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Weekly Mailing List Archives
28th August 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
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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 o
ur Calendar of Scottish Events around the world and add your own at

Electric Scotland News
The Flag in the Wind
Books of John McDougall
Clans and Families
Poetry and Stories
Book of Scottish Story
Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario
Robert Burns Lives!
Oor Mither Tongue
John's Scottish Sing-Along
Songs of Lowland Scotland
"Curdies" a Glasgow Sketch Book
The Black-Bearded Barbarian
The Life and Public Services of Henry Wilson
The 48th Highlanders of Toronto
A Voice in the Wilderness
The Story of Scottish Rugby (New Book)
Folk Lore in Lowland Scotland (New Book)
Beth's Newfangled Family Tree
The Very Rev. Professor John McIntyre

This Saturday the site will be down for a wee while as we migrate our data drive to a new and faster hard disk. We will also be installing the new Arcade system to our Aois Community. Saturday's see the least number of visitors to the site and so is the best day to do all this.


On the domestic front the carpentry repairs have been completed on my porch and the painter has completed the preparation work and so next week should see the final painting. The painter actually spent 4 days just on the preparation work!


I'm also puzzling over how to get feedback on Scottish Clan Societies around the world. I keep getting told that a lot of societies are not doing well at retaining members and attracting new ones. That said I have had reports in that some clan societies are doing quite well. I noted Clan MacKenzie did well at Fergus in Canada and also at the Clan Gathering in Scotland.

I have a view that when seeking new members that clan societies should have a one off joining fee in addition to their annual fee. The joining fee should be sufficient to provide a book about the clan, a lapel/tie clan pin, 2 x t-Shirts (1 with the clan crest and another with a more basic clan design that might be more attractive to younger members, and also a signed picture of the Clan Chief with a welcome letter on the back. They should also issue a membership card each year.

In addition to this I believe that societies should issue a special clan pin every 5th year so at 5, 10, 15, 20 with the 25th being a special version of the pin. They would build that into the price of membership.

I also wondered if clan societies should also build in the price of a wee gift with each years membership.

How about a birthday greeting? You just need to get the birth date on the sign up form. This can even be automated online with a birthday card being emailed to each member.

I have opened up a thread within the Clans and Families Forum in our Aois Community and would welcome feedback in there.

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 or on our site menu.

This weeks issue was compiled by Ian Goldie and his single story is about THE MEGRAHI DECISION and no Synopsis this week.

You can read the Flag at

Christina McKelvie MSP's Weekly diary is not available as the Parliament are now on the Summer recess.

Books of John McDougall
We've now added more chapters to the first book, Forest, Lake and Prairie...

Chapter XIV
Establish a fishery - Breaking dogs - Dog-driving, etc.

Chapter XV
Winter trip to Oxford - Extreme cold - Quick travelling.

Chapter XVI
Mother and baby's upset - My humiliation.

Chapter XVII
From Norway House to the great plains - Portaging - Pulling and poling against the strong current - Tracking.

Chapter XVIII
Enter the plains - Meet a flood - Reach Fort Carlton.

Chapter XIX
The Fort - Buffalo steak - "Out of the latitude of bread".

Chapter XX
New surroundings - Plain Indians - Strange costumes - Glorious gallops - Father and party arrive.

Here is chapter XIV as it's quite short...

THIS was just at the beginning of the fall fishing, and as the Indians were scattered for miles in every direction, my school was broken up, and my father sent me to establish a fishery.

So with a young Indian as my companion we went into camp across the lake, and went to work setting our nets and making our stagings on which to hang the fish, as all fish caught before the ice makes are hung up on stagings.

You put up good strong posts on which you lay logs, and across these you place strong poles about two and a half feet apart; then you cut good straight willows about an inch in thickness and three feet long. You sharpen one end of these, and, punching a hole in the tail of the fish, you string them on the willows, ten to a stick, and with a forked pole you lift these to the staging, hanging them across between the poles; and there they hang, and dry, and freeze, until you haul them away to your storehouse.

After ice makes, the fish freeze almost as soon as you take them out of the water, and are piled away without hanging.

When the fish are plentiful you visit your nets two and three times in the night, in order to relieve them of the great weight and strain of so many fish.

Overhauling the nets, taking care of the fish, mending and drying your nets—all this keeps you busy almost all the time. In taking whitefish out of the net, one uses teeth and hands. You catch the fish in your hand, lift it to your mouth, and, taking hold of its head with your teeth, you press down its length with both hands meeting, and thus force the fish from the net without straining your net. When the fish is loose from the net, you give a swing with your head, and thus toss the fish into the boat behind you or away out on the ice beside you.

All of this, except mending the nets in the tent, is desperately cold work. The ice makes on your sleeves and clothing. Your hands would freeze were it not that you keep them in the water as much as possible.

In my time hundreds of thousands of whitefish were thus taken every year for winter use, the principal food for men and dogs being fish.

When the lakes and rivers are frozen over, you take a long rope about a quarter of an inch in thickness, and pass it under the ice to the length of your net. To do this you take a long dry pole, and fasten your rope at one end of this; then you cut holes in the ice the length of your pole apart in the direction you want to set your net; you then pass this pole under the ice using a forked stick to push it along, and in this way bring your line out at the far end of where your. net will be when set. One pulls the rope and the other sets the net, carefully letting floats and stones go as these should in order that the net hang right.

My man and I put up about two thousand white-fish, besides a number of jack-fish. These were hauled home by dog-train.

My four pups which I bought from Mr. Sinclair over a year since were now fine big dogs, but as wild as wolves. I had put up a square of logs for a dog-house, and by feeding, and coaxing, and decoying with old dogs, I finally succeeded in getting them into it. Then I would catch one at a time, and hitch him with some old and trained dogs. Father would go with me, and fight off the other three while I secured the one I was breaking in, and by and by, I had the whole four broken, and they turned out splendid fellows to pull and go. Very few, if any, trains could leave me in the race, and when I loaded them with two hundred hung fish, they would keep me on the dead run to follow.

I was very proud of my first train of dogs, and also of my success in breaking them.

Many a flying trip I gave father or mother and my sisters over to the fort or out among the Indians. Sometimes I went with father to visit Indian camps, and also to the Hudson's Bay shanties away up Jack River, where their men were taking out timber and wood for the fort. What cared we for the cold Father was well wrapped in the cariole, and I, having to run and keep the swinging cariole right side up, had not time to get cold.

The book index page where you can get to the other chapters is at

Clans and Families
Got in the Clan MacKenzie newsletter for September 2009 in which is a report of the Clan Gathering in Edinburgh which you can read at

Got in Clan MacIntyre Newsletters for Spring and Summer which you can read at

Also found an article about MacIntyre Martial Music which you can read at

Poetry and Stories
Donna has been posting up some family stories which give us life lessons.

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

Book of Scottish Story
Thanks to John Henderson for sending this book into us.

This week he's sent in chapter 5 of "Basil Rolland" which completes this story. Chapter 5 starts...

Basil Rolland was conducted into one of the cells of the common prison, and, notwithstanding his excitement, fell into a profound slumber; but it was of that troubled kind which nature obtains by force when the mind is disposed for watchfulness. He imagined himself by the sea, on a beautiful summer evening, walking with his love by the murmuring shore. On a sudden they were separated; and he, in a small boat, was on the bosom of the ocean. The tempest was raging in all its grandeur, and the unwilling bark was whirling and reeling on the mountainous waves ; it struck upon a rock, and was dashed into a thousand pieces. He felt the waters rushing in his ears; he saw the sea-monsters waiting for their prey; and his bubbling screams filled his own heart with horror. He sank--but the waters receded and receded, till he stood firmly on a dry rock. A vast plain was around him--a black and barren wilderness, without one plant, one shrub, or one blade of grass. It lay stretched before him, as far as his eye could reach, the same dismal, monotonous scene of desolation. On a sudden, the mists that covered its termination were dispelled, and piles of rocky mountains, whose tops touched the clouds, began to close around him. A vast amphitheatre of smooth and perpendicular stone surrounded him, and chained him to the desert. The rocky walls began to contract themselves, and to move nearer to the spot where he stood. Their summits were covered with multitudes of spectators, whose fiendish shout was echoed from rock to rock, until it fell upon his aching ear. Wild, unearthly faces were before him on every side; and fingers pointed at him with a dernoniacal giggle. The rocks still moved on. The narrow circle on which he stood was darkened by their height—he heard the clashing of their collision—he felt his body crushed and bruised by the gigantic pressure. He raised his voice to shriek his last farewell; but the scene was changed. The grave had given up her dead; and the sea, the dead that were in her. He was among the companions of his childhood; and not one was wanting. The jest and the game went on as in the days of his youth. His departed mother awaited his return; but her kiss of welcome blenched his cheek with cold. Again he was involved in a scene of strife. The death-bearing missiles were whizzing around him; but he had not the power to lift an arm in his own defence. A supernatural energy chained him to the spot, and paralysed all his efforts. A gigantic trooper levelled his carbine at him ; the aim was taken deliberately; he heard the snap of the lock ; he saw the flash of fire ; he gave a loud and piercing shriek, and awoke in agony, gasping for breath.

The sun was shining through the grated window when he awoke, weak and exhausted by his unrefreshing sleep. He found the sober form of the Covenanting preacher seated beside his pallet, with a small Bible in his hand.

"I thought it my duty,” said the preacher, "to visit thee, and mark how thou bearest thyself under this dispensation, and to offer thee that consolation, in the name of my Master, which smoothes the passage to the tomb."

"You have my thanks,” said the unfortunate youth. "Have you waited long in the apartment?"

"I came at daybreak; but often was I tempted to rouse thee from thy slumbers, for thy dreams seemed terrifying.

"I have indeed passed a fearful night. Fancy has chased fancy in my scorching brain till it appeared reality. But I can spend only another such night.”

"I grieve to tell thee, young man, that thy days are numbered: all the intercession of thy father and his friends hath been fruitless. I also talked to James of Montrose concerning thee; for I hold that he hath overstretched the limit of his power, and that there is no cause of death in thee: but he treated me as one that mocketh, when I unfolded the revealed will of God, that the earth will not cover innocent blood; wherefore turn, I beseech thee, thine eyes to the Lord,—for vain is the help of man. Look to the glory on the other side of the grave. Fear not them which can kill the body, but after that can have no power; but fear Him that can cast both soul and body into hell.”

The can read the rest of this chapter at

All the other stories can be read at

Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario
Our thanks to Nola Crewe for sending these into us.

DUNCAN P. McPHAIL, M.D., physician and druggist of Highgate, Orford township, County of Kent, came to that place in 1887 from his birthplace, Iona Station, Dunwich township, County of Elgin, Ontario. He is a son of Hugh and Mary (Paterson) McPhail, of the County of Elgin the father, now (1904) eighty-one years of age, living retired on the homestead. The mother died April 1st, 1902, aged seventy-five years. Hugh McPhail has been a justice of the peace many years, and was also township councillor for several years.

You can read the rest of this bio at

Robert Burns Lives!
By Frank Shaw

Haggis is a great dish if it is prepared correctly.  I love it when it is and want more than my share! It is a dish that conjures up several responses - one is outright dislike, another is outright love, and usually the third draws a blank stare at which point you know your audience does not know what you are talking about. Usually there is no middle ground on the subject of haggis. The paper below was delivered by Dr. Colin Blyth during the “Robert Burns at 250” international conference hosted earlier this year by the University of South Carolina. As always, it is a joy to introduce a fellow Burnsian to our readers.

This is the second of three articles over the last few weeks on the Robert Burns Lives! web site regarding haggis. The first was by the “King of Haggis”, James Macsween of Macsween of Edinburgh, third-generation haggis makers in the auld country. The final article will be by yours truly and much less formal. The three articles are a blend of thoughts with regard to Scotland’s national dish and the man who made it so - Robert Burns.  Yet again, there is no way this man will ever die!  (FRS: 8-27-2009)

You can get to this article at

Oor Mither Tongue
An Anthology of Scots Vernacular Verse by Ninian Macwhannell (1938) and our thanks to John Henderson for sending this into us.

We have new poems up this week by...

"Glen" a Sheep Dog
The Tenant

which you can read at

John's Scottish Sing-Along
Provided by John Henderson

This week we've added...

Annie Laurie
Joy of my Heart
Eriskay Love Lilt

You can find these songs at

Songs of Lowland Scotland
From the times of James V, King of Scots, A book of c. 600 pages of songs published in Scotland in 1870, and arranged in episodic form by John Henderson.

We've added a further 30 pages this week, Pages 93 - 123, as a pdf file which you can get to at

"Curdies" a Glasgow Sketch Book
By Hugh S. Roberton

We've added another chapter this week...

Chapter X - Geordie

These are all pdf files and I have to say I'm really enjoying these stories and getting a good chuckle at the same time :-)

You can read these at

The Black-Bearded Barbarian
The Life of George Leslie Mackay of Formosa by Marian Keith

we have now completed this book with chapters...

Chapter 9 - Other Conquests
Chapter 10 - Re-enforcements
Chapter 11 - Unexpected Bombardment
Chapter 12 - Triumphal March
Chapter 13 - The Land Occupied

Here is how Chapter 9 starts...

Away over on the east of the island ran a range of beautiful mountains. And between these mountains and the sea stretched a low rice plain. Here lived many Pe-po-hoan,-- "Barbarians of the plain." Mackay had never visited this place, for the Kap-tsu-lan plain, as it was called, was very hard to reach on account of the mountains; but this only made the dauntless missionary all the more anxious to visit it.

So one day he suggested to his students, as they studied in his house on the bluff, that they make a journey to tell the people of Kap-tsu-lan the story of Jesus. Of course, the young fellows were delighted. To go off with Kai Bok-su was merely transferring their school from his house to the big beautiful outdoors. For he always taught them by the way, and besides they were all eager to go with him and help spread the good news that had made such a difference in their lives. So when Kai Bok-su piled his books upon a shelf and said, "Let us go to Kaptsu-lan," the young fellows ran and made their preparations joyfully. A Hoa was in Tamsui at the time, and Mackay suggested that he come too, for a trip without A Hoa was robbed of half its enjoyment.

Mackay had just recovered from one of those violent attacks of malaria from which he suffered so often now, and he was still looking pale and weak. So Sun-a, a bright young student-lad, came to the study door with the suggestion, "Let us take Lu-a for Kai Bok-su to ride."

There was a laugh from the other students and an indulgent smile from Kai Bok-su himself. Lu-a was a small, rather stubborn- looking donkey with meek eyes and a little rat tail. He was a present to the missionary from the English commissioner of customs at Tamsui, when that gentleman was leaving the island. Donkeys were commonly used on the mainland of China, and though an animal was scarcely ever ridden in Formosa, horses being almost unknown, the commissioner did not see why his Canadian friend, who was an introducer of so many new things, should not introduce donkey-riding. So he sent him Lu-a as a farewell present and leaving this token of his good-will departed for home.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

You can read the other chapters at

The Life and Public Services of Henry Wilson
A new book we're starting about the Late Vice President of the United States by Rev. Elias Nason and Hon Thomas Russell (1876)

We have now made more progress on this book by adding chapters...

Chapter II.
Journey to Natick. -Visits Bunker Hill and the Office of "The North American Review." - The Town of Natick. - Shoemaking. - Lets himself to learn the Trade.—Makes Forty-seven Pairs and a half of Shoes without Sleep. - Forms a Debating Club. - Improves In Speaking. - Deacon Coolidge. - Health impaired. - Visits Washington In 1836. - Opposition to Slavery. — Williams's Slave-Pen. — His Own Account of his Visit. — Attends Academies In New Hampshire. - School-Teaching. - Studies. - Attends an Antislavery Convention at Concord. N.H.—Loss of Funds. — Returns to Natick. - Improvements in the Village.- He begins to manufacture Shoes. - Character as a Business-Man. - Amount of Business done.— His Regard to Principle

Chapter III.
The Rev. E. D. Moore: his Views, and Regard for Mr. Wilson.—The Rev. Samuel Hunt: his Influence.—Bible-Class.-- Presentation of a Watch.— Marriage. - Mrs. Wilson's Character. —Her Influence over her Husband.- Their house and Home.—Birth of a Son.—Mr. Wilson's Regard for Tern. perance. — Speech. — Candidate for General Court.—Defeated on the Fifteen-gallon Law. - Enters the Harrison Campaign. - General Enthusiasm of the People. —He makes his first Political Speech. —Addresses more than Sixty Audiences. - His Manner. - Elected to General Court. - Story of the Farmer. - His Industry. - This Views of Slavery. - Advocates Repeal of Law against Intermarriage of Blacks and Whites. - Defeated as Candidate for Senate—Elected to that Body the Next Year, and for 1845. -Contends for the Right of Colored Children to a Seat In the Public Schools. —Remarks thereon. -Advance in Public Sentiment.—Mr. Wilson's Mission

Chapter IV.
ills Military Turn of Mind, -Reading. -Views of War. —Views of the Militia System. —Election as Major, 1543.—Colonel and Brigadier-General, L846. - Regard for Discipline. - Popularity with Soldiers. - Speech in the Senate. - Peace and War. - Preparations for more Important Duties. - His Regard for Temperance. - Speech at Natick, 1845.— A Citizen at Home. - Appreciated by his Townsmen

Chapter V.
Southern Efforts to annex Texas to the United States.— Mr. Wilson's Amendment to Resolutions against Annexation in the Senate adopted.—Cali for a Convention. —Opposed by Whigs.—Held in Faneun Hail, Jan. 27.—Address to the People.—The True Reformer. —Meeting at Waltham.—Mr. Wilson's Views. — Convention at Concord, 1845.—Mr. Hunt.—Meeting at Cambridge, Oct. 21.—Address of Mr. Wllson. — Persistent Efforts—Carries Petitions to Washington. -Refuses to take 'Wine with Mr. Adams. - State Representative in 1846.— Introduces Resolution on Slavery. - Eloquent Speech thereon. —Mr. Garrison's View of it.—Regard for the Constitution

Chapter VI.
Regard of the People—Delegate to the National Convention.—Withdraws from that Body.—Origin of the Free-soil Party.—" Boston Republican." —Editor of—Its Principles and Influence. —Chairman of Free-soil State Committee.—Member of the house, 1850.—Mr. Webster's 7th-of-March Speech—The Coalition.—Election of Mr. Sumner to the United-States Senate, 1851.—Mr. Sumner's Letter.—Mr. Wilson made Chairman of the Senate that Year—Address on taking the Chalr.—A Contrast.—" The Liberator."— Harvard University.—Thanks of the Senate, and Closing Address. —Delegate to Pittsburg. — Candidate for Congress, 1852.—Chairman of the Senate, 1S5'2.—Ills Course in the Senate.— Welcome to Kossuth.—Sympathy between them.— His Punctuality. —Gold Watch

Chapter VII.
A Friend of his Pastor,— hard Study.—Temperance.—Books and Authors. —The Source of Civil Liberty. —No "Back-Blows."—Cheerful Spirit.— Home. - Gift to his Minister. - Revision of the State Constitution. - Elected by Natick and Berlin. - Punctuality. - His Course. - how he looked at a Legal Question. - Chairman pro tern. - Speech in Favor of Colored Troops. —On the Death of Mr. Gourgas of Concord.—On the Course of Harvard College in Respect to Prof. Bowen. - Address to his Constituents.- Reason for Defeat of the Amendments. - Cost and Influence of the Convention

Chapter VIII.
Candidate for Governor. - Defeated. - Not disheartened. - Visit to Washington. — His Grand Idea. — Ready to surrender Party for Principle.—Convention at Worcester, 1854. - Again nominated for Governor, and defeated. - State goes into the American Organization. - His Views. - Southern Domination. - Antislavery Sentiment increasing. Sumner. - If 'Wilson nominated United-States Senator. - His Firmness. - His Election. - United. States Senate-Chamber. - His Fitness for the Place. - His Personal Appearance.—His First Speech. —Letter from Mr. Ashmun.—Extract from Mr. Parker's Sermon, and Letter from the Same.

The first chapter is now up and you can read this at

The 48th Highlanders of Toronto
By Alexander Fraser, M.A. (1900)

We've now completed this book by adding...

Part II

Chapter 2 - The Regiment Organized
Chapter 3 - Drill and Discipline
Chapter 4 - Work at the Rifle Ranges
Chapter 5 - Regimental Organizations
Chapter 6 - List of Officers
Chapter 7 - Roll of Honour
Chapter 8 - Highland Laddie

Here is how Chapter 2 starts...

In the spring of 1892 the regiment had emerged from its chrysalis, and had the appearance of it completed organization. The uniforms had been by this time received—modelled on that of the Gordon Highlanders, and manufactured in Inverness. Scotland. The strength of the battalion had reached about 350 and much hard work had been put on drill.


John Irvine Davidson was born on the 17tl) November, 1854, at Wartle. Aberdeenshire. His father was Dr. Samuel Davidson, of Wartle. He was educated at Aberdeen, and as a young man began his business career in London, England. Coming to Canada shortly afterwards he rose rapidly in business, and besides becoming the head of the firm of Davidson & Hay, merchants, he soon occupied other important business and public positions. He was president of the Board of Trade 1890-91, was vice president of the Canadian Bank of Commerce, is president of the St. Paul's Mining Company, and a director of several commercial and financial institutions. His military career has been varied and uniformly successful. It began by a service of two and one-hall years as a private iii the 7th Aberdeenshire Volunteers. He next served as a private for one and ,le-half years in the London Scottish; one year in the Uxbridge yeomanry, and six years as lieutenant and captain in the 10th Royal Grenadiers. He holds a R.S.I. first-class certificate, and was formally confirmed in the command of the 48th Highlanders on the 25th March, 1892. No happier choice could have been made. His experience, his great capacity for work, his knowledge of human nature, his judicious management, are qualities he possesses more than ordinarily, and from which the organization of the regiment had every advantage. When he retired from the command in 1898 he was made honorary Lieut.-Colonel of the regiment.

You can read the rest of this chapter at

You can read the other chapters at

A Voice in the Wilderness
By Duncan Shaw (1995)

We've now added further chapters to this...

The role of laughter in the life of the church
The reformed bishop
The transforming power of truth
Christian aesthetics
The nations and the kingdom of God

You can read these chapters at

The Story of Scottish Rugby
By R. J. Philips (1925)

I've been gradually adding histories of sports in Scotland and so this book will add to our knowledge on yet another sport.

The purpose of this outline of the establishment and development of Rugby Football in Scotland is to place on available record information which may be generally lacking, and the imparting of which, it is felt, ought not to be deferred until the generation which founded and built up the game has passed away and the subject has entered the region of myth and tradition.

Much of the fabric of present-day Rugby Football was built on foundations laid in Scotland. Many of the greatest exponents of the game were Scottish players, and the influence of the judicial bent of the Scottish mind, as well as the exertion of the spirit of independence, are monumentally recognised in the International Board established on the demands of Scotland for orderliness and equality. The present-day Scottish Rugby faculty has therefore succeeded to a goodly heritage, no part or parcel of which they should allow to be filched from them.

I have to express my thanks for permission to utilise a series of articles on the subject which appeared in the Edinburgh Evening Dispatch last winter, and at the same time I wish to acknowledge with gratitude the kindly assistance rendered by a number of old-time international players in verifying and adding to the information in my own possession.

We have the first 2 chapters up which can be read at

Folk Lore in Lowland Scotland
By Eve Blantyre Simpson (1908)

This is an interesting book and we have the first two chapters up...

Chapter I
Beltane and the Vanished Races

Chapter II
The Romans and Wells of Water

Here is how Chapter I starts...

"On the wind-swept moors and tranquil valleys I have felt, by some secret intuition, some overwhelming tremor of the spirit, that here some desperate strife has been waged, some primeval conflict enacted; an uncontrollable throb of insight, that here some desperate stand was made, some barbarous Thermopylea lost or won." —House of Quiet.

THE study of the folk lore of Lowland Scotland reveals to us in scanty uncertain glimmers some shadowy conception of the aboriginal inhabitants of what was in sober truth a stern and wild Caledonia. Ancient haunts of men have numberless tongues for those who know how to hear them speak. But it is not the uncouth monoliths like giant mile-stones, looming forth on heights and dark moorlands, but the place names our deluvian ancestors bequeathed to us, which guide us to the knowledge from whence they had wandered to the north. Those that run may not read, but those who pause, and with careful patience clear away the dust of bygone ages, can decipher, despite the obstructions of centuries of progress, traces which, like a blazed trail, lead us beyond the even track of written history into the forest primeval of Scotland's story. Amid all our vaunted complicated civilisation is it not somewhat startling to find we, who consider ourselves so advanced in religious knowledge, adhere to usages descended to us frorn the sanguinary creed of our blue-woaded ancestors?

One chief and most abiding indication of their, and consequently of our, Oriental origin, are the relics left by these extinct races of their worship of the great lights of heaven. Fire has had a fascination for the human species from time immemorial. Naturally, those who were forced to dwell in the north craved the most for warmth, but whether the blaze is lit by a hearth-stone, or in the open under the roof of heaven, man, civilised or savage, is allured by and gathers round a fire. The glowing flames for the time being become the home centre. In far past ages the inhabitants of Scotland wielded weapons of stone, but later, when the hidden metals had been tracked to their lair, the natives learned to forge bronze swords, the sun, moon, and stars above them were all important mystic factors in their lives—gods to be propitiated. They had to live preying, and being preyed upon by the four- footed people who shared the woods with them. Their roof was a tree, and in winter they sought, like the foxes, shelter in Mother Earth. For all their weather-hardened skins, or robes of deer hide fastened with horn pins, they were a-cold. They looked on the forces of nature as the smiles or frowns of a beneficent or an angered Being. They sought to curry favour with the Power above that gave to them light and heat. From the East they had brought along with them their language, as well as their reverence for Baal.

Fire was his earthly symbol, and from his name Baal, Lord, and the Celtic lein, fire, comes Beltane - a word which lingers as a beacon light in Scottish place names. Beltane is also linked with our traditional customs, legends, and poetry. To he nearer to their God on the mountaintops, they built up fires to do him honour. As Solomon says, "It is a blessed thing for the eyes to behold the sun." When the drear-nighted winter was over, the heat of the great orb's rays were doubly welcome. We read in the Old Testament of this worship of Baal, and the manner in which sacrifices of men and beasts were offered to appease or pleasure him. The rites were the same in North Britain as in Tophet, the Valley of Slaughter, when the Lord complained they broke His law. The Druids, those all-powerful priests who swayed the people of this country, appointed certain seasons in which to pay their chiefmost deity homage. These days have remained our national festivals, 1st May, Midsummer, the eve of November, and Yuletide. Besides the white bulls slain in honour of Baal, the Men of the Oaks decreed that a huge wicker cage in the form of a colossal mortal should be woven, and in it were cast a holocaust of human victims. These were not only prisoners, but the worshippers' hearts'-blood, for parents gave their best beloved. Rude music made by striking tightly-stretched hides deadened their dolorous cries. When they had thus paid sanguinary homage to their god, when the lurid flames, lit in his honour, had devoured the giant cageful of their choicest and fairest, the assembled company held high revel, danced and caroused, partaking of peculiarly-prepared food and drink. The foregoing is a brief outline of how the ritual of the sun-worship of the Druids was conducted on the high-placed rude altars on the moorlands, and by others who lived in the old time before them.

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Beth's Newfangled Family Tree
In the September issue Beth tells us how well the American Heavy Athletes did in the Scottish Highland Games in Edinburgh and other interesting article.

You can read both section of the paper at

The Very Rev. Professor John McIntyre
Posted up a brief biography of this person.

John McIntyre, theologian and minister of the church: born Glasgow 20 May 1916; ordained minister 1941; Minister, Parish of Fenwick, Ayrshire 1943-45; Hunter Baillie Professor of Theology, St Andrew's College, University of Sydney 1946-56, Principal 1950-56, Honorary Fellow 1990; Professor of Divinity, Edinburgh University 1956-86 (Emeritus), Dean of the Faculty of Divinity 1968-74, acting Principal and Vice-Chancellor 1973-74, 1979; Dean of the Order of the Thistle 1974-89; Extra Chaplain to the Queen in Scotland 1974-75, 1986-2005, Chaplain to the Queen in Scotland 1975-86; Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 1982; married 1945 Jan Buick (two sons, one daughter); died Edinburgh 18 December 2005.

You can read this account at

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


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