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Weekly Mailing List Archives
28th December 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
Poetry and Stories
Book of Scottish Story
History of Ulster
Reminiscences and Reflections of an Octogenarian Highlander
Sketches of The Character, Manners, and Present State of the Highlanders of Scotland
Sketches of Early Scotch History
Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland 1881
Household Encyclopaedia
Smuggling in the Highlands
Beth's Newfangled Family Tree

This is the final newsletter of 2007 and take this opportunity to wish you all a Very Happy New Year when it comes :-)

I was over in Toronto for Christmas with my friends Nola and Harold and their family and had a good time. Hope you all had an enjoyable Christmas as well.

When I got back today it was to find my furnace making bad noises and the house at 54 degrees so a bit chilly to say the least. Luckily I found a company to come out and fix it within just an hour of my arrival back home so as I am typing up this newsletter it is starting to get a little warmer. The motor was on the verge of burning out and the service engineer said if I'd been away for another 12 hours or so it would have meant a new motor.

As promised I completed the wee book on "Smuggling in the Highlands", an account of Highland Whisky with Smuggling Stories and Detections by Ian MacDonald, (late of the Inland Revenue) for which see more below. It was interesting to note that whisky is a comparatively recent invention in Scotland and in the old days we mainly drank ale and claret.

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 

The team are all taking a holiday at this time of year so no newsletter from them this week.

This weeks Flag is compiled by Jim Lynch and he tells us how British Nukes are protected by Bicycle locks and also gives us a wee summary of how 2007 played out in Scottish Politics.

In Peter's cultural section he tells us...

One of the historic, but little known, traditions which takes place during The Daft Days is the annual Temperance Walk held in the three Aberdeenshire fishing villages of Inverallochy, Cairnbulg and St Combs. Each village in turn hold their Walk led by a local flute band followed by the oldest man in the village with a female partner. Behind come the rest of the ‘Walkers’ in couples, wearing their ‘Sunday-best’ clothes. It is the custom to walk with a friend or a neighbour and not a member of your own family. The origin of the Walk, which has been held for 160 years, goes back to the 19th century when there was much village drunkenness. It was said that ‘the men were combative and under the influence of alcohol, desparate fights among them were a common occurrence’ but this was brought to end with a terrible cholera epidemic in 1847.From then, and in more prosperous times, the historic Walk began in the three villages. Traditionally Inverallochy hosts the first Walk which is held on Christmas Day, it’s neighbouring village Cairnbulg holds the second Walk on New Year’s Day and finally the third and last walk takes place on 2 January at St Combs. For the first century of the Walk, the St Combs Walk was held on Auld Yule (5 January) but this date was switched in the mid 1950s. Each Walk goes through every street of their village with stops to play for the old and sick, before paying a visit to the two neighbouring villages. They combine the Walk with a wreath-laying ceremony at the War memorial, dating from the time when the fishermen and fisher lassies were away during November following the herring trade down the east coast to Yarmouth, consequently missing Armistice Day at home.

Alcoholic drink and the Temperance Walk do not go together but all the Walkers would surely welcome a warming glass of Ginger Cordial at the end of their walk, particularly if a snell wind is blowing in from the cold, gurly North Sea,

Ginger Cordial

Ingredients: 2 oz (50g) root ginger; 2 lemons; 2 oranges; 1 gallon (3.8 litres0 water; 3 ½ lbs (1.5 kg) sugar; small pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

Method: Break the ginger up, using less if a milder brew is desired, and boil it with 1 gallon of water and the rind of the oranges and lemons. Add pinch of cayenne pepper, if desired, during boiling. Strain the liquid into a container holding the sugar. Add the juice of the lemons and oranges. Strain and bottle.

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 have now completed the L's and now onto the Mac's with Lynedoch, Lyon, Mac and Macadam

Here is the account of MacAdam...

MACADAM, the surname of a family who were originally MacGregors, descended from Gregor MacGregor, the chief, whose 2d son, Gregor, captain of the clan, with his cousin, gilbert MacGregor, progenitor of the Griersons of Lagg, took refuge in Galloway, after the outlawry of the clan Gregor. After being guilty of various acts of depredation and marauding, Gregor was at last captured and executed at Edinburgh.

His son, Adam MacGregor, the ancestor of this family, changed his name to Adam Macadam.

The latter’s son, John, had a son, Andrew, who, July 31, 1569, obtained, at Perth, a charter of the lands of Waterhead, from James VI., by the hands of the Regent Moray.

Gilbert Macadam of Waterhead, the 4th in descent from Andrew, was served heir Aug. 2, 1662. He was a well-known Covenanter; and in the troublous times of 1682, he was taken prisoner and carried to Dumfries, on a charge of non-conformity, but was liberated on caution to the extent of £400, which, on his non-appearance, was forfeited. Soon after, he was again apprehended and carried to Glasgow, and on his refusal to take the oath of allegiance and supremacy, was banished to the American Plantations. His father gave him £20 sterling with him, and with this he bought his freedom, and returned to Scotland in 1685. On a Saturday night, in a cottage near the village of Kirkmichael, he was surprised, at a meeting for prayer, by a company of militia, and shot in attempting to escape by the window.

His son, James Macadam, served heir in 1686, married a lady of the Cunningham family, and appears to have died in 1687. Like his father, he was a strict Covenanter. In an attempt on his life, he was followed one evening along the road, by Crawfurd of Camlarg and Crawfurd of Boreland; but, missing him in the dark, they overtook, and, in mistake, shot Roger Dunn, his uncle.

The third from him, another James Macadam, was one of the founders of the first bank in the town of Ayr, in 1763. He married Susannah, daughter of John Cochrane of Waterside, niece of the heroic Grizel Cochrane, and cousin-german of the 8th earl of Dundonald. Her mother, Hannah De Witt, was of the illustrious Dutch family of that name. He had two sons and eight daughters. Grizel, the 4th daughter, married Adam Steuart, Esq., and was mother of William Macadam Steuart, Esq., of Glenormiston, Peebles-shire, an estate purchased from him by William chambers, Esq.

James, the elder son, a captain in the army, predeceased his father, in 1763.

John Loudon Macadam, the younger son, the celebrated improver of the public roads, was born in Ayr, September 21, 1756. He received his education at the school of Maybole. His father, having sold the greater part of his estate to a younger branch of the family, the Macadams of Craigengillan, whose daughter and heiress married the Hon. Col. Macadam Cathcart, went to live at Lagwine, on the river Deugh, in the parish of Carsphairn. His residence there was unfortunately consumed by fire, and he left Scotland for America, where he embarked in mercantile speculations. His son at the time was only about six years old. On his death in 1770, young Macadam was sent to New York. He remained there until the close of the revolutionary war, and as an agent for the sale of prizes he realized a considerable fortune, the greater part of which, however, he lost.

On his return to Scotland he resided for some time at Dumcrieff, in the neighbourhood of Moffat. He afterwards lived for thirteen years at Sauchrie in Ayrshire, where he was in the commission of the peace and a deputy-lieutenant. In 1798 he was appointed by government agent for victualling the navy in the western ports of Great Britain, in consequence of which he removed to Falmouth.

It was while acting as one of the trustees upon certain roads in Ayrshire that he first turned his attention to the mechanical principles involved in that branch of national economy, and during his residence in England, he continued silently to study the process of road-making in all its details. In 1815 he was appointed surveyor-general of the Bristol roads, when he was at length afforded a full opportunity of carrying his system into practical operation, and it was soon adopted throughout the whole kingdom. In 1825 he was examined before a committee of the House of Commons respecting the propriety of converting the ruble granite causeway of the principal streets of towns into a smooth pavement, resembling those which he had already formed on the ordinary roads; when he strongly recommended the change. The leading streets of London, Edinburgh, Dublin, and other cities, were, in consequence, Macadamized.

In introducing an improvement of such extensive utility, Mr. Macadam had expended several thousand pounds, which, in 1825, he proved before a committee of the House of Commons; and received from government, in two grants, the sum of £10,000, which was all the return he ever obtained. In 1834 he was offered the honour of knighthood, but he declined it on account of his age, and it was conferred on his second son, Sir James Nicoll Macadam, general surveyor of the metropolis turnpike roads, appointed a deputy-lieutenant of Middlesex in 1848. Mr. Macadam died at Moffat, November 26, 1836, aged 80.

He was twice married, and by his first wife had 4 sons and 3 daughters. His two eldest sons died before him. The eldest son, William, left 3 sons and 3 daughters. William’s eldest son, William Macadam of Ballochmorrie House, Ayrshire, succeeded his grandfather in 1836. He was Surveyor-General of Roads in England, and died, unmarried, Aug. 28, 1861, aged. 58.

You can read the other entries at 

New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
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 Tarves at

Here is some information on the Parish...

Tarves is situated in that part of Aberdeenshire called Formartine, [Formartine gives the title of Viscount to the Earl of Aberdeen.] with the exception of a small section which lies on the north side of the river Ythan, and is therefore reckoned in the Buchan district of the same county. It is bounded on the north, by Fyvie, Methlick, and New Deer ; on the east, by Ellon; on the south-east and south, by Udny; on the south-west, by Bourtie; and on the west, by Meldrum. The . church is distant from Newburgh, the nearest sea-port, ten, and from Aberdeen the county town, seventeen miles. In its greatest length, Tarves may be about 12 miles, and in its greatest breadth about 8 miles. It contains upwards of 12,000 Scotch acres, of which 11,000 are arable, 1000 woodland, and the residue moss and muir.

Tarves, at a very early period, was erected into a Regality in favour of the Abbot of Arbroath, and an instance is recorded, in 1299, of his claiming a culprit, as feudal superior of this parish, from the King's Justiceayre at Aberdeen. About the time of the Reformation, the Regality passed to James Gordon of Haddo, ancestor of the Earl of Aberdeen, one of whose titles at present is Baron of Tarves.

Not many years ago, there existed, on the farms of North and South Ythsie, several large cairns, of whose origin tradition gave no account, and at the bottom of which, when the stones composing them were carried away for the purpose of building fences, there was found a quantity of gigantic human bones. They were, in all probability, the work of an era prior to the introduction of Christianity.

The Castle of Tolquhon, now in a very ruinous condition, with the exception of a part of it called "the auld tower," was built between 1584 and 1589 by William Forbes, laird of Tolquhon, Woodland, Knaperna, &c. It is of considerable extent, being of a quadrangular form, and enclosing a large court-yard, the arched gateway of which is defended by two towers, with loop-holes to enable those within to use fire-arms or arrows against assailants. Great part of it is now roofless, and its walls are fast sinking into shapeless heaps of stones and rubbish. It is nearly surrounded with wood, part of which, especially some fine yews, seems to be coeval with the building itself. The family of Forbes, to whom this castle and the valuable property annexed to it belonged, was among the most ancient and honourable of that surname—the first laird of Tolquhon having been the son of Sir John Forbes of that Ilk, and a brother of the first Lord Forbes. He acquired the estate of Tolquhon, in 1420, by his marriage with Marjorie Preston, daughter of Henry Preston, Lord of Formartine. In the church-yard of Tarves there remains, in good preservation, a part of an aisle, added to the former church by the same William Forbes who built the castle. It bears the inscriptions "W. F. 1589, dochter to Lesmore, E. G.;" and the motto of the family, viz. "Salus per Christum."

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...

Good Words for Every Day of the Year (Pages 255-256)
Note to the Article "Dr Chalmers at Elberfeld" [Page 5] (Page 256)
Constance De V---- (Pages 257-260)
The Rewards which God bestows upon Men, and the Principle of their Distribution (Pages 260-263)
Skeleton Leaves (Page 263)

Here is how "The Rewards which God bestows upon Men, and the Principle of their Distribution" starts...

Into whatever difficulties or confusions men may have fallen in describing God's method of assigning rewards, there can be no question that the God of the Bible is represented to us as a re-warder, and as rewarding accurately and impartially. "He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek him." I need not quote passages to shew how frequently and emphatically this is declared of God in every part of Scripture. I say, in every part of Scripture, because there is a feeling in many minds as if just and accurate retribution belonged to another dispensation, and not to the gospel or the dispensation of grace. It is sometimes, indeed, almost implied, that the righteous Governor of the universe, who rewards men according to their doings, is a different being from the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is necessary, therefore, to remember, that the righteous Judge is the loving Father; that justice is not done away in Christ, but revealed in Christ; that the Son of man Himself is appointed the Judge, and that He says expressly that He will come in the glory of His Father, and will reward every man according to his works. There can be no question as to this fact: the Scriptures assert as plainly as possible that the nerw or gospel dispensation, however it may be a system of grace and love, is no less truly a system of impartial reward.

But are we not told that a man can plead no merit with God, but that whatever God does for him must be the fruit of forgiveness and bounty? Most assuredly: and therefore we have to reconcile these two aspects of God,—to see how God can be an impartial rewarder, and at the same time a free-giver. Unless we attain to the right conception concerning God, we cannot satisfactorily reconcile these two aspects: we shall be in danger of thinking at one moment of God as a just Judge without love, and at another moment as a God of grace without justice, imagining two distinct Beings, with no unity of will.

But if we think of God as His Son has declared Him to us, shall we not find the apparent contradiction disappear? Take the Sermon on the Mount. In that most precious exposition of God's will and nature, we find several allusions to rewards : and in it, God is set forth from beginning to end as a true Father. We are taught there that it is the Father in heaven who rewards, dealing with men justly according to what He sees them to be in their hearts. If, therefore, we meditate upon the true fatherly method of rewarding, I believe we shall be in the way to understand the principles on which God deals with men, and the spirit which we ought to cultivate in ourselves towards God.

You can read the rest of this at

You can read the other articles at 

Poetry and Stories
Donna sent in a poem, Little Notes, at

Donna sent in an Indian Lore story, "Blackie, Needs More Coffee", at

John sent in a doggerel, "Jinky Jimmy an Widda Wendy", 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 Billeted Soldier
from Eminent Men of Fife

Here is how it starts...

In the autumn of 1803, the Forfar and Kincardine militia,—then an infantry regiment of about 1000 strong,—en route from the south of Scotland to Aberdeen, along the coast road, happened to perform the march between the towns of Montrose and Bervie on a Saturday. The want of the required accommodation in Bervie for so many men rendered it necessary that a considerable portion should be billeted in the adjoining villages of Johnshaven and Gourdon, and on farmers and others on the line of march. In carrying out this arrangement, it so happened that one private soldier was billeted on a farmer or crofter of the name of Lyall, on the estate of East Mathers, situated about a mile north-west of the village of Johnshaven. David Lyall, gudeman of Gateside, was a douce, respectable individual, a worthy member, if not an elder, of the secession church, Johnshaven. His wife, Mrs Lyal, possessed many of the good qualities of her worthy husband, whom she highly venerated, and pithily described as being "as gude a man as ever lay at a woman's side. Mrs Lyall was a rigid seceder, a strict Sabbatarian, stern and rigorous in everything relating to the kirk and kirk affairs, deeply learned in polemical disquisitions, had a wondrous "gift of gab," and by no means allowed the talent to lie idle in a napkin.

The soldier produced his billet, was kindly received, treated to the best as regarded bed and board, was communicative, and entered into all the news of the day with the worthy couple. Everything ran smoothly on the evening of Saturday, and an agreeable intimacy seemed to be established in the family; but the horror of Mrs Lyall may be conceived, when, on looking out in the morning rather early, she saw the soldier stripped to the shirt, switching, brushing, and scrubbing his clothes on an eminence in front of the house.

"Get up, David Lyall," she said, "get up; it ill sets you to be lying there snoring, an' that graceless pagap brackin' the Lord's day wi' a' his might, at oor door."

David looked up, and quietly composing himself again, said. "The articles of war, gudewife, the articles of war; puir chiel, he canna help himsel—he maun do duty Sunday as well as Saturday."

The soldier, after cleaning his clothes and taking a stroll in the romantic dell of Denfenella adjoining, returned in time to breakfast, which was a silent meal. With Mrs Lyall there was only "mony a sad and sour look," and on the table being cleared, she placed on it, or rather thrust, the "big ha' Bible" immediately in front of the soldier.

"Weel, mistress," said the soldier, "what book is this?"

"That's a beuk, lad," said the gudewife, "that I muckle doubt that you and the like o' ye ken unco little about."

"Perhaps," was the reply; "we shall see."

On opening the book the soldier said, "I have seen such a book before."

"Gin ye've seen sic a book before," said Mrs Lyall, "let's hear gin ye can read ony."

"I don't mind though I do," said the soldier, and taking the Bible he read a chapter that had been marked by Mrs Lyall as one condemnatory of his seeming disregard of the Sabbath. The reading of the soldier was perfect.

"There, lad," said David Lyall, "ye read like a minister."

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
In the coming week I'll be starting on Volume 3 of this 4 volume set. The previous 2 volumes can be read at 

Reminiscences and Reflections of an Octogenarian Highlander
By Duncan Campbell (1910)

This week we've added the following chapters...

Chapter XXVI.
The Disruption
Chapter XXVII.
The Glenlyon Free Church
Chapter XXVIII.
The Broken Walls of the National Zion
Chapter XXIX.
The Eccentric Minister
Chapter XXX.
Chapter XXXI.
Farewell to the Old industrial System
Chapter XXXII.

Here is the chapter on "Emigration"...

THE people he turned out of their holdings did not hate or curse the Laird, but rather pitied him and excused him on the score of youth, alien upbringing and education, the influence of English views on property rights, and of the new Scotch Toryism which left nothing really Highland to many young men with large estates and long lines of ancestors glorified in Gaelic songs (which these degenerates could not understand) beyond empty pride in a vanished past and the gewgaws of Highland dress and accoutrements. The larger number of those he evicted never saw him again. He remained in England or on the Continent or elsewhere in Scotland until they cleared away; but for that absence he fully atoned by providing them with work and wages during the year they had necessarily to remain for delivering their crops at Martinmas, selling their household chattels, and winding up their whole affairs in Scotland. The trustees had been chary in spending money on improvements; but they saved money which the laird was now spending freely, and wisely also, in planting, draining, fencing, repairing and enlarging Meggernie Castle, and generally making up for arrears of neglect during his long minority.

The majority of the evicted at once resolved to emigrate as soon as their affairs were settled. Emigration indeed was always more or less steadily going on since the war with France ended. The idea of it was never absent from the thoughts of the young and adventurous. In the year before the eviction a small band of young people from the Culdares estate had gone to Ontario, then called Upper Canada. Some years earlier a larger band from the Glen had gone to Port Philip, Australia, which now means Melbourne not then in existence. Stray individuals had also found their way to New Zealand and South Africa. The migrations at home which had been perpetually, if silently and little noticed by historians, going on from immemorial times had now become brisker than ever before. Expanding cities and towns, railway construction, mining districts, and manufacturing districts offered boundless openings to incomers. But although at first sight it might seem natural that Highland families should follow the "calanas," that coal, steam, and mill-machinery had taken away from them, the southward migration from the central Highlands remained for many years what it had ever been, a drifting of individuals rather than of families. The potato disease, however, caused a great drove to go to Glasgow and its neighbouring districts from Argyll, the Isles, and the West Coast.

To our Glen people emigration was a familiar and far from disagreeable idea, and the thought of town life and work, especially for the women and children, was more than unattractive, positively abhorrent. They thought deeply, reasoned thoroughly, and resolved wisely. If they went with their families to manufacturing towns, they would have to begin life anew as unskilled labourers, their women and children would be the slaves of the mill, and they would have to put up with miserable homes amidst low- class neighbours, who had no faith or morals. They admitted that many Highlanders who went south flourished in business or professions, both in England and Scotland, and they were proud that among them were Glensmen and relatives of their own; but they said that only young men without family cares, and with determination to succeed, could be certain of getting on by migrating, while emigration would enable whole families to live and work together as they had been accustomed to do. In towns, the knowledge of farming and country life which they possessed would be of no use; while in a new country and on land of their own, they would be of infinite value to themselves and of advantage to the new country. So they resolved to emigrate. They could not have done anything better. They could pay their passage, and, after arriving in Canada, have money with which to buy forest farms and to keep themselves supplied with necessaries until they cleared land and raised crops. Habitable dwellings could be easily run up in the woods, and what had they to learn in respect to cattle and farming except slight climatic differences, to which a year's experience would teach them to adapt themselves? In their estimate of themselves there was no exaggeration or mistake. They were about the fittest and most resourceful farming colonists that any new country could possibly have. The United States had no attraction for them. They were full of British loyalty, and wished to live under the British flag, and their descendants to do the same in secula, seculorum.

They preferred Canada to all other Colonies, because they had there many kith and kin to give them welcome and helpful advice. The connection with Canada began with the capture of Quebec, when among the other Highland soldiers who remained behind as colonists, were two or three Glenlyon men who drew out their relations across the Atlantic to join them. The connection thus formed broadened a good deal during and after the war between Great Britain and the United States, and about 1816 it received a new accession of strength by the company of Glenlyon emigrants who joined other Highlanders in colonising Glengarry and its chief village or town, Lancaster, some seventy miles above Montreal. Our people of 1845 never thought of any other place of refuge. Although the time of mail steamers and cheap postage had yet to come, they had correspondence with emigrated friends in various parts of what is now the wide Dominion of Canada, and with at least one Glensman on the hunting prairies, Robert Campbell, who rose high in the service of the Hudson Bay Company. They were therefore fairly well informed about Canadian scenery, climate, productions, and varieties of soil. Their later emigrants and many Breadalbane acquaintances had gone to Upper Canada now Ontario and settled in a successful way about places subsequently called London and Ailsa Craig.

The rest of this chapter can be read at

The other chapters added so far can be read at the index page of the book at 

Sketches of The Character, Manners, and Present State of the Highlanders of Scotland
by Major-General David Stewart (1822)

This week we've added...

Section 2
Causes and Consequences of these Changes—State when placed on small lots of Land—Poverty followed by Demoralization

Section 3
Beneficial Results of Judicious Arrangements, and of allowing time to acquire a knowledge of Agricultural Improvements—Emigration—Agricultural Pursuits promote Independence and prevent Pauperism

Section 4
Illicit Distillation—Consequences of reducing the Highlanders from the condition of Small Tenantry—Policy of retaining an Agricultural Population



Preliminary Observations
Military Character—National Corps advantageous, especially in the Case of Highlanders—Character of Officers fitted to command a Highland Corps.

Section 1
Black Watch—Independent Companies—Embodied into a Regiment at Taybridge in 1740—March to England-Review—Mutiny

Section 2
Embarked for Flanders, 1743—Battle of Fontenoy—Return to Britain in 1745—Three Additional Companies—Battle of Prestonpans—Descent on the Coast of France, 1746— Return to Ireland—Embark for Flanders, 1747—Thence for Ireland in 1749—The Number changed from the 43d to the 42d Regiment—Character of the Regiment

Section 3
Embark for North America in 1756—Expedition against Louisbourg in 1757—Attack on Ticonderoga and Louis-bourg in 1758—On Fort du Quesne—On Martinique and Guadaloupe in 1759

Here is how the chapter Preliminary Observations starts...

In the preceding pages, I have attempted to delineate a sketch of the general character of the Scottish Highlanders, and to assign some of the causes which may have contributed to its formation.

It was a saying of Marshal Turenne, that "Providence for the most part declares in favour of the most numerous battalions." The success of the British arms has often refuted this observation, and proved that moral force, unyielding fortitude, and regular discipline, frequently make up for inferiority of numbers.

Military character depends both on moral and on physical causes, arising from the various circumstances and situations in which men are placed. Every change in these circumstances tends either to improve or deteriorate that character; and hence we find, that nations which were once distinguished as the bravest in Europe, have sunk into weakness and insignificance, while others have been advancing to power and pre-eminence. The importance of preserving this character is evident. Unless a people be brave, high-spirited, and independent in mind and in principles, they must, in time, yield to their more powerful neighbours. To show how the Highlanders supported their character, both in their native country and when acting abroad, is the principal object which I have now in view.

In forming his military character, the Highlander was not more favoured by nature than by the social system under which he lived. Nursed in poverty, he acquired a hardihood which enabled him to sustain severe privations. As the simplicity of his life gave vigour to his body, so it fortified his mind. Possessing a frame and constitution thus hardened, he was taught to consider courage as the most honourable virtue, cowardice the most disgraceful failing; to venerate and obey his chief, and to devote himself for his native country and clan; and thus prepared to be a soldier, he was ready to follow wherever honour and duty called him. With such principles, and regarding any disgrace he might bring on his clan and district as the most cruel misfortune, the Highland private soldier had a peculiar motive to exertion. The common soldier of many other countries has scarcely any other stimulus to the performance of his duty than the fear of chastisement, or the habit of mechanical obedience to command, produced by the discipline in which he has been trained. With a Highland soldier it is otherwise. When in a national or district corps, he is surrounded by the companions of his youth, and the rivals of his early achievements; he feels the impulse of emulation strengthened by the consciousness that every proof which he displays, either of bravery or cowardice, will find its way to his native home.

He thus learns to appreciate the value of a good name; and it is thus, that in a Highland regiment, consisting of men from the same country, whose kindred and connexions are mutually known, every individual feels that his conduct is the subject of observation, and that, independently of his duty, as a member of a systematic whole, he has to sustain a separate and individual reputation, which will be reflected on his family and district or glen. Hence he requires no artificial excitements. He acts from motives within himself; his point is fixed, and his aim must terminate either in victory or death. The German soldier considers himself as a part of the military machine and duty marked out in the orders of the day. He moves onward to his destination with a well-trained pace, and with as phlegmatic indifference to the result, as a labourer who works for his daily hire. The courage of the French soldier is supported in the hour of trial, by his high notions of the point of honour; but this display of spirit is not always steady: neither French nor German is confident in himself, if an enemy gain his flank or rear. A Highland soldier faces his enemy, whether in front, rear, or flank; and if he has confidence in his commander, it may be predicted with certainty that he will be victorious, or die on the ground which he maintains. He goes into the field resolved not to disgrace his name.

A striking characteristic of the Highlander is, that all his actions seem to flow from sentiment. His endurance of privation and fatigue, his resistance of hostile opposition, his solicitude for the good opinion of his superiors, all originate in this source, whence also proceeds his obedience, which is always most conspicuous when exhibited wider kind treatment. Hence arises the difference observable between the conduct of one regiment of Highlanders and that of another, and frequently even of the same regiment at different times, and under different management. A Highland regiment, to be orderly and well-disciplined, ought to be commanded by men who are capable of appreciating their character, directing their passions and prejudices, and acquiring their entire confidence and affection. The officer to whom the command of Highlanders is entrusted, must endeavour to acquire their confidence and good opinion. With this view, he must watch over the propriety of his own conduct. [In some instances, when the misconduct of officers, particularly in the field, was not publicly censured, the soldiers who served under them made regular representations that they could not and would not remain longer under their command, and that, if they were not relieved from the disgrace of being so commanded, they would lay their complaints before the highest authority. In like manner, when any of the soldiers showed a backwardness in facing an enemy, their comrades brought them forward, calling for punishment on the poltroons, who were a disgrace to their country, their name, and their kindred. With such checks to disgraceful, and such incitements to an honourable line of conduct, the best results might be anticipated, as indeed experience has proved.] He must observe the strictest justice and fidelity in his promises to his men, conciliate them by an attention to their dispositions and prejudices, and, at the same time, by preserving a firm and steady authority, without which, he will not be respected.

You can read the rest of this at 

You can read the other chapters at 

Sketches of Early Scotch History
By Cosmo Innes (1861) and our thanks to Alan McKenzie for typing this in for us.

Got in another section of this book, Inchaffray, - Earldom of Strathearn — The old Earls — See of Dunblane — The Earls the patrons — Foundation — Endowment of the Abbey — The Earldom a Palatinate — Annexed to the Crown — Arms of Strathearn.

You can read this at 

Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland 1881
This week added two articles on trees...

On the Old and Remarkable Oaks in Scotland at

On the Old and Remarkable Beeches in Scotland at

Here is how the account of the Oaks starts...

Although these two well-known varieties of the British oak (Quercus Robur) are sufficiently distinct botanically to be classed as separate species in a report like the present upon the large and old oaks in the various districts of Scotland, it is necessary to treat them indiscriminately, and, indeed, as it is not so much the intention of this chapter of the old and historically remarkable trees, to present any scientific or botanical description, or narrative of their physiology or morphology, as to lay before the reader as accurate and full a catalogue as possible of the many majestic specimens of this monarch of the woods abounding in its native habitat, it is probably quite pardonable to treat these two varieties together without distinction, especially as it has been found extremely difficult to obtain sufficiently reliable difference in each from the mass of returns furnished by careful correspondents, whose kindness and trouble in correctly furnishing minute data of dimensions and other details, it would be quite unfair to tax by asking further information as regards a purely systematic botanical distinction. Both varieties are found growing together in Scotland in their natural condition, and both are indiscriminately employed for commercial purposes when converted as timber of home growth. Of the two it may be safely asserted that Q. pedionculata is by far most generally met with, and the details in the appendix to this chapter on oaks are mainly occupied with examples of this variety. Quercus sessiliflora is much more commonly met with in England than in Scotland, and there are some immense trees of it in that country, but principally in the southern counties, as, for example, in many parts of Kent, Sussex, and Devonshire; and on the authority of Mr Bree, Q. sessiliflora is the almost exclusive representative of the Quercus family in the lake districts of England, in Westmoreland and Cumberland.

All former writers on arboricultural topics agree in allotting the foremost rank, both in point of dignity, grandeur, and utility, to the oak. Its beauty of outline when fully developed, combined with its strength, and unyielding resistance to the effects of the blast in exposed sites, are its chief characteristics of habit during life; and when manufactured into timber, the wide and almost universal purposes to which it may be profitably and suitably applied, are as characteristic of it as are those of it during life which we have referred to. "It is a remarkable circumstance," as has been well observed by Sir Henry Stewart, "that the most ornamental tree in nature, should also be the one the most extensively and strikingly useful."

It is thus seen that although Britain can only lay claim to two species of the great genus Quercus as truly indigenous to her soil, while the rest of the family, amounting (taking evergreen as well as deciduous) to upwards of one hundred and fifty distinct botanical species, are all of exotic origin, and are distributed in both hemispheres of the globe, either in temperate zones, rendered so by their latitudinal position, or in tropical climates by their elevation,—yet these two are by far the most important, for they surpass all others not only in majesty of proportions and duration of life, but also in general utility, durability and strength of their timber, so that for all uses to which these properties are absolutely essential, the two varieties (or rather species) of the oak now under notice, if equalled, are at all events not surpassed by any other tree indigenous to Europe.

The oak being thus one of the few indigenous hard-wooded trees in Britain, it appears, from ancient records and references in old parchment deeds, to have had a very wide distribution generally throughout the country. Indeed, before the clearing away of the old forests had commenced in early historical times, it appears to have been the chief, if not the only, component of these early forests, and to have covered a very large area of the surface of Scotland. Sufficient living remnants of these ancient forests still exist, and to which reference will afterwards be made to show the wide area of the distribution in Scotland of the oak, while in other districts, where these natural or self-sown forests have disappeared, or are now only rarely marked by a few straggling survivors, the remains of noble and massive trunks of oak trees are frequently stumbled upon, embedded sometimes in the alluvial deposits along the banks of rivers, or in bogs, submerged under deep layers of peat moss, the growth and accumulated debris of centuries. In this manner, also, many oaks are found where now no living specimens are to be seen within even a wide range of the spot, and also where now no oak plantations are to be met with ; especially near sea-water mark, stumps of large and old trees, composing aboriginal forests now untraceable, are sometimes found in situ standing erect, but quite concealed excepting at very low tide ebb, near river mouths and along some of our coast line.

For instance, at Kirkconnell, Newabbey, Kirkcudbrightshire, some years ago, Mr Maxwell Witham,—to whose courtesy we are indebted for interesting information regarding many trees of other varieties in his neighbourhood,— recovered from the sands opposite his property an "antidiluvian" oak tree, broken at both ends and measuring 36 feet in length and 14 feet 8 inches in circumference at the middle of the trunk, thus giving 484 cubic feet of timber. He further informs us that the whole valley of the Nith at its lower end (about Kirk-connell and Newabbey on the borders of the Nith, and Newabbey Poer or stream) is thickly underlaid, at a depth of from 4 to 7 feet, with large oaks, which are frequently exposed, and brought to light by the shifting of the river Nith or its tributary streams. In this locality some large and fine oaks still exist at the present day, and by reference to the appended returns to this paper, it will be seen that they girth from 14 feet 9 inches to 20 feet in circumference at 1 foot, and from 13 feet 9 inches to 17 feet 6 inches at 5 feet above ground. Other submerged forests—if they may be so called—of oaks exist on other parts of the coasts of Scotland ; while in the Highlands, and the more remote northern counties, as well as in several of the adjacent islands of the Hebrides, oak trunks are fallen upon in cutting peats where now not a tree is to be seen. Were these districts, and the Scottish islands generally, therefore, always incapable of growing timber, as they are too generally supposed and believed to be at the present day ? The evidence goes to prove that they were not, and strong grounds for hope may be consequently entertained that, with perseverance and the introduction of the suitable descriptions of trees, these wastes may be again, through the energy of their proprietors, replanted with success.

Of course, it must not be imagined that we advocate the planting, in sea-board situations, of the oak, for although these remains of former oak forests, of which no history save their gaunt stumps and fallen trunks now remain, are found under sands, and even below the tide-mark in various localities, this may be owing to the variations and upheavals of the beach, to inroads by the sea upon the land, and to various causes of a similar nature having altered the relative position of sea and land at the present day, from what these occupied when these now submerged woodlands waved their foliage and reared their gigantic trunks in pristine health and vigour. We find similar traces of early indigenous oak plantations in Scotland having existed in very remote times in far inland situations and even at considerable altitudes. For example, at Dunkeld, in Lady Well Wood of the Athole plantations, and upon a flat plateau in the upper part of the wood, at considerable altitude, there is a curious formation of the ground, —abrupt heights or knolls being interspersed with basin-like hollows,—where, some years ago, in the course of draining these hollows, the workmen came upon the remains of the trunks of many old indigenous oaks embedded in the soil. They were of great size, and lay strewed in one direction, as if at some remote period the whole had succumbed at one time to some sweeping hurricane which had lashed across the district, levelling whole tracts of wood before it, the soft nature and dampness of the site in these hollows making the trees there a more easy prey to its violence than in drier and firmer soils. Where these remains interfered with the draining operations they were cut across and allowed to lie. The wood was still hard and sound and of a black colour.

Of old and remarkable oaks in Scotland noticed and recorded by earlier writers, several still exist, and have been identified, and their present dimensions taken, for the purpose of this report, and these will be found in the tabulated returns annexed. A few of these early recorded trees may be here referred to, before passing on to consider in detail many remarkably fine specimens of this noble tree, not hitherto or only imperfectly noticed by former writers.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

The other articles can be read at

Household Encyclopaedia
I have added a few more pages to the B's which you can see at

The index page of this publication can be seen at 

Smuggling in the Highlands
An account of Highland Whisky with Smuggling Stories and Detections by Ian MacDonald

The opening note in the book stated...

Most of the following short account of Highland Whisky and Smuggling Stories was read before the Gaelic Society of Inverness twenty-seven years ago, when there was an extensive revival of illicit distillation in the Highlands, especially over wide tracts of Inverness-shire, Ross-shire, and Sutherlandshire.

For some time prior to 1880 illicit distillation had been practically suppressed in the north, and the old smugglers were fast passing away; but with the abolition of the Malt Tax, the reduction of the Revenue Preventive Staff, and the feeling of independence and security produced by the Crofters' Act, came a violent and sustained outburst of smuggling which was not only serious as regards the Revenue and licensed traders, but threatened to demoralise and impoverish the communities and districts affected. The revival among the youth of a new generation of those pernicious habits which had in the past led to so much lawlessness, dishonesty, idleness' and drinking was especially lamentable.

In their efforts to suppress this fresh outbreak the Revenue officials were much hampered not only by the strong, popular sentiment in favour of smuggling and smugglers, but also by the mistaken leniency of local magistrates, and by the weak, temporising policy of the Board of Inland Revenue towards certain sportsmen who claimed exemption for their extensive deer-forests from visits by the Revenue officials.

This deplorable state of matters accounts for and explains the serious view taken of the situation as it then existed, and the appeal made for rousing and educating public opinion on the subject. Fortunately, matters have much improved since 1886; smuggling is again on the decline, almost extinct, and will soon, it is hoped, be a thing of the past in the Highlands. But Smuggling Stories, with their glamour and romance, will ever remain part of our Scottish folklore and literature.

The paper read before the Gaelic Society of Inverness was included in the Transactions of the Society, Vol. xii., and appeared soon after as a series of articles both in The Highlander and Celtic Magazine. Permission to publish the paper in book form was readily given by the Gaelic Society, and included with it, occupying pages 75 to 94 of this little volume, are several good smuggling stories and detections now published for the first time.

The proprietors of the interesting photographs inserted have also kindly permitted their reproduction as illustrations. One picture is particularly interesting, being the sketch taken by the artist, MacIan, of Sandy MacGruar's bothy in Strathglass, referred to in the text. Considering the great, almost insuperable, difficulties of obtaining access to Smuggling Bothies, and the scarcity of such pictures, these illustrations are of more than passing interest and value.

This book is now complete and can be read at

Beth's Newfangled Family Tree
Beth has now provided us with her January 2008 issue which you can read at

And finally... here's Auld Lang Syne for you to read here so you will remember the words when they sing it to bring in the new year :-)

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And days of auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne
We'll tak' a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye'll be your pint stowp!
And surely I'll be mine
And we'll tak' a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes
And pou'd the gowans fine;
But we've wander'd mony a weary fitt,
Sin' auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl't in the burn
Frae morning sun till dine:
But seas between us braid hae roar'd
Sin' auld lang syne.

And there's a hand, my trusty fiere!
Andgie's a hand o' thine!
And we'll tak a right gude-willie waughs
For auld lang syne.

And that's all for now and hope you all have a great weekend and a Very Happy New Year :-)


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