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Weekly Mailing List Archives
5th June 2009

Alastair McIntyreElectric Scotland's Weekly Email Newsletter

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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. In the event the link is not clickable simply copy and paste the link into your browser.

See our Calendar of Scottish Events around the world and add your own at

Electric Scotland News
The Flag in the Wind
Clan and Family Information
Poetry and Stories
Book of Scottish Story
The Concise Household Encyclopaedia
The Writings of John Muir
Fraser's Scottish Annual
Robert Burns Lives!
Alberta, Past and Present, Historical and Biographical
The Scottish Church
Inverness-Shire, Parish by Parish
Recollections and Experiences of an Abolitionist
Pioneer Life in Zorra (New Book)
The History of the Linlithgow and Stirlingshire Hunt 1775-1910 (New Book)
Ian Roy of Skellater, A Soldier of Fortune (New Book, Complete)
Scots in South Africa

We had a lot of fun in the last newsletter with me trying out the pdf file attachment instead of the normal newsletter. I did get a 6% increase in reporting that it had gone through but that was not sufficient to justify doing it again some of you will be glad to hear :-)

I still need to resolve this issue but the only way to do that would be to rely on everyone to complete a short two question survey. I hesitate to ask you to do that as it would be rare for everyone to complete it... I mean if a dozen or so of you couldn't do it that wouldn't really matter but past experience suggests that a good 30% wouldn't complete it so we'd be no further forward.

What I propose doing is that in the next newsletter I'm simply going to send out a very short email giving you a web url to the latest newsletter. As this will be very short in theory it should go through to everyone. What I'll do is put up one of those page view counters and see how many of you actually view it this way. On that page I'll also have a short questionnaire asking just 2 questions and hopefully that will give me feedback on this method.

I'll then return to the normal format to report on my findings and tell you what I'll be doing based on your feedback.

I would remind you all that as our stats tell us 2/3rds of you are not getting the newsletter it is incumbent on me to see what I can do about this and hence this activity. I'd also like to thank those of you getting the newsletter for your patience while getting this resolved.


On a much lighter note I found a book this week "Journal of a Lady of Quality
Being the Narrative of a Journey from Scotland to the West Indies, North Carolina and Portugal in the Years 1774 to 1776". I found this by chance while I was searching for anything to do with Scots in Portugal. To give you a flavour of this here is a paragraph from the Introduction...

If further proof were needed, both of the authenticity of the Journal and also of the accuracy and truthfulness of the author in describing places, events, and individuals, that is supplied by the notes and appendices of this volume, in which Professor Andrews has checked up or amplified each point of personal and historical interest. Scholarly research has been applied to the work of this delightful "Lady of Quality," but she holds her ground firmly and ably, as with ease and fluency she discusses manners and customs, climate and scenery, sugar-culture and farming, friends,—their houses, amusements, recreations, and sorrows,—and, fortunately for posterity, happenings and human beings as she saw both in the West Indies and North Carolina just before the American War for Independence. Rarely is she caught napping, and with her enthusiasm and humour, her ability to make us see and feel with her, she carries us to a triumphant end. Reluctantly we close the volume, for we would know all her story; but she leaves us abruptly in Portugal, with never a hint as to how she got back to Scotland or how and where she spent the later years of her life: and we ask ourselves, Who was this "affect. Jen. Schaw," where did she come from and whither did she go, this vivacious, adventurous, aristocratic lady, this devoted Sister, who willingly faced great discomfort and hardships in order to accompany one dear brother to his new home in the West Indies and to visit another in the far distant British colony of North Carolina? What manner of woman is this who suddenly appears on our field of vision, leaves an unforgettable account of herself and her relatives and friends, and vanishes as suddenly as she came? What is her achievement, and what is the significance for us of this Journal of hers? It is in the search for answers to these questions that one begins a real voyage of adventure.

I'm really looking forward to doing this book :-)


I mentioned in previous newsletters about how Peter Wright had stopped doing the cultural section of the Flag in the Wind. As we still don't know if he's going to be doing anything at all I've now taken over pretty well all the cultural material to put it on Electric Scotland. Not only is there a huge section on the old Scots language but also huge audio recording to go with the text. There is also a lot of songs and recipes and other material. This can all now be found at 

I might add that if you are looking for any of this and can't remember the url then you'll also find the link under our "Lifestyle" menu.


On a technical note we plan to migrate our web servers over to the latest windows 2008 platform with IIs 7.5 web server software in the next week or so. We are thus preparing to get our systems as up to date as possible while also making sure we have the best backup possible for our systems and data. Once this is all complete we'll be bringing back our vbulletin service. We still intend to have this back by the end of June.

I've also been informed that a competitor to our leased line company may be willing to do a deal with us to move to them. Steve informs me that this move would put us on fiber which means we'd get a lot more bandwidth for the price.


My congratulations go to Beth Gay for her wedding to Tom this week. As you know Beth is the past editor of the Odom Library Family Tree newspaper and now her own Beth's Newfangled Family Tree which we host on the site.

Here is a picture of the happy couple...

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 and he's got two stories on the go about MP's expenses. There is also a story about election posters and as the European Elections are on this week you should see the results of those by Sunday although the final vote won't be known until Monday as the Western Isles don't work on Sunday.

You can read the Flag at

Christina McKelvie MSP's Weekly diary is available at

Clan and Family Information
Got in the Clan Ross of Canada newsletter which you can read at

Poetry and Stories
John sent in another poem this week...

"Faithfu Tentin Wyes" at

You can also read other stories in our Article Service and even add your own at

Some of the articles this week include...

Tackling violence against women

Changes to medical compensation

Alternative Medicine and It’s Use in Natural Pain Management

Four Baskets

Early years education

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

This week have added...

Choosing a Minister

Here is how it starts...

The Rev. Dr Swapkirk having had an apoplexy, the magistrates were obligated to get Mr Pittle to be his helper. Whether it was that, by our being used to Mr Pittle, we had ceased to have a right respect for his parts and talents, or that in reality he was but a weak brother, I cannot in conscience take it on me to say ; but the certainty is, that when the Doctor departed this life, there was hardly one of the bearers who thought Mr Pittle would ever be their placed minister, and it was as far at first from the unanimous mind of the magistrates, who are the patrons of the parish, as anything could well be, for he was a man of no smeddum in discourse. In verity, as Mrs Pawkie, my wife, said, his sermons in the warm summer afternoons were just a perfect hushabaa, that no mortal could hearken to without sleeping. Moreover, he had a sorning way with him, that the genteeler sort couldna abide, for he was for ever going from house to house about tea-time, to save his ain canister. As for the young ladies, they couldna endure him at all, for he had aye the sough and sound of love in his mouth, and a round-about ceremonial of joking concerning the same, that was just a fasherie to them to hear. The commonality, however, were his greatest adversaries; for he was, notwithstanding the spareness of his abilities, a prideful creature, taking no interest in their hamely affairs, and seldom visiting the aged or the sick among them.

Shortly, however, before the death of the Doctor, Mr Pittle had been very attentive to my wife’s full cousin, Miss Lizzie Pinkie,—I’ll no say on account of the legacy of seven hundred pounds left her by an uncle, that made his money in foreign parts, and died at Portsmouth of the liver complaint, when he was coming home to enjoy himself ; and Mrs Pawkie told me, that as soon as Mr Pittle could get a kirk, I needna be surprised if I heard o’ a marriage between him and Miss Lizzie.

The rest of this chapter can be read at

The other stories can be read at

The Concise Household Encyclopaedia
Added four more pages including, Cut, Cutlery, Cutlery Canteen, Cutlet, Cutting, Gauge, Cutting-Out, Cuttings, Cutworm, Cyclamen, Cycle, Cycle Car, Cymbidium, Cypress, Dab, Dace, Dachshund, Daddy Long Legs, Dado, Daffodil.

You can read about these at and also at

The Writings of John Muir
We have now completed the 6th volume with

Chapter X. The American Forests

and now started the 7th volume, The Cruise of the Corwin, with

Chapter I. Unalaska and the Aleuts
Chapter II. Among the Islands of Bering Sea
Chapter III. Siberian Adventures
Chapter IV. In Peril from the Pack
Chapter V. A Church Orator

ONE of the poignant tragedies of north polar exploration, that of the Jeannette, still lingers in the memory of persons now living, though a generation has since passed away. John Muir, who joined the first search expedition dispatched from San Francisco, had already achieved distinction by his glacial studies in the Sierra Nevada and in Alaska. The Corwin expedition afforded him a coveted opportunity to cruise among the islands of Bering Sea and the Arctic Ocean, and to visit the frost-bitten shores of northeastern Siberia and northwestern Alaska. So enticing was the lure of this new adventure, so eager was he to study the evidence of glaciation in the Far North, that he said a reluctant good-bye to his young wife and fared forth upon the deep. "You remember," he wrote to her from the Siberian coast, "that I told you long ago how eager I was to get upon those islands in the middle of the Bering Sea and Strait to read the ice record there."

You can read this new volume at

The rest of the chapters can be read at

Fraser's Scottish Annual
These are articles from the 1900 - 1904 issues of Fraser's Scottish Annual. This week we've added...

Brief Chronicle 1900
Events 1901

While the Brief Chronicle 1900 is indeed brief a number of noted Scots died in this year. I also noted the first entry as I'd never heard of this Sword...

JAN. 6.—For the first time in centuries the Gorsedd Sword, the mystic weapon of the Welsh bards, was solemnly unscathed on Saturday, 6th January, in a remote spot and during a heavy storm. At the close of the ceremony the chief bard, Cowlyd, bare-headed, invoked the blessing of the Almighty on the British arms in South Africa in the "war against falsehood, iniquity and error," and announced that the Gorsedd Sword would never again be sheathed till the triumph of the forces of Righteousness over the hordes of Evil.

The rest of this article can be read at

The other articles can be read at

Robert Burns Lives!
By Frank Shaw

A Paper given on Burns by Megan Coyer.

I’ve met many wonderful people while editing Robert Burns Lives! over the years, and today’s guest writer is no exception. While attending the tremendous conference on Robert Burns At 250, An International Conference of Contemporaries, Contexts, & Cultural Forms held at the University of South Carolina in April, I was privileged to meet three young ladies, all working on doctoral studies at the University of Glasgow. Each presented a paper at the conference, and I am now happy to introduce Megan Coyer to our web site. Her article appeared in The Drouth, Scotland’s top cutting-edge periodical, one I eagerly await arrival of at Waverley House. Of interest for those of us in the metropolitan Atlanta area, Megan “spent some time in Atlanta as an undergraduate working in the psychiatry department at Emory University”. Later, I hope to bring you the papers of the other two outstanding doctoral candidates - Jennifer Orr and Pauline Anne Gray.

A heads-up to any university wanting to enlarge or start a Scottish Studies department. Any one of these young ladies would be a great candidate, and it does not hurt that the three are also well versed in Robert Burns after having studied at the University of Glasgow under the direction of two of Scotland’s foremost authorities on Burns and Scottish literature – Dr. Gerry Carruthers and Dr. Kirsteen McCue. I wish my alma mater would go in that direction as I know where they can get a rather choice selection of Scottish books and several very rare books on Robert Burns as well.

Megan Coyer is a doctoral candidate at the University of Glasgow in the Department of Scottish Literature under the supervision of Dr. Kirsteen McCue and Dr. Gerard Carruthers and is the recipient of the Faculty Overseas Research Scholarship. She earned an M. Litt. with distinction in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow in 2006. In 2005, she earned a B.S. in Neuroscience with Honours from Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. Her current research draws upon her scientific background, as she is working to contextualize the writing of James Hogg (1770-1835) within the popular scientific culture of the early nineteenth-century. She has a particular interest in the fictional and popular medical writing of the Glaswegian physician-writer, Robert Macnish (1802-1837) and his inter-textual connections to Hogg.

You can read the rest of this article at

And you can read other articles in this Robert Burns Lives! series at

Alberta, Past and Present, Historical and Biographical
By John Blue, B.A. (1924)

Have now completed Volumes 2 and 3 which concludes this publication. Volumes 2 and 3 are the biographical volumes with some 800 biographies. I focussed on just doing the Scots biographies and it was interesting to note that around 25% of those were Scots or people of Scots descent.

There may well have been a few missed as we couldn't positively identify a few names as being Scots although it was likely that they were.

Given the number of Scots biographies you can likely see why I was interested in making this publication available on the site and hope you have enjoyed reading it.

Here is just one of the biographies to read here...

Hon. Alex Ross

When the present Premier of Alberta, the Hon. Herbert Greenfield, formed his ministry on the 13th of August, 1921, the Hon. Alex Ross of Calgary was asked to accept the portfolio of minister of public works. At that time Mr. Ross had had a comparatively short career in the political arena of this province as member of the legislature from his district, to which office he was first elected in 1917. He came to the front in public life as a representative of labor and as its spokesman and leader defended its interests iii the legislative halls with a loyalty and ability that won him the whole-hearted approval of his constituents and the admiration of the leaders of the labor and farmer movement elsewhere in the province. It was, therefore, with general approbation that the news of his inclusion in the Greenfield ministry was received by the public.

Alex Ross is a Scotchman by birth and spent his youth and early manhood in his native ]and. The son of James and Jessie (Thompson) Ross, he was born at Premnay, on the 15th of January, 1880. He was educated at Oyne, Aberdeenshire, following which he learned the trade of a stone mason. It was at the age of twenty-six that he set sail for America in 1906, and chose Canada as his future home. Here he continued to work along the lines of stone masonry and in Calgary, which is his home city, he rose to a place of leadership among the laboring men that resulted in his entering politics on the labor ticket. He stood for election to the Alberta legislature as labor candidate in the general elections of 1917 and was returned to that body for the first time. Four years later he was reelected to the office by acclamation on the 9th of December, 1921. As a member of the Greenfield ministry he has supported the policies of his chief consistently and loyally and has stood out as one of the men whose interests were inseparably bound up in the labor cause. The duties of his office have been discharged promptly and with ability, the department of public works holding an excellent record for effective and constructive work in its branch of the public administration. The principles and platforms of Mr. Ross's Party are too well known in the province to need explanation. It is sufficient to point out that Mr. Ross is one of those men whose public and personal career has been such that he has served to inspire the general public with confidence in the great industrial-political movement he represents.

All these biographies can be found at

The Scottish Church
From Earliest Times to 1881, By W. Chambers (1881)

Our thanks go to John Henderson for sending this into us.

we've added another Lecture...

Lecture V
The Reformation, 1559 to 1572 A.D. By the Rev. Donald Macleod, D.D., Minister of the Park Church, Glasgow; and one of Her Majesty's Chaplains.

It starts...

IT may be well to give at the outset a brief resume of the chief events between 1559 and 1572. Mary of Guise, who acted as Regent for her daughter, had put the preachers of the Reformed doctrine 'to the horn'—a process equivalent to proclaiming them rebels. This led to a civil war between the Lords of the Congregation, who had espoused the new opinions, and the Regent, assisted by a strong body of French veterans. In June 1560, the Regent died, and during the following month the Protestants, with the aid of an English army, obtained the mastery. The Confession of Faith was immediately afterwards accepted by the Scottish Parliament. Next year Queen Mary arrived from France, and began gradually to increase her influence in the hope of ultimately restoring Romanism. Her marriage to Darnley was connected with this design, and might have led to serious results, had not the assassination of Rizzio in 1566, and the murder of Darnley in 1567, plunged the country into new confusion. The surrender of the queen at Carberry-hill, and her defeat at Langside the following year, completed for a time the ruin of Mary's power in Scotland.

You can read the rest of this lecture at

The other pages can be read at

Inverness-Shire, Parish by Parish
Antiquarian Notes, Historical, Genealogical and Social (Second Series) Inverness-Shire, Parish by Parish By Charles Fraser-Mackintosh, FSA Scot. (1897)

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

Chapter XVII. Snizort
Its Past and Present– A contrast

Chapter XVIII. Duirinish
Lieutenant-Colonel Macleod's appointment to the 42nd Highlanders
Macleod of Bay
Glengarry hounded out of Skye
Macleod of Bay assaulted by an Irishman

Chapter XIX. Bracadale
The Parish Minister and his wife

Chapter XX. Harris
St. Kilda—Its Owners and Tenants since 1805

Chapter XXI. North Uist
Removal of Maclean of Hosta in 1780

Chapter XXII. South Uist
The Macdonalds of Belflnlay, now of Waternish
The Clanranalds in South Uist and Benbecula
Their Tenants and Rentals in Benbecula in 1798
Their Tenants and Rentals in South Uist in 1798
The Estates sold
The Macdonalds of Bornish
The Macdonalds of Boisdale
Present and Past distribution of the Land
A South Uist Centenarian

Chapter XXIII. Barra
The MacNeills of Barra and the People

Here is a wee story from them...

While examining the papers connected with a case already mentioned, I came upon a letter from General Macleod of Macleod, written immediately after his appointment as Lieutenant-Colonel of the 2nd Battalion just raised of the 42nd Highlanders. From being in a damp place, the concluding two or three lines of the letter have worn away and disappeared. The letter is addressed to and docquetted by Provost John Mackintosh of Aberarder, "Col Mackleod of Mackleod London, 27th September, 1779."--

"Dear Sir,-I have the pleasure to inform you that I have been appointed Lieutenant-Colonel to the 2nd Battalion of the 42nd which is going to be raised. As I cannot obtain leave to repair immediately to Scotland, I have begged my friends in Skye to begin recruiting my quota in my absence. I have lodged £700 in the hands of Mr Alexander Anderson, Lothbury, London, as a fund for this service, and I have directed Tallisker, and my factor, Mr John Macdonald, to apply for any sum they may want to you. You may draw on me at Mr Anderson's, and depend on having your bills duly honoured. Captain John Mackintosh of the 42nd is appointed major, and I am desired by Lord John Murray to spur his friends in recruiting for him. The rank of officers depend on the speedy comp—." (here the paper becomes illegible.)

Captain John Mackintosh, above mentioned, got his majority and was the last of the Mackintoshes of Corrybrough Mor, in Lower Strathdearn, having sold the property to the Balnespick family, who still possess it.

It is well known that Skye sent out hundreds of men and scores of officers who served in the Indian and Peninsular wars, and, judging by their letters, fine fellows they were in every respect. For instance, here is a kindly letter from Lieutenant William Macleod of Glendale, dated the 23rd of March, 1787 :-

"Glendale House, 23rd March, 1787. The bearer, a poor though honest fellow, has this moment got the enclosed summons from our ruler, your namesake. For the love of God do exert yourself on his behalf. What prepossesses one most in his favour is that he and the rest of the tenants of the farm had a tack of the lands which our factor got a reading of; and thereby made away with it. My opinion of the matter is that you should summon the person who had the tack in keeping to produce it, and he will then tell how he gave away the other people's right. This will bring things to light in the proper colours. He will pay himself what he is able to spare, and moreover, you will yourself get renown.—Yours affectionately. (Signed) "WM. MCLEOD."

One further illustration. Lieutenant John Macleod of Unish, I should fancy a retired veteran under petticoat government, sends to an Inverness merchant for a trifle for himself, and for a young boy three or four primers, both modest purchases; but for his wife 2 dozen large yellow buttons for a riding habit, a hat to the value of eight or nine shillings, with one black feather, and a pound of pins.

The book index and other chapters can be found at

Recollections and Experiences of an Abolitionist
By Dr Ross (1875)

Have now concluded his book with...

Chapter I
First Impressions of Human Slavery

Chapter II
News from the South

Chapter III
Meet with an Old Friend

Chapter IV
At Work in Kentucky

Chapter V
The Slaveholders Rebellion

Chapter VI
Extracts from Letters

Chapter VII
Efforts to arouse kindly feelings in Canada in favour of the North

He had an interesting contact with President Lincoln and here is how one account went...

A few months after the inauguration of President Lincoln, I received a letter from a friend in Washington, requesting me to visit him at my very earliest convenience; that he desired to confer with me on a subject of importance.

The day after my arrival in Washington, my friend introduced me to the President. Mr. Lincoln received me very cordially, and invited me to dine with him that day. Assembled at the President's table were several prominent gentlemen, to whom Mr. Lincoln introduced me as "a red-hot abolitionist from Canada."

One of the guests, a prominent member of Congress (severely injured in after years by coming in contact with the credit Mobilier), remarked, in a slurring manner, that he wished all the negroes of the United States would emigrate to Canada, as we Canadians were so fond of them. Mr. Lincoln said: "It would be all the better for the negroes, that's certain."

"Yes," I replied, a little warmly, "it would be all the better for the negroes; for, under our flag, the blackest negro is entitled to, and freely accorded every right and privilege enjoyed by native Canadians. We make no distinction in respect to the colour of a man's skin. It is true, we live under a monarchial form of government; but, under that government, every man, and woman, whether white, black, or brown, have equal rights before our laws."

Mr. Lincoln, in a jocular way, said to the member of Congress, "If you are not careful, you will bring on a war with Canada. I think we have got a big enough job on hand now."

The conversation then turned on the attitude of England toward the Free States in their contest with the slaveholders. One gentleman remarked that he was surprised to see so many manifestations of unfriendliness on the part of the English and Canadian people, and asked me how I accounted for it. I replied, "How can you expect it otherwise, when there exists in the Northern States so wide a diversity of opinion as to the justness of your cause? The unfriendly expressions of an English statesman, or the avowed sympathy of a few English and Canadian papers, are noted by you with painful surprise; while the treasonable utterances and acts of some of your own political leaders and people are quite overlooked. Besides, you cannot expect the sympathy of the Christian world in your behalf, while you display such an utter disregard for the rights and liberties of your own citizens, as I witnessed in this city yesterday."

Mr. Lincoln asked what I alluded to. I replied, "A United States Marshall passed through Washington yesterday, having in his charge a coloured man, who he was taking over to Virginia under the provisions of your Fugitive Slave Law. The man had escaped from his master— who is an open rebel—and fled to Wilmington, Delaware, where he was arrested, and taken back into slavery."

After dinner, Mr. Lincoln led me to a window, distant from the rest of the party, and said, "Mr. S. sent for you at my request. We need a confidential person in Canada to look after the rebel emissaries there, and keep us posted as to their schemes and objects. You have been strongly recommended to me for the position. Your mission shall be as confidential as you please. No one here but your friend Mr. S. and myself, shall have any knowledge of your position. Your communications may be sent direct to me, under cover to Major ----. Think it over to-night; and if you can accept the mission, come up and see me at nine o'clock to-morrow morning." When I took my leave of him, he said, "I hope you will decide to serve us."

The position thus offered, was one not suited to my tastes or feelings, but, as Mr. Lincoln appeared very desirous that I should accept it, I concluded to lay aside my prejudices and accept the responsibilities of the mission. I was also persuaded to this conclusion by the wishes of my friend.

At nine o'clock next morning, I waited upon the President, and announced my decision. He grasped my hand in a hearty manner, and said "Thank you; thank you; I am glad of it,"

I said: "Mr. Lincoln, if even one of the objects of your Government was the liberation from bondage of the poor slaves of the South, I would feel justified in accepting any position where I could best serve you, but when I see so much tenderness for that vile institution and for the interests of slaveholders, I almost-doubt whether your efforts to crush the rebellion will meet with the favour of heaven."

He replied: "I sincerely wish that all men were free, and I especially wish for the complete abolition of slavery in this country; but my private wishes and feelings must yield to the necessities of my position. My first duty is, to maintain the integrity of the Union. With that object in view, I shall endeavour to save it, either with or without slavery. I have always been an anti-slavery man. Away back in 1839, when I was a member of the Legislature of Illinois, I presented a resolution asking for the emancipation of slavery in the District of Columbia, when, with but few exceptions, the popular mind of my State was opposed to it. If the destruction of the institution of slavery should be one of the results of this conflict which the slaveholders have forced upon us, I shall rejoice as hearty as you. In the meantime, help us to circumvent the machinations of the rebel agents in Canada. There is no doubt they will use your country as a communicating link with Europe, and also with their friends in New York. It is quite possible also that they may make Canada a base, to annoy our people along the frontier. Keep us well posted of what they say and do."

After a lengthy conversation relative to private matters connected with my mission, I rose to leave, when he said: "I will walk down to 'Wi!lards' with you, the hotel is on my way to the Capitol, where I have an engagement at noon."

You can read the rest of this account at

The rest of the chapters can be read at

Pioneer Life in Zorra
By Rev W. A. MacKay, (1899)

I've actually seen several mentions of this book so was pleased to be able to find a copy and it's now going up on the site and have up...

Chapter I. Zorra in the Thirties
Chapter II. The Home Life of the Pioneer

Away back in the thirties Zorra was settled by a race of sturdy Highlanders from the north of Scotland, chiefly from Sutherlandshire. As early, indeed, as 1820, two brothers, Angus and William MacKay, settled in the district— some of their descendants are still living there in comfort. After braving the hardships of the forest for nine years, Angus MacKay returned to Scotland, but in the following year returned, bringing with him his aged mother and a shipload of Sutherlanders.

Here is how the Introduction starts...

To the early settlers of Western Canada a volume on pioneer life requires no introduction. We paint in glowing language the courage of the soldier who made long marches and endured hardships to maintain the honor of his country, or to advance her interests either for conquest or defence; and yet we forget that similar qualities were exercised, even under less favorable circumstances, by the pioneers who entered the forests of Ontario within the present century. The soldier had the stimulus of his companions, the flaunting of flags, the beating of drums, the example of his officers, and all that sentiment could do to urge him forward even at the peril of his life. The pioneer had no such stimulus. He often went single-handed into the deep forest; he had to separate himself from friends and neighbors, to endure perils by night and by day, to live on the scantiest fare and in the most depressing isolation; and yet in spite of all these disadvantages he never relaxed in his determination to make himself self-sustaining, or even more, if a kindly Providence would only so favor him.

The early settler was no knight-errant, no speculator in margins, no waiter upon Providence, but, as a rule, a man of indomitable energy, courage, physical endurance, and with confidence that seed-time and harvest would in due time bring him reasonable prosperity. No better stuff stood beside Nelson on board the Victory. No better stuff climbed the heights of Alma, or charged the dervishes at Khartoum.

The Ontario pioneers (and I am speaking now particularly of those who settled the western counties) left the old home as a matter of choice, except perhaps a few who might have been evicted because their landlords wanted the paddocks they occupied for other purposes. The great majority of them, however, felt that in the land of their fathers their sphere was circumscribed, and if their position was to be improved at all, and provision made for their families, they must seek homes abroad. This was particularly the case with the settlers from Scotland. True, they may not have expected the hardships they subsequently endured; but what were hardships to them so long as they had a free home, their families around them, and the prospect of independence within their reach? In the old land they were tenants; in the land of their adoption they were landlords—owners in fee simple of the soil they tilled. It was theirs to improve; it was theirs to bequeath to their children after them; and this one fact was a silver lining to the darkest cloud that hung over them.

You can read the rest of this at

The other chapoters can be read at

The History of the Linlithgow and Stirlingshire Hunt 1775-1910
By James H Rutherford, W.S. (1911)

It's always good to plug a gap in our knowledge of Scotland and while trying to do something on the Sports in Scotland I came across this book.

In the Preface we get a wee background to the book...

It is perhaps mainly in consequence of a perusal of the hunting diary of Mr George Ramsay of Barnton, which was kindly lent to me by Mr Keith Ramsay Maitland, Edinburgh, in the year 1902, that this history came to be written; for although the putting together of some records of the Linlithgow and Stirlingshire Hunt had been attempted by me several years earlier, the difficulty in finding sufficient material for the purpose was so great that the idea had all but been abandoned. The pleasure derived from reading the little volume lent to me by Mr Maitland, however, induced me to make some further researches, and of these this work is the result. That it may prove of interest to those who now hunt or have hunted with the Linlithgow and Stirlingshire Hounds, I sincerely hope and since it embraces the period (1814-1825) during which—the Hunt being in abeyance—the country was visited by the original Lothian now the Duke of Buccleuch's Hounds, under Mr Robert Baird of Newbyth, and Will Williamson his huntsman, and the period (1869-1877) during which the Hunt and that of East Lothian were amalgamated under the title of the Lothians Hunt, it is possible that it may also possess some small outside interest.

We have the Introduction and the first 5 chapters up at

Ian Roy of Skellater, A Soldier of Fortune
Being the Life of General John Forbes of the Potuguese Army.

As I'm always trying to find new material on Scots in various parts of the world I was fortunate in coming across this book. The General was the head of the Portuguese army for some 40 years and this wee book gives an account of his life.

The book concludes with this...

To the Portuguese epitaph in the Convent of St. Anthony at Rio de Janeiro may be added the eloquent tribute to the memory of General Forbes contained in the short obituary notice in the Gentleman's Magazine for September, 1808.

During a period of nearly fifty years he distinguished himself in Portugal by his activity, his zeal, and his incorruptible fidelity, to which last circumstance it was perhaps owing that he enjoyed uninterruptedly the favour of four successive sovereigns. The tears and unfeigned sorrow of the present reigning prince were the most affecting testimonials of his attachment to the General, as the public and sincere regrets of the people were, of his real worth. Indeed, he was a virtuous and honourable man, and as a soldier possessed undaunted courage, indefatigable activity, promptitude, and decision. He will hereafter be classed among those who have added to the respectability of the British character among foreigners.

To say of a soldier of fortune that he has raised the character of his countrymen among the people whom he served is the finest praise that could be given to him, and it has been given to the soldier of fortune whose career we have followed. He had been sixty years away from his native land, yet the first fact recorded of him by the grateful sovereign and people who raised his tomb was that he was Scottish by birth. It is a far cry from Strathdon to Maestricht, and a farther to Rio de Janeiro. From the porridge pot on the kitchen floor of Rinettan to the leadership of European armies and the Governor's chair of Rio de Janeiro is a great rise. It is a good record, and, among the many Quentin Durwards whom Scotland has sent forth, a worthy place is due to Ian Roy of Skellater.

You can read this book at

Scots in South Africa
A compilation of stories from "Heroes of Discovery in South Africa" by N. Bell

I came across this book which mentioned a few Scots so thought I'd do a compilation of stories from it.

The account starts...

As our first "hero of geographical discovery," we join Lieutenant William Paterson, who, in 1777 and 1778, made three trips in the Hottentot country north of the Cape, and one into Kaifraria, being, as is supposed, the first European to enter the latter province.

You can read this at

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


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