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Weekly Mailing List Archives
16th November 2007

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 News
Scotland on TV
The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Good Words - Edited by the Rev Norman MacLeod
Hamish McWallace and the Leprechaun Treasure
Clan Information
Poetry and Stories
Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland
Book of Scottish Story
History of Ulster
A fisherman’s Reflections on a beautiful but troubled world
Ocean to Ocean, Fleming's Expedition Through Canada in 1872
Sketches of Early Scotch History
Sir James Hector

I forgot how much work it takes to move to a new computer and from that you'll gather that my new notebook has at last arrived. I've likely lost an odd email in the move over so if you emailed me and haven't got a reply then please email me back.

I'll be starting a new book next week "Bonnie Scotland". There are a number of interesting things about this book...

First the book is one where the landscape paintings were commissioned and once arrived they were given to an author to write a background to them and thus create the book. The second point of interest is that the text is actually very interesting and the author has done a good job on telling you about all kinds of things about Scotland and the Scots. The third point is in his use of words. Harold Nelson was down with me for a couple of days and took the opportunity to read the book. He noted that there were a number of words used by the author which just aren't in use today. Harold took a note of a lot of these words and will be supplying us with a wee glossary of them to put with the book.

I am also hoping to use these pictures in our new postcard program when it arrives and so keep an eye out for this book in the coming week.

And just as an amusing aside... I have a new cleaning lady starting with me on Friday and I just caught myself cleaning my office before she arrives :-)

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.

Scotland on TV
Visit their site at

See the Royal Scots Dragoons Guards showcase their new CD, Spirit of the Glen, at Edinburgh Castle.

The Pipes and Drums of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, Scotland’s only remaining tank regiment, has entered the perennial UK music battleground over who will have the Christmas No 1 in the music charts.

We filmed with the Pipes and Drums this week at Edinburgh castle (on a glorious winter morning when Edinburgh looked at its very best) as they launched their brand new CD Spirit of the Glen. The CD has a variety of tracks ranging from traditional melodies to new arrangements of contemporary classics and is released on November 26th, but we’ve got a sneak preview of it on Scotland on TV.

The 24 pipers and drummers of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards are all part-time musicians and full-time soldiers, so the new album was recorded during time off from their tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. The regiment is currently busy training for future operations, having just completed an exercise in Canada.

You may remember the band reached the top of the UK charts back in 1972 with their single, Amazing Grace and a new recording of this tune features on the new CD as well as contemporary compositions, such as Mull of Kintyre and Sailing, and a number of classic film themes. As well as the releasing the CD, the band is looking forward to touring the USA after Christmas.

Spirit of the Glen is released by Universal Music (Catalogue Number: 1747159) on 26th November 2007, with all of the regiment’s royalties going to services charities.

To see the launch as well as some stunning views of Edinburgh for yourself, click here:

For more details on the regiment and how to purchase the CD, click onto:

This weeks Flag is compiled by Donald Bain and he starts off with telling us that the news that the 2014 Commonwealth Games are to be staged in Glasgow gives a major boost to Scotland’s international profile. He goes on to tell you something about the Commonwealth in the event you don't know about it. He also noted that Scotland has produced its new Economioc Strategy which you can read at

In Peter's cultural section I thought I'd share his famous Dates in History with you this week...

16 November 1891
Colonel William Frederick Cody’s, ‘Buffalo Bill’, Wild West Show opened in the East End Exhibition Building, Dennistoun, Glasgow, with stars such as sharp-shooter Annie Oakley. The show ran until 27 February 1892.

16 November 1956
The last tramcar ran in Edinburgh – driver James Kay and conductor Andrew Birrell.

16 November 2006
The Scottish National Party MP Angus MacNeill won the award for Best Scot at Westminster, for instigating a police inquiry into possible abuse of the honours system, at the annual Scottish Politician of the Year Awards. It was his second award of the day as ‘The Spectator’ named him ‘Inquisitor of the Year’. Labour’s Andy Kerr, the health minister, was named Scottish Politician of the Year for his work in bringing in the smoking ban in public places. The Labour MSP was the eighth winner of the prize following in the footsteps of Donald Dewar, Jim Wallace, Jack McConnell, Malcolm Chisolm, Margaret Curan and George Reid, who had won the honour twice.

16 November 2006
Buckhaven welterweight Kevin Anderson’s bout with Young Muttley was named as Contest of the Year at the British Boxing Board of Control’s awards night in Picadilly, London. In the come-back of the year Kevin Anderson overcame a second round knock-down and fourth round cut to force a stoppage in the tenth round to win the British welterweight title and successfully defend his Commonwealth crown.

17 November 1843
Birth of Dr William Wallace, editor of the Glasgow Herald (1906-19909), at Culross, Fife.

18 November 1795
The River Clyde, in spate, flooded the centre of Glasgow and brought down a recently erected bridge at the foot of the Saltmarket.

19 November 1960
National Service in Britain ended.

20 November 1725
The horse-post from Edinburgh to London vanished after passing through Berwick; both horse and rider were thought to have perished on tidal sands near Holy Island.

20 November 2006
The Isle of Man coroner, Michael Moyle, criticised the refusal of Richard Gidney to attend an inquiry into the Solway harvester tragedy in January 2000. The planned five-day inquest was postponed because of the unavailability of Gidney, the Scottish scallop dredger’s owner.

21 November 2006
A stunning goal from Japanese player Shunsuke Nakamura ensured that Celtic reached the last sixteen of the Champion’s League for the first time. In front of a crowd of 60,632 at Parkhead his 80th minute 28 yard free kick saw off England’s Manchester United 1-0.

You can read the Flag, listen to the Scots Language, enjoy the Scots Wit and lots more at

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

We are now onto the L's with Lauder, Lauderdale and Law

In Law we have an interesting account of International finance...

LAW, JOHN, of Lauriston, a famous financial projector, the son of a goldsmith, was born in Edinburgh in April 1671. At the end of this memoir will be found some particulars of his family. He was bred to no profession, but early displayed a singular capacity for calculation. On his father’s death he succeeded to the small estates of Lauriston and Randleston, but having acquired habits of gambling and extravagance, he soon became deeply involved, when his mother paid his debts, and obtained possession of the property, which she immediately entailed. Tall and handsome in person, and much addicted to gallantry, he was at this time familiarly known by the name of Beau Law. Having gone to London, he there had a quarrel with another young man, one Edward Wilson, whom he had the misfortune to kill in a duel, for which he was tried at the Old Bailley, and being found guilty of murder, was sentenced to death, April 20, 1694. Though pardoned by the Crown, he was detained in prison in consequence of an appeal being lodged against him by the brother of the deceased, but contrived to make his escape from the King’s Bench, and immediately proceeded to France, and afterwards to Holland. About 1700 he returned to Scotland, and, having directed his attention to the financial system of the French and Dutch bankers, particularly of the latter, in 1701 he published at Glasgow, ‘Proposals and Reasons for constituting a Council of Trade in Scotland.’ He also had the address to recommend himself to the king’s ministers, who employed him to arrange and prepare the Revenue Accounts, which were in great confusion at the time of settling the equivalent before the Union. With the view of remedying the deficiency of a circulating medium, for the want of which the industry of the country was in a languishing condition, he proposed to the Scottish legislature the establishment of a bank, with paper issues to the amount of the value of all the lands in the kingdom. The principles on which this scheme was founded are fully explained in his work, published at Edinburgh in 1705, entitled ‘Money and Trade Considered, with a Proposal for Supplying the nation with Money:’ but the project was rejected by parliament.

You can read the rest of this account at

You can read the other entries at 

New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Have made a start at this huge publication which will likely be with us for a few years. The first volume I am dealing with is the one on Aberdeenshire. There are some 85 parishes in this volume and a write up on each.

This week have added...

Parish of Strathdon at

Here is how the account starts...

Name, Boundaries, &c.—The original name of this parish was Invernochty, so called from the church being situated at one period, it is said, at the confluence of the Nochty and the Don. The etymology of the modern name is sufficiently obvious, and descriptive of the locality of the parish, which lies chiefly in an extended strath stretching from the source of the Don down its course, from west to east, to the influx of the Kindy with that river.

Strathdon is the most westerly parish in the synod and county of Aberdeen, and conterminous on the west with Kirkmichael, and the district of that parish now allotted to the Government church at Tomantoul; on the south, with Glenmuick and Coldstone; on the east, with Migvie now annexed to Tarland, and Towie; and on the north, with Glenbucket, Cabrach, and Inveraven. It is about 23 miles in length, and from 3 to 8 in breadth.

The parish is extremely irregular in its figure, both from the mountainous nature of the country, and from being intersected by other parishes. A portion of Tarland parish, 4 miles long and 2 broad, containing a population of 231, is situated in the very centre of it. At the junction of the Bucket with the Don, Glenbucket intersects Strathdon for about three-quarters of a mile; and where the Deskry falls into the Don, Migvie juts in, scarcely three miles from the church.

Topographical Appearances.—The appearance of the surface of this parish is singularly diversified, and, at many points, of great beauty—now presenting all the luxuriance of a fertile strath, and again all the wild and rugged scenery of the Highlands. One feature of beauty is the river Don winding prettily through the main strath. Along its banks, there is a considerable extent of arable land, including some fine haughs subdivided into well cultivated fields; while, in the lower half at least of the parish, the sides of the hills are covered with thriving plantations. Farther up, the scenery is of a different, but not less beautiful character. The strath becomes narrower, the mountains rise up precipitously, and on their sides, reaching almost to the river, here and there are clumps of coppice-woods, composed chiefly of birch, interspersed occasionally with pines and aspens, which are in fine contrast; and in spring and autumn the whole is beautifully tinged with shades of almost every varied hue. The highest district consists almost entirely of moorland and mountain, and is of a bleak and barren appearance, particularly toward the source of the Don.

You can read the rest of this account at

On the index page of this volume you can see a list of the 85 parishes and also a map at

Good Words - 1860 Edition
Edited by Rev. Norman MacLeod

You should note that as this is a weekly publication you'll find larger articles are continued week by week.

This week have added articles on...

John Evangelist Gossner (Pages 177-182)
Christian Counsel and Teaching for Young Men (Pages 182-184)
Lady Somerville's Maidens (Pages 185-188)
When the Night and Morning Meet (Page 188)

Here is how the account of John Evangelist Gossner, Born 1773, Died 1858 starts...

"Ora et labora," writes Dr Wichern, in one of his pleasant papers, " is carved in a peasant's house in the Vierland. 'It must be French,' said a neighbour's wife, as I stood looking at the legend; ' but it just means:—

Pray with one hand, work with t' other, God will bless them both together!'

The translation made up for any deficiency in language, and presently she ran in to praise the good old time when people believed in ora et labora." The honest woman was right; such faith belongs to a good old time, the time of St Paul and St John. The much-decried Middle Ages knew something about it. But the world has long since lost sight of it in any public way, save in a pretty motto. To work is honest enough; nay, work has been exalted into a kind of deity in our day, and a kind of service has been promulgated for the worship. But prayer over and above the work is treated as a courteous superfluity. Let the work be done manfully, to the best of your ability, it is preached; let it be even blundering, provided it be sincere; but prayer is somewhat a waste of energy, and cannot really mend what is good already. The tendency of our time has been to exalt the lower and visible agencies, to depreciate the higher and spiritual. The height to which mechanical skill has been carried, and the aid which science has been made to render it, until itself has become mechanical, have bred in men a contempt for any work which is not mechanical. Not many years ago a clever writer suggested that the time was coming when grave, common-sense Englishmen would fall down before the spindle and the steam-engine. And may there not be something of that idolatry traceable in the national review of itself, in the thorough quiet materialism in which it ends. Is there not more than ever the disposition to throw over upon praying men, who believe in an invisible power, and skill, and law, and presence, the charge of folly, enthusiasm, fanaticism? Is there not the notion that the world is only what the world sees itself to be, and that if you take other than worldly forces you will come to no result? Praying men may not always have been judicious; there may be some plausible foundation for separating the worker from the prayer; foolish things may have been attempted by well-meaning but unwise people. Let the world have the credit of this admission. It does not touch the power and reality of prayer, as a force of which, though the world knows nothing, yet it establishes greater than the world's works. The man who prays best will be the man who works best. The man who prays that he may do a work for which he has no possible aptitude or fitness, is praying against the laws of prayer. If, on the one hand, it may be said, not in Carlyle's but the Christian sense, that, true work is prayer ; so, on the other, it may be said that true prayer is work. They run into each other, not as things arbitrarily joined, but as different aspects of the same man. And it so happens, that in our own generation, there is a singular group of men, who, somewhat about the same time, and without the least knowledge of one another, and in very different spheres, took for their watchword that French puzzle of the honest Vierlander, and over whose lives might be written as their clearest exponents, ora et labora. They are men who maintain that God exercises some direct influence in the affairs of the world; who therefore appeal to Him in any puzzle or difficulty; who expect His help, and as they believe that He has the hearts of all men in His hand, do not know any special circle or class of men, or any special type of actions, within which that help must be limited. They distinctly believe in God as their Father, and never care to realise Him either as a pure infinite Intelligence, or as an Eternal Law. They believe, also, that prayer is not an arbitrary provision for temporary circumstances, but that it is fixed in the ways of God, and in harmony with the settled relations of the world and the laws of human conduct. And they believe that if in God's name they begin a fitting work, God will establish it; answer their prayers regarding it; enable them to deal wisely, and righteously, and prosperously by it; and that behind every other means to its success, and as the very highest means, and often supplanting the other, there in prayer itself. Each of them has done something very remarkable in its way, quite independent of the mode of operation. It may be interesting to trace these several works, ascending to the principle asserted by their working. It will be necessary in doing so to dwell at some length upon the character and history of the workers themselves. If they are right, they read a very earnest lesson to our times and to ourselves.

Any time within the last few years strangers who visited Berlin may perhaps have met in Potsdam Street, and especially if they ever took an early ramble out through the Potsdam Gate, an old and venerable clergyman, walking with a firm and sometimes rapid step, with unbent shoulders, towering, like Saul, above the crowd, a few white hairs straying from under his broad-brimmed hat,—a man of so unusual and commanding a presence as to be easily remembered. There was a peculiar blending in his face of a loving, gracious kindliness with the deep-scored lines of a strong, resolute will. One or two might doff their caps to him; the children might whisper, "There goes the old father;" but beyond this natural respect to his years, there was nothing to betray that he was of more note than his simple seeming. His name did not appear among the ministers of the town; it was seldom spoken in the circle in which strangers moved; those who pricked out their Sunday's round in the service-list and went over the preachers, fashionable or famous or only good, never saw him in the pulpit. On the 30th of last March he died. The Bethlehem Church could not contain the mourners. A blow was felt to have fallen on the city. The sorrow penetrated the palace. Divines and statesmen met at his tomb. The courtliest preacher and the most popular dropped common wreaths of fairest words upon his coffin;—a member of the cabinet wrote a long oration on his death. Who was he? What had he done?

You can read the rest of this account at

You can read the other articles at

Hamish McWallace and the Leprechaun Treasure
by Laura Lagana

We are now on Chapter 16 of this book which you can read at

Clan Information
Got in a Special Edition Fall 2007 newsletter from Clan Wallace International which you can read at

Poetry and Stories
John sent in Chapter 62 of his Recounting Blessings series which you can read at

and also Chapter 63 which can be read at

I might add that if you haven't read his other chapters you can get to them at

Got in a poem, The Soldiers, by William Smith at

Stan sent in some more information on War Memorials in Grampian which you can read about at

Stan also sent in a poem, God Calls, which you can see at

John sent in two doggerels,

Fell Birthday Aetin an Quaffin Haibits at
I Ken the Teen Bit Nae The Wirds at

Donna sent in a poem, Gravity at

Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland
Am adding a variety of articles from this publication and this week have included...

On the Old and Remarkable Sycamores in Scotland
On the different methods of Making and Curing Butter in this country and abroad
The Physiological Distinctions in the Conditions of the Scottish Peasantry

And on this last article here is how it starts...

In Scotland, till a comparatively recent period, there were three distinct races of men inhabiting different parts of the country, which could be clearly defined. The Lowlands, except Caithness, were inhabited by that mixed race to which the name of Anglo-Saxon is generally applied. This is an energetic race, sprung from a mixture of the bold and hardy natives which have at different times invaded the country, and settled among its original inhabitants. These were the Goths, the Romans, the Gauls or Celts, the Saxons, the Danes, the Normans, and the Norsemen. In Galloway in the south, and in the north-east from Forfar to Banff, there was probably a larger admixture than elsewhere of the old Pictish element. The Highlands were occupied by a purely Celtic race, retaining their ancient language, and showing in their configuration and general character the peculiarities of the Celt. In the islands of the north, in Caithness, and in the fishing villages as far south as Newhaven, the majority of the inhabitants are of purely Norse descent, but they have adopted the language and generally the customs of the country in which they live. Till the year 1820 these were the three races of men in Scotland, but during that year began an invasion or immigration of Irish, which slowly increased, till it attained large dimensions about 1840, when the making of railways began, and now in many towns the Irish are from five to fifteen per cent. of the whole population. If we include children born to Irish parents in this country, there is probably thirty per cent. in some towns of Irish extraction. The immigration of such a body of labourers of the lowest class, with untidy habits, and with scarcely any education, has exerted a prejudicial influence especially in the west. The great bulk of the Irish have not improved by contiguity with the native Scots, but the earlier inhabitants have become deteriorated by associating with their new neighbours.

Understanding the term peasant as denoting a countryman, a rustic, or one whose occupation is rural labour, the class, in many parts of Scotland, differs materially in physiological condition, as well as in other respects, from its state in past times. Three hundred years ago the peasantry in the south of Scotland, especially on the great estates of the church, consisted of several distinct grades. One class, known as bondsmen or serfs, occupied a position little superior to the oxen of which they had charge, and were often transferred, along with other stock on the land, from one proprietor to another. Besides the hereditary bondsmen, over whom the feudal lords of the manor exercised large powers of compulsory servitude, there were other classes who might properly be designated peasants. In particular, there were the cottars, usually collected in hamlets, and corresponding in position to the crofters of modern times. Each cottar occupied from one to nine acres of land, the rent of which varied from one to six shillings yearly, with services not exceeding nine days' labour. There was another grade called husbandmen, of whom there were many on the lands of Kelso Abbey, and who held from the Abbey, by a yearly tenure, a definite quantity of land called a husbandland, estimated at 26 Scotch or 32 English acres, "where scythe and plough may gang." Every tenant of a husbandland kept two oxen, and six of them united to work the common plough, a ponderous machine drawn by a team of twelve oxen. The husbandmen were bound to keep good neighbourhood, and were specially compelled to furnish the requisite pair of oxen to work the common plough. In the barony of Bowden the monks of Kelso had twenty-eight husbandmen, each of whom paid 6s. 8d. of money rent, besides considerable services in harvest and sheep-shearing, in carrying peats and carting wool, and fetching the abbot's commodities from Berwick. Still another class who might be included among the peasantry, were the yeomen or "bonnet-lairds," who held their land in perpetuity, paying only a moderate quit-rent, besides giving certain services in ploughing and harvest.

You can read the rest of this article at

You can get to the other articles at

Book of Scottish Story
Kindly sent in to us by John Henderson

The Book of Scottish Story - Historical, Humorous, Legendary, Imaginative
by Standard Scottish Writers Published by Thomas D. Morison, 1896

This week we have...

The Alehouse Party
from "The Odd Volume"


Auchindrane; or, the Ayrshire Tragedy
by Sir Walter Scott

Here is how the Alehouse Party starts...

A chapter from an unpublished novel,
By the Authors of "The Odd Volume."

The night drave on wi' sangs and clatter,
And aye the ale was growing better.—Burns.

On the evening of that day which saw Mrs Wallace enter Park a bride, Robin Kinniburgh and a number of his cronies met at the village alehouse to celebrate the happy event. Every chair, stool, and bench being occupied, Robin and his chum, Tammy Tacket, took possession of the top of the meal girnel; and as they were elevated somewhat above the company, they appeared like two rival provosts, looking down on their surrounding bailies.

"It's a gude thing," said Tammy, "that the wives and weans are keepit out the night; folk get enough o' them at hame."

"I wonder," said Jamie Wilson, "what's become o' Andrew Gilmour."

"Hae ye no heard," said Robin, "that his wife died yesterday?"

"Is she dead?" exclaimed Tammy Tacket. "Faith," continued he, giving Robin a jog with his elbow, "I think a man might hae waur furniture in his house than a dead wife.

"That's a truth," replied Jamie Wilson, "as mony an honest man kens to his cost.—But send round the pint stoup, and let us hae a health to the laird and the leddy, and mony happy years to them and theirs."

When the applause attending this toast had subsided, Robin was universally called on for a song.

"I hae the hoast," answered Robin; "that's aye what the leddies say when they are asked to sing."

"Deil a hoast is about you," cried Wattie Shuttle; "come awa wi' a sang without mair ado."

"Weel," replied Robin, "what maun be, maun be; so I'll gie ye a sang that was made by a laddie that lived east-awa; he was aye daundering, poor chiel, amang the broomie knowes, and mony's the time I hae seen him lying at the side o' the wimpling burn, writing on ony bit paper he could get haud o'. After he was dead, this bit sang was found in his pocket, and his puir mother gied it to me, as a kind o' keepsake; and now I'll let you hear it,—I sing it to the tune o' 'I hae laid a herein' in saut.'"


It's I'm a sweet lassie, without e'er a faut;
Sae ilka ane tells me,—sae it maun be true:
To his kail my auld faither has plenty o' saut,
And that brings the lads in gowpens to woo.
There's Saunders M'Latchie, wha bides at the Mill,
He wants a wee wifie, to bake and to brew;
But Saunders, for me, at the Mill may stay still.
For his first wife was pushioned, if what they say's true.

The next is Tarn Watt, who is grieve to the Laird,—
Last Sabbath, at puir me a sheep's e'e he threw;
But Tarn's like the picters I've seen o' Blue Beard,
And sic folk's no that chancie, if what they say's true.
Then there's Grierson the cobbler, he'll fleech an' he'll beg,
That I'd be his awl in awl, darlin' and doo;
But Grierson the cobbler's a happity leg.
And nae man that hobbles need come here to woo.

And there's Murdoch the gauger, wha rides a blind horse,
And nae man can mak a mair beautifu' boo;
But 1 shall ne'er tak him, for better, for worse,
For, sax days a week, gauger Murdoch it fou.
I wonder when Willie Waught's faither 'll dee;
(I wonder hoo that brings the bludc to my brow:)
I wonder if Willie will then be for me;—
I wonder if then he'll be coming to woo?

"It's your turn now to sing, Tammy," said Robin, "although I dinna ken that ye are very gude at it."

"Me sing!" cried Tammy, "I canna even sing a psalm, far less a sang; but if ye like, I'll tell you a story."

You can read the rest of this story at

The index page of the book where you can read the other stories is at

The History of Ulster
From the Earliest Times to the Present Day by Ramsay Colles (1919)

This week we've made a start at Volume II with

Martial Law in Ulster
"Coming Events——"
Tyrone becomes "The O'Neill"
Wars and Rumours of War

Here is how the chapter "Martial Law in Ulster" starts...

Lest the reader may be puzzled by the number of O'Neills who now appear upon the scene of action, it may be well to define as clearly as possible the position of the various members of this great Ulster family. The first Earl, it will be remembered, was Con Bacagh (The Lame), who died in 1588. Con's illegitimate son Ferdoragh (called by the English Matthew) was, by a grave error of judgment, created, at his father's request, Baron of Dungannon. He was killed in 1557, leaving four sons, the eldest of whom, Brian, succeeded him. He was known in the correspondence of the period as "the young Baron", and, as we have seen, was murdered, when still a very young man, in 1561, by Turlough Lynnah. Brian was succeeded by his brother, Hugh, who, on petitioning the Irish House of Commons in 1585, was created Earl of Tyrone. Con Bacagh, the first Earl, was also the father of the famous Shane O'Neill, who claimed the title of Earl of Tyrone, but eventually affected to despise it. He was murdered by the Scots of Antrim in 1567. Shane's seven sons, known as the MacShanes, created at this time (1588) much trouble by claiming to be the leading members of the O'Neill family. Their names were Hugh Gavelagh, Con, Brian, Henry, Arthur, Edmund, and Turlough. Of these the first three were the most formidable. But there was still another claimant to the title of The O'Neill, and he was Turlough Brasselagh, a brother of Con, the first Earl of Tyrone. In addition to this somewhat bewildering number of "Richmonds in the field", we must include the now aged Turlough Lynnagh, the actual chief, who was the grandson of Art Oge O'Neill, also a brother of Con Bacagh.

It can easily be realized that Ulster, while all these turbulent chieftains of the O'Neill blood were struggling for supremacy, was no peaceful paradise.

Having, we hope, cleared up the ramifications of the O'Neill family, it may be well also to define those of the O'Donnells. It will be remembered that Calvagh O'Donnell, who was married to a half-sister of the Earl of Argyll (known to the Irish Annalists as "the Countess of Argyll"), was, with his wife, captured by Shane O'Neill and imprisoned for years, while "the Countess" became Shane's mistress. Calvagh fell from his horse and died on the field of battle in 1566. His son, Con, who was described by Sussex as "assuredly the likeliest plant that can grow in Ulster to graft a good subject on", died in 1583, leaving nine sons, of whom Nial Garv was the most formidable. The actual chief of Tirconnell at the time of the defeat of the Spanish Armada was Sir Hugh O'Donnell (a brother of Calvagh), who, ever since he had helped the English to crush Shane O'Neill, had been a persona grata with the Government at Dublin. He had the questionable pleasure of being known as "Ineen Duive's husband". Black Agnes (as her name signifies) was a MacDonald, and an Irish prototype of Lady Macbeth. By her orders, Hugh, son of Calvagh O'Donnell (her husband's nephew), was murdered, because he had the temerity to claim the succession in Tirconnell. Nor was this the only murder of which she was guilty, for one of the sept of O'Gallagher annoying her by his independent bearing, she promptly had him removed by a violent death. Ineen Duive had many sources of annoyance, but the chief source for many years was an illegitimate son of her husband, named Donnell. He appears to have been older than Ineen's son, and married a daughter of Turlough Lynnagh. In 1588 he was made sheriff by Fitz William.

FitzWilliam himself, by his iron rule and his treacherous methods of administration, had earned the hatred of all classes and creeds. When he notified Maguire of Fermanagh that he was sending a sheriff to his territory, the Irish chieftain, knowing the Deputy's ways, offered a big bribe, writing at the same time: "Your sheriff will be welcome, but let me know his eric, that, if my people cut off his head, I may levy it upon the country". The bribe was accepted, and Maguire was assured that no sheriff would be sent. Notwithstanding this promise a sheriff was sent, "who brought with him 300 of the scum of creation and who lived on the plunder of the people".

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The rest of the chapters can be read at

A fisherman’s Reflections on a beautiful but troubled world
By David B. Thomson

We are getting a lot of interest in this book and this week we've added chapters on...

Chapter 16 - The South Pacific
Chapter 17 - Latin America
Chapter 18 - Indo-China
Chapter 19 - Global Economic Structures
Chapter 20 - War, Peace and Truth
Chapter 21 - Justice, Crime and Punishment
Chapter 22 - Welfare, Health and Education

Here is how the Chapter on Israel starts...

Indo-China is a vast territory, 40 times the size of France, extending 1,200 miles north to south, and 1,000 miles east to west. It is bounded on the west by the Andaman Sea, to the south by the Straits of Malacca, and on the eastern side by the Gulf of Tongkin and the South China Sea. It comprises the lands of Burma, Siam, Malaya, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. These countries are each blessed with a soil capable of producing any kind of crop, free of barren, desert lands, richly watered by innumerable rivers, lakes and streams, possessing mineral wealth, situated before an ocean of vast islands, and (apart from Laos), endowed by nature with numerous, superb, natural harbours which are the rendezvous of traders from west and east. Francis Garnier the explorer, compared the peninsula to a human hand with extended fingers which roughly indicate the course of five great rivers, - Song Koi, the ‘red’ river through Tong-king, Me-kong through Laos and Cambodia, Me-nam through Siam, and the Salwini and Iriwadi through Burma. The upper basins of the rivers are separated by mountain ranges.
From the Catholic Encyclopaedia, Indo-China, 1910


Phalla Song was secretary to the UN FAO Representative in Phnom Phen at the time I was leading a project there for that organization. Her attractive, pleasant, quiet demeanor gave no hint of the personal traumas she had endured in her youth. On a car trip together to a reception by the Mekong River, I asked her (as I had asked other Cambodians of her generation) about the period of the Khmer Rouge and the notorious rule of Pol Pot.

Her father had been a Professor of Languages at the University in Phnom Phen. Like all others in the city, the family was driven out when the Khmer Rouge entered in 1975. They were sent to work on rice paddies not too far from the city. Being an educated person, her father would have been marked out for elimination, no matter how the family may tried to conceal their former role in society. So it was not long before the soldiers came and took him off “to attend a meeting”. Both young Phalla and her mother had a good idea of the real intent of the Khmer Rouge. When a soldier returned later with his clothes, she knew for sure he had been shot or otherwise killed. But no-one dare show pity or sorrow in front of the army which would have punished or killed them for the display of sympathy for the victim. Phalla, just eleven years old, waited for an opportunity and in the late afternoon went away from the paddies to a Mango tree nearby. She climbed up into the tree, and suitably hidden, wept for her father. When she had no more tears to shed, she returned to the commune where she showed no emotion in front of the others.

Shortly after, Phalla’s mother was moved to a different commune, and she was left to care for her infant sister. The child still needed nursing, but this was not possible. Just getting food for the baby was extremely difficult. Sometimes Phala got a little bit of rice porridge, and on a rare occasion a sympathetic worker would give her a sliver of sugar cane for the child to suck. But Phalla persevered against all odds. She said that the attitude of the workers at the start of each day, was, - “if only we can survive till night-time, it will be something”. And each morning they would thank God they were still alive. I asked Phalla if her baby sister survived the prolonged ordeal. She turned to me with a beautiful smile, and responded, “Yes, - and she was married, just last month”.4

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The rest of the chapters can be read at

Ocean to Ocean, Fleming's Expedition Through Canada in 1872
by The Revd. George M. Grant (1873).

As some of you may know Sandford Fleming, a Scot, was the chief engineer for the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway and this book is a diary of his survey of the line. Quite apart from being a Scot this is a most interesting account and I hope you'll enjoy reading it.

We have now completed this book with...

Chapter X - Along the North Thompson River to Kamloops
Chapter XI - From Kamloops to the Sea
Chapter XII - The Coast, and Vancouver's Island
Chapter XIII - Conclusion

Here is how the account of The Coast, and Vancouver's Island starts...

October, 6th. Before any of us came on deck this morning, the good Sir James Douglas had steamed out of Burrard's Inlet, and past the lofty mountains that enclose the deep fiords of Howe Sound and Jervis Inlet, into the middle of the Straits of Georgia. Our first sight was of the Island of Texada on our right, and the bold outline of Vancouver's Island farther away on our left.

After breakfast, divine service was held in the cabin. On those inland waters of the Pacific that, folding themselves round rocky mountain and wooded island, looked to us so lovely, we, who had come four thousand miles from the Atlantic, united our voices in common prayer with fellow subjects who call these shores of the vaster Ocean of the West, their home. Again, all found that prostration before Him, who is our Father, and also King of Nations, not only evokes the deepest feelings of the human heart, but also purifies them. The tie of a common nationality, especially if the nation has a great history, is holy. The aim of our work was to bind our country more firmly together, and this thought elevated the work; while worshipping together made us feel more powerfully than any amount of feasting and toasting the flag—that inhabitants of the same Dominion, subjects of the same Sovereign, and heirs of the same destinies, must ever be brothers.

Towards mid-day, our course took us out of the Straits of Georgia, north-easterly up into Bute Inlet, another of those wonderful fiords of unknown depth that seam this part of the Pacific coast. The chart makes it 40 fathoms deep, with a mark over the figures signifying that the naval surveyors had sounded to that depth without finding bottom.

The object of going up this Inlet, another of the proposed termini for the Railway, was to enable the Chief to get such a birds-eye view of it as he had already obtained of the prairie and the mountain country, and at the same time to meet two parties of the C. P. R. Survey, who had been at work in this quarter all summer.

On the question of which is the best western terminus, there are two great parties in British Columbia, one advocating the mainland, the other Vancouver's Island. On the mainland, New Westminster, Burrard's Inlet, and other points are proposed. If a harbor on Vancouver's Island be chosen, then the railway must cross to the shores of Bute Inlet, and follow the easiest possible route from its head through the Cascade Mountains. The advocates of the island termini, Victoria, Esquimalt, and Alberni, always asserted that it was a simple matter to cross the Straits of Georgia to the mouth of Bute Inlet by Valdes Island, which on the map does seem to block them up almost completely; then, that the line could be made along the shore of the Inlet to the mouth of the Homathco River, and up its course, through the Cascades, to the Chilcoten plains. Two main routes had therefore to be surveyed : one, from the mouth of the Fraser River, and up the Thompson ; the other, from Vancouver's Island across to Bute Inlet, and, up the Homathco to the Upper Fraser, from whence the line could be carried by the North Thompson valley, if no direct passage across the Gold-range to the Canoe River, or Tete Jaune Cache could be found.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

You can read this book at

Sketches of Early Scotch History
By Cosmo Innes (1861)

Our thanks to Alan McKenzie for scanning in this book for us.

Have added Part III this week which is summary is about...

Melrose, Old feudal tenures—Scotch jurisprudence—Galloway customs— State of cultivation—Pasture—Forest—Game—Old boundaries—Old roads—Early spoken language—Prices of land and value of money—Old families extinct—Seals, Arms, Early Heraldry—The Monks as landowners and patrons— Fair play to the Monks.

Mind that these are .pdf files and this one can be read at

The index for the book is at

Sir James Hector
After posting this up last week I got an email from Anne Stewart Ball who is currently working on a biography of Sir James Hector and she graceously shared some information with us which you can read at

Finally... I got in a recipe for "Kenuche", a traditional Native American recipe, which you can read at

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


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