Sutherland succeeded the Duchess of Buccleuch as Mistress of the Robes.

July 15.—At the annual sheep and wool market there was a rise of from Is to 2s on wedders and from Is to 3s on ewes and lambs. The demand for the two latter classes was almost unprecedented. “The full employment of the labouring classes, engaged in railways and other works, and the revival of trade, with the prospect of still further improvement, have no doubt tended to produce this result.” In wool, however, there was very little business, the market being, it was alleged, overstocked with foreign wool. Prices are quoted as follows:—Cheviot wedders, 24s to 33s 6d ; ewes, 14s 6d to 21s 6d; lambs, 10s to 14s 6d. Blackfaced wedders, 13s 6d’ to 24s; ewes, 10s to 13s; lambs, 8s to 9s. The few sales effected in wool could hardly be quoted as a criterion of prices.

Ibid.—Mr Bankes of Letterewe had recently purchased the property of Gruinard, in Loch-broom.

July 22.—Mr David Dundas, member for Sutherland, was the new Solicitor-General for England. He was afterwards re-elected for the county without opposition. Mr Macaulay was opposed in Edinburgh by Sir Culling Smith, but was re-elected by a large majority.

July 29.—At a meeting of shareholders of the Perth and Inverness Railway Company, held in London, a resolution to dissolve the Company was adopted. It was stated that 48,000 shares had been, issued, 46,089 paid upon; that the receipts of the Company were £115,539, and the liabilities £38,899. This left a balance in the hands of the Company of £76,639, or about 33s 4£d per share. Thirty shillings a share would be immediately returned, and the balance as soon as affairs were wound up.

Ibid.—In the trenching of a moss in the neighbourhood of Kishorn, Lochcarron, some miles from the sea, the remains of a rudely constructed anchor, of an unusual pattern, were found embedded between the moes and a substratum of clay. A slight accumulation of marine shells appeared in the clay, and the upper stratum of moss was five feet thick.

Ibid.—A ferryman and a horse were drowned on a boisterous morning at Kessock Ferry. The ferryman, named William Mackay, was sitting on the edge of the boat, holding the horse by the head, when the animal, about half-way across, leaped out of the boat, carrying the man with it. “Both shortly rose to the surface; Mackay had gained a seat on the back of the animal, and they might have been saved by the horse swimming ashore, but its head was held strongly down by a martingale.” The state of the tide and the sea prevented assistance.—The same issue records the drowning of six persons by the swamping of a boat between Portree and Raasay.

August 5.—On 31st July the foundation-stone of the new prison (.its it was then) was laid with masonic honours on the Castle Hill. Brodie of Brodie as Provincial Grand Master took the leading part. The county and burgh were officially represented in the procession.

Ibid.—The weather was hot and the prospects for harvest appeared to be promising, apart from apprehensions of potato disease. “In Morayshire, as in our own neighbourhood, the crop appears to be sound and luxuriant; the same is the case in Sutherland and Caithness ; but in Skye, in Lochcarron, Kintail, and other parts of the West Highlands there are undoubtedly large failures. These are indicated! by the blackening and withering of the shaws, as if struck by irost, and the speedy decay of the plant. In some parts of Lochaber disease is also beginning to manifest itself.”

Ibid.—A large quantity of human bones had been found by men digging in a field near Struy, in Strathglass. “The corpses appear to have been interred irregularly, in a heap, and are probably the remains of some clan battle in ancient times, though no account of any conflict in that district remains. Among these relics was found a rude Highland brooch, with part of the plaid or garment which it was employed to fasten.”—The same issue acknowledges a boomerang and “ the skull of a Hume River warrior,” sent to the Inverness Museum by Mr David Mackenzie from Australia.

August 12.—'The issue contains extracts from the letter-book of an Inverness merchant in 1745-46. The merchant was Mr Duncan Grant, a substantial man, who had his house and other property on the east side of Castle Street. Duncan was not only a merchant, but a sort of military' commissary, who supplied the garrisons of Inverness and Fort-Augustus, and the troops at Bernera (Glenelg) and Ruthven, with provisions and firing. Naturally, therefore, he was a Hanoverian, and on the arrival of the first portion of the Highland army in Inverness on 18tli February 1746, he was obliged to fly. “He hid the most valuable of his goods, and left the remainder in charge of his wife, who seems to have been a clever woman, for although the malt in town was seized to feed the rebels’ horses, she found means to secret about forty bolls till her husband’s return.” The extracts are continued in subsequent issues.

Ibid.—“No shooting season could begin under more favourable auspices than that of 1846. The fogs which enveloped and shut out the distant landscapes have been dispelled by the thunder of last Saturday, and now the bracing atmosphere invites the young sportsman,” &c. The list of shootings let numbers about 115.

August 19.—The finding of the bones near Struy is explained by a gentleman “versant in all Highland antiquities.” The story is that in the end of the 16th or beginning of the 17th century the men of the Aird determined to make a cattle raid on Erchless as a reprisal for offences. The treachery of a woman gave them their opportunity, but they were attacked before they got the cattle away. The struggle took place near the ford between the new wooden bridge over the River Glass and the junction of the Glass with the Farrar. “The cattle were rescued, and next day so many heads were found in the pool below the ford that the latter has retained the name of Ath-nan-Ceann—the Ford of the Heads—to this day.”

August 16 and 26.—The disastrous failure of the potato crop in the Highlands as well as in Ireland is now realised. A statement on the 19th says—“The mysterious potato disease, which alike baffles all cure and prevention, is fast spreading its ravages over this and the neighbouring counties. Black and withered shaws meet us in various directions, and the tubers, on being taken up, are found to be generally tainted. One gentleman who had a crop of fully £200 value informs us that though his potatoes appeared sound and healthy on Friday last, they are now wholly gone.” On the 29th reports from numerous quarters reveal the extent of the calamity. The editor says—“In every kind of soil and situation, in land newly cultivated and planted for the first time, as on old fields, and with every kind of seed, the disease has been found to exist; nor has any remedy been discovered. To meet the calamity requires instant and comprehensive measures. A meeting was held here [at Inverness] on Friday, called by the Provost, when a committee was nominated to make the necessary inquiries, and to co-operate with the Town Council and the county gentlemen. The latter meet on Tuesday first, pursuant to a requisition addressed to Mr Ogilvy, joint-convener of the county. A meeting was held at Portree on the 18th inst.—Lord Macdonald in the chair—when it was agreed, on the motion of Mr Baillie, M. P., that an application should be made to Government to advance money by way of loan, at a low rate of interest, to provide employment for the people.” As examples of the reports we may quote two passages. A correspondent writes from Glenmoriston that the disease had done fearful havoc not only in that glen but throughout the length and breadth of the West Highlands. “ A friend had a few days ago gone to Knoydart, Skye, Lochalsh, and Kintail, and he tells me that in all that extensive district he had scarcely seen one field which was not affected—some to a great extent, and others presented a most melancholy appearance, as they were enveloped in one mass of decay. Unless a gracious Providence look upon our poor Highlanders in mercy, in midst of manifold judgments, there is every likelihood that starvation, with all its horrors, must be their portion.” A correspondent writes from Easter Ross—“ The potato disease has at length visited us, turning one of the finest crops of this valuable root that ever our eyes beheld into rottenness.” Outside the potato crop there was a good harvest and what was considered a high rate of wages to harvesters, namely, Is 4d to Is 8d per day, a fact which was some mitigation of the calamity. The failure was general in Scotland, but the crofters were particularly dependent on the potato crop. From Ireland also the reports were of the very worst kind, and alarm was universal.

August 29.—There is a paragraph about smuggling which is said to be “ at length ” nearly extinct. As a general thing, it was extinct a good many years before tliis time, but it survived in remote corners. Perhaps even now (1908) the excise officers have to be on the look-out for an occasional still. In 1846 Mr Bankes of Letterewe found the practice existing at Udrigil and Achintarsan, and took measures to suppress it. The paragraph says—“There is not a single still on the Gairloch estates, and Sir Kenneth Mackenzie’s tutors will not suffer any individual concerned with smuggling to remain on the property. Since this law of the estate was enforced, the small farms have improved rapidly, and the cottars, when they view their present comfortable circumstances compared with their former hi bits, would on no consideration resume the practice even if the proprietor allowed them. The late lamented Sir Francis Mackenzie of Gairloch was one of the first Highland proprietors who discovered that smuggling was injurious both to proprietors and tenant, and he suppressed it on his estate. Applecross followed his example, and caused his foresters and gamekeepers to assist in suppressing bothies. At first the poor smugglers considered those interferences an invasion of their feudal liberties, and designated their landlords ‘Gauger lairds.’ In time, however, they came to take a different view of the case, and saw that the innovations produced lasting comforts. In Inverness-shire there is very little smuggling now; and the revenue is indebted to Mr O’Hy, an indefatigable revenue officer, for its suppression in Strathoonan. Marine smuggling is almost extinct in the Hebrides, and it is a difficult matter to fall in with a keg of Hollands, once so common.”

September 3.—The issue of the “Courier” on this date, Thursday, was a day later than usual, in order to cover the reports of the Highland and Agricultural Show, which was held at Inverness, in the Academy Park and the grounds of Bell’s School, which opened into one another. The paper consisted of eight large pages instead of four. The show began on Tuesday, 1st inst., and was a great success. The total entries or lots numbered 648, divided as follows : —'Cattle, 219 ; horses, 74; sheep, 123; goats, 2; swine, 22; poultry, 36; extra stock, 52; dairy produce, 21; seeds, roots, and plants. 40; implement, 59. Highland cattle were a fine show, and people were gratified that the second prize for a bull went to Harris, an animal belonging to Mr Donald Stewart, Luskintyre. The first went to the Marquis of Breadalbane. The show of shorthorns was limited in number, but considered to be excellent, considering the distance of Inverness from the southern districts. The prize bull in this stock belonged to Mr Hopper, a Yorkshire agriculturist, which had also carried off the first prize at national shows in England and Ireland, and was thus the champion of the United Kingdom. A sum of a thousand guineas had been offered for him. It is stated that the Aberdeenshire breed—apparently a horned breed, of which there were specimens—was gradually wearing out, being .supplanted1 by the Angus and Galloway.

“There was but an indifferent show of polled cattle, but a few good bulls, and one or two superior two-year-olds.” The show of sheep was admirable in quality but disappointing in numbers, some of the most extensive hill farmers failing to compete. On the other hand, the show of horses was much superior to that at the Society’s exhibition at Dumfries the previous year. “For active strength and muscular power there has rarely been a better exhibition of horses, and this seemed to surprise some of our visitors. Our hardy Highland ponies were also greatly admired.” The Agricultural Chemistry Association had a meeting in the Northern Meeting Rooms, at which there were important discussions “ on the use of prepared) food in feeding cattle, and the mode of improving hill pastures and hill land generally.” A grand dinner was held in a pavilion erected near the Academy gates.

Ibid.—A county meeting was held to consider the calamity arising from the failure of the potato crop. Ample reports were forthcoming as to the virulence and universality of the disease. The meeting adopted a memorial to the Government asking for advice and) assistance. It is stated that Mr Matheson of Achany and the Lews had stepped forward to guarantee a supply of Indian corn to the amount of £10,000 in order to meet the inevitable deficiency of food. It is also stated that the value of the potatoes usually shipped from Perthshire was about £100,000 per annum, and all this was gone.

Ibid.—The Northern Meeting was held the previous week, the attendance being the largest for many years. On the Saturday races were held at the Longman.

Ibid.—The freedom of the burgh of Inverness was conferred on Mr Robert Wallace, formerly M.P. for Greenock, who had taken an active part in establishing penny postage and carrying out other public improvements. He had been obliged to retire from Parliament on account of ill-health.—The issue contains a long statement of the proceedings before the Select Committee of the House of Commons in the case of the Perth and Inverness and Inverness and Elgin Junction Railway Bills.

September 9.—Several memoranda are given in connection with the Higlilaud Society’s Show. Among the implements exhibited was a chas-chrome (or Highland spade plough), which stood in contrast to the new iron ploughs. The Museum likewise furnished a specimen of the ancient Scandinavian single-stilted plough. A dwarf Highland cow and a small grey Chinese cow were also among the exhibits. The London correspondent mentions that a reporter from a London paper was at the show, who complained of the charge of “a guinea a night for a sleeping room, or even a couch or sofa,” and declared that the only commodities that might truly be called cheap were hare soup and Highland whiskyI A Horticultural Society in Inverness wais active at this time and had awarded a premium to a cottar in the Black Isle for the neatest cottage and premises There was, however, only one entry, but it was considered well worthy of the prize.

Ibid.—The London correspondent mentions the publication of St John’s book on the Wild Sports of the Scottish Highlands. “It is quite a gem of its kind—and a very valuable gem it is likely to prove to Highland lairds, whose rents for sporting quarters will be probably doubled or trebled by Mr St John’s fascinating work.”

September 16.—A special meeting of the Commissioners of Supply of the County of Ross was held to. consider the situation arising from the potato failure. A series of resolutions was passed urging that means should be taken to provide employment for the people, and to preserve such of the potatoes as appeared to be sound; also that depots of Indian corn and other food should be formed at central places. It was believed that no relief of a general kind was to be expected from the Government, and that the utmost local effort should1 be made to mitigate the impending calamity. One speaker suggested road-making, at which he hoped the Government would assist. A significant fact is stated, namely, that “probably two-thirds of the food of the labouring classes in this county has hitherto consisted of potatoes.” In every issue of the paper at this time there are notes on the failure and suggestions for the future.

September 23.—The Home Secretary bad sent a letter to Mr Baillie, M.P. for Inverness-shire, in reply to petitions regarding the potato failure. It stated that the Government were in communication with the Board of Supervision on the subject; and further, that an experienced commissariat officer would proceed immediately to Scotland to make an inspection and report. “This report,” it is added, “will receive the earliest attention on the part of the Government; but I feel it is my duty to state that while her Majesty’s Government will be desirous to promote and facilitate the efforts of landed proprietors to lessen the distress which is apprehended, they cannot encourage the expectation that by any direct system of pecuniary advances they can relieve the proprietors from the obligation which rests upon them, or take upon themselves the charge of providing for the wants of the people. Her Majesty's Government have reason to believe that, notwithstanding the failure of the potatoes, the crop of oats in the West of Scotland is this year generally abundant, and the quality excellent; and they trust that other articles of food will be found to exist in larger quantities than in former years.’’ The letter directs attention to an Act passed the previous session which authorised the advance of public money for drainage purposes.

Ibid.—At the Inverness Circuit Court there was a special jury case, an action of declarator at the instance of Major-General John Munro of Teaninich against Mrs Catherine Munro or Ross, spouse of Hugh Rose Ross of Cromarty. There was a long trial and a large amount of evidence. The pursuer’s property was bounded on the east by the river Alness, which was admitted to be the boundary between the pursuer and the defender. The river was liable to frequent floods, and had several times changed its channel. In particular it was alleged that it had changed its course from a channel known by the name of the Little River to its present channel considerably to the westward; and a question of declarator of property regarding the land between the Little River and the existing channel subsequently arose. The effect of the verdict returned by the jury was to give the land to Teaninich and the water, or water rights, to Mr Ross of Cromarty. It seems that the defender had withdrawn water from the river for his mills at Dalmore. The verdict looks like a misfortune for both litigants. The case began on Tuesday, the 15th inst., and it is an interesting point that the “Courier” was prevented, by authority, from publishing any part of the evidence till the trial was over, consequently a mere statement of the case appeared in the issue of the 16th inst., the whole of the evidence appearing on the 23rd).

September 30.—There is a long and appreciative notice of St John’s “Wild Sports.”—The issue also contains an announcement of the death of Captain Munro, Teaninich, a brother of Major-General Munro, the pursuer in the Alness case. Captain Munro joined the army early in life, and received a wound at the battle of Nimeguen, by which he lost the sight of both eyes. “He returned homo about the year 1794, and being of a very energetic character, commenced to improve his estate. About thirty years ago he erected the distillery at Teaninich. This was the second erection of the kind in Ross-shire, and has been carried on with the greatest spirit. He was also extensively engaged in salmon fishings and farming, and was a man of singular enterprise. Feeling deeply interested in the results of the late jury court at Inverness, he was present and returned home on Friday (the case closed the previous day). He died on Monday morning, 21st inst., in his 78th year. Captain Munro has acted no inconsiderable part in the commercial and agricultural improvements of Ross-shire for the last thirty years.” From Mackenzie’s History of the Munros we learn that Captain Munro lost his sight at Nimeguen while carrying off a wounded soldier. The misfortune left no disfigurement, and although totally blind he was able to write with wonderful accuracy, and enjoyed riding, his groom always preceding him on the road. He was the head of the Teaninich family, but in 1831 he sold the estate to his youngest brother, Major-General John Munro, H.E.I.C.S., who was the pursuer in the Alness case. The following week the defender, Mr John Rose Ross of Cromarty, also died.

October 7.—The death is announced of Hugh Rose Ross of Cromarty, at the age of eighty. He was a proprietor who had filled a considerable amount of space in the public eye, and had shown uncommon spirit and energy. “The possession of large property, the numerous transactions thence arising, and a tenacious and uncompromising disposition led him into many law-suits and personal quarrels ; and it is somewhat remarkable that both he and Captain Hugh Munro of Teaninich were seized with their last illness in this town, immediately after the termination of a civil jury trial which they were connected with, and attended personally three weeks ago, and died within a few days of each other.” Mr Rose Ross was a native of Creich, in Sutherland, a son of the clergyman who was parish minister there, and afterwards of Tain. He went at an early age to the West Indies, where he rapidly acquired a large fortune as a contractor for Government requirements. With the wealth thus obtained he returned to Ross-shire, and made extensive purchases of land, distinguishing himself especially as an agricultural improver and friend of education. An uncompromising Tory, he was generally in opposition to popular movements, but otherwise a most useful man. “By a free and judicious expenditure of capital in planting and agriculture, he has changed the face of an immense extent of country, and converted barren moors into fine plantations and corn fields.” Chiefly by Mr Ross’s instrumentality, there was raised a sum of nearly £10,000 by which the Tain Academy was established and endowed. In the hall of the institution a fine portrait was placed! of its founder and benefactor. Mr Rose Ross is described as a man of natural talents and indomintable energy.

Ibid.—A special reporter of the “Courier” had taken a run through the Black Isle, Easter Ross, the western districts of Inverness-shire and Ross-shire, and the Islands, to ascertain the condition of the people as affected by the potato failure. The account, which fills almost two columns, presents generally a sad 6tate of affairs. In summing up the writer says—“Two tilings appear evident. First, that there is great destitution present and in prospect; and secondly, that the proprietors, on the whole, are meeting the crisis well. Government has offered to put revenue cutters at their disposal, to carry meal or corn to any part of the Highlands or islands they can reach. Sir Edward Coffin (the Government Commissioner) is busy -with his tour of inspection, and the Board of Supervision are making arrangements to supply all pauper wants.” From the text of the article, however, it appears that many of the people, who could not as yet be classed as paupers, were fitter objects for charity than for assessments. Incidentally, it is mentioned that the quantity of wheat then grown in Ross-shire was estimated at 20,OOJ quarters, of which 10,000 were annually exported to London, the other 10,000 sold as flour. This, however, was grown on the ground of the larger farmers, and the destitution existed among crofters and cottars. On the Coul estates the rent for potato ground was to be deducted. On the Lovat estates the proprietor was carrying out improvements on a gigantic scale, which provided! employment. The farm of Conon Bank was being trenched and drained, and brought into a thorough state of cultivatiou. At a meeting of the Parochial Board of Inverness it was resolved to lay out £300 in the purchase of provisions for the poor.—The “Times” and ‘Morning Chronicle’’ had Commissioners in the Highlands reporting on the condition of the people.

Ibid.—It is stated! that the fine property of Fairburn, belonging to Mr H. M. Ftowler of Raddery had been sold to Seaforth for £39,000.—A fire which occurred in Inverness, in Ettles Court, behind the old Royal Hotel, had destroyed several workshops, and gave another proof of the necessity for a regular fire brigade.

October 14.—The debut of Mr Angus B. Reach as a theatrical writer is noticed. He had produced at the Lyceum Theatre a farce entitled “Which Mr Smith?” The “Times” describes it as a very lively production, which would bear paring down a little, but which gave evidence of spirit and! originality.

October 21.—The canal bank, adjoining the River Ness, nearly opposite Torvean, had given way, as the water was being introduced after the completion of repairs. The rush of water raised the river several feet, and a heap of debris had formed in the channel. This accident delayed the re-opening of navigation, which had been fixed for the 2nd of November.

Ibid.—The Inverness Town Council made arrangements for the equipment of a fire brigade, and appointed a superintendent. Mr Robertson, the superintendent of the Glasgow Brigade, had seen the engine put into proper order.—A cart wheel, which had been found a few weeks previously in the Spey, near Rothes, was supposed to have been carried away by the flood of 1829. It was in excellent preservation, and was set to use on the farm of Dundurcas.

October 28.—There are more communications about the potato failure. Lochaber was in a very bad way. Round Fort-William the portions least affected had not yielded one-fourth of the quantity put into the ground as seed. A meeting was held at which the proprietors agreed to give employment to all labourers on their respective properties at Is 6d per day, or an equal value of food at cost price. Several had also spent considerable sums in the purchase of meal. The most extensive relief was necessary in the islands. It was estimated that in South Uist and Barra 7000 or 8000 bolls of meal would be required; in North Uist about 4000 bolls, and in Harris 5000 bollis. The Inverness Farmer Society discussed the question whether a substitute could be found for the potato, and various kinds lof plaints and vegetables were suggested, such as beans, pease, cabbage, carrots, and artichokes. It was generally admitted that a potato diet was too much used in the Highlands.

November 4.—The distress in Ireland was on a vast scale, and large sums had to be provided for the sustenance of the people. Presentments to the amount of £700,000 had been granted by the Board of Works; the silver currency of Ireland had been augmented to the extent of £100,000, in order to facilitate the payment of labourers; and provisions wore to be obtained at all the ports and principal places. Disturbances had occurred in many districts. It is now stated that the destitution in the Highlands and Islands had induced Ministers to order supplies of provisions to be forwarded as in the case of Ireland.

Ibid.—A ship “The Deemster,” belonging to Mr James Masson, Inverness, which left Quebec on 7th September with a cargo ol timber and flour, had been wrecked in heavy weather off the great bank of Newfoundland. Five lives were lost, including the master, a native of Avoch, and the carpenter, a native of Inverness.

November 12.—The Inverness Town Council was engaged in preparing a bill for improving the harbour. There was an idea of altering the channel, and the venerable chronicler, John Maclean, mentioned the tradition that an identical plan was commenced under the auspices of General Monk, when the troops of the Commonwealth were stationed at Inverness. The operations were stopped b> the sudden recall of the army after the Protector’s death. “This was talked off in John's early days” (he was then between ninety and a hundred years of age). “Upwards of 200 yards of the line had been cut, as is still visible. Several civilians assisted, and had, what was then considered good pay, namely, threepence sterling a day.”—The issue contains a long account of the singular sect called the Buchanites. The article is a review of a work by Mr Joseph Train, “the gentleman who so liberally supplied Sir Walter Scott with hints and materials for his novels, and whose antiquarian diligence greatly enriched the armoury and collections at Abbotsford.”

November 18.—Distress was increasing in the Highlands and Islands as winter advanced. According to a gentleman who had been travelling in the western districts, the instances of suffering and want that met the eye were sad in the extreme. The two great proprietors of Skye, Lord Macdonald and Macleod of Macleod, had laid in supplies of meal. Great credit is given to Captain Inge, a sporting tenant, for the work he had provided in Strathglass in making roads and bridges. As an illustration of the suffering in Ireland, it is stated that the arrivals by steamer in the south-west of Scotland presented touching pictures. Whole families, carrying with them all but the turf walls that constituted their homes, were seeking refuge from destitution. “Fathers, in rags, carry the rude implements that are to be bringers of bread; mothers, scantily covered, bear children in arms; and children, bareheaded and barefooted, are loaded with trifling articles of furniture that may assist in supplying the new hovel, or, disposed of, avert hunger for an hour.” Fortunately, the season so far had been mild, and work was abundant in the Southern Counties.

Ibid.—A movement was in progress for putting down the practice of drinking at Highland funerals. A paper with this object was signed by heads of families in the town and parish of Dingwall, and a resolution was passed at a meeting of the inhabitants of Golspie. Steps were subsequently taken in other places with this view.

November 25.—An interesting column is made up from an interview with John Maclean, known as the Nonagenarian, and latterly as the Centenarian, as he lived to be a hundred or over. His recollections are compared with statements from other sources, such as Burt’s letters. John thought that in his youth the people had more command of the necessaries of life, and in their homely way were more comfortable and contented. Potatoes, he said, were first planted and raised here about the year 1755 by William and Sanders Dawson, gardeners. They did well in the orchard grounds, and some of the neighbours (John’s father among the rest) began to' plant a few. It was long, however, before the potato became general. “We did not plant many,” said John; “it was a rare thing to have the last of them for dinner on Christmas day; and before that only one or two diets would be taken in the week. They were mostly kept in a corner of the muckle kist, and when they were done people seemed nowise disappointed.” The daily food) of the common people consisted of oatmeal porridge, with milk or beer for breakfast; sowens or kail, with bannocks of barley and pease meal, and sometimes fish, for dinner; porridge and milk for supper. On Sundays there was generally something extra; butcher meat was cheap and seldom sold by weight. A hare or blackcock could always be had in winter. Nothing was sent out of the country but the cattle which the drovers took south. Everything was cheap. “ How could it be otherwise,” said John, “when Donald Cameron and his wife, one Friday forenoon, at the market, bought a leg of mutton, a peck of meal, and a cart of peats, all for elevenpence, and to make up the shilling he and his wife had a gill of Hollands for the other penny.” Contemporary documents give a much less favourable account of the condition of the people in the eighteenth century than John did, but his statements about the food appear to have been fairly accurate. He forgot a good deal about famines, want, and hardship. The population was smaller. The editor was disposed to believe that at least among the frugal and thrifty of the poor there was less actual want eighty or ninety years before than was to be found at the time of writing. John Maclean remembered the introduction of tea, and gives anecdotes regarding it.

Ibid.—Plans were submitted to the Inverness Town Council for the Harbour Bill, and orders were given to prepare the Parliaments many notices.

December 2.—There was a shock of earthquake on the 24th ult., general over the North, but not very severe.—The Inverness Town Council appointed a committee to advertise for estimates to put the Island bridges in a proper state of repair. It was also resolved to advertise feus at Island! Bank. It was estimated that the suffering population in the Highlands and Islands numbered upwards of 100,000. The Commission of Free Church Assembly had authorised a collection in the churches for their assistance.

December 9.—Sir George Macpherson-Grant, Bart., Balindalloch, died on the 24th ult., in the 66th year of his age. It is stated that in 1809 he was returned to Parliament as member for the county of Sutherland, and sat for nineteen years. He was a most useful member in his attention to local interests, and a zealous improver of his estate. “He planted very considerably, and reclaimed much waste land; his improvements being all on a liberal and comprehensive scale, executed with great judgment, in consequence of which not one, we believe, has proved a failure.”

December 16.—Two old! Highland letters are given, one illustrating the relations between the Grants and Glengarry in 1737, another from Lady Mackintosh of the ’Forty-five to the Marquis of Tullibardine (Jacobite Duke of Athole). The lady was distressed because Seaforth had hindered a brother of Mackenzie of Kilcoy from bringing a company of men to the Prince’s service. She thought the Duke should issue an order for raising the men, and then he could use a little force! The letter is ill-spelt, but spelling was not an accomplishment of ladies of the period.

Ibid.—A law-suit was going on between the Marquis of Breadalbane andl the sheep farmers of the North relative to a drove road by Inverouran and Tyndrum to Falkirk. The Court of Session decided that the farmers had a relevant case, and right to the drove stance at Inverouran if they could prove possession.

Ibid.—A labourer cutting drains on the farm of Connage, m Petty, turned up three bronze implements. They resembled hatchet heads —two large and two small—and were to be seen in the Schoolhouse at Ardersier. The field on which they were found was called the “Blood-field.”

Ibid.—The wood of Ericht, stretching-for about three miles along the southern side of Loch-Ness, had been marked out for cultivation. “The soil appears to be of good quality, but there will be some difficulty in rooting out the stubborn hazel trees that have long held possession of the picturesque spot. We shall miss the hazels in summer, and also the hooting of the owls at night, that often scared the peasant as he passed the solitary road. The change, however, will enhance the value of the beautiful estate of Mr Fraser-Tytler, and afford occupation for the people.” Proprietors were taking advantage of the Drainage Act in order to provide employment.

December 23.—A heavy snowstorm which had prevailed for some weeks was beginning to disappear. The mails in many places had to bo carried on horseback, and were irregular.

Ibid.—A meeting was held in Edinburgh under the auspices of the Lord Provost to consider the destitution of the Highlands. A committee was appointed to obtain subscriptions and carry out measures of relief.

December 30.—On the 19th inst. a fire broke out in a close of old thatched houses at the west end of High Street in Dingwall. Its progress was arrested, but not until four or five families had been tendered destitute. No lives were lost.

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