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The Northern Highlands in the Nineteenth Century
No. 7


The year 1848 was a time of crisis in Europe. It was the year of Revolution on the Continent. France thrust out the citizen King, Louis Philippe, and most of the other Continental countries threw themselves into the struggle for constitutional change. The immediate results were only partial, but the movement prepared the way for vital changes in subsequent years. In Austria the Emperor was obliged to abdicate in favour of his nephew, the Sovereign who still (1908) occupies the throne. The armed insurrection in Hungary proved for the time disastrous to the patriotic party, as did also the risings in Italy. Prussia and the principalities of Germany had a variety of troubled experiences.

At home there was no real disturbance, but the Chartists in the month of April created great alarm in London by threatening a monster meeting and procession, organised by Feargus O’Connor. The proclamation of the procession as illegal, and the preparations which were made by Ministers and the police, overawed discontent, and the demonstration proved a fiasco. It was on this occasion that 170,000 special constables were sworn in, among them Prince Louis Napoleon, afterwards Emperor of the French. Ireland was in a more excited state, and special laws were passed to deal with sedition and treason. An agitation led by Mr Smith O’Brien and his associates was thus brought to an end. The finances of the nation were disordered, and the Whig Ministry had a good deal of trouble to adjust them to the satisfaction of Parliament. The death cf Lord George Bentinck, leader of the Protectionist party, opened the way for the supremacy of Mr Disraeli.

In the Highlands there was still a great deal of destitution, for which the Central Relief Committees had to make provision.

From the “ Inverness Courier.”

1848.

January 4.—The issue records the ceremony of laying the foundation-stone of the monument to Ewen Maclachlan at Fort-William, and describes the improvements that the member for the Inverness Burghs was making, at Ardross. Mr Matheson was building Ardross Castle, and began the work of reclamation and improvement. “Since the month of March last he has expended no less than £30,000. This great expenditure has been almost entirely on labour, not on material.” The stones for building were procured on Ardross estate. In the building department about 130 men were employed during the greater part of the year; and the average number of labourers in field and wood was 270. The Latter were generally the people of the district.

January 11.—The Glasgow Highland Relief Board had reports before it showing that there was a revival of destitution, especially in Mull and the western islands, including Lewis. Complaints were made against Government, proprietors, and people. The Government were delaying to send the drainage money, proprietors were reluctant to assist, and the people in some places were unwilling to work. The Board took steps to deal with the situation.

Ibid.—A correspondent sends an account of a remarkable dream. A lady living in London dreamt that her mother, staying in the South of Scotland, had died from falling from her horse. The death occurred at the time and in the circumstances presented in the dream.

January 18.—Popular demonstrations had taken place in Milan, Genoa, and Pisa, the extension from Switzerland of the revolutionary movement. Locally the issue records the death of the Earl of Moray in his seventy-seventh year. His lordship, who had been kind, courteous, and considerate, was greatly regretted. He had resided for some years wholly at Danuway, believing that the climate suited his health better than any of his other residences. The Earl died from influenza, which was at this time prevalent in the country. It was severely felt in London.

January 25.—The issue contains a report of the proceedings of the Edinburgh Destitution Committee, and a letter from the Inspector-General, Captain Eliott. The Edinburgh and

Glasgow Committees had local inspectors. There was serious destitution in Skye and in the western districts of Ross-shire. In six parishes there were 1680 able-bodied crofters who had no means to support, their families; also 900 widows with families and single widows in the same position. A good deal of grumbling had arisen as to the work-test .applied to the able-bodied. Captain Eliott insisted that the real object of the committee should be understood. “It is to prevent starvation—not to advance public works, of however greatly preponderating general advantage they may be. The primary object in exacting work is to test the destitution ; and next to avoid the obvious evils of eleemosynary relief.” The current wage was 6s a week.

February 1 to 15.—Accounts appear in these issues of the insurrectionary movement in Italy, which at this stage promised success. In the British House of Commons considerable interest was taken in a bill for the removal of Jewish disabilities, the question having been raised by the election of Baron Rothschild for the City of London. The bill was carried through the House of Commons but lost in the Lords. A public meeting was held in Forres in support of the measure.

February 18.—Mr Alexander Stables, factor for the Earl of Cawdor, died on the 7th inst. in his 74th year. He had been factor on the Cawdor estates for thirty-four years, assisted latterly by his son, Mr W. A. Stables, who succeeded him.—Another paragraph records the death of Mr Charles Grant, midshipman, son of Mr Grant of the Caledonian Hotel. He had come home for a short visit, before joining as lieutenant the gun-ship Ocean, when he took ill and died in his 24th year.

Ibid.—“In the spring of last year a liberal scheme of emigration was carried out at the expense of the Duke of Sutherland, as one of several means adopted to mitigate the distress occasioned in the Reay country by the potato failure, as well as to improve the condition of the emigrants themselves. The two ships were chartered and well provisioned!, and a gratuity amounting to £2 on the average was given to each of about 380 emigrants, who sailed from the west coast of Sutherland in June. The whole were carried safely to Montreal, where one party arrived as early as the 30th of July. From Montreal they were conveyed, at the expense of the Government. as far as Brandford, a distance of four or five hundred miles, whence the emigrants proceeded to various townships on the banks of the lakes, where many old friends were met with. The emigrants write home in the most cheerful terms.” It was stated that the Duke proposed to make the same liberal arrangements this year.

Ibid.—The issue quotes from a Ross-shire paper an account of improvements made on the estate of Bogbain, in Easter Ross. The estate originally belonged to the town of Tain, and tradition said that when St Duthus first came to the district he took up his abode at the spot, but sometime afterwards removed a little further down, where the town of Tain now stands. There seems to have been at one time a hamlet at Bogbain, and the place where St Catherine’s Cross stood was still pointed out. The land was long occupied as a grazing ground by the people of Tain. The estate was bought in 1836 by Mr Kennedy, who drained, planted, and cultivated the soil, at a cost of £15,000. The results had been eminently successful. Among other things it is stated that a large space of from 40 to 50 acres, which formerly was a lake from 5 to 8 feet deep, was now the most productive spot on the estate.

Ibid.—The Highland Destitution Board had agreed to give one-half of the estimated expense of constructing a road, twelve miles in length, on the south bank of Loch-Maree. The trustees of the Gairloch property were to pay the other half. The cost was estimated at £2500.

February 29.—The Revolution in France, causing the abdication of Louis Philippe, occupies a prominent place in this issue. “Three days of last week,” it is said, “the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th of February 1848, will be as memorable in French history as the three celebrated days of July 1830.” The London correspondent predicted that this convulsion would shake every throne of Continental Europe to its foundation.

Ibid.—A Jamaica paper records with much regret the death of Mr John Edwards, Receiver-General of Jamaica. The editor of the “Courier” adds—“Mr Edwards was a native of Inverness, practised some years here as a solicitor, and afterwards filled the important situation of Sheriff-Substitute. His amiable character and agreeable manners, his talents and eloquence, rendered him highly popular and beloved in his native town. His warmest sympathies were connected with the Highlands, and we fondly anticipated his return amongst us to spend the evening of his days in leisure and honour.”

March 7.—King Louis Philippe and his Minister, M. Guizot, had arrived in England, though not by the same route. The former came from Havre to Newhaven, the latter through Belgium by Ostend to Folkestone. The moment the King set foot on shore he exclaimed, “Thank God, I am on British ground.” A letter from Germany states that the Germans were much excited by the news. They had always misgivings as to the probable consequences of Louis Philippe’s death, “'but this strange rupture baffles calculation.” Several interesting letters from Germany appear about this time, written, we believe, by the late Mr Walter Carruthers, then a young man.

Ibid.—A stone coffin enclosing a skeleton was found by men trenching a high knoll in front of Fyrish House, parish of Alness, Ross-shire. The skeleton was entire, the teeth in the lower jaw fresh and white, and not one wanting. An urn was found in the grave, and a small piece of brass (bronze), “apparently of an ornamental nature.” It is stated that “Mr Walker, the tenant, had a coffin made of part of the flagstones, in which he placed the bones, and once more committed them to their native rest.” Mr Walker was at the time- improving his farm by trenching and ploughing from a foot to fifteen inches deep.

Ibid.—“The Privy Council has just given a judgment in favour of the Hon. Mrs Stewart Mackenzie of Seaforth, in her appeal of a suit raised in Ceylon, for recovery of her estate in that island. By this judgment she regains possession of the estate, with full costs, and large damages in name of profits during the time she has been deprived of the estate up to the day when it shall be restored.”—The same issue publishes the regulations for the distribution of the Highland Relief Fund in Skye. They relate to the labour test and other matters.

March 14.—Serious riots had occurred in Glasgow and Edinburgh. There was a disposition to regard them as “Chartist riots,” but this was denied. They arose among; the unemployed. In London, Manchester, and other places there had also been disturbances, but not of importance.

Ibid.—Dr Colquhoun Grant, staff-surgeon to the forces, died at Zante, in the Ionian Islands, on the 3rd January, at the age of 63. He had served in the Peninsular war, and completed his forty-third year in the service. Dr Grant was the last of five brothers who died in the service of their country.

Ibid.—Attention is directed to a statement in the “Ross-shire Advertiser” to the effect that notwithstanding the destitution, sickness, and mortality in the Northern Counties, not one of the paupers in the parish of Alness had died during the previous nine months. They were in number 82, many of whom were above 70, and some more than 80 years of age. In contrast to this it was calculated that in Ireland one-fifteenth of the mendicant population had died the previous year of typhus fever alone.

Ibid.—At the census of 1841 the number of children in the town and parish of Inverness, including all who had entered their sixth year and had not completed their fourteenth year, was above 3450. The number at this date (1848) in the day schools of every class (vas only 1700. Hundreds of poor children were to be seen at all hours wandering in the streets. It was pointed out that schools, either free or at the lowest rate of fees, must be multiplied.

March 21.—In the Sheriff Court, Inverness, five workmen, journeymen shoemakers, were indicted for intimidating, molesting, and obstructing certain master shoemakers in their mode of carrying on their business, by threatening a strike or compelling them to discharge men in their employment, and by prohibiting them from importing ready-made boots and shoes from London, Glasgow, or other places. They were also accused of intimidating, molesting, and! obstructing certain of their fellow-workmen who did not comply with the rules of their association. There was no charge of violence. The case was taken under the Statute 6th, George IV., and was conducted for the Crown by Mr George Young, advocate-depute, who had come from Edinburgh for the purpose. Sheriff Colquhoun found the charge proven, and sentenced four of the prisoners to two months’, and one to one month’s imprisonment. An appeal was taken to the High Court.

Ibid..—Sixteen persons were drowned on the coasts of Caithness and Sutherland, six by attempting to land in a heavy surf and ten by the upsetting of a boat.

March 28.—The Republican Government in France was having, a stormy time, but in addition nearly all the Continental nations were in revolution. Austria, Prussia, Poland, Naples, and the German principalities shared in the tumult. “Every king,, elector, hereditary prince and potentate,’’ says the London correspondent, “is either flying from his ancestral palace or negotiating for his personal safety by humiliating concessions of popular rights long and proudly and persistently ignored.” Meantime the London police had “little to do except lounge about and chat with the maids in the areas.”

Ibid.—Mr Smith O’Brien, M.P., Mr T. F. Meagher, and Mi John Mitchell were arrested in Ireland on charges of sedition

Ibid.—A paragraph is devoted to an old Highlander, Kenneth Chisholm, Invercannich, Strathglass, who, it was said, had attained: the patriarchal age of a hundred years. He never wore trousers except once when his wife persuaded him to don them on a snowy day, but on his way to the hill he discarded them, vowing he would never entangle his legs in such garments again. He possessed an old gun, which had seen service in 1715 and 1745, andl with which at the age of 13 he brought down two deer with one shot— the first shot he had ever fired at deer. At last, however, he was induced to raffle the gun at a shooting match—every shot to cost 4d, with a glass of mountain dew to the bargain. He attended the match himself, carrying the gun, and realised £4 after paying expenses!

April 4 to 18.—These issues contain accounts of revolutionary activity in Prussia, Austria, and Italy. Locally, the news is of slight interest, if we except a proposal from the directors of the Academy for the amalgamation of educational funds in the burgh, combined with a movement for the establishment of a college in Inverness. Afterwards a scheme arose for the extension of elementary education. Rev. Mr Macconnachie was translated from the Gaelic Church, Inverness, to the parish of Glen-Urquhart.

April 18.—“The Chartist demonstration on the 10th of April was a total failure as respects the intimidation of ministers or the design to produce a revolution, but it was a memorable gain as respects the glory and stability of the British Empire.” It was calculated that the gathering on Kensington Common was under 20,000, “including the most incurious and indifferent of the spectators and bystanders.”

Ibid.—At the Inverness Circuit Court, an effort was made to obtain a reduction of the sentences passed on the shoemaker trade-unionists. The presiding Judge, however, Lord Cockburn, refused to accede to the appeal.

April 25.—A new steamer, the Ben-Nevis, was to be put by the Messrs Burns on the route to Glasgow, and another vessel was in preparation by the same firm. “Inverness owes much to the enterprise of the Messrs Burns, who manage the communication between this and Glasgow, by the canals, with the greatest spirit and liberality.”

May 2.—The Rev. James Mackay, rector of St Michael’s Church, Mangatuck, in the diocese of Connecticut, was appointed colleague and successor to Dean Fyvie, of St John’s Chapel, Inverness. “What makes his election the more interesting is that we believe ho is the first Episcopal clergyman ordained in the United States who has been appointed to a living in Scotland, although the Church in America originally received its Episcopate from Scotland.” Mr Mackay, however, was a native of Inverness, the son of Mr George Mackay, a well-known merchant. In 1851 he divided the vote for the Bishoprick of Moray, but the fate Bishop Eden was ultimately appointed. Mr Mackay became an army chaplain in India in 1857, and died in June 1908 in the eighty-seventh year of his age.

Ibid.—The previous winter was an exciting one for sportsmen and naturalists, as frequent storms drove aquatic birds to unfrozen arms of the sea. “Among the specimens sent here for preservation we saw a very beautiful wild swan, shot near Nairn, by Charles St John, Esq., author of the Wild Sports and Natural History of the Highlands. The bird was the finest of the kind he ever killed. It weighed 27 lbs., measured 8 feet across the wings, and five feet in length; it was the leader of the flock.” Several swans were shot at Glengarry; three at Loch-Crivachan, near Glen-shiero; and one at Gordonstoun, Morayshire. —The number has a long description of a Ragged School in Edinburgh, which concludes with a suggestion of one for Inverness.

May 9.—A large party of emigrants sailed from Granton for Otago. Before their departure they attended service in Free St George’s Church, Edinburgh, conducted by Rev. Mr Sym and Dr Candlish, and an address to emigrants, by the late Dr Welsh, was distributed among them. The vessel was victualled for six months, and a library was provided.

Ibid.—“The East India papers, received by the last mail, state with regret that Sir J. P. Grant of Rothiemurchus, Chief-Justice of Calcutta, has been obliged to leave the country for home by ill-health. Sir John has been on the bench at Bombay and Calcutta for the long period of twenty years. He embarked for this country on the 12th of March last by the ship ,Earl of Hardwicke. Before his departure a public meeting voted a farewell address and a portrait to him.”

Ibid.—A correspondent sends an account of a discovery of coins in a remote district of the parish of Edderton, near Tain. They were fourteen in number, and consisted of silver pennies of Edward I. and Edward II. ‘‘Could they,” asked the correspondent, “be part of the pillage carried off by the Northern clans who assisted Bruce at Bannockburn?”

May 9 and 16.—The death is announced of Sir Hugh Munro, Bart, of Fowlis, who died >11 2nd May in London, aged! 85. He was succeeded in the estates by an only daughter, but the title went to Charles Munro, eldest and only surviving son of the late George Munro of Culcairn. The heiress, however, survived her father only eight months, dying unmarried on 12th January 1849. Owing to peculiarities attending Sir Hugh’s marriage, there was a long litigation, in her father’s lifetime, before the succession was established.

May 23.—There is a quotation from a Cape paper regarding the exploits of Roualeyn Gordon Cumming in South Africa. A long article deals with unemployment and emigration. Outside the distress in the Highland glens the situation was dark. It is stated that in February there were 6000 persons in Paisley dependent on public charity, and trade had scarcely improved since then. In Glasgow it was estimated that 12,000 working men were out of employment. Many people were wandering from place to place in the Lowlands, deprived of labour by the suspension of railway works. The prospects of Australia as a field for emigration are discussed, and quotations are made respecting the work of Mrs Chisholm, a lady known as the Emigrants’ Friend.

Ibid.—At the Town Council the Clerk read a letter from the Treasury offering a grant of £400 for the improvement of the Ness Islands, on condition that they were permanently appropriated as a place of recreation for the inhabitants of the town; that a sufficient sum was raised by subscription to complete the contemplated improvements; and that the corporation or some other public body would undertake the upkeep of the islands. Dr Nicol had charge of the scheme, and the Provost was authorised to call a public meeting.

May 30.—The Edinburgh section of the Highland Destitution Board had issued a report. The opinion of counsel had been taken as to the disposal of the funds remaining after the crisis of 1847. It was held to be clear that no subscriber was entitled to withdraw his contribution; and that if the committee were satisfied of the existence or the probability of destitution in the Highlands, arising from the same causes ais before, it was their right and duty to administer the balance of the fund, with large discretionary powers in its application. The destitution in Skye, in the western districts of Ross-shire, and in Shetland, which was severe in 1848, wais dealt with. The labour test is explained by the editor. “A whole day’s hard labour is not exacted for a pound of meal. The rule practically acted upon is to give the maximum allowance of 1½ lbs. of meal for eight hours’ fair Labour; the relief officer having it in his power to give only one pound when the working time is idled away. But a day’s honest work also entitles the labourer to lialf-a-pound of meal per day for every child too young for employment; while the wife, by spinning, or in certain caises by mere attention to personal and household cleanliness, can earn her three-quarters of a pound or pound per day, Sunday included. The section have taken the evidence of the inspectors as to the efficiency of the test, and all concur in recommending strongly an adherence to the principle and the quantity fixed.’’ The Board was also giving its attention to the improvement of appliances for fishing.

Ibid.—We understand that at the judicial sale, on Wednesday, of the lands of Leanach and Balvraid, part of Culloden Moor, the purchaser was George Munro, Esq., for behoof of Duncan Forbes, Esq., Culloden Castle. The price was £2625.”

June 6.—Sir Thomas Dick Lauder died on 29th May, at the Grange, Edinburgh, at the age of 64. Sir Thomas married his third cousin, the heiress of Relugas, and resided there for a good many years. He saw the great Morayshire flood of August 1829, and has left a vivid account of it. He was also the author of “The Wolfe of Badenoch” and other works. A student of geology and natural history, he made a considerable mark in his day. Lord Cockburn thus describes him:—“Lauder could make his way in the world as a player, or a ballad singer, or a street fiddler, or a. geologist, or a civil engineer, or a surveyor, and easily and eminently as an artist, or a layer out of grounds.” It wais his wife’s father, however, George Cumming, W.S., who first embellished Relugas, and brought Alexander 'Wilson from Berwickshire, to assist in introducing improved turnip husbandry. A notice of Mr Wilson appears in our second volume, July 4, 1827. Sir Thomais lived at his paternal residence, the Grange, Fountainhall, Haddingtonshire, from 1831 until his death. For the last nine years of his life he was secretary to the Board of Manufactures and Fisheries.

Ibid.—The issue contains the trial of John Mitchel, editor of the “United Irishman,” for felony. He was convicted and sentenced to transportation for fourteen years. Mitchel was sent to Bermuda, and afterwards to Van Diemen’s Land, but escaped to the United States in 1853. In 1874 ho returned to Ireland, and was elected to Parliament for Tipperary, but was not allowed to take his seat. Mitchel died in 1875.

Ibid.—A second lot of silver coins of Edward I. and Edward II. was found in the parish of Edderton, in the same spot as the first find. The first lot numbered fourteen, the second eighteen.—A gamekeeper at Applecross had a fight with a wild cat, on whose tail he accidentally trod as she was suckling one of her young. “The furious creature immediately flew upon him with the utmost ferocity, and a very serious combat ensued.” Happily, one of th9 gamekeeper’s dogs killed the cat, which measured 4 feet 8 inches from tip to tip, and was one of the largest killed there for many years.

June 6 and 13.—The Edinburgh section of the Central Relief Board had issued a second report, brought up to the end of April. The gross number of recipients of relief in fourteen districts of Skye was rather more than one-fifth of the population. In six of the western districts of Ross, namely, Shieldaig and Kisliorn, Applecross, Lochcarron, Plock-ton, Lochalsh and Dornie, Glenshiel and Inverinate, the number receiving support was 3410, out of a population of only 7300; and of this number the proportion of disabled adults was as 1 to 6.5. In the North-Western districts, including Poolewe and Loch-broom, road-making was either proposed or was going on, in co-operation with the proprietors. Accounts from the manufacturing, districts in England and Scotland showed no signs of improvement. The disturbed shite of the Continent was paralysing trade.

June 13.—The “Lays of the Deer Forest,” by John Sobieski and Charles Edward Stuart, are noticed at some length in this and the next issue.—A paragraph gives particulars of an old soldier, Ronald Macdonald, living at Rosemarkie, who was said to have attained the age of 102. He was a native of the parish of Fodderty.

June 20.—A scheme for making a road round the Longman was approved by the Town Council. A committee for assisting the unemployed had money in hand, between £100 and £200, which they were willing to devote to this purpose, looking for further assistance from the Town Council. A scheme for improving the harbour was at the same time under discussion.

June 27.—Among the papers printed in the second report of the Edinburgh section of the Relief Board was a narrative by the Inspector-General on the condition and prospects of the people on the West and North-West Coasts of Sutherland. After the disastrous season of 1846 the Duke of Sutherland voluntarily offered to relieve the Board of all care for the tenantry on his estates. Food, money, and the means of emigration were provided. Destitution was for the time staved off at the enormous expenditure of £78,000. “ The Duke’s whole rental from Sutherland does not exceed £40,000, so that in this one year of suffering he expended double his whole rent, exclusive of the sums disbursed on the building operations at Dunrobin.” When the second failure of the potato occurred in 1847, the Duke again came forward to undertake the charge of his whole tenantry, but relief was given under more stringent rules than before. As some appeared to be dissatisfied, and petitions had been forwarded from the Scourie district to the Central Board, the Duke asked Captain Elliot to visit the county to make inquiry. The general result of the report was entirely in favour of the Duke’s methods and exertions. Destitution had been kept from the doors of the poor people by measures unaparalleled in magnitude and administered in the kindest manner. “I hardly trust myself,” wrote Captain Elliot, “to express any refreshing sense of the Duke of Sutherland’s benevolent intentions, in which he is well seconded by efficient management, much less to contrast his personal interest and efforts with what so harshly grates upon me elsewhere.” The Inspector complained that fishing was neglected by the villagers, while boats from the East Coast were capturing ling and cod. He spoke well, however, of the people of Assynt as willing to work, and more skilful in handling their implements than some of their neighbours on the coast further south ; but they, too, neglected the fishings, although the Shetland curers were ready to advance lines, and to pay money for the fish. The proprietor had provided schools in every parish, but the attendance was discouraging Captain Elliot remarks—‘‘It is a curious thing how often my notebook abounds with the observation that any particularly intelligent scholar was a widow’s son, generally very poor.” Speaking of systems of improvement, he takes occasion to recommend that which was adopted in Gairloch, as “the most satisfactory, successful, and systematic experiment that he has seen.” The Duke of Sutherland contemplated some such system for the future regulation of his small tenantry.

Ibid.—Mention is made of improvements at St Helena, near Rosemarkie. It is stated that there is a spring called “Napoleon’s Well,” within a circular enclosure, planted round with shoots from the weeping willows that grew over the Emperor's grave. “These willows were obtained from Mr Maclean of Hawkhill, to whom a plant had been presented several years ago by a medical gentleman, whose love of the curious had led him to bring it to this country.”

July 4.—“The terrible revolt in Paris, extending over a period of four days, casts all modern insurrections into the shade.” This was a conflict waged between the proletariat and the French Government, in which thousands of lives were lost.

Ibid.—A delegate from Aberdeen addressed a meeting of workmen m Inverness on behalf of trade unions. He repudiated all sympathies with strikes.—The same issue records that the Post-office authorities had put a stop to the mail packet between Dunvegan, in the Isle of Skye, and Lochmaddy, in North Uist, depriving 17,000 people of postal communication. The cause was attributed to a disagreement between Lord Macdonald and Colonel Gordon of Cluny as to their respective proportions of the expense of maintaining the mail packet. It was alleged that Colonel Gordon had paid nothing to the cost of the mail.

Ibid.—A! circular mound had been opened at the Edracharron Moss, in the neighbourhood of Lochcarron. It contained stone coffins, constructed with great care, and placed at equal distances from each other enclosing skeletons much decayed. No tradition alluded to this place of sepulture. It is stated that the flags of which the coffins were made must have been conveyed by sea.

July 11.—Comparison is made of the treatment of the starving poor in France and the treatment accorded to them in the Highlands. The Duke of Sutherland, as formerly stated, had spent £78,000 in the famine years; in Skye “the generosity of Macleod of Macleod was scarcely bounded by his means;” in the Lews in 1846-7, Mr Matheson had spent about £40.000, or nearly five times the rental of the island. Most of the proprietors had contributed to the best of their ability.

Ibid.—A special meeting of the Inverness Parochial Board was held in the Gaelic Church to discuss the best and most equitable mode of laying on assessments. This was the beginning of an animated controversy on “means and substance” which has now lost its interest.

July 18.—At the Inverness Wool Market prices for ewes and lambs were about the same as the previous year, but on wedders there was a fall of from five to ton percent. This was considered very satisfactory, as the market of 1847 “was rather a remarkable one.” On the other hand, few sales were effected in wool, the staplers holding out for low prices on account of the state of trade.

Ibid.—The issue contains a long document relating to a disturbance in Dingwall in 1739. Sir Robert Munro of Fowlis was chiefly involved in it.

July 25.—The Highland Destitution Board had received a final grant of £6148 from the British Association, making in all £77,683, received for Scotland from that Association. The Board, with the co-operation of proprietors, had entered into, contracts in connection with the great trunk line of road from Dingwall to Ullapool,

Ibid.—The House of Lords gave judgment on the question of drove stances, agitated between the Marquis of Breadalbane and various respondents. The Lords held: that the right of the respondents to the drove-stances could not be sustained, and they remitted the case on other points to the Court of Session.

August 1.—The plans of the proposed embankment and road round the Longman had been returned to Mr Leslie by the Admiralty with their full consent and approval. The Inverness Town Council bound itself to undertake the formation of the embankment and road on obtaining a Treasury grant.

August 1 and 8.—The insurrection in Ireland, with which the name of Smith O’Brien is associated, occurred at this time. There was much disaffection, but the rising itself was paltry and suppressed by a small body of police.

August 8.—Sport was expected to be very poor this year, the mortality among grouse being unusually great. The disease was said to be from tape-worm. Mr Wallace, formerly M.P. for Greenock, who occupied Skibo, in Sutherland, suggested1 that the moors should enjoy a jubilee, as they sometimes did in earlier days. Incidentally, Mr Wallace mentions that he was one of those who first rented moors in the Highlands, “now nearly fifty years since.” These moors, he adds, “were the very same as the Queen now rents for Prince Albert, namely, the Abergeldie moors in Aberdeenshire.”—The issue contains an article on the vitrified fort of Knockfarrel, near Dingwall.

August 15.—There is a report of a joint cattle show held at Invergordon, under the auspices of the Farmer Societies of Easter and Wester Ross. Mr Kenneth Murray, Tain, acted as secretary.

August 22,—Mr Alexander Matheson, M.P., wrote to the Provost that he had been unable to obtain any definite answer from the Treasury, as to a grant for the roadway at the Longman. The Treasury, however, was willing to transfer to this object the grant of £400 promised for the improvement of the Islands. The Council agreed to make application for the transfer, as they had not meantime sufficient funds to carry out the arrangement formerly proposed for the Islands.

August 22 and 29.—A great gale had burst upon the East Coast during the herring fishing. On the Caithness coast forty-five lives were lost.

September 5.—A great shoal of whales appeared in the Cromarty Firtli. Forty-five were driven ashore near the village of Salt-burn, and other twenty-five at various parts of the coast. A large number of whales, however, escaped to sea.—The foundation stone of a new court-house and1 Council Chamber was laid the previous week, with masonic honours, by Provost Murray of Geanies.— The Free Church Institution at Inverness was now being carried on with Mr Thomas Morrison, A.M., as rector, the commercial department being conducted by Mr Mackenzie, who has been thirty-three years among us, and is well-known for his abilities as a teacher of youth.”—Mr John Mackenzie, author of "The Beauties of Gaelic Poetry” died at Poolewe on the 19th ult. He was a native of Gairloch, and is said to have published, edited, or translated about thirty different works, which appeared in the Gaelic language.

September 12.—Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, with the Prince of Wales and the Princess Royal, were now at Balmoral, which afterwards became their Scottish residence. The royal party embarked at Woolwich, and arrived at Aberdeen exactly twelve hours before they were expected. Fortunately the approach of the squadron had been observed, and the Lord-Provost and Magistrates were in waiting.

Ibid.—Mr James Ingan, of Norfolk Street, London, an enthusiast in all that pertained to the Gael, presented a petition to Parliament asking that provision should be made for giving instruction in Gaelic. His object was the establishment of a professorship, and he was understood to be of opinion that the chair should be at Inverness. Nothing followed on this petition.

September 19.—The Northern Meeting was held the previous week (an early date) and was reckoned a brilliant gathering, approaching even 1847, when the Prince Consort was present. The bustle was prolonged into the following week. A paragraph mentions the various steamers and coaches running in summer time, the steamers going on one hand from Inverness to Glasgow, and in other directions to the north-east coast, Leith and London. The coaches ran daily to Dingwall, Caithness, Perth, Fort-William, Aberdeen, and Elgin. “From this enumeration—six steamers and nine coaches, or eighteen if we calculate arrivals and departures—it will easily be conceived that in the golden days of summer (of which, by the way, we have had very few this season) our streets are kept perpetually in a state of excitement, and we make no count of the numberless persons, travelling carriages that daily rattle over the causeway.” The steamer Edinburgh Castle is mentioned as being in command of Captain Turner, “both vessel and captain great favourites.”

Ibid.—;There is another report by the Edinburgh Destitution Board on its relief operations. According to unanimous testimony the destitution was as great as in the previous year, but relief was more economically administered by a paid staff and under, the test system. For instance, under the local committees, the fortnightly distribution of meal in Skye averaged 1280 bolls, while under the inspectors it was 330 bolls. In Wester Ross the figures fell from 938 bolls to i'93, including Gairloch and Lochbroom, and in Shetland from 662 to 122. In. Skye, since the date of the second report, the greatest number relieved in one fortnight was 5559, betwixt the 6th and the 20th of May, of whom 1310 were employed on roads, 129 at spinning, 448 at knitting; 1806 attended school, and 1822 performed no work, the great majority suffering from fever and other diseases. On the 3rd of June the total had fallen to 5335, and cn 12th August to 4395. Captain Elliot gave tbe greater share of credit for industry to the women of the island, who had rapidly acquired skill in knitting. In the Wester Ross area 3576 were receiving relief in May, but the number had fallen about half on the completion of agreements for road-making. The prospects of the various districts were not regarded as very promising for the ensuing year.

Ibid.—Mr Forsyth, from Dyke, a teacher still remembered by many of the present generation, was appointed to the mastership of Bell’s School.

September 26.—The sudden death of Lord George Bentinck, the leader of the Protectionists, was a startling blow. He was found dead in a field. The editor described him as “a sort of comet or meteor in the political world,” but paid a tribute to his character and sincerity.

October 3.—It is announced that owing to a change in the mails, due to a recent acceleration, the “Courier” would in future be published on Thursday instead of Tuesday. The issue also states that Mr D. Macdougall, “who has done so much to popularise the High land dress,” had received an extensive order for tartan dresses, shawls, and plaids for the Queen, and for Highland costumes for the Prince Consort, the Prince of Wales, and Prince Alfred. In the foreign news it is noticed that Prince Louis Napoleon had taken his seat in the French National Assembly.

October 12.—Asiatic cholera, which had existed on the Continent, now appeared in Britain. Cases had occurred in London, Hull, Sunderland, and Edinburgh.

Ibid.—Smith O’Brien, the leader of Irish revolt, was convicted of high treason. Sentence of death was passed, but was afterwards commuted to transportation for life. O’Brien was released in 1854, and pardoned in 1856. He died at Bangor in 1864.

Ibid.—Reports are given of shows at Golspie and Grantown, and a list of prize# obtained at the autumn exhibition of the Inverness and Northern Horticultural Society. This society was active at the time.

October 19 and 26.—“Insurrection in Vienna and the flight of the Emperor” is the sensation on the first of these dates. The Austrian army had so far triumphed in Lombardy, but Austria itself and Hungary were in the grip of revoluntary forces. On the 26th it is stated that “insurrections and revolutions are now so common that they excite less surprise than a meal-mob did in Scotland fifty years since.”

October 26.—A paragraph records the death of Dugald Macooll on the 12th of August, at Seymour, Newcastle District, Upper Canada. He was formerly of Kenmore, Lochfyneside, Argyleshire, and one of his sons was Evan Maccoll, author of the “Mountain Bard.” Dugald, the father, is described as a man of uncommon physical strength, and as one of the last in Argyleshire to give up the habitual wearing of the Highland garb. “As a holiday dress he stuck to it long after it had ceased to be worn by all others in Lochfyneside.” He also possessed a rich store of Highland song and tradition.

November 2.—'Note is taken of a beautiful model of an Albanian woman, executed in wax, by Lady Ross of Balnagown. “The figure is small, but exquisitely shaped, evincing high artistic skill in the moulding and draper}.”—Two youths were killed by the failure of a crane at the new county buildings in Tain. The accident caused much indignation, as a death from a similar cause had occurred the previous week.—A long report of the Nairnshire Farmer Society shows the kind of work that was then carried on by such associations.

November 9.—Mr Forbes of Culloden had presented to Mr Rose, farmer at Kirkton and at Leanach, a piece of plate, valued at £30, in recognition of his improvements at Leanach. The testimonial bore the following inscription:—“Presented to John Rose, tenant of Leanach, &.C., by his landlord, Arthur Forbes of Culloden, to mark the .sense he entertains of the skill, energy, and success with which, for the last eight years, Mr Rose has prosecuted his extensive improvements on the Culloden estate. November 1848.” It is stated that Mi Rose entered on the possession of Leanach in 1840, when a considerable portion of the land was useless moor. In draining, liming, and building dykes Mr Rose had expended £6000, and reclaimed two hundred acres of land. “His operations were upon Drummossie Muir, but he has carefully abstained from any intrusion upon the graves of those who fell on that fatal field.” The soil was already producing excellent crops Mr Rose had also erected a slated farm steading at his own expense.

Ibid.—Sir George S. Mackenzie, Bart, of Cool, died on the 26th ult., at Kincllan, near Edinburgh, in the sixty-ninth year of his age. Sir George was author of “Travels in Iceland,” and of several publications on agricultural and scientific subjects, in which he took great interest. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society, President of the Royal Scottish Society of Arts, and Vice-President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. The editor describes him as “a man of an ingenious and inquiring mind, eager in the pursuit of a favourite topic, and occasionally led astray by mere novelty and paradox.” Sir George regulated the rents of his tenantry by the fiars’ prices.

Ibid.—An account is given of improvements at Ballindalloch, forming the farm of Marypark. —From Achnacarry comes an address presented to Lord Malmesbury, who was the tenant of Lochiel’s shootings. Lord Malmesbury in his “Memoirs of an ex-Minister” makes frequent reference to his visits to Achnacarry.—The issue contains a biographical sketch of John Mackenzie, the compiler of “The Beauties of Gaelic Poetry,’’ whose death was formerly noticed.

November 16.—Notices are given of improvements in Morayshire, for which medals had been granted by the Highland and Agricultural Society. The recipients were Dr Man-son, Spynie; Messrs Grant, Drumbain; and Mr Lawson, Oldmills.—A report also appears of a crofters’ dinner given at Gairloch in connection with a competition for prizes presented by Sir Kenneth Mackenzie for improvements in cultivation.

November 16, 23, and 30.—These issues contain interesting articles on the Kilravock Papers, recently issued by the Spalding Club. On the 23rd there is a description of the new buildings erected in High Street as the headquarters of the Caledonian Bank, and a paragraph reports subscriptions for a monument proposed to be erected on the battlefield of Culloden. On the 30th the death of Lord Melbourne, formerly Prime Minister, is recorded. The same issue reports the outbreak of insurrection at Rome.

November 30.—At a meeting of the Glasgow section of the Highland) Relief Board, the report represented the prospects in the Highlands as still gloomy. The potato crop had generally failed, and in not a few districts the people were crowded together without employment or the means of subsistence. The amount in bank at credit of the Glasgow section was reduced to £18,624. Letters were read from Colonel Gordon of Cluny, stating that during the nine years he had held possession of his estate in the Long Island his rental had been £37,407, and out of this he had paid, in endeavouring to improve the condition of the people, £26,983. The Board had spent £513 in sending garden plants and seeds to the district under their charge, and were hopeful of results.

December 7 and 14.—The flight of Pope Pius Ninth from Rome, the abdication of the Emperor of Austria, and the succession of his nephew the present Emperor are prominent topics in these issues. In this country cholera was on the increase, having largely extended in Glasgow and the southern counties of Scotland.

December 14.—In an article on the sporting season it is stated that red deer and roe had been more plentiful than usual, but grouse had fallen below the average. Floods in June had thinned the young broods. Sportsmen spared the birds in order to provide better sport for next season.

December 21.—The election of Prince Louis Napoleon as President of the French Republic excited speculation as to the future. He was then, as afterwards, a “man of mystery.” Trouble in Prussia had resulted in the granting of a constitution which was considered satisfactory.

Ibid.—A report of the Highland Destitution contains some figures. The population of the three districts of Skye, Wester Ross, and Shetland, in which there was an organised and regular system of relief, was about 80.000. The greatest number at one time upon the list of recipients, during the time the test was in full operation, amounted to 8562. When the test was only in partial operation the number increased to 13,803. The entire cost of the food directly distributed throughout the whole season was £7888. The funds in hand, when all accounts were paid, would slightly exceed £70,000. Hopeful results had come from the efforts to establish a home industry in hosiery.

December 28.—Attention is directed to Isaac Pitman’s system of shorthand, phonography, now so universally practised. It is stated that one of the workers in Dr Nicol’s mills, Simon Thomson by name, had studied the system, and was corresponding in it with Pitman.


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