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Weekly Mailing List Archives
10th November 2006

It's your Electric Scotland newsletter meaning the weekend is nearly here :-)

You can view what's new this week on Electric Scotland at and you can unsubscribe to this newsletter by clicking on the link at the foot of this newsletter.

See our Calendar of Scottish Events around the world at 

Electric Scotland
Micro Button Advertisers - Scotland's Greatest Story
The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
The Celtic Monthly
Memoirs of Peter Henry Bruce
History of the Burgh of Dumfries
A Group of Scottish Women
Reminiscences of the Early Settlement of Dunedin and South Otago
Scots Minstrelsie
Prehistoric Scotland
Stand Up for America
A Strachan in France
Robert Burns Lives!
Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario
It's Time - For Scotland
Bits of Electric Scotland - Social History of the Highlands

Still down in Kentucky moving over the web sites. I didn't realise just how much work it is moving to a new physical server. We have been taking the opportunity to upgrade various programs to the latest releases. This has meant re-installing some software editing and upgrading scripts, importing databases and lots more. Here is some of what we have done...

I have added an RSS feed to the site. On the index page and on our What's New page you'll see a wee XML orange button. By clicking on that you can subscribe to the feed. Internet Explorer v7.0 does have a built in rss feed option but there are plenty of free readers available on the web. Once you have a reader setup you may need to configure it to say how often you want to check for updates.

My plan is that during each day I'll add the what's new page to the RSS feed and if you have subscribed then you'll automatically be sent these new headlines. The format will be a Title for the addition, a link to the page and a short description of no more than 5 lines. I found what looks to be a good RSS reader which is free at

Our Forums software has been moved to a new domain of  and the plan is to bring up a chat server on that domain. Right now all is working as it should and we are due to to an upgrade to the latest release before I leave Kentucky (Sunday). One thing however is that due to moving to the new domain any graphics inserted in messages will no longer work as they are pointing to the old server. You can of course edit your message to bring in a new graphic if you wish. As far as we are aware all else is working normally and when we get live chat up we'll insert a link to it from within the Forums. You can get to the login page at

We are having problems getting both and working since moving over to the new server. We'll eventually find a way to fix this but I can say we've already spent hours of work on this and still no solution.

We are also working on a few new games. There is an upgrade on the Lemonade game and the new release has a high score built in so that should be fun.

I have moved back under and I think I've fixed any broken links but like always if you should happen to come across a broken link I'd certainly appreciate being given the page url where the broken link can be found.

I plan to move to South Carolina on Sunday providing all is well here. I've just purchased a USB 280Gb Hard Disk and am busy backing up all the domains onto it before I head off :-)

Delighted to say I received permission to post up the book of The Royal Caledonian Society of Melbourne and this will start appearing next week once I complete the current New Zealand book.

Some of the stories in here are just parts of a larger story so do check out the site for the full versions. You can always find the link in our "What's New" section at the link at the top of this newsletter and pick up poems and stories sent into us during the week from Donna, Margo, Stan, John and others.

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From Scotland's Greatest Story...

Christmas Panic?

Every year as Christmas approaches, how many of us have a last minute crisis at the very thought of trying to come up with a unique present for a friend or loved one?

Well if you are stuck in that very conundrum, why not commission research into a family history? Through Scotland’s Greatest Story, we find the story that really matters to anyone with Scottish ancestry – their own. Through research carried out at New Register House in Edinburgh, birth, marriage, death and census records slowly reveal a picture as to who we are, and how we came to be where we are today. Often there are many surprises along the way - for example, one third of Glaswegians alone have some form of Irish ancestry. But what other moments of joy and intrigue lie awaiting rediscovery? Is there really a connection to one of the ancient clans, or will the story twist and turn in directions you never dreamed were possible?

Through our dedicated and professional service, a detailed research report is supplied going back through the generations, along with various charts and trees to help illustrate the path our ancestors took to get to their greatest achievement – us! And if you can provide photos as well, a truly personalised gift can be further enhanced.

If you would like a family history commissioned, please visit my website at to enquire about rates and the various research options available. On a first visit to New Register House, the cost of the entry pass will be discounted if five hours or more are commissioned (a saving of £17). And remember, with Christmas just weeks away, the sooner you can place the order, the sooner it can be researched and despatched in time for the big day...!

“Nollaig Chridheil agus Bliadhna Mhath Ur” from Scotland’s Greatest Story – a Happy Christmas and a wonderful new year!

Chris Paton

This weeks edition is by Richard Thomson. He continues to keep us up to date with the goings on in the drive for Scottish Independence. I note with interest his comment "Something I find much harder to thole, though, is the faux-sophisticate sneering of the London-based left when it comes to the SNP. Perhaps this is because otherwise, we might have a fair amount in common with them when it comes to policy."

Peter gives us an amusing Scot Wit item this week...

Difficulties of a Student

The Evening School classes in a town in the West of Scotland were attended for the most part by workers in the adjoining ship-yards in the days when Scottish shipbuilding was a major employer. As the students had been showing commendable zeal in their desire to overcome certain deficiencies in their earlier education, a Professor of English was invited to visit the class in his subject with the object of adding a further stimulous to their efforts at self-improvement.

No sooner had the Professor entered the classroom than a voice from the back benches was heard to exclaim : "Hey Sir! A've nae pencil!"

Seizing the opportunity to introduce a touch of learning, the Professor addressed the class in general and the interrupter in particular :-

"I have no pencil

Thou hast no pencil

He has no pencil

We have no pencils

You have no pencils

They have no pencils."

"Weill" came the aggrieved voice again "whae's got aw the bloomin pencils?"

You can read this weeks issue, see the pictures and listen to the Scots language at 

MSP Linda Fabiani is now back in harness in the Scottish Parliament and has brought us up to date with her first diary since her return which you can read at

You can read her past entries at

The Scottish Nation
My thanks to Lora for transcribing these volumes for us.

Now onto the D's and added this week are Dalrymple, Dalyell, Dalziel, or Dalzell, Daniel, Darnley, Darsie, David and Davidson.

The Dalrymple entry is quite large and here is a bit from it...

Sir James Dalrymple, the second son of the first viscount of Stair, first designated of Borthwick, afterwards of Killoch, and subsequently of Cousland, was the ancestor of the Dalrymples of Cranstoun, who now possess the earldom of Stair. He was one of the principal clerks of session, a man of great learning, and one of the best antiquaries of his time. He published ‘Collections concerning the Scottish History preceding the death of King David the First, anno 1153,’ Edin. 1705, 8vo; and ‘Vindication of the Ecclesiastical part of his Historical Collections, in answer to a late Pamphlet, entitled The Life of John Sage, &c.’ Edin. 1714, 8vo. He was created a baronet of Nova Scotia, 28th April 1698. He was thrice married, and had eight sons and five daughters. Admiral John Dalrymple, who died in October 1798, was his grandson, being the only son of his third son Robert, writer to the signet, to whom his father left the Killoch estate. The eldest son, Sir John Dalrymple, the second baronet, was designated of Cousland. He was one of the principal clerks of session, appointed on his father’s demission from that office on 30th September 1708. He was twice married, and had five sons and six daughters. His first wife was Elizabeth, eldest daughter of William Fletcher of New Cranstoun, advocate, whose widow, his father, Sir James, had taken for his second wife. By Sir John’s contract of marriage with Miss Fletcher, dated 7th August 1702, to which his father was a party, he acquired the lands of New Cranstoun, which estate, together with those of Cousland and Heriotmuir, in the county of Edinburgh, being the family estates, were entailed on the heirs of the marriage, with remainder to the other sons of Sir James.

On Sir John’s death, 24th May 1743, he was succeeded by his eldest son, Sir William Dalrymple, third baronet, of Cousland. He was twice married, and had eight sons and six daughters. His second son, William, a colonel in the army, distinguished himself on several occasions, particularly at the capture of Omoa, on the Spanish Main, in the West Indies, where he commanded. His uncle, Hugh, left him the Fordell estate in Mid Lothian, and the Cleland estate in Lanarkshire. He died in 1791, leaving issue. Three of Sir Williams’ sons by his second marriage were also in the army. The third baronet died 26th February 1771. Of his eldest son, Sir John Dalrymple, afterwards by right of marriage Sir John Dalrymple Hamilton Macgill, fourth baronet, an eminent lawyer and miscellaneous writer, a memoir is given below. He married his cousin, Elizabeth Hamilton Macgill, daughter of Thomas Hamilton of Fals, Esq., and heiress and representative of the viscounts Oxenford (a title dormant since 1706), by whom he had a numerous family. His eldest son, Thomas, died an infant. William, the second, a midshipman on board his majesty’s ship Santa Margarita, was killed in the eighteenth year of his age, 29th July 1782, in an action with the Amazone French frigate, off the coast of Virginia. The third son also died an infant, and he was succeeded, on his death, in 1810, by his fourth son, Sir John Hamilton Dalrymple, fifth baronet, who assumed the name of Hamilton, through his mother, by whom the estates of Oxenford and Fala were acquired. He was a general in the army, and colonel of the 26th regiment. he married on 23d June 1795, Henrietta, eldest daughter of the Rev. Robert Augustus Johnson, at Kenilworth, in Warwickshire, and aunt of the earl of Craven, by whom he had no issue. This lady died in 1823, and he married, secondly, 8th June 1825, Adamina, daughter of Adam Viscount Duncan. On the death of his kinsman, John William Henry, seventh earl of Stair, in March 1840, Sir John succeeded to that title as eighth earl, and was created a baron of the United Kingdom as Baron Oxenford of Cousland, 11th August 1841, with remainder to his brother, North Dalrymple, Esq. of Cleland and Fordell, who succeeded as ninth earl of Stair, on the death of his brother in January 1853. See STAIR, earl of.

You can read the rest of this account at

You can read the other entries at 

The Celtic Monthly
A magazine for Highlanders

Added the October 1902 issue which contains...

Sir Robert Menzies of Menzies - Baronet, King Edward's Coronation, Captain Ivory's Cave, The Highlands, The Fairy Man, Lament for Roderick "The Chisholm", Baron-Bailie Court of Lude, Highland Mod at Dundee, The Martial Music of the Clans, Highland Scenery and Climate, Concerning Aunt Betsy and Some Others, Duncan Ban MacIntyre, Emigrations from the Highlands during the Eighteenth Century, Armorial Bearings of MacLean of Dochgarroch, An Old Gaelic Saying.

There is a very good article on the famous Scots Bard, Duncan Ban MacIntyre.

You can read this issue at

You can see the issues to date at 

Memoirs of Peter Henry Bruce, Esq
A Military Officer, in the services of Prussia, Russia and Great Britain (1783)

Added Book 10 this week which contains...

The Duke of Holstein. - The fall of baron Shasirof. - The captain endeavours to get his discharge. - A dignified troop of chevaliers. - A description of the cathedral. - Procession to the coronation of the empress. - Corenation ceremony. - Procession to the church of St. Michael. - Procession to the church of the Resurrection. - Dinner in the hall of solemnities. - New mode of promotion. - The captain obtains his furlough. - The captain leaves Moscow. - A Swedish colonel at Riga suspected of having shot Charles the XIIth of Sweden. - The captain embarks for Scotland. - Puts into Erdholm, a Danish harbour and fort. - Description of the harbour. - Departs for Elsingohr. - Driven into Marstr and dismasted. - Quarrel between Carnegie and his mate. - He arrives in Scotland.

You can read this book 10 at

You can read this publication at 

History of the Burgh of Dumfries
Got up two more chapters from this book. The previous chapters can be read at 

Now up to Chapter 53 and here is how that chapter starts...

THOUGH for many years after 1817 the rulers of the town were much engrossed by matters of finance, they did not neglect other public questions; and the enterprise of private parties united with theirs in promoting several beneficial measures. A new approach was made to the Burgh from the north; the site of the cattle market on the White-sands was enlarged and paved; a free school was built on the Green-sands in 1821; and the Mid-Steeple and St. Michael's steeple were each supplied with a new clock, the cost of both, defrayed by subscription, being about £190. Just when the monetary shoe might have been supposed to pinch most severely, the lieges clubbed their shillings and guineas on an expensive article of luxury with which to decorate their chief, though the town could barely pay its debts. This was a magnificent double chain of gold, which cost within a trifle of £150. It was publicly presented to the Provost, Mr. John Kerr, on the 3rd of August, 1822; the Rev. Dr. Scott, minister of St. Michael's, making an eloquent presentation speech in name of the subscribers, and the Provost responding in appropriate terms. At the next meeting of Council a minute was adopted recommending his honour to wear the smaller part of the chain constantly, but to reserve the longer and heavier part, with a medallion that is attached to it, for "extraordinary occasions." This advice is still acted upon; and on great days the Provost also wears a rich ermined robe purchased by the Council in 1862.

The modern part of the town-commenced in the north, after the building of the new bridge-received an important addition when the new Assembly Rooms were erected, in 1825; and the following year was signalized by a great event-the lighting of the Burgh with gas, provided by a company having a capital of £8,000. Almost contemporaneously with this increase of material illumination, there came into existence a society which has been the means of diffusing much intellectual light-we refer to the Dumfries and Maxwelltown Mechanics' Institute. It was started on the 15th of March, 1825, at a meeting held for the purpose in the Trades' Hall, presided over by Provost Thomson; and in the course of the following year it was in full working order. The members of the original committee are entered in the minute-book as follows:-Provost Thomson, Mr. John Gregan, Mr. William M'Gowan, Mr. Connechie, Dr. T. T. Duncan, Mr. Grierson, Mr. J. Charteris, Convener Anderson, Mr. John Gibson, Mr. Thomas Roberts, Dr. H. Duncan, Mr. Barker, Mr. Walter Newall, Mr. Thomas Watson, and Mr. James Wilson. At first the annual subscription was 8s. per annum; for children of members, and apprentices, 4s. When the Institute was ten years old it numbered 150 members. Its fortunes have been very varied: more than once it almost ceased to exist, and was only kept alive by the zealous efforts of Mr. William Mundell, grocer; Mr. Thomas Roberts, carver and gilder; Mr. John Bell, ironmonger; Mr. James Charteris, turner; Mr. Alexander Crombie, architect; Mr. William C. Aitken, brassfounder; Dr. W. A. T. Browne, president of the Institute, and others of its early promoters. Sixteen years ago, when the Institute was in a somewhat sickly condition, Mr. Christopher Harkness became its secretary; and from that date it has grown in size and improved in health. It is now, and has been for a lengthened period, one of the most prosperous societies of the kind in the United Kingdom. There are connected with it an excellent reading-room, a well-selected library of nearly 8,000 volumes, a course of lectures during the winter, and classes for young lads whose early education has been neglected. The terms are only 4s. a year for adult males, 3s. for females, and 2s. for apprentices. Usually the membership numbers between 600 and 700. A very elegant and commodious hall, built for the Institute from a design by Mr. Alexander Fraser, architect, was opened about the close of 1861. It has sitting accommodation for 1,000 persons, and cost about £1,500.

One of the local journalists, writing on the 5th of September, 1826, thus notices the improvements to which the introduction of gas formed a sort of climax. "For a long period," says the writer, "Dumfries was so stationary that it might have been included in the list of what an Irishman calls finished towns. But a new spirit has gone abroad. . . . If we consider the number of streets in Dumfries and Maxwelltown that have been finished, planned, and partly executed within the last few years, the tenements rebuilt, the houses gutted to make shops of, or in other respects remodelled and repaired-the marvels, in a word, worked by Messrs. Sinclair and Howat, Newall and Inman, Brown, Hair, and many others, we are quite sure that the original `shooters of the Siller Gun,' were they to rise from their graves at this moment, would scarcely be able to recognize the ancient Burgh they lived, died, and earned their bread in. The widening of English Street, and the approach by the Townhead, are both very great improvements ; and strangers visiting us from the South and North must now receive favourable impressions of the cleanliness and neatness that characterize Dumfries from the moment they approach the shores of the Nith."

You can read the rest of this chapter at 

The whole book can be read at 

A Group of Scottish Women
by Harry Graham (1908).
Our thanks to Julie for transcribing this for us.

We now have more chapters up and here is a bit about Jane, Duchess of Gordon (1749 - 1812)

Two hundred years ago vagrant swine were as common in the streets of all the capitals of Europe as dogs are to-day. [Lord Gardenstone, a well-known Scottish judge, became so attached to a pig of his acquaintance that he allowed it to sleep at the foot of his bed. When the animal grew too big for this sleeping-place it used to retire for the night on the heap of clothes which the judge had just removed, thereby, as Lord Gardenstone pleasantly remarked, keeping them nice and warm until it was time to put them on again in the morning.] If you had been alive then and had chanced to be passing down the High Street of Edinburgh on a certain spring morning of the year 1760, you would not have been much astonished at seeing a number of these unalluring animals wandering in and out of the narrow alleys and wynds that debouch upon the main thoroughfares of the city, performing with rough and ready efficiency the duties which are now relegated to the street scavengers. But you would certainly have been given cause for surprise – if you were still young enough to be surprised at anything – had you met an exceptionally good-looking girl riding astride on the back of one of these pigs, which her sister, another equally pretty child, was violently belabouring with a broom-handle. Such, however, was the spectacle that presented itself to the wondering gaze of an old gentleman who was on his way to pay an afternoon call upon Lady Maxwell of Monreith in Hyndford’s Close. Later on, the elderly visitor was much scandalised to learn that the two girls who were amusing themselves in this peculiar fashion were none other than Lady Maxwell’s own daughters. He would no doubt have been still further shocked had he been able to look forward into the future and realise that the pretty girl who was beating the pig with such vigour would one day become the famous Lady Wallace, while her sister who sat the animal with such unladylike skill, was eventually destined to make a name for herself in the history of the world as Jane, the beautiful and witty Duchess of Gordon.

In the whole annals of the scheming and intrigue which played so sordid and important a part in the political history of the eighteenth century, there is probably no figure which stands out so clearly as that of Jane, Duchess of Gordon. Few women have occupied a more conspicuous position on the political stage of England; none have succeeded in putting such advantages of birth and station as they possessed to better use, for the purpose of securing the aggrandisement of their own family and the advancement of the party with which they had chosen to cast in their lot.

“Jenny of Monreith,” as she was generally called, was the second and loveliest daughter of Sir William Maxwell, and was born in Edinburgh, about the year 1749. Hyndford’s Close was a narrow, gloomy back-street of Edinburgh, and the house which Lady Maxwell and her daughters inhabited was thoroughly in keeping with the squalid surroundings of the neighbourhood. To reach the dining-room it was necessary to traverse a dark passage and pass by the open door of the kitchen, so that guests were made aware on arrival of the nature of the viands which were being prepared for them. In this same passage the finer garments of the Maxwell family were usually exposed, after washing, to dry on a screen; while the coarser articles of dress, such as petticoats, were hung decently out of sight at a back window. “so very easy and familiar were the manners of the great in those times” (we read in Chambers’s Traditions of Edinburgh) “that Miss Betty, afterwards Lady Wallace, used to be sent with the tea-kettle across the street to the Fountain Well, for water to tea.” This was the atmosphere in which the Maxwell girls were brought up; so it is not perhaps to be wondered at if their natural high spirits occasionally found an outlet in such a pastime as that of riding the neighbours’ swine along the High Street.

“The Scotch may be compared to a tulip planted in dung,” said Oliver Goldsmith. “You may see a well-dressed duchess issuing from a dirty close.” And the poet might well have brought Jane Maxwell forward as a typical example. Of the two sisters, she was perhaps the greater hoyden, the more boisterous and wild, the least controlled, as she was certainly the more intelligent and beautiful. The propriety of her juvenile manners might indeed be open to unfavourable criticism, but no fault could certainly be found with her qualities of body or of mind. We need only recall the supreme part she played in the political arena of her time, and the unfailing wit of her conversation, to admit the justice of her claim to be called “the cleverest woman of her day.” We have but to look at the famous portrait painted by Romney, [This picture was long attributed to Sir Joshua Reynolds, but in 1882, when it was exhibited at Burlington House, the hanging committee recognised and catalogued it as the work of Romney. Nine years later it was sold by the duchess’s great grand-nephew, Sir Herbert Maxwell, to Mr. Wertheimer, for 5,500 guineas.] when she was six-and-twenty, to appreciate the exquisite beauty of outline and colouring which caused her to be popularly known as “the flower of Galloway” and to be continually surrounded by a host of admirers.

And you can read the rest of this entry at 

The other chapters can be read at 

Reminiscences of the Early Settlement of Dunedin and South Otago
Compiler and Editor John Wilson (1912)

We are now up to Chapter 14 of this publication and note that each chapter is a .pdf file. The chapters include...

Chapter VIII
The Clutha (or Molyneux) District - Incidental - River Molyneux - Survey - European Settlers before Immigration - Willcher and Russell - Inch Clutha and North Side of Molyneux - Balclutha - South Molyneux, South Clutha, and Catlins.

Chapter IX
Wharepa from River Molyneux, Waitepeka - Kaihiky, Waiwera, and Onward - S.S. "Tuapeka" - Mails, &c. - Sports, Picnics, &c.

Chapter X
Religious and Educational Work in Clutha - South Clutha and Port Molyneux - Inch Clutha and Kaitangata - Balclutha - Wharepa - Kaihiku - Clinton and Waiweka.

Chapter XI
Agricultural Matters - Ploughing Matches.

Chapter XII
Incidental and Anecdotal - Wild Dogs and Wild Pigs.

Chapter XIII
Discovery of Gold, and Incidents told by some Early Settlers.

Chapter XIV
Great Floods in Clutha - First Visit of Sir George Grey to Clutha - The Brave old Pioneers.

You can read these chapters at

Scots Minstrelsie
Have now made a start at getting up some songs from the 5th volume of this publication where all songs have the sheet music to go with them. This week I got up...

Bonnie Jean
Romantic Esk!
Bonnie Bessie
Bonnie Jeanie
The Lawland Lads Think They Are Fine
My Handsome Highland Laddie
O Nanny! Wilt Thou Gang Wi' Me?
O Whistle, And I'll Come To You, My Lad
The Bonnie House O' Airly
Hurrah For The Bonnets O' Blue!
The Blude-Red Rose At Yule May Blaw
Johnnie's Grey Breeks
O Auld Guidman, Ye're A Drucken Carle
The Green Purse

You can see these at 

You can see the whole publication at 

Prehistoric Scotland
By Robert Munro, M.A., M.D.
[Book transcribed by Regina Puschelik for which many thanks]

Got in Chapter X - Works of Defence - Forts, Camps, and Brochs.

You can reads this chapter as a .pdf file at

Stand Up for America
Was given a Flash movie while here in Kentucky so thought I'd share that with our American friends and you can see this at

A Strachan in France
Got in a significant update on this article which you can see at

It starts...

Given the above correspondence, Jim Strachan (Founder of the Clan Strachan Society, and author of the book "Was Like Us, Damn Few And They're A Deid!, A History of Clan Strachan") would like to point out some additional facts, as well as some inconsistencies in Charles’ letters. We hope you find his insight interesting and informative.

Robert Burns Lives!
Edited by Frank R. Shaw, FSA Scot, Atlanta, GA, 

There has been much written about these two literary giants individually over the years. Everyone has their favorite, but at this time in my studies, I’ll take them both like a coin with two sides. At my house, you cannot have one without the other.

Interestingly, one wrote many books and poems. The other wrote only one book of poetry although additional poems were added to later editions. One became rich from his writing and publishing while the other had to work a thankless job to provide a meager living for his family. One took ten years to build the house of his dreams and the other lived in farm houses or in town rental properties. One became bankrupt but worked himself out of insolvency while the other flirted with bankruptcy all of his life. One entertained his king at one of the biggest and grandest celebrations ever held in Scotland when one-seventh of the population of Scotland turned out to greet George IV. The other, as far as I know, never had the opportunity to look his king in the eye, much less sit at a meal with the king or be knighted by him.
Yet, the latter is far more celebrated annually by Scots around the world than the former. As to which is the best literary representative of Scotland, that will be left to the individual to decide. What I would like to do with this article is list various references regarding Sir Walter Scott’s deference, and love for Robert Burns.

Most of us are familiar with the one time in history when Scott and Burns actually met and had a conversation. Scott, a mere lad of fifteen, met the twenty-seven-year-old Burns in the “winter of 1786-87” in Edinburgh while visiting in the home of his good friend, Adam Fergusson, where the movers and shakers of “Auld Reekie” met to lionize the newly discovered poet Burns, who would become known as Scotland’s National Bard, then and now. Scott recalls a second sighting of Burns in the streets of Edinburgh one day after their initial meeting, but there evidently was not an opportunity to speak.

Many years later, Scott wrote to his son-in-law, John Gibson Lockhart, that he recalled the poet’s eyes as they “glowed under the influence of feeling”. There must have been excitement in those eyes for Scott to recall and describe the scene so vividly. Scott went on to describe how self-confident Burns seemed in the presence of the city’s literati, and he writes of Burns’ appearance as an “old-time farmer”, all of which left an indelible impression on the young teenager. Scott referred to Burns as “the Boast of Scotland”.

Hesketh Pearson, in his wonderful book, Walter Scott, His Life and Personality, (published in 1954 and a book on Scott that I highly recommend to one and all) tells the story of an old school chum and business partner of Scott’s, James Ballytyne, asking Scott how his own genius compared to Robert Burns. Scott left no doubt that Burns was number one when he replied, “There is no comparison whatever: We ought not to be named in the same day.”

There is another great quote by Scott in Edgar Johnson’s definitive two volumes on Sir Walter Scott, The Great Unknown. I have used it for years in speeches and articles since it shows Scott’s true feeling about his older literary colleague: “Long life to thy fame and peace to thy soul, Rob Burns. When I want to express a sentiment which I feel strongly, I find the phrase in Shakespeare or thee.” Scott, always humble, went on to say, “The blockheads talk of my being like Shakespeare - not fit to tie his brogues.”

When Charles Robert Leslie, the painter commissioned by Professor George Ticknor of Harvard to paint a portrait of Scott, was working at Scott’s Abbotsford home, he asked if he would likely be able to meet with a haggis. Scott, ever the considerate host, replied, “I don’t know a more likely house than the one you are in” and Scott had a haggis prepared for the following evening. Later Leslie tells how, “holding out his hand over the dish, Scott recited Burns’s Address to the Chieftain of the Pudding Tribe, or To A Haggis. We do that at each Burns’ Night or, as my St. Andrew’s Society of Atlanta members like to say, “Burns Nicht”, a nice Scottish touch. Incidentally, Leslie played another part in Scott’s life when he carried a mourning ring to Scott which had been left to Sir Walter by none other than his good friend, Lord Byron. .
Another favorite quote of Burns that Scott often used was “Come, firm resolve, take thou the van/ Thou stalk of Carle-Hemp in man”. I haven’t taken the time to research its meaning, so I will let the Burns scholars sort that out.

Hesketh Pearson says “Of his (Scott’s) contemporaries his favourites were Joanna Baillie, Crabbe, Burns, Byron, Wordsworth, and  Southey.” I wonder if Burns ever dreamed he would be included in such great literary company by one of Scotland’s top two or three greatest writers?

A son of Burns, home from India on leave, was once guest of honor at Abbotsford. He and his wife dined with Scott. Again the affable host invited the neighboring gentry for a special meal, and the crowd was so large they spilled out from the dining room into the library and Chinese drawing room. (This comes from Johnson’s Volume II, and I’ve never understood why someone who has written the definitive volume on Scott does not tell you which son of Burns was the honored guest.)

In the 1897 issue of the Robert Burns Chronicle, there is reference to thousands of items about, by, or belonging to Burns being exhibited in Glasgow. There was one item on loan from the Abbotsford Library that sparked a bit of excitement. It was a copy of a Burns book owned by Scott that he had written his name in.             

I will close with this notation even though it has nothing to do with Burns. I always like to point out that, unknown by many Americans or Scots for that matter,  Scott is remembered quite frequently in Washington, DC and any place the President of the United States of America goes where “Hail to the Chief” is played. It comes from The Lady of the Lake written by my favorite Scottish writer, Sir Walter Scott.

If any of you have other references of Scott’s deference to Burns, please let me know at the above email, and I will include them in a future article on the two great Scots! Naturally, proper credit will be given. (Frank R. Shaw, 11-9-06)

You can read other chapters of this series at

Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario
Thanks to Nola got in an account of Kenneth Urquhart...I thought I'd include the entire article as it includes some interesting information on the clan...

KENNETH URQUHART is numbered among the old settlers of the County of Kent and comes of notable old North of Scotland ancestry, the family records being easily traced to Thomas Urquhart, the great-great-grandfather of Kenneth Urquhart, of Chatham. This ancestor lived and died in Scotland, little dreaming that any of his kindred would later find a home across the stormy sea. He had a son, John, the great-grandfather of our subject. The grandfather, who bore the name of Kenneth, also passed his life, like his ancestors, in Scotland.

John Urquhart, son of Kenneth and father of our subject, was of a more adventurous spirit. Born in Scotland in 1776, he suffered his son John to emigrate to Ontario in 1837, and in 1841 followed, dying in Chatham township in 1856, at the home of his son, Kenneth. In 1806 he married Henrietta McKenzie, daughter of Kenneth McKenzie (whose wife’s name was Munro), granddaughter of John McKenzie, and great-granddaughter of Alexander McKenzie. To this marriage were born the following children: John, who settled in Chatham township in 1837; Alexander, deceased, who was a farmer in Dover township, County of Kent; Mary who resides in the County of Kent, advanced in years; Ann, deceased; Kenneth; and Janet, Mrs. Roderick Ross. The mother of this family survived until 1864, dying at the home of her daughter, Janet.

Concerning the earlier ancestors of this family, the following appeared under the heading, “The Clan of Urquhart:”

Badge: Lus Leth an-t-Sambraidh. – Wallflower, Gillyflower.

The following historical sketch of the Clan Urquhart, of which Mr. Kenneth Urguhart, of this city, is a member, will be of interest.

This clan most probably takes its name from the district so called in Inverness-shire. There are several charters to persons of the name in Robertson’s Index. Among them, one to Adam Urquhart, under David II (1340-70), of the lands of Fohestery, in Buchan, cum Fortyre: one to Ada Urquhart, of Combathie, given by Hugh Ross; another to the same; and one charter under the same monarch “confirmans concessum per Willelmum Comitum de Ross,” of certain lands dated at the castle of the Lord of Urquhart, 4th July, 1342, and among the witnesses was Adam de Urquhart.

In 1449 a Thomas Urquhart was Bishop of Ross. In 1463 a Helen Urquhart, daughter of Sir Thomas Urquhart, of Cromarty, by his wife a daughter of Lord Forbes, was married to James Baird, of the Baird family.

In some accounts of the battle of Pinkie, 1546, it is stated that there fell seven sons of Sir Thomas Urquhart, of Cromarty. If so, their names are not given in the Douglas “Baronage”.

The last Dean of Rorss in 1585 was Alexander Urquhart. He was deprived of his post in that year, and the rents bestowed upon Robert Munro, of Foulis’s son Hector.

In the Roll of Landlords in 1587, John Urquhart of Craigfintry, and Culbo, appears as guardian to his grand nephew, afterward the eccentric and learned Sir Thomas Urquhart, of Cromarty. John, called the Tutor of Cromarty, built Craiston Castle about the years 1604 and 1607. He married the heiress of Seton of Meldrum.

Sir Thomas Urquhart, of Cromarty, if he did not reside in the parish of King Edward, seems to have taken an interest in it; for the inscription on the massive silver communion cups shows that they were a joint present from him and John Urquhart, of Craigfintry, the former name of Craigston.

In the army of Gustavus Adolphus, under date of 1626, we find Col. John Urquhart, of Cromarty, “a valiant soldier, expert commander and learned scholar.” In 1649 the castle of Inverness was nearly demolished by Sir Thomas Urquhart, of Cromarty, and other cavaliers. He was one of the most quaint writers of the seventeenth century, and is chiefly known as the translator of Rabelais. He was knighted by Charles I at Whitehall and accompanied the Scottish army to Worcester in 1651.

In 178 the Laird of Cromarty and Alexander Urquhart, of Newhall, were Commissioners in Parliament. In 1680 there were complaints laid before the council against his kinsman, Urquhart of Meldrum, commanding a troop of the King’s Horse.

Mary, daughter and heiress of William Urquhart, of Craigston, married William Pollard, and their son Francis Pollard-Urquhart, now has Craigston Castle.

Captain Beauchamp Colclough-Urquhart, of Meldrum and Blyth, Aberdeenshire, is, we believe, present head of the family.

Kenneth Urquhart, who bears his grandfather’s name, was born in Lochbroom, Scotland, January 3rd, 1819, and came to Ontario in 1841. For some years prior he has been clerking in a general store in Ullapool, Scotland and he embarked in the same line in Chatham, carrying it on for a period of thirty-eight years, since which time he has lived retired from activity. For a number of years his home was located on Victoria Avenue, but in 1887 he erected his handsome residence on Lacroix Street, where he and his wife enjoy every comfort grateful to those in advancing years. Mr. Urquhart is one of the capitalists of Chatham, a member of the Chatham Loan & Savings Association, and a stockholder in the Chatham Gas Company. In political sentiment his is a Reformer.

In 1844 Mr. Urquhart was united in marriage with Miss Barbara McCaig, who was born in 1826 in Argyllshire, South End, Scotland, a daughter of John and Catherine (McNaughton) McCaig. Mrs. Urquhart’s grandfathers, Neil McCaig and John McNaughton were both men of prominence. It was in 1842 that John McCaig, with his wife and family settled in Harwich, County of Kent, and engaged in farming. They had the following children: Neil, Barbara, Margaret, John, Duncan, Catherine, Mary, Archiband and Catherine. Both John and Duncan are farmers in Harwich Township.

Mr. & Mrs. Urquhart have devoted their lives to each other, no children having come to divide their interests. At the age when many people are considered old both retain every faculty, and in appearance seem much younger than the family records tell. They are valued members of the First Presbyterian Church. They are among the most highly esteemed residents of their city.

You can see other entries at

It's Time - For Scotland
The Bard of Banff is intending to do a weekly poem leading up to the next Scottish election in May 2007 on the theme of independence and his fist poem can be viewed at

Bits of Electric Scotland
It was suggested that I might highlight bits of the site that I thought might be of general interest.

This week I thought I'd highlight the "Social History of the Highlands" section at

As the page says... "The Highlands have undergone considerable change during the last century and a half, and the alteration, in a social point of view, has been on the whole for the better. The Highlands are now generally as accessible as the lowlands; the manners, speech, and occupations of the inhabitants are becoming more and more assimilated to those of their lowland neighbours, and to all appearances, in a very short time, there will remain little or nothing to distinguish the Scottish Celt from the Saxon. Although this change has by no means been altogether to the advantage of the Highlander, although many of the vices as well as the virtues of civilization have been forced upon him, still, for the sake of the community at large, the change cannot be regretted, and it is only to be desired that the lowlanders in turn may be brought to admire and imitate the noble virtues of their northern neighbours, their courage, fidelity, reverence, self-respect, and love of independence."

The topics you will find in a series of small articles are...

Character of ancient Highlanders
Highland Dress
Highlanders' feeling with regard to death
Practices in the Western Islands
Relation of the Clans to their Chiefs
Love of Country
Social duties
Loyalty of the Clans

In addition we have...

The Living Conditions in the Highlands Prior to 1745 - Part 1
Social condition of the Highlands, Black Mail, Watch Money, The Law, Power of the Chiefs, Land Distribution, Tacksmen, Tenants, Rents, Thirlage, Wretched State of Agriculture, Agricultural Implements, The Caschroim, The Reestle, Methods of Transportation, Drawbacks to Cultivation, Management of Crops, Farm Work, Live Stock, Garrons, Sheep, Black Cattle, Arable Land, Pasturage, Farm Servants, The Bailte Geamhre, Davoch-lands, Milk, Cattle Drovers, Harvest Work, The Quern.

The Living Conditions in the Highlands Prior to 1745- Part 2
Fuel, Food, Social Life in Former Days, Education, Dwellings, Habits, Gartmore Papers, Wages, Roads, Present State of the Highlands.

Living Conditions in the Highlands after 1745 - Part 1
Progress of Innovation, First mention of Emigration, Pennant’s account of the country, Dr Johnson, Emigration fairly commenced in 1760.

Living Conditions in the Highlands after 1745 - Part 2
The Tacksmen the first to suffer and emigrate, Consequences to those who remained, Wretched condition of the Western Islands, Introduction of large sheep-farms, Ejection of small tenants, "Mailers", Hebrides, Real Highland grievance, Title-deeds, The two sides of the Highland Question, Truth on both sides, Excessive population, Argument of those who condemn depopulation, The sentimental and military arguments, Testimony as to wretched condition of Highlanders, Highlands admirably suited for sheep, Effect of sheep-farming on Highland scenery, Highlands unsuited to black cattle, Large and small farms, Interference, Fishing and farming cannot be successfully united, Raising rents, Depopulation, How far the landlords were to blame, Kelp, Advantages and disadvantages of its manufacture, Potatoes, Introduction into the Highlands, Their importance, Failures of Crop, Disease, Amount of progress made during latter part of 18th century.

McIan's Highlanders At Home
By R. R. M'Ian, Esq 1848, Illustrations by James Logan, Esq.

And finally I got in an email offering me a recipe...

Ruby's Rock Cakes

I finally got one of the two recipes that I had been looking for and, as promised, am sending it on to you - it's the one for Rock Cakes (I always call them Ruby's Rock Cakes because I got the recipe from my aunt in Aberdeen)..


8 oz Flour
4 oz Margarine or Butter (I prefer the butter)
3 or 4 oz Sugar
1 tsp Mixed Spices*
4 oz Currants or Raisins
Pinch of Nutmeg
1 Egg
2 tsp Milk (can go up to 4 oz if necessary but you don't want them real wet - just enough to hold the dough together)

Rub in butter, add sugar, raisins and spices. Beat egg and add to dry ingredients. Add milk, mix to form a stiff batter. Bake 15-20 minutes at 400.

* If you can't find Mixed Spices (which is NOT Allspice) like I can't you can mix your own as follows:

1 TBSP Allspice
1 TBSP Cinnamon
1 TBSP Nutmeg
2 tsp Mace
1 tsp Ground Cloves

Mix all spices together and store in an air-tight glass jar.

Hope you like these! You can eat them for breakfast, as a snack or as dessert. I've never met anyone who doesn't like them!!

When I get the recipe for Aberdeen Morning Rowies I'll pass that along too - my cousin is having trouble finding the right one and the bakers won't give out their recipe! She's still looking.

Let me know what you think.

Lynn Johnson

And to finish you might like to read... "Watch Your Money - another nasty scam:" at
The picture is well worth the look! :-) Thanks to Rebecca and Mack for sending this in.

And that's all for now and I hope you all have a great weekend :-)


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