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    Newsletter 10th August 2012


    Electric Scotland News
    Electric Canadian
    The United Empire Loyalist Settlement at Long Point, Lake Erie
    The Prairie Provinces
    Reminiscences of North Sydenham
    The Flag in the Wind
    Electric Scotland
    The Bards of Bon Accord 1375 - 1860
    Northern Notes and Queries
    Songs by John Henderson
    J. Keir Hardie
    Kirkintilloch Town and Parish
    Shetland: Descriptive and Historical
    Robert Burns Lives!
    MacDonald Bards from Mediaeval Times
    Scottish Kings

    Electric Scotland News
    News on our efforts to add a comments system to the site is that we've had to give up on the one we wanted to use as we simply couldn't get it to work on our Windows server and the company were of no help. We have however found another good system that we think we can get to work on a Windows server. I spoke to Steve last night and he'd hit a problem but had received good support this time around and he says he's much more confident in getting this one to work.

    Part of our problem is that most programs these days are written for Content Management Systems and Unix servers so a lot of them won't work on Windows without being modified.

    I've also found a good RSS feed program which should work well under windows and so have purchased that. Steve has also found a Twitter application for our Electric Scotland Community and is going to try and get that working.


    On Friday, November 9th 2012, The American-Scottish Foundation® will hold the Wallace Award® Gala Dinner to celebrate the ongoing work of the Foundation and to present the Wallace Award® to Sir Ian Wood, Chairman - Wood Group PLC, Miss Duncan MacDonald, Trustee - Scottish Coalition USA, and Dr Alan L. Bain, President Emeritus - The American-Scottish Foundation®.
    The Wallace Award® recognizes the outstanding achievements of Scots and Scottish Americans in the cementing Scottish American relationship. Recent recipients include: Duncan A. Bruce, Lord Smith of Kelvin, Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, Euan Baird, Senator Trent Lott, The Forbes Family and Sir Sean Connery.

    The evening will be Chaired once again by Betty DeForest Scott and will commemorate not only the honorees, but also the work of the Foundation, which was formed in 1956 by the late Lord Malcolm Douglas-Hamilton.

    Lord Malcolm recognized the need and importance of creating a bridge between the United States and Scotland; fostering closer cultural, educational and business ties through programming and philanthropy. This mission remains as true today as it was when the foundation was first formed.

    In addition to benefiting the work of ASF the evening will also benefit the work of the Archie Foundation, whose mission is to support pediatric care and children’s wards in hospitals and communities in the North of Scotland and are head quatered at the Royal Aberdeen Children's Hospital. Sir Ian Wood has been Patron of Archie from 2000 - 2012 and ASF is Archie’s partner in the United States.

    Please join us in this important celebration of recognition for our honorees and of the ASF.

    Please see below details of the event. The links included at the bottom of this email direct you to pages where you can:

    Buy tickets for the event
    Book adverting space in the event programme
    Donate silent auction items
    Find out more on the history of the award

    Kind Regards,

    Alan L. Bain
    President Emeritus
    The American-Scottish Foundation®
    Scotland House®
    575 Madison Avenue, 10th Floor,
    New York, NY 10022-2511
    Tel (212) 605-0338
    Fax (212) 605-0222

    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: and also
    We try not to point to a pdf file and instead send you to page where the pdf can be downloaded.

    Electric Canadian

    The Prairie Provinces
    A short history of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta by D. M. Duncan, M.A.

    We have now completed this book and it can be read at

    The United Empire Loyalist Settlement at Long Point, Lake Erie
    There is much to learn from this and no matter your views it does present another view of the fight for American Independence.
    We are now making good progress with this book and this week added...

    Chapter XV. The Migration to Long Point.
    Chapter XVI. Charlotteville.
    Chapter XVII. Clearing the Land.
    Chapter XVIII. Buildings.
    Chapter XIX. Food.
    Chapter XX. Mills.
    Chapter XXI. Clothing.

    Here is the chapter on Food to read here...

    As has been mentioned in Chapter VII, to the Loyalists who first came to Canada provisions for three years were given by the Government; but the people of Long Point were thrown on their own resources, and the first settlers experienced the most acute distress. Mention will be made from time to time of particular instances of hardship, but in a general way it may be here stated that the long journey from New Brunswick, and the insufficient means of conveyance, forced the settlers to come without any quantity of provisions in store for the few months before the grain could be ripened.

    Thus it was that there occurred many touching instances of hardship and almost starvation. All kinds of edible herbs were eaten —pig-weed, lamb’s quarter, ground nut, and the plant called Indian cabbage. The bark of certain trees was cut in pieces and boiled, as were also the leaves and buds of the maple, beech and basswood.

    Were it not for the game, which Providence occasionally threw in their way, they certainly would have starved. Occasionally a deer was shot and divided among the members of the rejoicing community. Frequently, also, great flocks of wild turkeys were seen in the marshy lands, and it did not require an expert shot to bring down the unsuspecting birds. Fish were also easily caught; so that as soon as the first year or two had passed, the settlers had abundance for themselves, and for any strangers “within their gates.” Tea was an unthought of luxury for many years, and various substitutes were used; as, for example, the hemlock and sassafras.
    Still a rude plenty existed. As to meat, the creeks and lake supplied fish of several kinds—black and rock bass, perch, carp, mackerel, pickerel, pike and white fish, and above all speckled trout; the marshes—wild fowl, turkeys, ducks and geese; the woods—pigeons, partridge, quail, squirrels, rabbits, hares and deer. As to other animals in the woods, there were many (too many) wolves, bears, lynx, wild cats, beavers, foxes, martins, minks and weasels. Bustards and cranes also were found by the streams.
    As to grain, they soon had an abundant supply of Indian corn, wheat, peas, barley, oats, wild rice, and the commoner vegetables.
    The thoughtful housewives of those times tried to make up for the various articles of food which they could not procure by the invention of new dishes, and to make the ordinary menu as palatable as possible by some change or addition. One of the most appreciated of the “delicacies” was the pumpkin loaf, which consisted of corn meal and boiled pumpkin made into a cake and eaten hot with butter. It was generally sweetened with maple sugar.

    Another “Dutch dish” was “pot-pie,” which consisted of game or fowl cut up into small pieces and baked in a deep dish, with a heavy crust over the meat. On such fare were developed the brawn and muscle which in a few years changed the wilderness into a veritable Garden of Eden.

    You can read the other chapters at

    Reminiscences of North Sydenham
    A retrospective sketch of the villages of Leith and Annan Grey County, Ontario by Alan Henderson Ross (1924). A new book we're starting.


    Down the last of the trails they are bearing,
    In a solemn and glorious line,
    Through the valley of death they are faring,
    With a soul unafraid and divine—
    With that soul that was ever divine—
    The pioneer fathers are passing,
    And this thing ye shall take for a sign.

    For with every white head that is sinking
    For with every aged heart that is dead,
    Ye are losing gold threads in the linking
    Of traditional days that are sped,
    The epic dumb eternally sped—
    With the gift of their stern tribulation
    Which now carpets the path that ye tread.
    There is never a zephyr soft-sighing,

    Where the primeval forest once lay,
    There is never a patriarch dying,
    But a story is passing away—
    And a glory is passing away—
    Of the humble who founded a nation
    In the travail and stress of the day.
    Though the shanty that crouched in the clearing
    Is a ghost in the wrack of the past.

    Though your pioneer fathers are nearing
    The dark trail that is blazoned the last—
    Though they pass down this trail that is last—
    Yet their spirits will hover above ye,
    In the wind and the stars they will love ye,
    For the fight they will strengthen and prove ye.
    Till they mould ye the pioneer cast.


    You can read this book at

    The Flag in the Wind

    This issue was Compiled by Jennifer Dunn.

    You can read this issue at

    Electric Scotland

    The Bards of Bon Accord 1375 - 1860
    By William Walker

    Added Joseph Grant, Adam Cruickshank and James Pennycook Brown..

    You can read these at

    Northern Notes and Queries
    Note: In the pdf version of the newsletter I am placing a graphic of the Contents page so you can see what is included in each issue.

    April 1893

    This issue can be viewed at

    Songs by John Henderson
    John sent us in another song "Gloaming Descending"

    Lyrics composed by John Henderson on the 23rd of July, 2012,
    to Joe Burke's music for the song 'In The Valley Of The Moon'.

    Brief Musical Introduction

    A low sun casts gold glows o'er our gardens,
    And we hear breezed blossoms sigh,
    " 'Tis such bliss when the gloaming descending
    Tells us closing-time is nigh!"
    For with well-filled wat'ring-can,
    Or hose that is not banned,
    Ev'ry gardener sprays kindly;
    Our blooms soon bend their heads and in concert
    Sweetly-sing, "Quenched thirst is grand."

    Thus each rose in the daytime that perfumes,
    And each jasmine too at eves,
    Soon respond to such care and attention
    With fine petals, stems and leaves;
    For with all our great green-fingered skill,
    We folks work with a will,
    As we weed and till, each season;
    Our blooms soon raise their heads and plead softly,
    "Ever stay with us we pray."

    Other of John's song can be read at

    J. Keir Hardie
    A Biography by William Stewart and Introduction by J. Ramsay MacDonald

    We have now completed this book by adding the following chapters...

    Chapter 10. The Parliamentary Labour Party—Physical Break down—Round the World
    Chapter 11. Foreign Policy—The King’s Garden Party—Attacks from Within and Without
    Chapter 12. Two General Elections—Industrial Turmoil—The Brink of War
    Chapter 13. South Africa and Ireland - Coming-of-Age Conference —Armageddon
    Chapter 14. The Last Year

    You can read these chapters at

    Kirkintilloch Town and Parish
    By Thomas Watson (1894)

    We now have up...

    The Comyns
    The Flemings
    Kirkintilloch Parish
    The Roman Wall, or Graham’s Dyke
    Kirkintilloch Castle
    The Tower of Badenheath
    Forth and Clyde Canal
    Monkland and Kirkintilloch Railway

    Interesting account of Kirkintilloch Castle where even the Pope gets involved.... here is that chapter to read here...

    When the castle was built is unknown, but probably in the thirteenth century, and its situation is perhaps doubtful, but it is more than likely to have been on the site of the old Roman fort at the Peel. It belonged to the Comyns, and probably was built by them, and destroyed in the time of Bruce.

    The Romans no doubt selected the Peel as the strongest place for a fortress; and it would recommend itself to the Comyns as equally serviceable for theirs. Mr. Dairymple Duncan suggests to us a potent reason which we regard as conclusive of our theory. The name Peel is an old purely Scottish word signifying “a place of strength,” and Comyn’s castle has given it that name—not the Roman fort, which would be in ruins long previous to that time, if there were any vestige of building above ground at all, after the lapse of about a thousand years.

    The piece of ground referred to in Lord Wigton’s charter to the town as “Cumynschach” or Comyn's Haugh and which is near the Peel is also corroborative evidence.

    A curious circumstance occurred in connection with the castle, and the building of Glasgow Cathedral.

    The Lord of Luss granted to the chapter of the cathedral the privilege of cutting timber on Loch Lomond for the building, and Bishop Robert Wishart—who was consecrated in 1272—had charge of the arrangements.

    He was called “the warlike bishop” and was an ardent patriot He stoutly contested the claim of Edward I. to the kingdom of Scotland; was a partisan of Wallace; granted absolution to Bruce from the sin of stabbing the treacherous Comyn in the church of Dumfries; and was afterwards his ardent supporter.

    The castle of Kirkintilloch was in possession of the English and was being besieged by the Scots; and “the warlike Bishop” — whose patriotic spirit for the time overcame his ecclesiastical tendencies—had no scruple in using part of the timber intended for the cathedral in making catapults or engines of war for the siege of Kirkintilloch castle.

    For this, he was afterwards bitterly reproached by King Edward, who also wrote to the pope complaining of the bishop assisting the Scotch against him—and the pope wrote thus to the bishop on 13th August, 1302: “I have heard with astonishment that you, as a rock of offence and a stone of stumbling, have been the prime instigator and promoter of the fatal disputes between the Scottish nation and Edward King of England, my dearly beloved son in Christ, to the displeasing of the Divine Majesty, to the hazard of your own honour and salvation, and to the inexpressible detriment of the kingdom of Scotland. If these things are so, you have rendered yourself odious to God and man. It befits you to repent, and by your most earnest endeavours after peace to strive to obtain forgiveness.” To which the bishop answered that, “It is better to fight for Robert the Bruce in Scotland, than against the Saracens in the Holy Land.”

    The good Bishop fought on, until, when defending Cupar against the English, he was taken prisoner in 1306, and was not liberated till after the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314— he died in 1316.

    You can read the other chapters at

    Shetland: Descriptive and Historical
    By Robert Cowie (1874)

    We're now up to Chapter VIII of this book. In Chapter VI we find discussed the Ethnology of the people and the chapter starts...
    THE doctrine that Europe was, previously to the immigration thither of the Celts, inhabited by a Turanian race, now represented by the Lapps and Finns of northern Europe, and the Basques of the Pyrenees, seems to be fast gaining ground amongst our best ethnologists. But as it is doubtful whether they inhabited North Britain, and still more so whether they reached the distant Shetlands, we need not take them into consideration, at all events as influencing the existing race in these islands. According to an old Shetland tradition, the early Pictish inhabitants were exterminated by their Norse -successors, one after another, till only two remained, a father and son, who dwelt in one of the castles or broughs in the west part of the country, .and who were also put to death, the reason of their execution being that they refused to tell their Scandinavian conquerors the process by which they brewed ale from heather. That the Norsemen suppressed and supplanted the Picts is undoubted, but that they utterly annihilated them has long appeared to me extremely unlikely. In no instance, as far as I can learn, do we find a conquering race, however savage and bloodthirsty, completely sweeping from the face of the earth that which preceded it. The vanquished have frequently been put to the sword in large numbers, and generally driven to the mountains, or reduced to slavery, but never exterminated by the victors. In applying to literature for aid, I am glad to find this opinion maintained by such able ethnologists as Dr Bernard Davis and Dr Beddoe. Dr Davis says . . . “A thorough and long-continued intercourse with Norway may well be regarded as having materially weakened and diminished the aboriginal and Pictish element of the. population.” He says, “The races were known to intermarry but very rarely.” Dr Beddoe remarks, “If the Orcadians and Zetlanders be not quite so fair as might beseem pure Scandinavians, something may be allowed, perhaps, for the Ugrian thralls of the early colonists, or the relics of a primitive Pictish population.”

    The old Celtic race, thus to a certain extent perpetuated, is still to be recognised in the features of many of the peasantry, and we are greatly aided in accounting for these Celtic features when we reject the doctrines contained in the above-mentioned tradition. But despite the influence of the aboriginal element, and the immigration during the last 300 years of settlers from Scotland and elsewhere, the great bulk of the Shetland people are, and have been for the last thousand years, Scandinavians. So much do they resemble their continental kinsmen that an acute observer, the late Dr G. W. Spence, said, “It was difficult to distinguish some Shetlanders, by the eye, from Norwegians, and till they spoke he could not tell which they were.”

    You can read the rest of this chapter at

    You can read the other chapters at

    Robert Burns Lives!
    Edited by Frank Shaw

    There are many joys I have experienced editing a regular web site about Robert Burns. One of the most significant is the number of true Burns scholars I meet. As the years go by relationships are formed and grow into friendships. Naturally, in time, these friendships take on a personal nature and even though you may only see some of the contributors to Robert Burns Lives! at various conferences, you find yourself looking forward to seeing them again and again. Such is my relationship with Corey Andrews who is an Associate Professor of English at Youngstown State University in Ohio.

    Back in 2004 he published Literary Nationalism in Eighteenth-Century Club Poetry which established him as a young man on the way up in academic circles. He has published articles **and reviews in Scottish Literary Review, the International Journal of Scottish Literature, The Eighteenth-Century: Theory and Interpretation, Eighteenth-Century Scotland, Lumen and Robert Burns lives!. He has a love for and insight into Robert Burns that is evidenced in his writing as well as in the four articles that already appear in the pages of this web site. (See Chapters 77, 93, 105 and 126 in our Robert Burns Index page.) Corey has a beautiful chapter entitled Burns the Critic, in a very significant book, The Edinburgh Companion To Robert Burns, Edited by Professor Gerard Carruthers. Andrews is also a contributor to the Burns Chronicle, Books from, The Social History of Alcohol and Drugs and he has a chapter in a newly published book worth standing in line to buy, Robert Burns and Friends, essays by W. Ormiston Roy Fellows presented to G. Ross Roy and edited by Patrick Scott & Kenneth Simpson.

    Below is an in-depth article about John DeLancey Ferguson’s scholarly work on Robert Burns. My personal thanks to Corey for once again sharing his research on Burns with our readers and I am grateful for the friendship the two of us have developed over the years. It has always amazed me how Robert Burns continues to bring people together making Burns the best of common denominators! (FRS: 8.8.12)

    You can read the article "John DeLancey Ferguson (1888-1966): An Appreciation" By Corey Andrews at:

    Other articles in this series can be read at

    MacDonald Bards from Mediaeval Times
    By Keith Norman MacDonald, M.D. (1900)

    One of these wee gems you find from time to time. Here is how the Introduction starts...

    THE Bardic order was a very ancient institution among the Celts. They were originally members of the priesthood, and no class of society among the ancients has been more celebrated. “Whether we consider the influence which they possessed, their learning, or poetic genius, they are one of the most interesting order of antiquity, and worthy of our entire admiration.”

    The favourite songs of the bards are said to have been those celebrating the renown of their ancestors. The praises of great men were accompanied with a sort of religious feeling, which was not only useful in exhorting the living to deeds of heroism, but was supposed to be particularly pleasing to the spirits of those who had died in battle, and consequently became a sort of religious duty as well as an incentive to inspire youth with a generous spirit of emulation; and these, having often been sung and played upon the harp, must have had a powerful effect upon the listeners. Eginhart celebrates Charlemagne for committing to writing and to memory the songs on the wars and heroic virtues of his ancestors ; and it is universally admitted that the Celtic bards influenced their hearers with a spirit of freedom and independence which has been handed down to us, and which exists among the Celtic populations even to the present day.

    You can read the rest of this Introduction and get the book at
    Scottish Kings
    A Revised Chronology of Scottish History 1005 - 1625 by Sir Archibald H. Dunbar, Bart. (1906)

    I was thinking that I should really have a book available on the Scottish Kings and found this book which I felt was an excellent contribution to our knowledge. I have ocr'd in the extensive Preface as it details what you'll find in the book and at the end there is a link to the pdf version of the book.

    You can find this at

    And finally...

    Barking Mad

    Did you hear about the dog going into a telegraph office, taking a blank form and writing:

    "Woof woof woof. Woof, woof. Woof. Woof woof, woof."

    The clerk tells him that there are only nine words, and for the same price he could send another "Woof".

    The dog looked confused and replied: "But that would make no sense at all."

    And that's all for now and hope you all have a great weekend.

    Attached Files Attached Files

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