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Weekly Mailing List Archives
16th January 2009

Alastair McIntyreElectric Scotland's Weekly Email Newsletter

Electric Scotland - The No.1 Scottish History Site The Aois Community brings you message forums and lots of community services
Electric Scotland's Article Service where you can add your own stories and articles  Send a postcard from our ScotCards 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
The Flag in the Wind
The Scottish Nation
Poetry and Stories
Book of Scottish Story
The Concise Household Encyclopaedia
Old Time Customs
MacKenzie, Selkirk, Simpson
Guide to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland
Public Entertainers, from Scots in America
Men of Letters, from Scots in America
Among the Poets, from Scots in America
Loch Etive and The Sons of Uisnach (New Book)
Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of Kent

Many thanks to those that suggested various cold cures to me in emails, they were much appreciated. My cold is mostly gone now and hopefully next week will see it totally gone :-)

In particular I tried the one part honey, one part lemon juice and one part whisky and that seemed to kill the cough so thanks to Neil Fraser for that one :-)


Have now got my roof re-roofed but still haven't been able to see the finished results due to all the snow we've been getting. As it's very cold here in Canada the snow just isn't melting. In fact the other day when we didn't have any snow I popped into my local grocery store only to come out around 40 minutes later to find my car was covered in snow. In fact the fall was so heavy that as I cleared the windows they were being covered again so quickly that it was a real problem driving home.


You will enjoy seeing the video of David Hunter's talk about photography that he gave at the Oor Club in Toronto. Lots of great pictures of the Scottish Highlands. It included a tribute to Tom weir and it can be viewed at


Scottish Heritage Symposium At St. Andrews, N.C.

The annual Charles Bascombe Shaw Memorial Scottish Heritage Symposium will be the weekend of March 20-22 on the St. Andrews Presbyterian College campus in Laurinburg, N.C. This event, now in its 19th year, will feature scholars from Scotland and the United States.

All interested are invited to attend.

“Since its inception in 1989, the symposium has provided a forum for those interested in Scottish history, culture, and genealogy to learn from top scholars in their fields,” said Bill Caudill, director of the Scottish Heritage Center. “Our symposium is nationally considered a leader in the exploration of Scottish culture.”

Five guest speakers headline this year’s event.

Eleanor Harris, a native of St. Andrews, Fife, will present “Local Sources for Global Communities: An Overview of the Local Collections Held by Argyll and Bute Library Service Highlighting Resources Pertaining to Early Emigrants from Argyll.”
“Those with research interests in Scotland and Argyll in particular will not want to miss her presentation,” said Caudill.

Dr. Philip D. Smith Jr. serves as president of the Scottish Tartans Authority and he will present “Tartan Since Proscription.”

Patrick King is a writer, director, and producer making documentary films for international broadcasters including PBS, The History Channel, A&E, and BBC Channel 4. He will present “Bagpipes in the Movies.”

Bridget O’Brien’s presentation on “Early Scottish Farmsteads in the Eastern Carolinas” will focus on the floor plans, building materials, and construction methods of several emigrant homesteads from the Highland settlements as well as the genealogical information relative to the families who built them.

Isla St. Clair will present “The Songs of Scotland”. She is a native of North East of Scotland, growing up in Buckie, Findochty, and Aberdeen. She is a well-known exponent of Scottish traditional song and at age 12 was recorded by the legendary Hamish Henderson, principal of the School of Scottish Studies.

For a schedule of events and registration information, please visit or call the Scottish Heritage Center at (910) 277-5236.


This week I have just completed the 200th publication on the site. By that I mean ocr'ing in 200 individual books or volumes of books in a set. I'm quite chuffed to have achieved that as it's been a great task over many years. You can see the list at

I am celebrating the event by starting on a new book "Loch Etive and The Sons of Uisnach" By R. Angus Smith (1885). This is actually a book about where my own clan lived for many years and the story is told in a novel manner. More about this can be read below.


I am looking at doing a Clan Society / Scottish organisation project that I think will be of value to the members and hopefully will help to retain and grow memberships. Should you be interested in learning more and would also like to have input to the project please feel free to email me and I'll add you to a email group so you are kept up to date with developments.


For some reason we don't understand the formatting of our Article Service went weird this week and you had to scroll from side to side to read the articles. We've fixed it now but as to how it happened we simply don't know.


We're nearing the time when Robert Burns Suppers will be held and of course for the 250th anniversary of his birth there are special events being scheduled all over the world. Electric Scotland has an excellent Burns section where you can listen to an actual audio record of a Burns Supper plus loads of other information. We also have that excellent "Understanding Burns" for those that are unable to read or understand the old Scots language that he wrote in. Our friend Frank Shaw has loads of articles on Burns in his "Robert Burns Lives!" series and even a video recording of him giving the Immortal Memory at the Burns House in Atlanta. You can visit this section at


Steve is confident that he can bring up the vbulletin service by next weekend but might manage sooner or so he says :-)


We plan to do an upgrade to our site over the next week or so that will bring in new features. We also want to check that we can restore this service as well so we'll be testing things out after the upgrade has been completed.

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.

This weeks Flag is compiled by Richard Thomson. As usual he gives us a couple of indepth articles one of which covers broadband and Internet access in Scotland.

In Peter's section he gives us a Scots language account of Robert Burns in his "A Scottish Vyce" and I thought I'd give you a challenge by quoting it here as Peter's wife, Marilyn, has also recorded in in real audio so while you read it you can also listen to it as well. The audio url is at

And here is the text to read here...

Lyke Scots, the warld owre, we tryst at hame ilka Janwar fir ti mynd o a chiel wha haes liggit i the mools fir owre twa hunner yeir. A chiel wha tyauvit aw his days as a fairmer sinsyne as a gauger - hard darg then as nou. Gin he haed bin nocht bit a fairmer or a gauger, aiblins evin his ain kin twa hunner yeir oan wad hae kent nocht about him. Sum o thaim micht hae redd up thair forefowk an fun names, dates, whaur thai bade an aiblins thair daillie darg, gaun back to a chiel cryed Robert Burns.

We aw hae forefowk wha hae liggit fir owre twa hunner yeir i the mools. A ken frae ane o ma faither's kizzens at his faimilie fir the hinmaist twa hunner yeir flittit atween the Glens o Founland, Huntlie toun and Inverurie. Bit apairt frae the fack at thare war a wheen o thaim cawed Peter, A ken nocht about thaim. Aiblins thai luikit lyke ma faither an his aunties, bit A dinna ken.

Bit o the chiel we honor ilka Janwar we ken juist about athin warth kennan. We ken hou he luikit, we ken his forefowk, we ken whaur he bade, we ken o his daillie darg, we ken o his mairrage, o his lou trysts, o his bairns, an we ken his thochts an ideals frae his monie skreeds, poems an sangs.Fir we ar spikkan o a chiel wha wis a genius. A cheil wha still spiks ti Scotland an the warld the day. Scotland an the warld still sing his sangs an reads his poetrie.

We hae aw drank wi him, lauchit wi him, grat wi him - we aw think at we ken him. The umquhile Orkney makkar George Mackay Brown skrievit at his faither an his billies spikkan o Burns as gin he wis still alieve an amang thaim. Weill throu his poetrie, sangs an skreeds, at is vera mukkil the case. Whan ye lig yir haun oan his wark, ye feel gin ye touch the chiel hislane. Burns ligs i the herts an mynds o Scots the day juist as he did twa hunner yeir sinsyne.

Our auld fier Dr Robert D McIntyre tuik mukkil delicht in tellin a tale o his graunnie wha as a yung quean kent an auld chiel wha kent Burns' kithend. 'What did thai think o him?' she spiert at him ae day. His repone says it aw - 'Thai revered him.'

In onie poll o gryt Scots o the past, Robert Burns maun staun heid an shouders owre aw ithers. He myndit his ain kithend at thai war Scots whan Mither Scotland cuid hae bin lost i the incorporatin Union. He mynds us o that fack the day. Throu Allan Ramsay an Robert Fergusson, in particklar, he fun his poetic vyce i his Mither Tung. The fack at Burns skrievit i the Scots Leid haes keppit it ti the fore i the face o the encroachin Suddren. He gied us our National Anthem, 'Scots Wha Hae', an the warld an International Anthem, 'A Man's A Man', alsweill as the International pairtin sang, 'Auld Lang Syne.' (Aiblins fir neist Hogmanay BBC Scotland wull tell thair sangsters at is 'Auld' no 'Old' Lang Syne!).

As Scots we awe our makkars a mukkil debt, fir thai hae owre the centuries taen Scotland's side, frae John Barbour ti Hugh MacDiarmid, bit nane mair sae nor our National Bard, Robert Burns. Gin the day evir daws whan Scots dinna revere an haud Robert Burns i the heichmaist staunan, then Scotland wullna be warth a docken. A Toast ti Burns is a Toast ti our auld respeckit mither - Scotland - fir Burns an Scotland gaun thegither.

Notandum : Taen frae 'Immortal Memory' ti Peebles Burns Club 25 Janwar 2003

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

Christina McKelvie's Weekly diary is available at

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

Since the last newsletter we've added to the Supplement...

Dick, Edmondston, Ferrier, Forbes Leith, Forrest and Gardner

An interesting account of Thomas Dick this week which starts....

DICK, THOMAS, LL.D., author of ‘The Christian Philosopher,’ and other works devoted to the literature of religion and science, was born in the Hilltown of Dundee, 24th November 1774. He was the son of Mungo Dick, a linen manufacturer there, and a member of the Secession church. He was taught his letters at home, chiefly by his mother, and could read the New Testament before he went to any school. He first had his attention drawn, and the whole after-bent of his mind directed to astronomical studies, and the investigation of the arcane of nature, by the following circumstance: About nine o’clock in the evening of the 18th of August, 1783, a meteor appeared in the heavens, which at the period created an extraordinary amount of wonder and alarm among all who saw it. At that very time, Thomas Dick, then a boy of nine years of age, was in his father’s garden with a female servant, who was folding linen. On the first flash of the meteor, the girl looking towards the north whence it came, exclaimed, “You have never seen lightning before. See! There’s lightning.” Overcome by the remarkable phenomenon, they both fell to the ground, and it was some time before they could recover themselves. From that day, anxious to penetrate the mysteries of astronomy and meteorology, he eagerly inquired for all books that treated of such difficult and abstruse subjects, preferring them to every other.

You can read the rest of this account at

You can read all these entries at

Poetry and Stories
John also sent in another poem, "Muckle Kye Doon In The Park" at

And of course more articles in our Article Service at

I might note that there is an interesting article about the Clydesdale bank issuing new bank notes to celebrate Homecoming Scotland.

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

This week have added...

Part 2 of The Laird of Wineholm

Here is how it starts...

"If you dare disturb the sanctuary of the grave," said the doctor vehemently, "or with your unhallowed hands touch the remains of my venerable and revered predecessor, it had been better for you, and all who make the attempt, that you never had been born. If not then for my sake, for the sake of my wife, the sole daughter of the man to whom you have all been obliged, let this abominable and malicious calumny go no farther, but put it down; I pray of you to put it down, as you would value your own advantage.”

"I have seen him, and spoke with him--that I aver,” said the dominie. "And shall I tell you what he said to me?"

"No, no! I’ll hear no more of such absolute and disgusting nonsense,” said the doctor.

"Then, since it hath come to this, I will declare it in the face of the whole world, and pursue it to the last," said the dominie, "ridiculous as it is, and I confess that it is even so. I have seen your father-in-law within the last twenty-four hours; at least a being in his form and habiliments, and having his aspect and voice. And he told me that he believed you were a very great scoundrel, and that you had helped him off the stage of time in a great haste, for fear of the operation of a will, which he had just executed, very much to your prejudice. I was somewhat aghast, but ventured to remark, that he must surely have been sensible whether you murdered him or not, and in what way. He replied that he was not very certain, for at the time you put him down, he was much in his customary way of nights—very drunk ; but that he greatly suspected you had hanged him, for ever since he had died, he had been troubled with a severe crick in his neck. Having seen my late worthy patron’s body deposited in the coffin, and afterwards consigned to the grave, these things overcame me, and a kind of mist came over my senses; but I heard him saying as he withdrew, what a pity it was that my nerves could not stand this disclosure ! Now, for my own satisfaction, I am resolved that, tomorrow, I shall raise the village, with the two ministers at the head of the multitude, and have the body, and particularly the neck of the deceased, minutely inspected."

"If you do so, I shall make one of the number," said the doctor. "But I am resolved that, in the first place, every means shall be tried to prevent a scene of madness and absurdity so disgraceful to a well-regulated village and a sober community."

The rest of this story can be read at

The other stories can be read at

The Concise Household Encyclopaedia
Added four more pages which include Chrysanthemum, Chubb, Chuck, Churn, Chutney, Cicatrix, Cider, Cider Cup, Cigar, Cigar Case, Cigarette, Cigarette Case, Cinchona Bark, Cinders, Cinder Sifter, Cinematography and Cineraria.

You can read about these at

Old Time Customs
Memories and Traditions and Other Essays
By John Burgess Calkin, M. A. LL.D. (1918)

Have now completed this book with...

Chapter XI
Christmas Scenes


Chapter I
Jack and Jill

Chapter II
Culture and Agriculture

Chapter III
A Vision

Chapter IV
Letter to a Young Teacher

Chapter V
Free Schools in Nova Scotia

Here is how the account of "Culture and Agriculture"...

FARMERS often discredit their calling by assuming that their success is mainly dependent on muscular effort. In fact, it has been contended that the learning of the schools rather disqualifies a boy for farm life, making him dissatisfied with its conditions. A claim has arisen, too, for re-adjustment of the school curriculum, so as to bring it into direct line with the work and interests of the farmer. In this contention important considerations are liable to be overlooked. The public school is not designed to prepare for the pursuit of agriculture alone, or for any one calling. Hence, a proper common school curriculum must be based on such broad lines as shall meet the demands of the whole circle of human life, with all its varied interests, industrial, social and moral. Nor would it be wise or practicable at an early stage in a boy's life to determine in arbitrary fashion what his life's work shall be or ought to be. It may be urged, also, that whatever tends to the awakening of observation and thought is in direct line with the education suited to the farmer. Without intelligence one will follow routine, pursue one beaten track, do things just as his father did, or imitate his neighbors. In emergency he is without expedient. Whereas the well disciplined mind is resourceful, ever on the alert for the discovery of shorter, easier and more effective methods of doing things.

Further, it should be remembered that the life of the farmer touches broader interests than those appertaining to agriculture. He is a man and a citizen as well as a farmer. The man is higher than his calling, and he cannot lightly ignore the claims of the great brotherhood to which he belongs. True education does not aim simply to make a man a better machine. It gives him higher ideals of worth, develops a "reach that exceeds the grasp," and measurably enriches the abundant life with a nutriment more satisfying than bread alone.

No calling demands more intelligence or finds within its sphere more fruitful and varied sources of knowledge than does this pursuit of agriculture. The farm is a natural science school, affording unbounded facilities for the study of many subjects. Among these subjects which appeal persistently and with the force of practical interest to the farmer are geology, mineralogy, chemistry, meteorology, botany, zoology, entomology, bacteriology, civics and others that might be named. Even a superficial knowledge of these subjects is often a source of power, and deeper research results in greater interest and higher reward.

You can the rest of this chapter at

You can read the others at

MacKenzie, Selkirk, Simpson
The Makers of Canada, By Rev. George Bryce, D.D. (1910)

We're completed the MacKenzie biography with...

Chapter XI - The Great Explorer's Impulse

And started on the biography of Lord Selkirk with...

Chapter I - A Youthful Philosopher
Chapter II - First Experiments in Emigration
Chapter III - A Dream of Empire
Chapter IV - The Colony Begun
Chapter V - Red River Occupied
Chapter VI - Angry Passions

Here is how Chapter I starts...

THE name and titles of the Earl of Selkirk are firmly attached to a number of localities in the Canadian West: a town and county of Manitoba, a range of mountains in British Columbia, a fort on the Yukon River, and an island in Lake Winnipeg, all bear the name of Selkirk; a part of the city of Winnipeg called Point Douglas, where originally stood Fort Douglas, preserves to this day the family name of the great colonizer. The ruins of a fort near the international boundary, known as Fort Daer, long remained to recall one of the titles of the noble house of Selkirk.

The man who thus impressed himself upon so vast a region was no common man, and the story of his life is worthy of a place in the treasure-house of Canadian and British worthies.

Thomas Douglas, fifth Earl of Selkirk, Baron Daer and Shortcleugh, was a scion of one of the oldest Scottish noble families. As the writer has said elsewhere, "The intrepidity of the Douglases, the perseverance of the ancient family of Marr, and the venturesomeness of the house of Angus, were all his inheritance by blood. Back nineteen generations, and not less than seven hundred years before his time, Theobald, the Fleming—the Selkirk ancestor—scorned the quieter pleasures of home, and went to seek his fortunes among the Saxon people of old Northumbria, bought himself a new home with the sword, and the lands of Douglas were granted him because he had won them honourably."

Time does not permit to tell the deeds of Theobald's great grandson, Sir William Douglas, the hardy man who joined the unlucky Wallace, and suffered death for it, and of Sir William's grandson, the grim Sir Archibald. James, the second earl of Douglas, who fell fighting against the Percy, was the brave hero of the battle of Otterburn. It was his dying boast that "few of his ancestors had died in chambers." Good Sir James Douglas lived in the days of the Bruce, distinguished himself at Bannockburn, and figured in the attempt to carry the heart of King Robert to Jerusalem. These might suffice for a group of ancestors of remarkable distinction, but there was also that other famous man, Archibald, "Bell the Cat," the Earl of Angus, whose courage and resource have become watchwords in history.

With such heroic blood in his veins our great colonizer was born, being the seventh son of Dunbar, fourth Earl of Selkirk. He was born in June, 1771, at St. Mary's Isle, the earl's seat at the mouth of the Dee in Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland. At the age of fifteen young Thomas Douglas went to the University of Edinburgh, and there pursued his studies till he was nineteen. His college days gave promise of an energy, resourcefulness, and ability which were to urge him to great achievements in his later days. With Walter Scott he was a member of "The Club," a small society of ardent literary spirits. The earl, young Thomas's father, was a broad-minded man, who showed favour to rising genius, and patronized Robert Burns. It was at St. Mary's Isle that Burns, on being entertained, extemporized the well-known "Selkirk Grace" found in his poems.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

You can read the other chapters at

Guide to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland
By George Anderson and Peter Anderson of Inverness (1850)

Making more progress with this book and have added the following chapters...

Branch A. - Stirling, by Lochearn-head, to Tyndrum, and, by Callander, to Loch Catrine, Lochs Lomond, Chon, Ard, and Monteith
Branch B. From Fort-William to Arisaig and Moidart
Branch C. Loch Arkaig
Branch D. Loch Lagan Road and Parallel Roads of Glen Roy
Branch E. From Invergarry to Loch Hournhead and Cluany
Branch F. From Invermoriston to Kyle Rhea and Kyle Akin

Here is how Branch A starts...

1. FOR several miles before it joins the Firth, the river Forth rolls in many a tortuous maze through a rich and spacious plain ; its ample flood but slightly depressed below the level of the fattened soil. At a short distance from the northern bank of the river, the Ochils bound this teeming flat. Until it reaches this expanse, the course of the river lies through a wide and level valley. At the mouth of the valley, an isolated eminence rises on the south side of the river, with a somewhat steep slope on the south-east, and on the opposite side presenting an abrupt acclivity, surmounted by a ledge of trap rock. The stratum dips (to speak technically) to the south-west, and the rocky precipice gradually increases in height as it ascends from the plain, till towards the summit it becomes a cliff of considerable elevation, composed of basaltic columns, from the edge of which rise the walls of Stirling Castle. The town is built chiefly on the slope of the hill.

Stirling Castle figures in history as early as the twelfth century, having been one of the strongholds which formed the pledges of payment of the ransom of William the Lion ; and indeed mention is made of it as the rendezvous of the Scottish army some centuries earlier, when the victory over the Danes at Luncarty was achieved. And Stirling was a military station under the Romans. The castle has sustained numerous sieges, especially during our struggles with the haughty Edwards. Here James II. and IV. were born, and James V. and Queen Mary crowned, and James VI. passed his early years under the tuition of George Buchanan ; and it was a favourite residence of all the Stuarts, by whom the greater part of the present buildings were erected. They compose a small square, one side of which, the parliament hall, was built by James III., the palace by James V., the chapel (now the armoury) by James VI. The exterior of the palace, embellished as it is by grotesque busts, fanciful statues and columns, affords a curious specimen of the bizarre and fantastic taste of the period. The castle mounts twenty-nine guns; and the armoury contains 15,000 stand of arms and a few reliques of Scottish story, the most interesting of which is a pulpit of rude workmanship shown as Knox's pulpit.

On the Gallow Hill, a mound on the eastward of the castle, Duncan, Earl of Lennox, the Regent Duke of Albany, his son Walter, and his son-in-law and grandson, were beheaded in May 1425; while Douglas' room, looking into the governor's garden, was the scene of the Earl's murder by James II. Stirling rock and castle are very imposing in appearance from many points, but especially from the vicinity of the field of Bannockburn, on the Glasgow road ; and the view from the castle is perhaps unequalled in Scotland, combining with great extent and extreme fertility a magnificent range of mountains lining the upper portion of the valley, while the spacious and luxurant plain at the head of the Firth gradually ascends on the south in receding slopes of the same highly cultivated character. In this direction the eye roams over a spacious flat of the highest fertility ; ascending, on the south, in a far reaching inclination of the same character, and to the east, giving place to the waters of the Firth, with Edinburgh looming in the distance.

Northwards, the moderately elevated sides of the valley conduct to the splendid mountain screen formed by Ben Ledi, Ben Vorlich, Ben Lomond, and other alps. The convoluted windings of the river; the strange contortions of which may be judged of from the fact, that they lengthen the distance by water to Alloa to twenty in place of six miles, betoken the dead level of the surrounding plain. Altogether a richer prospect cannot be conceived, nor can there be a point of view more favourable, commanding an unobstructed range in every direction. A hollow below the castle parade, called "the Valley," was the scene of the joust and tournament, where beauty oft has dealt the prize to valorous achievement. At the lower end of the parade is an antique square edifice, with central court and extinguisher turrets, shooting up from the interior angles. It belonged originally to the Earls of Stirling, and afterwards to the Argyle family. Not far from it, at the head of Broad Street, is a ruinous structure called "Marr's Work," built, about 1570, with stones from Cumbus Kenneth Abbey. Beside it stands a handsome Gothic church, built by James IV., the chancel of which was added by Cardinal Beaton. King James VI. was crowned in the church, and the coronation sermon was preached by John Knox. All these buildings are near the brink of the rock, along the face of which a terraced walk is carried round the castle. On the plain below is a circular mound, the Knott, known as King Arthur's Round Table, once the centre of courtly pastime.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

All of these can be read at

Public Entertainers
A chapter from the book "The Scot in America".

The chapter starts...

IN the course of the present work we have several times mentioned the name of women who have, for some laudable reason or other, acquired publicity or deserved remembrance. But even with the mention of these, scant justice has been done to the claims of "the lassies" to a share in all that has made the Scottish name honorable in America. It may not therefore be inappropriate to make the ladies the text for one chapter in this book, and in the few names we will mention we are sure it will be seen that the fair sex has not been behind the other in good deeds and kindly ways. It is, of course, difficult to get information regarding women's work, for most of them prefer to do what good they can without attracting publicity, and in the quiet of the domestic circle many matters have been suggested and planned and projected which have done grand work in the world. The Scotch-woman is naturally a housewife, bending her energies to the care of the home in which she is recognized as queen, and planning and contriving day out and day in for the comfort of those who look to her for all the pleasures which are associated with domestic life. If she be blessed with children her whole heart goes out to them, and in the development of their minds, their physical and mental progress, as well as their material welfare, she devotes herself with a degree of self-abnegation which is one of the highest and grandest tributes to the real majesty of her sex. But for having been left a widow, with a young family totally unprovided for, it is questionable if Mrs. Grant of Laggan would ever have aspired to the honors of authorship or emerged from the happy obscurity of her own fireside. That wonderful and irrepressible production of nature and art generally called "a woman with a mission" has her representatives in and out of Scotland, but as a general rule Scotswomen who have become famous have become so by force of circumstances bringing into action their innate sentiments of patriotism, charity, and love. Outside of the people of the stage and concert platform, and, of course, outside of the woman with the aforesaid mission whose vanity is the cause of all her silliness, we never yet heard of a Scotswoman who started out in life or cut out a career for herself with the idea of becoming famous or of even acquiring undue publicity. The fame which has come to so many of them has been the result of work well (lone, of service to God and humanity faithfully rendered, and of simple, trustful devotion to duty in whatever sphere and circumstances they happened to be placed.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

Men of Letters
A chapter from the book "The Scot in America".

The chapter starts...

In the gallery of Scottish-American men of letters no name stands higher, no personality was more impressive, no life was more useful, than that of James McCosh, the gifted President of Princeton College, N. J. He settled in America in the fullness of his powers, and from the (lay of his arrival gave himself up wholly to it. He not only strove to place Princeton among the world's great seats of learning, but lie gave to America a system of philosophy, based upon the old common-sense school of Scotland, which, if followed out and studied with the closeness it deserves, will give a new trend to American thought and scholarship, and to American metaphysical study an individuality of its own. His administration of Princeton was a model one. During his tenure of office he reorganized the whole routine at the college, extended its curriculum, rebuilt most of its halls, and when he laid down the Presidency it was second in point of equipment, number of students, standing of Faculty, and moral tone to no university establishment in America. Considered simply as a man of letters, Dr. McCosh by his writings did much to advance American scholarship, and his two volumes on "Realistic Philosophy" and the one on "First and Fundamental Truths" are probably the most important contributions yet made to higher American thought. "The time has come for America to declare her independence in philosophy" formed part of one of the opening sentences of the former work, and the foundation of such a system was the purpose of his later writings—the work of all his closing years.

But, full of American fervor as he was, he never lost his devotion to his native land, and what Scot abroad ever sent back to the country of his birth a grander memorial of his love than did Dr. McCosh when he published his invaluable history of "Scottish Philosophy"? As he well said in its preface: "This work has been with me a labor of love. The gathering of materials for it and the writing of it, as carrying me into what I feel to be interesting scenes, have afforded me great pleasure, which is the only reward I am likely to get. I publish it as the last, and to inc the only remaining, means of testifying my regard for my country—loved all the more because I am now far from it—and my country's philosophy, which has been the means of stimulating thought in so many of Scotland's sons." To understand Dr. McCosh's life work, too, it must not be forgotten that he was a zealous and devoted minister of the Gospel. That fact he himself not only never forgot, but lie placed its duties above all others. In the preface to his "Gospel Sermons," published in 1888, he sufficiently enunciated this when he said: "Hitherto my published works have been chiefly philosophical. But, all along, while I was lecturing and writing on philosophy, I was also preaching. I am anxious that the public should 'know that, much as I value philosophy, I place the Gospel of Jesus Christ above it."

You can read the rest of this chapter at

Among the Poets
A chapter from the book "The Scot in America".

The chapter starts...

FOR a variety of reasons, it is a difficult matter to reflect in a single chapter any true idea of the variety and value of the contributions which Scotsmen in America have made to the poetic wealth of the continent. We hold that, even though the Scottish poets domiciled in America continue to write in their native Doric, and though their utterances are redolent of Scotland, it is American literature that is enriched by their song. Time has shown that it is seldom the song uttered on the soil of the New World is carried back across the sea: indeed, the instances of that could be counted on the fingers of one hand, and the Scot in America who commits the sin of rhyme has mainly to look to the land in which he lives for a clientage, and for that meed of praise which he regards as his due.

Scottish-American singers have been, in proportion to their numbers, as plentiful as their brothers at home, and, while for none can be claimed the possession of the very highest gifts, yet there are not a few whose songs have added to the pleasantness of life and the brightness of the world: and by the Scottish-American writers of the passing clay there are many songs being contributed to the national anthology which will live for, at least, some years after the singers have laid down the harp and Joined the silent realms—to us—of the great majority. We do not join in the cry against mediocre poets and poetasters and the like. Every honest effort, no matter in what direction, ought to be encouraged rather than sneered at, and even if a man's song does no more than soften and mellow his own heart, or afford a glint of happiness to his ain ingleside, the song has not been written in vain. By constantly tuning the harp a song might be evolved, even by chance, to which the world will listen; but, if not, there is an exalted pleasure in the work for the worker. Men who even "dabble" in poetry are rarely found in any ranks but those who are earnestly striving to make the world better. Even when they are not, the moral of their fall is so evident that the life-story is of some value to the world.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

Loch Etive and The Sons of Uisnach
By R. Angus Smith (1885)

A new book we're starting and I have the first chapter up for you to read. We've also been supplied a few pictures of the Glen and you'll find a link at the foot of the index page to some notes and pictures supplied by Robert Allan.

I might add that this is the area that my own people settled for many years so is of interest to myself as well :-)

Here is the Preface of the book...

THIS book was begun as the work of holidays, and was intended to be read on holidays, but there is not the less a desire to be correct. The primary object is to show what is interesting near Loch Etive, and thus add points of attachment to our country. There is so much that is purely legendary, that it was thought better to treat the subject in a manner which may appear preliminary rather than full, going lightly over a good deal of ground, and, from the very nature of the collected matter, touching on subjects which may at first appear childish. It is believed that to most persons the district spoken of will appear as a newly discovered country, although passed by numerous tourists. The landing of the Irish Scots has held a very vague place in our history, and it is interesting to think of them located on a spot which we can visit and to find an ancient account of their King's Court, even if it be only a fanciful one written long after the heroes ceased to live. The connection of Scotland and Ireland, previous to the Irish invasion, is still less known, and to see any mention of the events of the period by one who may reasonably be supposed to have spoken in times which for Scotland can scarcely be called historic, excited much surprise and interest in the author of this volume, and it is believed will be pleasing to those who for the first time read the account of the children of Uisnach.

These two eras belong to the earliest notices of our land. The first mentioned has generally been noticed by historians, but little has been said to make us think it real. The other has not passed into history, and it stands at present as our very first account of a connection between Scotland and Ireland which seems to be authentic, although despised as belonging only to Bardic legends. The dreamy state in which the accounts come to us, has led to a desire not to use either the historic or severely critical style in this volume. In the discussion relating to places the wish has been to avoid arguments well known, and as friends have in some cases communicated new ones, these have been chiefly retained as more interesting. The importance given in the main legends to Bards and Druids has led the author to say something of them. It has been his aim whilst beginning with the more distant allusions native to these lands, to describe, after frequent visits and investigations, the remains of antiquity of a pre-historic character as they now appear near Loch Etive, connecting, by historic theories, the larger body of Celts in Europe with the people who were the actors in that region. He wishes to shew that it has required several races to make up the population of countries called Celtic, judging either from their early history or from their present condition.

The slightness of the older materials affected in various ways the mode of treatment, and it was decided to bring together several persons to represent the various views. A Highlander, of course, was necessary to skew part of the ground, but an Irishman was equally required—indeed nearly all the Celtic literature quoted is Irish. A Lowlander was brought to give unbiassed opinions, and he brings three of his family to vary the tone of thought or mode of observation. All, however, take interest in the district, and are supposed to have given to the subject some previous attention. A few of the names are spelt in various ways by writers of good standing, and the author sometimes thought it well not to confine himself to one form, when it does not spew any quality that gives it prominence.

You can read the first chapter at

Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of Kent
Our thanks to Nola Crewe for transcribing these for us.

This week we've added...

Richardson, John at

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


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