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Weekly Mailing List Archives
11th April 2008

Alastair McIntyreElectric Scotland's Weekly Email Newsletter

Electric Scotland - The No.1 Scottish History Site Aois - The Celtic Community
The Electric Scotland Article Service

Dear Friend

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
Article Service
The Scottish Nation
New Statistical Account of Scotland (1845)
Book of Scottish Story
Good Words - Edited by the Rev Norman MacLeod
Poetry and Stories
Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland 1881
Household Encyclopaedia
Antiquarian Scottish Books in Adobe Reader format - 5 volume publication this week!
The Scottish Tradition in Canada
Sketch of the Civil and Traditional History of Caithness from the Tenth Century
Fallbrook Farm
Pictures of Lochaber and Argyll
Grand Baliwick of the Scots

Back from the Scottish Week event in Toronto and it was a huge success for the Scottish Studies Foundation as we raised some $45,000. This was the event that Scotland paid for and invited guests got in free but were asked to donate something to the Scottish Studies Foundation.

The Scot of the Year Award went to Donald A. Stewart who is Chief Executive Officer of Sun Life Financial Inc.

A native of Scotland, Mr. Stewart joined the Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada in London, England in 1969. He emigrated to Montreal in 1972, after qualifying as a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries.

In 1974, Mr. Stewart left the Company to pursue a career in benefits consulting in Toronto. He returned in 1980 to lead the Canadian Group Retirement Services Division. From 1987 to 1992, Mr. Stewart held overall responsibility for Information Technology. He was appointed head of Sun Life Trust Company in September 1992. In 1996 he was appointed President & Chief Operating Officer, and in 1998 Chief Executive Officer.

Mr. Stewart led the successful demutualization of Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada that was completed in March 2000. He has since grown the parent company, Sun Life Financial Inc., through acquisitions in Canada, the United States and Hong Kong.

Mr. Stewart is a director of the American Council of Life Insurers, and international aluminium products company Novelis Inc. He is also a trustee of CI Financial Income Fund.

Born in 1946, Mr. Stewart holds a degree in Natural Philosophy from the University of Glasgow, graduating in 1968 with first class honours.

The Tartan Day Speakers which I think are from left to right, Michael Corrish, Senior Vice-President Scottish Development Internation, David Hunter, President of the Scottish Studies Foundation, Donald Sewart, Scot of the Year, the Provost of Glasgow and Linda Fabiani MSP.

Linda Fabiani MSP with Pat and Doug Ross


Looks like we may be making our move from Kentucky to Mitchigan sooner rather than later and might be by the end of next month. When we do move we'll be down for around 12 hours or longer as we'll be unplugging our physical server in Kentucky and then driving it up to Mitchegan and plugging it back in there.

One of the possible benefits in this move is that our new phone company may be rolling out a fibre feed and so we could get a lot more bandwidth for our money thus making the service much faster.


With our new newsletter software we're now getting some statistics on what you are clicking on and I was actually quite surprised that the most clicked on link by a long way was to our What's New page.


I didn't actually see any decent reports on Scottish Week in the USA and nor did I see anything in the TV News. I did find a wee video on YouTube at

One picture I did get sent...

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 or on our site menu.

Scotland on TV
Visit their site at 

One of our favourite places for a bite to eat in Glasgow is the Willow Tearooms on Sauchiehall Street. We visited a few weeks ago and discovered more about the history of the tearooms and their famous designer, Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Since that visit, we filmed tearooms' owner, Anne Mulherrn MBE, demonstrating how to cook a number of delicious traditional Scottish recipes. The latest recipe to be uploaded to Scotland on TV's food channel is Cock-A-Leekie Soup, which is surprisingly simple to cook, especially using Anne's how-to video alongside our printable recipe.

To view the Cock-A-Leekie soup video, click here:

To take a look at all of the recipes available on Scotland on TV, click here:

This weeks Flag is compiled by Richard Thomson.

In Peter's cultural section we get quotes from the 3 Presidential candidates...

Hilary Rodham Clinton

On this day, we recognise the outstanding achievements and contributions made by Americans of Scottish descent who have played a prominent role in the founding of this country, and throughout our history, and who have helped foster a strong relationship between the US and Scotland.

(April 2008)

John Sidney McCain

I am particularly honoured to do so now, [commemorate America’s longstanding relationship with Scotland] during the first official Scotland Week in the US. Marking April 6 as national Tartan Day helps raise awareness among all Americans of the great contributions made by their fellow countrymen of Scottish descent.

(April 2008)

Barack Hussein Obama

With millions of Americans of Scottish descent living throughout the country, it’s important to celebrate the historic relationship between the US and Scotland, and the great contributions Scottish Americans have made.

(April 2008)

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

Christina McKelvie MSP's weekly diary didn't arrive this week.

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

We are now onto the M's with Millar, Miller, Milne, Minto, Mitchell, Moir and Molyson

Some good information on the Mitchell name...

MITCHELL, a surname from the Anglo-Saxon Michel, signifying great; or it may be from the German Mit schuler, a disciple, literally “with a school.” The Danish Mod-schiold, means courage-shield. The crest of the Mitchells is a hand holding a pen; motto, Favente deo supero.

MITCHELL, SIR DAVID, an eminent naval commander, in the reign of William III., was descended from a respectable family in Scotland, where he was born about the middle of the seventeenth century. He early entered the navy, and after the intermediate steps he was promoted to the command of the Elizabeth, of 70 guns. At the battle of Beachy-head, he behaved with great gallantry; and in 1693 he was appointed rear-admiral of the blue. In 1694 he was knighted, and about the same time attained the rank of rear-admiral of the red. In 1698, when Peter the Great was invited by King William to visit London, Admiral Mitchell was commissioned to bring him over to England, and after a stay of three months he conveyed him back to the Continent. He was subsequently sent to Holland, on a diplomatic commission. He died soon after his return to England, June 1, 1710.

MITCHELL, SIR ANDREW, an able diplomatist, was the only son of the Rev. William Mitchell, originally of Aberdeen, and latterly one of the ministers of the High church of Edinburgh. The date of his birth is not specified, but he is said to have been married in 1715, when very young, to a lady, who died four years after in childbirth, and whose loss he felt so deeply as to be obliged to discontinue the study of the law, for which his father had designed him, and divert his grief by traveling. In 1741 he was appointed secretary to the marquis of Tweeddale, minister for the affairs of Scotland, and in 1747 was elected M.P. for the Banff district of burghs. On the death of Thomson the poet in 1748, he and Lord Lyttleton were named his executors.

In 1751 he was nominated his majesty’s representative at Brussels, where he resided for two years. Soon after his return to London in 1753 he was created a knight of the Bath, and appointed ambassador extraordinary to the court of Prussia, where, by his abilities and address, he succeeded in detaching his Prussian majesty from the French interest. At Berlin he was much celebrated for the liveliness of his conversation and the readiness of his repartees, and he became so much a favourite with the Great Frederick that he usually accompanied him in his campaigns. In consequence of bad health he returned to England in 1765, and spent some time at Tunbridge Wells. In the following year he resumed the duties of his office at Berlin, where he died, January 28, 1771. The court of Prussia honoured his funeral with their presence, and the king himself, from a balcony, is said to have beheld the procession with tears.

You can read the rest of this account at

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 Daviot at

Extent, &c.—Its average length is about 3 miles, and its average breadth about 2. It is bounded by the parish of Fyvie on the north; the parishes of Fyvie and Meldrum on the east; the parishes of Bourtie and Chapel of Garioch on the south; and by the parish of Rayne on the west.

Antiquities. — On the lands of Mounie, and on the highest ground in the parish, the remains of two Druidical temples are still observable. The remains of a third were to be seen, within the last twenty years, in the grave-yard; but the stones were some time ago removed, and employed as materials in building the walls of a dwelling-house.

I might note this taking of stones for building material. Many castles and other historic buildings in Scotland have been lost to folk of the present day due to them being seen as free building material for our ancestors.

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 

Book of Scottish Story
Our thanks to John Henderson for sending this in for us.

This week have added...

The Snow-Storm by Professor Wilson
Rab and his Friends by Dr John Brown

As to "Rab and his Friends" John Henderson wrote me...


There are quite a few references to Dr John Brown of Edinburgh and his great short story ‘Rab and his Friends’ when one uses the ES Internal Search Engine …. But the story itself does not seem to be anywhere on ES. [Nor is it in The Book of Scottish Story that I am currently]

Thus, I have transcribed it for ES because I agree with Francis R. Packard M.D., when he wrote of the short story "Rab and his Friends", in 1903, "For simplicity, sincerity and obvious truthfulness; for deep pathos and human sympathy; for pure humour and insight into human nature, this little story is almost unexcelled."

Here is the author's biography...

He was educated at the High School and graduated as M.D. at the University of Edinburgh in 1833, and practised as a physician in that city. He was revered and beloved in no common degree, and he was the cherished friend of many of his most distinguished contemporaries, including Thackeray; his reputation, however, is based on the two volumes of essays, Horae Subsecivae (Leisure Hours) (1858, 1861), John Leech and Other Papers (1882), Rab and His Friends (1859), and Marjorie Fleming: a Sketch (1863).

The first volume of Horae Subsecivae deals chiefly with the equipment and duties of a physician, the second with subjects outside his profession. He was emphatic in his belief that an author should publish nothing unless he has something to say. Acting on this principle, he published little himself, and only after subjecting it to the severest criticism.

Brown wrote comparatively little; but all he did write is good, some of it perfect, of its kind. In the mingling of tenderness and delicate humour he has much in common with Lamb; in his insight into dog-nature he is unique. He suffered during the latter years of his life from pronounced attacks of melancholy.

Francis R. Packard M.D. wrote of the short story ''Rab and his Friends, in 1903, "For simplicity, sincerity and obvious truthfulness; for deep pathos and human sympathy; for pure humour and insight into human nature, this little story is almost unexcelled."

You can read this story at

The other stories can be read 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...

The Serampore Missionaries (Pages 419-423)
A Summer's Study of Ferns (Pages 423-424)
The Caravansary of Bagdad (Pages 425-426)
Lady Somerville's Maidens (Pages 427-431)
A Living Chattel (Page 431)
Consolation (Page 431)

Here is the story of "A Living Chattel" to read here...

I must tell you of an occurrence that I was witness of yesterday in Mr. Henry Ward Beecher's church. After a beautiful sermon on Col. iii. 14, he called the attention of his congregation to a subject which had been brought before him early in winter. A young man from Washington called on him and asked him to bring the case of a coloured child before his people on the first Sunday of January. That plan was frustrated; but on Friday evening the gentleman re-appeared with the child. He had succeeded in obtaining permission from her owner to bring her north. Four men were left in bond for her; and even then the slaveholder would not consent to her going until he received Mr. Beecher's word, that either the child should be returned within a given time, or the sum at which she was valued.

The child was then placed beside Mr. Beecher, who, taking off her cloak, said, "I wish I could as easily remove the garment of slavery as I do this cloak;" and then passing his arms round her neck, he pleaded simply but earnestly her case. She is nine years old, and with but one part out of sixteen of African blood, and it is believed she will be so beautiful as to be worth in four years hence (had she remained a slave), £800. The value set on her now is £180. Her grandmother, a free woman, had saved £40, which she gladly offered to contribute towards her release.

I never could do half justice to the manner in which Mr. Beecher pleaded her case—nobly and ably. He said he could not even mention what he wished to save her from, and that the little girl had twice seen her mother put up at the block. . . . There was no need for enreaties; he merely said, "You will please pass the plates;" and announced that the collection would be taken up again in the evening. By this time the congregation were all deeply moved, and the scene that followed baffles description. The excitement was unparalleled, and I thought it never would terminate. However, as everything must, it did, and then a gentleman whispered something to Mr. Beecher, who said, "I have just received a message from a Christian lady to say that she will be responsible for any deficiency there may be in the collection. The child is free!" It is far beyond my power to convey the faintest idea of the joy this announcement caused. The demonstrations were unequivocal. The people were literally beside themselves...

The morning collection amounted to upwards of £200, so it was not continued in the evening. Mr. Beecher mentioned that on one of the plates was found a lady's ring with an opal set in it, and that he had taken the liberty of withdrawing it, and had it placed on the child's finger, that when she was old enough she might wear it as a badge of her freedom. — Extract of a letter from New York.

You can read the other articles at 

Poetry and Stories
Further articles have been added to our Articles Service where the likes of Donna have been adding poems and stories. You can also read about President George Bush making a proclamation about Tartan Day on April 4th, 2008 at 

John sent in two doggerels...

Ow'r The Sake O' Somebody at
Hoo Can Ye Howp Tae Charm Oor Lassies at

Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland 1884
This week have added...

The West Coast Herring

Here is how the account starts...

The movements of the west coast herring are to all appearance erratic, and they are certainly puzzling. A few broad facts are well known—for instance, that in many of the sea-lochs enormous shoals are met with at times, while at other times scarcely a fish is to be found. So it has been in the past as far back as the history of the herring fishery goes; so it will doubtless be in the future. Similar fluctuations are observed in the Norwegian fiords, which are the counterpart, on a great scale, of our sea-lochs; and different theories of these fluctuations have found favour among Scandinavian naturalists, without, however, any demonstrable solution of the problem being arrived at. In this short paper nothing in the way of far-fetched theory about "sun-spots" or "aurora" shall be attempted. Such facts as are available, and the plain inferences to be drawn from them, shall alone engage our attention.

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

Page 159
Bulb, Bullace
Page 160
Bulldog, Bullet Wound, Bull Mastiff, Bull Terrier, Bumble Bee, Bumble Foot, Bumble Puppy, Bun, Bung
Page 161
Bungalow: Plans and Building Details
Page 162
Bungalow, Bunion
Page 163
Bunsen Burner, Bureaux: Antique and Modern, Bureau
Page 164
Bureau, Burglar Alarm
Page 165
Burglar Alarm, Burglary: How to Prevent, Burgundy
Page 166
Burgundy Mixture, Burn: How to Treat, Burner, Burning Bush, Bursitus, Bushel, Bush Fruit

The index page of this publication can be seen at 

Antiquarian Scottish Books in Adobe Reader format
I said I'd do my best to add a book each week and so this week I've added...

Domestic life in Scotland, 1488-1688
A sketch of the development of furniture and household usage
By John Warrack

FEW realise how modern are the conceptions of comfort and decency which inspire the furnishing and arrangements of our present-day homes, or how different were the conditions in which, only a few centuries ago, our forefathers spent their lives. Till the beginning of the seventeenth century chairs for ordinary household use were unknown. Hats were worn at meals. Washing formed no part of the morning toilet, even in Charles II's time, and very few in any country in Europe washed their faces every day. The use of forks did not become general till the eighteenth century, and food was picked from the general dish and raised to the mouth with the fingers.

In the fifteenth century it covers...

Poverty of the country - Unsettled conditions - Scarcity of native timber - Foreign trade: exports and imports - Inferences as to social conditions in Scotland and in Flanders - Value of knowledge of early social life in interpreting early literature - The mediaeval castle and its furnishings - An evening meal - Washing the hands - Early codes of manners and rules for behaviour - Table arrangements - The salt-fatt, dishes, spoons, and servietts - Arrangements and furnishing of the hall "Till necessitie and nocht til decore" - The dais - The hie burde - Literary references - The parelling - The comptar or counter: origin and line of development - The chalmer of des: its position and uses - Bedrooms Beds and canopies - The futegang.

In all a fascinating publication which I hope you'll enjoy.

You can read this at

The index page for this section can be reached at

The Scottish Tradition in Canada
Edited by W. Stanford Reid

This week have added...

The Scot as Businessman David S. MacMillan
The Lowland Tradition in Canadian Literature Elizabeth Waterston
The Gaelic Tradition in Canadian Culture George S. Emmerson

Here is how "The Gaelic Tradition in Canadian Culture" starts...

The term "Celtic" is more precisely applied to a culture than to a race, a culture which has jostled with its principal rival, the Germanic, for a place in Europe over the centuries. In the eighteenth century, the geographic boundary between the two cultures in Scotland was roughly defined by the merging of the mountains of the northwest with the lowlands of the southeast, and were distinguished by their respective languages - Gaelic and "Lowland Scots." The latter language, now usually referred to simply as "Scots," is a northern branch of English or Anglian with its own infusions from the low countries and France and from Gaelic itself.

In Medieval times, Gaelic was the language of the Scots and was then referred to as Erse (Irish) by the English speakers of the southeast and eastern ports. In 1363-5 Fordoun wrote:

The manners and customs of the Scots vary with the diversity of their speech. For two languages are spoken among them, the Scottish and the Teuton, the last of which is the language of those who occupy the seaboard and the plains while the race of Scottish speech inhabit the Highlands and outlying islands. The people of the coast of the islands, on the other hand, are a savage and untamed nation, rude and independent, given to rapine, ease-loving, of a docile and warm disposition, comely in persons but unsightly in dress, hostile to the English people and language and, owing to diversity of speech, even to their own nation, and exceedingly cruel. They are, however, faithful and obedient to their king and country and easily made to submit if properly governed.

This seems a remarkably perceptive report.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

You can read the other chapters at

Sketch of the Civil and Traditional History of Caithness from the Tenth Century
By James T. Calder (1861)

This week have added Chapter 5.

This chapter starts...

About the beginning of the fourteenth century, Reginald or Ronald Cheyne, a celebrated chieftain, held great sway in Caithness. The Cheynes were, it appears, of Norman extraction, and came to Scotland in quest of better fortune, with the Sinclairs and other chiefs who had followed the standard of William the Conqueror. The principal residence of the Cheynes was the old castle of Inverugie, in the parish of St Fergus, Aberdeenshire. They became proprietors of the whole of that parish, as well as of other landed estates in the counties of Banff and Moray.

In the old statistical account of St Fergus, mention is made of a Sir Reginald Cheyne, who married a daughter of Cumming of Badenoch. By her he had two sons, Reginald Cheyne, who in 1267 was promoted to the office of Lord Chamberlain of Scotland, and Henry Cheyne, who was elected Bishop of Aberdeen in 1281. A branch of this family seems early to have settled in Caithness. [The lands in Caithness seem to have been conferred on the Cheynes by charter from David II. The name, as originally spelt in Norman French, was Du Chesyne.] Reginald Cheyne, the subject of our notice, had a very extensive property in it. He inherited also from his mother, who was the only daughter and co-heiress of Freskyn de Moray, the manor and castle of Duffus, with other lands in Morayshire. Among other possessions in Caithness, the castle and lands of Auldwick belonged to him. But being extremely fond of the chase, he frequently resided in the upper part of the parish of Halkirk, in a castle, or rather hunting-lodge, situated at the north corner of Loch-more, just at the point where the river of Thurso issues from it.

In the old statistical account of Halkirk, it is said that he had "a chest, or some kind of a machine fixed in the mouth of the stream below the castle for catching salmon in their ingress into the loch or their egress out of it; and that immediately on the fish being entangled in the machine, the capture was announced to the whole family by the ringing of a bell, which the motions and struggles of the fish set agoing by means of a cord fixed at one end to the bell in the middle of an upper room, and at the other end to the machine in the stream below." In this stronghold, Morar na Shean, or the great Cheyne as he was styled by the Celtic inhabitants of the district, kept about him a number of retainers, lived in great feudal pomp, and chiefly employed his time in hunting, for which he had ample room and verge enough in the highlands of Caithness.

Cheyne was altogether a remarkable man in his day. He was one of the Scottish chiefs and barons who, in the parliament held at Arbroath in 1320, drew up the spirited remonstrance to the Pope on the national independence of Scotland in church and state. He was also present at the disastrous battle of Halidon Hill in 1333, with Kenneth, Earl of Sutherland. The Earl was slain, and Cheyne was taken prisoner by the English, but, after a short captivity, he was released, when he returned to Caithness and soon after married a young lady of considerable talent and beauty, a descendant of one of the old Scandinavian prefects or governors of the district.

Tradition has handed down many strange anecdotes of this Nimrod of the North. The following, which is believed to be strictly founded in truth, is one of the most remarkable and interesting. Being the last representative of his family in the male line, he was extremely anxious to have an heir to inherit his large property. The first child which his lady had was a daughter. This disappointment exasperated him so much that he gave imperative orders to drown the infant. Lady Cheyne, however, by means of a faithful domestic, managed to convey the child away to a nurse. The second child, which was also a daughter, was preserved in the same manner. After this she bore no more children. The circumstance was a source of bitter disappointment to Cheyne, who could not help viewing it as a punishment inflicted upon him for the crime of which he had been guilty; and he began to have some compunctions of remorse, which neither the sophistry of his confessor nor yet the riot of the festive board could allay.

In the meantime, the two female children grew up and prospered, and received the best education that the county at the time could afford. After a lapse of eighteen years, Lady Cheyne, with the concurrence of her husband, got up a grand entertainment at Christmas, to which all their friends and acquaintances throughout the county were invited. Among the female guests on this occasion were two young ladies, whose extraordinary beauty and elegance of manners excited the admiration of the company. Reginald in particular was greatly struck with their appearance, and as he had never seen them before, he asked his wife whose daughters they were? After some little hesitation, she said they were his own. This unexpected announcement affected him so much that, for a minute or two, he could not articulate a word. When he had recovered, he embraced his two daughters with the most affectionate tenderness, and finally gave way to his pent-up feelings in a flood of tears.

You can read these chapters at

The rest of the chapters can be read at

Fallbrook Farm
We've had more updates in on this conservation project and if you'd like to help you just need to email them your support as the more emails they can produce in support of the project the better chance they have of making it happen. They have also issued an invitation to attend an event later this month which you can find on the index page below.

Do visit their page and keep up to date with their findings and activity at 

Pictures of Lochaber and Argyll
David Hunter kindly sent us in some great pictures from his trip to Scotland earlier this year which you can see at

The Three Sisters of Glencoe

Grand Baliwick of the Scots
I got in the current newsletter of this organisation and hope to get in some history about them for a later newsletter. You can read this at

And that's it for now and I hope you all have an enjoyable weekend :-)


You can see old issues of this newsletter at 

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