Scotland's Weekly Email Newsletter
Electric Scotland newsletter meaning the weekend is nearly here :-)
You can view what's new this week on Electric Scotland at
http://www.electricscotland.com/rss/whatsnew.php 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
Clan and Family Information
Poetry and Stories
Book of Scottish Story
The Concise Household Encyclopaedia
New Statistical Account of Scotland
Guide to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland
Loch Etive and The Sons of Uisnach
Children's Rhymes, Children's Games, Children's Songs, Children's
Folklore of Scottish Lochs and Springs
Social Life in Scotland (New Book)
Canadian Life as I Found It (New book)
Robert Burns Lives!
ELECTRIC SCOTLAND NEWS
Was away in Toronto for the early part of the week. On Monday night
was at a meeting of the Knights Templars where we're organising an
International Gathering in Toronto for 2010.
On the Tuesday night had a meeting with the Scottish Studies
Foundation where we've selected this years "Scot of the Year". Next
week we'll know for definate what we'll be doing but everything
seems well organised. We just need to check out the venue and ensure
that everything they say they can do they can do :-)
Two new books this week and one is the 3 volume Social History of
Scotland. The other is a complete book on pioneering life in Canada.
See below for more information.
I`ve also made a start at a 3 book set. One book is how to build a
log cabin. Another is how to preserve vegetables, fruit and meat.
The last is how to grow a home garden. I figured as we`re hitting
this depression these books might well be of interest and also some
practical help. And so if you are having problems on keeping up
these house payments sell your house for what you can get and go
build a log cabin, then get your home garden going and then preserve
the food so you can eat for the rest of the year :-)
Actually I`ve always been interested in self sufficiency so I`ve
more done these books for myself but hopefully you`ll find them of
interest as I get them up.
I also plan to do a History of the United States of America. As half
my visitors come from the USA and many of you say you never get any
history at school I thought this would be a good contribution to the
site. As it happens the book was written by a Scot who was a Dundee
merchant but spent many years in the USA.
ABOUT THE STORIES
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.
THE FLAG IN THE WIND
This weeks Flag is compiled by Mark Hirst. Seems there has been a
rise in support for an Independent Scotland now up to 38%.
In Peter's cultural section we get...
Two notable dates fall this week – one a tragedy, the other very
The tragedy occurred on 13 February 1692 when Government troops,
under the orders of English King William, carried out a massacre of
the MacDonalds of Glencoe which has gone down in history as an act
of infamy. See this week’s ‘Sing a Sang’ (above) for the words of
Jim McLean’s magnificent song ‘The Ballad of Glencoe’ and historical
information in the footnote.
The romantic date is, of course, St Valentine’s Day, on 14 February,
which is celebrated world-wide. But Scotland can claim a close
affinity to the Saint as his remains lie in a Glasgow church – the
Church of Blessed John Duns Scotus in the Gorbals. The notorious
‘Glasgow Kiss’ has nothing to do with the Saint or with his remains,
indeed quite the opposite!
Scotland's most famous romantic poet, Robert Burns, wrote of St
Valentine's Day in his poem 'Tam Glen'
"Yestreen at the valentines' dealing
My heart to my mou' gied a sten' ;
For thrice I drew ane without failing,
And thrice it was written - Tam Glen."
And our most famous novelist, Sir Walter Scott, wrote of St
Valentine's Day in 'The Fair Maid of Perth' -
"Tomorrow is St Valentine's Day, when every bird chooses her mate. I
will plague you no longer now, providing you will let me see you
from your window tomorrow when the sun first peeps over the eastern
hill, and give me right to be your Valentine for the year."
A romantic time of year requires a romantic recipe – love and
chocolate traditionally go together, so why not make your Valentine
a very tasty treat – Baked Dark Chocolate Puddings with Chilled
Vanilla Whipped Cream. Enjoy and forget the calories!
Baked Dark Chocolate Puddings with Vanilla Whipped Cream
Ingredients: 120g Butter; 120g dark chocolate, chopped; 2 large
whole eggs; 2 large egg yolks; 50g caster sugar; 2 tsp self-raising
flour; vanilla flavoured whipped cream, to serve
Method: 1. Preheat the oven to 220C/gas 8. Butter 4 ramekins and
dust them with a little caster sugar. 2. Melt the butter and
chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Leave on one
side to cool slightly. 3. Whisk the whole eggs, egg yolks and caster
sugar together until the mixture is very thick and pale. 4. Stir in
the chocolate and butter mixture and quickly but carefully fold in
the sieved flour. 5. Divide the mixture between the ramekins, set
them on a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes. 6. Serve hot, with
chilled vanilla flavoured whipped cream, or with a good vanilla ice
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...
Reid and Scrimgeour and YEAH! This now completes this publication!!!
Here is how the account of Reid starts...
REID, WILLIAM, poet and song-writer, was born at Glasgow, 10th
April, 1764. He was the son of Robert Reid, baker in that city, and
Christian Wood, daughter of a farmer at Gartmore, Perthshire. He
received a good education, and was first employed in the
type-foundry of Mr. Andrew Wilson. He afterwards served an
apprenticeship with Messrs, Dunlop and Wilson, booksellers in
Glasgow. In 1790 he commenced business as a bookseller in
partnership with Mr. James Brash, (born 1st January 1758, died 9th
October 1835), and for a period of twenty[seven years they carried
on a successful business, under the firm, well known in their day,
of Brash and Reid. Between the years 1795 and 1798, they issued, in
penny numbers, a small publication under the title of ‘Poetry,
Original and Selected,’ which extended to four volumes. In this
publication several pieces of Mr. Reid were inserted. Most of his
compositions were of an ephemeral kind, and no separate collection
of them was ever printed. His partner, Mr. Brash, also contributed
two or three original pieces to its pages. Mr. Reid died at Glasgow,
29th November 1831.
From an obituary notice which appeared in the Glasgow papers, soon
after his death, the following is extracted: “In early and mature
life Mr. Reid was remarkable both for vivacity, and no mean share of
that peculiar talent which, in Scotland, the genius of Burns and its
splendid and dazzling course seemed to call forth in the minds of
many of his admiring countrymen. He not only shared in the general
enthusiasm the appearance of that day-star of national poetry
elicited, but participated in his friendship, and received
excitement from his converse. In Scottish song, and in pieces of
characteristic humour, Mr. Reid, in several instances, approved
himself not unworthy of either such intimacy or inspiration. These
are chiefly preserved in a collection, entitled, ‘Poetry, Original
and Selected,’ which appeared under the tasteful auspices of himself
and partner. It is now scarce, but highly valued. Even, however,
when it shall have altogether ceased to be known but to collectors,
many of the simple and beautiful lines of Mr. Reid’s earlier
compositions, and racy, quaint, and original thoughts and
expressions of his riper years, will cling to the general memory.
Perhaps, of these, the humorous will be the longest lived.”
You can read the rest of this account at
You can read all these entries at
Clan and Family Information
The Clan Leslie folk saw Leslie House in Scotland on fire last week.
Clan MacKenzie have done an update of
their DNA database which you can find as an excel spreadsheet at
Poetry and Stories
John sent in another poem, "Scotland's Byways Are Full Of Surprises"
And of course more articles in our Article Service from Donna and
Book of Scottish Story
Our thanks to John Henderson for sending this in for us.
This week have added chapter 1 of a three chapter story of...
Here is how it starts...
“I sat and watched while all men slept, and lo!
Between the green earth and the deep green sea
I saw bright spirits pass, pure as the touch
Of May’s first finger on the eastern hill.
Behind them followed fast a little cloud;
And from the cloud an evil spirit came--
A damned shape—one who in the dark pit.
Held sovereign sway; and power to him was given
To chase the blessed spirits from the earth,
And rule it for a season.
Soon he shed
His hellish slough, and many a subtle wile;
Was his to seem a heavenly spirit to man.
First he a hermit, sore subdued in flesh,
O'er a cold cruse of water and a crust,
Poured out meek prayers abundant.
Then he changed
Into a maid when she first dreams of man,
And from beneath two silken eyelids sent
The sidelong light of two such wondrous eyes,
That all the saints grew sinners. He subdued
Those wanton smiles, and grew a reverend dame,
With wintry ringlets, and grave lips, which dropt
Proverbial honey in her grandson’s ear.
Then a professor of God’s Word he seemed,
And o’er a multitude of upturned eyes
Showered blessed dews, and made the pitchy path
Down which howl damned spirits, seem the bright
Thrice-hallowed way to heaven. Yet grimly through
The glorious veil of those seducing shapes
Frowned out the fearful spirit.”
The religious legend which supplies my story with the motto, affords
me no further assistance in arranging and interpreting the various
traditional remembrances of the colloquies between one of the chiefs
of the ancient Presbyterian Kirk and one of the inferior spirits of
darkness. It is seldom that tradition requires any illustration; its
voice is clear, and its language simple. It seeks to conceal nothing
; what it can explain it explains, and scorns, in the homely
accuracy of its protracted details, all mystery and reservation. But
in the present story, there is much which the popular spirit of
research would dread to have revealed;—a something too mystical and
hallowed to be sought into by a devout people. Often as I have
listened to it, I never heard it repeated without mutual awe in the
teller and the auditor. The most intrepid peasant becomes graver and
graver as he proceeds, stops before the natural termination of the
story, and hesitates to pry into the supernatural darkness of the
tradition. It would be unwise, therefore, to seek to expound or
embellish the legend,—it shall be told as it was told to me; I am
but as a humble priest responding from the traditionary oracles, and
the words of other years pass without change from between my lips.
Ezra Peden was one of the shepherds of the early Presbyterian flock,
and distinguished himself as an austere and enthusiastic pastor;
fearless in his ministration, delighting in wholesome discipline,
and guiding in the way of grace the peer as well as the peasant. He
grappled boldly with the infirmities and sins of the times; he
spared not the rod in the way of his ministry; and if in the time of
peril he laid his hand on the sword, in the time of peace his
delight was to place it on the horns of the altar. He spared no
vice, he compounded with no sin, and he discussed men’s claims to
immortal happiness with a freedom which made them tremble. Amid the
fervour of his eloquence, he aspired, like some of his
fellow-professors of that period, to the prophetic mantle. Plain and
simple in his own apparel, he counted the mitred glory and exterior
magnificence of the hierarchy a sin and an abomination, and
preferred preaching on a wild hill, or in a lonesome glen, to the
most splendid edifice.
Wherever he sojourned, dance and song fled;—the former he accounted
a devoting of limbs which God made to the worship of Satan; the
latter he believed to be a sinful meting out of wanton words to a
heathen measure. Satan, he said, leaped and danced, and warbled and
sung, when he came to woo to perdition the giddy sons and daughters
of men. He dictated the colour and the cut of men’s clothes—it was
seemly for those who sought salvation to seek it in a sober suit;
and the ladies of his parish were obliged to humble their finery,
and soberdown their pride, before his sarcastic sermons on female
paintings, and plumings, and perfumings, and the unloveliness of
love-locks. He sought to make a modest and sedate grace abound among
women; courtship was schooled and sermoned into church controversy,
and love into mystical professions; the common civilities between
the sexes were doled out with a suspicious hand and a jealous
charity, and the primrose path through the groves of dalliance to
the sober vale of marriage was planted with thorns and sown with
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 Added four more pages which
include Coal Box, Coalbrookdale, Coal Bunker, Coal Cellar, Coalport,
Coal Scuttle, Coal Tar, Coarse Stuff, Coaster Hub, Coating, Cobaea,
Cobbler, Cobble Stone, Cob Loaf, Cob Nut, Coburg Cake, Cocaine,
Coccidiosis, Cochineal, Cochin Fowl, Cochlioda, Cock-a-Leekie,
Cockatoo, Cockchafer Grub, Cocker Spaniel, Cockle, Cockroach,
You can read about these at
New Statistical Account of Scotland
Added the account of the City of Glasgow from the Lanark volume
which you can read 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
E. Skye and Rasay
Division I. Skye—From Armadale, Kyle Rhea, and Kyle Akin, to
Dunvegan and Duntulm
Division II. Skye—Cave of Strathaird, Coruishk, Glen Sligachan
Division III. Broadford to Brochel Castle, in Rasay
F. The Outer Hebrides, or the Long Island
G. St. Kilda
The Orkney and Zetland Islands
Part 1st. The Orkney Islands
Here is what Part 1st of the Orkney and Zetland Islands includes...
Population of Orkney, paragraph 1.—Climate, 2.—General Aspect. of
the Orkney Islands, 3.—Storms, 4.—Agriculture; Single-stilted
Plough, 5.—Inhabitants; Customs; Dress, 6.—Orkney houses; Food,
7.—Education; Disposition; Religion; Superstitions, 8.—Trade;
Manufactures, 9.—Fisheries; Lobster Fishing, 10.Straw-Plaiting,
11.—Distilleries; Shipping; Sea Insurance, 12.—Exports, 13.—Table of
Produce, 14.—history of Orkney, 15.—Itinerary: Pomona, or the
Mainland, Kirkwall, 16.—St. Magnus' Cathedral; Earls' and Bishops'
Palaces at Kirkwall; Pict's House on Wideford Hill, 17.—Road to
Stromness; View from the Centre of Pomona, 18 —Stone Monuments, or
Standing Stones of Stennis; Temples of the Sun and Moon at Stennis,
19.—Stromness; Bay, 20.—Miraculous Deliverance from Shipwreck,
21.—True History of George Stewart of Masseter, 22.—Excursion to
Hoy; Echo at the Meadow of the Kame; Precipices and Old Man of Hoy;
Wardhill of Hoy; Botany; The Dwarfie Stone, 23.—Rest Coast of
Pomona; Vitrified Cairn in Sandwick Parish; Unique Stone Structure
at Via, 24.—Birsa Palace; Plants rare in Orkney, 25.—Itinerant of
the North Inlet: Westray an Papa Westray; Pict's house, 26.—North
Ronaldshay; Sanday; Vitrified Cairns, 27.—Ferries and Freights,
28.—General Features of the North Isles, 29.—Papa Westray; Holm of
Papa Westray; The Eider Duck, 30.—Sketch of the Natural History of
You can read this chapter at
All of these can be read at
Loch Etive and The Sons of Uisnach
By R. Angus Smith (1885)
Moving ahead with this book and added this week are chapters...
Chapter XXII - Christian Memories
Chapter XXIII - Druids
Chapter XXIV - Oban and Dalmally
Chapter XXV - To Glen Etive
Chapter XXVI - The Celts
Chapter XXVII - Conversation on the Celts
Here is how the chapter on "To Glen Etive" starts...
Cameron.—I think we might go to Tyndrum by train. It will be
pleasantly strange to rush up such a waste as Glen Laogh in such a
bird-like fashion. Once I went up by coach, but the horses grieved
me, and I could not see the river as it rushed down its gorge. True,
I saw the wilderness, and it pressed upon my mind. Surely the Sahara
can scarcely be mire desert, but it is different; Sahara has not
even the winds, or they are rare as well as dusty, and even the
demons of the stones have deserted the place. Here they rage on the
hills, and Cailleach Bheir moves from mountain to mountain.
Margaet.—How dreadful to skim over the precipitous banks of this
stream. No human being could see it in its natural state before this
railway began to play upon its precipices, and here we take the way
of the crows. They used to tell me that it was a terrible pass, only
few people could climb it in winter, and none of the farmers could
go up and down in a day with their carts unless these were empty.
But here we are flying up and we shall alight in half an hour. The
fables of childhood become silly, and its wonders turn to nothing
even to the young.
Loudoun—It is not quite so. The fables of childhood do not become
silly ; they never have been so important as now; we neglected them,
and now men of learning treasure them and learn philosophy and
history from them. Let us learn the same from this road. In the
memory of man it was a difficult passage for any one, and very hard
for a horse with a burden. For a generation the road has been fair,
but steep. I remember when it was a hard journey to Tyndrum, except
for a good hill walker.
Cameron.-It is a strange valley this. You see it is a collection of
heaps which exist in thousands, masses as if left by melting ice;
but they might have been made by local shower-water. The old poem
which was before quoted about the sons of Uisnach calls it the glen
of straight ridges:-
Glen Urchain! O Glen Urchain! (or Glenorchy! O Glenorchy!)
It was the straight glen of smooth ridges
Not more joyful was a man of his age
Than Naoise in Glen Urchain. —Skenes translation.
This at the upper part is not properly Glenorchy, which is more
strictly the branch to the north; but the stream from here runs into
the Orchay or Urchaidh, and Glenorchy is the wider name that runs
down along the side of Loch Awe. There is no manageable road up
through the real Glenorchy.
This is one of the reasons why I brought you to Dalmally. You see
one of the hunting places of the Uisnachs, and you learn that it is
still as it was of old, leaving out the road and railway, if you can
manage to think of it so.
We are at Tvndrum, Tigh'n druim, the house on the ridge. A dreary
house it was once; now there is a fine hotel. Even manufactures have
tried to settle here, and in that little hole up on the side of the
hill it is said that the last :Marquis of Breadalbane spent sixty
thousand pounds looking for lead, and perhaps he spent somewhat
more, trying to make vitriol outside with the minerals got from
within the hill. Our ride being short, we shall need no rest here,
but we shall again take the private rather than public conveyance ;
we must spend some time on the way.
You can read the rest of this chapter at
You can read all these chapters at
Children's Rhymes. Children's Games, Children' s Songs, Children's
A Book for Bairns and Big Folk by Robert Ford (1904).
The pages we have up this week are...
Oats and Beans and Barley
Blind Man's Buff
Here is Blind Man's Buff for you to read here...
Blind Man's Buff, though not a rhyme-game, is yet so well known it
is worth mentioning for the mere purpose of telling its story. Like
many more such—if we only knew how—it is based on fact. It is of
French origin, and of very great antiquity, having been introduced
into Britain in the train of the Roman conquerors. Its French name,
"Colin Maillard," was that of a brave warrior, the memory of whose
exploits still lives in the chronicles of the Middle Ages.
In the year 999) Liege reckoned among its valiant chiefs one Jean
Colin. He acquired the name Maillard from his chosen weapon being a
mallet, wherewith in battle he used literally to crush his
In one of the feuds which were of perpetual recurrence in those
times, he encountered the Count de Lourain in a pitched battle,
and—so runs the story—in the first onset Colin Maillard lost both
He ordered his esquire to take him into the thickest of the fight,
and, furiously brandishing his mallet, did such fearful execution
that victory soon declared itself for him.
When Robert of France heard of these feats of arms, he lavished
favour and Honours upon Colin, and so great was the fame of the
exploit that it was commemorated in the pantomimic representations
that formed part of the rude dramatic performances of the age. By
degrees the children learned to act it for themselves, and it took
the form of a familiar sport.
The blindfold pursuer, as with bandaged eyes and extended hands he
gropes for a victim to pounce upon, seems in some degree to repeat
the action of Colin Maillard, the tradition of which is also
traceable in the manse, "Blind man's buff."
You can read the other pages at
Folklore of Scottish Lochs and Springs
by James M. Mackinlay (1893)
Added more chapters to this book...
Chapter II - How Water became Holy
Chapter III - Saints and Springs
Chapter IV - More Saints and Springs
Chapter V - Stone Blocks and Saints` Sprigs
Chapter VI - Healing and Holy Wells
Chapter VII - Water Cures
Chapter VIII - Some Wonderful Wells
Here is how the chapter on Healing and Holy Wells starts...
Not far from the highway between Ayr and Prestwick once stood a
lazar-house called King's Ease or King's Case, known in the
sixteenth century as Kilcaiss. Its ruins were to be seen till well
on in the present century. According to tradition, the hospital was
founded for lepers by King Robert Bruce, who was himself afflicted
with a disease believed to be leprosy. This was done as a
thank-offering, for benefit received from the water of a
neighbouring well. The spring was doubtless sacred to some saint,
probably to Ninian, to whom the hospital was dedicated, and we can
safely infer that the patron got the credit of the cure. To maintain
the lepers the king gifted various lands to the hospital, among
others, those of Robertlone, in Dundonald parish, and of Sheles and
Spital-Sheles, in Kyle Stewart. The right of presentation to the
hospital was vested in the family of Wallace of Craigie. At a later
date the lands belonging to the charity passed into other hands. In
the third volume of his "Caledonia," published in 1824, Chalmers
remarks, "The only revenue that remained to it was the feu-duties
payable from the lands granted in fee-firm, and these, amounting to
64 bolls of meal and 8 marks Scots of money, with 16 threaves of
straw for thatching the hospital, are still paid.
For more than two centuries past the diminished revenue has been
shared among eight objects of charity in equal shares of 8 bolls of
meal and 1 mark Scots to each. The leprosy having long disappeared,
the persons who are now admitted to the benefit of this charity are
such as labour under diseases which are considered as incurable, or
such as are in indigent circumstances." In the time of Charles I.,
the persons enjoying the benefit of the charity lived in huts or
cottages in the vicinity of the chapel. In 1787 the right of
presentation was bought from the Wallaces by the burgh of Ayr, and
the poorhouse there is thus the lineal descendant of King Robert's
hospital. Mr. R. C. Hope, in his "Holy Wells," alludes to the
interesting fact that Bruce had a free pass from the English king to
visit Muswell, near London, close to the site of the Alexandra
Palace. This well, dedicated to St. Lazarus, at one time belonged to
the hospital order of St. John's, Clerkenwell, and was resorted to
in cases of leprosy. Bruce's foundation at Ayr recalls another at
Stony Middleton, in Derbyshire. The latter, however, was a chapel,
and not a hospital. Tradition says that a crusader, belonging to the
district, was cured of leprosy by means of the mineral water there,
and that in gratitude he built a chapel and dedicated it to his
patron saint, Martin.
In glancing at the history of holy wells, it is not difficult to
understand why certain springs were endowed with mysterious
properties. When there were no chemists to analyse mineral springs,
anyone tasting the water would naturally enough think that there was
something strange about it, a notion that would not vanish with the
first draught. The wonder, too, would grow if the water was found to
put fresh vigour into wearied frames. Alum wells, like the one in
Carnwath parish, Lanarkshire, would, through their astringent
qualities, arrest attention. A well at Halkirk, Caithness, must have
been a cause of wonder, if we judge by the description given of it
in the "Old Statistical Account of Scotland," where we read, that
"on its surface lies always a thin beautiful kind of substance, that
varies like the plumage of the peacock displayed in all its glory to
the rays of the sun."
You can read the rest of this chapter at
The book index can be found at
Social Life in Scotland
From Early to Recent Times by Rev. Charles Rogers in 3 volumes
This is another new book we've started. I'll likely put this up a
couple of chapters a week as each chapter is around 100 pages or so.
I will say that anyone studying any aspect of the Social life in
Scotland will find this very usefull as the author mentions many
authors of books on the various topics. This means that each chapter
could be a kind of foundation to do more studies on the various
topics covered in the book.
As this is a very substancial publication here is the Preface to
read here and we have the first chapter up for you to read as well
on "Prehistoric Modes".
CONVERSING with Principal Robertson about history, Dr Samuel Johnson
remarked, "I wish much to have one branch well done, and that is the
history of the manners of common life." Towards effecting, in
connection with Scotland, what the great lexicographer regarded as
important in relation to any country, I early dedicated a share of
my attention. From my father, a parish minister in Fife, whose power
in delineating the manners of a former age was only surpassed by his
acuteness of observation, I derived a first impulse. What in
expressive phraseology he delighted to set forth, I with juvenile
ardour rejoiced to record; hence commenced those researches which I
have sought diligently to sustain and carry out. When, in 1869, my
gleanings for nearly a quarter of a century had considerably
accumulated, I put them together, in a work, entitled "Scotland,
Social and Domestic," which I then published. As my researches were
desultory, so was this first record of them; yet the volume.
experienced a reception which far exceeded my expectation. There
were two salutary results. On the one hand, persons in different
parts of the country favoured me with valuable additions; on the
other, I was led to pursue many enquiries in more systematic form.
And now, reviewing my labours during the last fifteen years, I am
not aware that I have allowed to remain unexamined any known work or
MS. in which the social condition of the kingdom has been portrayed
or even referred to. Nevertheless, I am fully conscious that I have
merely touched the subject, not exhausted it.
The history of Scotland is not to be found in the chronicles of her
kings, or in the narrative of her contendings with a powerful
neighbour; not even in the records of her commerce. While by the
blending of Celt and Teuton a distinctive nationality was formed,
its development was effected by those who in conflict with a rugged
soil and a rigorous climate, struggled diligently for subsistence.
What were the earlier and latter surroundings of those who so
struggled; how from inconsiderable beginnings the nation acquired
that moral and intellectual superiority which induced Professor
Rivet, a learned foreigner, early in the seventeenth century, to
speak of the praefervidum ingenium Scotorum, it has been my object
to discover. Or more plainly, how has a people occupying a mainland
285 miles at greatest length, by 160 miles at greatest breadth, made
from age to awe a steady and persistent progress? For at the
accession of Robert II. in 1371 the population was about 470,000,
while in 1560 it had increased to 700,000; and at the union of the
crowns, to 100,000 more. At the political union, in 1707, it was
reckoned at 1,100,000, in 1755 at 1,255,663, and in 1791 at
1,514,999. During the following ninety years the numbers more than
doubled, the census of 1881 representing a population of 3,735,573.
And if progress is to be further estimated by the revenue returns,
we would from data supplied in the "Exchequer Rolls" and the
"Treasurer's Accounts" estimate the annual receipts in the reign of
Alexander III. as not exceeding £30,000 of modern money, and in the
reign of James IV. as considerably under £70,000. The Scottish
national revenue in 1658 was actually 143,652 sterling. There was a
subsequent filling off, the revenue at the Revolution in 1633 not
exceeding £100,000, while at the Union it was about £110,700, and on
the average of five years thereafter, £122,825. In 1882-3 the state
revenues of North Britain amounted, in round numbers, to upwards of
nine millions. For a progress so considerable we must search the cot
rather than the castle. Too frequently the nobles wasted what the
people gathered in. Culture for a time found refuge in the
monasteries, but at length corruption supervened, and thereupon
arose that overwhelming passion, which swept ruthlessly away that
which, fashioned by art, was consecrated by religion. In these pages
have been traced the rise and progress of every branch of the social
system, and an effort made to show how the usages of one age have
influenced the manners of the next, and at length fixed the
condition and destiny of the people.
Studying to be succinct, I have avoided prolixity on the one hand,
and epigrammatic baldness upon the other. Nor have I burdened the
narrative with references which might not strictly indicate the
sources whence had been derived materials from which, in the first
instance, error had to be purged and fiction eliminated. Therefore
when sources of information are not denoted in text or in foot-note,
I charge myself with individual responsibility for what has been
written. While the work will extend to three volumes, I issue two
volumes now, and these will embrace that portion of my subject
wherein error is more likely to occur, than in the Chapters which
may follow. Till the concluding volume is put to press, one year
hence, my portfolio will remain open to receive corrections. Nor
will the most rigorous censor be deemed harsh should his remarks
tend towards rendering less unworthy of its object a work of which
the permanent value must wholly rest upon its substantial accuracy.
With the needful appendices, the third volume will embrace a
narrative of the national superstitions, along with details of
social humour, and of scholastic and literary history. An exhaustive
index will be added.
A writer indebted to numerous correspondents during a period of
years, may not be expected to present a list of all who by their
communications have favoured him. Of those who have helped in the
present work, some have passed away; and those who remain will, in
the consciousness that they have been useful, doubtless excuse any
specific acknowledgment. But it is imperative that I should fulfil
an obvious duty by cordially thanking the Keepers of Libraries, the
Curators of Museums, and the Secretaries of Public Institutions, who
have courteously opened their treasures, and so facilitated my
enquiries. In the General Register House I have been so frequent a
visitor, that I must have utterly exhausted patience, unless those
with whom I came in contact had possessed kindred tastes, and
indulged a generous forbearance. From Mr Thomas Dickson, Curator of
its Historical Department, I have experienced a full share of that
obliging attention which he generously extends to all. In the
Justiciary Department, Mr Veitch has refreshed me by genial
co-operation, and Mr Malcolm Nicolson by his intelligent aid in the
matter of Gaelic derivations. To thank Mr Walter Macleod, the most
learned of all in official record searchers, for assistance
willingly rendered, is no less a pleasing duty than a hearty
In conclusion, it may be remarked that while what Dr Johnson
suggested could not in reference to Scotland, have been accomplished
prior to our own times, when the records of the kingdom have been
made generally accessible, one precious source of historical
materials is still unavailable. The Kirk-session, Presbytery, and
Synod Minute Books remain closed in the hands of their custodiers.
Some of these commence in times bordering on the Reformation, while
nearly all cover the years of the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries. If under a civil or ecclesiastical enactment these
records were calendered, much new light would be reflected on the
6 BARNTON TERRACE, EDINBURGH, October 1884.
You can get to the index page of the book at
Canadian Life as I Found It
By a Homesteader (1908)
THESE experiences of Canadian life have been lived through by
settlers in the North-West Territories, during the years quoted, and
are meant, not to deter others from making a trial of the kind of
life herein painted, but to point out to them more truly than has I
believe hitherto been done, what that life really is, what each one
must be prepared to do, and to suffer, if they wish to succeed.
I have written few trivial details of daily life; every one can fill
these in according to individual means, and aptitude. I have kept
more to the broad lines, that will give a good idea of what is the
truth about homesteading in Canada.
This country has a great future before it most certainly, but only
those who are healthy and strong, both mentally and physically,
ought to be allowed to come out and help people it.
The wild free life of the North-West, untrammelled by social fads,
has its attractions, but to be able to really enjoy it, or I should
be better within the truth if I write, to endure it, one must have
plenty of grit, and some education leading up to it, otherwise dire
discouragement and failure. may be the result.
when I picked up this book I found that I read it in one sitting as
each chapter is quite short and I enjoyed the read. I thus decided
to put up the whole book for you to read. I have in fact done links
to each chapter on the index page so if you don`t have much time you
can also read it chapter by chapter as you get time to read it.
Also, on each page I have added a link to "Next Page" so as you
complete a chapter just click on Next Page to go to the next
You can find this book at
Robert Burns Lives!
By Frank Shaw
In keeping with the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns’ birthday, we
are honored to welcome imminent Burns scholar Dr. Gerard Carruthers
to our pages on the Bard. I met Dr. Carruthers a few years ago in
Columbia, South Carolina while attending a symposium at the
University of South Carolina honoring Dr. Ross Roy on his 80th
birthday. Since then I have followed Gerry’s career through the
Scottish press and via several mutual friends both here in the
States and in Scotland. Simply put, Dr. Carruthers is one of the top
two or three Burns scholars in the world.
Gerry Carruthers is Head of Department in Scottish Literature at the
University of Glasgow where he is also Director of the Centre for
Robert Burns Studies. He is General Editor of the new Oxford
University Press multi-volume edition of the Works of Robert Burns
and author of Scottish Literature, A Critical Guide (2009) and
Robert Burns (2006). In addition, Gerry is editor of The Devil to
Stage: Five Plays by James Bridie (2007) and Burns: Poems (2007).
He has not limited himself to Burns alone and has served as Research
Fellow at the Centre for Walter Scott Studies at the University of
Aberdeen. He has taught American, English, and Scottish literatures
at the University of Strathclyde as well. During the summer of 2002,
Dr. Carruthers was the W. Ormiston Roy Memorial Research Fellow at
the University of South Carolina. To me, this last achievement is as
impressive as any of his many accomplishments. Robert Crawford,
prominent Scottish poet, author and Burns scholar, refers to our
guest in his latest book, The Bard, Robert Burns, A Biography, as
“the distinguished textual scholar Dr. Gerry Carruthers”. I cannot
say it better. Welcome, Gerry!
His article... What Burns Means to Me... By Dr. Gerard Carruthers
can be read at
And that's it for now and hope you all have a good weekend :-)
OUR NEWSLETTER ARCHIVES
You can see old issues of this newsletter at