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Electric Scotland News

If you didn't know it before then I have to say I am against Scottish Independence and am for Brexit. After spending a lot of time trying to cover both issues for this site I am now decided on my decision.

As to Scottish Independence I simply don't see the caliber of our MSP's as being good enough to make Scotland a successful independent country. None of them have discussed ways forward for the country either as a devolved government or as an independent country.

I also don't think the civil service folk are doing a good job either but if course we are not meant to criticise them as they are not allowed to respond.

I also can't see what we've achieved from Devolution as our NHS, Education and Justice systems all of which are devolved are in a mess. We seem to be fixated on central control whereas what we need is more local control.

The Growth Commission Report was a joke and yet another attempt to persuade us that only under Independence can we improve as a country. 80% of our income as a country (UK) comes from services and as can be seen from closures in the retail trade it's obvious that the failed retailers have not embraced the online market which is why they are failing.

Scotland has the most devolved powers of any country in the world yet we are still failing and lagging behind the UK as a whole. Our Education system was the best in the world but no longer. When it was the best in the world Scots were leaders right across the world. We seem to be focused on looking at Scotland in isolation whereas the world should be our market. Our local press hardly ever cover international news so you don't read about growing EU skepticism in Italy, Spain and Austria or the Easters European countries. Things are not rosy in the EU.

As to Brexit... we had the largest number of people voting in our history and we voted to leave the EU. Despite that Scottish MSP's all decided we needed to remain in it and the SNP have stated in no uncertain terms that if we got independence we'd definitely be in the EU. Of course with our Debt to GDP ratio being worse than any EU country there is some doubt as to whether the EU would want us and hence the wording in the Growth Commission Report.

There is no transparency in Scotland as while we see reports about Nicola the whiner visiting the EU leaders we never actually get to hear what they are telling her. I suspect they have told her that unless she gets that GDP debt ratio down she won't get into the EU and hence the wording in the Growth Commission Report.

Can we not understand that the growth in years ahead are all focused on areas of the world outside Europe? That's where we need to be to ensure a successful Scotland. On the whiners recent trip to China almost nothing was heard about what was achieved.

Let me be clear, Nicola Sturgeon was a failure in her pre political life but she's become the very best spin artist in the world. I can't understand why so many Scots seem to think she's the best for Scotland. Take the millions we spent on VAT for the police service. She was told that if she wanted a Police Scotland force they'd have to cover VAT payments but despite that they went ahead anyway and of course complained about the VAT situation ever after. It took Tory MSP's to get that fixed for us.

Nothing that Scotland does or says is listened to by anyone outside Scotland as the SNP government has an agenda to take us out of the UK and thus every decision is politicised by them to that end. I personally think that when a minority SNP under Salmond first took power in Scotland he did a good job which encouraged more Scots to vote SNP afterwards. However since then it's all gone downhill big time yet we seem to cling to illusions that by separating from our largest export market by far (England) we can do well as a country.

Like Wales accepted the Brexit deal but Scotland didn't and that's a political decision based on trying to persuade Scots that Brexit is bad for us. Yet Nicola the whiner decided to move ahead with her Brexit blocking moves in the Scottish Parliament despite knowing she wasn't legally able to do so. Of course she knows that this move will be confirmed as illegal but she also knows she can then say that it's all Westminster's fault. Just like the Named Persons bill being approved in Scotland and then to her horror blocked by the UK supreme court because it was illegal under EU privacy laws. Not only did our own High Court in Scotland fail to see that but it also demonstrated that even in the EU the SNP won't get their own way as they will be the dominant entity ruling Scotland after independence.

Then this staying in the so called Common Market will just make as rule takers and severely limit what we can do on free trade deals with the world. That's after all one of the main reasons we voted for Brexit so we could eliminate tariffs that put up prices of food and other products that actually affects the poorest in our country the most.

Has anyone considered that the reason Donald Trump is being so hard headed on free trade is that he sees the US as being taken advantage of? Germany makes a surplus of some 500 billion a year in trade with the US and yet the EU tariffs actually make in harder for the US to sell to the EU. Why is he not being a lot more hard header on this imbalance with the EU? Have you considered that just perhaps he is waiting for Britain to come out of the EU before he acts? And then he can swing into action without it affecting Britain.
Frankly I think Brexit is a great opportunity for us and in my opinion the sooner we get rid of our current Prime Minister the better. She's obviously a remainer and enjoys being bullied by the EU. She has no back bone and is a disaster for Britain. I personally like the Mogg and am having hopes for our new Home Secretary as people that could replace her.

So why are we having so many issues about Brexit? Frankly it's cowardice. We have no confidence that British companies can be successful in the world and yet many just like Dyson show that we can do amazing things around the world. Just like he has embraced India which will be the second largest market in the world in the years ahead. It's places like that we need to work with and find a way of doing good business and just like Africa which can be a great opportunity down the road. The CANZUK partnership can be an amazing opportunity but for all that to happen we need to be out of the EU totally and embrace the Commonwealth and yes also the USA and the rest of the world including the EU.

Why we don't just leave the EU is beyond me and of course we could use that 39 billion in the UK instead of paying it to the EU. Our net EU contributions to the EU will cease and we can use the billions this will save to help the NHS and our Education system and help to support our exporters.

Scotland can be a lot better of inside the UK and outside the EU. SO how about some optimism instead of all this gloomy talk?

Here is the video introduction to this newsletter...

Scottish News from this weeks newspapers
Note that this is a selection and more can be read in our ScotNews feed on our index page where we list news from the past 1-2 weeks. I am partly doing this to build an archive of modern news from and about Scotland as all the newsletters are archived and also indexed on Google and other search engines. I might also add that in newspapers such as the Guardian, Scotsman, Courier, etc. you will find many comments which can be just as interesting as the news story itself and of course you can also add your own comments if you wish.

Edinburgh tourist tax voted through by council
Edinburgh City Council’s proposal to introduce a tourist tax has been labelled a dog’s breakfast as the authority agreed to push the plans forward.

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Breakthrough in study of Scotland’s ancient loch dwellers
Archaeologists have made a breakthrough in their understanding of Scotland’s mysterious loch dwellers who built timber settlements on the water around 2,500 years ago.

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Lewis woods are living memorial to island’s fallen heroes
A living memorial to the soldiers who died in the First World War will see some of Scotland’s traditionally barren Hebridean islands dotted with native trees as part of a £12m UK-wide planting project by the Woodland Trust.

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The European Union versus democracy
Don’t be surprised that the European Union is making such strenuous efforts to undermine British democracy, reverse the democratic decision of our people and if necessary bring down our elected government in the process.

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Growing list of hate shames Scotland
A senior judge has recommended adding gender and age to the list of hate crimes in Scotland.

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Objections to MaxFac are completely missing the bigger picture
Of the three leading options for the UK’s future customs arrangements with the EU, MaxFac has the best chance of making the most of the opportunities created by Brexit.

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Scotland’s GP burnout now an epidemic
Dr Punam Krishan writes: I am a GP of six years and I recently resigned from my partnership after a catalogue of challenges which caused me to burn out.

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Andrew Wilson's Doublethink Masterclass
Anybody who has read this post or indeed my post on similar claims made by SNP MSP Kate Forbes on Question Time will know that that very much is not the reality - that is in fact a big steaming pile of horseshit.

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Raise a pint of your own to beat minimum unit pricing
MINIMUM UNIT PRICING has threatened to increase the price of cheap wholesome booze for many years now. I can't think of a better response than to defiantly brew our own beer, especially given Edinburgh's fine brewing tradition.

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The penny has dropped in Holyrood as dismal economic figures released
Chink, clink and clatter: how the pennies have dropped as the Scottish Fiscal Commission released its latest dismal figures for our economy and the public finances last week.

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Brexit will power Britain’s prosperity
It’s already working with 600,000 new jobs

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No need to panic Trump’s tariff tantrum is Britain’s opportunity
So let’s speak behind the scenes, and capitalise on the fact that Trump’s more reasonable administration in the back office is on-side with the UK.

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Spain’s road to nowhere
Does Pedro Sánchez realise how weak his government is?

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How Draghi lost Italy
Did the head of the European Central Bank plant the seeds for his country’s collapse?

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A much-needed refresher on Free Trade and how it cuts prices for consumers
The latest iteration of the Brexit argument has us focusing on three things: Sovereignty, Immigration and Trade.

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Javid gives Gove a run for first place in our Cabinet League Table.
May is back in negative territory.

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Scots NHS staffing crisis as thousands of nurses quit
More than 4,300 nurses quit the service last year, it has emerged, while long-term consultants vacancies are also on the rise.

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Brexit has made us more relaxed about immigration, not less
The greatest danger lies in trying to ape an opinion the speaker neither holds nor understands. Immigration is a particular minefield.

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Scottish Government report
Admits Brexit could generate £540 million and 5,000 jobs for fishing industry

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The kids are alright
Economist John Quiggin wants to change the way we talk about millennials.

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Irish Presbyterians vote to loosen Scottish church ties
The Presbyterian Church has voted to loosen its ties with the Church of Scotland due to its more liberal attitude to same-sex relationships.

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What MPs need to know about trade policy
Before voting on the EU Withdrawal Bill

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Growth Commission, really?
Here's how to create new Scottish growth

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Electric Canadian

Transactions of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers
I discovered a lot of volumes of these transaction which are very detailed and note that they are very popular downloads so assume civil engineers are enjoying the details given in these transactions.

I've added the 1941 volume and will add others each week. You can view these at

Some of the topics discussed include Aerodrome Construction, Air Traffic Control, Aluminum, Boilers, Canadian Engineers and the War, Centenary of Queen's University, Chemical Processes, Engineering and Social Progress, Municipal Management and the Engineer, Obituaries, Research in Canada, Royal Air Force, St. Lawrence Project, Young Engineer in To-morrow's Democracy, etc.

Travels & Adventures in Canada and the Indian Territories Between the Tears 1760 and 1776
By Alexander Henry, Fur Trader. New Edition, Edited with Notes, Illustrative and Biographical, by James Bain (1901)

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Canadian History Notes
With lots of wee stories (pdf) which you can read at:

Canada and its Provinces
A History of the Canadian People and their Institutions by one hundred Associates. General Editors: Adam Shorty and Arthur G. Doughty. Edinburgh Edition (1914) in 23 volumes. I will be adding a volume each week until completed.

You can read this at:

Conrad Black

Long Overdue, Overhaul of the U.S. Criminal-Justice System May Have Begun

Why Doug Ford must be the next premier of Ontario

Electric Scotland

Commonwealth of Australia
Historical Records of Australia published in 1914 in 19 volumes. Intending to put up 1 volume a week until complete.

Added Volume 11 - January, 1823—November, 1825 Sir Thomas Brisbane

The period of the administration of Sir Thomas Brisbane is probably one of the most momentous epochs in the history of the Australian colonies. During the four years of his government, the foundations of the modern fabric of civil life were laid and many important principles received consideration. The separation of Tasmania as an independent colony was partially accomplished; a council was formed, partly as an advisory body to the governor, partly to relieve him of the responsibility of enacting laws and ordinances for the good government of the colony; trial by jury was introduced in the law courts; the censorship of the press was removed; immigration of free settlers was encouraged; the sale of crown lands was commenced, and the pernicious system introduced of utilising the moneys derived from such sales for general revenue purposes; and a monopoly was first officially countenanced in the formation of the Australian agricultural company. Besides the consummation of these important changes, many large economic policies were under trial or consideration, such as the legitimate spheres for government as distinguished from individual enterprise; taxation by representation; the separation of the two branches of the legal profession; the reduction of licensed houses; the prohibition settlements at Newcastle and Port Macquarie; the abolition of the government monopoly in coal-mining; the cessation of transportation of convicts to the colonies; the open-air treatment of prisoners; wages for prisoners; the principles of task or piece work; commission to government superintendents on work performed; and the establishment of agricultural training colleges.

You can get to this at:

The Transactions and Journal of Proceedings of the Dumfriesshire and Galloway Natural History & Antiquarian Society

Session 1892-93.

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Robert Burns Lives!
The Agnes Burns Song Book by Kirsteen McCue

This is an extremely welcomed article to the pages of Robert Burns Lives! by one who has contributed articles over the years – Kirsteen McCue, professor at University of Glasgow. She is both a friend and scholar. I met Kirsteen when she was studying at the Ross Roy summer program at the University of South Carolina. She has been the guest in our home as we have been with her, her husband David and her children Dora and Gregor many times in Glasgow. She has many talents, and among them is that of a wonderful cook of great meals in her home! As I write this, I am nearing another meal time and wishing Susan and I were in Glasgow to share another of her meals with her family, including her delightful mother who lives a couple of doors from them. It is a home of welcome, warmth, fun and joy. The meal – none better! The fellowship – the same! Come back to visit again, Kirsteen, you are missed! (5.31.18)

You can read her article at:

Some pictures of old texts
Marty MacIntyre sent in these three graphics to me which are pictures of old texts. One of them is in gaelic, the other two are the front page of a book and the second is a page from it which mentions the Red Book of the MacIntyres.

View these at:

Hon. Archibald McIntyre
By William B. Sprague, D.D. (1858) (pdf0

A sermon which you can read at:

Nebraska retiree uses earths's heat to grow oranges in snow
Winter temperatures in Alliance, Nebraska can drop to -20°F (the record low is -40°F/C), but retired mailman Russ Finch grows oranges in his backyard greenhouse without paying for heat.

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The Celtic Church in Scotland
Being an introduction to the history of the Christian Church in Scotland down to the death of Saint Margaret by John Dowden, D.D., Bishop of Edinburgh (1894) (pdf)

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An Account of the Game of Curling
With songs from the Canon-Mills Curling Club (1882).

Added the Preface to this book and a link to it toward the bottom of our Curling page at:

Local Industries of Glasgow and the West of Scotland
Edited by Angus McLean, M.Sc. Principal of the Paisley Technical School (1901) (pdf)

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Sermons and Letters of the Late Rev. Alex. Pringle, D.D.
With a Memoir of the author by his Surviving Colleague the Rev. David Young, D.D. (1840) (pdf)

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Scotland as it was and as it is
By the Duke of Argyll (second edition) (1887)


History has now taken its place among the Sciences which must he studied on the principle, and according to the methods, of the Division of Labour. Its larger outlines have indeed been traced already, and some of them, at least, by master hands. But our growing knowledge has raised a growing sense of the volume that we have yet to learn. The problems of human life are felt to be infinitely complex, and the facts which throw real light upon them, are seen to be of a corresponding character. No one mind can recognise, or record, or classify, more than a fraction of them. Mere outlines, even when not positively misleading, are at the least wholly insufficient. It is the work of our time to fill up such outlines by the careful study of particular epochs,—of some particular class of facts, —or of some special chain of causes. The field is a wide one, and the harvest is immense. Many who have neither the leisure, nor the learning, to take up the task of the general Historian, may have excellent opportunities of knowing thoroughly doings and transactions which have a deep root and a wide significance. With no other qualification than an eye habituated to the perception of certain truths, such writers may render invaluable service. And if their own business or calling has been of a kind which is connected with the earliest times, and with the oldest elements in human civilisation, any careful analysis of that business, as it has been conducted in the past, and as it exists at the present time, cannot fail to be, at least, a useful contribution to the vast—the yet unaccomplished —work of History.

In the following pages I have desired to offer such a contribution—and nothing more. They deal with one great group of causes in our national progress, and they deal with that group alone. Other causes are either not touched at all, or they are alluded to only by the way. Nothing, for example, has been more peculiar in Scotland than the direction which the Reformation took. Few causes have affected so powerfully the national character ever since 1560. But except as connected with the Civil Wars, and some consequent movements of the population, I have left it out of the account. In like manner the immense influences of Literature and Science are passed by, except in so far as both are connected with the progress of the Arts, and of Mechanical Invention. Nevertheless, the special current of events, and the special group of causes Presbytery Examined, which have been followed here, are, beyond all question, among the deepest and most powerful in the History of Civilisation. They concern the amalgamation of Races, the consolidation of a National Government, the beginnings of Law, the rise of Industries, the origin, the growth, and the working of these accepted doctrines of Society which consecrate and establish the respective rights, and the mutual obligations, of Men.

I need not apologise for the use I have made of Family Papers. The value of such documents has long been universally recognised as among the best materials of History. Several Literary Clubs did much, in the earlier part of this century, to render them more accessible. Increasing interest is everywhere being taken in them. The sumptuous volumes of Family History published under the care, and edited with all the learning, of Sir William Fraser, K.C.B., LL.D., Deputy-Keeper of the Records of Scotland, are a mine of information on the habits and manners of the Military Ages. Yet, unfortunately, few families have taken care to preserve documents giving any details of Estate management. The Black Book of Taymouth—often referred to in the following pages—has a special value in this point of view. For the most part, each generation worked, in these matters, unconsciously — not knowing, or even dreaming that in the ordinary administration of Property, they were making History, in one of the most important of its branches. It so happens that documents of this kind, relating to critical epochs, have been preserved in unusual abundance by some of my predecessors. Yet one of the most interesting of these—the Report of Duncan Forbes of Culloden in 1737—was very nearly lost. It was found among the papers of Lady Mary Coke, youngest daughter of John (second) Duke of Argyll and Greenwich, and was returned to me by the kindness of the present Earl of Home, into whose possession it had passed. Old Leases seem everywhere to have been very generally destroyed. Yet it is needless to say that they are very important documents, not only in the History of Tenures, but also in tracing the advancing practices of Husbandry. Of these I am fortunate in having a tolerably complete series from the beginning of the Eighteenth Century, as well as whole Volumes of Instructions in all the details of administering Estates much larger than those which I now possess, issued by my grandfather, John, fifth Duke of Argyll, during the most critical epoch of Agriculture in Scotland, from 1770 to 1806. He was one of the great Improvers of his time; and I have had the further advantage of the large collection which he has left of Books and Pamphlets on all branches of Rural Economy. My only difficulty has been to limit within any reasonable compass the superabundant evidence which a]l these sources of information afford in illustration of the narrative I have presented of a memorable History.

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The Story

Trade Tokens.
By Mr Philip Sulley, F.R.Hist.S.

Mr Sulley in the first place made some general remarks regarding trade tokens, pointing out that while the whole coinage on record from Anglo-Saxon times to the present did not exceed a thousand different specimens, the trade tokens issued at various times exceeded sixty thousand. The cause of the issue of such tokens was the lack of small change. He directed attention to a penny of the time of Edward I. in England and John Balliol in Scotland, which was purely the working-man’s coin of the day, and represented his day’s wage during many a score of years. It was the only coin they had, and to get what was proportionately a half-penny and farthing they broke the penny piece into halves and quarters. For three centuries this state of affairs existed, until Henry VII. made a great reform in the coinage, and he was the first king to put a likeness on coins. Then came Edward the Sixth and Mary the Evil, who issued most base and degraded coins, the result of which was that tradesmen refused to put up with them any longer. Soon the chandler, the grocer, the baker, the vintner, and other trades people, along with many of the principal households, began to issue tokens of their own to be used among their own friends, within their own circle, and in their own town. These they made of all kinds of metal—a few of copper, many of tin and pewter, some of brass, and some even were of leather—stamped. Matters went on in this way till James the Sixth of Scotland journeyed across the Border to become the First of England, the tokens having continually increased. His Blessel Majesty, James, when he went south found he could not take his Scottish “bawbee” with him. As towns like Bristol, Worcester, and Oxford were issuing these copper coins at fair value, and were making an immense profit out of it, he, with Scottish ingenuity, thought he might turn a good trade at it too, and he gave a patent to Lord Harrington in 1613 to issue “good copper farthings.” As a matter of fact, they were worth about a fifth of that sum, and consequently his lordship made something like £30,000 a year out of the business. James, however, soon did away with the patent, and gave Lord Harrington some thousands a year to carry on the trade while he himself secured the profits. From 1618 to 1689 the issue of tokens was widespread, and their mottoes were numerous. In 1671 King Charles II. reformed the coinage by the issue of honest copper pennies and farthings, and in the following year he issued an edict putting a stop to the circulation of trade tokens, and succeeded in suppressing them. William III. and Mary, Anne, George I., George II., George III., all managed to supply the requirements of the public substantially for about 100 years. But then there came a dearth of money, and in the year 1787 tilings gut so bad that there was no money to pay wages, &c. In that year the Anglesey Copper Company issued copper pennies and farthings to their work-people, and these were so much in demand that in the course of three years they struck 300 tons of the metal. The result was that other people took up the same trade, and these tokens grew to an enormous extent. Ten years afterwards, in the year 1797, George III. put a stop to the business by issuing a very beautiful, though rather cumbersome, twopenny piece of solid copper. That put a substantial check on copper tokens, so much so that they died out about the year 1800; and in 1802 there were only two issued. In 1806 a newT penny of good value came from the mint.

Mr Sulley proceeded to give particulars of some of the tokens issued at the end of last century. Some were put into circulation by towns, others by private speculators, who adorned theirs with figures of noted persons such as the Prince of Wales, Earl Howe, Nelson, and the Duke of AVellington, while classical subjects also came within their artistic scope. Tokens were likewise issued as advertisements. A celebrated dwarf, who was on exhibition, had his halfpenny; a menagerie was not behind the times with a coin on which were the kangaroo, armadillo, and rhinoceros; an acrobatic performance had its suitable advertisement; the proprietors of a great lottery followed in line; and another token was issued as an advertisement to a stage coach establishment, with words in praise of Palmer, the founder of stage coaches. Mr Sulley exhibited specimens of these, and among others a Masonic half-penny. A magnificent set of tokens was issued at one time with representations of the principal London buildings. A more remarkable set altogether were the satirical tokens. One Spence, who had seen the inside of a prison five times, and was three times tried for high treason, issued a notable series of the kind in question, and Mr Sulley brought before the meeting specimens, along with others circulated by T. Hardy, tried for high treason in 1794; J. H. Young Erskine, the great advocate Gibb; and the London Corresponding Society, which was the means of stirring up some notable riots in the English Metropolis. Such tokens, which were circulated in great numbers, were, of course, issued for political objects. The French Revolution brought a host into circulation, and numbers were struck in honour of the victories of the British arms. In the ten years succeeding 1787 no fewer than 40,000 were put into circulation. In 1811 copper had grown so valuable owing to the great wars that twopenny pieces were worth fivepence, and a large number of silver tokens were issued for the first time in that year. On 17th July, 1817, however, an Act was passed compelling their withdrawal, and that was the end of the system of tokens. In the first period, up to the time of Charles II. there were upwards of 20,000 issued, of which 12,000 were known at the present time, and 40,000 were known to have seen the light from 1787 to 1817. A good many more had doubtless been lost. And the cause of all this was simply the scarcity of change ! Coming to Scotland, he found it a very extraordinary thing that, as far as he could ascertain, there was no collection of Scotch trade tokens, or record of them. In the great antiquarian museum in Edinburgh there was not a single one. There were a few in the Paisley Museum. He had some eighty specimens. There were 240 different varieties of Scotch tokens known, but many of them were simply varieties with such minute differences—principally in the dies—that they were only interesting to collectors. He imagined there -were 130 different tokens known to be issued in Scotland. The Edinburgh half-pennies were the oldest known to exist, the earliest date being 1787. There was also a Paisley Abbeypenny, for which he would be glad to give £20. He could sell it for £50. (Laughter.) He exhibited an Edinburgh halfpenny of date 1791, payable at Dumfries, the reason of their being made payable at different towns being that Scotch traders went to all the London and other great markets carrying their pennies with them, and the tokens could be exchanged and current coin obtained for them at certain houses in the various towns. He also exhibited tokens with representations of Edinburgh University and the Register House; and one dated 1796, issued by Campbell, who kept a snuff shop in St. Andrew Street, Edinburgh. The man Spence already referred to issued, he thought, most of the Scotch tokens—about 70 or 80— which, with his others, cost him about ten years in jail. However, he was a most indefatigable man. (Laughter.) In connection with the trade done at southern cattle markets by Scotch traders last century, Mr Sulley referred to an iron plate at the Midsteeple indicating the distance to Huntingdon, which had a famous market. The best Scotch tokens of all wore those of Dundee, which were remarkable for the way in which they were struck, and which could not be surpassed by any English ones that he knew of. Gatehouse-of-Fleet was the only place within the two counties (Kirkcudbright and Dumfries) which issued a halfpenny of its own, and he exhibited a specimen, on the one side of which was a view of the mill, and on the other the arms of Murray Stewart of Cally. In his collection of tokens some 70 belonged to the period between 1790 to 1797 ; four belonged to a later period. He had many hundreds of the English ones. He expressed the hope that he had given the Society an interest in Scotch trade tokens. The extraordinary thing in connection with them was that, while there were many records of the English issues, there was no record in Scotland.

And that's it for this week and hope you have a great weekend.