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Newsletter November 19th 2010

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  • Newsletter November 19th 2010

    Electric Scotland News

    New Content this week...

    Kay's Edinburgh Portraits (New Book)
    Summer in the Hebrides (Complete New Book)
    John Bell, Explorer
    Native Foods
    Clan Ross of Canada
    Behold Iona (Complete New Book)
    Robert Burns Lives!

    Ongoing new content this week...

    Electric Scotland Community
    The Flag in the Wind
    Geikie's Etchings
    Historical Tales of the Wars of Scotland
    Robert Chambers - Songs of Scotland
    Notes and Reminscences of Partick
    Lays of the Covenanters
    History of Scotland
    Glencreggan: or A Highland Home in Cantire
    Arran of the Bens, The Glens and the Brave
    Harry Lauder
    Dr Duncan of Ruthwell
    Lord Elgin

    Electric Scotland News
    Added a couple of new facilities to our toolbar...

    The LinkedIn web application creates a connection with my LinkedIn account. Users who visit the website will be able to view my LinkedIn profile and suggest themselves for our network. They will also be able to leave their business card with a message, view other people that left their business card and update their own LinkedIn status.

    By clicking on another user’s name or photo his or her profile will appear in the left box, allowing users to add that user to their network.

    There is thus a new icon on the toolbar for this.

    Have also added my public profile in Facebook. Again a new icon will now appear on the toolbar.

    To get all this installed we've had to re-arrange the icons so that everything fits.


    We are in the final stages of arrangements to have a remote mirror for our sites which will be based at Simon Fraser University in BC. In the event of a power cut at our premises in the USA this would means you'd be automatically re-directed to our mirror server. It also offers us a secure remote backup for our sites.


    We plan to give up our domain and in its place intend to install a completely new facility under This being the case should any reading this have data on that domain you should arrange to export it to a gedcom file and then you'll be able to import it into our new service.


    We are intending to move our domains over to a new Microsoft 2008 server shortly. This will involve a makeover of the site. I have always used the Microsoft Front Page program to publish the site but the new server no longer supports borders. This means we will be working at creating a new dynamic template to take their place. Once that is done and is seen to be working as we hope then we'll move our domains to this system and move over to the new server. We hope to get this done in the next few weeks. The domain will be the first to be moved to this new format and if that works as we hope then the main site will be next.


    Our friend Donna Flood has been sending us in stories over many years and has just published her new book, "Lee's Passion".

    The wee write up says...

    "Roaring rivers with tumbling waters can separate those who stand on the shore wondering what is on the other side, until someone decides to build a bridge. Lee's Passion, my father's story, is that bridge. Something whispers, "Teach the children about the velvet comforters of their ancestor's lives."

    Dad, Lee, was Scot-Irish, Welsh. Mom was Native American, and both were story tellers. You will laugh, cry, feel the pain and joys of Oklahoma pioneers. Lee's Passion is a bridge between eras, a time when Oklahoma was a rough, unpolished diamond to now, where the beauty of the countryside has been gifted to us by our pioneering grandfathers. Share the story of their hard work, trials, and conquering ways with whoever wishes to know.

    Gifted with opportunity and born at the time, when a great mixing of tribes had already happened. Ponca Nation is the registered bloodline, but genealogy shows Cherokee, Shawnee, Kickapoo, and an Osage grandmother. Lee's, my father's genealogy is Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and 1/16th Cherokee."

    You can buy a copy of this book at

    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 in our site menu and at

    Electric Scotland Community
    I note that we're getting less members signing in these days but still getting around 1200 weekly views. In fact we have a nice wee community here with lots of interesting posts. It would be nice to see more folk posting messages of course and sharing their thoughts on all kinds of topics.

    We also now have tons of wee videos for you to enjoy but I guess you are already enjoying them as a guest visitor. In the event you are a regular on Facebook you can of course auto login to your Facebook account when you login to our community. That means if you were to post a message on our forums you can automatically share that same message on Facebook by checking the Facebook box before you submit your message.

    The toolbar also gives you the opportunity to do live chat with folk on Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo and MySpace.

    Our community can be viewed at

    This weeks issue is now available compiled by Jamie Hepburn.

    You can get to the Flag at

    Christina McKelvie's weekly diary is available at

    I might add here as a permanent note that Christina doesn't always manage to get her diary in in time so it can often be a day late in arriving.

    Geikie's Etchings
    This week we've added more articles...

    The Broken Pipe
    The Street Auctioneer

    You can read these at

    Historical Tales of the Wars of Scotland
    And of the Border Raids, Forays and Conflicts by John Parker Lawson (1839). This is a new publication we're starting on which is in 3 volumes. We intend to post up 2 or 3 stories each week until complete.

    This week we've added...

    The Serpent of Linton
    Battle of Harlaw
    Battle of Brechin
    Siege of Roxburgh and Death of James II.

    You can read these at

    Robert Chambers
    Robert Chambers is a famous author and publisher and we do carry a few of his publications on our site such as the 3 volume Domestic Annals of Scotland and his 4 volume Biographical Dictionary of Significant Scots.

    John Henderson found his 2 volume "Songs of Scotland" which we both agree is a fabulous resource and so we are going to add this to the site in small chuncks in pdf format for you to enjoy.

    This week we added...

    Pages 387 to 468

    You can read this at

    Notes and Reminscences of Partick
    By James Napier (1873)

    This is another of those books that don't have any chapters and we're splitting this book up into a logical sequence of pdf files for you to read and will be easier to download. Partick is now a suburb of Glasgow.

    We have now completed this book by adding...

    Part 11 (Pages 230 - 270)

    This can be read at

    Lays of the Covenanters
    By James Dodds (1880)

    This week we've added...

    Renwick's Visit to the Death-Bed of Peden

    You can read these at

    History of Scotland
    By Wm Robertson

    This is part of the Works of Wm. Robertson and it's actually my intention to bring you all his works over time but to start we're doing his "History of Scotland" which got very favourable reviews at the time and so much so he was asked by the King to do a History of England.

    The History is now going up and this week we've added...

    Book 7 which starts in the year 1584.

    These can be read, along with a small biography of him at

    Glencreggan: or A Highland Home in Cantire
    By Cuthbert Bede (1861)

    This week we put up Chapter VIII - The Chief Town of the Lords of the Isles

    Here is a wee bit from this chapter...

    Scene. — Main Street, Camphelton; Author and Friend strolling towards the Quay.

    Author. — Now for my legend touching the townhouse of Campbelton.

    Once upon a time two Cantire farmers fell out, and resolved to settle their dispute by law. So they went to the sheriff of Campbelton to state their case: and he inquired what was the nature of their dispute. Then said one farmer, "He was hasty, and I was a briar! that is the foundation of the whole matter." Said the sheriff, "Then I will soon end this case. Go home together, drink one glass of whiskey each, and shake hands; and I declare the law to be settled."

    They did as the sheriff advised, and were good friends ever after.

    Friend.— They must have been sensible people in those days — Solons and not solans. "He was hasty, and I was a briar," was a good confession.

    You can read this at

    Arran of the Bens, The Glens and the Brave
    By MacKenzie MacBride FSA Scot (1911)

    This week we've added...


    Chapter VIII.
    Old Families in Arran, The Arran and Bute Barons
    Chapter IX.
    The Brandanes or, Men of Arran and Bute
    Chapter X.
    The Language of Arran, The Author of the First Gaelic Dictionary, William Shaw, Daniel MacMillan


    Chapter XI.
    Arran's Wealth of Prehistoric Remains, The Ethnology of Arran
    Chapter XII.
    Ancient Forts and Camps, Drumaddon, Tor Caisteal, Glen Ashdale, King's Cross, Dun Fion, Craig Na Cuiroch, Tornanschian

    Chapter XI starts...

    Arran is also peculiarly rich in prehistoric remains, in ancient forts, stone circles, chambered cairns, and the standing stones which give so rare and weird a character to the Highland landscape. Many more, it is to be regretted, have been destroyed. Where were many standing stones, now there is often left but one, and the chambered graves have been all more or less dismantled by rude hands.

    Machrie Moor, over against Shisken, which is believed to have been once a densely populated district, is the chief site of these profoundly interesting monuments.

    Most, if not all, of the stone circles, such as those we see in Arran, at Machrie, and other places, and many of the single standing stones, are memorials of chieftains who have fallen in the fight. This discovery was first made by Mr. C. E. Dalrymple, from actual excavations below the monuments in Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, and the facts were published by Stuart. Dr. James Bryce, of Glasgow, followed these investigations up by excavations on Machrie Moor, and found corroboration of Mr. Dalrymple's statements. As long ago as 1527 Boece says: "The graves and sepulchres of our noblemen had commonlie so many obelisks and speirs pitched about them, as the deceased had killed enemies before time in the field."

    This book can be read at

    Harry Lauder
    we've added two more songs for you to listen to...

    Rising Early In The Morning
    Soosie Maclean

    This page can be found at

    Dr Duncan of Ruthwell
    Founder of Savings Banks by his great grand-daughter Sophy Hall (1910)

    we have now completed this book by adding...

    Chapter IV
    Home Life—Visitors to Ruthwell Manse.
    Chapter V
    Correspondence with Brougham—Emancipation of Slaves—Catholic Emancipation —Geological Discovery—Runic Cross.
    Chapter VI
    Death of Mrs Duncan—Letters from Joanna Baillie—"The Sacred Philosophy of the Seasons"—Poem on Curling.
    Chapter VII
    Second Marriage—Further Correspondence with Brougham—Church Patronage— Disruption of the Church of Scotland.
    Chapter VIII
    Leaving the Manse:—Building ok Free Church—Death

    As many folk enjoy curling I thought I'd quote the Poem on Curling for you here...

    His poem on Curling is supposed to be the best description of the game ever written.

    Air—"Maggie Lauder"

    "The music of the year is hushed
    In bonny glen and shaw, man,
    And winter spreads, o'er nature dead,
    A winding-sheet o' snaw, man;
    O'er burn and loch the warlock, frost,
    A crystal brig has laid, man,
    The wild-geese, screaming wi' surprise,
    The ice-bound wave ha'e fled, man.

    Up, curler! leave your bed sae warm,
    And leave your coaxing wife, man,
    Gae, get your besom, trickers, stanes,
    And join the friendly strife, man;
    For on the water's face are met,
    Wi' mony a merry joke, man,
    The tenant and his jolly laird,
    The pastor and his flock, man.

    The rink is swept, the tees are marked,
    The bonspiel is begun, man;
    The ice is true, the stanes are keen;
    Huzza! for glorious fun, man.
    The skips are standing on the tee
    To guide the eager game, man;
    Hush! no a word—but mark the broom,
    And take a steady aim, man.

    Here draw a shot—there lay a guard,
    And here beside him lie, man,
    Now let him feel a gamester's hand,
    Now in his bosom die, man.
    There fill the port, and block the ice,
    We sit upon the tee, man;
    Now tak' this inring sharp and neat,
    And mak' the winner flee, man.

    How stands the game? It's eight and eight:
    Now for the winning shot, man,
    Draw slow and sure, the ice is keen,
    I'll sweep you to the spot, man.
    The stane is thrown, it glides alang,
    The besoms ply it in, man,
    Wi' twisting back the players stand,
    And eager, breathless grin, man.

    A moment's silence, still as death,
    Pervades the anxious thrang, man,
    Then sudden bursts the victors' shout,
    Wi' hollas, loud and lang, man;
    Triumphant besoms wave in air,
    And friendly banters fly, man,
    Whilst, cauld and hungry, to the inn,
    Wi' eager steps, they hie, man.

    Now fill ae bumper—fill but ane,
    And drink wi' social glee, man,
    May curlers on life's slippery rink
    Frae cruel rubs be free, man;
    Or should a treacherous bias lead
    Their erring steps a-jee, man,
    Some friendly inring may they meet
    To guide them to the tee, man."

    You can read this book at

    Lord Elgin
    By John George Bourinot (1903)

    We have added further chapters...

    Chapter IV - The Indemnification Act
    Chapter V - The End of the Lafontaine-Baldwin Ministry 1851
    Chapter VI - The Hincks-Morin Ministry
    Chapter VII - The History of the Clergy Reserves (1791-1854)
    Chapter VIII - Seigniorial Tenure

    The Hincks-Morin Ministry starts...

    When LaFontaine resigned the premiership the ministry was dissolved and it was necessary for the governor-general to choose his successor. After the retirement of Baldwin, Hincks and his colleagues from Upper Canada were induced to remain in the cabinet and the latter became the leader in that province. He was endowed with great natural shrewdness, was deeply versed in financial and commercial matters, had a complete comprehension of the material conditions of the province, and recognized the necessity of rapid railway construction if the people were to hold their own against the competition of their very energetic neighbours to the south. His ideas of trade, we can well believe, recommended themselves to Lord Elgin, who saw in him the very man he needed to help him in his favourite scheme of bringing about reciprocity with the United States. At the same time he was now the most prominent man in the Liberal party so long led by Baldwin and LaFontaine, and the governor-general very properly called upon him to reconstruct the ministry. He assumed the responsibility and formed the government known in the political history of Canada as the Hincks-Morin ministry; but before we consider its personnel and review its measures, it is necessary to recall the condition of political parties at the time it came into power.

    You can read the rest of this chapter at

    The other chapters can be ead at

    Kay's Edinburgh Portraits
    A Series of Anecdotal Biographies chiefly of Scotchmen, Mostly by James Paterson and Edited by James Maidment (1885)

    This is a 2 volume publication we're starting on and the Editorial Preface really sets the scene for this publication...

    The great and continued interest felt in the celebrated but rather mis-named work, known as Kays Edinburgh Portraits, has suggested the desirableness of issuing a popular letterpress edition for reading simply. Hitherto it has only been within the reach of the really wealthy, notwithstanding the fact that the greater part of the book is such as to render it unusually attractive to readers in general. No Scotchman, wherever resident, if at all interested in the lives and actions of his fellow-countrymen, can turn over the leaves of the work in question, without feeling delighted with the charmingly written biographies contained therein. The title of the book, though, is somewhat misleading. It suggests too much of the idea of local biography, which certainly is a mistake, as the great majority of the best lives contained in the volumes are decidedly of general interest; and it is safe to say that, as Anecdotal Biographies, there is no work at all to be compared with the one in question, so far as regards the field of Scottish literature. Hitherto the idea before the public has rather been that the biographies are an appendage to the portraits, which, as regards priority of execution, is indeed the case; but as concerning merit, the reverse may be taken for the fact. The engraved portraits are exceedingly interesting, but what we may call the pen portraits are surpassingly so, and that to a much wider class. It is unfortunate that the publisher of the original work in 1842 did not give the chief writer of the biographies the acknowledgment that was his due, especially as the duties of biographer had been discharged with such exceptional ability and painstaking-devotion.

    But at that time neither Paterson the author, nor Maidment the editor, had attained to the literary distinction which afterwards fell to their lot, as the result of their enthusiastic labours. This non-acknowledgment in the case of Paterson is another illustration of a literary genius not being fully appreciated by his contemporaries. The same remark holds true with regard to the artist Kay, as well as with the author Paterson.

    The present issue is, of course, meant for the general reader—not for the collector. As will be apparent, it contains every biography of real moment to the class signified, forming a collection of what may well be described as the very best Anecdotal Biographies ever written of these our countrymen. In order to render the book thoroughly interesting from beginning to end, those sketches that were so very short as to give little more than a few dry facts regarding the life and death of individuals of little concern, are omitted. But the present issue contains everything really of value or interest to the general Scottish reader. That the biographies are much more interesting than the portraits there can be little doubt, the more especially as the latter are to a considerable extent what may be termed caricatures, whereas the former are true to the life. At the same time the issue of this edition may increase the interest in the engravings, and may result in some cases in a desire to possess or examine the large work.

    With reference to the writer of the most of these sketches, less is known by the public than should be the case, considering all he has done. Mr. James Paterson was for over forty years a diligent writer on Scottish National Antiquities, Family History, and Biography. Unambitious of personal celebrity, he acquired his information by painstaking research and laborious investigation. The information so obtained he presented to the public in a variety of well-written and most useful publications, and he had, to an unusual extent, that rare and desirable faculty of writing on whatever subjects he took up in a peculiarly interesting and strongly descriptive style. Of his writings several occupy an exceptionally high place as works of authority, while all are held in esteem. Somewhere about twenty volumes—all relating to Scottish affairs—came from his pen, a few of which may be mentioned. In addition to the great majority of the biographies in Kay's Portraits, he wrote the History of the County of Ayr, a work involving an immense amount of original research, and particularly rich in the department of Family History. Also, The Life and Adventures of James the Fifth; The Origin of the Scots and the Scottish Language; The History of the Regality of Musselburgh; A Memoir of James Fillans, Scidptor; Wallace and his Times; The Contemporaries of Burns; The History and Genealogy of the Family of Wauchope-Merschell; and a considerable number of others.

    It may be well to add that the responsible duties of general editor of the biographies contained in Kay's Portraits were discharged by the celebrated antiquary, James Maidment, Esq., Advocate, who has since become so distinguished in the field of Scottish poetical literature, as the Editor of Scottish Ballads and Songs, the Book of Scottish Pasquils 1548-1715, and other works. Paterson tells us that Mr. Maidment added to the MSS. submitted to him many curious notes of the highest import. In the present issue, these notes instead of being put at the foot of the page, and thus constantly and awkwardly breaking the continuity of the narratives, are inserted in the body of the work, in their respective and appropriate places—altogether a better arrangement for the reader.

    You can get to this book at

    Summer in the Hebrides
    Frances Murray's Sketches in Colonsay and Oransay (1887)

    John Henderson kindly provided this book in 4 pdf files and we've placed this on our "In the Hebrides" page so it will be roughly half way down the page.

    You can get to this at

    John Bell, Explorer
    We already have a page about him in our Significant Scots section but I found this account of his travels to Russia and China which made an interesting read so thought I'd add this to his page.

    You can get to this at

    Native Foods
    I was visiting my Doctor and just happened to see copies of this book sitting in a basket. I had a wee look and thought the opening section was interesting and so took a copy and have scanned in the first few pages for you to read. It basically outlines the various native indian tribes in Canada and outlines where they lived and what they ate.

    For thousands of years the Indians and lntuit in Canada lived off the produce from the land, rivers, lakes and the sea. Survival in this rugged, rich land was a measure of supreme skill in hunting and fishing, knowledge of native plants and appropriate techniques of food preservation.

    To appreciate the food habits of the early North American Indians and Inuit, it is important to recognize that there were many distinct cultural groups in the different geographic regions of Canada prior to the arrival of the Europeans.

    Ten language families existed among the Indian tribes. Within each language family were very distinct cultural groups, while different language groups often shared a similar culture.

    Anthropologists recognize at least five distinct Indian cultures in Canada: the Woodland Indians; the Plains; the Indians of the Plateau; the Pacific Coast Indians and the Indians of the Mackenzie and Yukon River Basins.

    You can read this at

    Clan Ross of Canada
    I was sent in a copy of their Fall 2010 newsletter which you can read at

    Behold Iona
    A Guide and Souvenir

    John Henderson came across this publication and kindly sent it into us. I have added it to an existing page "Iona" By The Duke of Argyll so you'll find a link to it at the foot of that page at

    Robert Burns Lives!
    By Frank Shaw

    By way of introduction, I am combining two separate events involving noted Burns academic scholar and Scottish poet, Robert Crawford, Professor of Modern Scottish Literature at the University of St. Andrews. Crawford has published six collections of poetry along with two dozen other publications. He is also author of The Bard, Robert Burns, A Biography which I proclaimed in February of 2009 to be the definitive biography on Burns - and since then nothing has happened to change my mind. Earlier this year Crawford won The Saltire Award for his biography on Burns as Scotland’s best book of the year, adding a wee bit of support to my proclamation. Last week my wife and I had opportunity to attend a poetry reading by him one evening and were present the following afternoon when he presented a lecture on Robert Burns and the American Declaration of Independence.

    You can read this article at

    You can read other articles in this series at

    And to finish...

    A Century Story

    This guy was lonely and so he decided life would be more fun if he had a pet. He went to the pet store and told the owner that he wanted to buy an unusual pet.

    After some discussion he finally bought a centipede, (100 leg bug), which came in a little white box to use for his house.

    He took the box home, found a good location for the box, and decided he would start off by taking his new pet to the bar for a drink. So he asked the centipede in the box, 'Would you like to go to Frank's place with me and have a beer?'

    But there was no answer from his new Pet.

    This bothered him a bit, but he waited a few minutes and then asked him again, 'How about going to the bar and having a drink with me?'

    But again there was no answer from his new friend and pet.

    He waited a few minutes more, thinking about the situation.

    He decided to ask him one more time, this time putting his face up against the centipede's house and shouting, 'Hey, in there! Would you like to go to Frank's place and have a drink with me?'


    A little voice came out of the box:

    'I heard you the first time! I'm putting my bloody shoes on!'

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