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The Northern Highlands in the Nineteenth Century
No. 15


The war with Russia came to an end early in 1856. In January proposals suggested in Vienna were accepted as a basis of negotiation, and terms were arranged in a Congress at Paris. On the 30th of March the treaty was signed, and ratifications were exchanged on 27th April. The cost of the war to this country was over £50,000,000. At the time of its cessation Britain was in an exceptionally strong position for the continuance of the struggle, a fact ascribed to the vigour of Lord Palmerston.

There was little legislative business during the year. An attempt to establish the principle of life peerages was made in the case of Sir James Parke, who was created Lord Wensleydale without right of succession, but the proposal met with so much opposition in the House of Lords that the Government gave way, and Sir James was made a peer in the ordinary form. The crimes of William Palmer, a surgeon of Rugeley in Staffordshire, known in criminal annals as Palmer the poisoner, excited universal attention and indignation. There were also two sensational cases of fraud, one by a man named Robson, on the Crystal Palace Company, the other by Leopold Redpatn on the Great Northern Railway Company.

The great event affecting the Highlands was the passing of the bill for the construction of the Inverness and Aberdeen Junction Railway, connecting the short line to Nairn with the Great North of Scotland Company at Keith. This, by a> roundabout way, was to give Inverness its first through railway communication.

From the “Inverness Courier ”

1856.

January 3.—A paragraph 6tate« that shortly after the despatch from Lerwick of the Fairy R.M. packet, with the Shetland mails for Aberdeen, it was discovered that a letter belonging to a large firm had not been bagged with the rest of the mail.

“No sooner was the detention of the communication detected than the smack, Arthur Anderson, was at once engaged at twenty pounds for the run, to convey the document to the North of Scotland.”

January 10.—Sir Alexander Mackenzie, eighth Bart, of Coul, died on the 3rd inst., at the age of fifty-one, his constitution having suffered from long residence in India. He retired from the Bengal Army in 1851, after an uninterrupted service of more than twenty-six years. Sir Alexander was not married, and his title and estates descended to his brother William, born in 1806.

Ibid.—The estate of Dalmore was purchased by Mr Matheson of Ardross, M.P., the purchase price being given as about £24,700. The estate of Loch-Shiel, in the district of Moidart, was sold by the proprietor, Mr Macdonald, to Mr Hope Scott of Abbotsford for £24,500.

Ibid.—Ensign AEnoas Macdonell, second son of the late Macdonell of Glengarry, was drowned, along with several companions, in the Medway. He was in the Bengal Engineers, and was only twenty years of age. John Fraser, son of the late Rev. Thomas Fraser, of Inverness, died at Colombo in the previous October. He had resided in Ceylon for many years as Under-Secretary for the Island.

January 17.—The Rev. Alexander Fraser, of Kirkhill, gave in a lecture an interesting narrative of his sojourn in the Crimea as one of the Presbyterial chaplains of the Army. Mr Fraser bore testimony to the mild and courteous bearing of Lord Raglan and to his popularity in the Army; and he mentioned that Sir Colin Campbell, before the attack on the Redan, sent for the chaplains that they might be ready to administer consolation to the wounded and dying after the assault.

January 24.—James Baillie Fraser of Reelig, widely known as an accomplished Eastern scholar and traveller, and also as an author, died at his residence, Moniack, on the 23rd inst. Born in June 1783, he was in his seventy-third year. Mr Fraser went early to the West Indies, but after a short residence there turned to the East, and became partner in a mercantile house in Calcutta. A love of adventure, however, led him to travel. Coming home about 1822, he married Jane, daughter of Lord Woodhouselee, and sister of the late Sheriff Fraser-Tytler. Mr Fraser again visited the East, and was employed in a diplomatic mission, in course of which he rode from Constantinople to Ispahan, the fatigues and hardships of the journey giving the first shock to his vigorous constitution. When the Persian princes visited this country he was requested by Government to accompany and take charge of them, and on their return he went with them as far as Constantinople. Latterly, Mr Fraser became a zealous improver of his Highland estate, adding to the beauty of its woodlands and its fine gardens. Mr Fraser was the author of numerous works of Eastern travel and adventure. The best known is a fictitious narrative, “The Kuzzilbashi a tale of Ivhorasan,” in which he describes the life and manners of the Persians. This is reckoned his best work. It was reviewed and praised in the “Quarterly Review” by Sir Walter Scott. Mr Fraser was also an accomplished artist, especially in water-colours. The editor in his notice recalls that one of Reelig’s brothers, William Fraser, was Commissioner in Delhi, where he was assassinated by a native prince in 1835. An interesting account of this affair is given in “Blackwood’s Magazine” for January 1878, written by Lord Lawrence, who was tenant of Reelig in 1877.

Ibid.—The issue records a calamity which occurred the same week at Dingwall at a private dinner party in the house of the Provost of Dingwall. Three of the party (two Roman Catholic priests and a neighbouring proprietor) took ill In course of the dinner, and within a short time expired. Others were affected, but recovered. It turned out that a servant who had been sent by the cook to the garden for radish for the roast-beef took monkshood root by mistake, and this formed the sauce. The plant is virulently poisonous.

Ibid.—The “Times” correspondent at the war pays a tribute to Dr Macpherson, son of Mr Macpherson, at one time factor for Lord Lovat, for his services to the Turkish contingent in the Crimea. Dr Macpherson, who had served in India, organised the medical staff, and checked the ravages of cholera.

January 31.—Two very large tracts of heath and a considerable extent of wood, the property of Lochiel, were burned on either side of Loch-Arkaig. The fire swept over three square miles of heath, and consumed many acres of the fine old pine forest of Guisach. Investigation was going on as to the origin of the fire.

Ibid.—A European Conference to discuss terms of peace was about to assemble at Paris. The following paragraph from the London letter affords curious reading nowadays : —“Prussia’s desire to come into the Conference had been chiefly opposed, it is said, by England, but will be achieved. I seem to hear Lord Palmerston in his place in the House justifying it with a sort of good-natured contempt, and some commonplace about ‘an important kingdom,’ and a wish that Europe should be unanimous in the arrangement now meditated.

February 7.—Parliament had assembled on 31st January, and the Queen’s Speech announced that conditions had been agreed upon between the Allied Powers and Russia, which would prove, it was hoped, the foundation of a general treaty of peace.

February 14.—The office of Town-Clerk of Inverness had become vacant through the death of Mr Mactavish. The Town Council now elected Mr Alexander Dallas, solicitor, to be Town-Clerk, and Mr Charles Stewart to be law agent, the two functions being separated. Mr Dallas had been previously a member of Town Council and a magistrate, but had resigned on the occurrence of the vacancy.

Ibid.—Mr David Gray, Professor of Natural Philosophy in Marischal College. Aberdeen, died a few days before. The deceased was a native of Kirkcaldy, where his father was minister of the Original Secession congregation. He studied at Edinburgh, and became Mathematical Master in Dollar Academy, which he held from 1833 to 1837, when he was appointed one of the Professors of King’s College, New Brunswick. After returning to this country he became Rector of Inverness Royal Academy, and in 1845 was appointed by the Crown to the Professorship in Marischal College. Mr Gray, says the paragraph, had been a most efficient and successful teacher in Inverness, and continued to take a warm interest in the town.

Ibid.—Mr Chas. Urquhart Stuart, third son of the late Dr Stuart of Grantown, died on the previous November while on his way from Bloemfontein to Harrismith, in South Africa, to hold a Circuit Court. Mr Stuart had been for many years in Ceylon, where he was for some time a member of Council. He then went to South Africa, where he was appointed by Sir Harry Smith resident judge at Bloemfontein.

February 21.—Air John Cameron, Corrychoilie, a well known and extensive sheep farmer, died suddenly on the 16th inst. in his 75th year. His strong individuality of character made him a conspicuous man in the Highlands. At one time he was the largest holder of live stock in the Highlands, probably in Scotland, owning between 40,000 and 50,000 sheep. As he said, he did not know the exact number to a few thousands. Shortly before his death he stated that he had “stood” the three yearly Falkirk trysts, and the two Doune fairs, for fifty-five years without missing a single market. Latterly Mr Cameron had given up many of his farms, retaining little more than the one from which he derived his cognomen, and the farm adjacent to it; but he purchased a small estate in Stirlingshire, and one in Skye. Riding was his only mode of travel, and he often rode long distances. Corrychoilie had the reputation of being a kind and considerate friend of dealers and crofters. and was very hospitable to friends.

Ibid.—The Rev. John Mackinnon, parish minister of Strath in Skye, died on the 16th inst. in the seventieth year of his age. He was ordained as minister of Sleat in 1812, and was appointed assistant and successor to his father as minister of Strath in 1825. Mr Mackinnon was greatly respected in Skye, and well known to the visitors of those times, whom he liberally entertained. “All his visitors became his friends, and carried away with them a lively recollection ot the well-stored mind and cultivated taste of their hospitable entainer. Several of Mr Mackinnon3s family have distinguished themselves in various parts of the world. One is now a medical officer with the Army in the Crimea, and was publicly thanked by the Duke of Cambridge for his conduct at the Alma; another is joint-proprietor and editor of the “Melbourne Argue,” probably the most respectable and widely circulated other colonial journals. One is minister of the Gospel at Fearn; and several have carried the skill in sheep-farming, acquired in the West Highlands, to the farthest corner of our colonies.” Mr Mackinnon’s father, who was also minister of Strath, died in 1831 in the 96th year of his age and the 62nd of his ministry.

Ibid.—General Patrick Grant, afterwards Sir Patrick Grant, had been appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Madras Army. There was some jealousy in the British staff at home, because an Indian officer had been selected for the appointment, but the feeling was apparently confined to a few in high places. “In General Grant’s case, the right man is certainly in the right place. He has seen six-nnd-thirty years’ hard service. During thirteen years he was really the Adjutant-General of the Bengal Army, and for about half that time he held the chief place in his department. That the military affairs of the Bengal Presidency were never more efficiently com ducted than under his management, is well known to all who had opportunities of judging, both at home and abroad. We may add that he is the first Commander-in-Chief of an Indian Army who could speak the language of the country—obviously an advantage of no small moment,”

February 28.—The militia authorities had acquired a site for barracks on the north side of Telford Road, on a feu from Mr Matheson, M.P. They had previously contemplated a site above Godsman’s Walk.

March 6.—A humble old woman, named Margaret Munro, was found dead in her cottage in Obsdale, near Alness, under circumstances that clearly implied murder. She was believed to possess a little money, which she kept in the house. The public authorities were busy making investigation.

Ibid.—Mr Falshaw, of the firm of Brassey and Falshaw, contractors for the construction of the Inverness and Nairn Railway, was entertained to a public dinner in Nairn. Mr Falshaw had assisted in local affairs, and exerted himself to get up a company to supply water to the town. The firm had also become contractors for a considerable portion of the proposed line to Keith.

March 13.—Objections had been taken to the settlement of a presentee to the parish of Urray, and the Presbytery of Dingwall met on this date to hear the debate by agents, and to determine. The Presbytery resolved to sustain the call. In course of the preliminary discussion, Mr Stewart, solicitor, agent for the presentee, said that “Urray was strictly a Highland parish; the population was principally Gaelic, ninety-nine out of a hundred speaking that language, and the bulk of them that language only.” It would be interesting to know how many in the parish, little more than fifty ^ears afterwards, now speak the Gaelic language. It seems that the chief objectors to the presentee were not Highlanders.

Ibid.—A movement was on foot to erect a monument to the memory of Duncan Ban Macintyre, the Gaelic poet. The “Courier” acknowledges receipt of £19 8s for the fund, sent from Mr Angus Cameron, Hobart Town, Tasmania, as “a cheerful offering of a few Highlanders resident in the colony.”

March 13 and 20.—At St Paul’s Episcopal Church, Edinburgh, on the 12th inst., Mr Mackintosh of Raigniore was married to Grace Ellen Augusta, youngest daughter of the late Sir Neil Menzies of Menzies. The marriage was celebrated by the tenantry and friends at Raigmore, Strathdearn, and in other localities by bonfires and entertainments. “The Culloden tenantry also commemorated the joyous event, and The Mackintosh (now resident in Inverness) gave directions that a bonfire should be lighted at Moy, and refreshments distributed among the people. It may be truly said that none of our proprietors can be personally more popular than Raigmore

March 20.—The birth of a Prince Imperial excited joy in France. “The Bonaparte dynasty may now be perpetuated—an heir at least has been vouchsafed—and this event, calling forth the generous feeling9 and chivalrous sentiments of the nation, has fixed still more firmly the Emperor Louis Napoleon on his throne.” The war of 1870 and the sad fate of the Prince Imperial in South Africa were in the distant future.

March 27.—Mr Waterston, manager of the Caledonian Bank, had received a sum of £20 from Australia, in aid of the Ness Islands Improvement Fund. The sum was collected and transmitted by a former townsman, Mr Donald Urquhart, Melbourne. The paragraph states that the Island bridges were now in excellent repair, and that only a few more subscriptions were necessary to place the grounds in a satisfactory condition.

Ibid.—An ancient cairn had existed on the farm of Easter Golford, in Nairnshire, measuring from 150 to 180 feet in circumference, and enclosing, it is stated, stone coffins and clay urns. Comment is made on the fact that the stones were blasted and removed in order to turn the spot to account for agricultural purposes. Nothing apnears to have been preserved.

April 3.—Peace was concluded with Russia, and we are told that the announcement was “so fully and confidently expected” that it excited less emotion than the greatness of tile event seemed u> demand. At Inverness the bells were rung, and in the evening the pupils ol the Academy got up a bonfire in the playground. At Fort-George the Forfarshire Artillery turned out, and fired a salute of 101 guns. “The salute was fired in seventeen minutes, and competent judges say that no line regiment could have done it better.” At a later date there were local rejoicings.

April 10.—Lord Saltoun, the owner of Ness Castle and adjacent grounds, on the banks of the River Ness, had resolved to establish a pheasant preserve and raise a stock of deer. To enable him to carry out these changes he had ordered thirty-two persons to quit them holdings. The “Courier” condemned this scheme, and urged Lord Saltoun to reconsider it.

Ibid.—The Inverness Town Council conferred the freedom of the city on General Patrick Grant, on his appointment as Commander-Chief of the Madras Army. The ceremony took place in the Town Hall. The same issue announces that Lieut.-General Sir George Brown had been promoted to the rank of General, in recognition of his distinguished services in the Crimea and while commanding the troops employed in the successful operations against Kertch.

Ibid.—A week or two before a large stone was discovered in the river, bearing the names of the Provosts and Magistrates associated with the founding of the old stone bridge in 1681, and with its completion in 1685. The stone had fallen with the bridge in the flood of 1849, and was found when workmen were blasting the stumps of the temporary wooden bridge. “From the peculiar position of the stone in the old bridge, few were familiar with its contents ; it stood above the centre arch facing the west, and could not be read except with great difficulty, by persons standing on the bridge. The stone is a large slab, of Elgin freestone, of a peculiarly hard texture.” The Provost in 1681 was Alexander Dunbar of “Barmucate,” and the Provost in 1685 John Cuthbert of Drakies. The architects were James Smith, father and son, from Forres. The stone is now on the stair of the Free Library buildings.

Ibid.—The congregation of the Free High Church were making an effort to clear off the debt on the building. “The debt amounts to about £1700. Nearly the half of this amount was subscribed in course of yesterday and to-day.”

April 10 and 17.—The new Suspension Bridge over the Ness had now been formally handed over to Mr Joseph Mitchell on behalf of the Commissioners for Highland Roads and Bridges. The net cost of the work amounted to £25,365 Is Id, and the sum raised to meet the cost was £26,183 Is 9d, leaving a credit balance of £770. A report on the subject is given by Mr Rendel.

April 17.—Mr Macdonald, a native of Fort-William, had been appointed sub-manager of the “Times.” Mr Macdonald was previously on the staff of the paper, and had earned cordial praise by his administration of relief funds in the Crimea.

Ibid.—An enterprising ship-owner, Captain Lawrence, who had long taken a lead in the shipping of Inverness, died on the 11th inst. “He has been for about thirty years connected with Inverness, and has always been esteemed a highly honourable and generous citizen.”—A schooner, of about 200 tons burden, was launched at Nairn for Mr Hugh Mann. She was named the Mary and Elizabeth.

Ibid.—A dinner was held at Banavie on the 5th inst., on the occasion of Lochiel attaining his majority. “The chair was taken by Sir Duncan Cameron of Fassfern, Bart., who, though upwards of eighty years of age and of infirm health, travelled twenty miles to be present, and discharged the duties of president with great spirit and cordiality.”

April 24.—Lord Saltoun writes to explain the changes on his estate. He says that thirteen or fourteen of the persons warned out were persons in his own employment, who were merely changing their houses, and who would in future have no rent to pay; that eight or ten were paupers, for whom he was making provision better than they formerly possessed ; and that the remaining four were either crofters who had not implemented their engagements, and whose crofts were better suited for planting than for agriculture, or “depredators and plunderers whose handiwork was patent to any one passing through the woods on the estate, and whose eviction would be a good riddance to any property.”

Ibid.—Lieutenant Cowell, R.E., had been appointed tutor to Prince Alfred. Mr Cowell was educated at Inverness Academy and the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich. In the Crimea he was appointed aide-de-camp to Sir Harry Jones, and on his return acted as private secretary to Sir John Burgoyne at the War Department.

May 1.—Sir Kenneth Mackenzie of Gairloch was appointed convener of the county of Ross.

May 8.—The Rev. James Grant, parish minister of Cromdale, died on the 2nd inst. He was ordained in 1830, and after the Disruption retained a large congregation. On a recent occasion nearly 400 persons partook of the Communion.

May 15 to 29.—The contents of these issues are mostly of a general character. Considerable space is given to the trial of Palmer, the poisoner. The Inverness-shire Militia were disbanded, but before this happpened they were marched in to Inverness and billeted on the citizens. A movement was on foot for a new cemetery in Inverness, various sites being suggested. Further improvements were being carried out on the Ness Islands. The Rev. David Carment, Free Church minister of Ross-keen, died on the 26th inst., at the age of 84, and in the 57th year of his ministry. He was a man of great vigour and independence, and oarried almost his entire congregation with him at the Disruption. Mr Carment was a native of Caithness, and acted from 1803 to 1810 as assistant to Mr Calder, of Croy. He was then called to Duke Street congregation, Glasgow, and in 1822 was translated to the parish of Rosskeon. In 1852 the Rev. Mr Fraser was appointed bis colleague and successor.

June 5.—'Although the Militia were disembodied, from twenty to thirty men of the permanent staff were billeted in public-houses in Inverness. The cost, it was expected, would be defrayed from the burgh rates, and the editor protests strongly against this fresh burden. “The members of the staff are for the most part tradesmen or pensioners, having wives and families, and having long rented houses in Inverness. Why they should not be obliged to find permanent lodgings for themselves, without help from the inhabitants, it is not easy to understand.”

June 12.—An unknown friend of the Northern Infirmary presented the house with an invalid chair, which he said had belonged to the late Samuel Rogers, the poet. The sender paid the freight and conveyance, amounting to £1 1s. The following was the note announcing the gift: —“The packages referred to in the enclosed receipt contain an invalid chair, with iron poles, which belonged, and was an inestimable comfort, to the late Samuel Rogers, Esq., and which a friend to the Infirmary has much pleasure in sending for the use of that institution. It will be observed that freight and all charges to the door of the institution are paid. London, 7th June 1856.” There was no signature.

Ibid.—Lieutenant-General Duncan Macleod, late of the Bengal Engineers, youngest son of the late Donald Macleod of Geanies, died at Brighton on the 8th inst. He had carried out several very extensive and important engineering works in India, and retired from the service of the East India Company with honour and distinction.

June 19.—Two licence-holders in Inverness were fined under the Forbes Mackenzie Act, one for allowing a ball in his house given by the Militia officers, another for allowing an entertainment to the sergeants of the regiment. In both instances the proceedings were protract ed beyond eleven o’clock. Apparently special licences were not provided for at the time. There was also a threat to prosecute a hotel-keeper because the Provost had accepted an invitation from the Circuit Judges to dine with them on Sunday.

June 26.—Mr John Bright, M.P., was staying at the Union Hotel, Inverness. His health was not good, and he was instructed to refrain as much as possible from reading and writing. Mr Bright was on his way to Lairg, where the Earl of Ellesmere had placed his shooting-lodge at his service. Prince Napoleon of France had also passed through Inverness, with a party of friends, bound on a scientific expedition to Iceland.

July 3.—“Twenty years ago, a mail coach was placed on the Highland Road, chiefly through the exertions of Mr Edward Ellice, jun., M.P., and after much, resistance on the part of the Postmaster-General, who calculated that he would lose £300 a year by having a coach on this line as well as on the coast or Aberdeen road. There was a considerable loss, or rather additional cost, but there was also great public convenience and increased despatch. The extension of railways, however, has altered this state of things. The mail bags are now to be sent by Aberdeen, the coach taken off the Highland Road, and a mail bag for local postal communication substituted. The bags will be conveyed between Inverness and Nairn by the railway, and the Aberdeen mail-coach will not come further north than Nairn. In less than two years the railway communication will be complete between Inverness and Aberdeen, and then the last of the mail-coaches will disappear in all but the counties north of our Highland Capital. On Monday next the mail-coach will be withdrawn from the Highland Road, but the same day the ‘Duke of Wellington’ day coach commences to rim for the summer and autumn months.”

Ibid.—The Mackintosh of Mackintosh had enlarged the holdings of Bohuntine, in Lochaber, by adding to them the farm of Achavaddy. The tenants held a1 holiday to celebrate the event.

Ibid.—On the 1st inst. Sir Colin Campbell received the freedom of the city of Glasgow, and a sword of honour, subscribed for by contributions limited to one shilling. A good many contributions came from the Highlands.

Ibid.—The crinoline had come into use as part of ladies’ dress. A sarcastic writer describes a drawing-room as like a camp. “You see a number of bell tents of different colours, the poles sustaining them appearing at the summit.”

July 10.—An old woman, a pauper, in North Uist, living in a cottage about fifteen miles from Lochmaddy, had been found dead in bed with marks of strangulation on her neck. Another woman was arrested on suspicion of having committed murder.

Ibid.—An Inverness soldier. Colour-Sergeant Henry Macdonald, of the Sappers and Miners, received an annuity of £20 for distinguished service and gallant conduct in the field. His special service consisted in beating back a Russian night attack on the rifle pits during the early part of the siege of Sebastopol, when the officers in command had been either killed or wounded.

Ibid.—Mr Brownlow North was beginning his career as an evangelist. He preached in the hall of the Mechanics’ Institute, Forres, on the 8th inst.

July 12 and 17.—These issues included the Wool Market. The market was stiff. Wool was quoted as from 2s to 2s 6d per stone above the previous year’s prices. In sheep there was no reduction on the best wedders, and some showed an advance, but many were a shade lower, and on ewes and lambs there was a fall of from Is to 2s 6d. The sales appear to have been fewer than usual.

July 17.—The bill for the construction of the Inverness and Aberdeen Junction Railway had passed the Committee of the House of Lords, this being the final stage. In both Houses the bill had encountered opposition on questions of compensation raised by the Duke of Richmond. The House of Lords awarded the Duke £2500 for probable loss on tolls on the Bridge of Spey.

Ibid.—Charles St John, author of “Wild Sports in the Highlands” and other works, died at Woolston, near Southampton, on the 12th inst. During his residence at Aldourie, on the banks of the Ness, and subsequently in Morayshire, he had endeared himself to a large circle of friends. His works are characterised as possessing in an equal degree fine taste and feeling, and accurate and extensive knowledge. “To his fluent and graceful pen we were indebted for many contributions; for no natural phenomena in the scenes around him, and no trait of animal life, escaped his observation ; and he was as liberal in communicating as he was active in acquiring his various stores of information.”

Ibid.—The ministerial jubilee of the Rev. James Kennedy, of Fraser Street Congregational Chapel, was celebrated by a public meeting and presentation. Mr Kennedy had been twenty years in Perthshire and thirty in Inverness. His son, the Rev. .John Kennedy, A.M., London, long a well-known minister, was present at the celebration.,

July 24.—The discussion on a proposal for a new burial ground for Inverness had resulted in postponement. It seemed clear, however, to the. editor that a new cemetery was required, and that this would not be disputed except for the dread of an assessment.

August 8.—The issue of the “Courier” was postponed for a day in order to provide a full report of the show of the Highland and Agricultural Society, held at Inverness. The show opened on Tuesday, 5th inst., and closed on Friday, and the report occupies twelve closely-printed columns. Although the total head of stock numbered 1047, showing an increase of 41 on the previous Inverness show, held in 1846, there was a considerable falling off in cattle, which numbered only 248, as compared with 428. The explanation was that a change m the Society’s arrangements shut out several important districts, such as Ro^s and Caithness. The great business of these counties was the raising of cross cattle, and the Society did not in 1856, as in 1846, offer premiums for crosses. In all other classes—horses, sheep, swine, and poultry—there was an increase, in sheep and poultry a large increase. There was also a large exhibition of implements. The show was reckoned a great success.

Ibid.—Mr William Fairbairn, C.E., the eminent engineer, was presented with the freedom of the burgh of Dingwall, In acknowledging the honour Mr Fairbairn attributed a large measure of his success to the instructions of a respected tutor, the late Mr Donald Fraser, of the Parish School of Munlochy.—The first statutory meeting of the shareholders of the Inverness and Aberdeen Junction Railway Company was held at Inverness, with the Hon. T. C. Bruce in the chair It was reported that 1he work of construction had already begun.

August 14 and 21.—General Gordon of Lochsdhu, C.B., died on the 11th inst., at the age of 87. “To the end of his long distinguished career, he was an active and enthusiastic man, who took an active part in the affairs of Nairn, where he has ’ong resided, and was a, keen politician. The gallant General has no less than six sons in the Queen’s service and that of the East India Company.” General Gordon entered the Army in 1794. He served first in Holland, and was in the Walcheren expedition in 1809 ; in the Pininsular War he was at the battles of Fuentes d' Onor, Vittoria, the Nive, etc. At Vittoria he was severely wounded in the loft arm, and at the Nive he was also severely wounded, and had his horse shot under him. For his gallant conduct on this occasion he obtained the thanks of Lord Hill, and was raised from the rank of Major to that of Lieutenant-Colonel. By subsequent promotions he obtained the rank of Lieutenant-General.

August 21.—Mr James Bremner, engineer, Wick, died in his 72nd year. He was born at Iveiss, in Caithness, and by native genius and sagacity acquired a remarkable position. In course of his life he built fifty-six ships, and planned or built nineteen harbours. In raising sunk and wrecked vessels Mr Bremner obtained a special reputation. The number of ships thus saved by him was stated at 236, including the “Great Britain,” which he assisted to take off the strand in Dundrum Bay in 1847.

August 28.—A scheme for assisting crofters in Skye with fishing boats had been in existence for some years. It originated with the Rev. Dr Fletcher of London and the Rev. Mr Adam in Portree, and the funds had hitherto been procured chiefly by Dr Fletcher, Miss Bird, and Mr Burn Murdoch. No less than forty boats had been supplied at a cost of upwards of £300. The recipients had repaid £130. A local society was mw formed to forward the enterprise.

September 4.—Sportsmen appeared to be agreed that the grouse season was the worst that had been experienced for many years. A correspondent from Ross-shire wrote : —“The grouse are so scarce and diseased that we have given up shooting. Every person ought to do the same, else there will be none left to breed for next year.’’ The forests, however, were doing well.

September 11.—The Royal British Bank, a London enterprise, founded by Mr Hugh Innes Cameron, had suspended payment. The event caused great excitement in the city.

Ibid.—Mr W. Falconer, son of Mr Falconer, Croy. was appointed rector of the Nairn Academy.—A paragraph mentions that the celebrated lady painter, Rosa Bonheur, attended the Falkirk Trvst, and bought two black faced ewes and two wedders.— Among the arrivals in Inverness was Mrs Beecher Stowe, author of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” who was on her way to Dunrobin.

September 18 and 25.—A movement was on foot for the construction of an Inverness and Ross-shire railway. One party, however, was meantime in favour only of a line from Invergordon to Tain, as there was a prospect of steam ferry-boats being established between Nairn and Inver-

September 25.—Mr Thomas Carlyle was on a visit to Lord Ashburton, at Kinlochlui-chart, Ross-shire.

Ibid.—Mr Anderson, tenant of Meikle Tarrell, in Easter Ross, appears to have been the first to introduce a reaping machine into the North. Many farmers gathered to see the work, which was considered highly satisfactory. The machine, it is stated, cut down twenty-five sheaves per minute, equal to 15,000 sheaves in a day of ten hours.

Ibid.—A woman named Catherine Beaton was tried at the Circuit Court on a combined charge of murder and theft. The charge arose from what appeared to he the murder of a pauper woman in North Uist. The jury found the charge of murder not proven, hut convicted the prisoner of theft, and the presiding judge imposed a sentence of six years’ penal servitude .

October 2.—At the Northern Meeting, held the previous week, the weather was very unfavourable, with cold wind and kioes-sant rain. The balls, however, were never better attended. Several foreigners were present, who were “much struck by the novelty of the scene, and by the character of the Highland dancing.”

Ibid.—Workmen engaged' in digging a drain on the farm of East Grange, Morayshire, turned up a piece of brass, which some persons believed to be the head of a Roman spear. It was 7 inches in length. 2[ inches broad at the point, and one inch square at the centre. It is noted that the late Rev. John Grant, minister of Elgin, in a communication to the Societies of Antiquaries of Edinburgh, dated 1792, reported the finding of similar antiquities at Inshoch. Possibly archaeologists of the present day would consider these relics to belong to the bronze age.

October 9.—Mr George Middleton, Fearn, one of the largest farmers in Ross-shire, died on the 29th ult., at the age of fifty-four. A correspondent 6ays that Mr Middleton not only farmed his own lands to perfection, but by his counsel and even by his personal superintendence, farmed thousands of acres belonging to others in the district. “The amount of wealth created in Easter Ross by that one man, by his advice, by his example, is perfectly incalculable.”

October 16.—The London correspondent writes that Lord Palmerston had given a grant of £lfJ0 “for the benefit of your townsman, the gentleman who preceded me as your London correspondent, from whom, I regret to say, the power to exert his once brilliant faculties is still with-held by the dispensation of Providence.” The writer adds that the influence of Mr Thackeray had been exercised to procure the grant for Mr Reach.

Ibid.—The estate of Little Garve, the property of Sir James R. Mackenzie of Rosehaugh, was purchased by Mr W. Murray of Polmahe, who had long rented the shootings of Craigdarroch, near Contin. The price is given as £14,500.

Ibid.—The line of the Great North Company to Keith was opened on the 10th inst.

October 23.—Gaelic poems had been sent in for competition in connection with a Highland gathering held at Bonnington Park. The judges awarded the first place to James Munro, schoolmaster, Kilmonivaig, and his poem was to be published by the Highland Society.

Ibid.—Although grouse shooting had been a failure this year, deer-stalking had given satisfaction. The forests had yielded an abundant supply of fine stags.

Ibid.—A wooden building at Bridge of Oich, in the parish of Boletkine, occupied by a woman as a retail shop for grocerery was burned down on the 7th inst. There was a sum of £15 on the premises, and, as no fire had been lighted in the shop before the occupant left, the case was believed to be one of wilful fire-raising. A young man named John Hastie, who had been prowling about the district, was apprehended on suspicion at Fort-William, and a sum of £12 was found in his possession.

Ibid.—A respected citizen of Nairn, Bailie Donaldson, died on the 15th inst., and Mr John Macdonald of Ben-Nevis Distillery, familiarly known as “Long John,” died on the .9th inst. The latter was an active, hospitable man, well known throughout the Highlands.

Ibid.—Mr Brownlow North was preaching in Inverness, drawing large audiences. Mr Spurgeon was in the midst of his early popularity in London, and this issue describes the unhappy accident which occurred while he was preaching to a great gathering in the Surrey Music Hall, London. Shortly after the beginning of the service an alarm of danger was raised, and in the rush that followed seven persons were killed and many seriously injured. It was believed that the alarm was raised by theives. Mr Spurgeon at the time was only twenty-two years of age.

November 6 and 13.—Sir Colin Campbell arrived at Fort-George to discharge his duties aa Inspector-General of Infantry. He was recognised in passing through Nairn, and was heartily cheered. At Fort-George he was met by ten pipers, who struck up “The Campbells are coming,” and escorted him to his quarters. A few days afterwards Sir Colin visited Inverness, and the Provost and Magistrates waited on him to offer him the freedom of the burgh. Sir Colin, however, was obliged to decline the honour, as he was leaving immediately for the South.—Mention is made of Miss Martha Nicol, a daughter of the late Dr Niool, of Inverness, who had given valuable service in the hospital at Smyrna during the Crimean War.

November 13.—The Post-Office had withdrawn the mail coach from Perth to Inverness after the opening of the Inverness and Naira line, and the advance of the Great North. Strong representations, however, were made on the subject, and the Department had now promised to restore the Highland ooaoh.

Ibid.—“The portrait of Charles James Fox, which the great statesman presented to the Corporation of Tain, on his return to Parliament as member for the Northern Burghs, has been forwarded to Edinburgh to be renovated and reframed The picture was for some time lost sight of.

November 20.—The Inverness Parochial Board had a long and excited meeting discussing the mode of levying assessment. A change proposed by the Rev. Mr Trail was adopted by a large majority, subject to the approval of the Board of Supervision.

November 27.—A series of articles on the management of landed property in the Highlands was appearing in the paper from time to time. The fourth, contributed to this issue, deals with the management of woodsy

December 4.—Mr Angus B. Reach died in London on the 29th ult. He had been for nearly two years in ill-health, incapable of mental effort. His friend, the editor, pays him an affectionate tribute. Mr Reach was barely thirty-five years of age, having been born on 23rd January 1821. He began his literary work at an early age, contributing to the “Courier,” when a student in Edinburgh, sketches of Macaulay, Professor Wilson, and other celebrities. On his holidays he wrote reviews for the paper, and thus obtained recognition from Dr Charles Mackay, then sub-editor of the “Morning Chronicle.” In 1842 Angus went to London, and speedily established himself as a brilliant journalist and litterateur. “The London miscellanies of the day opened their columns to him, and starting, as he did, with the general principle of affixing his name to all his productions, the name or initials of Angus B. Reach in a very few years became familiar to every reader of the current magazine literature of England. His facility in dashing off readable, even instructive papers on almost any subject was something marvellous. We have known him frequently to sit down after breakfast and write the greater part, if not the whole, of ai quiet reflective article for a magazine, then visit some new exhibition or novelty in London, about which a paragraph had to be written, block out the points of a review, or if the book was one of no great note, actually write the critique as it was to appear—and finish the day by producing half-a-column of lively and graphic criticism on the opera of that evening.” Sparkling and pleasant tales and serials, and a popular book on Southern France, entitled “Claret and Olives,” proceeded from his pen. Mr Carruthers testifies that, personally, Mr Reach was one of the most amiable and generous of men. “He threw off squibs and pasquinades as profusely as anv one; but it would be hard to find a bitter one, and impossible to find a malicious one, among them.” When the collapse came, ready and generous assistance was given by Mr Shirley Brooks, an old and fast friend; by Dr Charles Mackay, Air Thackeray, Mr Albert Smith', Mr Munro, sculptor, and many others. Mr Shirley Brooks took his place as London correspondent of the “Courier,” allowing his friend to reap the benefit. The remains of Air Reach were laid beside those of his father, Roderick Reach, in the cemetery of Norwood.

December 11 and 18.—The former issue states that the Rev. James Mackay, of St John’s Episcopal Church, Inverness (who lost the bishopric of Moray and Inverness by a narrow vote), bad been appointed to a chaplaincy in the Presidency of Bengal. The next issue records the return of Dr Livingstone from Africa, after an absence of seventeen years. At this time the Skye correspondent of the paper was sending interesting notes, though they are of too general a character for quotation. Mr Kenneth Murray, Tain, afterwards of Geanies, was also sending at intervals an agricultural article. The contributions of both these correspondents were continued for many years.

December 25.—Hugh Miller, famous as author and editor, died by his own hand on the night of the 23rd, or the early morning of the 24th. The circumstances were not fully known at the moment. Dr Carruthers wrote:—“‘God of our fathers what is man!’ Here in the very noon and vigour of life, by a miserable accident or momentary aberration of reason, has been struck down a man who seemed to have many years of honourable exertion awaiting his matured powers, and whose reputation was daily brightening and extending. Through every hamlet and parish in our northern counties this event will be received and felt as a private calamity, no less than as a public and national loss Hugh Miller was a noble type of the native self-taught genius—erect, independent, and manly; with none of the pitiable weaknesses or debasing alloys which sometimes mingle with the elements of intellectual vigour and success. He achieved his literary and scientific eminence, and his position in society, by careful and incessant study, and by a pure and spotless life. He sought no meretricious applause and pandered to no bad passion; and thus every advance he made, and every honour he won. was secured for ever, and made the passport to other and higher distinctions.” After a few more sentences, the writer adds—“But we cannot, at this moment of grief and surprise, dwell upon the personal worth or the intellectual gifts of Mr Miller. The recollections of nearly thirty years rise up before us, clothed in the pull of a past friendship, and forbid further utterance It is enough that the deceased ‘lived as ever in his great Taskmaster's eye,’ and that his death will be mourned and lamented, not only in the country which he loved so well and ennobled by his example, but in foreign lands and distant regions, wherever science, literature, and virtue have a friend and admirer.’’ Hugh' Miller was born in October 1802, and had thus completed his fifty-fourth year.


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