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

Electric Scotland News

I took the Easter weekend of to head to Toronto to spend time with my friend Nola and her extended family and had a great time. The grand kids and great grand kids are sure growing up especially as it's been a whole year since I last saw them.


You can view a video introduction to this newsletter at:

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.

Wallace Monument opens after refurbishment
The National Wallace Monument is reopening following a refurbishment of its exhibition galleries to celebrate the landmark's 150th anniversary.

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Loch Lomond paddle steamer opens to visitors
The last paddle steamer built in Britain is opening up to visitors for the summer season.

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Aberdeen’s grey granite transformed by international street art festival
Aberdeen’s grey granite has been blasted with colour and form as the Nuart international street art festival takes over buildings, gable ends and hidden corners of the city.

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The blooming story of Peter Barr, Govan’s daffodil king
He rode through Spain and Portugal on a donkey, slept under rocks with only a single blanket for comfort and was mistaken for a famous bandit by police as he wandered through the Pyrenees.

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Next Tory Leader. Our Survey.
Johnson dominates the table. He puts on ten points and leads by eighteen.

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Governor General to Honour Remarkable Canadians at Rideau Hall
Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, will present honours to 39 recipients during a ceremony at Rideau Hall on Thursday, April 25, 2019, at 10:30 a.m. Recipients will be recognized for their excellence, courage or exceptional dedication to service with one of the following honours: a Meritorious Service Decoration (Civil Division), a Decoration for Bravery or the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers.

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New aircraft rises like a balloon
Researchers from the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) have helped create a revolutionary new type of aircraft.

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Trump to make state visit to Britain in June
U.S. President Donald Trump will make a state visit to the United Kingdom in June, Buckingham Palace announced on Tuesday, a trip Britain hopes will cement transatlantic relations

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Scotland's wild salmon levels at lowest ever level
Wild salmon catches in Scotland are at their lowest level since records began

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Trudeau takes sharp turn away from refugees welcome
The Liberal government, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, says it intends to change the law to make it harder for refugees to go asylum shopping

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160-year old Scotmid cheers sales hike
Scotmid Co-operative has overcome increased cost pressures to post a rise in annual sales after the hottest summer for decades boosted trade.

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Scottish Futures Trust: where to next?
The Scottish Futures Trust has been carving its own niche over 10 years of work across the public sector, to lever in private funds

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Joe Biden announces plan to run in 2020 US Presidential Election
The 76-year-old joins a diverse field of candidates to fight the 2020 election against incumbent Donald Trump

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Conservatives could face wipe-out as Brexit Party takes huge chunk of support in latest poll
The Tories are facing a huge drop in support, with more than half of voters switching to another party

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Electric Canadian

The Canadian Horticulturist
Volume 23 (1900) can be read at:

Sketches of Canadian Life Lay and Ecclesiastical
Illustrative of Canada and the Canadian Church by A Presbyter of the Diocese of Toronto (1849) (pdf) which can be read at:

Ye Pioneers of One Hundred Years Ago.
Souvenir Book and Program by the Women's Wentworth Historical Society (1900) (pdf) which can be read at:

Genealogical Chart of the Descendants of David Thomson and Mary Glendenning
Edited by Ethel MacPherson (1958)

You can read this at:

Veterinary work in Canada
Found a couple of old books which give insight into how vets worked in the olden days in Canada and you can read them at:

Wentworth Historical Society
The City of Hamilton was a little over seventy years old when the Wentworth Historical Society was formed in January 1889 to promote study into and publicise the "history, archaeology…and genealogy" of the area around the City of Hamilton, at the western end of Lake Ontario, known as the Head-of-the-Lake. As one way of achieving its objectives, the society undertook an active publishing program, most notably through its occasional periodical, Wentworth Historical Society and Records, which printed the best talks given by members at society meetings. The Wentworth Historical Society ceased functioning in 1925.

At that time, its records and books were placed in storage, with the hope that the society might later be revived. By 1944 it was felt that the time had come for the formation of a new historical group in the area. In January of that year, Lt. Col. C.R. McCullough (1865-1947) convened a meeting of historically-minded residents of Hamilton with the objective of meeting with Dr. Charles W. Jefferys, president of the Ontario Historical Society to discuss the possibility of establishing a new local historical society in the city.

At subsequent meetings throughout the month of February, a constitution was prepared and a slate of officers chosen.

In March 22, 1944, twenty interested citizens met with this group and, after discussion, adopted the constitution, selected the name "The Head-of-the-Lake Historical Society", and confirmed the executive. The first general public meeting of the new society was held in the old Art Gallery, on Main Street West near James, on March 31, 1944.

You can read one of their early volumes at:

Conrad Black

A Reckoning Is in Store for Democrats

Electric Scotland

The Scottish Review
Added Volume 34 - July October 1899 for you to read at:

Folk Lore Journal
Added volume 6 which you can to towards the end of the page at:

Biographical Sketch of George Meikle Kemp
Architect of the Scott Monument, Edinburgh by Thomas Bonnar, FSA Scot (1891) (pdf)

You can read this at:

A Handbook of Deer-Stalking
By Alexander MacRae (1880) (pdf)

A lot of similarities here on hunting deer, elk and Moose in North America. You can read this at:

Bush-Life in Queensland
Or John West's Colonial Experiences by A. C. Grant in two volumes (1881)

You can read this at:

Culross and Tulliallan
All the videos on this page were removed from YouTube so have replaced them with better ones and you can view these at:

The Shipbuilders of Aberdeen
SS Intaba. Added this book to our page at:

Tartan Day Parade New York
Got an email in from the American Scottish Foundation with two links to performances in New York which you can view in our Community at:

Evidences of Chiefship of Clann Ghilleain
By Professor J. P. MacLean (1895). Added a link to this book on our Clan MacLean page at:

Angus MacLeod
Added him to our Significant Scots section at:

Sketches of Old Times and Distant Places
By John Sinclair (1875) (pdf). This includes articles on 3 different MacDonald's and also one on Niagara Falls and all the Sketches are of high quality and highly recommended reading and you can get to this at:

The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography
Added a page for this prestigious publication at:

Pete Seeger
Found this interview with Pete Seeger on the Internet Archive and have added a link to it from our Peter Seeger thread in our Community at:

The Story


Taken from the above book "Sketches of Old Times and Distant Places"

AMONG the generals whom the first Napoleon raised to the rank of Marshal, one of the most eminent was Etienne - Jacques-Joseph-Alexandre Macdonald. Few were equal to him in military genius, and none surpassed him in courage and fidelity. I have always regarded the Marshal with special interest, on account of the friendly feeling which, as belonging to the clan Macdonald, he on all occasions evinced towards my uncle, Lord Macdonald’s family.

By birth and education he was a Frenchman, born at Saucerre, in the department of the Cher, on the 17th November, 1765; but by descent he was a Gael. His father, a gentleman in the Hebrides, was among the first to join the standard of Prince Charles-Edward in 1745, and, after the defeat at Culloden, fled to France.

Young Macdonald, having received a liberal education, entered on a military career in a manner suitable to his descent, by enlisting in the regiment of Dillon, composed chiefly of Scotch and Irish in the French service^

On the outbreak of the Revolution he joined the movement party, but kept aloof from its sanguinary excesses.

He first gained distinction under Dumourier in Flanders, and was raised to the rank of colonel for his services in the decisive battle of Jemappes. He again served in the army of the North, leading the van under Pichegru, and one of the most extraordinary deeds in the memorable winter campaign of 1794 was his passage of the Waal, on the ice, under a deadly fire from the batteries of Nimeguen. For this gallant exploit he was raised to the rank of general of brigade.

In a work entitled “Campaigns of General Pichegru with the Armies of the North, by Citizen David, an Eye-witness (Paris, 1796),” services of the utmost importance are attributed to Macdonald. Clairfait, the Austrian commander, having a great superiority of force, attacked the French on all points, from Rousselaer to Hooghlbde, and had every prospect of brilliant success. “But,” continues this eye-witness, “the division of General Souham, and especially the brigade of Macdonald, which occupied the plain of Hooghlbde, soon made him lose his first advantage. This brigade, being attacked in front and rear, was in such a bad position that any other than Macdonald would have sounded a retreat; but this brave Scotsman withstood the first shock with extraordinary firmness: he was soon reinforced by the brigade of Devinter, and these two columns fought with such fury that the enemy was obliged to yield. They made no prisoners that day, but killed a great number of their assailants, and forced Clairfait to abandon Rousselaer, and retire to his ordinary position at Thielt.”

The same author (David) proceeds to mention a very serious peril in^ which General Macdonald was immediately afterwards involved in consequence of his Gaelic name and descent.

The defection of Dumourier and Pichegru had excited in the Jacobins of Paris a general suspicion against the officers of the army of the North: and St. Just, the friend of Robespierre, was sent on a special mission “for the discovery of Traitors.” Hearing of Macdonald’s aristocratic name, and the fidelity of his family to the House of Stuart, St. Just at once divested him of his command, under the pretext that “not being a declaimer, he could not be a patriot.” “In vain,” says David, “did the generals affirm, that Macdonald was an excellent officer, and a good Republican; and pledge themselves, that instead of betraying the Republic, he would be sure to serve it like a brave and faithful soldier. This was of no consequence; St. Just was prepared at any cost, even that of disorganizing the army, to deprive him of his command. It is said that Richard had the courage to burn the decree of St. Just, and permit this brave soldier to continue in the service. If so, all gratitude is due to that excellent commissioner. Macdonald has served perfectly well on all occasions ; but at Hooghlfede he saved us.”

From Flanders Macdonald was removed to the Rhine. He there served at Cologne and Dusseldorf till he was transferred to the army of Italy. While he was in command at Naples a singular circumstance occurred. It was reported to him that the Romish priests, desiring to excite the superstitious populace against him, had announced that the great annual miracle, the liquefaction of the blood of St. Januarius, could not take place, while an infidel French army was occupying the city. On receiving this intelligence, the Marshal, who was not a man to be trifled with, sent an aide-de-camp to the archiepiscopal palace with this message, “It will be at the archbishop’s peril, if the liquefaction does not take place as usual.” The miracle was of course duly performed.

At the period of the revolution of the 18th Brumaire, Macdonald, who commanded at Versailles, gave valuable assistance to Buonaparte. For this, he was rewarded in 1800 with the command of the army of the Orisons: and the following extract from a letter written by him from Trent in January, 1801, to General Regnier, then in Egypt, shows his view of public affairs, and the grounds on which he resolved to cast in his lot with Napoleon:—

“As I was crossing the snow-capped mountains of the highest Alps, I received with inexpressible delight, my dear Regnier, your letter. Since you left us, we have had to bewail the capriciousness of Dame Fortune, and have been everywhere defeated: owing to the pusillanimity of the old tyrannical Directory. Buonaparte at last made his appearance, upset the presumptuous Government, seized the reins, and now directs with a steady hand the ear of Revolution to that goal which all honest men wished it to reach. Unappalled at the pressure of the burden, this extraordinary man reforms the armies, calls back the proscribed citizens, throws open the prisons in which innocence was left to groan, abolishes the revolutionary laws, restores public confidence, extends his protection to industry, gives life to commerce; and the Republic, triumphant by his arms, assumes at the present day that first rank in the scale, which Providence has assigned to her. I am, my dear Regnier, as great a stranger to adulation as to severe judgment. I condemn what is wrong with no less candour than I praise what is right: I am not the trumpeter of Buonaparte, but merely pay homage to truth, I deeply regret the loss of our poor Kleber : he was, like yourself a great enthusiast for your expedition.

Not long after penning these eulogies, the writer underwent a great change of sentiment. He was disgusted with the conduct of the First Consul to his companion in arms, Moreau, and had the honesty to declare his sentiments in no measured terms. These of course were communicated to Napoleon, who put him at once aside. Macdonald’s military life was thus for years suspended, and it was not till 1809, that he again received employment.

He soon, however, gave proof that this long interval of inaction had not enervated his military genius. When Napoleon in that year marched upon Vienna, Macdonald had a separate command, but by forced marches joined the Grand Army immediately before the great battle of Wagram, in which he took an important, or, I should rather say, a decisive part. For with the reinforcements he brought into action, he attacked, and, after a long struggle, broke the enemy’s centre, defended as it was by no fewer than 200 pieces of cannon. The loss he sustained was frightful. In proportion to the whole number engaged, it has scarcely ever been paralleled. At two in the afternoon his columns were reduced from 18,000 to 4,000 men. But the position was carried, the enemy compelled to retreat on all sides, and one of the most brilliant victories of modem times achieved. On the following morning, after surveying the field of battle, Napoleon went to place himself in the midst of the troops about to pursue the Tetreating enemy. On passing by Macdonald he stopped, and held out his hand to him, saying: “Shake hands, Macdonald; no more grudges between us; we must henceforth be friends; and as a pledge of my sincerity I shall send you your Marshal’s staff, which you won so gloriously in yesterday’s battle.” The general, pressing the Emperor’s hand affectionately, exclaimed: “Ah, Sire! with us it is henceforth for life and for death.”

Nobly did the newly appointed Marshal redeem this pledge. Amidst all the disasters which preceded the fall of the Empire, he adhered with unshaken fidelity to the fortunes of his master. He was to be found by his side as steadily amidst the disasters of Fontainebleau as in the triumph of Wagram, and when many on whom the fallen Emperor had lavished the greatest favours, deserted him, and passed over to the enemy, Macdonald remained almost alone, and to the last exerted himself to obtain for him the most favourable terms. In a private interview, Buonaparte expressed himself greatly satisfied with his conduct, regretted that he had not sooner known his value, and requested his acceptance of a farewell gift. "It is only,” he said, anticipating the Marshal’s objections,“ the present of a soldier to his comrade.” The gift was chosen with the greatest delicacy; it consisted of the beautiful Turkish sabre, which Napoleon while in Egypt had himself received from Ibrahim Bey.

On the restoration of the Bourbons, the Duke of Tarentum was nominated a Peer of France, and laboured in the Upper Chamber zealously but ineffectually to promote wise and moderate counsels.

On Napoleon’s escape from Elba, Macdonald, although solicited to accept a command under his old master, remained faithful to the royal cause. He even proceeded as far as Lyons to join Monsieur in repelling the invader, but soon found that the troops were resolved to desert their standards. He harangued them, but to no purpose. No sooner did they hear from the advanced guard of Napoleon’s little band the electric cry of “Vive I'Emperewr” than they rushed into the arms of their ancient comrades, and Macdonald was compelled to retire, first to Paris, and then to Ghent.

On the Bourbon restoration the Marshal was appointed Chancellor of the Legion of Honour, Governor of the 21st Military Division, and Major-General of the Royal Guard.

I now come to the circumstances, which led to my own personal acquaintance with this remarkable man.

In 1814 my father entered into correspondence with him. His Highland enthusiasm led him to suppose that the re-establishment of the ancient dynasty afforded opportunity for the institution of a Celtic corps, in imitation of the Scottish Guard, which in ancient times had served the French monarchs with devoted courage and fidelity. He had no desire that his projected corps should be composed of Scotsmen, but wished it to be raised in Britanny and other provinces inhabited by the descendants of the ancient Celts, and to be clothed in some modification of the Highland dress. Such a guard would, he conceived, be more popular, and not less trustworthy, than a regiment of Swiss. He communicated his idea in a letter to Marshal Macdonald, who, after stating in reply some objections to the plan, burst forth into the following warm eulogium on the Gaelic race:—“ The Scottish Highlanders are renowned for their fidelity, their courage, and their unbounded loyalty. This well-earned praise is universally bestowed upon that interesting race of people, whom I am proud to call my countrymen, and glory to have imitated in the career which I have followed. Nor do I feel less pride in bearing a name, and in belonging to a family, who, in common with the other Highland clans of Scotland, have at all times been acknowledged as the bravest among the brave of a generous and hospitable nation; and who are not less distinguished by their elevation of sentiment, their purity of morals, and their rare and incomparable attachment to the service of their ancient sovereigns.

"I have now in view to realise my long projected plan of visiting your happy England, and am in hopes of obtaining permission to carry the design into effect this summer, if the public functions which I exercise in France offer no impediment. I have the honour to be, Sir, your very humble and very obedient servant —The Marshal Duke of Tarentum, Peer of France, Macdonald.—Paris, 19th November, 1814.”

Some years elapsed before the Marshal found leisure for. the excursion here referred to; but at length, in 1825, he paid a visit to the land of his ancestors, and, in the absence of my father, honoured my mother with his company one evening at Edinburgh. We assembled a numerous party, most of whom, in compliment to our distinguished visitor, wore the Highland dress. After supper I had the gratification of proposing the health of “ a Macdonald, who had made that ancient name as illustrious abroad as it had ever been at home.”

The Marshal gave remarkable evidence of the accuracy of his memory. Some one having alluded to the time occupied by his journey from Paris to Edinburgh, he at once named every stage at which he stopped, the day of the month, and other minute particulars. When we expressed surprise, he replied that “ Military men must accustom themselves to be very accurate with respect to time and place.”

With regard to fwie he certainly made the most of it; for his custom was to rise every morning at five. “There is,” he said, “so- much gossiping and visiting in France that the early morning is the only time for doing business.” When he was about to take leave of us, one of my sisters requested him to enrich her scrap-book with a specimen of his autograph. He sat down at once, and with good humoured readiness inscribed the following compliment: “J’ai passd ce soir chez Ladi Sinclair, qui a fait les honneurs avec une giAce parfaite.—Marschal Macdonald.”

In his Highland tour the Marshal was accompanied by the best possible cicerone, his fellow-clansman, Macdonald of Staffa (afterwards Sir Reginald), wjio more than once entertained me with graphic reminiscences of their adventures. Of these I shall proceed to give a brief account. On arriving at Inverness the Marshal expressed a strong desire to see, under the most favourable circumstances, the battle-field of Culloden, which occupied so important a place in his family history. “ I have long wished,” he said, “ to ascertain, by inspection of the ground, how it came to pass that the brave Highlanders, after their victories at Preston Pans and Falkirk, were on that decisive occasion so. soon and so completely routed and dispersed. “Can you,” he added, “find a thoroughly competent guide?” Staffa assured him that he should have for his guide an old Gael who had repeatedly gone over the ground with actual combatants, English as well as Highland, on that memorable day. “Well then,” said the Marshal, “don’t let him pour out upon me all the gossip he has accumulated during fifty years, but let him answer all the questions I shall ask him.”

The party drove from Inverness, three or four miles eastward, to the woods and enclosures of Culloden House, about ten miles short of Nairn, a small town, which, on the day before the battle, had been the headquarters of the English army.

The Marshal took his station near the spot which had been occupied during the battle by Prince Charles and his Staff. In front was a vast expanse of barren moor called ‘Drumossie,’ diversified here and there by bright green spots marking the shallow pits in which after the battle heaps of slain had been hastily interred.

Having taken a general survey, the Marshal said, "Let our guide now show me exactly the position of the English infantry.” The old man walked forward some hundred paces and pointed out the first line consisting of six regiments, the second line of five, and the third of four, all of them three men deep.

The Marshal then said: “That is enough as regards the English infantry. Let him now show me the position of the English artillery.” The guide described two well appointed cannon placed between every two regiments of the first line, and dwelt upon the murderous fire which they kept up against the Highland army.

The Marshal then demanded, “Where was the English cavalry?” and the guide pointed to the two flanks, particularly the left, which, not being protected, as the right was, by a morass, required especial support.

“Well,” says the Marshal, “I now thoroughly understand the arrangement (not a bad one) of the English army. Let our guide next show me the lines of our Highland infantry.” The old Highlander pointed out two lines, each three men deep, as in the case of the English, but at the same time explained that the whole Highland army amounted to only 5,000 half-starved men, opposed to twice that number, thoroughly provided from the fleet in the adjoining bay with every requisite, whether of food or ammunition. The Marshal then inquired with some impatience, “Where was the Highland artillery?” and was answered that there were twelve guns, four at each extremity of the front line, and four in the centre, but so small, so different in calibre, and so ill-served, as to be of little use. Virtually there was no artillery.

“What! no artillery,” said the Marshal, and then added, “Where was the cavalry?” and was answered, “There was no cavalry.” Upon this he became greatly excited, struck his forehead with his clenched fist, and exclaimed, “Those idiots of generals, cesperrugues; if they had brought out these brave men. on purpose to be slaughtered, they would have done exactly what they did. They would have led them into these open moors without cavalry and practically without artillery, against an enemy well supplied with both.” Then turning round, and pointing to the mountains in the north west, he continued, “Why not occupy those fastnesses? Who can tell how long our brave Highlanders in that vantage ground might have kept the English at bay?”

From Culloden Moor the Marshal and Staffa, returned to Inverness, and then hastened to the Hebrides. The Marshal was especially desirous to see South Uist, the native island of his ancestors.

Here his father, Neil Mackechan or Macdonald (for the Mackechans were a branch of the Macdonalds of Clanranald) was residing in 1745. Neil had been sent for his education to the Scots College at Paris, with a view to his becoming a Roman Catholic priest, but he afterwards abandoned that design, and returned to his. own country; where in consequence of his literary acquirements he became preceptor in the Clanranald family. From the best authorities it appears, that on his introduction to Charles Edward, he at once secured the Prince’s confidence, and afterwards contributed repeatedly to his escape from danger. He often conversed with him in French on matters of importance, when perhaps it was not convenient that those around them should be aware what they were saying. Dr. Forbes, titular Bishop of Orkney, alleges, that some of the Prince’s friends at first regarded Neil with suspicion. “ But,” he adds, “ they afterwards frankly owned that they had done him injustice, for that he had behaved to admiration, and had got abroad with the Prince (the great wish of his soul), for the Prince could never think of parting with him at any time, but upon condition of meeting again; which Macdonald was so lucky as frequently to accomplish, even when at parting they could scarce condescend upon a time or place when and where to meet.”

While the Marshal was in South Uist, a son and daughter of Neil’s elder brother, and therefore his own cousins-german, were presented to him.

He received them with great kindness, and immediately declared how much their short but animated features reminded him of his father. "I once doubted,” he said, “whether the reports were true that I had such near relations, but these are evidently my own cousins. I rejoice to see them; I would have come from France to visit this one island, the birthplace of my forefathers.” Understanding that his newly-discovered cousins were far from being in affluence, he desired Staffa to inform them that he settled a pension upon them, sufficient in that country for their comfortable support, and payable during his life, on the anniversary of his landing upon the island. The answer of these simple-minded people to this welcome communication was delivered in a tone and manner so expressive, that the Marshal, though he did not understand a single word, was much affected by their warmth of gratitude, and drew out a sum of money, saying, “Life is short; my first payment shall be in advance”

Before leaving South Uist, the Marshal made a pilgrimage to the Cave of Corrodale, a place of great importance in his family history, since in that wild retreat his father Neil was for some time concealed along with Prince Charles, then an outlaw with a price of no less than 30,000 upon his head.

According to the Marshal, it was in the cave of Corrodale that the Prince requested Neil Macdonald to go to the nearest village, and procure something he was in need of. Neil represented to him the imminent risk he would thereby run of being captured.

Unable to brook opposition, even in that dismal cavern, became excited, and in a commanding tone replied, *Sir, I insist on your obedience, and let me hope, that even here you will remember I am your prince.” Macdonald hesitated no longer; he exposed himself to the needless peril, and happily was not discovered.

From South Uist the Marshal, accompanied by Staffa, crossed to the Isle of Skye, and visited Armidale Castle, the seat of my uncle, Lord Macdonald. The men of Skye understood that a great General on approaching their shores ought to be received with military honours, but were much distressed at having no artillery. Some improvements, however, which were going forward near the Castle, suggested to them a good substitute for cannon. A considerable quantity of powder had been provided for blasting a long line of rock near the shore; the people bored about thirty holes of large dimensions, filled the battery with ammunition, and on the approach of their illustrious visitor, saluted him with loud huzzas, and a series of tremendous explosions. The Marshal was at first confounded at this unique salute, but afterwards pronounced it more acceptable than the most regular feu-de-joie.

During his visit to the Isle of Skye the Marshal made special inquiry as to the adventures of Charles Edward, in that island. One of these I must be permitted to relate, because the parties chiefly concerned were the Marshal’s father and my own great grandmother, Lady Margaret Macdonald.

Lady Margaret was at that time residing at Mugstat, a family mansion in the north of Skye. My great grandfather, Sir Alexander, a decided Hanoverian, was then actually in attendance on the Duke of Cumberland, at Fort Augustus. My great grandmother, although not a Jacobite, regarded Prince Charles with compassion, and had even ministered to his necessities by sending him newspapers, clothes, and “twenty broad pieces of gold,” while he was a fugitive in the Isle of Lewis. On the 29th of June, 1745, Captain Macleod, a vigilant militia officer, in quest of the Prince, was sitting with Lady Margaret, in her drawing-room, whilst three or four of his men were in other parts of the housa

Suddenly a boat reached the shore with Prince Charles on board, attended by the celebrated Flora Macdonald and Neil Macdonald. The Prince was in female attire of the coarsest description, and concealed himself in the garden, whilst Flora and Neil went up to Mugstat House. On being shown into the drawingroom they found Lady Margaret, Captain Macleod, Mrs. Macdonald of Kirkibosh, and Macdonald of Kings-burgh, Sir Alexander’s factor, a strong Jacobite. The new comers so effectually concealed their emotions as to excite no suspicion. Flora in particular, although strictly questioned by the Captain as to her voyage, its object, her attendants, &c., contrived to give such answers as appeared satisfactory. She took the first opportunity of whispering to Kingsburgh the fearfully critical state of affairs. He immediately left the room, and sent a message, requesting Lady Margaret to join him. He then explained that Flora Macdonald’s attendant in female attire was not an Irishwoman, as had been alleged, but the Prince himself, come to claim her protection. At this startling communication Lady Margaret made a loud exclamation of astonishment and alarm. She soon however recovered her self-possession, and in concert with Kingsburgh, Neil Macdonald, and others, took such measures as were best adapted to the emergency. She desired Kingsburgh to find the Prince, to clothe him on the first convenient opportunity in a male Highland costume, which she provided for that purpose, and conduct him to the neighbouring town of Portree. Arrangements were there to be made for obtaining a boat in which he might cross over to the little island of Raasay, from whence he could easily be conveyed to the mainland. She at the same time ordered horses for Flora, Neil Macdonald, and Mrs. Macdonald of Kirkibosh, with their suite, taking care that the departure of this -cavalcade should absorb the whole attention, not only of her own household, but of the prying captain and his militiamen.

These arrangements were well contrived, but the risk was formidable. More than once on the road to Portree, the Prince’s female attire nearly betrayed him. It was Sunday morning, and H.R.H. and his guide met a number of parties going to church. The Islanders could not fail to contemplate with astonishment the gigantic height and masculine strides of Kingsburgh’s female companion. They observed also, that she returned a bow instead of a curtsey, to their Sabbath salutations, and that in wading through a brook that crossed their path, she raised her petticoats to an indecorous height. At another place she excited equal surprise by not raising them at all; an inadvertency caused by a remonstrance from Kingsburgh on the Prince’s previous imprudence of an opposite description. “Your enemies,” remarked Kingsburgh, "call you a Pretender; but if you be, I can tell you, you are the worst at your trade I ever saw.” “Why,” replied Charles laughing, "I believe my enemies do me as much injustice in this as in some other and more important particulars. I have all my life despised assumed characters, and am perhaps the worst dissimulator in the world.”

Such was the adventure of Prince Charles, in which the Marshal’s father and my great grandmother were jointly concerned. Before reaching Portree, the Prince resumed his male attire, and got safe to Raasay; from thence crossed to the mainland; and after numerous difficulties and dangers, some of them quite as startling and as picturesque as that which I have related, he some months afterwards embarked on board a French vessel, which had been sent for his deliverance, and with a large attendance of fugitives from various quarters, got safe to the French Coast and from thence to St. Germains.

The Marshal took a lively interest in these romantic adventures, not only for his father’s sake, but because they illustrated the high minded generosity and loyalty of his father’s fellow-countrymen. There was a price upon the Prince’s head, which in those days and in those wild regions was of fabulous amount. He was for months a fugitive, and hundreds of persons were in turn cognizant of his lurking places, yet with the exception of a beggar boy in the Isle of Lewis, who denounced him, and a gentleman of respectable connections, who on doubtful evidence was suspected of intending to denounce him, all were true to him at all hazards. He sometimes sought shelter in outhouses and hovels from men of property, whose mansions had been burnt, and their estates confiscated for their fidelity to his cause, and yet he was invariably received, not only with kindness, but with the respect due to Royalty. So imminent was the danger of assisting him, that numbers were arrested, and thrown into prison, immediately after he had himself escaped. The poorest and humblest clansmen were as incorruptibly faithful to him as the noblest chieftains. Well might the Marshal, as we have already seen, declare that he was “proud of his descent from a race distinguished by their elevation of sentiment, their purity of morals, and their rare and incomparable attachment to the service of their ancient sovereigns.”

After having visited the field of Culloden, South Uist, and the Isle of Skye, the Marshal had no special objects of interest to detain him in the British Isles, and returned speedily to France.

His sojourn in the land of his ancestors, short as it necessarily was, left a most favourable impression on his mind, and in a letter addressed some time afterwards to my father, he expressed in strong terms his desire to repeat it.

I have already mentioned that it was immediately after the Marshal’s return to France that I heard Macdonald of Stafia relate the above particulars of his journey with his distinguished namesake. A long time elapsed before I saw Staffa again. I then adverted to our previous conversation. He was delighted to have the memory of some interesting but half forgotten adventures revived, and requested that I would send them to him in writing. On receiving my manuscript, he at once communicated it to the Marshal, who wrote to thank him for it, and to request that he would obtain from me some further information. He wished especially to be informed what objections he had made in 1814 to my father’s plan of forming a Celtic Corps to take the place of the old Swiss Guard at Paris.

I was preparing to send the particulars desired, when to my deep regret I was informed of the Marshal’s death.

It may, however, add some interest to the above reminiscences, that the illustrious subject of them read a portion of them himself with approval, and desired to see them enlarged.

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