For the latest news from Scotland see our ScotNews feed at:

Electric Scotland News

Think positive: Brexit uncertainty gives us plenty of room for growth

One of the (many) disappointing aspects of the present fractious, Brexit-focused episode in our country’s history is that charming self-deprecation has turned into self-flagellation. The headlines major on economic problems rather than successes, on uncertainties rather than what we know and can control. I started my career in New York, famous for its swagger, and was reminded of the city’s can-do spirit last week. Self-belief doesn’t guarantee success, but it’s a good place to start, for an individual, company or country. Britain is home to world-leading companies in sectors that can drive growth... Britain excels in literature, music, film-making, fashion, broadcasting, publishing, visual arts, theatre, architecture, advertising, media and design. We are leaders in life sciences and academic research and the second most popular university destination for international students. Britain boasts a rich ecosystem that works for companies interested in establishing or building a presence here that Silicon Valley can’t offer... All the biggest US tech companies have decided to invest more in the UK since the referendum. - Dame Helena Morrisey for The Times


27 Countries seeking UK Trade deals
All the countries in which government officials or prominent business figures have declared a desire to secure a post-Brexit trade deal with Britain. Out of the 10 largest economies in the world, just two (France and Italy) have not yet made moves for a deal. Every continent on earth is represented, with 27 countries already signaling their intentions:

Korea (Republic of)
New Zealand
United States

The total GDP of all of these countries is nearly $50 trillion dollars – 67% of global GDP. In comparison, the EU’s GDP of $16 trillion equates to just 22%. Britain is open for business.

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.

SNP National Council under threat of abolition
The SNP National Council has traditionally been the body which sets party policy and acts as a bridge between members and the leadership.

Read more at:

Nicola Sturgeon’s big gamble on childcare
The entire policy was plunged into fresh doubt as nursery leaders announced they are at crisis point over chronic funding shortfalls and have little faith in the pledge of extra cash from ministers.

Read more at:

Britain remains top European hub for tech investors
Britain remains the leading European destination for international tech investors, with UK tech companies attracting almost three times more venture capital investment than any other European country over the past two years

Read more at:

Trump vents anger on NATO allies, EU, Trudeau post-G7
U.S. President Donald Trump fired off a volley of tweets on Monday venting anger on NATO allies, the European Union and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Read more at:

Political heavyweights assess Doug Ford's win in Ontario
Magic of simple message, simple strategy led to Ford victory

Read more at:

Medieval manuscripts secure global heritage status for Gaelic
Centuries old Gaelic manuscripts have been given global significance status by world heritage experts at Unesco due to their cultural importance.

Read more at:

List of the largest trading partners of the United States
The largest US partners with their total trade in goods (sum of imports and exports) in millions of US dollars for calendar year 2016 are as follows

Read more at:

Harry and Meghan to visit Australia and New Zealand
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will make an official visit to Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand in autumn.

Read more at:

UK can lead the world in Life Sciences and the Bio-Economy
I have seen first-hand the global potential of UK innovation and enterprise.

Read more at:

German ministry says 774,000 Mercedes cars contain unauthorized software
Germany’s Transport Ministry said on Monday that 774,000 Mercedes-Benz vehicles in Europe had been found to contain unauthorized software defeat devices and ordered Daimler to recall more than 200,000 cars in Germany.

Read more at:

The death in prison of Katie Allan, 21
A Glasgow univerasity student, exposes a disgrace at the heart of the Scottish judicial system.

Read more at:

Direct Air Capture
Our technology, now proven with successive prototype and pilot demonstrations, can scale up to capture one million tons of CO2 per year with each commercial-scale facility. That quantity of CO2 is equivalent to the annual emissions of 250,000 average cars.

Read more at:

Secret Scotland claims over SNP bid to thwart FOI requests
The Scottish Government has come under fire in a damning watchdog report which found journalists were deliberately thwarted from receiving Freedom of Information responses.

Read more at:

Government sees off all the Lords’ Brexit amendments after two days of voting in the Commons
All the Lords’ amendments to the Withdrawal Bill were defeated by the elected Commons this week.

Read more at:

Meghan and Queen share giggle at first joint outing
The Duchess of Sussex and the Queen attended their first engagement together in Mersey. Lots of pictures.

Read more at:

Think tank draws up summer reading list for Nicola Sturgeon
A think-tank has drawn up a summer reading list for the First Minister aimed at stimulating debate about Scotland and the wider world.

Read more at:

Microsoft takes aim at Amazon with push for checkout-free retail
Microsoft Corp is working on technology that would eliminate cashiers and checkout lines from stores, in a nascent challenge to Inc’s automated grocery shop, six people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Read more at:

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 1942 volume and will add others each week. You can view these at

Some of the topics discussed include Air Bombing and Structural Defence, Air Raid Precautions, Canadian Engineers in England, Elections and Transfers, Engineering as a Career, National Research Council of Canada, Polish Engineers in Canada, Obituaries, etc.

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.

Added volume 2 to this collection.

You can read this at:

Bulletins from Ontario Agricutural College and Department of Agriculture
Nos. 181 to 208 (1913) (pdf)

You can read these at:

Non Metallic Minerals
Added a lot of books to our page about Non Metallic Minerals in Canada where I did a major search for any book about these products in Canada.

You can read these at:

A True Description of the Lake Superior Country
It's Rivers, Coasts, Bays, Harbours, Islands and Commerce and also a minute account of the Copper Mines and Working Companies by John R. St. John (1846) (pdf)

You can read this at:

Conrad Black

Donald Trump Is Nothing Like Joseph McCarthy

It's been a good week for good government in Ontario and Canada

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 12 - June, 1825—December, 1826 including information about William Stewart and Lieutenant-General Ralph Darling.

You can get to this at:

The Transactions and Journal of Proceedings of the Dumfriesshire and Galloway Natural History & Antiquarian Society
Session 1905-06.

You can read this at:

The Military Religious Orders of the Middle Ages
The Hospitallers, The Templars, The Teutonic Knights and Others by F. C. oodhouse, M.A. (1879) (pdf)

You can read this at:

Scotland and Scotsmen in the Eighteenth Century
From the MSS of John Ramsay, Esq. of Ochiltyre edited by Alexander Allardyce in two volumes. Added links to these volumes at the foot of our Ramsay page in our Scottish Nation and included the Introduction.

You can read this at:

Twenty Years in the Himalaya
By Major the Hon. C. G. Bruce, M.V.O., Fifth Goorka Rifles (1910) (pdf)

You can read this at:

Sir William Ramsay, K.C.B., F.R.S.
Memorials of his Life and Work by Sir William A. Tilden, F.R.S. (1918) (pdf)

You can read about him at:

Brexit Britain
I did a video talk about Brexit on 13th June 2018 but as I couldn't upload it to YouTube I posted in up on the site where you can view it within our SIP section.

View this at:

Clan Wallace
Got in a copy of their Spring 2018 newsletter which you can read at:

The Sepoy Revolt
A Critical Narrative by Lieut.-General McLeod Innes (second edition) (1897) (pdf)

You can read this at:

The Story

I thought the introduction to the book below was rather interesting so thought I'd make it the story for this week.

Scotland and Scotsmen in the Eighteenth Century
From the MSS of John Ramsay, Esq. of Ochiltyre edited by Alexander Allardyce in two volume.

The Ochtertyre Manuscripts, from which the present work has been compiled, are comprised in ten bulky volumes, written during the last quarter of the eighteenth century, with occasional additions made until within a year or two of Mr Ramsay’s (the author’s) death in 1814. Mr Ramsay had made very extensive notes of his reading, recollections, and personal experiences, and had endeavoured to group them together under distinct heads. His own division of his manuscript is as follows :—

Language, Literature, and Biography (of Scotland). 3 vols.
Religion and Church Polity, and of their Influence on Society and the State. 2 vols.
Government, Clanship, and Law. 1 vol.
Prospects of Private Life. 3 vols.
Tracts on Forestry, Female Education, Superstitions, &c. 1 vol.

When it seemed desirable to those who were acquainted with the Ochtertyre MSS. that a work upon which so much care and pains had been expended should be made available to the present generation, the form of publication had to be considered. The bulk of the MSS. put the printing of them as a whole out of the question. Several of the volumes, moreover, overlapped one another; as, for instance, subjects which are treated of under ‘Language, Literature, and Biography’ are dealt with in the same language in the "Prospects of Private Life," and sections of the "Prospects" are again repeated in the volume on "Government, Clanship, and Law." In these volumes also there are many chapters that are mere digests of Mr Ramsay’s reading, often accompanied with intelligent views and valuable comments, but of less importance than the records of his own experiences and observations; and, in addition to these considerations, a certain amount of prolixity and discursiveness in Mr Ramsay’s style pointed to the propriety of a compilation from his MSS. rather than to the publication of them in their entirety.

In adopting the former course two difficulties had to be encountered. Mr Ramsay evidently desired his MSS., if published at all, to appear exactly as he had written then, although he apparently attaches a more particular value to some portions of his work than to others. Secondly, he left a stringent prohibition against any attempt to alter or modify his statements and views. In compiling the present work the Editor kept these facts steadily before him, and while extracting from the MSS. such sections as it seemed to him the author himself laid most stress upon, the Editor has not in any way altered the language or even the spelling of the original. The design of the Ramsay MSS. was to present to posterity a picture of his country at the period of which he was a contemporary, and of the persons with whom he had been brought directly or indirectly into contact—in short, to afford a sketch of ‘Scotland and Scotsmen in the Eighteenth Century,’ as the Editor has ventured to entitle the present work.

Engrossed in literary recreations and in the management of his property, the life of John Ramsay of Ochtertyre offers few features of interest, and until the publication of the present work he has only been remembered as the friend of Sir Walter Scott and as a patron of Burns. He was born in Edinburgh on the 26th August 1736, the son of a Writer to the Signet, whose family had acquired the estate of Ochtertyre, in the parish of Kincardine-in-Menteith, near Stirling, in 1591. The property descended from father to son in regular succession until John Ramsay, at his death, bequeathed it to his cousin-german, James Dundas, whose grandson is the present proprietor. In 1749 he was sent to Dalkeith school, to which the abilities of Mr Barclay, its master, had at that time attracted a number of boarders. Mr Ramsay describes him as one of the first schoolmasters in Scotland who sought to rule his pupils by moral discipline rather than by corporal punishment. “He seldom whipped,” he says, “but when in a passion, substituting different degrees of shame according to the offence,—viz., setting them on the floor with their breeches down; making them crawl round the school, which he called licking the dust; or putting them naked to bed in a play afternoon, and carrying off their clothes. This method soon rendered him exceedingly popular, both with parents and children, and contributed not a little to the flourishing of his school. He was indeed showy, and carried on the boys fast by means of translations, which were then in high request. His manners were very kind and pleasing, but he chiefly excelled in a sort of intuition into the character and genius of boys, in which he was seldom mistaken. His mode of punishing trespassers proved, however, more beneficial to himself than to his pupils. Ere long shame, which had at first wrought wonders, lost its terrors and became matter of ridicule to the wilder lads, some of whom took a comfortable nap on a play afternoon.”

In spite of the assistance of translations, Mr Ramsay became a good classic. He attended classes in the University of Edinburgh, afterwards studied law in his father’s office, and passed as an advocate. His father’s death while he was still under age left him in possession of the estate of Ochtertyre, and enabled him to gratify tastes which were evidently alien to the active and bustling; life of the law courts. In 1760 he settled down at Ochtertyre and devoted himself to the duties of his property, farming a portion of his own land. His experiences as a landlord are recorded in one of the chapters that have been selected from his manuscript. In case it may be imagined that he takes a somewhat complacent view of his own success, it should be mentioned that his enlightened efforts for the improvement of his estate and the welfare of his tenantry are fully testified to by contemporary records. The vicinity of Ochtertyre to Blair Drummond brought Mr Ramsay into great intimacy with Lord Karnes, and made him to some extent a partaker in schemes for improvements which were far in advance of the ideas of the most of the Scottish landlords of the day. He was one of the first to endeavour to give a practical application to the principles of scientific forestry. He also set an early example of the reclamation of moss lands, which was largely followed by other Menteith proprietors. As a landlord and an agriculturist his views seem to have been greatly in advance of his contemporaries, without partaking of the speculations in which his more visionary neighbour, Lord Karnes, was wont to indulge, and which Mr Ramsay sometimes treats with genial ridicule. His character as a landlord is well summed up by the writer in the 'Statistical Account of Scotland' “He was very indulgent to his tenants, was a kind friend, an intelligent country gentleman, and was highly esteemed by all classes of the community.”

Both by education and connections Mr Ramsay was possessed of advantages enjoyed by few Scottish lairds of the same acreage. He was connected with the Dundas family, then the ruling power in Edinburgh, his mother having been a daughter of Ralph Dundas of Manour, near Stirling, and a niece of Bishop Burnet. A sister of Mrs Ramsay was married to George Abercromby of Tullibody, and became the mother of Sir Ralph Abercromby. The salons and literary clubs of Edinburgh were thus open to him at the time when the influences of English letters were stirring up a new culture in Scotland, and laying the foundations of the Modern Athens. In London, too, to which he paid several visits—the first in 1758—he was fortunate enough to enjoy the acquaintance of Andrew Drummond, the banker, whose intimacy with Walpole opened up to him the inner circles of Whig society. But Mr Ramsay’s tastes were rural and retired, and though a shrewd and dispassionate observer and a close critic, he seemed always to have been glad to return to his books and his tenants, his plans of improvements, and his studies of the social changes that were going on around him. In politics he was a Whig, but a decided enemy of faction, and free from the rancorous spirit that then embittered Scottish polities. He had seen the last struggle for the Stuarts in 1745-46; but though a friend to King George and the Protestant succession, his manuscripts are full of sympathy for the gentlemen who had ruined themselves by their loyalty to a hopeless cause. In religion he was a Presbyterian of a type very rare in his day, and he might with little difficulty have passed for a Broad Churchman of the present generation. Narrow and sectarian feelings meet with his emphatic condemnation, and he records with pain the commencement of sceptical opinions in Scotland and the toleration they met with in society. To us, in the present day of all the “isms,” there is a quaintness, almost amusing, in the language which he uses while speaking of the lively apprehensions caused by a few contemporary doubters.

In Mr Ramsay’s time, Stirling was the centre of a little literary circle of which he may be said to have been the chief. There was Dr Gleio-, the Bishop of Brechin, an able and industrious worker for the ‘British Critic’ and the first edition of the 'Encyclopaedia Britannica,’ who was sometimes wont to have recourse to the assistance of Mr Ramsay’s MSS. ; Dr Doig, the Rector of the Grammar School, a philologist of great repute, and the orthodox antagonist of Lord Karnes; Dr Graham Moir, of Leckie, a frequent visitor, and a man of high and varied accomplishments; and Lord Karnes himself, whose controversy with Dr Doig warmed into a ripe friendship. And there were others of less note who afforded congenial society to the Laird of Ochtertyre, and who encouraged him in his literary pursuits. To these Mr Ramsay’s MSS. were well known and often read; but with their death they fell into oblivion for more than half a century, until Commander Dundas, R.N., his present representative, encouraged by the hope that they would now be of interest, resolved to publish them.

In the autumn of 1787, Burns, fresh from the recognition of the Edinburgh literati, visited Mr Ramsay at Ochtertyre, and was received with great hospitality and kindness. Mr Ramsay’s tastes had been formed on strictly classical models, and he gave Burns the somewhat doubtful advice to cultivate the drama on the model of the “Gentle Shepherd” and to write “Scottish Eclogues.” “But,” says Mr Ramsay, “to have executed either plan, steadiness and abstraction from company Were Wanting.” He, however, was more impressed with the force of Burns’s genius than any of the distinguished critics the poet had met in Edinburgh, the young Walter Scott, perhaps, alone excepted. “I have been in the company of many men of genius,” Mr Ramsay writes, “some of them poets; but I never witnessed such flashes of intellectual brightness as from him — the impulse of the moment, sparks of celestial fire; I never was more delighted, therefore, than with his company, two days, tete-d-tete. In a mixed company I should have made little of him; for, to use a gamester’s phrase, he did not always know when to play off and when to play on. When I asked him whether the Edinburgh literati had mended his poems by their criticisms— ‘See,’ said he, 'those gentlemen remind me of some spinsters in my own country, who spin their thread so fine that it is neither fit for weft nor woof.’ ”In October of the same year, Mr Ramsay wrote a long letter to Burns, in which, among other topics, he gives him the following earnest advice: “If some intellectual pursuit be well chosen and steadily pursued, it will be more lucrative than most farms in this age of rapid improvement. Upon this subject, as your well-wisher and admirer, permit me to go a step further. Let those bright talents which the Almighty has bestowed on you be henceforth employed to the noble purpose of supporting the cause of truth and virtue. An imagination so varied and forcible as yours may do this in many different modes; nor is it necessary to be always serious, which you have been to good purpose; good morals may be recommended in a comedy, or even in a song. Great allowances are due to the heat and inexperiences of youth,—and few poets can boast, like Thomson, of never having written a line which, in dying, they would wish to blot. In particular, I wish you to keep clear of the thorny walks of satire, which make a man a hundred enemies for one friend, and are doubly dangerous when one is supposed to extend the slips and weaknesses of individuals to their sect and party. About modes of faith, serious and excellent men have always differed; and there are certain curious questions which may afford scope to men of metaphysical heads, but seldom mend the heart or temper. Whilst these points are beyond human ken, it is sufficient that all our sects concur in their views of morals. You will forgive me for these hints.” The references to Burns throughout the Ramsay MSS. show traces of disappointment that this sound advice was not more steadily kept in view.

The year 1793 brought to Ochtertyre Walter Scott, then recently called to the Bar, and he could scarcely have come to a better authority than Mr Ramsay on Scottish traditions and memories of the “’Forty-five.” The acquaintance thus begun was continued at a distance, until Mr Ramsay’s death, the year when Waverley was published. A copy of the ‘Ballads from Burger’ was sent to Ochtertyre in 1796, and Lockhart, in his ‘Life of Scott,’ prints Mr Ramsay’s letter acknowledging the gift, and commending the translations. Lockhart remarks that Scott’s recollections of John Ramsay of Ochtertyre had gone some way, together with those of George Constable and Clerk of Eldin, to form the character of Jonathan Oldbuck of Monkbarns. Mr Ramsay was an enthusiastic antiquary, and was the means of recovering many prehistoric and Roman remains, as well as antiquities belonging to the period of the War of Independence, in his neighbourhood. An old ash near his house was garnished with an ancient pair of jugs, and the collection of the Society of Antiquaries was made richer by some of his discoveries.

Of those who were acquainted with Mr Ramsay, perhaps the only one surviving is the venerable ex-Chaplain-General of the Forces, Dr G. R. Gleig, the son of the Bishop of Brechin, above alluded to, who, though now upwards of ninety years of age, still writes with the vigour of a man at his prime, and with such powers of memory as not many can boast of at even half his age. Dr Gleig has kindly furnished the Editor with the following interesting reminiscences of Mr Ramsay: “I never heard that he did much as a practising lawyer, but he took a good place among the scholars of his generation, especially among antiquaries. He certainly stood with George Constable as the model from which the character of Monkbarns is painted. When I knew him he was an old man, and having lived as he did a bachelor, he had fallen, when alone, into slovenly habits of dress. When receiving company his appointments were those of a gentleman of the old school—a coat, usually blue, with bright metal buttons, a high collar, and lace frills at the wrist. I think he wore hair-powder, but I am not quite sure, though of his carefully tied queue or pigtail I have a clear remembrance. Breeches and blue stockings, with silver buckles in his shoes, were also worn on those occasions. At other times his legs would be encased in worsted stockings, to which it appeared as if he sometimes forgot to append garters.

I think of him as a man of middle stature, well made, and with an intelligent expression of countenance. The MSS. which you are preparing for the press had been his recreation for years, and he never failed to read a portion of them to every visitor whom he could prevail upon to listen. More than once, when certainly not more than twelve or fourteen years of age, I was his audience.

“Ramsay had the credit, I don’t know how justly, of having been in his youth and manhood a great admirer of the sex. When I knew him, so much of the old Adam remained with him that he used to exact a kiss from each of his young lady visitors, for which he rewarded her by a peach—his well-walled and sheltered garden being renowned for the excellence of the peaches it brought to maturity. Ramsay’s servant was a sort of counterpart of his master —very little younger, and with the same old-fashioned politeness of manner. His house was well kept, and his garden always in first-rate order.”

You can read this two volume account at:

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