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The Northern Highlands in the Nineteenth Century

The period of fifteen years, from the beginning of 1842 to the close of 1856, is of great interest alike in the political and social history of the United Kingdom, and in the history of Europe. In domestic legislation and in foreign relations it bears all the marks of agitation and transition. The period extends from the opening of Sir Robert Peel’s epoch-making administration till the end of the Crimean war. During this time the country passed through the controversies which resulted in the abolition of the Corn Laws, and experienced the potato famine with its effects on Ireland and the Scottish Highlands. The Chartist movement was a reflection at home of the revolutionary wave which swept over the Continent, and which was the source of vital changes that are still running their course. The outstanding political names in British annals are those of Sir Robert Peel, Lord John Russell, and Lord Palmerston. The same period however, witnessed the rise of Mr Disraeli and Mr Gladstone to a prominent place in the Parliamentary world. In Scotland the Disruption broke up the National Church, and powerfully affected the system of education and the religious and social condition of the people. There was also the extension of railways, partly promoted and partly arrested by what is known as the railway mania. In our own district large railway schemes were proposed, but the only practical outcome for the moment was the short line from Inverness to Naim, constructed in 1854. This was, however, the beginning of the present Highland system.

The great Exhibition of 1851 created universal interest, and excited peaceful hopes that were not realised. Through the efforts of Lord Ashley, afterwards Lord Shaftesbury, important Acts were passed for the betterment of the working classes, such as the limitation of the work of women and young persons in factories to ten hours a day, and the exclusion of women and boys under thirteen from working underground. Our volume closes before the Indian Mutiny had startled and enraged the nation, but earlier years had witnessed the disaster in Afghanistan, the conquest of Scinde and the Punjab, and the annexation of Oudh. The discovery of gold in Australia had given a great impetus to colonial expansion in that region. The above-mentioned are a few of the subjects that claim attention in the years which the volume covers.

It is not the purpose of the work to deal with general history, except so far as to keep public affairs in touch with movements which affected the Northern district. In the prefatory notes for each year a summary of the main topics will be found. Nevertheless it may be useful to devote a paragraph or two to subjects primarily of national interest. The General Election of 1841 had given the Conservatives under Sir Robert Peel a strong and compact majority in the House of Commons, a majority estimated at the lowest at 68, and for some purposes rising from 80 to 100. For the previous ten years the Whigs or Liberals had possession of the Government, though in the later years they were weak, suffering from the discontent of the Radical wing, and depending largely for support on their Irish allies, led by Daniel O’Connell. Mr Spencer Walpole in his History says that in the closing years of the Whig Ministry “the working-classes were Socialists and Chartists; the middle classes were members of the Anti-Corn Law League.” It was this situation, aggravated by Irish turbulence, which confronted Sir Robert Peel when he entered on office as Prime Minister. His reliance was on the landed and agricultural interests, both eager to maintain the Corn Laws. The finances of the country were unsatisfactory, and Peel’s restoration of credit renewed general confidence. During the last five years of the Whig Government there had been deficits which amounted in the aggregate to nearly millions, or about a million and a half a year. The first Budget of Peel in 1842 re-established the balance of revenue and expenditure, and ere long produced a surplus. Peel accomplished this by imposing the Income-tax, which has since been a mainstay of financial administration, although at first it was intended to be temporary. At the same time he revised the general tariff, reducing or abolishing duties on 750 articles out of 1200. The expenditure of the country at the time was about fifty millions. Peel dealt in the same Budget with the Corn Duties, readjusting the sliding scale which had formerly existed, while the Opposition, led by Lord John Russell, advocated a fixed tariff. A maximum of 73s and a minimum of 50s were assumed as furnishing the swing of the pendulum in the price of wheat. If the home price stood at 50s or 51s, the duty on foreign corn was to be 20s, falling by degrees until the price came to 73s, when only a duty of one shilling was to be imposed. Russell's scheme of a fixed duty of 8s would have been more tolerable at the lower figures, but more oppressive after the price rose to the neighbourhood of 7Os. The popular advocates for the abolition of the Corn Laws were Richard Cobden and John Bright, but the pioneer of the movement in the House of Commons was Mr Charles Villiers, a brother of the Earl of Clarendon.

Within the House, the demand for Free Trade made little progress during the first years of Peel’s Ministry, owing to good harvests and the relief which other measures had afforded. The failure of British crops in 1845 and the crisis of the Irish famine were the immediate causes which led to the abolition of the Corn Laws. Peel had to consider how to feed a starving people. He was certainly inconsistent in his policy, and it would have been better if the Opposition—which was gradually as a whole approximating to Free Trade views—had been able to carry out the change. But they were in a minority in the House of Commons, and among the Leaders there were personal differences which prevented Bussell from forming a Government, especially as he was in the circumstances reluctant to undertake the task. He would probably have been obliged to dissolve Parliament, and there was no assurance that he would obtain a majority. Peel had therefore almost of necessity to take up the burden, with that portion of his own party which adhered to him and with the aid of the Opposition. The most dramatic incidents in the Debates were the attacks on the Prime Minister by Mr Disraeli, who found his opportunity and used it without mercy.

It is interesting to read the controversy in contemporary records. The best comment on it is perhaps to be found in the words of the London correspondent of the “Courier,” who, in describing one of Disraeli’s speeches, says—“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.” A good deal of Parliamentary oratory in former times might be summed up in the same phrases. They are, however, less applicable in the present day, when fencing is occasional and the fighting unusually strenuous.

The condition of Ireland was another difficulty which Peel had to encounter, and that before the famine brought the economic question to the forefront. In the early days of the Conservative Government the agitation for repeal of the Union, led by O’Connell and fomented by young Irishmen, reached its culminating point. Contributions to the movement, called the Repeal Rent, rose as high as from £2000 to £3000 a week in 1842-43. A great mass meeting at Clontarff was, however, proclaimed by the Government, and in 1844 O’Connell was tried on charges of conspiracy and sedition. He was convicted by a jury of Protestants, but on an appeal to the House of Lords the conduct of the trial was found to be irregular, and he was liberated. O’Connell died in 1847. Ireland, however, was in the interval seething with discontent, and there were many murders and other outrages. It was on a Coercion Bill that Peel was defeated. On the very day on which the bill for the abolition of the Corn Laws passed the House of Lords a combination of parties rejected his Irish proposals in the House of Commons, and he gave way to a Whig Government, under the leadership of Lord John Russell. This happened in June 1846. Peel remained an interesting and prominent figure, and the “Peelites,” of whom Mr Gladstone was one, remained for some years a small but influential party in the House. The death of their leader, as the result of a fall from his horse in the summer of 1850, ultimately broke up the section, and most of its members gravitated to the Liberal party.

The Whig Government, which came into office in 1846, was weak in the House of Commons, and its members were not too well united among themselves. A dissolution of Parliament in the summer of 1847 resulted in the return of 333 Liberals, 120 Peelites, and 202 Protectionists, giving the Government a clear majority of no more than 11 over the other two parties. But Sir Robert Peel and his followers gave an independent support to the administration, and the Cabinet retained its place for nearly five years. Disputes with France, with Austria, and with other Continental Powers kept the Foreign Office busy, and 1848, the year of revolution, exacted unceasing vigilance. Lord Palmerston, as Foreign Minister, was frequently attacked by the official Opposition, and his policy, or rather perhaps his somewhat brusque method in upholding British views and interests, was not acceptable to the Queen and the Prince Consort. A memorable debate occurred in June 1850 on Palmerston’s conduct in ordering the British Fleet to coerce the Greek Government to pay the claims of a Gibraltar Jew, known as Don Pacifico, who claimed to be, and no doubt was, a British subject. This man’s house had been attacked by a riotious mob in Athens, his wife and family maltreated, and the premises robbed of money, jewels, and papers. Don Pacifico’s claims were alleged to be extortinate, but in any case the Greek Ministers displayed an extraordinary degree of obstinacy in delaying to consider the case, and Palmerston’s patience at length gave way. His action raised an acute controversy. It was censured in the House of Lords, and in the House of Commons led to a four days’ debate. Lord Palmerston’s speech, however, nearly five hours in length, carried the House with him. One sentence from it may be quoted at length—“I therefore fearlessly challenge the verdict which this House, as representing a political, a commercial, a constitutional country, is to give on the question now before it—whether the principles on which the foreign policy of her Majesty’s Government has been conducted, and the sense of duty which has led us to think ourselves bound to afford protection to our fellow-subjects abroad, are proper and fitting guides for those who are charged with the government of England ; and whether, as the Roman in days of old held himself free from indignity when he could say, ‘Civis Romanus sum,’ so also a British subject, in whatever land he may be, shall feel confident that the watchful eye and the strong arm of England will protect him against injustice and wrong.” The Government won by a majority of 310 against 264, and the phrase, “Civis Romanus sum,” is still associated with the name of Palmerston. In his foreign policy Palmerston stood for freedom as against despotic rule, and his strong personality impressed the popular imagination.

It is curious that he fell for a brief moment by his readiness to accept a new despot, whose intentions, perhaps, he had not fathomed. Ministers managed to hold together until Palmerston committed the indiscretion of privately communicating to the French Ambassador, without consulting either the Premier or the Queen, his approval of the “Coup-d’etat” in France, by which, in December 1851, Louis Napoleon destroyed the French Republic of that day. It was his hatred of disorder, and his belief that in his disputes with the French Assembly the Prince President was in the right, that led our Foreign Minister astray. Palmerston was curtly dismissed by Lord John Russell, but he soon afterwards upset the Government by carrying an amendment to their Militia Bill. This brought Lord John’s Ministry to a termination.

Lord Derby next came into office, with Mr Disraeli as leader of the House of Commons and Chancellor of the Exchequer. This was, however, a short-lived administration, existing only for ten months. It was made memorable by Mr Disraeli’s fantastic Budget, and the clever and daring onslaught—it is still most entertaining reading—which he delivered against the official Whigs. Mr Gladstone stepped into the arena to demolish Mr Disraeli’s financial proposals, and soon afterwards to succeed him as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Coalition Ministry formed by Lord Aberdeen. In the same Administration Lord Palmerston served as Home Secretary. This was the well-intentioned Government which blundered into the Crimean war, and which was followed by a re-constructed Government under Lord Palmerston. It is plain that the Crimean war was popular in the country. There was at the time a passion for freedom, and the Czar Nicholas stood in the public eye for autocracy and its fruits. It was as a protest against his flagrant pretentions to work his will in Turkey and the East that public opinion hurried the Government into war. A more skilful diplomacy might have averted the struggle, but that is the worst that can be urged against the Government of the day. The national sentiment was right and sound in its direction. It was the conduct of the war that roused public indignation—the miseries inflicted on our soldiers by incompetent organisation and wretched transport arrangements. The bright spots in the story are the valour of our men and the intervention of Florence Nightingale as the nurse of our sick and wounded.

The result of Crimean maladministration was to bring Palmerston to the front as the man of the hour. Being only Home Secretary in the Coalition, he was not considered responsible for the war muddle. For ten years thereafter, until his death in 1865, Palmerston represented the average of moderate Liberal opinion, and was not unacceptable to the Conservatives. In spite of his limitations he was a staunch liberty-loving Minister, and prepared to brave any foreign Power for the honour of Britain. One sometimes thinks that as Palmerston was to this country, so is the Kaiser to Germany. They have many traits in common. Only the other day the Emperor used the same language regarding German citizens as Palmerston used regarding British citizens in the Pacifico debate. Whether he had the British Minister’s speech in mind we do not know, but the application of Roman citizenship was identical. Although Palmerston committed some mistakes, which sprang from a buoyant and imperious temperament, he gave expression to the manly spirit of the nation. The confidence which he inspired was invaluable in the dark days of the Indian Mutiny. He went out of office for a short time, but resumed in 1859, to remain to the end of his life in October 1865, passing away as Prime Minister within two days of completing his 81st year. “In one life he summed up the political honours of several generations, for he was a member of every Government from 1807 to 1865, except those of Sir Robert Peel and Lord Derby. He sat in sixteen Parliaments, and was elected to sit in the seventeenth.” Our volume comes down only to 1856, but the prominence which Lord Palmerston obtained within the period may excuse this extended notice.

As it happened that the first working session of a new Parliament was in 1842, there were only two general elections in the period between that year and the close of 1856. These elections occurred in 1847 and 1852. In 1847, Mr Morrison, merchant, London, who had represented the Inverness Burghs for seven years (having been returned at a by-election in 1840), retired from Parliament, and Mr Alexander Matheson—created a baronet in 1882—was elected after a contest with an “Independent" or Radical candidate, Mr Hartley Kennedy, a gentleman who had spent a large part of his life in India. This was the first serious division between the two wings of the Liberal party in the Burghs. At the election of 1852 Mr Matheson was not opposed, and although he had to fight two severe contests in subsequent years, he continued to represent the constituency until 1868, when he retired in order to succeed his uncle, Sir James Matheson, as member for Ross-shire. Sir Alexander’s long tenure of twenty-one years in the Burghs was a tribute to his business ability and the great work which he accomplished for the Northern Counties. Some of it is recorded in this volume, but much came later. Sir Alexander, who represented the Attadale family in Lochalsh, had returned from China at the age of thirty-five with a large fortune, and set about acquiring Highland property, beginning in 1840 with the lands of Ardintoul and Letterfearn, on the south side of Lochalsh. Within the next twenty years he built up a large domain in Lochalsh and its neighbourhood, and also acquired the fine property of Ardross and other lands in Easter Ross. In connection with the town of Inverness Sir Alexander purchased, on the west side of the river, part of the estate of Muirtown and smaller properties, all of which were, in process of time, admirably developed under the management of Dr Alexander Ross, architect. The extension of railways, especially of the Highland Railway, was also to a large extent due to Sir Alexander Matheson, who brought into association with himself Highland proprietors like the late Duke of Sutherland, the Earl of Seafield, and Mr Mackintosh of Raigmore. His name will always be associated with the economic progress of the Highlands. He was proud of the land and the people, and did his best for the improvement of both, not always with pecuniary profit to himself.

In the county of Inverness the Right Hon. Henry Baillie retained the seat at both elections without opposition. He was a capable man, of dignified presence and ready speech, respected both by supporters and opponents, and represented the constituency from 1840 to 1868. In the county of Ross there was a political change. Mr Mackenzie of Applecross carried the seat for the Conservatives in 1837, but retired in 1847, and Mr James Matheson—created a baronet in 1851—was elected without opposition. He had purchased the Island of Lewis from the Seaforths in 1843, and was at the beginning of a long course of experiments for the improvement of the island and its population. At the election of 1852 Sir James was opposed in the Conservative interest by Mr Ross of Cromarty, but was returned by a majority of 70, and held the seat until 1868, when he retired in favour of his nephew, Sir Alexander. In the counties of Elgin and Nairn, Major Cumming Bruce of Dunphail, Conservative, remained undisturbed. In the Northern 'Burghs there was a keen contest in 1852 between Mr James Loch, the sitting member, and an Independent Liberal, Mr Samuel Laing, afterwards well-known as a writer and financier. Mr Laing was, unexpectedly, returned by a majority of 31. The only other contest was in Caithness, where the Liberal member, Mr Traill, retained the seat by a majority of 41. Apart from the controversy on the Corn Laws, which did not in this district become acute, as Mr Baillie accepted the policy of Sir Robert Peel, politics in the period excited much less interest than in the ten years which preceded and the ten years which followed. The middle classes who had the franchise were concerned with agricultural improvement and with railway prospects, and were perplexed with the difficulties arising from the Highland famine.

The potato famine, which fell upon the Highlands in full severity in 1846, and lasted in its immediate effects for five years, fills a prominent place in our newspaper columns. The cultivation of the potato had been in existence for about 100 years, and it had long been the main food of the people. There is an early mention of it in Martin’s Description of the Western Islands, published in 1703, where, speaking of the inhabitants of Skye, he says, “ their ordinary diet is butter, cheese, milk, potatoes, colworts, brochan, that is oatmeal and water boiled.” It is difficult to believe that potatoes were at that time common in Skye, for they were little known on the mainland even a quarter of a century latter. We might imagine that they came into the Western Islands earlier from Ireland, were it not on record that when potatoes were introduced into South Uist by Clanranald in 1743, the crofters stoutly protested and refused to eat them. Possibly some enterprising son of Skye had become acquainted with them elsewhere, for the Royal Society of England urged their cultivation as early as 1663, although their recommendation had little effect. Martin’s statement, however, stands, and may be worth further inquiry. In the second half of the eighteenth century, potatoes spread rapidly, and became a staple food in the Highlands and Lowlands. Dr James Robertson, in his survey of the county of Inverness in 1808, says that one-half of the inhabitants of Scotland lived mainly on potatoes during nine or ten months of the year, and that the proportion was higher in the Highlands. In the next thirty years the growth of the plant had probably extended. Such an extraordinary dependence on a single product was certain some day to bring disaster. There were signs of disease in the Highlands in 1834 and 1835, but they were local and apparently caused little anxiety. The Poor Law Act for Scotland was passed in 1845. It was of some assistance in the disastrous years that followed, but the calamity was far too severe to be dealt with by the new system. Although all Scotland suffered from the disease, its worst consequences fell on the Western Highlands and Islands, where poverty was greatest, where there was little compensation from the cultivation of other crops, and none from the existence of manufacturing industries. The only slight mitigation of an ordinary kind was due to the employment of Highlanders as harvesters in the southern counties, where their wages were from Is 4d to Is 8d a day.

Potato disease on an extensive scale occurred in Ireland in the autumn of 1845, and the anticipation of famine led to the abolition of the corn-laws. The disease appeared in the South of England in the same year. The southern counties of Scotland also suffered, and Perthshire was seriously affected, but Forfarshire and Aberdeenshire only to a partial extent. For the moment the Highlands escaped the visitation. In November 1845 the editor is able and glad to say “that in the whole of the seven northern counties there is no mention of the potato distemper, with the exception of one trifling instance in Sutherland, where it is stated to have appeared, but not to such an extent as to cause general alarm.” Nevertheless the severity of the calamity in other districts caused universal anxiety. The public mind here as elsewhere was so excited that a riot broke out in Inverness in February 1846 to prevent the shipment of potatoes at Thornbush Quay. As the disturbance continued for several days, two hundred special constables were sworn in, and a detachment of soldiers was brought up from Fort-George. We are told that “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.”

In the autumn of 1846 the failure of the potato crop in the Highlands was found to be practically universal. The first note of destitution came in June from the island of Harris, where the potatoes of the previous year, which were stored in pits, proved to be uneatable, and the people were gathering shell-fish and sand eels for sustenance. In August the total failure of the current crop was everywhere realised, Distressing reports poured in from all quarters. Prompt measures were taken in the district to afford relief. The Provost of Inverness called a public meeting, which appointed a committee to co-operate with the Town Council and the county proprietors. The latter met in the various northern counties to subscribe a guarantee fund. The historian of the period, Mr Spencer Walpole, draws attention to the fact that the Government, overwhelmed by the extent of the calamity in Ireland, did little for the Highlands, except to provide vessels and means of administration, and latterly to advance loans to proprietors under the Drainage Act. “Yet,” says Mr Walpole, “the lairds of Western Scotland showed the Irish landlords an example which the latter might have followed with advantage.” Our columns fully corroborate this statement, except that liberality was not confined to the western lairds, although they no doubt bore the brunt of the disaster. Sir James Matheson, who had recently purchased the Island of Lewis, guaranteed for the island a supply of Indian corn to the value of £10,000, and before the destitution was at an end his outlays came to £40,000. Macleod of Macleod and Lord Macdonald impoverished themselves by their efforts in the Island of Skye. The Duke of Sutherland undertook, at an enormous expense, the safety of the Sutherland crofters. He spent, it is stated, £78,000 in the famine years. It soon, however, appeared that apart from Sutherland, outside aid would be required for the rest of the Highlands. A meeting was called in Edinburgh in December, and another in Glasgow in January 1847 to raise subscriptions, and astonishing sums of money were raised from people at home and abroad. A Central Board was formed and divided into two sections, each taking charge of the relief of a certain portion of the country, and each having its own secretary and treasurer. To the Edinburgh section was assigned the North West Highlands and Shetland.

It must be remembered that the calamity extended over a series of five years, becoming in the latter years less acute, but still involving serious destitution. In the autumn of 1846 Sir Edwin Coffin as Government Commissioner made a tour of inspection, and offered to put revenue cutters at the disposal of the proprietors to carry meal or corn. On the part of the Board of Supervision arrangements were made to supply the wants of those who were actually paupers. In the neighbourhood of Inverness the crofters of the Black Isle appear to have been the chief sufferers, and among the same class along the eastern shores of Ross-shire, there was grave destitution. It was natural, perhaps, that food riots should break out at the eastern ports, from Beauly to Wick, to prevent the export of corn. Detachments of soldiers had in several eases to be called in. But these outbreaks were temporary, and had little effect on the general situation. County committees in the first instance organised relief. Along the West Coast and in the Islands the distress was deplorable. Sheriff Fraser, Fort-William, reported that of the total population of Arisaig, 868 in number, there were 671 requiring relief, and this was considered typical of neighbouring districts. In Lochaber, in October 1846, it was reported that the ground which was least affected had not yielded one-fourth of the quantity put into the soil as seed. It was estimated at the same time that in South Uist and Barra 7000 or 8000 bolls of meal would be required to supply the wants of the people; in North Uist about 4000 bolls, and in Harris 5000 bolls. In February 1847, the necessary supply in Skye was estimated at 30,000 bolls, and after all available resources were exhausted, the supplementary cost would be £50,000. In January 1848 Captain Eliott, who had been appointed Inspector-General, reported that in six parishes in Skye and the western districts of Ross-shire there were 1680 able-bodied crofters who had no means to support their families, and also 900 widows, either single or with families, who were in the same position. A further report shows that in the summer of 1848 there was an average of 5000 persons receiving assistance in Skye. “ In the Western Ross area 3576 were receiving relief in May, but the number had fallen about one-half on the completion of agreements for road-making.” These figures give some indication of the magnitude of the calamity.

In reviewing the conditions in the Highlands in 1846-47 and subsequent years, special acknowledgment should be made of the voluntary generosity by which the famine was alleviated. Proprietors, as we have seen, assumed heavy responsibilities, and some involved themselves in debt from which they did not recover for a generation. But in addition to this, the amount of money contributed throughout the country and by our kinsmen abroad proved to be of immense value—in truth it may be said to have saved the situation. We have before us a number of Reports published by the Edinburgh section of the Destitution Board, which was formed to administer the subscriptions. In the end of 1847 this section furnished the following abstract of sums received :—

It will be seen from these figures that besides the direct subscriptions at home and abroad, a body called the British Association entrusted to the Board a large amount of funds. The report states that the British Association raised the money for the joint-behoof of the Irish and Scottish sufferers, and sent one-sixth to the Central Board ; also that a great proportion of the other subscriptions, so far as not obtained in Scotland, formed a share of the subscriptions raised for both Ireland and Scotland. It will be seen that the Free Church, formed only a few years before the famine, recognised its duty to the Highlands, and handed over what is called a balance of £7551 to the Edinburgh Board. The East Indies, Canada, and the United States played a generous part. A paragraph in our columns states that the 78th Regiment, then stationed in India, subscribed £140 for the relief of Highland and Irish distress. Further contributions flowed into the Board’s exchequer in subsequent years. The final financial report of the Edinburgh section, drawn up in the end of 1851, stated that the total contributions received by the Edinburgh Committee in money and kind came to £151,532, and that all of it had been expended except £1304. Details show that in money £80,086 4s had come from Scotland, England, the Colonies, and foreign countries, and that the United States sent supplies of grain and meal to the value of £13,255. The British Association had contributed over £58,000. The Glasgow section likewise raised a large sum of money for each child under twelve years, while the mother received a further allowance for spinning or knitting. The elder children of a family received a full ration “ for such work as they could give.” Incidentally, it is mentioned that 6s per week was at this time no uncommon wage for labour in Skye, and the supplies under the “test” were supposed to be equivalent. Naturally poor people thought themselves hardly treated, but in the circumstances friction was inevitable. The outstanding fact remains that in the Highlands no one died of starvation. There were allegations about a single case, but inquiry brought out the fact that death was due to family ignoranee and neglect.

A serious question before the Relief Boards was the economic condition of the Highlands apart from the famine. How could future destitution be averted ? The only thing which the committees could do was to encourage works which would be of permanent value, and start the population, so far as possible, on methods of self-support. In pursuance of the first object piers were erected and roads constructed. For the making of roads the Edinburgh section contributed a proportion of funds in consideration of the proprietors undertaking the relief of the destitute 011 their estates. In this way the road from Kinlochewe to Slattadale was made, and also the road from Aultbea to Poolewe and the Dundonell road. Mention is likewise made of a road from Garve to Ullapool, but this was probably some kind of re-construction, or the completion of an existing roadway. In Sutherland the road from Lairg to Laxford appears to have been carried out at this time. Captain Eliott speaks highly of the measures adopted by the Duke of Sutherland for maintaining the destitute at his sole charge. In Wester Ross piers were constructed at various places and roads were made in Skye. Active efforts were likewise undertaken to instruct the wives of cottars and crofters in the knitting of hosiery, so that the promotion of Highland home industries may be said to date from this period. Assistance was given for the provision of fishing boats, and arrangements were made for the disposal of fish. Attention was given to the proper cultivation of crofts. The Glasgow section likewise constructed piers and encouraged fishing and other objects in the south-western districts and islands. The final reports of both boards, however, end in a note of disappointment. The Glasgow Board, at the close of 1850, confessed that the majority of the inhabitants of the district were, many of them, in a worse condition than when the destitution, dating from 1846, began. The editor of the “Courier,” summing up the work of the Edinburgh Board in the beginning of 1852, says that “the result of this splendid fund has altogether been so unpopular and so unproductive generally, proportioned to its amount, that we are convinced no such subscription will ever again be raised in the Highlands.” The conditions, in fact, were beyond any temporary remedy. Emigration was regarded as a necessity, and during the destitution years and afterwards a large number of people left the Highlands for the Colonies.

Before the famine began and after it was over—but not during its greatest severity—evictions in several quarters created public excitement and indignation. It was impossible to give in this volume more than short passages relating to these occurrences, but any one wishing to obtain information could not do better than study our newspaper files, where in the form of articles, interviews and correspondence, all the facts are fully set forth. The editor of that time, the late Dr Carruthers, strongly condemned evictions, and, in fact, was the first to draw attention to threatened clearances in Ross-shire, which, it would appear, were in the end only partially carried out. In some of the more distant cases he had to rely on correspondents, but he frequently sent a representative of the paper, who ascertained the circumstances of the people, and published their statements as well as those of the officials who were concerned. Even Mr Donald Macleod, the author of “Gloomy Memories,” who attacked the Courier for its first account of the disturbances at Durness in 1841, afterwards wrote:—“I am happy to be able in a great degree to exonerate that journal from the charge brought against it in former letters. The Editor has put the saddle on the right horse, namely, his first informers, the advisers and actors in the cruel and vindictive proceedings against the poor victims of oppression.” This Durness affair is recorded in the second volume of the series. The evictions were not at the instance of the proprietor but of the tenant, who held under an old lease, and was anxious to oust his sub-tenants. Its importance arose from the deforcement, or threatened deforcement, of sheriff-officers, and the inquiry which followed. The result was that “upon an impartial and humane view of the whole matter,” counsel for the Crown came to the conclusion that there were not sufficient grounds for a criminal prosecution.

The writer does not think that this is the place to review at any length the history of the unfortunate clearances in the Highlands, but only to summarise those incidents that happened during the period under notice. The clearances have been made the subject of keen controversy, and most of the publications on the subject have been marred by extreme statements both for and against proprietors. Perhaps the fairest opinion is expressed by one of the speakers in Professor Blackie’s Altavona, who in referring to the Sutherland Clearances, says—“I hold it proven that in Sutherland, as in other parts of the Highlands, there existed a large population, beyond what the district could profitably support, who carried on their tenure from father to son, without any capacity of progress; but as this population had been allowed to grow up under the eye and even with the encouragement of the proprietor and the Government, it was not the people who ought to have been made to suffer from the neglect and misconduct of their natural heads; and this state of the case furnished an additional reason why any changes that took place should have been made with peculiar tenderness and delicacy.” It may be added that although proprietors and their advisers were mainly responsible for the evictions, the old tacksmen cannot be exonerated from a large measure of responsibility for the conditions which grew up and prevailed. A report which was issued in 1791 by the Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge gives a glimpse of the action of the tacksmen. “The secretary,” it says, “was assured upon authority which appeared to him conclusive that since the year 1772 [that is within twenty years] no less than sixteen vessels, full of emigrants, have sailed from the western parts of the counties of Inverness and Ross alone, containing, it is supposed, 6400 souls, and carrying with them in specie at least £38,000 sterling.” That is to say, there was a large emigration of well-to-do people, who held the crofters as their sub-tenants, and who left these people to their own successors and to the proprietors, to be dealt with according to their pleasure. The kind of life which the crofters and cottars led is depicted in the journal of an English servant, who was in the West Coast and Skye in the later years of the eighteenth century. It was impossible that such a state of things as he describes could continue; although, as a matter of fact, remnants of the same semi-patriarchal system were found by Alexander Smith and described in his Summer in Skye, published in 1865. If the tacksmen and better-class tenants of an earlier date had adapted themselves at home to the changes which were inevitable, there would have been less hardship to the common people; and the new class of capitalists, who were alien to the native population, would have lost the opportunity to tempt proprietors and to effect changes marked by haste and ruthlessness.

The evictions recorded in this volume began with Glen-Calvie, in the parish of Kincardine in Ross-shire—evictions threatened in 1842 and carried out in 1845. The facts of this case illustrate the situation which often existed on a larger scale. Only four tenants were recognised by the landlord, but there were fourteen subtenants, and the whole population of ninety persons had to depart. There were no arrears of rent, and the proprietor was absent with his regiment in Australia. About the same time four hundred tenants in the counties of Ross and Cromarty were served with summonses of removal, but this huge clearance appears to have been abandoned ; indeed the editor says he understands that “a large proportion of those who had been summoned were to be continued on their farms." In 1849 evictions at Sollas in North Uist attracted much attention. The population consisted of 110 families, numbering 603 souls. According to the estate authorities the rental of the townships was £382, the arrears amounted to £624, and for two years the people had been aided by the Highland Destitution Committee, and were then living on meal supplied gratis by the proprietor. He had also offered to convey the people to Canada, but they averred that they had not received sufficient notice, and that it was too late in the season (July) to go to the other side. The sheriff-officers were deforced in serving summonses, and four men were afterwards tried at the Inverness Circuit Court and convicted, the jury adding a rider recommending them to leniency “in consideration of the cruel, though it may be legal, proceedings adopted.” The presiding judge, Lord Cockburn, did not consider that the case required severe punishment, and passed sentence of four months’ imprisonment on each. A sequel to this case occurred in the transference of the Sollas crofters to another part of the island of North Uist, funds being furnished by a committee formed in Perth, and the settlement being consequently called the New Perth Settlement. The enterprise, however, did not prove a success. After an expenditure of £2300, It was found that the attempt was a failure, and in 1852 most of the crofters agreed to emigrate to Canada.

Another set of clearances took place in 1850 on Strathconan, the property of Mr Balfour, or his trustees. The tenantry consisted in part of persons who held club farms, with a proportion of squatters. The explanation offered was that the tenants of one of the farms had asked to be relieved of their holdings, and that this called for other changes. In the result 125 persons were removed, reducing the population from 508 to 383. By far the most sensational of the evictions, however, occurred in Knoydart in 1853, carried out by the widow of Macdonell of Glengarry. About 400 persons were in this instance removed. The estate officials alleged that not one in ten of the crofters had paid rent for periods extending from six to fifteen years, but the friends of the crofters pointed out that this included the famine years, and they believed it was the intention of the late Glengarry to wipe out the arrears. An inquirer ascertained that the arrears amounted nominally to £230, but in 1846 Glengarry had directed that no rent should be asked for, as he looked on the people "less as tenantry than as children and followers.” However this may be, the evictions went on. A large number of the crofters consented to emigrate, but about twenty families refused, and their houses were levelled to the ground, and their inmates forbidden shelter. Their sufferings caused intense indignation throughout the country. In Barra and South Uist there was also enforced emigration, which amounted to eviction. In this instance likewise the proprietor pleaded heavy pecuniary loss, but his proceedings were regarded as peculiarly harsh. There was strong criticism on account of the destitute condition in which the emigrants arrived in Canada.

In the conditions above recounted it was natural that emigration should be considered a necessity. The people were not anxious to go if they could avoid it, and one can easily understand their reluctance. They were deeply attached to their own land, most of them knew no language except Gaelic, and they were ignorant of the outside world. But in spite of these disadvantages many of them saw that no other course was open, and they yielded to the compulsion of circumstances. It would be difficult to say how many thousands left the Highlands in the years between 1846“ and 1856. According to Mr Maciver, factor for the Scourie district of Sutherland, nearly a thousand persons emigrated from the north-west of that county in the three years beginning in L847. They were sent at the expense of the Duke of Sutherland, the cost being £7000. Nearly 1000 persons were sent from the Lews to Canada in 1852 by Sir James Matheson, who provided them with food and clothing and a free passage, and with means for a week’s support after their arrival. In the same year (1852) a Highland Emigration Society was formed, which reported that in the first year of its operations it had sent out 2600 persons to Australia. These are but specimens of the stream of emigration that went on for several years at the famine time and afterwards, Of course emigration was no new thing, although its extent varied with circumstances. It is rather startling to find that in 1841 a Committee of the House of Commons reported that on the west coast of the counties of Argyll, Inverness and Ross, the excess of population, who were for part of every year in a state of destitution, amounted to a total variously estimated at from 45,000 to 80,000. Taking even the smaller figure, this was a portentous condition of affairs, and no one nowadays can be surprised that emigration was regarded as a necessary method of relief. Sad as was the expatriation of the people, their transference resulted in providing the very best kind of material for young and promising colonies. If members of the landed classes had gone along with them to guide, protect, and instruct—in short to act as their leaders in new lands—there would be less criticism to offer on changes in the Highlands.

It remains to be seen what effect the changes of the last 110 years have had on the population of the Northern Counties. The first statutory census was taken in 1801, showing the total population of Scotland at that date to be 1,608,420. In the period of one hundred and ten years that has since passed, the total has risen to 4,759,445, showing an increase of 3,151,025, or 195.9 per cent. In other words the population is now nearly three times as great as it was at the beginning of the nineteenth century. So far as the total growth is concerned, this is a satisfactory result, though we find tendencies at work which cause apprehension. During the past ten years the increase amounts only to 287,342, which is the smallest since 1861, the contraction being due to a falling birth-rate and continuous emigration. The most disappointing feature is the fact that the people who live by the land have sadly diminished in number during the past sixty years. In the five Northern Counties we are, indeed, in total population still considerably higher than we were in 1801, but not much higher than in 1821, and very much lower than in 1851, which marks the dividing line. The following figures show the position in the two earlier returns just mentioned:—

The total of the same area was this year returned as 226,144. Sutherland has the unfortunate distinction of being 2938 less than in 1801, and Inverness-shire is 2389 less than in 1821. Nairnshire has fluctuated less than any county during the period. The maximum population of Inverness-shire (97,799) was reached in 1841, but the maximum for the group was attained in 1851. The following are the figures for the latter year and for the present year :—

The net result is that the group of counties has a population smaller by 27,521 than in 1851. The landward districts must show proportionately a greater falling-off, as the towns have grown in population since the middle of the century, Inverness itself having increased to the extent of about 12,000. If we allow 18,000 for the increase in all the towns in the area, the rural decrease since 1851 is over 45,000. It has also to be noted that according to the census report, the returns for Russ and Cromarty were augmented in 1911 by 4000 men of the Fleet, who were in Cromarty Firth on the census day. Discounting this fortuitous incident, the population would have been 3097 smaller than ten years ago. As the Lews shows an increase of 652 since 1901, the mainland has been greatly depleted. Nor is it to be forgotten that during the past two years voluntary emigration from the Highlands has been going forward in increasing ratio. It is difficult to say what numbers have left, but the difficulty nowadays is to keep young men at home. The sailings from the Clyde during the last two years are estimated at 50,000. Many of these emigrants went from other parts of Scotland, but the proportion from the Highlands must have formed a considerable factor in the total.

These are stern facts, fitted to cause reflection and anxiety, and to claim any available and properly conceived remedy. They are not solitary facts confined to the Highlands alone, but are paralleled in other parts of Scotland, and more or less throughout the world. There are general causes operating to bring about rural depopulation, even if we allow that local causes in the Highlands have aggravated the movement The population of the five counties is still 43,000 higher than it was in 1801—some consolation, perhaps, though a small one. In view of the downward tendency the cry for an extension of small holdings is perfectly legitimate. But in sober fact it is necessary to point out that the increase of population from this source can never be anything except limited. The new policy must be accompanied by aflorestation, agricultural co-operation, and some kind of industrial expansion, if the population is to be largely increased on a sound economic basis. There is pathos and significance in the fact that the population of the area in 1911 was 10,000 less than in 1891, the first census after the passing of the Crofters Act. There is, however, far greater comfort now than there was even twenty years ago, and it is to be hoped that any increase which may in future take place will be accompanied by an improvement in the ordinary conditions of life.

In 1843 occurred the Disruption of the Church of Scotland, an event which affected the whole country, and especially the Highlands. In many of the rural parishes in that area the ministers seceded, and whether they did or not, the Parish Churches for the most part were swept bare of worshippers. The town of Inverness, of course, shared in the excitement, but to a less extent than the country round about. There was a simple and sufficient reason for this. The only ministers who left the Establishment here were those of the East Church and the North Church, and as these were not Parish Churches, but had been built by the people themselves, and no attempt was made to remove their pastors or claim their edifices, service went on pretty much as before. The only change was the erection of a new English Church, now the United Free High Church, which was promptly set about, and was filled from the first by a large congregation. There was, however, even apart from controversy, room for a church of the kind, as there were adherents in all the other churches who knew no Gaelic. In the rural parishes there was for a time much bitterness, but only in a small area in Ross-shire was there any disturbance, and this also soon disappeared. The Free Church ministers set their faces against anything in the nature of violence. They might denounce the religion of the “Moderates,” but they forbade their adherents to do anything more than cease attendance at the Parish Churches. For a time hostile feeling was aggravated by the refusal of some proprietors to grant sites for Free Churches.

This spirit also passed away, when it was found that the mass of the people were at once earnest and orderly. A meeting of Free Church Assembly, held at Inverness in August 1845, helped not only to keep alive enthusiasm, but to settle disputes about sites. Incidents connected with the Disruption are given in the volume, but need not be dwelt upon here. It may only be said that one of the strangest cases, and one which long occupied the attention of Church Courts, was the Daviot case in this neighbourhood. It began several years before the Disruption, and had a considerable influence in accelerating the movement. The Daviot people were strongly in favour of having as their minister the Kev. Archibald Cook, then of the North Church, Inverness, but the Crown persistently declined to present him. Presentees were vetoed by the handful of communicants—who in this instance represented the wishes of the parishioners—and their protest was steadily upheld by the Assembly. The case was complicated by the fact that there was a good deal of separatism in the parish, due originally to the popularity of a catechist named Patrick Stewart, who seems to have had a genius for preaching in Gaelic. Had Mr Cook been presented this division would have ceased. The Crown, however, as represented by the Home Secretary, continued its opposition till the Disruption came, with the result that Daviot was for six years without a parish minister. In 1844 Mr Cook became minister of the Free Church of Daviot, and for more than twenty years thereafter maintained the attachment of a united people.

The proposed introduction of railway communication excited much interest in the period under review. Various schemes were launched which did not come at the time to fruition, but which have since been carried through. A movement for a railway between Inverness and Perth was started in 1844, and in order to show the traffic to be expected it was stated that besides regular steamers plying between London, Leith, and Glasgow, “there were nine daily coaches, as well appointed as any in Britain, starting from and arriving at Inverness.” The promoters, after a little delay, produced a complete scheme, and in May 1846 laid it before a Committee of the House of Commons, but only to be disappointed. The Committee came to the conclusion that the gradients leading upwards to the Grampians were too steep to be safely and successfully negotiated. “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.” The members of the Committee shook their wise heads. The gradients, they said, were not only steep but long, and they seemed to think that engines would become wearied dragging carriages up the incline. An attempt was also made to show that the snow-blocks would be terrific, but, the promoters declared with truth that their climate was less subject to severe snow-storms than the Aberdeen climate. In the issue, however, the Committee proved obdurate, and besides suffering disappointment the promoters lost heavily in money. At tliis time they feared that Inverness would never be anything more than a link with Aberdeen, which naturally chuckled over their defeat. For some years railway projects were in abeyance. The first line to be constructed was a short line of six miles from Elgin to Lossiemouth, which was opened in 1852. Then Inverness again began to move, this time in a tentative way. In the end of 1853 a prospectus was issued for the construction of a railway between Inverness and Nairn; in July 1854 the promoters obtained their bill; in September of the same year the first turf was cut; and on the 5th of November 1855 the little line, which proved to be the forerunner of greater things, was opened. In less than a year afterwards the bill was passed for the construction of the Inverness and Aberdeen Junction Railway, which sanctioned the first through line of communication. A few years later came the first part of the Ross-shire line and the line to Perth, and so gradually the Highland Railway was built up.

Land improvement in various directions was carried out with intelligence and activity during the period, aud did not altogether cease until about 1875, when prices began to fall. It was accompanied by an extension of the sheep-farming area, but in arable districts which were in touch with southern markets, cultivation and reclamation went forward. Among the earliest improvers were Mr Young of Burghead, who was extensively employed in Ross-shire as well as in Morayshire, and Mr Rose Ross of Cromarty, the son of a parish minister of Creich, who returned with a fortune from the West Indies, and made large purchases of land in Easter Ross. It was stated at the time of his death in 1848, that “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 coin fields.” Mr Ross carried on tile works and tile draining, and planted beech and thorn hedges in Easter Ross which, it was computed, extended to about forty miles. Another improver was Mr Kennedy, who purchased the estate of Bogbain, near Tain, and spent £15,000 in successful reclamation. In earlier days the Baillies of Dochfour and Mr Mackintosh of Raigmore had beautified and improved the district round Inverness. In the late forties and early fifties the Culloden estate benefited by the work of Mr Rose, who received an improving lease of the farm of Leanach, and reclaimed most of the land in the neighbourhood of Culloden Battlefield. Sir Alexander Matheson was a great improver in Ross-shire, planting, draining, building, and reclaiming—much of the reclamation work being effected by the late Mr Mackenzie, Achindunie. A great part of this work failed, perhaps, in the end to prove profitable to proprietors, but it was of immediate and permanent service to the countryside, and should not be forgotten in modern times. Farmer societies were busy at the same time in discussing the best methods of increasing the properties of the soil. It is significant that at the Great Exhibition of 1851, Mr Mackillican obtained a medal for his sample of wheat from Piperhill, Cawdor, and only failed to receive the same recognition for his sample of perennial ryegrass because no exhibitor was allowed to obtain more than one prize medal. Mr Mackillican’s wheat weighed 65 lbs. 1 oz. to the bushel. Lord Lovat, it may be noted, employed a teacher in Strathglass to instruct the people in the elements of agricultural chemistry. Frequent reports were made on the results of plantation. Mr Grant of Kincorth showed the possibility of clothing pure sandhills on the outskirts of Culbin with thriving plantations of Scotch and larch firs. Of more commercial value were the extensive plantations in connection with the estates of Balnagown, Ardross and Fairburn. The work of planting has gone on in other districts since that day, but we are still waiting for the application of Government funds which can alone secure the benefit of a general scheme of afforestation for the Highlands.

Improvements connected with the town of Inverness call for a brief notice. The drive round the Longman was constructed in 1849, partly by Government assistance, partly by private subscription, and aid from the Harbour Trustees. The extension of the Kessock embankment, undertaken by the Mackintosh Trustees, was brought to a completion by Sir Alexander Matheson of Ardross, who accepted a contribution of £250 from the Trustees, while the work cost £900. The sale to Sir Alexander of part of the Muirtown estate between the canal and the River Ness was a transaction from which the town has received enormous benefit. The prison on the Castlehill (now added to the county buildings) was begun in 1846 and completed in 1849. At the western end of the Castlehill the lodge and gateway were afterwards constructed, and the iron railing run along the summit. About the same time the roadway between the hill and the river was widened, and the present retaining wall erected. In 1851 the old prison in Bridge Street was purchased by the Town Council for £420, and the lower part converted into shops. After s the flood of 1849 the Ness Islands had to be improved afresh, and new bridges erected. This work was effected by a committee, of which Dr Alexander Ross and the late Mr Walter Carruthers were active members. They had great difficulty in raising the necessary funds, but the amount was ultimately forthcoming.

The chief calamity connected with the town was the great flood of January 1849, which swept away the old stone bridge. The leading details of this disaster are given in the volume. For years thereafter there was discussion and disappointment respecting the new bridge which was to take its place. At first the Government attempted to disclaim responsibility, alleging, on the faith of their engineer, Mr Walker, that the breach of the canal banks at Dochgarroch had not contributed to the disaster. Driven from this point by the evidence submitted to them, and by the reports of Mr Joseph Mitchell and Mr Leslie, civil engineers, they sent down another engineer, Mr Rendel, to suggest a site and plan. Three sites had been named, namely, the old site at Bridge Street, one at Fraser Street, and one opposite Wells Street. Fortunately Mr Rendel selected the old site, and recommended an iron girder bridge, in place of which a suspension bridge was adopted. The terms exacted by the Treasury were to advance the whole sum necessary for construction, half by way of gift, half as a loan—the latter to be spread over twenty-two years at per cent., and the amount to be deducted from the grant then payable for Highland Roads and Bridges to the four northern counties. The terms having been accepted, work was begun in June 1852. But further disappointment was in store. The first two sets of contractors failed, owing to the difficulty of constructing the foundations. Below the spot intended for the tower the workmen found a bed of clay “almost as hard as stone itself.” Mr Joseph Mitchell wrote that he had warned the engineer of the existence of this bed, but his statements had been disregarded. However this may be, the work went slowly forward, but it was not until August 1855, six and a-half years after the destruction of the stone bridge, that the Suspension Bridge was opened for traffic. If the delay was great, acknowledgment was made of the substantial construction and finish of the work. The net cost of the bridge was £25,365, leaving from the funds provided a credit balance of £770. Mr Rendel reported that to secure beyond doubt the safety of the bridge it had been deemed necessary “to lay its foundations so much below the level of the bed of the river, that the intended deepening of the harbour on the one hand, and the violence of Loch-Ness on the other, should not scour the river to such a depth as to undermine the bridge works.” As a matter of fact the excavations went down twenty-three feet below high flood and spring-tide level. A service bridge and ferry boat accommodated the town until the Suspension Bridge was opened.

The visit of Queen Victoria to Ardverikie in 1847 excited much interest. Locally Her Majesty’s stay culminated in the visit of Prince Albert to Inverness and his presence at the Northern Meeting. The Queen, however, did not choose Badenoch as her Highland seat. She selected Balmoral, which was for many years more accessible. During her stay at Ardverikie the weather was less favourable than it often is in the Highlands in the end of August and the first half of September.

Many incidents of an interesting character are to be found in the volume, but only one or two need be mentioned here. An attempt which was made to revive the cultivation of flax in Glen-Urquhart did not prove successful. Inverness Town Council offered a premium of £10 as an inducement to run an omnibus to Kessock Ferry, a project which also came to a speedy end. During the herring fishing the town was ill supplied with ordinary fish, and the Council agreed to try what a bounty would do, so they offered to pay Is 3d “for every full-sized creel of fish brought into the town during the time of the herring fishing.” We do not know what was the effect of this provision, or how long it lasted. A snow-storm in 1852 isolated the town for a whole week from mail communication with the world outside the county. The editor of the “Courier” would have found himself destitute of general and. political news unless two Edinburgh steamers had arrived from Leith, bringing some papers from the capital. An old man, named John Maclean, known in his later years as the Centenarian, died in January 1852, about ten days before the date of this snow-storm. “In his youth there was only a weekly post from the South by means of foot runners over the hills; and when the weather happened to be ‘ coarse,’ or the runner took ‘a glass too much,’ the letters were often several days behind.” Old times must have seemed to be revived when the town was again isolated. It is curious to find that even during this trying week letters came from Badenoch. The interruption was in the route from Aberdeen, by which the mails were carried.

A number of public men who had taken a leading part in the business of the town and neighbourhood passed away during the period. Mr Grant of Bught died in 1842, and in 1843 ex-Provost Gilzean, who left a large fortune, which was bequeathed to his grand-children, the family of Rose Innes of Netherdale, whose descendants have still a connection through property with the town. Mr Gilzean, who had reached his eighty-seventh year, was one of the company which met Robert Burns at dinner in the house of Provost Inglis in 1787. During a short visitation of cholera in 1849—the last which has appeared in the town—a distinguished physician, manufacturer, and ex-Provost, Dr John Inglis Nicol was struck down by the disease. Ex-Provost John Ferguson, another well-known name, died in 1850. Mr William Fraser-Tytler of Aldourie, who had been sheriff of the county of Inverness for forty-two years, died in 1853, and in 1854 Mr John Mackenzie, banker, who was the first Provost of the town after the passing of the Reform Act in 1832. Of wider reputation was the Rev. Dr Macdonald of Ferrintosh, who passed away in 1849. The two Reachs, father and son, who had proved so valuable as London correspondents, died, the former in 1853, the latter in 1856. The last entry in the volume records the death in December 1856, of the editor’s friend Hugh Miller, whose career will live in the literary and scientific history of the English speaking world.

The population of the town and parish of Inverness was 15,418 at the census of 1841, and 16,496 in 1851. In 1911 the total was 25,952, a drop of about 1000 from the census of 1901. The town proper, given in detail in the recent census returns, shows as follows :—Municipal burgh, 9100 in 1841, 9969 in 1851, 21,238 in 1901, and 22,216 (extended area) in 1911.

Three papers of general interest appear in the appendix to the present volume. The first consists of extracts from the letter-book of an Inverness merchant in 1745-46; the second of a journal written by an English servant who came to the Highlands in 1781 ; and the third is a report on the condition of the Highlands in 1791, prepared for the Society for Propogating Christian Knowledge.

September 1913.

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