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    Newsletter 18th April 2014

    Electric Scotland News

    The Edinburgh Review is another set of publications that I am starting to work on and am starting to extract a variety of articles to put up on the site.

    Searching our site
    I did a wee project to search for all our clan names using our site search engine and listed the number of page it found for each clan. You can view this at:

    My Health
    Not doing too good these days... I lost a huge amount of weight, some 60 pounds, and lost it so fast that the Doctor thought something was wrong. After blood work being done she found out I had an over active Thyroid. So this week I had a course of radioactive iodine which hopefully will fix it. I have to get more blood work done in six weeks to see if it has fixed the problem. The symptoms in my case is severe diarrhea.

    Then I had a diabetic hemorrhage in my right eye and that means I have lost some 90% of my vision in that eye. My left eye is perfect and so just hope it will continue to be ok as otherwise that will likely mean I'll have to stop publishing the site.

    Electric Canadian

    State Funeral for Jim Flaherty
    Less than a month after stepping down as Canada's finance minister, and with a new career in the private sector awaiting him, Jim Flaherty has died at 64 years of age. The Agenda remembers the life and legacy of Jim Flaherty and we've also included the Prime Minister's eulogy at the state funeral.

    He is considered to be the World's top Finance Minister and this year will see Canada getting a balanced budget, the first of the G7 countries to do so.

    You can see these videos at

    Introducing the New U.S. Ambassador to Canada, Bruce A. Heyman
    To all friends of the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Consulates across Canada -- Hello and Bonjour! I am delighted and deeply honored to be here, as President Obama's personal representative, the United States Ambassador to Canada.

    I come to Canada with a message from the American people, to the Canadian people: Thank you. Thank you for being the best friend, neighbor, and ally that the United States could have. Thank you for an incredible relationship that is the envy of the world. It is about so much more than being each other's best trading partners, though we are that. We have shared achievements together, solved problems together, and stood shoulder to shoulder in the world and on the battlefield. In a relationship as broad and as complex as ours, we will inevitably have differences of opinions, and may encounter challenges -- which we will work out together with friendship and mutual respect. As an optimist, I have always seen challenges as opportunities for growth through creative and collaborative solutions. Ours is a strong relationship, and an enduring one. I have heard it said that a strong America is in Canada's best interest. I believe that a strong Canada is in America's best interests, and that what is best is when we are strong together. You have my commitment to work every day to build on what we already have and to make our relationship even better.

    Let me tell you a bit about myself. I presented my credentials to the Governor General of Canada on April 8, and before that I was sworn in as U.S. Ambassador by Vice President Joe Biden in Washington on March 26. Prior to being confirmed as President Obama's nominee for Ambassador, I worked for 33 years as Managing Director at Goldman Sachs & Co. I've served on the board of the Chicago Council for Global Affairs and Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital Foundation, and as an advisor to the Fix the Debt CEO Council of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

    I am a magna cum laude graduate with both a BA and an MBA from Vanderbilt University. I continue to maintain close ties to the university, not the least because it's where I met my wife, Vicki, when we were both MBA students. Vicki and I have been a solid and loving partnership since then, and I'm proud to have her by my side as I take on this new role as U.S. Ambassador.

    Vicki's originally from Kentucky, but her family history includes ties to Canada; her great grandfather, Samuel Simons, came to North America from Eastern Europe, immigrating through Quebec in the early 20th Century before settling in Toronto. While Vicki's grandfather Charlie Simons continued on to make a life for himself and his family in the United States, many of her relatives still live in Canada. We've built our lives and raised our family in Chicago, but through our extended family, and through my career, we've come to know Canada a little, and now we are delighted to call Ottawa, and Canada, home. We have three children, David, Liza, and Caroline, and two grand-children, Emma and Clara, who we hope will be visiting us often and getting to know a little bit about Canada as we do.

    We have a magnificent Embassy in Ottawa that is a symbol of all we share, and of our enduring bond, as well as U.S. Consulates across Canada from Vancouver to Halifax. And I intend to visit all of them, and to see as much of this country as I can within the coming months and years. Thanks to social media, we can also meet virtually, so please find me on Twitter and tell me what you think I need to know. I'll be doing my best to keep you informed on where my travels take me as I discover your great country, on the people I meet and the connections I make as I work with Canadians to keep our bond tight. And I also promise to listen to you. Tell me what's right about the U.S.- Canada relationship and, more importantly, what could improve? What do I need to know about your great country and what should I see? I'd love to hear from you!

    Ambassador Bruce Heyman

    Get to know Ambassador Heyman, and his wife Vicki at:

    Nova Scotia Historical Society, Reports and Collections
    I have found a number of volumes from this Society and have added the first four to get you started. I'll be adding more as I find them.

    I added Volume IX 1893/95 which includes, The Voyages and Discoveries of the Cabots, A Chapter in the History of the Township of Onslow, N. S., Richard John Uniacke, Ships of War Lost on the Coast of Nova Scotia and Sable Island during the Eighteenth Century, Louisbourg: An Historical Sketch.

    You can read this volume at

    Bert Lloyd's Boyhood.
    A Story from Nova Scotia by J. MacDonald Oxley, LL.D. (1892).

    We are now up to Chapter XXI which you can read at:

    Nova Scotia: The Province that has been Passed By
    By Beckles Willson (1911).

    Now up to chapter VIII and you can read this book at:

    Edinburgh Review on books about the Hudson Bay Company
    This is an article from the Edinburgh Review which reviews 9 books about the Hudson's Bay Territory. You can view this article at

    British North America.
    This is an article from the Edinburgh Review in which it discussed several books to do with British Columbia. While providing the article I have also provided links to download the books that are reviewed in it.

    You can read this at

    Death of Community: A Story from Cape Breton
    A 2 part video about problems in Cape Breton which you can watch at:

    I confess to being rather depressed having watched these videos that I have contacted Cape Breton to see if I can help with a marketing program to help boost tourism and business so we'll see what happens. I really enjoyed my ten days in Cape Breton and you can read my travel journal there and find out more about the island at

    Relics of the Stone Age in Nova Scotia
    By Harry Piers

    A short book which you can read at

    The Flag in the Wind
    This weeks issue was compiled by Alison Thewliss where she is giving us a report from the SNP annual conference.

    There is no Synopsis this week.

    You can read this issue at

    Electric Scotland

    Alexander Murdoch (1841-1891)
    A Scottish Engineer, Poet, Author, Journalist

    Added a third book called "Scotch Readings: Humorous and Amusing" and we're breaking this down into individual chapters for you to read. We've added two more chapters, "Oor John's Patent Alarum" and "Mrs. MacFarlan Gangs Doon The Water" which you can find at the foot of the page at:

    Thomas Dick Lauder
    This is an author that wrote many historical books and we are going to be bringing you a selection of his books over the next few months.. We are starting on his 3 volume book "Lochandu".

    Added another two chapters to this book which you can find at the foot of the page at:

    Enigma Machine
    Added puzzle 58 which you can get to at

    Scottish Historical Review
    Started Volume 19 with the October 1921 issue. A couple of good articles, "Eighteenth Century Highland Landlords and the Poverty Problem" and "The Western Highlands in the Eighteenth Century".

    You can read this issue at

    The Book of Scottish Anecdote
    Humorous, Social, Legendary and Historical edited by Alexander Hislop, eighth edition.

    I note there are quite a few wee articles on Robert Burns and I was thinking it would be a useful project to save all these and add them to a special page about him.

    Added pages 202 to 251.You can read these at:

    Alan Cunningham
    This distinguished poet entered the world under those lowly circumstances, and was educated under those disadvantages, which have so signally characterized the history of the best of our Scottish bards.

    We've added chapter XI to the Life of Alan Cunningham.

    You can read it at the foot of his page at

    Queen Victoria and Prince Albert's Trip to Scotland
    By Thomas Dick Lauder (1843).

    Here is how chapter XXIII starts about Deer stalking...

    Clear and beautiful was the dawn of morning on Monday, the 12th of September, betokening weather perfectly delightful for carrying into effect the deerstalking expedition to the forest of Glenartney, which Lord Willoughby de Eresby had planned for the amusement of his royal guest, Prince Albert.

    Glenartney has been already alluded to when passing down Stratherne by Comrie, the river Ruchill there joining the Erne, having its origin in the forest. Let not the Cockney suppose that the word forest necessarily implies a district covered with noble oaks, chestnuts, or trees of any other description. The first meaning of the word may have been that of a wooded country, but in our old times it was applied to a large extent of surface, whether wooded or not, set apart by royal edict for the wild beasts and fowls of chase, certain laws being established within its precincts. A forest, as the word was strictly taken in early times, could not be in the hands of any one but the king ; but, in later periods, forests have become the property of subjects, or have been created by them, though without being protected by forest laws. The Royal forest in the Isle of Wight, in which there is not a tree, is not the only English example still remaining of the view here taken of this old meaning of the word. Where the soil was rich, such a tract of country, so appropriated, naturally became woodland, and in this way the original meaning of the word may have again become applicable. From this cause, the forests long appropriated in Scotland as a range for red-deer, may have some woods about their lower outskirts, as that of Braemar, and some others; but, in general, they are altogether devoid of trees, or even bushes, the defences of the stag consisting in the wild nature of the ground—its bareness, which allows him to see strange objects at the distance of several miles from the spot where he and his hinds may be feeding —and in the strongholds of the steep and lofty mountains, in the seamed parts of which are found those large hollows, sloping outwards, surrounded on three sides by high and frequently inaccessible, and often shivered precipices, called, in deer-stalking language, by their Gaelic name of corries, in which the deer delight to dwell, and from which they issue to bound upwards to the breezy ridges of the mountains for better outlook, or to follow the rills that issue from them downwards to better pasture below. He who in painting an ideal picture of a Highland forest, therefore, should select a portion of the noble oak scenery of the New Forest, or of Windsor, for his study from nature, would commit a most lamentable error.

    The forest of Glenartney has on its north and western borders the high mountains of Stuck-a-chrom, Benvoirlich, and their associates, rising out of the southern side of Loclierne. The deer have it thus in their power to occupy some lofty positions, and the intricacies produced by the lower supports of these mountains are such as to give them great advantages. The forest abounds in streams, having rich vegetation on their banks, and its whole surface is naturally good deer pasture.1 In the words of old Donald Cameron, Lord Willoughby’s head forester, who has now been in Glenartney upwards of forty years, “The nature of the ground is good and healthy, interspersed with heath and rashes, and natural grass, and it is beautiful to the eye of a traveller,”—that is, to the eye of a traveller who, like Donald, has all his life been looking after deer— or to the eye of the enthusiastic traveller, who loves to look upon nature in some of her wildest forms ;—but for the eye that loves the deep repose of nature, beneath the giant limbs of oaks, whose thickset tops, spreading over roods of ground, produce an ever-enduring shade throughout the whole of the grand aisles of that leafy edifice, supported by their huge and knotted stems, save where a transient sunbeam may break through some accidental opening above to chequer the solemn ground—such a scene as Glenartney would be absolute barrenness. Like the greater part of Scotland, it was probably at one period covered with trees, as Sir Walter Scott, in his beautiful poem of Lord Eonald’s Coronach, supposes, from the simile he employs for the chieftain whose lament he is pouring out—

    “Och-hone-a-rie’! Och-lione-a-rie’!
    The pride of Albiu’s line is o’er,
    And fall’n Glenartney’s stateliest tree—
    We ne’er shall see Lord Ronald more!”

    You can read this book at

    With the Scottish Regiments at the Front
    This is a new book we're starting which provides details of some of the actions that the Scots Regiments were involved in.

    You can read this book at

    The Rise and Progress of the City of Glasgow, comprising an Account of its Public Buildings, Charities, and other Concerns
    This book is the production of one of the citizens of Glasgow; and contains a great body of useful and curious information. Nothing, indeed, can be more interesting than an enlightened and comprehensive account of such an assemblage of human beings as are now to be found in the second-rate towns of our empire: And, when one thinks of the mighty influ-. ence of Cities, either as the organs of political sentiment, or the engines of political disturbance—when one regards the economy of their trade, and sees in living operation what that is which originates its many and increasing fluctuations—one cannot but look on the authentic memorials of such facts as are presented to our notice in this volume, with the same sense of their utility, as we would do on the rudiments of an important science, or on the first and solid materials of any deeply interesting speculation. There is one point, however, which at this moment engrosses all that we can spare of our attention.

    You can read this article at

    Memoir of Sir William Hamilton, bart.
    Professor of logic and metaphysics in the University of Edinburgh by John Veitch (1869)

    There are few subjects of more just and keen regret in literature than the loss or absence of memorials of men who are known to have exercised a great power over their own generation. To have among us a great name and be conscious that it is nothing but a name, is a thing never realised without a touch of sadness. The blank felt by us in the absence of such a record is the measure of our obligation to him who worthily supplies it. Sometimes there are reasons only too sufficient why the world is disappointed. The lives of gifted men are not invariably clean lives. The companion who knows most about the vanished celebrity is conscious that he cannot present him to society as he was, so he is not presented at all. The world asks why but receives no answer, and the brilliant as well as the dark features in the character of the man are allowed to perish together.

    It is impossible to be further from deserving such a fate than the late Sir William Hamilton. Morally and physically his nature was pure and honourable. He was peculiarly averse to courting effect in the eyes of men; he never did anything for fame or notice—anything that would leave a picture of his career or of any passages of it before the world. His life was therefore one that would have been peculiarly difficult to portray in a later generation, had no contemporary who knew him undertaken the task. Such are the considerations to be taken into account when we measure the service done to literature by this interesting volume.

    You can read this volume at

    The Haigs of Bemersyde
    By John Russel. I found this book quite by chance which is a family history.

    You can read this book in pdf format at

    The Border Elliots and the Family of Minto
    By the Hon. George F. S. Elliot (1897) (pdf). This is a review of this book by the Edinburgh Review but I was unable to find a copy of the book.

    You can read this review at

    General Patrick Gordon
    Passages from the Diary of General Patrick Gordon of Auchleuchries, 1635 - 1699.

    We already have a page about him with extracts from the diary but have now found the complete book and have added a link to it at the bottom if his page at:

    The Scots in France
    A review of books from the Edinburgh Review.

    This is an excellent review and provides a list of books for further reading and you can view this from a link I added to the foot of our Scots in France page at:

    Scottish Religious Houses Abroad
    A review of books on this subject by the Edinburgh Review.

    This is a pdf article and be downloaded at

    Chat, Chat, Chat
    A new song from John Henderson which you can read at

    Robert Nicoll
    Found a couple of books of his poems which I've added to his page at:

    Scotch Live-Stock
    A book by James Bruce (1877) in pdf format.

    This is a good addition to our Agricultural section.

    You can download this at

    The Scottish Macs
    Their Derivation and Origin by James B. Johnson (1922) (pdf)

    You can download this book at

    The Topogaphical, Statistical, and Historical Gazetteer of Scotland
    While we already have a great Gazetteer on the site I came across this 2 volume publication which also contains a great set of maps. You can download these at the foot of the page at:

    Anecdotes to Antiquaries
    Letter to Editor of Blackwood's Magazine (1817)

    This is an amusing and interesting article which you can read at:

    A fall of white petals
    This was written for the Clan Chattan magazine 'Touch Not' and sent to me by William Shaw.

    You can read this at

    Beth's New Fangled Family Tree
    Edited by Beth Gay

    Got in the May 2014 issue which you can download at

    And Finally...
    Here are a few wee stories from "The Book of Scottish Anecdote"...


    1327. Froissart thus describes the manner of living of the Scots during their military expeditions:—

    Their Knights and esquires are well mounted on great coursers; the common sort and the country people ride little horses. They take no carriages with them, by reason of the unevenness of the ground among the hills of Northumberland, through which their road lies, neither do they make provision of bread or wine; for such is their abstemiousness, that in war they are wont, for a considerable space of time, contentedly to eat flesh half-dressed, without bread, and to drink river water, without wine: neither have they any use for kettles and caldrons; for, after they have stead the cattle which they take, they have their own mode of dressing them.” [This is elsewhere described to be, by fixing the hide to four stakes, making it in the shape of a caldron, placing fire below, and so boiling the flesh.] “They are sure of finding abundance of cattle in the country through which they mean to go, and therefore they make no farther provision. Every man carries about the saddle of his horse a great flat plate, and he trusses behind him a wallet full of meal, the purpose of which is this: after a Scottish soldier has eaten flesh so long that he begins to loathe it, he throws this plate into the fire, then moistens a little of his meal in water, and, when the plate is once heated, he lays his paste upon it, and makes a little cake which he eats to comfort his stomach. Hence we may see, that it is not strange that the Scots should be able to make longer marches than other men." Here is a minute and long description of the method of baking bannocks on a girdle. — Dalrymple.


    Monday’s Bairn is fair of face;
    Tuesday’s Bairn is fu’ o’ grace;
    Wednesday’s Bairn’s the child of woe;
    Thursday’s Bairn has far to go;
    Friday’s Bairn is loving and growing;
    Saturday’s Bairn works hard for his living;
    But the Bairn that is born on the Sabbath-day, Is lucky, and bonny, and wise, and gay.


    Dr John Jamieson, the well-known antiquary and compiler of the Scottish Dictionary, was pastor of the Anti-burgher congregation of Forfar from 1780 to 1797, when he left for Edinburgh. He laboured at Forfar for the small sum of £50 a-year, and before leaving for the metropolis had made himself popular by the publication of “Sermons on the Heart,” “Reply to Dr Priestly,” and other works. While at Forfar he had the good fortune to become acquainted with George Dempster of Dunnichen. at whose table he was a frequent guest, and it was there that the happy idea of the Scottish Dictionary was first suggested to him. This originated with Grim Thorkelim, the learned professor of antiquities at Copenhagen, before meeting with whom Jamieson had looked upon the Scottish language merely as a species of jargon, or at most a corrupt dialect of the English and Anglo-Saxon. The Professor having spent a few months in Scotland before meeting with Mr Jamieson, had noted some hundreds of purely Gothic words then in common use in the shires of Forfar and Sutherland. These, he believed, were unknown to the Anglo-Saxon, though familiar to the Icelandic tongue; and it was this hint which induced Jamieson to collect the more singular words and expressions of the inhabitants of Angus, and gave rise to his Scottish Dictionary—one of the most remarkable monuments of industry and learning, as well as of utility, of which any country or age can boast. —Jervise.


    The Rev. Dr Samuel Charters, parish minister of Wilton, in Roxburghshire, when very young was bereft of both parents, and he was taken in charge by his maternal grandmother. Like Timothy of old, he was privileged with pious guardians, and his mind was stored with Bible truths and sacred poetry, which he could readily quote as occasion required. During Prince Charles Edward’s movement in 1745 his grandmother was sadly afflicted with the dread that her hearthstone would be invaded by a rude soldiery, and as the saying goes, “she could neither eat nor sleep.” Samuel was then only about four years old, but saw that she was much grieved, and to console her he repeated the first verse of the 20th Psalm:—

    “Jehovah hear thee in the day
    When trouble he doth send;
    And let the name of Jacob’s God
    Thee from all ill defend.”

    And then cheerfully added, “Tak yer meat, grannie, and dinna be feared.”

    And that's it for this week and I hope you all have a good weekend.


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    Re: Newsletter 18th April 2014

    Do look after your health Alastair. I can't imagine life without the ES site but your own well-being comes first! Definitely let us know if there is anything we can do to lighten your load! Take care.

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    I'm sure everyones best wishes are with you for an improvement to your health and wellbeing.

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    Re: Newsletter 18th April 2014

    My Health
    Then I had a diabetic hemorrhage in my right eye and that means I have lost some 90% of my vision in that eye. My left eye is perfect and so just hope it will continue to be ok as otherwise that will likely mean I'll have to stop publishing the site.
    Dr. Anjema in Chatham is an excellent eye doctor, one of the best in SW Ontario. He did my cataracts and I don't wear glasses now. I hope you are seeing him.



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    Re: Newsletter 18th April 2014

    It's Dr. Anjema that I'm seeing Hugh. He removed cataracts and implanted lenses in both eyes and as a result I had excellent vision. The problem is that I need to be referred to him through the optician and he took far too long to see me.

    Mind you I'm enjoying my new slimline look now although it's costing a bit more to get new clothes that fit me <grin>


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    Re: Newsletter 18th April 2014

    Alastair, I'm so sorry to hear of your health problems. I really believe you do far too much for this site. It must be exceedingly stressful committing yourself to filling up all these pages every week and your health is suffering because of it. Please slow down and give the computer a rest every day for a few hours. Drive down to the lake and take a walk along the shore. I don't know about overactive thyroids, but I do know about living with one eye. I had my right eye removed surgically in 1992 (cancer) and I am doing everything that I ever did with two eyes! Whatever you do, look after yourself - please!

    I wish you a speedy return to better health.
    All the best,

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    Re: Newsletter 18th April 2014

    Sorry to hear that you are having health problems Alastair. I hope things look up for you soon. You have to remember that most people your age are retired and treat yourself well......slow down a bit.


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    Re: Newsletter 18th April 2014

    Alastair, take some exercise on a daily basis and watch what you eat. You have had your warning~~

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    Re: Newsletter 18th April 2014

    Alistair, ones health is the most important thing you have. Don't worry too much about your eye, I have lived all my life with one, and it hasn't stopped me from doing anything I set my mind to.
    Take care, and get yourself on the mend.

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  18. Re: Newsletter 18th April 2014

    Evidently, Alastair, this is the first I've read this newsletter. I am hoping that you will have some good luck & help yourself to good health. I have the opposite to your thyroid problem, I have low thyroid, so simply take a pill every day. Please see a really good/efficient & knowledgeable eye surgeon/ ophthalmologist. Losing the weight will aid in your diabetes, I'm sure. Keep your fingers crossed! Sincerely, Joan

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