An Inverness Lawyer and His Sons, 1796-1878
Author(s): Anderson, Isabel Harriet
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And his Sons
An Inverness Lawyer
And his Sons
Isabel Harriet Anderson
Author of "Inverness Before Railways"
With four Portraits
The Aberdeen University Press Limited
A Lawyer of the Eighteenth Century . . . 1
John Anderson, W.S. . . . . . 64
George and Peter Anderson . . . . . 104
The Guide to the Highlands . . . . 177
The Highland Railway and its Handbooks . . 207
Guides to Culloden Moor and to Inverness: Last
Days . . . . . . . . 228
Jessie Thomson (Mrs. Anderson), from a miniature,
circa 1797 . . . . Frontispiece
John Anderson, from a silhouette, circa 1830 . 64
George Anderson, from a photograph, circa 1865 105
Peter Anderson, from a photograph, circa 1865 . 139
Genealogical Table . . . . . . 248
AN INVERNESS LAWYER AND HIS SONS.
A LAWYER OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
TOWARDS the close of the eighteenth century
a familiar figure on the streets of Inverness
was that of a genial lawyer who had identified
himself as closely with the interests of the town as
if it had been his birthplace. At every public
meeting and every social gathering might be seen
the finely proportioned form, set off to advantage
by the dress of the period, and the massive features,
lighted up by kindly smiles — of Peter Anderson,
Procurator Fiscal for the Burgh.
Peter Anderson, the only son of John Anderson
and Margaret Rayne, his second wife, was born on
the 8th of September, 1768, at Lentush in the
parish of Rayne, Aberdeenshire. His ancestors had
for generations been tenants of the farm of Broomhillock
on the estate of Warthill in the same parish.
His father, John (born 1724), was the fourth son of
John Anderson in Little Warthill, who in 1708 had
married Isobel Paul. Of the two oldest sons of this
marriage, George (born 1712), and William (born
1714), and of the five daughters, Isobel (1709),
Margaret (1716), Elizabeth (1718), Janet (1720), and
Helen (1726), nothing is known with any certainty;
but we learn from the Rayne Parish Registers that
an Isobel Anderson "in this parish" married Hugh
Ferguson, Chapel of Garioch, in 1732, and that a
Janet Anderson "in this parish" married Adam
Singer, Fyvie, in 1737. The third son, Peter (born
1722), who became tenant of Broomhillock, will be
referred to afterwards. The name of Isobel Paul
is found in the List of Pollable Persons within the
Shire of Aberdeen, 1696, printed at Aberdeen in 1844.
In it (vol. i., p. 273), she appears, with a brother
John and a sister Elizabeth, as daughter of "George
Pawll, yeoman," the principal tenant on the estate
of Meikle Warthill. The editor of the List, Dr.
John Stuart, remarks in his preface: "Many of
our yeomen have continued in the localities which
had been the home of their forefathers for centuries,
and nothing but the destruction of our ecclesiastical
records prevents this class of our population from
tracing their extraction back to a very considerable
antiquity". The extant Rayne Registers record no
marriages of earlier date than 1672, and no births
of earlier date than 1679, while the first registered
death is in 1783. Isobel Paul seems to have survived
until at least the year 1768, when she was
a resident at Broomhillock with her son Peter, and
a member of the Episcopal congregation of Meiklefolla,
as proved by a record of communicants kept
by the then incumbent, the Rev. Arthur Petrie,
afterwards Bishop of Moray.
Peter Anderson and his sister Margaret, who was
three years his junior, were early left orphans, and
the latter was adopted by some relatives; but Peter,
who had from an early age manifested an intense
love for study, worked steadily and laboriously on
the farm of Broomhillock, in order that he might
procure the means to purchase books and fit himself
for College. At the age of sixteen he was enabled
to enter the University and King's College of
Aberdeen, having gained the Park Bursary at the
competition in 1784. During his first year he attended
the class of Professor Leslie for Greek, and
during his second and third years the class of Professor
Dunbar for Mathematics and Natural Philosophy
and that of Professor Ogilvie for Latin.
On leaving Aberdeen he entered the family of
Captain John Macpherson of Invereshie (great-grandfather
of the present Sir George Macpherson-Grant
of Ballindalloch) as tutor, and while thus
occupied became engaged to Miss Jessie Thomson,
a lady of intellectual tastes and considerable powers
of wit and humour, who was two years older than
himself. But their marriage did not take place
until a year after he had settled in Inverness. His
relative, the Rev. John Anderson (son of George
Anderson, Bellie) was at that time minister of
Kingussie, and it was through his recommendation
that Peter Anderson removed from Invereshie to
Inverness. The following quaint letters regarding
his young relative were written by the Rev. John
Anderson to Mr. Campbell Mackintosh, Solicitor
in Inverness: —
"KYLLIHUNTLY, 27th September, 1796.
"Our Correspondence has been intermitted
for a considerable Time; and I now renew it on a
"The Bearer, Mr. Peter Anderson, who has been
for many years Tutor to Captain Macpherson's
children, during His attendance on them at Edinburgh,
has been studying the Law, so as to qualify
Himself to practise before the Inferior Courts; and
under the Patronage and Protection of his Friends
he intends to settle in that Line at Inverness. Of
his professional abilities I cannot speak; because
I am not qualified to judge, but otherwise I am
enabled from a long acquaintance with Him to say
that He is accurate as a man of Business, and an
"It occurred to me that a Copartnership in the
agent Line might be for your mutual advantage,
and on suggesting the Plan to His Friend Captain
Macpherson, He agreed with me in Opinion; and
wished that it could take place on fair Terms to
prevent a Competition of Interests.
"Having introduced the young man to your
acquaintance I leave you to talk more at large on
the Subject over a Bottle; and whatever arrangement
you make I have too good an opinion of both
to believe that any Diversity of Sentiment in a
Question of Interest will create an after Misunderstanding
between you as Neighbours or as Brothers
"I beg an offer of my affecte Compliments to
Mrs. MacIntosh; and remain with Regard, Dear
"Your faithful and obedient Servant,
"KILLIHUNTLY, 26th December, 1796.
"I had the pleasure of receiving a
very handsome Letter from you relative to my
Namesake Mr. Peter Anderson when I was on a
visit at Ballindalloch; and however much I may
feel interested in promoting His Views if His Conduct
shall be found deserving of Support, be assured
it will uniformly afford me great Satisfaction to
hear that in your professional Line you meet with
that liberal Encouragement which your manners
as a Gentleman and your Integrity and attention
as an agent deserve.
"Should the young man be otherwise provided
for, which is not unlikely, you may depend that the
Patronage which has been solicited for him will
without Reserve be transferred to you.
"I desired my neighbour Mr. Clarke to write you
some time ago to forward any account against
Balleville or the late due to you since the
Commencement of the present year; and as I am
in the act of closing my Annual States, I hope it
will be convenient for you to send them by the
Bearer, and I shall remit you Payment in Course.
In future I shall correspond with you myself where
legal terms are necessary, without giving Trouble
to any other person.
"I beg you will offer my kind and affectionate
compliments to your fair Companion, and believe
me, With Regards, Dear Sir,
"Your sincere and faithful servant,
"MR. CAMPBELL MACKINTOSH."
The Rev. John Anderson studied at Marischal
College, Aberdeen, in 1772-76, was minister of Kingussie,
1782-1809, and of Bellie (the parish in which
Fochabers is situated) from 1809 to 1839, when he
died, aged eighty. He was twice married. He
was a friend and correspondent of Mrs. Grant of
Laggan. In her Memoirs and Correspondence several
letters are published which she wrote to him after
her removal to Stirling in 1803. In her Letters
from the Mountains she alludes to him in a letter
to Mrs. Smith, Jordanhill, dated Laggan, October 4,
1791, as "a person of fine taste, superior abilities
and extensive information".
The Rev. John Anderson always maintained a
warm interest in the family of his relative Peter
Anderson, and after the death of the latter, was
often consulted by the widow, who set a high value
on his counsel and approval.
Peter Anderson was admitted by the Sheriff-Depute
at Inverness as a procurator before the
Court with all the privileges and emoluments
belonging to that office, on the 5th of October, 1796,
having first been examined by Messrs Campbell
Mackintosh and Alexander Macdonell, writers in
Inverness, who found him qualified.
He does not appear to have entered into any
partnership at this period, but at a later date he
assumed as partner Mr. Alexander Shepperd, a
well-known solicitor and some time (1835-38) Town
Clerk of Inverness. The firm was designated
"Anderson and Shepperd". After Mr. Anderson's
death, Mr. Shepperd took into partnership Mr.
Thomas Falconer, who is well remembered by the
older generation in Inverness. Mr. Shepperd was
a native of Fordyce and a nephew of the Rev.
John Anderson mentioned above. One of his
brothers, George Shepperd, was minister of Laggan,
1818-25, and of Kingussie, 1825-43. Mr. Alexander
Shepperd was elected a Bailie of the Burgh of
Inverness in 1833, and when he was subsequently
appointed Town Clerk, the vacancy caused by his
resignation at the Council Board in 1835 was filled
by the election of Mr. John Macandrew, solicitor,
father of the late Sir Henry Macandrew. Mr.
Shepperd's immediate predecessor in the Town
Clerkship was Mr. Campbell Mackintosh of Dalmigavie,
who had filled that office for the long
period of fifty years.
On the 7th of November, 1797, Peter Anderson
married Miss Jessie Thomson, and in the course
of seven years four children were born to them:
John, born on 16th August, 1798; Margaret, on 22nd
May, 1800; George, on 6th May, 1802; and Peter,
on 17th December, 1804.
Mrs. Anderson's father, John Thomson (who was
the son of a Fifeshire farmer), had evidently been
a man of culture, for his family seem to have been
reared in an intellectual atmosphere and to have
associated with men of learning and literary tastes.
He was married to Margaret, eldest daughter (born
1724) of the Rev. Robert Bisset, minister of Blair
Athole — formerly minister of Kirkmichael — and his
wife Elizabeth Crichton. The Rev. Robert Bisset
received his degree of M.A in 1718 at the University
of St. Andrews and died in 1739. He had four
sons, Thomas, Henry (died young at sea), James
and Robert, and three daughters, Margaret, Isabel
and Elizabeth. The younger daughters married
Perthshire farmers named Scott (Bogmill) and Young.
One of the sons — the Rev. Thomas Bisset, M.A. St.
Andrews, 1750, D.D. 1787 — was minister of Logierait
in Perthshire, and was twice married: first to
Anna, daughter of the Rev. Adam Ferguson, minister
of Moulin in Perthshire, by whom he had one
son, Robert, L.L.D. Edin., 1796, author of the Reign
of George III., Life of Burke, and other works; and
secondly to Mary, daughter of Principal Thomas
Tullideph of the United College, St. Andrews, by
whom he had six sons, Thomas, John, Adam, David,
Charles, Thomson, and five daughters, Alison, Anna,
Elizabeth (married Mr. Andrew Thom, Leith: with
issue, Adam, M.A. King's College, Aberdeen, 1824;
LL.D., 1840; first Recorder of Rupert's Land, 1839-55),
By the marriage of John Thomson with Margaret
Bisset there were two sons and four daughters.
The elder son, Robert Thomson, in conjunction,
latterly, with his younger brother John, kept for a
considerable time a private boarding school for boys
at York Terrace, Kensington. He appears to have
attained a recognised position in the scientific world
in 1786 (Gentleman's Magazine, vol. 98, i., 583) and
to have received the honorary degree of LL.D. In
1796 he purchased from Sir Thomas Alston the estate
and advowson of Longstowe, Cambridgeshire, and in
1810 caused himself to be presented to the Rectory,
which however he resigned in 1815. His death is
announced in the Gentleman's Magazine, vol. 101, i.,
280: "1831, Jan. 6. In York Terrace, the Rev. Dr.
Robert Thomson of Long Stowe Hall, Cambridge
Dr. Robert married Charlotte Eleanor Luck (who
died in 1814) and had two sons and seven daughters,
Elizabeth, Charlotte, Helen, Augusta, Jemima,
Sophia (married John Donne), and Henrietta
(married — Ambrose: with issue George James,
who attained the rank of Lieut.-Colonel of "The
Buffs," was wounded at the siege of Sebastopol,
and created C.B. in 1861). His elder son John was
a clergyman of the Church of England, and Henry
the younger became a Commander in the Royal
John Thomson, the younger son of John Thomson
and Margaret Bisset, was admitted a Pensioner
of St. John's College, Cambridge, in 1786, when he
was described as a native of Edinburgh. He
graduated B.A. in 1790, M.A. in 1793, and D.D. in
1808. He died at Kensington, 28th November,
1817, and an obituary notice in the Gentleman's
Magazine, vol. 87, ii., 571, speaks of him as "master
of a long-established and highly-respected academy
at that place. . . . For the business of tuition he
was eminently qualified, as he well knew how to
facilitate improvement by clearness and method,
and to temper discipline with mildness and urbanity.
His knowledge was general and profound; but in
his learning there was no pedantry and in his conversation
no affected superiority. In his disposition
he was kind, frank and liberal. By his death his
family have lost a most affectionate relative and his
associates a most valuable friend." John Thomson
married a Miss Rose of Leicester and had one son
and two daughters, Elizabeth and Caroline. His
only son John Robert was admitted a Pensioner of
St. John's College in 1827, and graduated B.A. in
1832, and M.A, in 1840.
Of the four sisters of Drs. Robert and John
Thomson, Elizabeth, the eldest, died unmarried.
Margaret, the second, married on the 11th of
November, 1783, the Rev. James Couper, M.A.,
Glasgow, 1775 (son of the Rev. John Couper, M.A.,
1729, Minister of Lochwinnoch, 1750-87), minister
of Baldernock, who was afterwards Professor of
Astronomy in the University of Glasgow. They had
five children, John, James, Margaret, William and
Henry, John was a merchant in Glasgow. James,
M.A., 1811, became in that year Rector of Landough,
Leckwith and Cogan, and Vicar of Roath, Glamorgan;
but came back to die in Glasgow in 1822.
William, M.A., 1811, M.D., 1816, was Professor of
Natural History in the University of Glasgow, 1829-57,
and died unmarried. Henry died when only
four years old. Margaret devoted herself to painting
and died unmarried. Professor James Couper
died in Glasgow in January, 1836.
The third Miss Thomson, Jessie, married Peter
Anderson. The youngest, Caroline, became the
wife of the Rev. James Donne (B.A. St. John's
College, Cambridge, 1788; D.D., 1825), who was a
minor Canon in Chester Cathedral and afterwards
Headmaster of Oswestry Grammar School (in which
position the Rev. Stephen Donne, B.A., 1825, his
son by a second marriage, succeeded him). From
a portrait of Dr. Donne taken in 1830 (which is in
the writer's possession) he seems to have been a
man of particularly pleasing appearance. He was
latterly Vicar of Llanyblodwel and died there on
23rd January, 1844. By his first wife, Caroline
Thomson, he had only one son, James (B.A.,
1817; B.D., 1836), who in 1824 became Vicar of
St. Paul's, Bedford, and died on 17th January,
The Vicar of St. Paul's had married Miss Mary
Dobson (the sister of his half-brother Stephen's
second wife) and by her had an only son named
James, who at a very early age gave promise of
much intellectual ability, but died at Eton at the
age of fifteen after a very brief illness.
By a second marriage to Miss Alice Croxon the
Rev. Dr. Donne of Oswestry had two sons, John
and Stephen; and John, the elder, a wine merchant
in London, married as his second wife, Sophia,
one of the daughters of Dr. Robert Thomson of
Kensington (and niece of his father's first wife,
Caroline Thomson). By this marriage there was
also an only son, Robert James, and he too gave
early signs of brilliant intellectual powers and was
prematurely removed by death, though not at so
early an age as his cousin James. He was in the
First Class of the Classical Tripos at Cambridge in
1858, and became a Fellow of Trinity College, and
afterwards second master of Wellington College —
his friend, the late Archbishop Benson, being Headmaster
— and there he died, aged twenty-nine, in
From the time of his settling in Inverness until
his sudden death in 1823, Peter Anderson devoted
himself to whatever was likely to conduce to the
welfare of the Highlands. Through his enterprise
the first public coach, the Caledonian, commenced
to run between Inverness and Perth in 1806, the
journey occupying two and a quarter days. He
was also instrumental in establishing in 1811 a mail
diligence between Aberdeen and Inverness, and in
1819 another as far north as Thurso. He did everything
in his power to further native industries, and
started a hempen factory near the mouth of the
river, at the west side, which he placed under the
management of Peter Anderson, a namesake of his
own from Aberdeen.
Mr. Anderson was a devoted adherent of the
Scottish Episcopal Church — his ancestors having
been Episcopalians for generations back — and the
"old St. John's" at the foot of Church Street, of
which a remnant may yet be seen, owed its existence
principally to his exertions. A circular was issued
on the 10th of February, 1798, to which his signature,
along with that of Bishop Andrew Macfarlane, was
attached, stating that the members of the Episcopal
congregation, in and about Inverness, had purchased
a piece of ground on which to erect a neat and
commodious place of worship, and requesting contributions
from the public for that purpose. The
lowest estimate for building a chapel which they had
procured was above £500, and as that exceeded
the means of the Episcopalians of Inverness, they
had to appeal to the general public,
The Glasgow Herald of the 23rd of June, 1891, gave
an account of some original letters, hitherto unpublished,
which had been discovered in a box at
Banff. Many of them were from seven Scottish
bishops, and among them were eight letters from
Bishop Macfarlane. One of his dated Inverness,
31st August, 1798 shews what strenuous efforts
were required at that time to raise even £600 for
a suitable place of worship. Part of the letter runs
thus: "I have had the matter long in view, but discouraged
from undertaking it seriously on account
that our congregation is unable to do much in the
business. An eligible piece of ground in a conspicuous
part of this or Kirk Street coming to be
sold, I was last year persuaded to purchase it,
which I did. We purpose to build thereon an
elegant though plain chapel, which I am assured
will exceed £700 sterling. The estimates are below
£600. This year you will say is an unfit one when
so many Burdens are laid on all ranks — and in this
place in particular, as we have our Infirmary also
by public subscription — but I can delay no longer.
. . . I have just commenced soliciting aid by subscriptions,
and have succeeded beyond expectation.
The Provost and Magistrates have all subscribed
liberally. Indeed, I owe much to Provost Inglis, as
he hath all along encouraged my going on with my
purpose. Culloden and Mr. Baillie, Dochfour, have
given me £50 each. But still much is wanted, and
sometimes I have my fears. I must try all means,
and hope to succeed by the aid and interest of
friends far and near."
The building, surmounted by a cupola and capable
of accommodating 300 sitters, was erected in the
year 1801, at the cost of £1,000, and was situated
opposite the Gaelic Church. It was superseded in
1838 by the present St. John's at the cost of £2,000.
As time passed on a number of appointments
were bestowed on Mr. Anderson. He was made
Clerk of Lieutenancy, Procurator Fiscal for the
Burgh, and agent for the Duke of Gordon, Lovat,
Ballindalloch, Belleville and others. His duties in
connection with these appointments brought him
into contact with all classes of people, and his
sympathetic nature and genial manner rendered
him a universal favourite. As a factor he was
particularly lenient, and no poor widow struggling
to maintain her little croft ever had cause to tremble
as rent time drew near, or to anticipate a removal
from the humble home endeared by the associations
From the better class of farmers Mr. Anderson's
courtesy had also been the means of winning for
him a readiness to oblige, even in the midst of difficulties
and inconvenience, as was exemplified once
by an amusing incident. A very heavy snow-storm
had occurred one winter just before the Martinmas
term (when the rents would be falling due) and
most of the country roads had become impassable
for any cart or gig. From one farm in Stratherrick
it had been quite decided that no man on horseback
need attempt to go to Inverness with the rent for
Mr. Anderson; but the farmer's daughter, a clever,
well-educated young lady of sixteen, who was gifted
with an extraordinary amount of pluck and courage,
announced her determination of undertaking the
long journey on foot and paying the rent on the
term day. The lawyer was seated in his office at
midday when a tap was heard at the door, and on his
calling out "Come in," a well-known figure appeared,
clad in thick woollen garments and great strong
boots, but all covered with snow. "Good heavens!
Miss Chirsty!" exclaimed Mr. Anderson, "how on
earth did you get here in such a storm?" "On my
feet and all alone," cried the merry, rosy-cheeked girl
"Did you think I could let such a kind friend be
kept waiting for his rent when I had feet?" The
lawyer sprang from his chair and gave his young
favourite a hearty slap on the shoulder —
"You are a splendid girl," he said; "I wish you
were my daughter!"
On the 2nd of May, 1815, was instituted the "Highland
Society of Inverness," and the Inverness Journal
of 22nd and 29th September, 1815, contains a list
of the elaborate rules — twenty in number — by which
the Society was to be regulated. The fifteenth Rule
was as follows: "The Society shall hold an Anniversary
meeting every year, on the 18th day of
June, in commemoration of the battle of Waterloo,
and when the same shall happen to fall upon a
Sunday, the Meeting shall be held on the Tuesday
Of this Society Mr. Peter Anderson was appointed
Secretary, and in the Inverness Journal of the 29th
September, 1815, the subjoined announcement appears:
"The following are the present Office Bearers of
the Highland Society of Inverness, as they appear
in the Society's minutes, in possession of the Secretary.
The Hon. Archibald Fraser of Lovat.
The Most Noble the Marquis of Huntly.
Col. F. W. Grant. M.P.
Donald McLeod, Esq., of Geanies.
Sir Æneas McIntosh of McIntosh, Bart.
The Right Hon. Lord Saltoun.
Sir J. W. McKenzie of Scatwell, Bart.
Charles Grant, jun., Esq., M.P.
Lieut.-General John McKenzie of Ballville.
Angus McIntosh, Esq., of Holm.
William Fraser Tytler, Esq., Sheriff-Depute of
Lachlan McIntosh, Esq., of Raigmore.
Major Thomas Fraser of Newton.
Duncan Fraser, Esq., of Fingask.
William Fraser, Esq., of Culbockie.
John Fraser, Esq., of Achnagairn.
Sir William Fraser of Ledclune and Morar, Bart.
Affleck Fraser, Esq., of Culduthel.
Edward Fraser, Esq.
Peter Anderson, Esq."
In the Inverness Journal of 7th June, 1816, the
following announcement is inserted: —
"First Anniversary Meeting of The Inverness
"In Conformity with one of the Rules of the
Inverness Highland Society, their first Annual
Meeting will be held in Bennet's Hotel, upon Tuesday,
the 18th day of June current, that Memorable
Day, which will hand down to the latest posterity,
the most indubitable proofs of Highland valour and
"After the ordinary business is gone through, the
Members will dine together, and every Gentleman,
not particularly engaged, it is hoped will attend.
"Peter Anderson, Secretary.
"INVERNESS, 4th June, 1816."
On the 27th of February, 1817, a meeting was
held at Inverness which established the great Wool
Fair. Mr. Anderson was appointed Secretary to
the meeting and had much to do in the successful
inauguration and carrying out of the patriotic
The printed Report of the Meeting commences
"INVERNESS, 27th February, 1817.
"At a Meeting convened here this day, by public
Advertisement in the Inverness Journal, to consider
the utility and advantage to the Public at large of
holding an annual Market for Sheep and Wool at
Inverness, and to fix on the period of the year most
suitable for holding the same;
James Robertson, Esq., Provost of Inverness.
James Grant, Esq., of Bught.
Hugh Fraser, Esq., of Eskadale.
James Grant, Esq., of Corrymony.
Lachlan Mackintosh, Esq., of Raigmore.
Lachlan Mackinnon, Esq., of Corrychattachan.
Mr. Farquhar .Mackinnon, Younger of Corrychattachan.
Mr. John Manson, from Skye.
Major Jones, from Gortuleg.
Mr. Ranald McDonald, Floddigarry.
Mr. Alexander McCallum, Culigeran.
Bailie Alexander Anderson.
Captain McDonald, Aonach.
George Jeffrey, Esq., Lochcarron.
Mr. Hugh Fraser, Aberskea.
Mr. John Stewart, junior, Merchant.
Bailie John Simpson.
Mr. Alex. Grant, Factor for James Murray
Grant, Esq., of Glenmorriston.
John McIntyre, Esq., Letterew.
Mr Alex. Fraser, Manufacturer, Inverness.
John Fraser, Esq., of Farraline. And
Peter Anderson, Solicitor in Inverness."
Further on in the Report the list is given of the
gentlemen who were appointed to act as a Committee:
"Thirdly, In order to carry these Resolutions
into effect, and render them as public as possible,
James Robertson, Esq., Provost of Inverness,
Lachlan Mackintosh, Esq., of Raigmore,
James Grant, Esq., of Bught,
Hugh Fraser, Esq., of Eskadale,
Lachlan Mackinnon, Esq., of Corrychattachan,
Alex. Anderson, Esq., Agent for the Bank of
Scotland in Inverness,
John Fraser, Esq., of Farraline,
Mr. Alexander Fraser, Manufacturer in Inverness,
Simon Fraser, Esq., of Foyers,
John McIntyre, Esq., Letterew,
James Murray Grant, Esq., of Glenmoriston,
William Fraser, Esq., of Culbockie.
Mr. James Laidlaw, at Knockfin,
And Peter Anderson, Solicitor in Inverness,
and Secretary to the Meeting,
Were chosen as a Committee of Management; any
five, including the Secretary, to be a Quorum, and
the Provost to be Convener."
If one glances over the columns of the Inverness
Journal of those days, Peter Anderson is often seen
to appear as taking a prominent part in connection
with public affairs, and his name is often associated
with those of his namesake the Agent for the
Bank of Scotland, and his other namesake and
relative, the minister of Fochabers.
A list of justices of the peace in the Journal
of 11th September, 1818, is headed thus: —
Of the Names of Persons contained in the Last
Commission of the Peace
For the County of Inverness,
Residing in or connected with the Eastern or
Southern parts of the County.
Anderson, Peter, Solicitor, Inverness.
Anderson, Alexander, Banker in Inverness
Anderson, The Rev. John, Minister of Fochabers."
In those days a series of assemblies was held in
Inverness throughout the winter — the season ending
in March. The Inverness Journal for 12th March,
1819, contains the following announcement: "An
Assembly will be held in the Northern Meeting
Rooms on Friday Evening the 26th current, and as
a Meeting of Subscribers is to take place on Friday
the 19th for the purpose of admitting new Members:
it is particularly requested that Gentlemen desiring
admission will give in their names to the Secretary,
previous to the Meeting, that they may be proposed
and received, agreeable to the Regulations.
STEWARDS FOR THE EVENING.
W. Falconer, Esq.
A. T. F. Fraser, Esq., of Abertarff.
J. I. Nicol, Esq., Surgeon.
Peter Anderson, Esq.
"This to be the last Assembly for the Season.
"Alex. Shepperd, Sec.
"9th March, 1819."
Mr. Anderson built for himself a commodious
house on Church Street with a large garden at the
back from which steps led down to the river. The
furniture was of that solid substantial kind which
is calculated to stand the tear and wear of generations,
and was chosen with a regard to comfort and
not to any probable changes of fashion. In this
house he maintained a cordial hospitality, and there
were few evenings in the week when he had not
some of his most intimate friends gathered around
him. But his early associations caused him to take
a special interest in all that was connected with
farming and country pursuits, and for many years
he rented a small farm in the Black Isle, close to
Kilmuir, and not only spent part of each summer
there with his family, but often brought them there
to spend a day at various seasons of the year. In
those days before railways, when cheap excursion
fares did not exist even in the wildest dreams of the
imagination, and when a journey to Edinburgh was
such a serious undertaking that it often involved the
making of one's will before starting, people were
content to take their pleasures near at hand, in a
homely, leisurely fashion. Mr. Anderson's children
never desired any greater excitement than a visit
with their father to the farm, and a ramble among
the rocks of the Black Isle. To these excursions
may be traced the taste for long, country walks and
for the study of botany and geology which characterised
his sons in later years. Mr. Anderson made
close companions of his children, conversing with
them on all the subjects which interested himself,
so that their minds became matured at a very early
age, and the lessons they received at school may be
said to have formed only a small part of their education
compared to what was acquired by them
from companionship with their cultured father.
In those days late dinners were unknown and
lawyers were free for a walk in the afternoons,
returning to their offices after tea and remaining
there until nine o'clock. Each afternoon Mr. Anderson
brought his younger boys, one on each side, for
a walk into the country. On Sunday the walk was
always out by Rose Street to the Longman and home
by the ramparts of Cromwell's Fort — that being the
quietest road. There were no Sunday Schools in
connection with any of the Inverness churches then,
and Mr. Anderson's children derived their religious
instruction direct from their father's lips — in summer
amid the beauties of Nature and in winter at his
own fireside. In after years his son Peter followed
his example, and every Sunday, after morning
service, brought his children to visit the scenes
which to him were always linked with memories
of his father.
Seated among the sea-pinks at the Longman, in
the hush of a Sunday afternoon, the writer, when
a young child, has listened to stories of her grandfather's
life and teaching, until his personality became
so impressed on her imagination as to become
to her an inspiration.
There is still living in Inverness a very aged
woman named Annie Mackintosh, who well remembers
seeing Mr. Anderson and his two younger
boys starting for their afternoon walk through the
arched entrance, secured by a large iron gate, which
at that time led to their Church Street home. Mr.
Anderson used to nod kindly to the little girl and
speak some pleasant words to her. Annie's father
was a candlemaker in Friars' Lane, and she, along
with other little girls, used often to stand at the top
of the lane to watch the congregation passing into
the entrance (near the foot of Church Street) of
what they termed the "English Chapel".
From any week-day services held there, Mrs.
Anderson was never absent, and Annie well
remembers seeing her stand at the entrance, holding
long conversations with Bishop Andrew Macfarlane,
before passing into the Church.
Although the children were so accustomed to the
companionship of their father, they had been trained
to treat him and their mother with unvarying respect,
and to be diffident in asserting any opinions of their
own. The feelings with which they regarded their
father might be comprehended in the one word reverence
— a reverence which his sympathetic nature
prevented from being mixed with any of the awe
with which their mother impressed them. Even
when her sons were grown-up men they were accustomed
to stand up whenever Mrs. Anderson
entered the room where they were seated. A lady
(a family connection) who went in January, 1825, to
spend her motherless childhood under Mrs. Anderson's
care, when the latter had become a widow,
has described a pretty, though ceremonious scene,
which used to be daily enacted. Each day, a few
minutes before four o'clock, the old lady — attired in
black silk, with a fine, lace-trimmed white handkerchief
pinned across her chest, and lace mittens on
her delicate hands — entered the dining-room and
was met at the door by her son George, who, with
a low bow, conducted her to an easy chair near
the fire. Then, when the dinner had been brought
in, he again approached her, with a bow, and taking
her by the hand, led her to her seat at the head of
At the informal dinner parties which so often took
place in the Church Street house, the younger boys
were always present, but they were served at a side
table after all their elders had been attended to,
and were not allowed to speak unless spoken to.
On one occasion a very animated discussion about
some matter of local interest had been taking place
at the larger table, and Mr. Anderson, in the heat of
argument, had begun to show some loss of temper.
"Patience, Peter, patience!" shouted out one of
the guests with upraised hand. Little Peter at the
side table imagined that the rebuke had been meant
for him, and he resented the injustice. "I am very
patient," he indignantly exclaimed; "I have not
spoken one word since dinner began." The shout
of laughter which this remark gave rise to restored
good humour to the larger table, and little Peter
was called to his father's side, a position which
never failed to make him happy.
The Frasers of Eskadale. the Frasers of Stoneyfield
(latterly of Ness Side), the Denoons and the
Gibsons were the friends who assembled most often
around Mr. Anderson's dinner table, and indeed so
strong was the friendship between him and Mr.
Fraser, Stoneyfield, that a compact was entered into
that on some particular days of each week they
should dine alternately at each other's houses, and
this custom was kept up as long as they both lived.
It was "Old Stoneyfield" who used to stand on the
edge of the hill to watch the coach which passed
towards Inverness at four o'clock, in case he might
espy some acquaintance whom he could hail and
bring home to dinner.
The dinner or tea parties of those days always
wound up with a substantial supper, and as all the
guests were usually intimately acquainted with one
another there was a glow of geniality about those
gatherings which in the present age of "At Homes"
it is difficult to realise.
In the dining-room of the Church Street house
might often be seen assembled around the tea-table
at six o'clock on a Saturday evening a party of boys
and girls who during the week were the companions
of the lawyer's children at the Royal Academy and
Mrs. Gibson's school. But their tongues were generally
unloosed only when their host had arisen from
the table to return to his office, which communicated
with the dining-room by a quaint little flight of steps.
One lady, who has only recently passed away, used
to remark: "I never dared to raise my eyes above
his shoe-buckles until he had reached the steps
leading to the office, but by that time I could venture
to look at his long silk stockings and knee breeches".
The various social gatherings in the house of this
lawyer of the olden time owed much of their charm
to a lady who may be said to have been the guiding
star of Mr. Anderson's household. Some years after
his marriage he had offered, with the cordial approval
of his wife, a home to his cousin Margaret,
the orphan daughter of his uncle Peter Anderson,
the farmer at Broomhillock, and this lady remained
a loved and honoured member of the household till
her death. As her cousin's wife was delicate, Miss
Anderson released her from the duties of housekeeping
and enabled her to devote all her time to
the reading and writing she loved so well. Something
higher than tact enabled the Aberdeenshire
farmer's daughter to live in perfect harmony with
her benefactor's wife, whose tastes and disposition
were in many ways different from her own, and to
become to her a most congenial companion in the
long morning walks which Mrs. Anderson found
necessary for her health. Miss Anderson also took
the entire charge of her cousin's younger children,
treating them with a wise impartiality which ensured
their respect as well as with a tenderness which
won their affection. The lessons of unselfishness,
courtesy and consideration for others which their
father impressed on them, were deepened by the
teaching of Miss Anderson. Towards the servants
of the household, in particular, she taught them to
show consideration even in very small things. The
children were never allowed to have a second helping
of pudding at dinner. "Pudding is not a necessity,
boys," she would say; "you must leave plenty
for the servants." She liked preparing little dainties
for the boys, however, with her own hands, and the
usual supper that she gave to each of them was a
roasted apple and a wine biscuit. She was fond of
young people, and no boy or girl was ever sent on
an errand to the house without receiving some treat
from her. A lady now living in Inverness, who,
when a little girl, was sent with a message from her
father to the house during the later years of Miss
Anderson's life, still cherishes the memory of the
little lady clad in black, with a large white muslin
handkerchief over her shoulders, who with winning
smiles met her in the hall and led her into a little
side parlour to partake of the unwonted treat of
arrowroot and jam. The father of this little girl
had in early youth served his apprenticeship as a
house-painter, and his diligence, conscientiousness
and intelligence had attracted the notice of Mr.
Anderson, with whom he was often brought into
contact. There was no class of boys in whom Mr.
Anderson took so deep an interest as those who
were endeavouring to make their way, unassisted,
in the world, and who had a taste for reading.
From time to time he used to bestow the gift of a
book on this young lad, and in those days when
cheap literature and Free Libraries were unknown,
such gifts were not lightly esteemed. The little
volumes were always held among the lad's most
treasured possessions, and in his extreme old age
he kept them under lock and key in his own bedroom
lest they might be handled by careless fingers. His
eye used to light up when he spoke of the donor,
and with enthusiasm he would describe the stately
figure, the gracious bearing and kindly heart of that
lawyer of the olden time. When this old gentleman
died at the age of ninety-one, some of the volumes
were presented to the writer. They consist of a
History of England; the well-known Evenings at
Home; the Book of Trades in several volumes; and
the Book of Games; all published at the commencement
of the century, and the two latter illustrated
with numerous quaint copperplates. The grotesque
illustrations in The Book of Games are such as would
at once arrest the eye of any one with antiquarian
In 1817 a soup kitchen was started in Inverness
by the "Society for Suppression of Begging" — a
society instituted in 1815 — but it was extremely
difficult to obtain subscriptions for its maintenance
except by means of balls. It is interesting in looking
over the columns of the Inverness Journal to observe
the following announcement in the number for 13th
April, 1821: —
"The Subscriptions for the support of the Soup
Kitchen being quite exhausted, a Ball will be held
in the Northern Meeting Rooms, on Tuesday next,
the 17th current, in aid of the Funds, of which the
Friends of the Institution are respectfully informed.
Alex. Mackenzie Esq., of Woodside, Director.
Hugh Fraser, Esq., of Eskadale.
Peter Anderson, Esq.
Alexander Anderson, Esq.
Alexander Shepperd, Esq.
"Tickets of admission may be had of any of the
Stewards, or from Mr. Robert Smith, Treasurer to
the Institution. Ladies, 3s.; Gentlemen, 10s. 6d.
"Dancing to commence at 8 o'clock.
"INVERNESS, 11th April, 1821."
In a "Report of the Statistics of the Parish of
Inverness, in Reference to the Public Funds for the
Support of the Poor. Prepared by Direction of the
Kirk Session of Inverness, by G. & P. Anderson,
Accountants and Solicitors," and printed at the
Herald Office, Inverness, in 1838, the following remarks
occur: "So far back as the year 1815, a
Society was formed in Inverness for the suppression
of begging, its leading intention being not to support
all the indigent part of the community , but such only
as were likely to become common street beggars and
had a claim on the parish. In the year 1817 an
extraordinary exertion was made in the Town, and
a sum of £513 was raised by subscription to relieve
the labouring poor who in the winter of that year
were suffering unusual privations, and who were
from that fund usefully employed in forming roads
and improving the banks of the river. In the same
year also, public begging having attained a vexatious
and oppressive height, without essentially benefiting
the most needy objects, the Society just mentioned
attached a Soup Kitchen to their Institution, which
for several years was conducted with great spirit,
and was productive of much good — their annual
expenditure, from 1815 to 1828, being between £200
and £300 (one year it amounted to £500), and the
number of Paupers on their lists being from 114 to
The Institution, however, gradually declined, and
the Report states farther on that in 1828 it was decided
that "the Poor of this parish should be continued
under the care of the Kirk Session, aided by
an extended and improved Eldership, under whose
inspection the parish, it was proposed, should be
divided into small sections or districts with an
Elder to each. On the Session devolved from that
date the sole public charge of the parochial poor,
and the Session for some years continued the Soup
Kitchen under the management of the late Rev.
Thomas Fraser, one of the warmest and most active
friends of the poor of Inverness."
Long before 1817, however, Miss Anderson had
started a private soup kitchen in her cousin's house,
maintained at his expense, where on certain days
of each week, all throughout the year, she dispensed
broth with her own hands to a number of poor
old people. She visited regularly among the poor
and the sick, not as a member of any society, but
as a private friend who took a personal interest in
them. To the poor she ultimately sacrificed her
valuable and useful life. When cholera was raging
in Inverness in 1834, Miss Anderson could not be
dissuaded from going to the plague-stricken and
neglected districts of the town where the poor were
dying by scores, and carrying food and medicine
with her in an enormous muff which is still in existence.
One day she came home feeling ill, and on
Dr. Manford being sent for, he pronounced it to be
cholera, but for the next day or two the symptoms
were favourable. On the 25th of September, however,
a change took place and she passed away peacefully
and gently at six o'clock on the following morning,
at the age of sixty-three; and was buried at half-past
five the same evening by the desire of the
Her devoted nurses all throughout her illness had
been her cousin's sons, George and Peter Anderson.
In a letter that George wrote on the day of her
death, he remarked: "It fell to my lot, in the good
providence of God, to close for ever those eyes which
were so often moist with tears for me when on the
bed of languishing, and which were always on the
alert for doing good to others. The full extent of
our loss is of course not yet known by us; it will
take years to develop it. My Mother has sustained
this blow with astonishing composure."
Besides providing his cousin Margaret with
a home, Mr. Anderson had sought out various
relations and connections in Aberdeenshire who,
he thought, might be in need of a helping hand,
and he brought back one widowed cousin and
her boy to live entirely in Inverness so that they
might always be within reach of his aid and
His only sister, Margaret, had married Mr. James
Ledingham (tenant of the farm of Ireland Brae, in
the Parish of Rayne, Aberdeenshire), a widower
with two sons. She had, in time, seven children of
her own, Patrick, Alexander, George, Robert, Jean,
Helen, and John. Robert (born in 1799) became a
well-known advocate in Aberdeen. Jean, the last
surviving of Margaret Anderson's children (who
had married a cousin of her own, also named
Robert Ledingham) died near Camrose, in Pembrokeshire,
South Wales, in November, 1890, at
the age of eighty-eight, having retained all her faculties
and all her kindly sympathies to the very last.
John Ledingham, the elder of Margaret Anderson's
two stepsons, had evinced a desire to study for the
profession of law. Mr. Anderson undertook all the
expenses necessary for his education, and afterwards
started him in business as a lawyer in Inverness.
Mr. John Ledingham afterwards became Town
Clerk of Fortrose and died there. He was twice
married and left a daughter and several sons. His
second wife fell a victim to the cholera not many
days after it had carried away Miss Anderson. She
was seized with the terrible malady on the evening
of the 6th of October, 1834, and died on the following
afternoon. In those days trained nurses were
unknown. Mrs. Ledingham's stepdaughter was in
Edinburgh, and the servants and neighbours were
panic-stricken; but George and Peter Anderson by
turns aided the grief-stricken husband in ministering
to the unfortunate lady all throughout her brief
and painful illness, just as they had done in the
case of Miss Anderson.
While Miss Anderson spent her time in household
duties and visits of benevolence, her cousin's wife
devoted hers to the study of history and poetry and
to keeping up a close correspondence with relatives
at a distance. She was an excellent linguist and
had made herself acquainted with the works of all
the best French authors — always preferring to study
them in the original to reading any translation. So
great was her partiality for the French language
that her marriage gift to her husband had been
a French Prayer book. In a letter written to her
son Peter in October, 1826, the following remarks
occur: "I wish I had Mrs. Johnstone's talents, I
would set to write myself. I have read lately with
much pleasure L'Histoire de la Conquête de l'Angleterre.
I entered so much into the spirit of it that I
was for translating it. John damped my intentions
by saying no one cared for histories now! I am at
present engaged with Mr. Hume at the same period,
but he does not throw that light on the subject
which M. Thierry does."
Mrs. Anderson's pleasure in correspondence was
equal to her pleasure in reading, and her letters
abound with shrewd (and often sarcastic) remarks
which show that she was a close observer of men
and things. In one letter she remarks of a young
relative who had given her husband some trouble,
"Nature has done little for him and he has done
nothing to improve that little"; and of an acquaintance
who had just returned from a short trip to
Paris with his wife: "I hear he is much the same.
He did not get his rusticity rubbed off so easily as
his wife did by going to France!"
To a relative who was engaged in compiling a
Family Tree, she writes In my young days I used
to think my mother was too fond of claiming kindred
with the Great, just as your father-in-law is". But
there was one kind of greatness to which Mrs.
Anderson was ever ready to bow the knee — the
greatness of genius. She had a profound admiration
for intellectual powers. Once, when a young
girl, she was on a visit to some friends in the South,
and it seemed to her that some of the guests who
were invited to dinner one day were inclined to
boast too much of their grand relations. The conversation
had turned upon Highland chiefs, and one
of the guests called out to her across the table,
"And who is your chief, Miss Thomson?" "Oh,
Thomson the poet, of course," she unhesitatingly
replied, believing he was the only one of her name
worthy of such a title.
When her younger sons left Inverness Royal
Academy for Edinburgh University, Mrs. Anderson
kept up with them a voluminous correspondence.
Those were the days when envelopes had not come
into use, and when letters were written on large
square sheets of paper which when folded were
fastened with a wafer. Often those letters had to
be kept waiting a long time until information could
be obtained that some acquaintance was going by
coach who would take charge of them. In those
days, therefore, letters were something not only
to be valued by the receiver but to be carefully
prepared by the sender.
The Anderson boys went to the University at an
early age. Peter went there in 1818, two months
before he had completed his fourteenth year. The
first letter written to him by his mother after he had
entered on University life is dated 4th November,
1818, and begins thus: —
"As Hugh Denoon told me Saturday last that he
was to write to George by an acquaintance who was
setting off for Edinburgh to-morrow, I cannot deprive
myself of the pleasure of addressing a few
lines to you. We were all truly glad to hear of
your safe arrival at Edinburgh. The coach you
met was not so fortunate. Four of the passengers
were much hurt by its upsetting near Dalwhinnie,
but one of them, in particular, is not expected to
live. It is Mrs. McLeod, returning from Demerara
with her husband and child, who is so much hurt.
Her sister Mrs. Corbet and her husband are at
Dalwhinnie attending on her. Your father is sadly
grieved at the accident. How thankful we should
all be that it did not happen to your coach! I hope
it will be a lesson in future to drivers not to drink
drams on the road.
"We are indeed very dull since you left us.
Except George Gibson (who sleeps in your room)
we have seen no one since you left us. All Monday
and Tuesday after your departure I always imagined
I heard you making a noise with your boots through
"On Wednesday Miss Anderson and I took a trip
to the farm to amuse us, and Dumple met us near
the mill, made up to Miss Anderson and purred
round her and followed us everywhere we went,
though we walked through the wood and went to
different places. We found the young wheat looking
most beautiful, the potato harvest completely
over. By-the-bye, our potatoes raised there are
very bad. Miss A. and I got down some of them
boiled in a small pot which we placed in the middle
of the table, with a mug full of milk, and without
taking off our window shutters or lighting a fire,
we made a very comfortable dinner by the light
admitted from the door. The sea was so smooth
that we washed our feet in it, returned in the afternoon
and were so fortunate as to find a boat at the
ferry going off, and we got home before it was quite
dark. Margaret has been complaining of a sore
throat for a few days. She was at Eskadale Saturday
last. I daresay she got cold keeping Hallowe'en
with them. She is very dull now, but I hope she
will soon get well again.
"I hope you will find time to write us every
particular regarding matters with you, as I have
done. Nothing will come amiss to us, as your
letters will be the only solace we can look for till
In her next letter she says: "Your welcome
letter of the 9th I duly received. It makes us very
happy and enables us to support your absence with
more ease to find that George and you find yourselves
comfortable in Mr. Moffat's. I felt sure you
would like Mrs. Moffat, and I hope you will every
day find your studies grow easier as you get more
into the routine of them. I met Duncan McRae the
day after he received George's letter, and he told
me with a face of concern that you had so much to
do that you did not get to bed till eleven o'clock. I
comforted him by saying that you would sleep sound
when you got there!
"I daresay that the news of Mary Denoon's
marriage with John Jameson has already reached
you. They kept it a profound secret. Mrs. Denoon
at different times called on your father to consult
him with papers in her hand, but always at a late
"You would see by the newspapers that we have
had another smart shock of earthquake. I was the
only one in the house who heard it (except the maid
servants who had not gone to bed). I awoke with
the dreadful noise as if a discharge of cannon was
going over the house in the same direction as the
first great earthquake. I felt the bed shake, for I
had not courage to rise, but wrapped my blankets
over my head, and at length fell asleep again. Our
servants were so alarmed that they did not go to
bed all night, and declare they saw the stones under
their feet open up. The idea of those earthquakes
becoming so frequent is not pleasant.
"Our fine weather still continues. I never saw
anything more beautiful than the sky has been for
several mornings. I have figured you out, running
across the Bridges to College, and casting a look of
"I hope you find the other boarders that Mr.
Moffat has got agreeable companions. We very
much admire the poem written by Mr. Moffat's
eldest son. I am sure he will be an honour to his
"I have just seen the last number of the Edinburgh
Magazine. I would require a key to understand a
great deal that is inserted in that work. Who is the
Mr. Wm. Scott, and what is the meaning of a plan
for an English Academy at Edinburgh? I am aware
that it is a satire on some person or persons.
"Inverness is at present torn by two opposite
parties but, if possible, every man of business
should remain neutral. . . .
"I am glad that the poor Queen is now at rest!
. . . . . . . . .
"I forgot to tell you that Margaret Dallas is like
to lose her sight. She has had an operation on one
of her eyes this week, and the Doctor thinks that a
speck is growing on the other. Miss Dallas is quite
in low spirits about her. She would have had the
prize for Geography at the Examination.
"There is now one month of your time elapsed
since you went to Edinburgh. In other five you
will return home!"
Above the address of this letter is written
"Honoured by Doctor Fraser," and evidently the
escort to take charge of it had only been heard of
just before the starting of the coach, for it is the
only one of Mrs. Anderson's letters to which she
seems to have had no time to subjoin a date.
By a letter dated 6th January, 1819, the difficulties
as to getting letters forwarded are made
clearly apparent. It commences thus: "Mr. D.
McRae sent word to me yesterday that if I wanted
to write to you he knew a person going by the Mail
to-day who would take charge of a letter to you. I
sent a letter to George by the Monday's coach, and
as there were no passengers going by it, Duncan
gave it to Donald McIntosh, who promised to give
it to some careful person at Perth, to forward it to
Edinburgh. Perhaps he never will receive it. As
John's last letter was addressed to Margaret, and
as she was at Eskadale, we did not think of opening
it till your father received yours on Monday morning
in which you referred him to it for an account
of the riot at the execution. No words can describe
the horror we felt on reading the account of it. I
think it is in every respect equally shocking and
more insulting to all civil authority than the mob
at Porteous's execution. Besides, let us consider
the different periods when they happened. It will
offer a subject for some future Walter Scott to
enlarge on. What a fortunate circumstance that
we do not know when such events are happening!
We might have figured you out, coming from the
College, surrounded by the mob. What a blessing
that all was quiet the last night of the year!
"Margaret has not yet returned from Eskadale.
We have been expecting her every day this week,
but as this is Old Christmas I suppose they will all
stay to make it another holiday in the country.
"Alick Denoon and his two brothers drank tea
with us yesterday afternoon. I told him that you
did not get a reading of the Inverness papers, as
John gave them to Dr. Fraser. He was so kind as
to say that he would send you the Courier every
week, as his mother gets it. I applied to him also
for an account of the [Academy] Examination. He
has promised to send me a letter to enclose to you.
As usual I believe that there was a good deal of
discontent on account of the Prizes. Barbary
Fraser [Eskadale] came with hers to shew me after
the Examination. On looking at it, I said, I am
sure, Barbary, there are many pretty stories here'
She answered, 'Yes, they may amuse little Sarah!'
Mr. Grant refused to change it, as he said he would
give no books after the Directors had chosen them.
"You will have recommenced your studies. By
great attention and diligence I hope you will gain
the friendship of all your teachers, and particularly
Mr. and Mrs. Moffat. There is a great satisfaction
in being esteemed by those we live with.
"I have always forgotten to thank Mr. Michael
Anderson for the tartan plaid he sent to Margaret.
You will offer him her most grateful thanks and
remember us all most sincerely to him and Mrs.
Anderson. He has really been grateful, for he has
been most anxious to get Margaret to Edinburgh to
pass some months with them."
A letter dated 5th March, 1819, begins as
"By this time you will have received our Budget
by your friend Mr. Duncan McRae.
"As Mr. Shepperd sets out to-morrow for your
City I vainly flattered myself that the Highland
Coach would be running by the time he went,
and that Margaret would have gone South under
his protection however, I am again disappointed.
I hear nothing of it, and I suppose that the want of
travellers stops it as much as the snow.
"You will see by the newspapers that Mathews
the Comedian is here at present. Your father and
Margaret accompanied the Banker and his Lady (I
mean Banker Anderson) to the Theatre, Wednesday
evening. They were very much pleased with the
performance. By-the-bye, Mrs. McIntosh, Holm,
leads the ton. She is much admired and I hear
much improved. So much for a trip to Paris!
"Mr. Mathews got a present of a very elegant
Spanish dress from the Duke of Gordon when at
Gordon Castle, in which he appeared yesterday.
"You will see by our papers of yesterday that
Mr. Campbell McIntosh has given us a statement of
the disbursement of the Inverness revenue. I do
not pretend to blame any one, but surely we need a
reform of some kind or other. Our streets are dirty
beyond anything I ever saw, worse than when I
came first to Inverness. If one turns out before
breakfast they will find every kind of nuisance lying
on the streets, the scavengers not attending to their
duty, the roads neglected and everything out of
repair, the bulwark from the New Bridge tumbling
down, dunghills collected at doors on Douglas Place.
Poverty is increasing among our poor and no redress.
Miss Anderson danced attendance a whole
day on some of our magistrates to endeavour to
procure tickets for the Soup Kitchen for one or two
of our pensioners, but all in vain. Next application
was about Jonathan Anderson's money, and she was
equally unsuccessful in that quarter, being informed
that as there were no magistrates none could be
given. I assure you Col. Bows is much missed
amongst the poor; his hand and heart were ever
ready to supply their wants and his daughter to
administer comfort to all in distress.
"Tuesday is the day appointed for Miss Logan's
marriage to Mr. Gollan. Two of the elder Eskadales
go over on Monday to act the part of bridesmaids
to their cousin."
This is not the sort of letter that a mother of
the present day would consider most calculated
to interest a boy of fourteen!
On the back of each letter that Peter received
from home, he made a long list of the subjects of
mutual interest that were to be touched upon in
his reply, and it is a noticeable feature of the letters
that passed between the boy and his relatives, and
characteristic of the contrast to the tastes of the
present age, that they never contain an allusion to
out-door sports or games of any kind.
The letters of his only sister, who was at that
time a girl of eighteen, are written in the delicate,
pointed hand characteristic of the ladies' writing of
that period. On the 24th January, 1819, she
writes: "Your kind letter which came by Mr.
Gibbs I received this morning on coming to town
from Ness Side, where I have been since the beginning
of last week, and as I hear there is a passenger
going to your City by the Coach to-morrow, I now
sit down to let you know how we come on in your
absence. I spent the holidays very pleasantly at
Eskadale, and as they have got four ponies there, we
rode out every day. Anne and I rode into town in
about two hours, which I think was pretty well for
a beginner though you may think nothing of it. Two
old friends of yours, Messrs. Campbell and Clark,
dined at Ness Side yesterday, and were inquiring
very kindly about you and George. Mr. Urquhart,
who was likewise there, told me he had heard very
lately from Mr. Nockells whom I believe you correspond
with. Tell John that Duncan Gilzean is very
ill and has not been out of bed for a long time.
Poor James Simpson is also very ill and it is thought
he cannot survive long.
"Enclosed is a small parcel for Mary Fraser,
Stoneyfield, from her mother, containing a gold
chain, and tell her she will hear from her very
"The Chapel has been very well attended since
Mr. Fyvie came, who is really an excellent preacher,
and I am glad to say meets with a great deal of
attention from his hearers. He is very well acquainted
with your friend Mr. Urquhart of the
Academy, they having been at College together.
"If you can procure any more poems of your
young friend's, I will be much obliged to you.
"I hope the Kincorths are well, for you have not
mentioned them in any of your letters for some
Another letter from Margaret, dated 1st March,
1819, runs thus: "My Dear Pat, — Although I have
nothing particular to communicate to you at present,
I cannot think of letting the favourable opportunity
that now occurs pass by without writing you a few
lines. I understand D. McRae is going up to
qualify himself for being a messenger. I think it
will be a great blow to my father, his leaving the
coach office, for he is obliging and honest. I don't
think he will easily meet with one that will fill his
"The subscription for the ball that was given
last week for the benefit of the Soup Kitchen,
amounted to £65, besides expenses. The ball itself
was very ill attended, there being a proportion of
three gentlemen to each lady.
"Mr. Mathews, the Irish Comedian, is to perform
here for three nights this week. He has been highly
recommended to the people here by the Duke of
Gordon, who even wrote to procure the Provost's
permission and the use of the Theatre from
Captain Bain for him.
"Mr. Fraser who is to marry Miss Nasmith is
to leave Castle Street immediately. He has taken
the house that Mr. Simpson lived in near Culloden.
"Miss Bell Denoon, who has been laid up at
Mr. Jamieson's with a lingering fever ever since
the marriage, has gone home to her mother's now.
I am told she is very much reduced by her illness.
"Enclosed are two letters for you and John from
Mr. Anderson at the Factory. I am sure they are
a month old, as he wrote them to go with Mr.
Shepperd, but as he did not set out at the time he
first intended, they have lain at the Factory ever
since. I am in hopes I will be able to leave this in
about a fortnight, that is to say if the coach can go
then, for Mary Sheriff is in the same way waiting
for it to run, and I hear Mr. Kinloch is going South
with her. It would be very pleasing for me to go
along with them, but as this is only a plan of my
own forming you need not say anything about it
till you hear from me again.
"I am sure that some of your companions would
have written you that they heard of Mr. McRae's
going South, but we had such short intimation of it
ourselves that I could not send to let them know.
"You will be surprised to hear that the Rev.
Mr. Clark is going to give up his situation in the
Academy. I am told he is to get a Gaelic Chapel
in London, but I suppose it is only conjecture, for
he has not told any one of his plans."
Margaret Anderson, the writer of these two last
letters had always been extremely fragile, with the
shadow of an early death hanging over her, and for
the last three years of her life she was prostrated in
what was termed "a wasting decay". She died on
the 25th of July, 1823, two months after completing
her twenty-third year. She had inherited the intellectual
tastes of both her parents, and possessed
a dignity and gravity of manner beyond her years.
She was slightly made and had a delicate complexion
and auburn hair.
Her brother George's wife, who when a little girl
used to watch her admiringly on her way to church,
has described her as dressed on those occasions in
a soft white muslin gown with little tucks, a black
satin spencer, a large bonnet and long veil, openwork
silk stockings and prunella shoes, and having
a large satin reticule suspended from her arm, containing
a prayer book and handkerchief, and a silver
vinaigrette engraved with her initials.
The small collection of books — all handsomely
bound in calf or morocco — which she left behind
her, had been treasured and read over and over
again in a way that could not be realised by the
young girls of the present day. On her book shelf,
next to her Bible — which was divided into three
separate volumes bound in scarlet calf, richly gilt
and adorned with symbolical figures — rested her
two favourite books, Goldsmith's Vicar of Wakefield,
and The Sabbath, with Sabbath Walks and other
Poems by James Grahame. Among her other books
were a French Prayer Book published in 1814, and
Miscellanies in Prose and Verse by Mrs. Chapone.
Her copy of the Vicar of Wakefield had been published
in 1803 and it contains four quaint engravings
beneath each of which is printed "Published Oct.
7th, 1797, by Vernor and Hood". On the fly-leaf
is written "Margaret Anderson from her ever
affectionate Jane Stewart Graham".
All Mr. Anderson's sons had decided while very
young on following their father's profession, and
John had already been settled for two years as a
Writer to the Signet in Edinburgh when his marriage
to the daughter of Mr. Alexander Mackenzie of
Woodside took place in 1823. He and his young
wife came north a few months after their marriage
to visit Mr. Mackenzie at Viewfield near Inverness.
They had decided to start on the 6th of November
on their return journey to Edinburgh where George
and Peter Anderson had preceded them on the 3rd
in order to attend the law classes at the University.
On the 4th a farewell party for the young people
was given at Viewfield which John's father attended,
and at which he seemed to be in the full enjoyment
of health and spirits. Only fifty-five years of age,
he still appeared to have many years before him
in which to pursue his career of usefulness and
benevolence. All was heartiness and cheerfulness
throughout the evening, and when the usual substantial
supper was over, Mr. Anderson left for
home, accompanied by a friend, Mr. Thomson.
But when passing Kingsmills, he was seized with a
pain in the chest and difficulty of breathing, which
went on increasing all the way to town, so that Mr.
Thomson accompanied him home, where restoratives
were at once administered to him by Miss Anderson,
but he countermanded two different orders for a
medical man, although obliged to lean back with
his eyes shut for a long time. At last, however, he
took up his candle and went to his own room where
every attention was paid him. He appeared to get
much better, and conversed freely and calmly with
his cousin who attended him, and asked her whether
she had heard of the sudden death of Charles Grant,
senior (who for twenty years had been member of
Parliament for the County of Inverness), the report
of which had reached him just before the dinner at
Viewfield. (Definite news of Mr. Grant's death did
not in fact reach Inverness until the morning of Wednesday,
the 5th of November, although it had occurred
in London early on the preceding Friday, the
31st of October, and strangely enough the complaint
with which he had been seized had been the same
as that of Mr. Anderson — spasms in the stomach.)
Towards morning Mr. Anderson said that he felt
so well that he would go to sleep, and he made two
requests. One was that his daughter-in-law might
not be told of his illness, and the other that his
cousin should retire to her own room and go to
rest, "For," he said to her, "you have far more
need of rest than I have ". Those two requests —
the last he ever made — were indicative of that
consideration for others which had been the predominant
characteristic of his entire life!
With difficulty his wife and cousin were prevailed
on to retire. The latter had hardly lain down when
Mrs. Anderson, who was on the watch, heard a slight
groan. They rushed to his room, but all was over.
They thought that perhaps he had only fainted, and
Dr. Nicol and Dr. Macdonell were sent for. He
was bled, but all in vain. Dr. Macdonell at once
proceeded on horseback to Viewfield to fetch John
Anderson; but owing to the difficulties and tedium
attending travelling in those days, it was not until
the following Saturday, the 8th of November, that
George and Peter were able to arrive from Edinburgh.
A sad and wearisome journey it was to
them, who only on the previous Monday had left
their beloved father in the apparent enjoyment of
health and strength.
There is no portrait in existence of Mr. Anderson,
but he has been described as having a figure which,
though somewhat portly in later years, was finely
formed; and marked features which were always
lighted up with animation. He was of an ardent
and enthusiastic nature, quickly roused to indignation
by any tale of injustice or oppression. His
son John has described him as being "peculiarly
distinguished by an eagerness of manner".
In a letter giving an account of his death, John
concludes by observing: "A sad consolation belongs
to his bereaved family that his loss had met with
the sympathy of all ranks. The Inverness Courier
of 6th November bears a paragraph expressive of
the sentiments of his fellow-citizens towards his
memory, written by some friendly hand. But to
his family, where every kindlier virtue beamed
forth, his loss can never be repaired — certainly
never too strongly felt. His children in particular
have to lament a parent ever ready at any expense
to promote their advancement and interest."
The paragraph in the Courier of 6th November,
1823, just alluded to, appeared immediately below
one recording the death of the distinguished Charles
Grant, and is as follows: —
"The strokes of fate have fallen rapidly and
severely upon us within the last few days. In
addition to the loss of the revered person mentioned
above, we have the mournful task of recording the
sudden death of Peter Anderson, Esq., solicitor, a
man so generally liked and esteemed by his fellow-citizens
that his death is felt in Inverness as a
private sorrow as well as lamented as a public loss.
Mr. Anderson was still in the prime of life, and of
a constitution which promised length of days and
the enjoyment of vigorous health. Early yesterday
morning he became indisposed, and by seven o'clock
he had ceased to live. The frankness of his courtesy,
and a facility of benevolence which made him the
ready listener to all sorts of grievances, and the
ready friend of all sorts of men who were in want
of assistance — and these have not been few of late
years — formed a character peculiarly calculated to
gain on the kindliest sympathies of the heart; and
we may truly say that, as no member of our community
was ever more universally liked than Mr.
Anderson, no one was ever mourned by high and
low with grief more unaffected and genuine."
The Inverness Courier of the 18th of March, 1824,
gives a long and interesting account of a "Solicitors'
Dinner" held in the Town Hall on the preceding
Friday, the 12th of March, at which between fifty
and sixty gentlemen were present. Provost James
Grant of Bught was in the chair and Mr. Kinloch
officiated as croupier. The band of the Inverness
Militia was in the gallery of the hall and played
appropriate Highland airs at the conclusion of each
speech. After many toasts had been drunk, a short
and pathetic ceremony was gone through which is
thus described: —
"At the suggestion of Mr. Kinloch, the memory
of a late distinguished patriot, Mr. Charles Grant,
was drunk in silence with every rank of respect;
and on the motion of Mr. Grant, a similar honour
was paid to the late Mr. Peter Anderson, who in
his less extended sphere of action had evinced a
kindness of heart, and a courtesy of manner which
had drawn to him the strong attachment of the
members of his profession."
Soon after Mr. Anderson's death a Gaelic elegy
was written on him by one of the tenants on the
Lovat estate, one of the many whom he had befriended
and assisted in times of trouble. It is
here given in full, as on the original broadsheet.
MARBH-RANN AIR PADRUIG ANDERSON,
FEAR-LAGHA ANN AN INBHERNEIS,
Le HUISTEAN FRISEAL, Tuathanach ann an Sgireachd Chnuic-Mhuire.
Och! mo dhìobhal mar'thachair, nach maireann thu Phadruig,
'S gu'n deachaidh do thaisgidh an ciste ghlaiste le àlach.
'S bochd an naigheachd dha'n t-sluagh-sa, och mo thruaìghe!
nach beō thu,
Dheanamh dìon dha na bochdan, 'chumail ceartas is còir riu.
Tha do bhantrach dheth ciurte, 's tric a suilean a' sileadh,
Bho'n chuir iad an ùr ort, 's nach 'eil suil ri thu tilleadh;
Chaill i brŏd an duin' uasail, ceann tuath' 'm fad 's bu bheo e,
Bu tu ceann-uidhe na'm bochd 'sna h-uile port 'san robh t-eòlas.
Ach na 'n leagadh i 'taic air Fear-tighe na bantraich,
Fa'n se rinn am briseadh, seasamh a nis 'sa bhearn sa,
'S ged dh' fhalbhadh an saoghal 's gach ni a dh' fheudadh a lean-tuinn,
Sud an gealladh nach faillnich do 'n neach a thàras a mhealtuinn.
Fear do mhaise cha lèir dhomh, ge do fheuchainn an tràth-sa,
Ge do shiubhlainn le coinn 'libh 's ni nach fhaigh mi gu brāth e;
Bha thu iriosal, uasal, 's tu ro shuairc' ann an nadur;
Bha thu treun ann an ceartas, bu mbòr an gaisgeach 'measg
'Se do shuil a bha tlachdmhor's mòr bha 'mhaise 'na t'-aodann,
'Se do chridhe bha fialaidh, leat bu mhiann a bhi' sgaoileadh
Air a bhochd 's air an fheumnach 'n uair a dh 'eigheadh an glaodh
'S tu nach duineadh do lāmh orr' 'n ām sārachadh saoghalt'.
Bu tu fein n'ar cùl-taic 'n uair bha ghoirt anns an ait'-sa;
'N uair a dhibir an t-aran fo chorruich an Ard Righ —
Bha na Seilearan duinte 's cha robh cùinneadh air fhāgail,
Ach bha Joseph 'san Eiphit 'deanamh feum do Righ Pharaoh.
Tha Mac-Shimmie deth duilich, an ām cruinneachadh māl da,
'S an ām suidheachadh fearainn, nach maireann thu Phadruig;
Chaill e 'sheirbhiseach dìleas, bha ro fhirinneach dha-san;
Chuireadh tlachd air na mìltean, na'm b'e 's gu'n sìnte do laithean.
'Se do bhās a bha goirt dhomh, chuir e lot ann am airnean,
'Se mo chridhe tha ciurte 's nach robh sinn dùint' ann an cāirdeas.
Ach 's fior am focal ri aithris, gur diuithe cairid na brāthair;
'S tu nach fhaiceadh mi 'm eigin 'n ām bhi'g eigheachd a mhāil
Sinn a dh' fheudas a rādh, gu'm b'e 'm bās oirn 'an gaduich,
'S ann aig' tha na sgiathan, 's e tha gniomhach 'an astar,
'N uair is lugha n-ar dùil ris, is sinn gun chùram gun fhaicill;
'N sin their e, "thoir cunntas, a do stiubhardachd dhachaidh".
Ach 's beag is urrainn mi aithris dhe na bu mhaith leam a rādh,
Tha mi goirid 'an ùine chum do chliù 'chuir an airde;
Ach na'm faighinn mar dh'iarruinn dha 'neach a riaraicheas t-āite,
E' bhi maith dha na bochdan's gun bhi goirt anns na māil oirnn.
Though the verses are of small merit in a poetical
sense, they are worthy of preservation from their
quaint simplicity and from their fervent embodiment
of the devoted attachment and gratitude with which
Mr. Anderson had inspired the tenants on the estates
for which he was agent. The Rev. Thomas Sinton,
minister of Dores, a well-known Gaelic scholar, has
kindly supplied the writer with a closely literal
translation of the elegy, and it is herewith given as
a fitting close to this sketch of "A Lawyer of the
ELEGY (LIT. DEATH-SONG) ON PATRICK ANDERSON,
LAWYER IN INVERNESS.
By HUGH FRASER, farmer in Kirkhill.
Alas! my loss! what has happened, that thou remainest not,
That thou hast been enclosed in a coffin, locked in by nails?
Sad tidings to our people, O woe's me! that thou art not alive.
Thou wouldst make shelter for the poor and maintain right and
justice for them.
Thy widow is stricken, her eyes oftentimes are flowing,
Since they have laid earth o'er thee, and there is no hope of thy
She has lost a true gentleman — a leader of the country folk while
Thou wert a chieftain for the poor in every place that thou didst
But if she leans for support on Him who is Head of the house for
That He who hath made the breach might stand in the gap;
And though the world might withdraw itself and all that would
That is a promise that shall not fail one who reaches forth to
A man so fine of mien I behold not, though I would search for
Though I would seek him with candles — a thing impossible to
Thou wert at once humble and gentle, and of disposition most
Strong upholder of righteousness, thou wert a hero among men.
Thine eye was pleasant, great was the beauty of thy face,
Generous was thy heart, it was thy delight to be distributing
To the poor and the needy when they would cry to thee;
Thou wouldst not close thine hand towards them when in worldly
Thou wert our chief support when famine was in the land,
When bread was withdrawn from us under the wrath of God.
The cellars were closed and no money was left,
But Joseph was in Egypt doing good to King Pharaoh.
Mackimmie [Lovat] is sorrowful at the time of gathering rent to
At the time of letting his land, that thou, Patrick, art not alive.
He hath lost a faithful servant who was very true to him,
Who would have given pleasure to thousands had thy days been
Bitter was thy death to me, it has caused a wound in my side,
My heart is sore though we were not connected by kinship.
Truly may the saying be repeated, "a friend is closer than a
Thou wouldst not see me in distress at the time of demanding
Well might we say it, that death comes on us as a thief,
Strong-winged is he; how fell is his swoop!
When he is least expected by us, and we are heedless and unobservant,
Then saith he "Come home and give account of your stewardship".
But little can I relate of what it would be my desire to say,
Brief time is mine to raise thy renown.
But if I got according to my desire for the one who will fill thy
That he would be kind to the poor and not rack them with rent.
Mr. Anderson was buried in the old Chapelyard,
close to the north-east wall.
There is no evidence that any of his ancestors
ever resided in Inverness, but it was often the custom
in those days for new residents to select for a
final resting-place the long disused burial-place of
some family who had borne the same surname. On
the wall within the enclosure where Mr. Anderson
was interred are two tablets with quaint inscriptions.
There is no date on either of these tablets but
the lettering appears to be of the early eighteenth
century. On the tablet at the left hand, the centre
inscription is as follows: —
THIS IS THE BURIAL PLACE APO
INTED FOR GEORG ANDERSON
MERCHAND & BVRGES IN INVRNES
& HIS WIVES KATHARIN SIM
IEAN STUART ISOBEL MCKI
LLIGIN IANE MCBEAN
To the right of this tablet containing the names
of "Georg" and his four wives, is another, the names
on which are probably those of a son and his wife.
The inscription is worded thus: —
THIS IS THE BVRIAL PLA
CE APOINTED FOR IAMES
ANDERSON WIGE MAKER
& BVRGES IN INVERNESS
& HIS SPOVS ELISABETH BARBVR
Above the inscription on the left-hand tablet the
initials of the names given below are arranged at
each side of a heart and star. On the other tablet
a heart alone is engraved between the initials.
Below each inscription are arranged the usual
symbols of death and the grave which are so often
to be seen on ancient tombstones.
The Inverness Town Council Records show that
on the 27th of September, 1703 the Council granted
"licence and allowance to George Andersone, periwigmaker,
with his wyfe and familie, to pass and
repass the bridge free from paying tole money in
tym comeing: he paying twelve pounds Scots money
to the Thesaurer". A like exemption was granted
on the 28th of September, 1711, to James Anderson,
periwigmaker, with his wife, children and servants;
and the same James was, on the 31st of March,
1718, ,admitted "burges and gild brother of this
burgh for love and favour".
JOHN ANDERSON, W.S.
THE three sons of Peter Anderson had all inherited
his intellectual tastes and many of
his other marked characteristics, but each of them
possessed a distinct individuality of his own. The
brothers were warmly attached to one another and
delighted in one another's society. John the eldest,
who was twenty-five years of age at the time of his
father's death, was a man of courtly manners and
refined, fastidious tastes. He had a slim, graceful
figure, clearly-cut features and hair of a reddish tint.
He had inherited short sight from his mother and
always wore a double eye-glass, suspended from
a chain. His father had never spared any expense
to promote his culture and knowledge, and while
yet a very young man, he had enjoyed the advantage
of visiting different parts of the Continent at a
period when facilities for foreign travel were few.
He twice visited Italy, and during his excursions
there made himself thoroughly acquainted with the
character and customs of the people.
He also made holiday tours nearer home. He
visited Ireland and North Wales and took many
excursions in his own native land. In the summer
of 1818, along with two friends, he explored the
north and west of Scotland on foot, knapsack on
back, and wrote an account of his tour which occupies
137 pages. He went when only in his seventh
year to the school of his uncle Dr. Thomson at
Kensington, and among his school companions
there, were the late Mr. James Murray Grant of
Glenmoriston and his elder brother Patrick. Both
these orphan boys, who were successively lairds of
Glenmoriston, had been placed in 1805 under Dr.
Thomson's care by their relative and guardian,
Mr. — afterwards Sir John Peter — Grant of Rothiemurchus.
After having had the privilege of his uncle's
tuition for seven years, John Anderson was sent
by his father in 1812 to the University of Edinburgh.
During 1812-13 he attended the class of Professor
Alexander Christison for Latin, and during 1813-14
the class of Professor David Ritchie for Logic
and that of Professor Thomas Charles Hope for
Chemistry. He afterwards became an apprentice
to Messrs. Carnegie and Shepperd, W.S., and served
a full indenture of five years to them prior to his
passing as W.S. in 1821.
It was in 1820 that he paid his longest visit to
Italy, and spent part of the summer and autumn
there. He arrived at Turin a few days after the
accounts of the Neapolitan Revolution reached that
On the 23rd of April, 1823, John Anderson was
married at Inverness, by the Rev. Charles Fyvie, to
Elizabeth Mackenzie, a young lady in her nineteenth
year, the only surviving child of Mr. Alexander
Mackenzie of Woodside, agent for the British Linen
Company's Bank at Inverness. She was a fine
renderer of the music of her native land, and an
accomplished performer on the harp. Mr. Mackenzie
— better known as "Johnny Cope" from his
capital rendering of the old Jacobite song — was a
man of a particularly genial and social nature, who
delighted in gathering his friends around him in a
free and easy way. His wife (Miss Barbara Gillanders
of Highfield) had died in 1809, when only
in her twenty-fifth year, and her sister, Miss Abigail
Gillanders, a beautiful and distinguished-looking
woman, had presided over his household until 1819,
when she became the wife of Mr. Thomas Mackenzie
Paterson, writer in Inverness.
The marriage of John Anderson to Elizabeth
Mackenzie gave great pleasure to the relations on
each side, as the banker and John's father had
long been intimate friends.
The bridegroom's brother Peter, at that time a
lad of eighteen, sat down immediately after the
ceremony to write a letter to his brother George
who was then in Edinburgh. Part of it is as
"INVERNESS, 23 April, 1823.
My Dear George,
"The ceremony is just over and passed off
uncommonly well; Mrs. Anderson was very much
agitated but John stood out nobly; they both looked
very well and immediately set off for Aviemore.
There was a great crowd present; for your satisfaction
I will enumerate them. Lady Anne and
Torbreck; Mr., Mrs. and Miss Fraser, Ness-Side;
Abertarff, his wife and her sister; the three Misses
Fraser, Farraline; Provosts Grant, Gilzean and
Robertson; Mr. Anderson, Banker; Mr. Kinloch;
Misses Grant, Bught, and Misses Macdonald.
Springfield; Mr. and Mrs. Paterson, Mr. Shepperd,
Mr. Ledingham and Alick Denoon. I believe that
makes up the party, Miss Mackenzie, Ord, was
Bridesmaid, and Sandy Fraser, Farraline, and I
were Best men. At half-past five the whole party
are to meet at the Banker's to dinner. I fancy
we won't trouble the ladies with our company
in the evening; the Banker has laid in a tremendous
batch of claret for the occasion. If you
don't also make 'the circling cup go round' this
evening, you will lose all title to be called George
. . . . . . . . .
"This goes by Mr. George Grant, Advocate. You
will be so good as deliver the parcels of Gloves to
the respective parties immediately."
The young couple settled at 4 Walker Street,
Coates Crescent, Edinburgh, and John devoted
much of his time to antiquarian and genealogical
research, in which he received much assistance from
his father-in-law Banker Mackenzie (who was not
only an eminent conveyancer, but noted for his
antiquarian tastes), especially in connection with
the Lovat Peerage case before the House of Lords
and other cases as to Highland Genealogies and
restoration of attainted Scottish Titles.
On the 24th of January, 1825, John Anderson was
admitted Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of
Scotland, and was joined as assistant secretary
with Dr. Hibbert in 1826 and with Mr. Drummond
Hay in 1827. The papers which he contributed,
and two of which are printed in the Transactions of
the Society, are as follows: —
13th December, 1824. "Original Letters written
by Simon Lord Lovat."
16th January, 1826. "An Inquiry into the Nature
and Origin of the Mercheta Mulierum."
(Trans., vol. iii., pp. 56-73.)
29th January, 1827. "Letters from Lord Nelson
to Lady Hamilton."
23rd March, 1827. "A Dissertation on the Origin
of the Picts."
28th January, 1828. "Notices regarding the Site
of Macbeth's Castle at Inverness." (Trans.,
vol. iii., pp. 234-244,)
11th February, 1828. "Passages from the Register
of Discipline of the Kirk Session of
Inverness in the Scealfing Stole or Cucking
12th May, 1828. "Extracts from the Orderly
Book of the 36th Regiment of Foot on days
shortly before and immediately after the
Battle of Culloden."
25th April, 1831. "Anecdotes of the Highlanders
and of the Rebellion of 1745-6: collected in
23rd May, 1831, "Miscellaneous Remarks on the
Fortresses of Scotland and on the Early
Manners and Sepulchral Rites of the
22nd April, 1833. "Popular Notices of certain of
the Highland Clans."
20th May, 1833. "Remarks on the Moorish Antiquities
28th April, 1834. "Remarks on the Constitution
of the Italian Republics in the Middle Ages."
23rd March, 1835. "Remarks on the Monastic
13th April, 1835, "Notes taken, during a Personal
Visit, of the Leading Antiquities of Rome."
18th May, 1835. "Passages from an Historical
Sketch of the Highlands."
There is a notice of John Anderson (among other
office bearers) in an Anniversary Address — given
on the 9th of December, 1861, by David Laing, Vice-President
of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
— and the work by which he is now best known to
the general public is thus alluded to: "He published
an interesting volume entitled Historical Account of
the Family of Frisel or Fraser, particularly Fraser of
Lovat, with Original Correspondence of Simon, Lord
Lovat: Edinburgh, 1825, 4to. He was afterwards
employed in the Lovat peerage and other cases connected
with Highland genealogies and the restoration
of attainted Scottish titles." (Trans.,vol. v., p. 13).
The Historical Account above alluded to, was published
by William Blackwood and is illustrated by
some fine plates. It also contains genealogical tables
of the "Family of the Frasers of Oliver Castle" and
the "Family of Fraser of Lovat".
The Lovat Peerage case referred to was the claim
to the Scottish barony of Lovat put forward by
Thomas Alexander Fraser of Strichen (grandfather
of the present peer), who had in 1823 been served
heir male of Thomas, fifth Lord, and who in 1827
led evidence (mainly given by John Anderson),
before the Committee for privileges of the House of
Lords. His petition was at that time unsuccessful,
a rival appearing in the person of the Rev. Alexander
Garden Fraser, New York, who claimed
descent from John, younger son of Simon, thirteenth
Lord Lovat, beheaded in 1747, and became well
known in Inverness, where he resided with his
family for several years. Mr. Fraser of Strichen
was raised to the peerage of the United Kingdom
in 1837, and twenty years later the attainder on the
Scottish title was removed in his favour.
John Anderson was also the author of a work
entitled An Essay on the State of Society and Knowledge
in the Highlands of Scotland, particularly in the
Northern Counties, at the Period of the Rebellion in 1745,
and of their progress up to the Establishment of the
Northern Institution for the Promotion of Science and
Literature in 1825.
For an essay on this subject the prize of a gold
medal had been offered by Sir George Stewart
Mackenzie of Coul for competition among the members
of the Northern Institution at Inverness, at the
first General Meeting, which took place on the 23rd
of March, 1825. The prize was awarded to John
Anderson at the Anniversary Meeting on the 27th
of October, 1826, when Sir George delivered an
interesting address. The essay was published
at Edinburgh in 1827.
Among the many favourable reviews and criticisms
which appeared of this essay, and the congratulatory
letters which John Anderson received,
there was one from his next-door neighbour which
must have possessed for him a very special value.
It was as follows: "Sir Walter Scott has great
pleasure in acknowledging the pleasure and instruction
which he has received from Mr. Anderson's
Prize Essay transmitted by the obliging destination
of the Council and Secretary of the Northern
Institution; as also from that on the Mercheta
Mulierum' which Mr. Anderson was so good as to
send some two or three days ago.
"3 Walker Street,
Friday, 22nd February, 1827."
Addressed "John Anderson, Esq., W. S.
4 Walker Street
The Edinburgh Saturday Post of 26th January,
1828, contained a very long critique on this essay,
combined with a comprehensive and interesting
account of the Northern Institution. In the course
of the review the following remarks occur: "It
cannot but be extremely flattering both to his
literary talents and his patriotic feelings, to have
thus led the way in a tract of useful discovery
and carried off the palm in this new field of competition.
It must be no less gratifying to the Society
to find their exertions so powerfully seconded, and
their purposes so ably and satisfactorily accomplished;
as the essay throughout bears the stamp
of diligence, candour and discrimination, the great
and essential requisities in historical elucidation."
In 1826 a premium of £50 was offered by the
Highland Society of Scotland "for the best and
approved essay on the State of the Highlands and
Islands of Scotland, Agricultural, Manufacturing
and Commercial; the progress and influence of
the changes at present affecting their condition,
and the means of deriving from these changes for
the benefit of the population at large the greatest
portion of good, and rendering such as have an unfavourable
tendency productive of the least possible
degree of evil."
The premium was awarded to John Anderson,
whose essay was ordered by the Directors to be
published in their Transactions. It appears in the
eighth volume, pages 16-62; and the Inverness
Courier remarks in reviewing the essay that "it
fully sustains the previous reputation of the author
for talent and research".
In 1835 John Anderson competed for a prize of
100 guineas which was offered by the Highland
Society of London for the best essay on the Highland
Clans. The prize was, however, awarded to
William Forbes Skene (at that time one of the
secretaries of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland)
for an essay, published in London in 1837
as "The Highlanders of Scotland," the germ of the
same writer's well-known work Celtic Scotland. In
the letter, dated 23rd February, 1835, which Mr.
J. Macdonald. Secretary of the Highland Society of
London, wrote to John Anderson announcing this
decision, the following remarks occur; "I beg leave
to state that the Committee appointed to consider
and report upon the Works sent in for competition,
derived great satisfaction and much interesting information
from the perusal of your Work; and I
am instructed to convey to you the thanks of the
Society, to express their regret that they could not
award the Premium to your Essay, and to assure
you that they very highly appreciate the talent and
research displayed in your Work".
The MS. of this essay has been preserved, and
is in the possession of Mr. Charles Fraser Mackintosh,
LL.D., of Drummond, who has kindly lent it to
the writer. She is under special obligations to him
for the interest which he has shown in her work
from its very commencement, and for the valuable
assistance which he has given her in forwarding information
to her from time to time , and permitting
her to have the use of many important documents
The title and introduction to the essay were as
"HISTORY OF THE HIGHLAND CLANS.
Wild beats my heart your steps to trace
Whose ancestors in days of yore
Thro' ruined gaps and hostile ranks
Old Scotia's bloody banner bore.
The Dirk and the Target lie sordid with dust,
The bloodless claymore is but reddened with rust,
On the Hill or the Glen if a gun should appear,
It is only to war with the heath cock or deer.
"The author has divided his treatise into two
parts. In the first he has endeavoured to condense
such an account of the clans from their earliest
authentic annals; of the rise of that singular system
under which they were governed, aided by
notices of their feuds and warlike deeds — with
characteristic traits of Highland manners — as he
trusts will afford an impartial estimate of the
"The second branch has been devoted to popular
sketches of the principal tribes; wherein such
domestic incidents are brought forward, as are
not woven into the leading memoir. By availing
himself of this plan, the author was in hopes he
might have succeeded in embodying a narrative
which, without being prolix, should yet be sufficiently
comprehensive; though perhaps scarcely
deserving the title of 'History'."
The first part of the work is divided into twelve
The second part has a separate introduction which
is as follows: —
"My object here is rather to embody the general
outlines of Clan History, than to enter into minute
details, more properly the province of the professed
Senachie. It would be tiresome to wander through
the numerous ramifications or genealogical distinctions
of the various Casts: all I propose to do is to
give a summary view of some of the leading Clans;
intermixed with such occasional anecdotes and
personal narrations as may blend instruction with
This second part comprises histories of the
Camerons, Campbells, Chisholms, Colquhouns,
Comyns or Cumines, Frasers, Grahams, Grants,
Munros, Macdonnells of Glengarry, Macdougalls
of Lorn, McFarlanes, Mackenzies, Macleods, Macleans,
McMillans, McNaughtons, Roses of Kilravock.-
Some of those sketches of the Clans were printed
in the Inverness Courier and others in the Edinburgh
John Anderson wrote a number of other essays,
tales, and poetical pieces, many of which were on
subjects connected with Italian History, which seems
always to have had a special attraction for him.
The following is a list of those articles by him
which appeared in the Inverness Courier: —
"Adventure in the Alps," 11th Oct., 1821.
"The Moors of Spain," . . 1821 or 1822.
"Times' Magic Lantern," . .
Notices of the Clans
No. I. "Chief of Clan Grant" 13th Sept., 1826.
II. "Frasers" . . .4th Oct."
III. "Mackenzies" Part I. 11th " "
" . . . " II. 18th " "
IV. "Munros" . . .25th " "
V. "Sutherlands" . . 1st Nov. "
VI. "Chisholms" . . 8th " "
VII. "Sutherlands, Duffus
family" . . .15th " "
VIII. "Roses of Kilravock" . 27th Dec. "
"Letters from Italy" I. . 27th Aug., 1828.
II . . 24th Sept. "
III. . .8th Oct. "
IV. . . 29th " "
"Notes from a Traveller's Memorandum Book,"
17th December, 1828.
Among other articles from his pen which appeared
in various periodicals were the following: —
"Sicily." Blackwood's Magazine, June, 1821, pp.
334-6; signed "Viator".
"The Monk's Tale" Edinburgh Saturday Post.
"The Deer's Stalk" Edinburgh Saturday Post,
16th August, 1828.
"The Waldenses." Edinburgh Observer, 18th
"The Clansman's Tale: a Fragment." Cambrian
and Caledonian Quarterly Magazine and Celtic Repertory,
vol. v., No. 19, July, 1833. The tale begins on page
328 and ends on page 365 and is divided into six
chapters. It is supposed to have been told to the
writer by a ghillie. The field of battle is described
and the escape of several of Prince Charles's followers.
Chapter V. gives the description of a
Highland wedding; and the "Song of the Bard"
is supposed to have been composed by an old
Highlander who had gone abroad shortly after
SONG OF THE BARD.
Where shall the exile look for rest
Or find his lost repose,
Far from his island of the West,
Beset by cruel foes?
That land beloved, for ever dear,
His eyes no more shall see;
Nor rise to glad his sight, to cheer,
The mountains of Tiree.
But as at even o'er the deep
The sullen breakers roar,
He'll sit him by the beetling cliff
And dream of home once more.
The heath he roam'd in sprightly youth,
The green dell's mossy shade,
The maid he sought with ardent truth,
And love's fond votary made,
Rise on his mind as fancy's spell
Controls the treach'rous hour;
Whilst festive boards and mossy shell
Exert their gladdening power.
Land of his home! you melt again
In visions brightly new;
Sweep o'er his brain your mimic train
Of streams and mountains blue.
He hears, he hears the wood-notes wild
Of Scotia's accents roll;
Those notes which o'er him as a child
Enforc'd their soft control.
His country needs! her banners fly,
Her cross still bright and true;
"To arms! to arms!" her warriors cry,
"Her foes shall dearly rue."
But see! he sinks, the chord is wove,
The visions bright and fair;
In vain the exile's heart has strove
'Gainst image of despair.
Among John Anderson's contributions to literature
the one which would probably have proved of most
interest to the general public was entitled "A
Magistrate's Recollections of St. Vincent in 1836,"
but though originally intended for publication it
still remains in manuscript. It abounds with
graphic anecdotes which throw a curious light on
many of the different phases of life in the tropics
at that period.
In 1835, he received through the patronage of
Lord Glenelg, the appointment of Special Justice
in the West Indian island of St. Vincent, and set
sail to enter on his new duties in November of that
year, accompanied by his wife and three younger
children — two boys and a girl — leaving his two
elder boys to the care of his mother and his
brother George, and his elder daughter to the
care of his brother Peter who had married in the
In the September before he sailed, a congratulatory
address was forwarded to him from
Inverness, by Mr. Reach, solicitor, and was acknowledged
by Mr. Anderson in a letter dated 8th
September. The address was signed by all the
established clergy, magistrates, medical men, legal
functionaries and practitioners of the town, besides
many of the other inhabitants. It was published
in the Inverness Courier of 9th September, 1835.
The principal part of it is as follows: —
"To JOHN ANDERSON, Esq.
"INVERNESS, 5 September, 1835.
"We, the undersigned residents in Inverness,
your native town, understanding that you are on
the eve of departing from this country to fill the
office of a Special Magistrate in the West Indies,
beg leave to express our congratulations on your
appointment, our earnest wishes for your health and
prosperity, and our confident expectation that you
will bring to the discharge of your new duties the
same good sense, kind but yet firm demeanour,
upright principle, and general as well as professional
knowledge by which your conduct has been hitherto
marked; and that both our fellow-countrymen and
the newly emancipated population in the district
within your jurisdiction will find in you an active,
discriminating, upright and useful magistrate.
"(Signed) John Fraser, Provost,
Alexander Rose, Minister, D.D.
Alexander Clark, "
Charles Fyvie. St. John's."
In his "Recollections" he writes: "I left Edinburgh
on the 3rd of November, 1835, and after some
pleasant days spent with kind friends in the Western
Metropolis (Mr. William Cooper and his lady) embarked
at Port Glasgow on board the brig Richard
Brown — Captain Dunlop, master — on Thursday,
19th, at noon, with Mrs. Anderson, three young
children and a nursery-maid. In committing ourselves,
with our infant charge, to the protection of
the Almighty, we had to endure the pang of separating
from their elder brothers and sister, who were
left with their relations to receive that education
which they could not receive abroad.
"We were awakened at an early hour of the
morning of the 21st by the cry of the mate that a
brig was bearing down right ahead of us! In a
moment the Captain was on deck and issuing his
orders. A confused bustle of footsteps, rattling of
cordage, and voices in loud contention, somewhat
alarmed the sleepy inmates of the cabin. When it
had ceased we learnt that the Buckingham, bound
for Grenada (which had sailed from the same port
an hour before us), had dragged her anchors and,
driven during the gale, must inevitably have dashed
upon our vessel had we not slipped our cable and
stood about for Greenock."
Christmas and New Year's Day found the travellers
still on board the Richard Brown, and are
thus alluded to "25th. — Christmas Day. With the
thermometer in the cabin at 70°, an unclouded sky
and tranquil sea, we were reminded of the contrast
which the same hour probably presented at home,
in fields covered with ice and snow, and an atmosphere
of cutting frost! According to our reckoning
we were still 700 miles from our destination, and
whilst some of our company toasted the healths of
their friends there, we did not forget the many kind
and dear connexions we had left behind us!"
. . . . . . . . .
"1st January, 1836. Warm, glowing in light, rose
the New Year! How many thoughts of home, of
changed destinies, awoke on our minds! The
novelty of our situation was every moment recalled
to us. Numbers of flying fish shot past: dolphins
fled before their rapacious foe the shark; and
porpoises played their uncouth gambols. Evening
came and with it a scene that I often afterwards
mused over, with the same intenseness of delight,
but never yet saw depicted either by pencil or by
pen; the sapphire-tinted glow of the fading day,
visible, yet opposed to the clear influence of the
moon and stars, flickering over a boundless and
calm expanse of sea! At such a moment we appreciate
the affecting reflections of Humboldt, that
as we pass from one hemisphere to another, we
feel an indescribable sensation in beholding those
constellations which we have known in youth progressively
sink and finally disappear. And as the
humblest traveller may be permitted to follow in
the footsteps of even the most intellectual, I could
not but desire to realise some portion of his gratification
when for the first time 'The Cross of the
South' met his gaze. I was led to hope it might
now be visible at a late — or rather an early — hour,
and I left my cot for the purpose of beholding it on
the dawn of the 5th.
"Eleven days of charming sailing, gliding at the
rate of from 160 to 180 miles per day, brought us
within reach of Barbadoes, which appeared at first
like a mist on the sea. The booby bird lighting on
the cordage, betokened our approach to the shore.
The highest point, styled 'Scotland,' gradually
cleared forth, and running down by night, we, on
the morning of the 7th, came in sight of the Pitons
or conical rocks of St. Lucia and the green hills of
St. Vincent, seven weeks from our embarkation and
thirty-eight days from our leaving Lamlash.
"As the clouds, rising under the sun's influence,
swept from the base of the rugged sea coast, glimpses
of fairy scenes, far removed, were ever and anon
presented; objects new, variegated and romantic,
attracted the eye and charmed the senses; nature
seemed to have put forth features undreamt of
before and the mind was kept in a whirlwind of
astonished rapture. No European could pen the
emotions excited by the first glimpse of this Windward
line of beauty.
"As they became more distinct from time to time,
we eagerly gazed on the luxuriant cane crops overtopped
by occasional dwelling-houses or windmills
of dazzling white, and the beach lined with the tall
cocoa-nut tree, the familiar accompaniment of
"By twelve o'clock we anchored in the Bay of
Calliaqua, and, dashing our boat through the surf
which lashes its dark and sandy shore, sprang to
The "Recollections" (which extend over nearly
four years) have an underlying strain of sadness,
which shows that the writer had always a heart-sick
yearning for his native land. A few more extracts
will give some idea of life in St. Vincent at that
"Happiness is not relative; the mind will find it
despite of externals: but so far as the domestic
circle, the dear seat of the affections, contributes
to it, he who treads these Western shores will soon
be reminded that he has parted with home to be a
denizen of a land where discomfort and luxury, desolation
and hospitality, oddly assort. The badly paved
and dirty streets, where broken bottles, hoops of iron
and other rubbish lie huddled before the doors,
the mean appearance of the low-roofed stores and
huckster shops, the defaced and mouldering houses,
the naked appearance of the planked uncovered
floors and walls of even the best and inhabited tenements
whether in town or country, the scanty and
ill-kept furniture, the scarcity of books or musical
instruments, the barefooted, shirted menials, all
bring in painful contrast to the recollection the
harmonised comforts of home! — word sacred even
here, where the Planters would fain have no abiding
spot, but yearn for that 'home' they recognise
only over the blue Atlantic. Feebly does the
glowing sky (where the moon swims in a mellowness
of splendour unknown to northern latitudes),
the broad sea sparkling wheresoever the eye
roams, or the air breathing of jessamine and
ponch-pong at nightfall, and impregnated with
an enervating luxury of existence, compensate for
what is left behind. We are far from our Fatherland!"
. . . . . . . . .
"A West Indian residence is highly inimical to
study. A few hours' reading may be snatched in
the morning — but the forenoon has its cares; and
when evening is come and the labours of the
dining-room are got over, instead of settling oneself
snugly down to an amusing or instructive author,
the faculties are so relaxed that the only resource
we are able and willing to fly to is bed. The brief
and stilly moments which precede sunset are known
to comparatively few and these must dine early to
enjoy their soothing beauty. With a cigar and a
volume of Byron, gazing on the beams of light expiring
in a profusion of gold clouds, I have forgotten
having sat for four or five hours in the steam of a
. . . . . . . . .
"Circumscribed indeed as the sphere of action
is, party spirit operates its baneful effects in this
'Garden of the Antilles' to a degree unknown in the
Mother Country. A stranger who is not cognisant
of the points of difference may most innocently and
inadvertently commit himself in conversation by commending
the good qualities or praising the system
of management of a third person; and vexatiously
irksome to one accustomed to the freedom and
bonhomie of social home circles — is the restraint
which self-defence imposes in the narrowed topics
of Colonial intercourse where every word is watched
perhaps to be misconstrued and — as has been frequently
the case — tortured into the pretext for a
duel — which was some years ago in this isle the too
common termination of a feast! Most of the men
you meet have been 'out' in their day.
"Proprietors of St. Vincent have always borne
an impress of more refined manners than is generally
attached to the West Indian character, and
many of them are gentlemen of education and
polished mind; but whether it be that local circumstances
operate to the exclusion of all others — or
that they have no leisure for the cultivation of aught
but their estates and limit the alphabet to five
letters SUGAR (the Alpha and Omega of Creole
husbandmen) — one certainly hears little or nothing
of scientific or literary discussion or of the numerous
and delightful themes on which in European reunions
men of the most opposite modes of thinking
engage with mutual satisfaction."
. . . . . . . . .
"Should it be said that I have imbibed erroneous
impressions, I can only reply to such friends as may
do me the favour of glancing over these pages that
I have formed my opinions from actual observation
— not fanciful theories. Previous to quitting Scotland
I read authors on either side of the West
Indian question, and I came out unbiassed by any,
determined to judge for myself. As I have no
predilections to gratify or system to uphold, I shall
accordingly set down — 'though naught in malice' I
trust — whatever remarks men or manners in any
station may call for; and whilst the impression is
yet strong on my mind, regardless of any consideration
but the truth. He were worse than fiend who
does not condemn that system by which the Western
Isles were — and yet are — supplied with victims for
their fields. The evil consequences are yet rued
by both master and servant, for thraldom entails a
curse on both. It is the glory of Britain that she
struck the manacles from the oppressed and 'for
ever' abolished slavery throughout her dominions;
but coinciding to the fullest extent in that unparalleled
act of magnanimity and justice, I cannot so far shut
my eyes on a personal inquiry into the condition of
the labouring class, as not to perceive that much
ill-directed philanthropy has been wasted on sable
brethren, and much lack-a-daisy, mawkish sentiment
evaporated on their wrongs, which had more creditably
been expended nearer home upon those who
have weightier claims. In fact the negro has been
dealt with in extremes. He has been decried as a
mere beast of burden, or he has been elevated into
a scale beyond that assigned him by Providence.
Examples of their temporal comforts have been
already given; more may arise in the sequel.
"With respect to spirituals they of St. Vincent
have long had the ministrations of Methodist missions,
and if cant phrases and lip homage were to
be taken as evidences of Christian principles acting
on the heart, the negroes here might stand honourably
distinguished. In saying so I mean no offence
to the present pastors in communion with that
body, as everything I have heard is creditable to
their zealous and blameless conduct; but as their
predecessors have conveyed to the majority of the
blacks all the scriptural information which they
possess, it is no ways unfair to suppose they are
only uttering what they have been taught, and
imitating their instructors in the appeals they make
to the sacred name of the Deity, and the unseasonable
readiness with which they assent to every
order, however trivial, by interjections of 'Please
Gād,' 'the Lārd willing'. I have known the first
used as a reply by a sick domestic when asked if
she would take some medicine! and by a groom
when directed to water his horses.
"Every action of our lives the believer knows is
dependent on the will of Heaven, but he may
question the good taste — if not the propriety — of
such ejaculations. 'Oh, my Father! My Gād Armighty!'
exclaims male or female accused of any
delinquency, turning up the huge goggle-eyes at the
same time in earnest entreaty. 'I'll kiss the Book,
massa! me nēber, nēber, so help me Gād, did such
a ting.' At first I was struck with the earnestness
of such appeals; and could not but believe that
parties so obtesting their Maker were wrongfully
accused. Experience wrought a sorrowful conviction
to the contrary; and whenever I observed
a delinquent particularly vehement in his or her
profession of innocence and evincing strong anxiety
to swear to the truth of an assertion (which of
course they were not allowed to do) my mind
almost unconsciously — and as the result showed in
most instances correctly — had formed an opposite
conclusion even before the charge was investigated."
. . . . . . . . .
"It is astonishing how soon custom reconciles us
to habits and feelings the most opposite to our own.
Had I — as I was often tempted to do — given way
to this apathetic indifference, I had long ere now
thrown away my pen and forborne to write down
whatever struck me as novel or remarkable, but I
persevered in spite of heat and lassitude and ennui,
in hopes I might amuse friends to whom my rough
details might prove an antidote for an idle hour.
And a scene I have just witnessed comes opportunely
to my aid. It certainly illustrates to the fullest
extent an important trait of negro character which
I have before touched upon. One was brought to me
accused of stealing a medal belonging to a Friendly
Society. He repelled the charge with ferocity;
demanded to 'Kiss the Book'; and, in short, uttered
blasphemies too horrible to be repeated. Whilst
the investigation was still pending, his master came
in and preferred a fresh charge against him as a
runaway. It was substantiated; and no sooner did
he receive sentence for being so, than he told the
complainant in the first accusation that if he would
go to such a place he would find his medal. In
two minutes afterwards it was exhibited in Court!
"The treatment of children by their parents is
unusually severe for the veriest trifles; whilst at
other periods the same parties exhibit a ridiculous
partiality; but towards the children of others, negroes
set no bounds in their fury. I will never forget the
disgusting details of an assault by a negress on a
child of about nine years, who was suspected by
her of stealing some yams; nor the mangled form
of the poor victim! Yet this wretch, when I sent
her to stand her trial at the Sessions, coolly turned
up her hypocritical eyes, exclaiming 'O Lord!
This is the way Thy servants are treated! Man
judgest, but Thou, O Lord, seest.'"
. . . . . . . . .
"Having occasion one day in my official capacity
to ask a coloured woman of the better class if her
son was born in wedlock, she exclaimed,'No; in
Barbadoes. Where is Wedlock?' When made to
comprehend the query, she replied: 'That thing
was not the fashion in my day, but since the Reform
Bill' every one gets married: I shall do so myself'.
Of a verity the reformers at home never thought of
such wonderful effects from that renowned measure
. . . . . . . . .
"1st April, 1836. — Good Friday. The return of this
solemn fast reminds me that last year it was spent
with our dear children far away; and that after
Divine service we had a short excursion to the
romantic base of the Pentland Hills. How, over
the wide sea between us, rises every well-remembered
feature! and localities often gazed on with
indifference when present, now — 'by distance made
more sweet' — 'awaken thoughts that lie too deep
"In some such moment did the lamented Leyden
pen his Ianthe: —
'The scenes of former life return;
Ere, sunk beneath the morning star,
We left our parent climes afar,
Immur'd in mortal forms to mourn'.
"On Easter Sunday the church, which holds from
1,500 to 2,000 persons, was most respectably filled.
I never indeed at home beheld a more orderly
congregation, and not less than 136 communicants
came to the altar. But seven years before, as a
lady informed me, she was one of four females who
alone did so. It would be unjust to criticise the
motives which operate on the majority of those who
thus crowd at the festivals (for Easter Sunday and
Christmas Day are in one sense gala days with the
coloured people); charity bids us hope all things.
Were it, however, the mere desire of exhibiting a
new dress, it is something gained in the steps of
civilisation; for artificial wants must beget industry
to have them supplied; and speaking on this topic,
the cost of turbans, handkerchiefs and gowns of the
black and brown population, certainly were calculated
to raise ideas of wonder in a new comer.
Some of the blacks, I was assured, would expend
as much as 2s. 6d. and 5s. for merely putting on
a turban or headdress! Many of them wore kid
shoes, silk stockings, bonnets and smart parasols!
When would an English peasant's wife come so
attired? If she could, she would have more regard
to her own station than do so. But Miss 'Therese'
cannot bear to be eclipsed by the squat beauty
of a neighbouring 'yard' (as the negro always
denominates a town house); and 'Snowdrop Angel
Agatha' will not yield the palm to brown 'Therese '.
Talking of names, these most incongruous appellatives
must force a smile from dulness itself. Only
think of finding 'Scipio' a groom, 'Cæsar Augustus'
a cabin boy, 'Moses ' instead of legislating, heading
the vine gang, and 'Euphrosyne' sweeping out the
kitchen! As if in actual mockery, 'Cupid' is
personified by the ugliest urchin on the estate;
and the 'Graces' by woolly-headed, thick-lipped,
squabby apologies of humanity, whose very gestures
provoke a roar! 'Venus' has been arraigned before
me for pummelling 'Vulcan' with fists that might
stand comparison with the 'Game Chicken's'.
'Placide' is the cognomen of as veritable a vixen
as ever tormented a driver's life out; nor dare he
now 'cowskin' her for her impertinence, for he
carries no cart-whip. Many of these people are
intelligent and excel in 'spinning a yarn'. Any one
who has served as a magistrate must know this to
the cost of his time and patience, to say nothing of
the utter disregard of all truth which he must be
compelled to hear sworn to. They appear to
consider it meritorious to bamboozle instead of
enlightening their judge, and he will require a
sharp eye and ear to detect their by-play and
fallacies. Every look and word of his are watched
before the cautious negro gives response. I took
a pleasure in drawing out the aged and acute ones;
in listening to their details of early life, and the
progressive advances they had witnessed of English
supremacy. On the estate where we lived there
was one 'old lady' (as the negroes invariably speak
of each other) who had beheld many of the horrors
of the last insurrection of the Caribs, of which she
had a lively recollection. Another octogenarian
negro on a Windward property was a boy when the
rebellion against the British Government by the
natives brought on the first Carib war in 1772. He
distinctly remembered when the English settlements
extended only to the river Coubaimar; and the
successive capture of the isle by the French in 1779
and its restoration to Great Britain in 1783."
. . . . . . . . .
"The smaller islands of the Grenadines are
sought for as cooler retreats — in the month of
August in particular. I then spent a few days in
Bequia, the largest of the group, with a brother
magistrate. Bequia can boast better roads than
St. Vincent, but its loneliness is sadly impressed
on one who has only recently come from Europe.
Without resources from books or cheerful, social
intercourse, the life of a planter, at the best, is an
apology for life anywhere. It may do very well
for a man who enters young into its toils and is not
trammelled with too fine feelings to direct his rough
and — I will admit — patience-tried, arduous course;
but for a gentleman in the educated sense of the
word it must be disgusting by its sameness and
"The laborious nature of his duties and the
coarse subordinates he has to overlook, must
roughen (to use no harsher term) his sentiments;
and I should imagine that no man would enter
a relation on such a career, who could get an
opening for him in life, in any other capacity.
"The accomplished authoress of Marriage
pictures the high-born Earl's daughter as gazing
with astonishment on the miscalled 'Castle' of her
Highland husband's father. Perhaps with no less
astonishment must the sensitive European female
shrink from her future home when brought as a
bride to one of our West Indian halls! Approaching
by a road or track which has no parallel save
in the remotest regions of the Alps, she trembles at
every step as she sinks in the mire or pitfalls. She
descends on the summit of a precipice, climbs
up a rude wooden ladder or stair and is ushered
into a mean edifice of the same materials, brown
and worm-eaten from combined age, mould and
neglect. A common lobby lamp swings overhead
from a beam supporter, and claps like thunder
shake the rude tenement as the wind whistles along
the gallery, bursting open doors and window frames.
The barrenness around, destitute of books, carpets,
fauteuils or any of the articles of vertu or nicknackeries
of a European drawing-room inspires
but one feeling, that of desolation. From the
boiling-house where sugar-making is in full vigour,
is wafted to the nostrils a sickening steam, by no
means agreeable to untried olfactory nerves. But
the toils of housekeeping, the calls upon her patience
and temper, the drilling of her black and coloured
establishment, who shall picture or pretend to record
"Man has his daily and more active occupations
which beguile the tedium of exile; but as the bow
cannot always remain strung nor the lyre be pitched
to its highest chord, so does the mind require relaxation
to fit it for severer calls. Woe betide him
then who in the West Indies has no resources within
himself, for he will find none without. But with
woman, operated upon by the climate, kept almost
a prisoner within doors, and only occasionally
paying or receiving a formal visit, perhaps without
one friend of her own sex to lighten her solitude,
existence is drearier still. She falls into that abhorrence
of exercise which is usual with Creole females,
lolls on a settee all day long in a dreary indolent
mood, — a death in life. Not that I mean that
happiness is to be found in crowds or that life has
no nobler ends than to be spent in an unmeaning
round of routs, balls and the frivolities of fashion.
Society still has claims on us, but small indeed is
the society to be found in St. Vincent! Even the
presence of a garrison does little to an interchange
of mutual attentions, and with the exception of a
solitary intimacy here and there, the military,
citizens and planters reciprocate no compliments.
A new corner is received so far as a mere call goes
civilly enough; but with caution. The acquaintance
seldom goes farther — in town at least — unless
the entrant be particularly recommended."
It was destined that the Fatherland for which
John Anderson had so yearned during his four years
of exile should never be beheld by him again. On
the evening of the 3rd of September, 1839, he was
riding home from an adjoining estate which he
had been visiting on magisterial business, and was
within a quarter of a mile from his own house, when
a very serious accident happened to him. At an
abrupt turn of the road a canal was dug into which
the horse stumbled, and in striving to extricate
himself from his perilous position under the body
of the animal, Mr. Anderson had the misfortune to
have his left leg and thigh badly bruised, in addition
to a fracture of both bones of the leg a little above
the ankle joint; and to increase his sufferings, he
lay in this state from about seven o'clock in the
evening until six o'clock next morning and experienced
a most boisterous and unfavourable
At six o'clock, some negroes, on their way to their
work, discovered him, and having rescued him from
his terrible position, procured means for conveying
him to his own home.
For the first few days, although suffering greatly,
Mr. Anderson displayed wonderful hopefulness of
spirit, and requested a friend, Mr. William G. Grant,
to write by the earliest opportunity and apprise his
brother Peter of all the particulars of his accident.
In that letter, which is dated "19th September,
1839," Mr. Grant says: "Great danger yet remains
from the extent of the contusion, independent of the
fracture; and the swollen and inflamed state of the
whole leg and thigh from the beginning rendered
amputation unsafe and has consequently added
considerably to his precarious situation, and I add
with feelings of deep and sincere regret that there
are great fears entertained for his ultimate recovery.
I write thus despondingly that you may be prepared
for the worst. . . . His friends in St. Vincent are
most anxious for his recovery, as he has endeared
himself to all classes from the upright and conscientious
discharge of his duties as a magistrate."
Owing to the great laceration of the leg at the
time of the accident, alarming symptoms had set in
which nothing but amputation could possibly have
prevented. In a second letter dated 21st September,
announcing Mr. Anderson's death to his brother
Peter, Mr. Grant remarks: "Unfortunately, when
this step might have saved his life, the debility was
so great as to prevent them [his medical attendants]
from attempting it, and consequently he fell thus
early a victim, not to the effects of climate, but to
purely accidental circumstances over which we have
Mr. Anderson lingered until the eighteenth day
from the time of his accident. By his own desire
his three little children were brought to his bedside
to receive his farewell blessing, and immediately
before he passed away he laid his hand on the head
of his little daughter, whom he had named "Margaret"
for his sister and for the beloved cousin who
had been the light of his father's household.
He died at Colanarie House, at half-past eight
o'clock on the morning of the 21st of September,
1839, at the age of forty-one, and was buried next
day in Colanarie Grounds, far from his native
land and the brothers who had been so warmly
attached to him.
To those brothers and her elder children, the
widow returned with her three little ones. They
sailed for Leith in the ship Haidee, a few days after
the funeral, as otherwise they would have had to
wait until the spring of the following year before a
vessel would sail for Scotland. On the way home
they encountered a terrible storm and their lives
were in great peril.
John Anderson had lost an infant son, Alexander,
in 1829, but six children survived him: Mary Mackenzie,
Peter, Alexander Mackenzie, Margaret Jessie,
Francis Gillanders, and George.
The eldest son, Peter, went to India in December,
1847, and entered the office of Gillanders, Arbuthnot
& Co., in Calcutta, of which firm his maternal granduncle,
Mr. Francis Gillanders of Newmore, was one
of the original founders. After some years he went
to Rangoon, Burmah, to the firm of Gladstone, Wylie,
& Co. He afterwards returned to Calcutta, where
he joined the firm of Mackenzie, Lyall & Co. as a
partner. He was married on the 21st of January,
1856, at Rangoon, to Miss Jane Elizabeth Abbott,
youngest daughter of Mr. William Henry Abbott,
Ecclesiastical Registrar, Calcutta. He retired from
business and returned to Scotland in 1869. He
afterwards settled at Hollymount, Wandsworth,
near London, where he died after a very brief
illness, on 23rd March, 1883.
Alexander Mackenzie Anderson entered the army
as ensign in 1852, sailed for India on the 10th April
of that year and landed at Calcutta on the 15th
of September, 1852. He got eighteen months sick
leave in June, 1854, and came home round the Cape;
returned to India in April, 1856, but came finally
home invalided in April, 1857, and died in his
mother's house. St. Vincent Cottage, Inverness, on
31st July, 1857. He had attained the rank of
Lieutenant in the 38th regiment of Light Infantry,
H.E.I. Company's Service, Bengal Establishment.
The year of his death was memorable as being
the year of the Indian Mutiny. The officer who
took his place was the first to fall a victim to the
sepoys in that regiment.
Mary Mackenzie Anderson was married on the
23rd of July, 1844, to William Paul (son of Robert
Paul, Manager of the Commercial Bank, Edinburgh),
Agent for the Commercial Bank, Dumbarton, and
afterwards Agent for the Commercial Bank, Glasgow.
Mr. Paul died at Edinburgh on the 19th of
Margaret Jessie Anderson was married on the
17th of November, 1858, to Captain (now General)
George Warren Walker, R.E, General Walker was
ultimately secretary of the Public Works Department,
Madras Presidency, under the Governorship
of Lord Hobart. He is now settled at Bath.
Francis Gillanders Anderson entered the Commercial
Bank in Glasgow where his brother-in-law,
Mr. William Paul, was agent. In 1850 he had
won the Raigmore gold medal at the Inverness
George Anderson went to India in 1859, and is
now settled in Coorg as a tea planter.
Mrs. John Anderson died at St. Vincent Cottage,
Inverness, on the 4th of February, 1870, after a
widowhood of nearly thirty-one years.
GEORGE AND PETER ANDERSON.
GEORGE and Peter Anderson were in partnership
as solicitors in Inverness at the time
of their brother's death, and their names both before
and after that period were usually linked together
in various enterprises literary and otherwise. Alike
in many ways — for they had both inherited their
father's quick temper and enthusiastic disposition
along with his intellectual tastes — in others they
formed that strong contrast which often affords a
greater charm to companionship than can be effected
by the closest similarity.
George was a man of most winning personality.
He had a slight agile figure about the middle height,
and beautiful, delicately chiselled features, with
dark expressive eyes which were always sparkling
with animation. His manner was characterised by
warmth and cordiality, openness and vivacity; he
had an inexhaustible fund of wit and humour and
up to old age he retained a buoyancy of disposition
which caused him to regard everything
through rose-coloured spectacles. He was ready
at any time, even when his hair was silvery white,
to join in a Highland reel; and his love for Scottish
music was pathetic in its intensity, and had become
an inseparable part of his nature. In fact, so great
was his love for it, that his daughter devoted her
time and attention to perfecting herself in the music
of her native land, exclusive of all other, so that
she might be able to gratify her father's tastes, and
every evening sing to him the old Scotch songs and
play the simple melodies he loved.
George Anderson was a delightful companion;
he read aloud exquisitely and wrote charming
letters. But it was by his scientific attainments
that he was most widely known. In the obituary
notice of him which appeared in the Inverness Courier,
the late Mr. Walter Carruthers (who, as well as
his learned father, Dr. Robert Carruthers, had been
among George Anderson's valued friends) remarked:
"He was eminent as a geologist, the friend and
correspondent of Sir Roderick Murchison and Hugh
Miller, who often refer to him in their works; he
has done much also to identify the flora of the
Highlands and was an ardent collector of articles
of archaeological and ecclesiological interest in the
North. These varied gifts were cultivated from
early youth, when geology was very little studied
in Scotland, and the future authors of the Guide
laid the foundation of their well-known work by
constant walking expeditions through the country.
. . . . . . . . .
"Mr. George Anderson held emphatically the pen
of a ready writer; many a column has he written
for this journal on subjects of local and general
interest, and he had the happy art of never saying
a word in print that was out of joint or likely to
wound any one's susceptibilities. His readiness of
apprehension and facility in composition were also
conspicuous when he happened to act as clerk of
public meetings. Long before discussion had ceased
Mr. Anderson had appreciated the feeling and sense
of the meeting, and had drafted a clear business-like
resolution which, when read, was seen to embody
the whole drift of the debate and was generally
adopted without a word of alteration."
The two brothers had gone together to the University
of Edinburgh in 1818, immediately after
quitting the Inverness Royal Academy, where
George had won the Raigmore medal for classics,
and during their first year attended the Logic Class
of Professor David Ritchie and the Natural Philosophy
Class of Professor John Playfair.
The writer possesses several essays written by
the brothers on the same subjects when they were
in Professor Ritchie's class.
The brothers afterwards attended the Law Classes
at the University, but George seems to have gone
somewhat earlier to those latter classes than Peter,
and to have returned to settle in Inverness before
his younger brother had completed his law studies
in Edinburgh. They studied Conveyancing under
Professor Macvey Napier, and Peter remarks in
a letter to George, in 1826: "Napier's Lectures
continue to please me exceedingly".
On his return to Inverness George was for a time
associated professionally with Mr. Shepperd who
had been his father's partner. The writer has
been unable to ascertain the exact dates at which
the brothers were admitted as solicitors before
the Court in Inverness, but George was evidently
a solicitor in 1825, as he is thus designated in the
list published of those gentlemen who became
members of the Northern Institution in that year.
Under the heading "1825" he is thus described:
"March 8 — George Anderson. Solicitor, F.R.S.E.,
F.S.S.A.". He had not then completed his twenty-third
Peter, after qualifying himself as an accountant
in Edinburgh returned to settle in Inverness.
His strong attachment to his brother was what
principally influenced him to take this step.
Later on he was admitted as procurator before
the Court at Inverness, and the two brothers
entered into partnership as "G. & P. Anderson.
On the 23rd of February, 1824, George Anderson
was admitted Corresponding Member of the Society
of Antiquaries of Scotland, and several papers by
him were contributed to that society.
26th January, 1824, "Essay on some Ancient
Stone Circles and Cairns in the Neighbourhood
of Inverness." (Trans., iii,, pp. 211-222.)
3rd August, 1824. "Account of an Ancient
Golden Rod lately found near Inverness."
11th April, 1825. "Description of Vitrified Forts
in the Vicinity of Inverness, with an Explanatory
Map." (Trans., iv., pp. 188-201.)
On the 6th of December, 1824, George Anderson,
who was then only twenty-two years of age, had
the honour of being admitted Fellow of the Royal
Society of Edinburgh. Among the scientific papers
which he contributed to various periodicals are the
"Account of the Small District of Primitive Rocks
near Stromness in the Orkney Islands."
(Memoirs of the Wernerin Society, Edinburgh,
iv., pp. 173-5, 1821-2.)
"Geognostical Sketch of part of the Great Glen
of Scotland." (Ibid., iv., pp. 190-206, 1821-2.)
"On the Quartz District in the Neighbourhood
of Loch Ness." (Edinburgh Journal
of Science, iii., pp. 212-18; iv., pp. 91-3,
"Description of the Bituminous Rocks which
occur in Ross-shire," (Ibid., iv., pp. 93-5,
When we consider what a mere lad he was (not
having been born till May, 1802) when he contributed
to scientific journals, we cannot help marvelling at
the brilliancy and early maturity of his intellectual
powers and scientific tastes.
During the thirties he contributed a series of
articles on Highland subjects to the Penny Magazine.
In the "Report of the Council of the Banff Institution
for Science, Literature and Arts and for
the Encouragement of native Genius and Talent"
for the year 1830, the name of "George Anderson,
F.R.S.E.. Sec., Northern Institution," occurs in the
list of "seventy-nine members of whom five are
honorary" of which the society consisted on 2nd
June of that year. And among the notices in this
report of communications made at the general
meetings of the Banff Institution there is mention
of one made on 5th August, 1830, "On the Science
of Geology," by Mr. G. Anderson, F.R.S.E.
During a period extending over more than forty
years George Anderson was in the habit of contributing
articles on various subjects to the Inverness
Courier. Amongst them his long account of the old
Abbey of Pluscarden, contributed during the sixties,
is peculiarly characteristic of his graceful style
and his thorough knowledge of ecclesiology. In
1862 he contributed to the same paper a striking
and interesting article entitled "Traces of a very
Ancient Population on the Shores of the Moray
He wrote, in conjunction with the Rev. Alexander
Rose, D.D., a "Description of the Parish of Inverness,"
in the New Statistical Account of Scotland, vol.
xiv., pp. 1-35, , 1845; and in conjunction with
the Rev. Doune Smith, a "Description of the Parish
of Urquhart and Glenmoriston," ibid., vol. xiv., pp.
In 1825 he supplied the letterpress for a set of
views published by his friend Mr. John Guy
Hamilton. This work had been intended to appear
in four parts, but only the first part seems to have
been published. The title of it is "Picturesque
Delineations of the Highlands of Scotland, by J.
G. Hamilton, Draughtsman to the Northern Institution,
with descriptions of the several views by
George Anderson, Esq., F.R.S.E., etc.. Secretary
to the Northern Institution. London, published by
R. Ackerman; A. Constable & Co., and William
Blackwood, Edinburgh; and R. B. Lusk & Co.,
Inverness, 1825. To be published in four parts,
each containing five Views with Descriptions.
Part I. Inverness-shire. Plates: Loch Ness,
Urquhart Castle, Pass of Inverfarigaig, Fall of Foyers,
and Culloden House."
In March, 1825, George Anderson was the means
of starting a society in Inverness for "the promotion
of science and literature in general, the investigation
of the history or former condition of Scotland, and
of the Highlands of Scotland in particular, and the
establishment of a general museum". This society
was named the Northern Institution. The first
meeting of the gentlemen who were desirous of the
formation of such an institution was held on the
4th of March, 1825, when Provost Robertson was
in the chair and George Anderson was appointed
secretary. A larger meeting of forty gentlemen —
Sir George Mackenzie of Coul in the chair — took
place on the 23rd of March, when the secretary
explained the objects of the institution and received
a vote of thanks for the boon which his exertions
had been the means of bestowing on the inhabitants
In an address given at a meeting of the Field Club
in Inverness, in 1881, by Mr. James Barron, editor
of the Inverness Courier, as retiring president, he
states in an account of the Northern Institution
that at its second meeting on 23rd March, 1825, "A
cordial vote of thanks was awarded to Mr. George
Anderson, to whom the inhabitants were greatly
indebted for the establishment of a society" — so ran
the resolution — "which, it is hoped, will succeed in
diffusing a taste for liberal knowledge, and in calling
into activity the talent of the country, directing it
towards the pursuit of those objects by the pursuit
of which the human mind is improved in its energies,
and large additions made to the comfort and happiness
Further on in his address Mr. Barron says:
"The Northern Institution aimed at taking a high
place — almost, it would seem, seeking to rival the
Society of Antiquaries. It is, therefore, not surprising
to read that the Duke of Gordon was elected
President; and that as non-resident Vice-Presidents
the Society had Sir George Mackenzie of Coul. Sir
Thomas Dick Lauder, and Professor Fraser-Tytler.
Provost Robertson, Captain Fraser of Balnain and
Mr. Grant of Bught were resident Vice-Presidents.
"The office-bearers were more numerous than
those of our own comparatively humble club. Mr.
Reach, solicitor, was treasurer, and Mr. George
Anderson, general secretary; but the society had
in addition Mr. Scott of the Inverness Academy, as
Latin secretary; the Rev. Duncan Mackenzie as
Gaelic secretary; Mr. Alexander Mackenzie of
Woodside, inspector of ancient manuscripts; and
Mr. Naughten, jeweller, curator of the museum. The
Council consisted of Dr. Nicol, Mr. Suter, junior,
Rev. Mr. Clark, Rev. Mr. Fyvie, Rev. Mr. Fraser of
Kirkhill, and Mr. Macbean, solicitor. Among the
hon. members were Dr. Hibbert, then Secretary
of the Scottish Society of Antiquaries; Professor
Tulloch of Aberdeen; Mr. Telford, the celebrated
engineer; and Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster."
By December, 1826, the number of hon. members
had extended to thirty-five, including many distinguished
names — above all that of "Sir Walter Scott
of Abbotsford, Bart". The names include those
of Dr. Jackson Hooker, Professor of Botany in
the University of Glasgow; Rev. William Buckland,
B.D., Professor of Mineralogy and Geology in the
University of Oxford (who was elected at the
same date as Sir Walter Scott, 29th April 1825);
Robert Jameson, Esq., Professor of Natural History
in the University of Edinburgh, etc., etc.; David
Brewster, Esq., LL.D., Edinburgh; General David
Stewart of Garth; Charles Waterton, Esq., of
Walton Hall, Yorkshire. The names also occur of
George Anderson's uncle, Dr. Robert Thomson,
F.R.S., York Terrace, London; and his cousin
William Couper, Esq., M.D., Lecturer on Mineralogy
in the University of Glasgow . By the close
of 1826, the society also numbered forty-nine
corresponding members and 100 ordinary members.
The introduction to the prize essay by John
Anderson (which has been already referred to as
having won the gold medal offered by Sir George
Mackenzie of Coul, at the meeting on 23rd March,
1825) commences thus: "The Northern Institution
was established at Inverness, in the month of March,
1825, for the Promotion of Science and Literature
in general and more particularly with the view of
investigating the Antiquities and Civil and Natural
History of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.
"To aid the researches of the members and to
afford to Society at large, throughout the Northern
districts of the country, facilities for study which
did not previously exist, a Museum has been opened
by the Institution for the Collection and Preservation
of objects of Natural History, Antiquities and Works
of Art, as well as a Library for scarce and valuable
books and manuscripts."
Between 23rd March, 1825, and 28th December,
1826, the museum received 156 donations, comprising
hundreds of articles of great interest and in many
instances of rarity and value. To any Invernessian
who looks over the list published in 1827, it must
be matter of regret that so very few of them have
been preserved in the Highland capital.
In the list of communications read at meetings of
the Northern Institution during the first and second
sessions, 1825-6, the following may be observed: —
April 29, 1825. — "II. Notice regarding a Stone
Coffin opened on the Estate of Leys, the Urns
in which are now in the Museum. By Mr.
Anderson, General Secretary."
"III. Remarks on a Curious Marriage
Contract, dated in 1681, in the Author's
Possession; Copy deposited in the Museum.
By Mr. Anderson."
Sept. 16. — "VIII, Remarks on an Ancient Cocquet
or Custom-House Seal of the Burghs of Inverness
and Cromarty, found some years ago,
on the Sea-shore at Aberdeen. By Mr.
Anderson, General Secretary."
Nov. 25, — "XIV. Notice of a Search for Lead Ore,
in a Vein of Heavy Spar, recently made by
Lovat, in Strathglass. By Mr. Anderson,
Feb. 14, 1826. — "XXII. No. I. of a Series of
Papers on Highland Antiquities: (1) on
Stone Circles and Cairns. By Mr. Anderson,
Hugh Miller in his Schools and Schoolmasters,
thus alludes to George Anderson: "A gentleman of
literature and science, the secretary of a society of
the place, antiquarian and scientific in its character,
termed the 'Northern Institution,' and the honorary
conservator of its Museum — an interesting miscellaneous
collection which I had previously seen and
in connection with which I had formed my only
other scheme of getting into employment. . . . The
Secretary was busy at his desk; but he received
me politely, spoke approvingly of my work as an
imitation of the old manuscript, and obligingly
charged himself with its delivery at the meeting;
and so we parted for the time, not in the least aware
that there was a science which dealt with characters
greatly more ancient than those of the old manuscripts,
and laden with profounder meanings, in
which we both took a deep interest, and regarding
which we could have exchanged facts and ideas
with mutual pleasure and profit. The Secretary of
the Northern Institution at this time was Mr. George
Anderson, the well-known geologist, and joint-author
with his brother of the admirable Guide Book to the
Highlands which bears their name."
The Rev. Donald Sage of Resolis, in his Parish
Life in the North, also alludes to the Northern Institution
at Inverness and remarks: "The Association
was chiefly, if not wholly, got up by the Messrs.
Anderson of that town, both men of considerable
In a letter dated 25th March, 1825, George writes
to Peter in Edinburgh "I am very glad to hear
such good accounts of Mrs. A. from John, and I trust
she may soon be able to think of coming North.
Should neither of you be able to accompany her, I
will be ready to join her at any time either at Perth
or Dunkeld, but I think you should endeavour to
come North, not only on account of your health,
but as Mr. Shepperd is desirous of having your
"I am also rejoiced to hear of John's election
as an F.R.S.E. [F.S.A. Scot.] and I think it might
be of consequence to him, not only to use his new
title in the Lovat Book, but to endeavour to get on
the next year's Council of the Royal Society.
"You would perceive by this week's Courier what
a brilliant General Meeting we have had of our
Northern Institution, and it is to its debit you will
set down this postage. Donations and members are
pouring in from all quarters, and I hope you will
endeavour to recruit for us in Edinburgh. The Laws
will be sent you for distribution as soon as I can get
them printed. I have not named either you or John
as members, but should you like to become so, I can
get you passed at next meeting.
"It is part of our plan, in order to secure permanency
to the Museum and Library, and to prevent
the loss or dispersion of articles and books deposited
in them, to create a Trust, vesting the whole property
in certain persons, should the Institution cease to
exist. The persons proposed are the first Minister
of Inverness, the Provost of Inverness, the Sheriff-Depute
of the County, and the Secretary of some of
your Edinburgh Societies for the time being. Now,
at the discussion of our Laws, it was objected to by
some gentlemen (especially by Mr. Shepperd) that
the persons just named (official men you will observe,
for the time being) cannot be made legal trustees,
nor can we give them power to execute our intentions.
Might I therefore beg of you, as I was directed to
get counsel's opinion on the subject, to obtain from
Mr. Graham Bell, Mr. P. Robertson, or any other
experienced Advocate whom you may know, and
who, I hope, will be got to do the thing gratis, their
sentiments on this point; and if the plan proposed
be erroneous what method they would recommend
for carrying through our designs. It would be
obliging if you could procure this opinion as soon
as possible. Mr. Hopkirk (Mr. Mackintosh's friend)
is our first corresponding member in Edinburgh,
and perhaps he will assist you. I have likewise to
request your kind endeavour to get 300 or 400 copies
of the following official letter (after the design of
that of the Royal Society) thrown off on copper and
sent to me along with the plate. Mr. Mackintosh
recommends us to go to Kirkwood & Sons, and he
hopes that by using his name you may get the matter
done cheaply. The paper is to be gilt, and executed
in as plain and neat a style as may be.
"I am engaged to a large party in half an hour,
and must run away to dress. You will therefore
excuse this scrawl and believe me to be ever yours,
"I trust you will be able to send all mentioned in
the course of a week."
"INVERNESS . . . . . . .
"I have the honour to inform you that at a
General Meeting of the Northern Institution for the
promotion of Science and Literature held this day,
you were elected an . Member of that body.
"I have the honour to be,
"Your most Obedient
" . . . . . . Secretary."
Peter Anderson was elected a member of the
Northern Institution at a General Meeting on the
24th of February, 1826, and took a warm interest
in all the undertakings of this society which owed
its foundation to his brother.
Botany was Peter's favourite study, and not only
during the long walking excursions which he took
with his brother in early years, but in the rambles
in which his children accompanied him in later years,
he carefully collected such plants as were at all rare,
in order that he might press and preserve them as
botanical specimens. This love of botany formed
a strong bond of union between him and his intimate
friend and correspondent, the Rev. Charles
Clouston of Stromness.
Peter writes thus to George from Edinburgh on
2nd December, 1S26: "How wags the world with
you? What a glorious thing it is living as I do
now! I must look into Zimmerman to see what he
says of solitude. It is certainly there alone that
an approximation to a stable foundation of sound
philosophical principles of conduct can be laid.
With what a zest I enjoy my occasional commixture
with society and with what self-satisfaction do I
essay to put in practice those maxims of self-government
which I would fain reduce to system! Mind
and body healthy, intellect industrious and progressing,
hour follows hour in rapid and silent
flight, till instant and unbroken repose succeeds the
labours of a well-spent day.
"Napier's Lectures continue to please me exceedingly.
There has last week been a vast hiatus in
the Notes, to supply which has cost me twenty long,
continuous additional pages which I cannot at present
include in yours, as the successive commentaries on
the original text, which I take care regularly to make,
interfere. Has Douglas got those queries copied?
"On Saturday week I dined at Omond's. His
mother is kind and ladylike, a very good specimen,
as Clouston would say, of the well-bred Orcadian,
and has things remarkably genteel and comfortable.
I find John Omond, our first acquaintance,
is a botanist. He only commenced, however, last
year. But his herbarium is beautifully preserved
and comprehends about three hundred species on
large folio paper. I incidentally hinted to him that
if his leisure would permit him next summer, he
ought to make a collection for the Northern Institution,
remarking that as none had yet been presented,
his gift would be the more valued and that he would
stand somewhat in the light of the Founder or Father
of their Botanical Collection. What I said was
more matter of course than anything else, but when
I next met him I found that the notion had pleased
him so well that he said he would immediately send
his present Herbarium. I advised him to think a
little of it as he might regret such a sacrifice, but I
think there is little doubt but he will send it, which
I have advised him to do per coach (taking care first
to ascertain whether it will cost more than the usual
fare) and I am sure the Institution won't grudge the
carriage. By the by I forgot the carrier and will
mention that to him. Should he send it, had you
not better make him a corresponding member? At
any rate I need not tell you to thank him suitably
for so handsome and valuable a donation. The
press he uses, by the bye, consists of two flat wooden
boards which he makes as tight as he pleases by a
stick in the ropes, as carriers fasten their goods.
"On Saturday next, I mean to have Omond and
his brother, Coldstream, Thorburn, Tom Eskadale
and James Anderson to dinner. The latter took
chance with me some days ago. He is really a fine
manly young fellow who thinks for himself, has infinitely
more nousse than you would imagine, and
his sentiments and opinions are wonderfully matured.
The Rector's class in the High School consists every
alternate year of mere boys, and it has been James's
unfortunate lot to join it in one of those years. The
consequence is that he finds himself obliged to
mingle with minds infinitely inferior to his own (and
really I think the alumni of that seminary generally
exhibit a more than average shallowness) and his
budding intellect feels much annoyed at being imprisoned
in an uncongenial atmosphere. He is
now an excellent Latin and Greek scholar — so
Carmichael told me — and I think it a pity he
should be condemned longer to pursue so comparatively
unprofitable a course of study. His time
would be infinitely better employed in attending
private preparatory classes, as mathematics, algebra,
etc., to enable him next winter to enter the Philosophical
ones in the college, and in taking lessons in
the accomplishments of Elocution, Music and Gymnastics.
He has too active powers and too just a
perception of the advantages of education and value
of knowledge, to excite any apprehensions of his
abusing his time, thus in a greater measure entrusted
to himself. His first quarter at the High School
terminates with the year, and I wish you would call
on his father [Banker Alexander Anderson] and use
all your eloquence to induce him fo follow a new
system with one so well deserving of having a lively
interest excited in his behalf.
"You will find much useful information in the
Beauties of Scotland, particularly on Agriculture, in
vol. iv., Perthshire.
"In a curious original Manuscript 'Genealogical
Deduction,' as it is called, 'of the Roses of Kilravock'
— which John got a sight of — written in
Charles the Second's reign, I found the following
passage: 'This Hugh (7th) Rose of Kilravock
builded the Tower of Kilravock, having obtained
License by Patent from John, Lord of the Isles and
Earle of Rosse for doing the samen, Februarie 18,
1460. I heard by Tradition that the Towers of
Calder, Kilravock, Ironside, Dallas and Spynie were
built about the samen tyme — the architector of them
all being that Cochrane, the great Minion of King
James 3rd and by him created Earle of Marr.
Remembered for his being hanged over the Bridge
of Lauder in his own Scarfe by the Antient
Nobilitie.' Preserve this.
"Give my compliments to Fyvie and Dr. McLachlin.
Remember me to Forbes.
"Poor Charlie Denoon! Tell David and Hugh
that I don't sympathise the less with them that from
delicacy I forbear to intrude it directly on them.
"Love to all at home and compliments to Mr.
The "friend Hugh," referred to by George in the
following letter is the late Colonel Hugh Fraser of
the Bengal Engineers, C.B., who for his distinguished
services during the Mutiny, would have been created
a K,C.B., had not his untimely death occurred in
1858. George Anderson had ridden in from Fort
George (where he had been visiting Mr. Henry
Welsh who held an appointment there) to stay over
Sunday with the family of Hugh Fraser.
"NESS SIDE, 16th January, 1825.
"MY DEAR PETER,
"You must take the bearer, our friend
Hugh, completely under your wing for some time,
and should his rooms in Mrs. Wallace's prove
engaged, give him a share of your own bed for a
night or so, till you look about for a comfortable
place for him. I am desired by the family here to
say that the Miss Whites' house, from all they learn,
will not suit, and you need not therefore apply in
that quarter, should the application to Mrs. Wallace
fail. I have been pressed to name the classes and
masters that he should attend, but it strikes me you
will best provide for this by a little personal examination;
only for drawing, I fancy, he could not
go to a better teacher than Ewbank, and if the
mathematical department (i.e., with regard to surveying,
mensuration, etc.), in the Military Academy
is good, I think he would be the better of going
there, and should his time permit, of taking an
hour of the sword exercise. I hope, however, this
Institution is improved since I saw it, as it struck
me that formerly there were not men of eminence
engaged in it. It is particularly desirable that you
should place him with some one who could drill
him in accounts and book-keeping, and above all
things I would desire that for his views of after life
he were imbued a little with the principles of
science, if it were only of as much as would enable
him to take advantage of the thousand opportunities
that will be presented to him in India of rising by
this road to future eminence. Could it not be contrived
to give him an inkling into Natural History,
should it only serve to stimulate his curiosity in
after times when he will have more leisure than he
can now possess? In short, he is a young subject,
and make him one on whom to apply your own
views of what education should be. Force him to
see life in as many forms as possible and get him to
be active and pushing in all his habits.
"I would be very glad to hear that Hibbert's
visit to the South was in search of the lovely specimen
you allude to. In the meantime I rejoice that
his absence will allow me to complete my map and
notes on vitrified forts in a manner better than
expected. You will receive by Hugh a specimen
for him of the vitrification of Kessock Hill, with
which I am sure he will be pleased, as he will see
the quartz turned actually into opal.
"Barbara Paterson comes to us to-morrow. My
mother has taken a great fancy for her and I am
sure will endeavour to show her all kindness.
"I have been very gay and very busy of late, and
I have every reason to be pleased with my present
mode of life. This morning I rode in from the
Fort where of course I left many hearts desiring
their love to you. Welsh himself spent a day with
me lately along with Dunbar and gave us excellent
fun — cigars as usual at two in the morning.
"I had some hard work at the fire below Doctor
Bethune's old house the other night, for the tradesmen
gave us but little assistance. I had only got
into bed an hour before, having been at a large and
late party at Abertarff's. I go to-morrow to Kilravock
by appointment when I expect to pick up
specimens worthy of preservation. I lately had a
famous evening party — Hamilton, Forbes, Mitchell,
etc. — quite literary."
Four days later a letter was penned which was
one of many proofs that Peter Anderson's readiness
to oblige and to act a friendly part was not limited
to his old schoolfellows. The writer was a Ferintosh
farmer whose son had been for some time clerk
with the father of George and Peter Anderson. It
is addressed to
"Mr. Peter Anderson,
"at John Anderson's, Esq., W.S.,
"4 Walker Street,
"In haste." "Edinburgh."
and is as follows: —
"INVERNESS, 20th January, 1825.
"Your brother has had the goodness to let
me have the perusal of the three letters you had the
goodness to write him concerning my lamented son
John Fraser, by which I see the lively interest you
have taken in his welfare and all that concerned
him. My gratitude for your kind attention is more
than I can find words to express. I feel myself
under great obligations to your family for the kindness
he experienced from them since he first entered
your office. I shall always with gratitude remember
your kindness, that still continued till death (to my
great affliction) closed the scene. Will you, along
with Mr. Mackenzie (who has some directions to
that purpose) have the goodness to add to the
many obligations I am under to you, by seeing
him respectably interred, and you will much oblige,
"Your afflicted servant,
In another letter, received the following month
from a young Inverness solicitor, the same John
Fraser is alluded to. The letter is as follows: —
"INVERNESS, 1st February, 1825.
"MY DEAR ANDERSON,
"I have the pleasure of receiving your kind
letter of 24th ult., on hearing of my admission as
Solicitor here. Indeed I had written a letter to you
on that day, and I don't know why I did not send
it, except that one is somehow at a loss in commencing
a correspondence and on this occasion it
must have necessarily have been more puzzling, as
the subject would have been more than usually
"Since you disclaim the intention of flattering,
far be it from me to attribute such a motive to you,
but only that your kind partiality has made you
over-rate me — and it is pleasant to have the partiality
of a friend, even when one is sure that it is
carried too far.
"I have missed you exceedingly here, — you having
been my first, and I may say, only companion here,
and I have not formed an acquaintance with any
other. To your Mother and Brother I am under
the greatest obligations for their uniform kindness
"It was with great regret I heard of the death of
poor John Fraser, and he is very generally lamented
here by all who knew him.
"There is very little news in this quarter — only
the establishment of the Gas and Water Company
here, put the town on the alert for a few days, and
the New Insurance Company in Edinburgh disturbed
its repose a little. Now all is quiet and I
have heard nothing of either for some time. But
the Distilleries still keep up their Interest. The
one Mr. Shepperd is erecting at Beauly will soon be
at work, and two upon the Millburn are likewise
getting on. . . .
At this time Peter had only completed his twentieth
year, and was engaged in various laborious
studies, but his services, sympathy and counsel
were always at the disposal of others.
The letters which passed regularly between the
brothers when absent from each other, betoken
healthy, contented minds, intellectual congeniality.
kindliness towards others and thorough confidence
in each other; but when seen in company together,
the sparkling gaiety of George contrasted so much
with the mild seriousness of Peter that the latter
was generally taken by strangers to be the elder
George's fascinating manner caused his society
to be much sought after and he was never without
invitations to festive gatherings. A letter from him
to Peter, dated 28th December, 1824, ends thus: —
"Saturday last I went down by coach to spend my
Christmas at the Fort with the Welshes, and a very
merry one we had of it, even though Mrs. Welsh
and Betsey were ill.
"New Year's Day I am to spend at Coul with
Sir George if the weather permits of my going
"Mr. Maclennan, Fort William, has just come to
take up his quarters for a day or two.
"I have no time to dilate further than just to
wish you all a Highland welcome to every good,
and many happy returns of the daft days."
The ending of a letter dated 9th September, 1826,
runs thus: "2 o'clock p.m. Just returned from the
marriage of Mary Fraser, Ness Side, with Captain
Angus Macpherson. They start immediately for
Drumnadrochit on their way to Cork, where they
must be by the 20th. They are much afraid of
being ordered to the West Indies. Mr. Shepperd
was present and I think felt a good deal. We had
a fine party. I sit down immediately to acquaint
Mary's brothers of the news, and must therefore
close with you.
"Mr. Robertson (Mr. Ewing's partner), the Struys
and Mr. Shepperd dined with me yesterday.
"Accept my best thanks, dear Peter, for your
good advices, which I am most desirous of following."
The latter part of a letter to Peter dated 9th
January, 1827, is as follows: "I brought in the
New Year with Sir Thomas in grand style at
Relugas, where I spent two or three most pleasant
days and formed, I flatter myself, somewhat of a
real and it may be, I trust, a useful friendship with
the Baronet. Let me know how the Wolf of
Badenoch' is received by your city and inform
me whether I ought not to include a sketch of the
Findhorn and of Elgin and Forres in the Itinerary.
The Baronet and I took one or two very long
excursions by the Findhorn's banks till we got
fairly up among the wild mountains of Strathdearn.
His conversation and local knowledge were of course
most useful to me, and I have come home with the
opinion that this river is one of the most interesting
and curious in the Highlands. You will see the
result of the Baronet's observations noticed soon
as given to the Institution in a regular paper.
"Have you begun to look to your Perthshire
notes? as I mean only to collect materials and not
to prepare any article till I see them. What say
your friends about the Book? Could you not
procure from Mr. Johnson some valuable information?
"I saw Banker Anderson on the subject you
mentioned, but he stated to me that James had gone
to the Military Academy and to a French Master,
and that he presumed his hands were full, but
that otherwise he would have had no objection
to his commencing Mathematics.
"As he said all this was done some time ago, I
did not consider it necessary to write you sooner
on the subject.
"Write me about your new situation soon.
"Many happy, thrice happy years to you!"
In another letter dated 6th February, 1827, George
says: "Your critique on the 'Wolf of Badenoch'
entirely coincides with my own ideas, for I have
read the work with very great pleasure. The Guide
Book occupies but very little of my thoughts at
present for I am getting extremely busy. Yet I am
convinced we ought to give it our most laboured
attention, as even in a pecuniary sense it may some
day, I have little doubt, be turned greatly to account.
"Mr. Omond's plants, I am glad to say, have
recovered from the damp state they reached me in.
"Clark is astonished at not hearing from you.
His address is 5 King Street, Holborn.
"I had an interesting letter from Clouston the
other day; he seems very much cast down, yet
writes with his usual variety and fire.
"We are all well and beg to be kindly remembered
to you all at Walker Street."
Many of George's later letters to his brother were
completely filled with descriptions of the beautiful
scenery with which he came in contact during his
rambles on foot in search of materials for the Guide
to the Highlands. In the course of a long descriptive
letter written from Campbelltown to Peter in
Inverness on the 11th of September, 1834, he
remarks: "After inspecting Bute so far as to have
secured materials for an excellent article on it I
landed at East Loch Tarbert yesterday afternoon
and crossing the adjoining isthmus walked down
to Tynaloan, whence I arrived here this morning
having enjoyed most splendid though hazy views
of Islay and Jura and the headlands of 'ould
Ireland'. I had no conception of the beauty and
fertility of the western side of Cantire and have
seen nothing in the Highlands to compare with it.
It supplies barley for twenty-four distilleries in
this place. The religious edifices also present very
interesting remains, but of these as well as of the
castles I will yet have to trace out the histories
myself, for the country people, including the clergy
(!), are entirely ignorant of the subject. . . . Tell
our friends in Castle Street (No. 57), that I am to
be home on Wednesday, in case of there being any
messages for me from Scatwell.
"I have proved so far as I could every recommendation
we have given in our Book, taking spirits but
very sparingly and only when fatigued and near the
end of a journey; and feeding on two meals a day.
I am now quite satisfied that the body to be in
proper healthy trim for walking does not require to
be fed above twice in the day, unless by crumacks on
the road, and in fact I feel inclined for no more.
The days have become so short that I start at the
dawn and make the most of my day's work before
breakfast. But I must go out and examine Cil-Ciaran
and recall the men of other days to my thoughts.
So, adieu! May your meditations be always as
sweet and improving as mine have been for the last
few days. With love to all round Clachnacudden,
believe me, my dear St. Patrick (I am in the land
of saints here — at least so called) very affectionately
"St. Patrick" was the title by which George (who
was fond of bestowing pet names on his relatives)
sometimes affectionately designated his grave, quiet
brother, even when they were no longer young;
but it was a title which some of his other friends
also bestowed on Peter. Mr. John Guy Hamilton,
who was at one time drawing master in the Inverness
Royal Academy, wrote thus to Peter (when the
latter was in Edinburgh) in a letter dated "Inverness,
25th November, 1824" "By all the saints in the
calendar and especially the one who presides with
a sprig of clover in his fist over the generous-hearted
sons of the sunshiny Isle of the West — St.
Patrick to wit — thou art a noble fellow!!!
"Thanks to thee, mon ami, for your interest in
those views — like yourself. I wish Dr. Couper may
come speed. Duke of Buckingham! I had that
Noble in my eye through the influence of Mr. Jardene,
who recommended W. Couper to his Grace, but if
this does — why, thanks to you. No mode of alteration
has taken place in our mode of publishing as the
enclosed card will show. If Dr. Couper were to
mention to his Grace that the Author was a person
in whom the Professor took much interest, his
Grace would do the thing at once. You might give
Couper the hint. I have been closely engaged with
my Highland tales — one of which I have this evening
finished, and I wish I were near to have your criticism.
I here send a few advertisements — perhaps
they may do good in your hands. —"
The views of places of interest in the Highlands
to which the foregoing letter alludes are those which
have been already mentioned in this chapter as
having been published in 1825 under the title of
Picturesque Delineations of the Highlands of Scotland, by
J. G. Hamilton, Draughtsman to the Northern Institution,
with Descriptions to the Several Views by
George Anderson, Esq., F.R.S,E., etc.. Secretary to
the Northern Institution.
Mr. Hamilton was an artist of genius and taste
who laboured under the extraordinary disadvantage
of having been born with neither fingers nor toes,
but who worked with dexterity and skill by means
of having his paint brush strapped to the stump
which served him in place of a thumb. Many of
the water-colour sketches which he took in the
neighbourhood of Inverness were exquisite.
Between him and Peter Anderson a strong friendship
had sprung up, not only on account of Peter's
great admiration for paintings, which in intensity
equalled George's love for Scottish music, but owing
to a similarity in their opinions regarding many
matters of importance.
Peter never lost an opportunity of going to see
any exhibition of pictures, and during his visits to
London on railway business his leisure moments
were devoted to visiting the various picture galleries
and writing home an account of them. When alone
in London he always took up his abode at the good
old-fashioned Tavistock Hotel, and he was domiciled
there at the time of the International Exhibition in
1862, and lost no time in going to visit its treasures
of art. What his taste as to paintings was may be
partly gathered from a short extract from a letter
to the writer, dated: —
"Tavistock Hotel, Covent Garden, London, W.C.
27th October, 1862" "I have been again engaged
the greater part of to-day in the Picture Galleries
which would prove a special treat to you. But it is
impossible for you to conceive the prodigious extent
of the collection. There are a great number of
Turner's best works of which you will recollect
poor Alick was such an admirer. I like his early
water-colour sketches best. Of Wilkie's, Blind
Man's Buff seemed to me best from the unity of the
subject. I cannot say I admire Millais' style — the
pre-Raphaelite which affects rigid adherence to
representation of Nature. There are a number of
Landseer's most celebrated productions. I could
only overtake another hurried examination of the
foreign school. . . . I could not but regret that I
could not afford you the gratification of such a treat.
I would have been thankful too of companionship,
for I did not see a kent face."
But Peter's love for art in any form was far exceeded
by his love for nature and for his native
Highland hills. When absent in England for even
a few weeks he used to yearn for the wild mountain
scenery of his native land, and the writer well remembers,
when travelling North with him on one
occasion, how eagerly he watched for the first sight
of the hills, and how his face lighted up as he exclaimed:
"There they are!"
Peter Anderson was a man of simple tastes and
habits. He had always had a disregard for externals,
and as he grew older this deepened with
him more and more. He considered it of very
small importance what kind of house, furniture, or
clothing one had, compared to having a fine view
from one's windows or being within reach of beautiful
scenery. During the last ten years of his life
he rented a cottage in the country in order that
he might daily have the pleasure of looking across
the Moray Firth to the farm which his father had
occupied for so many years; and every summer
evening he delighted in toiling with his own hands
in the garden which surrounded the cottage.
But it was chiefly in a world of books that Peter
Anderson's life was spent. From his boyhood he
had loved to purchase books and to accumulate
around him the works of the best authors; so that
in later years he had only to stretch out his hand
to his book shelves and he was at once absorbed
in the enjoyment of the companionship of the great
minds — the sages and poets of the past, and raised
into an atmosphere where the cares and disappointments
of the present faded into insignificance. The
love of literature permeated his life and was to him
a never-failing source of pleasure.
In person he was tall and slender with a light,
elastic step. He had inherited short sight from
his mother, which had necessitated the wearing of
glasses from his boyhood; and this, united to a
slight stoop, caused him always to look older than
he really was. The gravity and dignity of his
manner were softened by a gentle, old-world
courtesy, the charm of which was nowhere more
fully and invariably experienced than in his own
household. To his children (whom he made his
close companions — reading to them, walking with
them, conversing with them) he was at all times
tender and sympathetic; and to all who were in
his employment indulgent and considerate, ready
to overlook and forgive shortcomings and failings.
In fact, he was unsuspicious, sanguine and optimistic
to a degree which no one would have imagined from
his grave, quiet manner. The faults towards which
he was least tolerant were those which were connected
with deceit, meanness or jealousy. To break
one's promise or to indulge in a spirit of detraction
was in his eyes a crime, and any instance of injustice
or oppression which was brought under his notice
could rouse his gentle nature to anger or indignation.
For the last fifteen years of his life he was a
widower. On the 4th of August. 1835, he had
married Agnes Shaw Grant, eldest daughter of Mr.
Alexander Grant, Dundreggan, Glenmoriston, and
his wife Isabella Grant, second daughter of Major
Alpin Grant, fourth son of Patrick, eighth Laird of
Glenmoriston. They had first met in the house of
their mutual friends, Mr. and Mrs. David Fraser of
Dunaincroy. They were married at Aultsigh Cottage.
on the banks of Loch Ness, by the Rev.
Farquhar Maciver, Minister of Glenmoriston, in the
presence of a large assemblage of Highland relatives;
and Mr. Simon Fraser, the old Laird of
Foyers (who is alluded to in Mrs. Grant of Laggan's
Memoirs and Correspondence) brought his own boat
across the loch completely laden with fruit and
flowers to grace the festal day. Mrs. Peter Anderson
had many personal and mental charms, and
a Gaelic ode in praise of her and in honour of
her marriage was composed by the female Bard
of the Glen. She had intellectual tastes and a
talent for poetical composition, united to ready wit
and pleasing conversational powers; but while yet
young and the bright centre of her household, she
was stricken with a lingering illness, and died on
the 21st of December, 1853, leaving three children,
two girls and a boy. One daughter had predeceased
her in 1851.
Peter Anderson spent the greater part of his
married life in Academy Street, first in that house
(approached by a flight of steps) now occupied by
the East Coast Railway Company's Offices, and
afterwards — from 1845 to 1858 — in a house which
stood opposite the Academy, but which was recently
taken down to make room for Queensgate. He retained
his offices in that building until 1868, although
his residence during those last ten years of his life
was four miles from the town.
Like his brother George he frequently contributed
to the Inverness Courier and other papers, and he
maintained a friendly intercourse with Dr. Robert
Chambers of Edinburgh. Sir James Y. Simpson,
and other men noted for literature or science. The
subjects on which he wrote for the Courier were
very varied. Besides reviews of books, he often
contributed articles on subjects connected with the
Highlands especially Inverness — in the past.
Some of the papers which he contributed to the
Courier were biographical. The sketch of the Rev.
Alexander Clark of the West Church — minister of
the first charge in Inverness — which appeared in
"Biographies of Highland Ministers Reprinted
from the Inverness Courier in 1889," came from the
pen of Peter Anderson in 1852. Mr. Clark had
often been associated with him in philanthropic
enterprises, and they were for a considerable period
joint secretaries of the "Inverness Society for the
Education of the Poor in the Highlands". This
society had been first instituted at a meeting held
on the 17th of November, 1818. The Rev. Donald
Fraser of Kirkhill, if he did not absolutely originate
the society, at least organised its plan and constitution,
and continued to be its principal Secretary
until 1830, when he retired from all active duties
connected with it, and was then constituted Honorary
Secretary. The office-bearers for 1830-31 were
as follows: —
"The Most Noble the Marquis of Stafford.
"Col. John Baillie of Leys, M.P.; Lachlan Mackintosh
of Raigmore; James Robertson of Aultnaskiach;
Sir Francis Mackenzie of Gairloch, Bart.;
John Norman Macleod of Macleod; James Murray
Grant of Glenmoriston and Moy; Colonel Macinnes,
H.E.I.C.S.; Alexander Mackintosh, younger of
"Colonel Macpherson, Inverness; Captain Fraser
of Balnain; Captain Duncan Macpherson, Collector
of Customs; Alex. Cumming, Merchant; John
Ferguson, Wine Merchant; Roderick Reach. Solicitor;
George Mackay, Merchant; Bailie John
Fraser; James Suter, jun., Merchant; James Wilson.
Solicitor; George Anderson. Solicitor; George
Inglis of Kingsmills; James Baillie Fraser, younger
of Reelig; Affleck Fraser of Culduthel; Captain
Mackay, Hedgefield; John Ross, Agent, British
Linen Company; Bailie Hugh Innes; Colonel Ross
of Castlehill; John Ross, Overyssel Plantation,
Berbice; John Mackay. Solicitor, Agent, National
"Rev. Robert Findlater; Bailie John Fraser;
James Suter, jun.; George Anderson. Solicitor;
James Wilson. Solicitor. The Treasurer and Secretaries.
"Alexander Inglis Robertson.
"Rev. Alex. Clark, Inverness,
Peter Anderson, Accountant."
The Patron was His Royal Highness Prince
Leopold; the Vice-Patron, His Grace the Duke
of Bedford, and the Honorary Vice-Presidents,
John Stewart of Belladrum, and J. A. Stewart
Mackenzie of Seaforth.
There were ninety-nine extraordinary directors,
by donations of £10 10s. and upwards, or subscriptions
of £2 2s. annually.
The laws and regulations which were drawn up
in 1818 were ten in number. The first three were
as follows: —
I. "That the principal object of this institution
being to communicate moral and religious instruction
by means of Schools, to the inhabitants of the
Highlands, the designation shall be, 'The Society
for the Education of the Poor in the Highlands'.
II. "For the accomplishments of its objects, the
Secretary shall use its endeavours, not only to
maintain circulating Schools for teaching Gaelic,
and under certain restrictions, English, Writing, and
Arithmetic, but shall encourage Sabbath Schools,
in places suitable for them.
III. "In cases where the English Language is
sufficiently understood by Scholars at entry, they
shall be first taught to read the English, but in
every other case it shall be required that they be
taught to read Gaelic in the first place, and thereafter
to learn English, Writing, and Arithmetic, on
condition of their defraying the expense of School
Fees and Books; or when a Scholar of superior
genius is recommended by the Schoolmaster, or
any office-bearer of the Society, he may be so
At the Annual General Meeting which was held
in the Inverness Town Hall on the 6th of October,
1830, a long and interesting report was read
aloud by Mr. Peter Anderson, one of the secretaries,
after the meeting had been opened with
prayer by the Rev. Mr. Fraser, Kirkhill. There
were present: "John Stewart, Esq., of Belladrum;
the Rev. Mr. Maclachlan, Moy; the Rev. Mr. Campbell,
Croy; the Rev. Mr. Fraser, Kirkhill; the Rev.
Mr. Findlater, Inverness; the Rev. Mr. Clark,
Inverness; the Rev. Mr. Fraser, Cawdor; Alexander
Mackintosh, Esq., younger of Mackintosh; John
Ross, Esq., Overyssel Plantation, Berbice; Alexander
Cumming, Esq., Merchant; John Ferguson,
Esq., Wine Merchant; Captain Mackay, Hedgefield;
James Wilson, Esq.. Solicitor; Mr. David Clark,
Preacher of the Gospel; Bailie John Fraser;
Roderick Reach, Esq.. Solicitor; George Mackay,
Esq., Merchant; James Suter, Esq., Merchant;
George Anderson, Esq.. Solicitor; David Denoon,
Esq.. Solicitor; etc., etc.
"John Stewart, Esq., of Belladrum, Honorary
Vice-President of the Society, in the chair."
The report urged in strong terms the necessity
for "additional efforts to ameliorate the intellectual
and moral condition of the Highlands," and stated
that "The Committee are anxious to recommend
that any increase to the number of schools that the
funds may in future admit of, should be chiefly in
the way of additional Aid Schools which in their
opinion are particularly adapted for sequestered
and thinly-peopled districts". A note below states:
"By an aid school is meant one, the teacher of
which is appointed and maintained by the inhabitants
of the district and to whom the Society — on
being satisfied as to his capabilities and qualification
either by actual examination or the report of any
fit person — grant a small aid to enable him to eke
out his livelihood. The teacher generally lives a
week or longer with each family in succession and
his labours are for the most part confined to Winter
and Spring seasons. This class of Schools is particularly
suitable during the winter months for
remote grazing districts."
The report also stated that The Committee
have gratefully to acknowledge a donation from the
Edinburgh Bible Society — from whom they last
year received a large supply of Gaelic Bibles and
Testaments — of 150 English Bibles and the same
number of Testaments for sale at reduced prices,
and gratuitous distribution — the proceeds to be
Twenty-two years after this general meeting had
been held, Peter Anderson contributed to the pages
of the Inverness Courier the appreciative obituary
notice of his friend and fellow secretary, the Rev.
In the previous year (1851) he had also contributed
to the same paper a long tribute to the memory of
one whose friendship had been prized by both
himself and Mr. Clark — Mrs. David Fraser of
Dunaincroy (latterly of Dochgarroch). Part of it is
as follows: "She was one of the few of whom all
concurred in the estimate that she was eminently
qualified to have become one of the celebrities of
her day, and had her energies been directed into
the paths of literature, to have delighted and instructed
by her writings. Her lot, however, was
to adorn private station, to gladden domestic life,
and to teach and charm by bright example and by
oral precept, and rare conversational powers. She
was indeed very highly endowed in mind and heart,
and possessed at once of large stores of general
information and by an abundance of that wisdom
which peculiarly is from above. Her intellectual
faculties were characterised by pervading vigour
and elasticity. Quick of apprehension and speedily
mastering any branch of knowledge, thought was
with her ever awake and overflowing, the mind
alike reflective and imaginative, and yet equally
practical and flexible, addressing itself at once to
the demand of the moment and to present duty,
of whatever description. Sound judgment and good
sense controlled and regulated all she said or did,
and were in their turn enlivened by the graces of
an active fancy and a refined taste"
Between this gifted lady and Peter Anderson a
strong and elevating friendship had subsisted ever
since his boyhood when she had as Miss Nasmyth
— been the much valued governess in the family of
his friends, the Frasers of Ness-side; and during
his married life, he and his wife always looked
forward to the cordial welcome and congenial
companionship, which at all times awaited them
in the delightful home of Mr. and Mrs. David
When Mr. David Fraser's sister married a namesake
of her own on 24th July, 1833, the ceremony
was performed by the Rev. Alexander Clark, while
Peter Anderson officiated as "best man". A letter
referring to this event, written to Peter by Mrs.
Fraser, on the previous day, is as follows: "My
dear Peter, — David promised to see you to-night and
Mr. Clark promised to write you, both intending to
announce the hour of cause to-morrow, but as I have
often found that I myself fulfil intentions more
punctually than either of the two, I take this
hurried opportunity to say that Mr. Clark hopes
that you will call for him at precisely two o'clock, as
it is desirable you should all make your appearance
at three o'clock when the bride will be in array for
"I more than once thought of writing you, but
really the broth and puddings left me so occupied
for some days that each day seemed to promise the
succeeding one would bring some leisure, and the
culinary art is one for which I have no taste and so
little practice that to me a dinner for twelve costs
more consideration than one for two hundred would
cost Wilson! [of the Caledonian Hotel]. . . . I hear
the Gig coming with David and his sister. Tomorrow
then at three, I hope to see your spectacles,
and till then and aye believe me, affectionately
yours. Sarah Fraser."
On the 1st November, 1833, Mrs. Fraser wrote
as follows to welcome Peter Anderson back from
London: "My dear friend, — In the phraseology
of the Gael 'ten thousand, thousand welcomes to
your own hearth again,' for without a figure of
speech or flourish, we have longed very much to
see your face, the want of you being on many
occasions like that of a right arm! But you do not
deal in words, and of course like them not. I shall
therefore spare you the infliction of what my heart
prompts me to, in sober earnest.
"It was this day only Dr. Manford mentioned
your having returned a day or two ago. I know
you are and must be very busy. I would only
therefore in this say — when you can spare an
hour not one shall be more delighted to see
you than ourselves. To-morrow Manford promised
to come to his kail with us. Perhaps you
might be able to join him, and you will get away
early in the evening, for David is a little of an
"I wish to tell you that Captain Gordon is in town
and you ought to call on him. You will hear
various versions of our Reformation Meeting. . .
Gordon intends being at Dumphail on his way
South some time next week, so that if you see him
it must be soon."
Peter Anderson, though quiet and undemonstrative,
had always been of a social nature and enjoyed
listening to the conversation of others. He had
always loved to gather friends of early days around
his board, and even after he had gone to live in
retirement in the country there was seldom a week
that he did not, when going home from his office,
bring some guests with him by train to dine and
spend the evening in the cottage that looked out
upon the sea. On these occasions — particularly if
the guests were old schoolfellows and allusions
were made to Inverness in the past — his gravity
would relax and he would give proof that he could
shine as a conversationalist. The mild grey eyes
would light up with enthusiasm, the long slender
fingers would wave backwards and forwards, and
the low, refined voice would pour forth some old
reminiscences or some graphic anecdotes which
were generally prefaced by the words: "I recollect
my mother telling me that when she first
came to Inverness —".
In the summer evenings he would take his guests
out with him, after dinner, for a ramble through the
fields, and no one enjoyed those rambles more than
his old schoolfellow, the Laird of Dalmigavie (better
known as "Ananias") whose attachment to Peter
Anderson was pathetic in its devotion. The latter
used to show him the most affectionate consideration
and to listen with patient and sympathetic
attention while the old Laird descanted at great
length on some favourite topic. The guest whom
Dalmigavie liked best to meet was his host's sister-in-law,
John Anderson's widow, for she played with
exquisite taste and feeling the Highland melodies
that were his favourites. After listening for an
hour or two in rapt enjoyment to her pibrochs and
strathspeys and her beautiful rendering of many of
the plaintive melodies to which Burns' songs are set,
he would say: "Now, Mrs. John, before we begin
our toddy, you must give us the 'Mackintoshes'
Lament'". This was never refused him, and the
old man would sit listening in silent ecstasy to the
tune which of all others appealed most to his heart.
His host would at last tap him gently on the
shoulder and say: "Now, Mr. Mac., if you want
to be in time to catch the train you must turn
One characteristic of Peter Anderson's hospitality
was that if a new governess came to reside
with any family with which he was acquainted, he
gave orders that she should be immediately called
upon and invited to dinner. Whoever was lonely
or among strangers was always sure of a double
amount of attention from him.
None who ever were his guests could doubt the
sincerity of his welcome. The old-world grace of
his low bow, the beauty of his quiet smile, the
heartiness of his hand-clasp were things to linger in
some corner of the memory, and start up suddenly
after the lapse of many years, when some unexpected
chord was touched.
Somehow, it was not what he said, hut what he
was, that always impressed one most and left behind
a fragrant remembrance. He was a deeply, but
most unostentatiously religious man, and his attachment
to the Episcopal Church of St. John's (of which
he was for many years secretary and treasurer) was
such that even when he had gone to reside at four
miles distance from it, it was very rarely that rain
or snow could deter him from the long walk there
and back on Sundays.
His steadfast and reliable nature had won for
him the respect and affection of many friends, and
from the time he left school he kept up a correspondence
with some of his old teachers and old
schoolfellows, which only death had power to close.
Among the former were the Rev. Dr. Hugh
Urquhart of Montreal, Mr. John Guy Hamilton and
Mr. John Paterson Clark; among the latter, the
Frasers of Ness Side, the Denoons and the Gibsons.
It was always his custom to preserve carefully every
letter that he ever received, and in one packet
which contained some of those which were most
precious to him, there were several long, interesting
letters signed "Charles Nockells" — written in a clear,
beautiful hand, and dated from "Mount Pleasant,
Blue Mountain Valley. St. Thomas in the East,
Jamaica". One of these contains the following
remarks: "Your letter of 27th April, 1825 — from
which I derive much pleasure in perusing your kind
expressions of friendship — is now before me. It
brings to mind those happy days we spent together,
and causes a feeling of regret mingled with pleasure.
The latter certainly predominates, but still the
former will intrude when I reflect that he whose
kind and affectionate disposition added then so
much to my happiness is now so far distant from
The letter ends with the words: "Direct to me
at Mount Pleasant Estate or to my father's counting-house
'No. 3 Nag's Head Court, Gracechurch
Street, London'. I send this by one of his ships,
In this packet were several letters of great length,
in George Gibson's delicate, pointed hand, written
on large square sheets of paper, and so closely
crossed on every page as to make the deciphering
of them a matter of time and difficulty. Along
with those were two letters addressed in Peter's
own round hand to
"Lieutenant George Gibson,
"Madras Native Infantry,
"Care of Binny & Co.,
These, after very many months of wandering had
been returned to the writer with the brief, sad intimation
"Dead" written on the outside. The first
was written on the 26th of May, 1827, and the
second on the 2nd of September, 1829, but it was
not until February, 1831, that the latter reached
Peter Anderson from the Returned Letter Office.
On the back of this last letter is inscribed in Peter's
handwriting the following brief but pathetic intimation:
"He was drowned on his passage within
a few days' sail of Calcutta. — P.A."
The letters thus pathetically inscribed will possess
an added interest if we turn to the prize list of the
Inverness Royal Academy given in the Inverness
Journal for 19th June, 1818, and observe the three
names that are linked together in close succession: —
Rector's Class — Mathematics.
1st Class. George Anderson, Inverness, Dux.
2nd Class. Peter Anderson, Inverness, Dux.
3rd Class. George Gibson, Inverness, Dux.
A little lower down appear the names of several
of their girl friends, as having gained first prizes.
Miss Elizabeth Mackenzie, who afterwards became
John Anderson's wife, is mentioned as being Dux
in Geography and obtaining the prize for flower
painting. Miss Barbara Fraser of Eskadale is first
in arithmetic, and Miss Ann Denoon, Redcastle, is
first in writing, and Dux in the 3rd French class.
This was George and Peter Anderson's last
Session at the Inverness Academy. In the following
October they left for Edinburgh University, and
Peter's beloved schoolfellow George Gibson went to
stay for some time with their parents to fill in some
measure the blank caused by their absence. The
prize that Peter received from the Directors of
the Academy on 16th June, 1818, was a curious
old-fashioned book (published in 1807) called The
Polite Preceptor, or a Collection of Instructions and
Entertaining Essays selected from the best English
At the previous half-yearly examination held on
the 22nd December, 1817 (when he had just completed
his thirteenth year), he was Dux in the 1st
Greek Class and received as a prize the Pocket
Cyclopædia or Miscellany of Useful Knowledge by
Joseph Guy, published in 1815. At this examination
George was medallist.
In the Inverness Journal for 26th December, 1817,
it is stated "The Silver Medal given by Mr. Mackintosh
of Raigmore, at the conclusion of each
Winter Session, was adjudged to George Anderson,
son of Mr. Anderson. Solicitor, Inverness, for Proficiency
in Algebra and Geometry, and the Prizes
bestowed by the Directors were adjudged as
"To P. Anderson, Inverness, for Proficiency in
"1st Class. Peter Anderson . . 1 Dux."
The Northern Chronicle of 22nd April, 1885, states
in reference to the Inverness Royal Academy "It
was incorporated under Royal Charter in 1792, and
at the outset was mainly endowed through the indomitable
exertions of Mr. Lachlan Mackintosh of
Raigmore, then resident in Calcutta. . . In 1811
Mr. Mackintosh of Raigmore founded what has since
been known as the Raigmore gold medal. Up to
the year 1840, it was awarded to the best classical
scholar. Thereafter it was given in alternate years
to the dux in classics and mathematics."
Mr. Mackintosh of Raigmore also presented a
silver medal which, until 1840, was always awarded
to the best mathematical scholar. The public examinations,
up to 1828, were held half-yearly, one
at the end of May or early in June, and one in
December, and it was at the summer examination
that the gold medal for classics was awarded, while
the silver one for mathematics was given in December.
In 1828 it was decided to have only one public
examination in the year, and this took place every
August — the gold and silver medals being presented
at the same time.
If one glances over the columns of the Inverness
Journal for about half a dozen years previous to
1817, the names of George and Peter Anderson will
be seen, every now and then taking a foremost place,
in the Prize Lists of the Inverness Royal Academy.
At the examination which took place on the 22nd
December, 1813, Peter is mentioned as being Dux in
the sixth Latin Class. He had attained his ninth
year only five days previously. At the same examination
in 1813 the silver medal for mathematics
was awarded to David Gibson, the eldest of several
brothers who were bound by the closest ties of
friendship to George and Peter Anderson.
The first letter to George Gibson which was received
from the Returned Letter Office runs thus: —
"I was much gratified by receipt of your very
welcome letter dated Calcutta, 5th January. Your
most interesting one from Rangoon, 29th May,
did not come to hand till the 22nd of March. For
both these much esteemed tokens of a friendship
which I hope will live to prove itself by a daily
interchange of offices of affection in future years,
accept, My Dear Fellow, my warmest thanks. I feel
ashamed when I look back on the long interval
since I wrote you (June) but you know we are all —
as our old dominie Campbell used to say — 'erring
mortals at the best'.
"It gave much uneasiness to learn that your
campaigning had put you on the sick list, only I
trust for a very limited period. I pray God you
may escape all those more serious maladies to
which flesh is but too subject in your quarter of
"For the last nine months I have been a residenter
in Edinburgh qualifying myself for the
profession of an Accountant, which I believe I
informed you of my having embraced. In about
a month I return to Inverness, where I expect to
have occasion to spend another winter preparatory
to my setting up in business which it is at present
contemplated I should do in Aberdeen; but though
a good field is there open and it therefore becomes
me to act with due deliberation, I feel the current
of my sympathies run somewhat adverse to that
of the canny Aberdonians and feel more inclined
to obey the old proverb which says: —
'Fly like the Stork to thy old nest,
Early friendships are the best'.
"In short, I would fain pitch my tent amid the
scenes of my youth, among the few friends of
my boyhood who are still left to muster round
Clachnacudden, and near a brother whom I hold
most dear. So that unless prudence absolutely
forbids, I will most likely form one of the community
of our Highland Capital.
"Mary Fraser, Ness-side, has been married for
about eight months to Captain Angus Macpherson,
brother-in-law to Doctor Nicol — a complete love
match. The old couple would have had her listen
rather to Mr. Shepperd's addresses, or — to speak
properly — encourage them, for I don't suppose he
ever subjected himself to the risk of a refusal, though
the marriage-concocting coteries of the North have
it that he did. She is now with her husband's
regiment in Jamaica.
"Our old schoolfellow James Wilson has also
taken to himself a wife, a daughter of Fraser of
"Poor Charles Denoon died in the commencement
of last winter.
"Inverness has been deprived of her theatre,
which having, by the demise of old Captain Bain,
come into Parson Thomas's possession, has been
by him converted into shops. It has however had
for some time a Subscription Billiard Table, which
is sufficiently made use of by the young Solicitors,
now a very formidable body. Inverness has now
got a capital race ground and is lighted with gas, so
you may judge it is much about keeping pace with
other places in the march of improvement.
"I have not lately heard of the Ness-side boys,
but they both passed some time ago as Artillery
officers in the H.E.I.C.S., and are at present
labouring to qualify themselves as Engineers.
"William Mackenzie, the Bailie's son, made a
most propitious début in the High Church of his
native place lately as a preacher, and sanguine expectations
are entertained that he is to turn out
a distinguished ornament of the Church.
"Since writing the above I have learnt from my
brother John (who dined with us in transitu in the
course of an express trip to Inverness from London
where he has been engaged for about a month in
Lovat's Peerage case) that Hugh Fraser has passed
"A Prize Essay of my brother John's was published
this Spring, on the State of Society and Knowledge
in the Highlands at the Period of the Rebellion
of 1745, and its progress down to the present time,
for which a Gold Medal was awarded him by the
Northern Institution for the promotion of Science
and literature, founded by my brother George, of
which you have perhaps heard, as its proceedings
have attracted a good deal of notice.
"I believe I told you that George and I had some
thoughts of publishing a Description of Inverness-shire.
We have since enlarged our plan, and are
preparing a work chiefly designed to answer the
purpose of a traveller's guide for the Highlands
generally. It will likely be some time of seeing the
light, as our spare time is very limited.
"All our friends in the North are, I believe, quite
well, as are my mother and Miss Anderson, by
whom you are most affectionately remembered.
"Bob Imray we bound last year as an apprentice
with Williamson the Upholsterer.
"Tom Eskadale is now a briefless barrister at
the Scotch Bar.
"As the fortunes of our schoolfellows seem to
afford you some interest, I will shortly advert to
one or two. The names may awaken peculiar
trains of thought. John Macrae (the blacksmith's
son), our classfellow, is Latin teacher in the Academy
of Fortrose. John Macdonald (the tailor's son) is
studying medicine, and Davidson (of the Haugh)
having lately got an appointment — or certain prospect
of one — in India, after being for a time
Assistant Latin teacher in the Inverness Academy,
has directed his attention to the same study. John
Stewart (old John's son) and Hugh Jamieson (the
goldsmith's son) are both Assistant Surgeons in the
Navy. The destinies of such others as occur to
me, must be well known to you. as they have all
gone to push their fortunes in India. Claudius Kerr
was on the Continent for some months last summer
with his mother and sisters. I met him accidentally
at the commencement of winter on his way to some
watering-place in England. He said he was subject
to severe rheumatic headaches and that his constitution
was far from having recovered its tone.
And now, my dear George, I must for the present
bid you adieu, and subscribe myself
"Your ever affectionate friend,
Among the letters from schoolfellows carefully
treasured by Peter were many from David and
Alick Denoon. The following extract is from one
written by Alick and dated "6 Muscovy Court,
Tower Hill, London, 2nd February, 1824". — "I
know, dear Peter, you had need of all the consolation
that could be afforded to one so unexpectedly
bereft of so dear a Parent as you have been, but
whatever my inclination might be to alleviate your
sorrow, I bore too great a share in the loss to be
able to write on the subject. The desire of my
heart would be to go to you myself, to express my
grief and take part of yours. There is no doubt
but he now lives with immortality, and I wish my
soul no other felicity when it leaves this body than
to ascend to his and enjoy the same bliss.
"I received a letter from George some days ago;
he was then quite well and very busy. I am sure
he will be very successful in all his engagements
and an honour to his profession.
"Would that it were in my power to show how
sensible I am of the kindness I have ever received
from you all! I do, however, in the meantime
fondly cherish the hope. I have found in you most
sincere friends indeed, and I trust no changes have
taken place which should prevent our being on the
same familiar footing as ever. Let therefore the
pen supply the office of the tongue. I know that
your time must be very much occupied, and will
not therefore expect to hear from you till you find
it perfectly convenient. I hear of you, I may say,
weekly, which is the next thing to hearing from
"I miss your society exceedingly. I have found no
true acquaintance here, to whom I could speak my
"John Rose has taken his passage for India by
the Duke of Bedford; she has already gone down to
Gravesend and is expected to sail from thence
about the 15th or 20th current. An old classfellow
of Hughie and Charlie's goes out by the same ship
as a Cadet (a George Mackenzie from Nairn).
"I have visited very few places where the
Fashionables resort to yet. I had occasion to make
some calls at the West End yesterday, and went to
Hyde Park on my way, where, I believe, everybody
who can sport a Coach, Gig or Horse, goes to, of
"I see your friend Kincorth (I'm sure I don't
know if it is Robert or Lewis) pretty often. He is
in Smith, Inglis & Co.'s Counting House.
"Had you any letters from Urquhart since I
left Inverness? or do you hear how he is coming
"I beg to be most affectionately and kindly
remembered to your much esteemed mother and
Miss Anderson, in which all here cordially unite,
and believe me to be ever, my dear Peter,
"Most affectionately and sincerely yours,
"P.S. — I need not say what pleasure it will afford
me if I can be of any service to you in this quarter.
I am happy to inform you that the Royal George is
this day arrived, so that we may expect the pleasure
of seeing our mutual friend. Sandy Gibson, very
soon. — A. D.
"5th February, 1824."
During the time Peter was in Edinburgh, qualifying
himself for the profession of an accountant, his
mother was occupying herself in Inverness with
reading and writing and country walks just as she
had done in her husband's lifetime. Her son
George and her cousin Miss Anderson lived with
her and bestowed on her the most unremitting care
and attention, but she missed the presence of a
daughter in the house, and after much perseverance,
and many solicitations, succeeded in obtaining for
nearly two years the charge and companionship of
a little girl who had won a very large share of her
affections. Mrs. Thomas Paterson (formerly Miss
Abigail Gillanders) the sister-in-law of Banker
Alexander Mackenzie, died very suddenly in December,
1824, leaving four children, three girls and
a boy, and Mrs. Anderson set her heart on taking
Barbara, the eldest child, to live in her own house.
The Banker had taken the widower and children
to Viewfield, leaving to Miss Anderson the superintendence
of all that was necessary to do at Midmills
Cottage, where the death had occurred. In a letter,
dated 16th December, 1824, Mrs. Anderson wrote
to Peter in Edinburgh "Miss Anderson, as on all
occasions, made herself very useful. I went up to
Viewfield on Friday morning and made offer to
take Barbary and to attend to her as if she were
my own child. I meant to have sent her to Miss
Dallas' school during the forenoon, where she would
have been amused and would have learnt a little
with the nice little creatures that are attending
there. My proposal was rejected both by Mr.
Mackenzie and Mr. Paterson. Mr. Fyvie dined
with us that afternoon and told me that he had just
left them, and that it had been fixed on to send
Barbary to a boarding school. The child is too
young to be sent to a boarding school and I am
convinced that every rational creature will approve
of my plan. No one can have as much time to
attend to her as I have, and she would have been
an amusement to me. I have done my duty, so I
cannot help it. I went up again yesterday to renew
my offer, but neither of the gentlemen gave me an
opportunity to do so. Indeed neither of them
seemed to approve of it.
"Thank God we are all very well just now except
for the cold Miss Anderson has. Mr. Shepperd
dines with us every Wednesday, and we are all very
happy. I rejoice to hear that Mr. David Denoon is
expected soon. It will be an addition to our little
By referring to George's letter to Peter (dated 16th
January, 1825), already quoted, it will be seen that
Mrs. Anderson's persuasions at Viewfield finally
To Peter, his mother sent the same sort of lively,
chatty letters as those she used to write him when
he first went as a boy to the University. One of
her letters dated "3rd October, 1826," is as follows:
"It afforded me very sincere pleasure to learn from
your note to Miss Anderson that you were well and
happy. I am delighted to find you are so comfortable.
I am writing a few lines to be ready to send
you by our friend, Mr. Fraser. Struy, who goes to
Edinburgh in a few days. I often hear of parcels
going, but seldom in time to write by daylight, and
my eyes are so weak that I cannot easily write by
"We have got the bustle of the Northern Meeting
over. I don't think that people were satisfied with
it this season. There is no one to direct or take any
interest there, so of course every one does as he
pleases. Waltzing was quite the rage, and oldfashioned
people did not approve of that style of
dancing. I believe few of our town's beaux or belles
"Miss Anderson and I dined Thursday last at
Viewfield along with the Misses Macdonald. Springfield.
George was asked to be of our party but he
was engaged to dine at Mr. Fyvie's, along with the
Struys. We waited for supper, and the Banker
and John danced a hearty reel with the young
"Miss Anderson desires her love to you and offers
her thanks for the book and the trouble of writing
to her. Mr. Charles Denoon has been ill of a slow
fever ever since he returned from London. He is
now getting slowly better, but is still very weak. I
wished him to take up his abode with us, to see if
change of air would do him good, but he is afraid
of giving trouble.
"Wednesday 11th. — Saturday last I received your
kind letter for which I thank you. Mr. Anderson,
Fochabers, has just called. He goes home in the
Elgin Star at three o'clock. I had not seen him for
a long time and was greatly struck to see how
rapidly old age was approaching. He inquired
kindly for you and approves highly of your thinking
of being an Accountant. He says there is a great
field for you, even in Inverness. He says that the
two who are here would sink to nothing if an able
competition was to start against them. Mr. Thomas
Fraser, Eskadale, called on me yesterday. He was
at a Ball and Supper, Thursday last, given by Mr.
Mackintosh, Castle Street. There were sixty at the
Ball and he gave a dinner (consisting of six courses)
to twenty guests, the same day.
"Miss Anderson and I set out Saturday last to
breakfast at Ness Side, to pay a visit on the late
marriage. It blew such a hurricane that I thought
we never would reach the place of our destination.
We sat till a little past twelve o'clock and just as
we got to the high road, the rain began and it fell
in torrents all the way home. We were completely
"I hear Torbreck has come North yesterday.
Lady Anne is in France.
"Mr. Welsh dined with us yesterday on his
way to Fort William. He expects Mrs. Welsh
soon but his daughter is to remain in London all
. . . . . . . . .
"Do you ever hear from Glasgow? I have not
heard from Margaret Couper for a long time. Miss
Anderson unites with me in wishing you health and
happiness. She will write to you soon."
The "Margaret Couper" referred to was Mrs.
Anderson's niece, the daughter of the Professor of
Astronomy in Glasgow University. She was a fine
artist and at her death bequeathed one of her
valuable paintings to each of her cousins George
and Peter Anderson.
In a letter dated 22nd November, 1826, Mrs.
Anderson says "I rejoice to find you are so comfortable
in your new abode. We are delighted
with your description of your parlour and in your
next beg to know if you have a comfortable bedroom.
I had a letter from Margaret Couper the
other day. All friends in Glasgow are well. They
have taken your aunt, Miss Thomson, to live with
them and given her one of their best bedrooms for
her use. When she is inclined to eat with them
they are glad to see her, and when she wishes to
keep her own apartment everything is sent in to
her. Hitherto she is very much pleased. She is
now grown so frail that she is the better of her
friends being near her, but she is something like
Mrs. Imray, not easily pleased in the attention she
expects from her friends. They are all complaining
of the dreadful state of trade in Glasgow. Dr.
Couper, I suppose, cannot easily get his shops let,
from which he used to get a good rent. Margaret
says that they are obliged to deprive themselves
of many comforts which formerly they enjoyed.
People must be thankful if they get daily bread at
"Mr. David Denoon called on me yesterday. He
gave me a most distressing account of poor Charles.
He had got on a blister yesterday for the pain in
his side. They have no hopes of him. Miss Baillie
is the only one who is not apprehensive of him.
Poor David is sadly cast down and looks like death
himself. He seldom quits his brother's bedside.
He thinks his illness commenced last winter in
Edinburgh and that he felt it while in London, and
the cold he got coming down to Inverness brought
it to a crisis.
"George has taken the white painted press in
which the books were, down to his office, and the
room where it was makes an excellent breakfast
parlour, and the fire we have on in the morning
will preserve the books. We intend breakfasting
alternately, for a week, in it and the room we used
to call the little parlour. Mr. Duncan Mackenzie
breakfasted in the former of these rooms one morning
last week and was quite delighted with the
arrangement of it. George has got a stove to his
office which makes it very comfortable.
" We all unite in wishing you every comfort.
Mrs. Imray is well, at least as much so as she commonly
is, and Robert is very busy and seems to be
happy at his business. Miss Anderson had a cold
lately, but by confining herself for a day or two to
bed she has got rid of it. We walk every morning
after breakfast, which will enable her to get strength
before the winter sets in. I will send the newspapers
regularly now that I know your address.
George and I enjoy good health. Love to John.
Does Mary ever talk of us and tell you that I whipped
her once? I am no favourite with her."
Mrs. Anderson's eldest sister, Miss Elizabeth
Thomson (usually designated "Miss Betty") who
is alluded to in the foregoing letter, died in the
house of her brother-in-law, Professor Couper, on
the 10th of June, 1830, at a very advanced age.
In a letter dated 6th February, 1827, Mrs.
Anderson says: "I sit down to thank you, my
dear Peter, for your last kind letter and to assure
you how grateful I am for your great kindness to
William Fraser. He wrote to his mother immediately
on his arrival in London and mentioned with
gratitude how much he thought himself obliged to
you and he wished it might be in his power to
repay what he thought he owed to our family ever
since he knew them.
"He was in Yarmouth Roads during the dreadful
storm of the fourteenth of last month, every moment
expecting to go to the bottom. Mrs. Fraser called
on me to-day with a letter she had from him this
morning informing her that he was to sail Saturday
last. He writes in great spirits. Nothing could
exceed the attention of Mr. Jamieson and our friend
Alick to him in assisting him to get everything
ready for his voyage. Everything was in the
greatest style on board the ship that could add
to the comfort of the passengers, of whom there
were a great number of both ladies and gentlemen.
"I am sure you were not a little surprised to
hear of Dr. McLaughlan's marriage. Indeed it
was long before I could allow myself fo think it
was true. Mrs. Macfarlane, the bride, Mr. and
Mrs. Fyvie, accompanied by their nurse and baby
set off to-day for Elgin. The marriage takes place
there Thursday first, in Captain Duff's. The happy
pair return to Inverness to occupy the house of
Mrs. Macfarlane who is to remain with her son
at Elgin till the term, when she returns to Inverness
and takes possession of one of Major Duff's large
houses at Huntly Place. She expects her son
Arthur home from the East Indies and Mr. Andrew
Macfarlane home from South America to live with
her this next summer.
"Mrs. Gibson and her son Mr. David called on
us last Sunday. He is now going off immediately
for India. She heard from George last week. He
is well, but never has seen any of his brothers yet.
"Miss Anderson desires me to tell you that you
need not be surprised if you hear of her marriage
some of these days, as there are so many old lasses
going off just now! Miss Gordon, Rose Street, is
to be married immediately, and so is an old lady,
upwards of sixty, in Nairn.
"Tell Mr. Hugh Denoon that Mr. David paid us
a visit yesterday evening and passed a few hours
with us. He is well at present, but looks thin.
"We offer our united love to Mrs. Anderson,
John, and the children."
On the 27th of February, 1827, a letter was written
to George by his uncle, Dr. Robert Thomson of
Kensington, which may be inserted here to show
with what formality in those days uncles sometimes
addressed their nephews: —
"MY DEAR SIR,
"Be so good as communicate to your
Mother what she will be sorry to learn, that she
lost her nephew, Captain Henry Thomson, last
month! France — such has been the will of God —
has thinned my Family. In the month of May last,
in the course of one week, three of them were at
the same time corpses in one house! That happened
at Caen in Normandy. My son breathed his last
at Marseilles. He had been ailing for some time,
but not so as to give us any alarm.
"My Daughters join me in kind remembrances
to your Mother and all Friends.
"My Dear Sir,
"Your affectionate Uncle,
"53 YORK TERRACE,
Mrs. Anderson died on the 10th of October, 1836,
at the age of seventy, having survived her devoted
companion Miss Anderson (whose death has been
already described) two years.
The year after his mother's death, George
Anderson married Mary MacKenzie Cobban, the
only daughter of Mr. George Cobban, Inverness.
Mrs. George Anderson was a woman of great
strength of mind and warmth of heart, always
occupied with plans for the gratification of others.
To her husband she was a congenial and sympathetic
companion, able to appreciate and enter into his
intellectual tastes and pursuits. She also excelled
in many graceful accomplishments. She was a
fine performer of Highland music, took clever
sketches in pen and ink as well as water-colours,
and painted flowers with delicacy and skill. In
the old prize lists of the Inverness Royal Academy
her name may several times be seen taking the
first place in the painting of flowers and shells.
Indeed, her love of flowers was one of her principal
characteristics, and she devoted a great deal of
time and attention to their cultivation. Another
great characteristic was her love for all traditions
and ballads connected with the Highlands. Being
of Ross-shire descent her mind was stored with
the legendary lore of that county. Her mother,
Mrs. Cobban (formerly Miss Justina Mackenzie)
had been born and brought up at Castle Leod, near
Strathpeffer, and she had instilled into her daughter
a firm belief in the second sight, regarding which
Mrs. Anderson used to tell many a wonderful tale
with dramatic power.
Mrs. Anderson's only brother, Captain George
Geddes Mackenzie Cobban of the 50th regiment
(the Queen's Own), fell with one hundred rank and
file at the Battle of Punniar, 29th December,
1843. The Bronze Star (made out of the enemy's
guns) which was bestowed in commemoration
of his bravery, was sent to his mother after his
The hospitality and generosity of Mr. and Mrs.
George Anderson were proverbial. They built for
themselves a beautiful home on the Culduthel road
which they named "Blinkbonny" (though it is now
known by the name of "Thornhill") and there they
may truly be said to have kept open house for all
sorts and conditions of men.
THE GUIDE TO THE HIGHLANDS.
IT was in 1834 that the first edition was published
of the work by which George and Peter
Anderson became best known to the public — the
Guide to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland — but
more than ten years of labour and research had
been required for its compilation.
In a letter addressed by Peter to the editor of
The Times in July, 1863 (from which farther extracts
will be given in the next chapter) he remarks: "As
to our qualifications for the compilation of a Guide
Book to this now much frequented portion of the
kingdom, I may mention that it is now good forty
years since, before steamboats had begun to ply
even on the route by the Caledonian Canal, as boys
we began, knapsack on back, to perambulate the
Highlands and Islands in all directions, geologising,
botanising, and in search of the picturesque. Having
from the first accustomed ourselves to keep notes
of what we saw and picked up, our materials
gradually accumulated in our hands, and we were
led eventually to think of compiling a Guide Book
for general use, in doing which we have been
favoured with valuable assistance from local
From their boyhood up to the time when they
were elderly men, the brothers, if obliged at any
time to take their walking excursions separately,
kept journals to forward to each other, and many
a picturesque and interesting account of a walking
tour was penned by them which sometimes was
afterwards introduced into the Guide in a condensed
The writer recollects her father writing such an
account (filling twenty-eight pages of foolscap paper)
of an excursion taken by him in August, 1863 (after
the last edition of the Guide had been published)
to Loch an Eilan, Loch Enich, the Grampians.
Strathspey and Dufftown.
Almost every remote corner of the Highlands
that is described in the Guide, was visited by the
authors on foot, and during those walking excursions
they had often to undergo great hardships and
sometimes to suffer inconvenience from their ignorance
of the Gaelic language. Peter had learnt but
one Gaelic phrase: "Mas i do thoil thoir dhomh
deoch bhainne blath," the literal translation of which
is "If it is thy will, give me a drink of warm milk".
However, he found this most serviceable to him
wherever he went, and the milk — accompanied by
oat cakes — was always offered to him with beaming
smiles and often with words of blessing.
In these pedestrian excursions the brothers were
sometimes accompanied by their friend, the late
Mr. Alexander Forbes, Chemist, Inverness, whose
intellectual tastes and enthusiastic appreciation of
fine scenery rendered him at all times a most
congenial companion to them.
In the earlier editions of the Guide minute
directions are given to pedestrians, which will give
some idea of the precautions which the authors
themselves found it absolutely necessary to take.
Some of the directions are as follows: "Be not
over nice in requiring sheets on your bed, if on the
western side of the island, for you will often find
them damp; and when obliged to sleep in a labourer's
or shepherd's cot, endeavour to get straw or ferns
as your mattress and after them heather, which,
however, requires some art to arrange; but on
all occasions avoid sleeping on hay, unless you wish
to be reduced to jockey size, Accustom yourselves
to live on two meals a day, which are quite enough;
but never leave your inn in the morning without a
mess of pottage, or taking with you at least a piece
of bread, to prevent faintishness by the way. Eat
it along with the water you will feel disposed to
drink on your journey, but use spirits of all kinds
in great moderation, especially during the early
parts of the day. Milk and water is a safe and
satisfying beverage. If on a botanical or geological
excursion of some endurance, carry but one pair
of strong large-sized shoes, one pair of trousers,
one cloth waistcoat with leather pockets, one square,
short coat, provided with six large pockets, two out
and two inside and two in the breasts, two pairs
of coarse, worsted socks, two shirts, one black silk
neckcloth and a cap. Geologists should carry a
small chipping hammer, and a quadrant for taking
the dip of rocks; and the botanist will find that a
few sheets of paper and blot-sheet between pasteboards,
and tied with a strong cord or a strap and
buckle to be tightened by a tourniquet screw, will
form a useful and convenient press for preserving
his best specimens. Knapsacks are always tearing
and going wrong, and letting in the rain where it
is not wanted; so that, if the appearance of a light
wicker basket so woven as to be water tight is
disregarded, it will be found the best general
receptacle for all sorts of stores and comforts. But
for the most part, the pedestrian should make his
wardrobe so portable as to be easily contained in
his coat pockets."
In their descriptions of the Orkney Islands, the
county of Sutherland and the island of Islay, the
authors received much assistance from their valued
correspondents, the Rev. Dr. Charles Clouston of
Stromness, Messrs. Robert and George Sutherland
Taylor of Dornoch, and the Rev. Dr. Mackintosh
Mackay of Dunoon. And they were also greatly
indebted to their scientific friends, Dr. Hibbert,
Sir W. J. Hooker. Sir Roderick Impey Murchison,
and the Rev. Dr. George Gordon of Birnie.
The edition of 1834 stated on the title page that
the authors were "George Anderson, General
Secretary to the Northern Institution for the Promotion
of Science and Literature; and Peter
Anderson. Secretary to the Inverness Society for
the Education of the Poor in the Highlands".
In this earliest edition six routes are described,
which are supplied with appendices that do not
appear in any of the later editions.
The titles of these appendices are as follows: —
"Geology of the Highlands: Distribution of the
Different Formations and Rocks."
"Botany of the Highlands: Distribution of British,
and especially Alpine Flora."
"Circles of Upright Stones and Cairns."
"Round Towers, Dunes or Burghs, and Sculptured
"Vitrified Forts or Sites."
"The Natural History of the Orkney and Zetland
There is also an additional appendix giving a
"List of Books relating to the History, Antiquities
and Early Literature of the Highlands and Islands
In the Inverness Journal of 20th June, 1834, which
announced the forthcoming Guide, it was remarked
of the authors: —
"Constantly resident in the Highlands, they have
in the course of long and repeated rambles from
the period of their earliest boyhood, traversed almost
every district of our land of mountain and flood'.
Their descriptions thus possess all the freshness
and truth of delineations taken on the spot, and by
familiar hands. From their pursuits and connections,
the statistical and antiquarian research, exhibited
in the pages of their guide, may be expected
to be extensive and accurate; and copious geological
and botanical treatises and notices — departments
with which they are quite conversant — are embodied
in it; the whole being interspersed with all the
remarkable historical reminiscences connected
with the various localities in succession, along with
traditions of more local notoriety."
The book was published by John Murray, Albemarle
Street, and contained 760 closely-printed pages
with a very complete map of Scotland engraved by
Arrowsmith. Long and favourable reviews of it
appeared in a great number of magazines and
newspapers, but nevertheless Hugh Miller in his
Old Red Sandstone states that it is "a work which
has never received half its due measure of
Sir Thomas Dick Lauder in a letter to George
dated "The Grange House, Edinburgh, 2nd September,
1834," remarks: "I regretted much that I was
from home when your brother did me the favour
to call yesterday with your beautiful book for which
I beg to return my very warmest thanks. I have
already dipped into it and admire all I have seen
both of the matter and of the manner of treating it.
If I can be of any use in adding to that breeze of
approbation which I think it must naturally ensure
for itself you may believe I shall not neglect the
Sir Roderick Impey Murchison writing to George
on 26th January, 1835, begins his letter thus: "It
is with great pleasure that I address a few lines to
you as one whose name always brings back to my
memory some of the most agreeable recollections
of the Highlands. Accept my warmest acknowledgments
for the praise you have bestowed upon my
poor endeavours to throw light upon the geological
structure of my native land, and permit me to say
that the work in which these observations are now
enshrined appears to me to be of so solid a character
that it will ever remain a monument of the skill and
industry of its authors. It is no longer a reproach
to the inhabitants of the North that its mountains,
rivers and lakes have no historian."
A long review of the Guide appeared in the
Scotsman of 20th September, 1834, part of which
is as follows "With the assistance of the Messrs.
Anderson's Guide we have had a most delightful
excursion through the Highlands and Isles; seen
all that is wild and wonderful in those interesting
districts, scaled the mountain, skirted the lake, in
short traversed in all directions those famed lands
where everything is
So wond'rous wild the whole might seem
The scenery of a fairy dream.
Aye, and have listened to the tales of other years'
to boot, on the precise spots where their tragical
incidents occurred, and all this without stirring out
of an easy chair, or being at a rap of expense — not
one of the most unpleasant feelings in the world.
Seriously, numerous and excellent as some of our
guide books are, we do not hesitate to say that
this is one of the very best of them. The Messrs.
Anderson have, in this work, done for the Highlands
what the most entertaining of topographers, Mr.
Chambers, has done for the Lowland districts of
Scotland, and this, we think, is no small praise.
"No stranger should set a foot in the Highlands
until he has provided himself with a copy of Anderson's
Guide; and, moreover, it will be found most
agreeable reading without any reference to the
express purpose for which it has been written, and
ought therefore to have a place in every library.
"The traditionary and historical notices scattered
throughout the work are curious and highly interesting,
and not less so are the geological notices with
which it is enriched."
The Aberdeen Journal of the 10th of September,
remarks in the course of a lengthy review: "The
volume is interspersed with some of those singular
traditionary legends, clannish adventures, heroic
incidents and characteristic incidents with which
Highland history abounds. The antiquarian part
of the work is peculiarly rich, all the most celebrated
places being fully referred to. . . . We cannot forbear
adverting to the chapter on the 'Vitrified Forts
of the Highlands,' as containing a judicious analysis
of the different theories which have been broached
regarding those singular structures. Messrs. Anderson
seem to give the preference to the supposition of
Mr. John Williams, a gentleman well known in his
day, and who was mineral surveyor and engineer
for the forfeited estates in Scotland."
The Aberdeen Herald of the 30th of August, gives
a long description and analysis of the Guide, from
which we have only space for the following extract:
"As the work advances it becomes more and more
interesting. Graphical descriptions of sublime and
beautiful scenery are frequently met with; numerous
anecdotes of the olden time are happily introduced;
and the deeds of daring and bloodshed, which
alternately brighten and darken the annals of the
country, are recorded with a proper regard both to
the deeply interesting nature of the incidents, and
to the limits and peculiar objects of the volume.
When they reach 'the encircling hills all black and
piled,' the authors seem to catch some of the poetic
spirit with which they are instinct; and delineate
their harsh and gloomy features — relieved and
softened occasionally by the beauty of the adjacent
valleys without pretension, but with perhaps as
much force and effect as can be committed to the
descriptions of scenes which must be viewed in
reality to be duly appreciated. The work, however,
is not intended for the reader who is in search of
mere amusement, and he would sometimes find it
no very easy task, but for the copious index and
table of contents, to pick out the matter peculiarly
suited to his own lighter taste, from the more solid
and substantial parts which cannot be so superficially
The Edinburgh Observer of the 29th August says
of the Guide: "It is not too much to say it is the
'Ebel' of Scottish guide books. The authors have
done for the Highlands on a more portable scale
what that esteemed writer did for Switzerland.
To the man of science it will prove an indispensable
vade mecum, with reference to the Alpine flora and
the phenomena of geological structure."
A very long review in the Glasgow Argus for
September contains the following remarks: —
"We may say in one sentence that the man of
science, the political economist, the agriculturist,
the general inquirer or the mere scene-hunter will
here find ample materials for instruction or amusement,
as all that can be known of the Highlands
and Islands of Scotland as to their present condition
and future capabilities, is here pleasingly and
perspicuously laid before him. . . . The work is
written with simplicity and good taste, avoiding all
sentimental and high-flown description, but presenting
in a series of striking and animated sketches, a
highly-finished and graphic panorama of the physical
peculiarities and the grand features of the
Highlands and Islands of Scotland."
The Elgin Courier of 27th June, says of the Guide:
"We hail with pleasure the appearance of a work,
describing with such a graphic pen as it does scenes
celebrated in battle and in song, and associated
with deeds of chivalry and of love." And the Sun
of 29th August describes the volume as "an agreeable
companion, alternately playful and scientific,
amusing and instructive; now narrating with spirit
the romantic legends of olden times, or dwelling
with a poetic fancy on the sublime scenery, and
now measuring roads and distances, or explaining
the secrets of the Scottish flora."
The Asiatic Journal of September, 1834, pays the
following tribute: "For accuracy of description,
comprehensiveness of research, scientific, historical,
and antiquarian information, methodical arrangement,
in short, for all the qualities which can be
desired in a work of this nature, we are not aware
of any similar work which can stand a comparison
with the one before us. The title of Guide will
give to many people a derogatory idea of its merits:
it is full of really valuable matter, collected, as we
are assured, from personal visits to the scenes
described, and from the contributions of scientific
friends, the digestion and arrangement of which,
we can well believe, has employed the authors —
men of literary name — ten years."
The Literary Gazette of 16th August, 1834, says:
"We do not know two individuals better adapted
for the task of writing a guide to the Highlands
and Islands of Scotland than the editors of the
work before us. One of them, the Secretary of
the Northern Institution of Inverness, resides amid
their various beauties, which he has never neglected
to survey with the eye of an educated and learned,
as well as feeling, man; and is well known for
many interesting scientific labours already communicated
to the public: the other is, perhaps,
almost equally well known for labours more particularly
connected with the politico-economical
situation of the inhabitants of their tourist-trod
regions; and it might well be expected that such
a diversity of talent might at least produce a good
A new edition of the Guide was published in
1842 by William Tait, 107 Princes Street, Edinburgh,
arranged on a simpler and more distinct plan than
the former, and embodying a great additional mass
of information on the history and statistics of the
Highlands. It was most favourably reviewed by
the leading journals, and praised by well-known
W. H. Maxwell, in his Sports and Adventures in the
Highlands and Islands of Scotland (London, 1844),
says: "Throughout the Land of Cakes Anderson will
be invaluable as a Highland cicerone. . . . Anderson's
is a most valuable guide book, uniting
legendary with solid information, and leading the
traveller by the hand wherever fancy directs him
in his Northern wanderings. . . . In George and
Peter Anderson the authors of the best work a
Highland tourist can obtain — I have found admirable
directors, and consequently put implicit faith."
In 1847, another edition of the Guide was published
by Adam and Charles Black, 27 North Bridge,
Edinburgh, but with the same text as that which
had been published in 1842.
It was not only illustrated by a map of the
Northern part of Scotland on a greatly enlarged
scale, and separate maps of the Counties of Perth,
of Argyle and Bute, and of Dumbarton, but was
embellished by four engravings taken from drawings
by Sir Thomas Dick Lauder, with whom George
Anderson had laid the foundation of a firm friendship
in 1827. These four engravings represent
Dunstaffnage Castle in Argyllshire; Duart Castle
in Mull; Entrance to Loch Scavaig. Skye; and
Pictish Tower in Moussa, Zetland.
In 1850, a third edition was published by Adam
and Charles Black, 27 North Bridge, Edinburgh,
in which the text was carefully revised and remodelled.
It contained woodcuts and a valuable
map of Scotland on a large scale, detached for
ready reference, and was also embellished by
engravings from two other drawings by Sir
Thomas Dick Lauder in addition to those which
had appeared in 1842. These additional ones
represent Duntulm Castle in Skye, and Loch
This volume contained 808 pages.
In the Inverness Courier of 12th September, 1850,
the London correspondent — the brilliant Angus
Reach — remarked in a review of the third edition:
"From my personally knowing many of the localities
described by Anderson brothers, I can give my
testimony to the general accuracy of their delineations,
to the truthfulness of their descriptions, to
the gentle, mild, temperate and yet searching and
discriminating nature of their investigations and
remarks. It bears the impress of more painstaking,
of more patient, laborious and persevering labour
— kindled up and fed by love of the subject — than
any book of the kind I ever read, and I am a great
reader of guide books, itineraries, vade-mecums,
handbooks, and so forth. The accuracy of these
generally rests on the character of the publisher,
who seldom or never knows anything of the matter
himself, but who, you are willing to believe, never
employs anybody who does not. Now, this is not
the case with the present guide, for one or other,
or both, of the two brothers visited personally every
scene they have described, and have stated fairly
An appreciative review in the Guardian of 6th
August, 1850, closes with the words; "It is interspersed
with scientific information which, as geologists
and botanists, the authors are so well able to furnish;
and — what will perhaps render it still more attractive
to the lover of the picturesque — it is written
evidently with the pens of men themselves as intense
admirers as ever he can be of the grand but
unfrequented scenes which they have undertaken
to open to him."
The Scotsman in a notice of the Guide on 25th
September, 1850, observes "This well-known and
valuable work comes before us in this third edition
in a greatly improved aspect. It has undergone a
thorough revisal, and has been almost entirely rewritten,
and being brought fully up to the time, and
its contents being the result in almost all cases of
personal inquiry and knowledge on the part of the
authors, it forms beyond question the fullest and
most complete guide to the Highlands and Islands.
We can speak to the accuracy and thorough usefulness
of the previous editions of this book, from a
pretty long and wide experience, pedestrian and
otherwise. . . . Throughout the wide and difficult
districts embraced, every place and object of attraction
or interest is carefully noted, and its chief
characteristics briefly described."
A fourth edition of the Guide was published in 1863
by Adam and Charles Black, and could be had either
complete in one volume as formerly or divided into
A review in the Inverness Courier of 11th July,
1863, remarks: "The new edition, which has just
been issued, is broken up into three convenient and
portable volumes, each complete in itself, with good
maps and illustrations. One gives us the Western
Highlands and Islands with the route of the Caledonian
Canal. A second part is devoted to the
Central. Southern and Eastern Highlands, with the
south side of the Moray Firth; and the third part
comprises the Northern Highlands with the Orkney
and Shetland Islands. Two of these may rest in
the portmanteau or knapsack, while the third is in
use; and a most instructive handbook it will be
found. For any intelligent tourist mere names and
distances will not suffice; while, on the other hand,
nothing is more tiresome than indiscriminate eulogy
at every turn of a road or bend of a river. In this,
as in everything else, there is a just and happy
medium, and it has been hit by the Messrs. Anderson.
Their resources are various, so that they need not
dwell disproportionately on any one subject. They
are geologists, botanists and archæologists. They
know the traditions clinging to every spot, and they
have a lifelong acquaintance with the local and
general history of the country. This new edition,
too, seems almost entirely rewritten, especially as
to the localities traversed by railways. We have
an account of the Keith, Dufftown and Buchan
districts of Aberdeen, which is quite new. The
information for all the remote districts has been
carefully got up, and the sections on Sutherland,
Skye and the Orkney Islands have been revised by
gentlemen on the spot — that for Orkney, in particular,
is almost rewritten by the authors' friend, Mr.
Clouston of Sandwick. We may mention another
instance of the authors' anxiety to bring the work,
in point of completeness, up to the very day of
publication, and even beyond it; the line of railway
from Perth to Inverness is fully described, though
some weeks yet must elapse ere it is fully open to
A thoughtfully-written review in the Elgin and
Morayshire Courier for 16th July, 1863, observes:
"It is no small credit to the talented authors that,
amid the multiplicity of guides, theirs has so long
been able to maintain a foremost place. Few people,
indeed, ever think of the labour, information, and
patient research required for producing such a work.
The very collection of the material for such a volume,
apart from the literary taste with which it has been
compiled, must in itself have been enormous; and so
complete is it in the information it gives, that he will
be a diligent person indeed who will be able to find
anything of worth or interest omitted along the
routes with which it deals,"
A long review in the Scotsman of the 8th of August,
1863, remarks in reference to the great changes that
the extension of railway communication was effecting
in the North: "Messrs. Anderson have been fully
alive to all this, and have adapted this new edition
of their Guide to the altered circumstances. They
have given a complete description, by anticipation,
not only of the Inverness and Perth Junction Railway,
but of the extension of the railway communications
of the North to Bonar Bridge, which joins the counties
of Ross and Sutherland. The descriptions of
the railways north of Perth and Aberdeen appear
in a guide book for the first time in those pages."
A few extracts from this last edition of the Guide
will give some idea of how the minute and poetical
descriptions vary from those of ordinary guide
"The celebrated Falls of Foyers occur on the
river of that name, about twelve miles from Fort
Augustus. The steamer — passing the mouth of the
river, emerging between beautiful wood-embowered
alluvial banks, from whose foliage the house of
Foyers peers forth — lies to at a pier a little below,
to give the passengers an opportunity of visiting the
Falls, which are two in number, the nearest about
a mile from the lake, and the other about a quarter
of a mile farther.
"The river Foyers, after passing across the
highly elevated and chiefly moorland and open
district of country lying to the south of Loch Ness,
on its reaching the hills which skirt that lake, enters
a deep and narrow ravine, at the commencement of
which it is precipitated over a ledge of rock about
thirty feet in height, forming the upper fall. To
view it to the best advantage (and the traveller
should, if he have command of his time, first visit
this upper fall, to which the public road and bridge
across the river will lead him, but which the steamer
wayfarer must be content to forego) it is necessary
to descend to the channel of the river below the
bridge. From this position the appearance of the
headlong and tumultuous mass of waters is very
imposing; while the high and perpendicular rocks
between which the river pours its noisy and troubled
flood, and the aerial single-arched bridge which
has been thrown across the chasm, have a highly
picturesque effect. A pathway will be found immediately
below the bridge, and on the west side of
the stream, which conducts to the proper point of
view. It is, however, somewhat difficult to reach
this position; and the generality of visitors content
themselves with the view from the bridge or the
rocks above the fall. Below the fall, the channel of
the river is deep and rocky, and shelves rapidly
down towards the lake; the mountain sides are
clothed with luxuriant woods of birch; and the
river, interrupted in its course by numerous masses
of rock, is lashed into foam and hurries impetuously
forward for about a quarter of a mile. It
then encounters a second abrupt descent, and is
dashed through a narrow gap, over a height of
about ninety feet, into a deep and spacious linn.
surrounded with lofty precipitous rocks. From one
side of this gulf, a high ledge of rock, projecting in
front of the fall, obstructs all sight of it from any
point along the margin of the river. As we approach
this greater cataract, the ground is felt to tremble
from the shock of the falling water; and the ear
is stunned with its sullen and ceaseless roar. A
winding footpath strikes off from the public road,
at the commencement of a parapet wall, and leads
down to a green bank on the point of the projecting
barrier, directly opposite to and on a level with the
middle of the fall. Here in security the eye can
scan the terrors of the troubled gulf beneath, the
whole extent of the fall, and of the encircling and
surmounting rocks, partially covered with a rank,
mossy vegetation, forced into life by the volumes
of vapour which float around, their summits waving
with birches, pencilled on the sky.
. . . The air.
So freshened by the leaping stream, which throws
Eternal showers of spray on the moss'd roots
Of trees, and veins of turf, and long dark shoots
Of ivy plants, and fragrant hanging bells
Of hyacinths, and on late anemones
That muffle its wet banks.
"The accompaniments of wood and rock and
mountain slope are always attractive; but when
the river is swollen with rain, the scene assumes
the features of sublimity, and the spectator, immersed
in an agitated and drenching mist, regards
it with mingled feelings of awe and admiration.
The living spirit of the water wakens, with thundering
call, the echoes of the solitude; every other
sound is drowned, and all nature seems attentive
to the voice of the falling element; and the mighty
cauldron is filled with shifting masses of spray,
frequently illumined with the bright and lambent
tints of a rainbow."
. . . . . . . . .
"From the rocks surrounding the lower fall, the
spectator commands a fine view of Loch Ness,
backed by the steep and ample sides of Mealfourvonie;
while at his feet sweeps the precipitous bed
of the river, a rugged ravine of great depth, with
here and there a trembling aspen or gnarled pine;
and beyond, the hillside descends to the lake, beautiful
with woods of waving birch, and the smiling
parks around the house of Foyers, which occupies
a site of surpassing beauty, where the spent torrent,
still and motionless, joins its waters to the lake.
The beach at the landing-place is abundantly
covered with columbine, a rare indigenous plant
in our Northern latitudes."
. . . . . . . . .
"From Invermoriston to Drumnadrochit the distance
is thirteen miles, and the whole road one of
extreme beauty: it generally proceeds at a considerable
elevation above the lake, through luxuriant
overhanging woods, where the profuse intermixture
of oak and ash, with birch and alder, adds much to
the richness and tone of colouring. Dark and dense
masses of pine are frequently crowning the lofty
and craggy heights above; while beneath, the rowan
and hawthorn mingle their snowy blossoms, or coral
berries, with the foliage of the more gigantic natives
of the forest. The road is, in part, overhung by the
fantastic branches of the yet youthful oak; while
the stately ash, rooted in the steep declivities below,
shoots up its tall, straight, perpendicular stem, and
with its scattered, terminal foliage, slightly screens
the glassy lake or purple ground colour of the
opposite hills; and the airy birch droops its pensile
twigs round its silvery trunk 'like the dishevelled
tresses of some regal fair'. Here, as elsewhere,
along the banks of the lake, the sward and the
underwood are alike most beauteous, the ground
carpeted in early summer with the primrose and
wood anemone, violet and harebell; and as the
season advances, the leafy green of the forest glade,
richly spangled with the modestly glowing and delicate
corollas of the wild rose, challenging comparison
with any of the denizens of the shrubbery or
flower garden. The dark-tufted heath in tufted
wreaths presents itself wherever an opening in
the wood or a frontlet of rock allows; while the
bracken, with its rich verdure, spreads itself over
the ground, alike where shaded by the green wood
or where sloping otherwise unclad to the base of
the rocky surmounting acclivities.
"Along the north road are two waterfalls of some
claim to notice.
"At Aultsigh, a picturesque cottage, three miles
from Invermoriston, a stream from behind Mealfourvonie
issues forth of a ravine of great depth,
flanked on the east side by the precipitous sides of
the mountain base, which presents a bold frontlet,
the Red Rock, not less than 1,200 feet in height, half-clad
with clambering, aged pine trees. The lower
declivities, with the front to the lake, are shrouded
in birch, of which, and of hazel, holly and alder,
there are also still, though the bulk of the wood
there has been cut down, specimens of remarkable
growth by the burn course, which also exhibits
several pleasing waterfalls. The lowest — but a few
yards off the road — offers a very perfect picture.
At a little distance in front of the fall, between low
walls of rock, spanned by an old arch, graced with
pendent festoons of ivy and eglantine, the burn
descends in a shelving rapid. Through the interlacing
,boughs of oak and hazel appears the cascade,
about twenty feet in height; while behind a wooded
screen, surmounting the rocky channel of the stream,
towers the bluff frontlet with its scattered pines.
"We have been the more minute in describing
this little scene, as it is associated with the Raid
of Cillie-christ (Christ's church), one of the most
sanguinary and brutal affairs that stain the annals
of an age of general blood and rapine.
"In the early part of the seventeenth century
Angus, eldest son of Glengarry, had made a foray
on the west coast of Ross-shire into the Mackenzie
country: on his way home he was intercepted by
a gallant little band of Mackenzies, and slain, with
a number of his followers. Some time thereafter
a strong party of Glengarry's men were sent, under
the command of Allan MacRaonuill of Lundy, to
revenge his death. Allan led them into the parish
of Urray, in Ross-shire, on a Sunday morning, and
surprised a numerous body of the Mackenzies assembled
at prayer within the walls of Cillie-christ,
near Beauly; for so was their little chapel called.
Placing his followers so as to prevent all possibility
of escape, Allan gave orders to set the building on
fire. The miserable victims found all attempts at
escape unavailing, and were, without a single exception
— man, woman and child — swallowed up by
the devouring element, or indiscriminately massacred
by the swords of the relentless Macdonells,
whilst a piper marched round the church, playing
an extemporary piece of music, which has ever
since been the pibroch of the Glengarry family.
"The work of death being completed, Allan
deemed a speedy retreat expedient: but the incendiaries
were not to escape with impunity; for
the funeral pile of their clansmen roused the Mackenzies
to arms as effectually as if the fiery cross
had been carried through the valleys. Their force
was divided into two bodies: one, commanded by
Murdoch Mackenzie of Redcastle, proceeded by
Inverness, with the view of following the pursuit
along the southern side of Loch Ness; whilst
another, headed by Alexander Mackenzie of Coull,
struck across the country, from Beauly to the
northern bank of the lake, in the footsteps of another
party which had fled in this direction with
their leader, Allan MacRaonuill. The Mackenzies
overtook these last, as they sought a brief repose in
some hills near the burn of Aultsigh. The Macdonells
maintained an unequal conflict for some
time with much spirit, but were at length forced to
yield to superior numbers, and fled precipitately to
the burn. Many, however, missed the ford, and
the channel being rough and rocky, were overtaken
and slain by the victorious Mackenzies. Allan
MacRaonuill made towards a spot where the burn
rushed through a yawning chasm of considerable
breadth and depth.
"Forgetting the danger of the attempt in the
hurry of his flight, and the agitation of the moment,
and being of an athletic frame, and at the time half
naked, he vigorously strained at, and succeeded
in clearing, the desperate leap. One of the Mackenzies
inconsiderately followed him, but wanting
the impulse of those powerful feelings which had put
such life and mettle into Allan's heels, he had not the
fortune to reach the top of the bank; grasping, however,
the branch of a birch tree, he hung suspended
over the abyss. MacRaonuill, observing his situation,
turned back and lopped off the branch with
his dirk, exclaiming, 'I have left much behind me
with you to-day; take that also'. Allan got considerably
ahead of his followers, and, having gained
the brink of the loch, bethought him of at tempting
to swim across, and plunging in, he lustily breasted
its cool and refreshing waters. Being observed
from the opposite side, a boat was sent out, which
picked him up.
"The party of the Macdonells who fled by Inverness,
were surprised by Redcastle in a public house
at Torbreck, three miles to the west of the town,
where they stopped to refresh themselves; the
house was set on fire, and they all, thirty-seven
in number, suffered the death they had in the early
part of the day so wantonly inflicted,"
So high and competent an authority as Professor
Alexander Bain of Aberdeen cites an extract from
Anderson's Guide to the Highlands, as a specimen
of Description in his English Extracts Supplementary
to a Manual of English Composition and Rhetoric, 1876.
The passage which he holds up for admiration
is as follows: —
"The most prominent feature of this neighbourhood
is Ben Nevis 'Beinmamh Bhathais,' the mountain
with its summit in the clouds, the cloud-kissing hill,
or, we believe more correctly, 'the fierce mountain,'
whose decided pre-eminence above its supposed
rival Ben MacDhui has now been put beyond
question by the annals of triangulation of the
Ordnance Survey. It appears that while Ben MacDhui
is 4,296, Ben Nevis is 4,406. Snowdon being
3,590 feet above mean level of the sea. It rises
abruptly from the plain to the east of Fort William,
and its circumference at the base is supposed to
exceed twenty-four miles. The circuit or outline
of the mountain all round is well defined, for it is
almost completely isolated by two yawning ravines,
and separated from the adjoining lofty mountain
ranges, and projects boldly in front of them. Approached
from the east, two other summits nearer
at hand appear equally lofty; but on a front view
the greater elevation of the mountain becomes
conspicuous. The base of Ben Nevis is almost
washed by the sea; none of its vast proportions
are lost to the eye, and its appearance is peculiarly
imposing; while the sky outline, which is not peaked,
but plain and tabular (deviating but little from a
right line) admirably harmonises with its general
massiveness and majesty. Its northern front consists
of two grand distinct ascents or terraces, the
level top of the lowest of which, at an elevation of
about 1,700 feet, contains a wild tarn or mountain
lake. The outer acclivities of this, the lower part
of the mountain, are very steep, although covered
with a short grassy sward, intermixed with heath;
but at the lake this vegetable clothing ceases. Here
a strange scene of desolation presents itself. The
upper and higher portion seems to meet us as a
new mountain, shooting up its black porphyritic
rocks through the granitic masses, along which we
have hitherto made our way, and where not absolutely
precipitous, its surface is strewed with
angular fragments of stone of various sizes, wedged
together, and forming a singularly rugged covering,
among which we look in vain for any symptoms of
vegetable life, except where round some pellucid
spring the rare little alpine plants, such as Epilobium
alpinum Silene acaulis. Saxifraga stellaris and nivalis,
which live only in such deserts wild, are to be found
putting forth their modest blossoms, amid the
encircling moss. The eagle sallying from his eyry
may greet the approach of the wanderer, or the
mournful plover with plaintive note salute his ear;
but for those birds of the mountain, the rocky
wilderness were lifeless and silent as the grave;
its only tenants the lightnings and the mists of
heaven, and its language the voice of the storm.
"On the north-eastern side of Ben Nevis, a broad
and tremendous precipice, commencing at the
summit, reaches down to a depth of not less than
1,500 feet. The furrows and chasms in the black
beetling rocks of this precipice are constantly filled
with snow, and the brow of the mountain is also
encircled with an icy diadem."
THE HIGHLAND RAILWAY AND ITS HANDBOOKS.
THERE are probably very few people surviving
now who are aware of how large a share
George and Peter Anderson had in the promotion
of railway communication in the Highlands, but
their efforts in that cause extended over many
years, and were as eager and unwearied as had
been their father's efforts to establish communication
When the scheme was first formed in 1845 for
a railway between Perth and Inverness, Messrs.
George and Peter Anderson were appointed solicitors
for it. They were next solicitors to the Inverness
and Nairn line in 1854, to the Inverness and
Aberdeen Junction line in 1857, to the Inverness
and Ross-shire line in 1860, and to the Inverness
and Perth line in 1861.
In a letter addressed to The Times by Peter
Anderson, in July, 1863, he observes: "It may not
be out of place to remark that my father, the late
Peter Anderson, solicitor, was the first person to
introduce stage coaches in the North. In 1806
the Caledonian coach commenced running between
Perth and Inverness, and was for many years posted
by him at his own risk. In 1811 he was instrumental
in establishing a mail diligence between Aberdeen
and Inverness, and in 1819 another as far North as
to Thurso. It so happens that my brother and I too
have from the outset been intimately and professionally
associated with the railway movement."
In this letter, which is of considerable length, Mr.
Anderson gives a sketch of the progress of railway
communication in the North up to 1863.
Part of it runs thus: The decade just byepast
has been one of momentous importance to the
Highlands in that it has witnessed not only the
extension to, but all but the perfect completion,
so far as practicable, of the railway system in the
North of Scotland.
"In the year 1845, as you are aware, strenuous
efforts were made on the part of the people of
Aberdeen to obtain an Act for a line of railway
from Aberdeen to Inverness, and on the part of
Invernessians and others throughout the Northern
counties for a direct line of communication from
Perth by Dunkeld, Blair Athole, Badenoch and
Strathspey to Nairn, with a base line from Inverness
to Elgin and branches to the ports of Findhorn,
Burghead and Lossiemouth. The latter Bill was
thrown out on the ground of the then state of
experience of the working of severe gradients of
considerable lengths over great altitudes, and most
fortunately as it has proved for the interests of the
shareholders and of the Northern counties. The
supervening depression of the money market disabled
the Great North of Scotland Railway Company
from availing themselves of their privileges
for several years, and then they were not in a
condition to progress beyond Keith. In 1853, when
the powers of the rival parties, which had been
prolonged, were on the eve of expiry, efforts were
renewed to get the control of the development of
the railway system to the west and north of the
Spey, by local parties directly interested in the
prosperity of the Highlands. A footing was first
secured, and that, after the cost of construction had
been better understood and greatly economised, by
an Act for making the Inverness and Nairn Railway,
which formed a necessary centre for all railway
communication south, east and north, and a connecting
link in short for all North country traffic.
"The Inverness and Aberdeen Junction Railway,
also promoted by Northern parties, and connecting
with the Great North of Scotland at Keith, speedily
succeeded, and was followed by the Inverness and
Ross-shire Railway to Invergordon and now in process
of extension to Bonar Bridge on the confines of
Sutherland. While the latter line was yet in progress
the great desideratum of a direct line to Perth
was again propounded in unexpectedly quick succession,
this time starting however from Forres and
proceeding past Grantown in order the more gradually
to reach the upper level of the Spey, and
having been carried through with great energy this
great consummation is on the eve of accomplishment.
The line has been already opened from Dunkeld
(to which a railway had been in operation for some
years which has now been practically amalgamated
by perpetual lease with the Inverness and Perth
Junction Railway Company) to Pitlochry, a distance
of twelve miles, and on the 3rd of August will be
opened for traffic from Forres to Aviemore, while
thousands of workmen are doing their utmost along
the intermediate interval with the view of the line
being opened throughout by the well-understood
white day in Sportsman's Calendar, the Twelfth of
August. Altogether, by the time the line is completed
to Bonar Bridge, the various lines under Northern
auspices, including a branch formed to Burghead
and another to be run up to Aberfeldy in Strathtay,
which will be all worked by the Inverness and
Aberdeen Junction Railway Company, with which
the Inverness and Nairn and Inverness and Ross-shire
Railway Companies will doubtless also be
amalgamated, will embrace a mileage of 245 miles.
"It is but due to North country landowners to
give them the credit that, while railway enterprise,
both in 1845 and 1853, was initiated and put into
palpable shape by less influential parties — to the
largeness of view and right appreciation of their
own combined with the public interest of members
of their body — is due its rapid growth and vigorous
prosecution, overbearing many monetary and other
difficulties. This is a peculiarity in the development
of the railway system in the Northern
counties. The names of the Earl of Seafield and
his commissioner, the Honourable Thomas Charles
Bruce, chairman of the Inverness and Perth Railway;
Mr. Alexander Matheson of Ardross, M.P.,
chairman of the Inverness and Aberdeen Junction
Railway; the Duke of Sutherland and his commissioner,
Mr. Loch; the Earl of Fife's Trustees
and their commissioner, Mr. Tayler; Mr. Mackintosh
of Raigmore and Major Fraser-Tytler of Aldourie,
chairman and deputy-chairman of the Inverness
and Nairn Railway, are particularly deserving of
"The Great North of Scotland's trunk line and
affiliated lines from Aberdeen to Peterhead, Kintore
to Alford, Inverurie to Old Meldrum, Inveramsay
to Turiff and Banff, Grange to Banff and Strathisla,
Keith to Abernethy, and Craigellachie to Lossiemouth
comprehend 226½ miles of railway. Thus about
500 miles have been propelled northwards from
Aberdeen and Perth, and the resources of the
country in consequence are wonderfully developed.
"But unexpectedly great as has been the intercourse
and traffic on the Highland lines, the
Northern counties, north of Elgin and Speymouth,
may be said to have as yet but imperfectly experienced
the energising influences of railway communication
which the direct through line saving
sixty miles of circuit by Aberdeen will confer.
The Central Highlands will be galvanised into a
new existence, and the whole Northern counties
will experience fresh and vivifying agencies in all
their relations — social, economic and commercial.
. . . . . . . . .
"Were proof required of the vital importance of
the Inverness and Perth Junction line, it might be
found in the circumstance that no sooner was the
project mooted anew in 1860, than a scheme sprang
up for a railway now opened from Dufftown to
Abernethy, 32½ miles, and that at the Fort William
Wool Fair this month, the project was authoritatively
mooted as now seriously contemplated to be immediately
carried out, of a line from that place to
Newtonmore in Badenoch, a stretch of fifty miles."
. . . . . . . . .
The late Mr. Joseph Mitchell, C.E., in his
Reminiscences of my Life in the Highlands, gives an
interesting account of the efforts made in 1845 for
the passing of the Bill for a railway between Inverness
and Perth, efforts in which he and Mr. Peter
Anderson were closely associated. He says: "The
construction of railways went on apace throughout
the country, involving much speculation, causing
ruin to many and bringing fortunes to some. In
1845, however, the mania for railway speculation
reached its climax; no less than 620 companies
were registered, the united capital of which was
£563,203,000. A newspaper described it as "a
frenzy of speculation!' Of course it reached the
North, and persons in Aberdeen had projected a
railway from Aberdeen to Inverness. The Northern
public seemed thankful to have railway communication,
by this, apparently the most practicable route;
but I, being familiar with the country and having
taken levels for shortening the road by the Highland
route to Perth, felt satisfied of the practicability
of a railway across the Grampians in that direction.
"I immediately suggested to Inverness and the
Northern counties that for the accommodation of the
North of Scotland and its inhabitants, that route
and not the line promoted by the Aberdeen party,
was the railway which should command their
consideration and support.
"It was sixty-five miles shorter to the Southern
markets; and as a feeder I projected a base line
from Inverness to Elgin, along the shores of the
"The main line in the direction of the Highland
road being a herculean work, I recommended that
we should bring the base line to Elgin in the first
instance before the public.
"A committee was accordingly formed in Inverness,
and Mr. Peter Anderson, solicitor, and myself
were authorised by them to proceed to Edinburgh,
and there issue our prospectus, which was done on
the 24th of March.
"We calculated we should get the start of the
Aberdeen project, which we did by a week, and so
secured the capital we wanted.
"The prospectus had not been out two days
when Mr. Anderson reported that the stock sold
like 'wildfire,' and that the brokers begged they
might be permitted to dispose of another fourth.
My friend, Anderson, demurred to this, as, in his
opinion, it would destroy the local influence of
"I told him by all means to let Messrs. Foster
and Braithwaite have the other fourth as they
asked; as our business was to secure the money
in compliance with our instructions.
"In the course of the week the whole stock was
sold, no less a sum than £120,000 was deposited in
the bank for the necessary preliminary investigations
and parliamentary expenses, and Mr. Anderson and
I returned immediately to the North.
"A meeting was held of the provisional committee
in Inverness, who issued instructions for the parliamentary
surveys, and the necessary notices and
information as to the traffic returns. Mr. Smith of
Deanston, an eminent agriculturist, and largely employed
at that time, was appointed land valuator.
"Constant meetings of the provisional committee
were held. Many proprietors through whose lands
the lines would have to run objected to it, and no
small difficulty arose, even for their consent to
survey. We were obliged to offer large sums in
the name of amenity. The Duke of Athole's agent
positively objected at first even to the survey, as
did also the then Earl of Seafield.
. . . . . . . . .
"With difficulty the business of lithographing the
plans was accomplished, and on 30th November
they were deposited in terms of the standing orders
. . . . . . . . .
"After 30th November came the preparation of
the estimates, and checking the accuracy of our
"At length, on 1st February we were summoned
to London; but such was the pressure of work that
session before Parliament, that it was quite uncertain
when we should be called before either of the committees
on standing orders or on the merits. All
apartments in the vicinity of Westminster being
engaged, we had to take rooms in the Colonnade
Hotel, Haymarket (an establishment then much
frequented by military men).
"When our witnesses were up and all assembled,
we numbered about thirty — solicitors, engineers,
assistants, traffic takers, land valuators and cattle-dealers.
. . . . . . . . .
"We were about two months idling in London in
this unsatisfactory manner, waiting to pass the ordeal
of standing orders before a committee of members,
for there were then no official examiners.
"One morning Mr. Reid, the Town Clerk of Perth,
came to me and said, 'Ye'll be glad to hear we have
entered into a compromise with our opponents on
standing orders; neither party is to oppose the
other'. I expressed my great disappointment at
this intelligence. I said, and he knew, the Great
North of Scotland plans and book of reference were
full of errors, the levels were wrong in many places
— in one case to the extent of seven feet — and the
line in approaching Inverness was laid down on the
seashore for three miles, three feet below high-water
mark. This agreement was very provoking, for
these errors were (then) sure to be fatal, and we
should thus at once have got rid of our formidable
. . . . . . . . .
"At last, on 29th April, 1846, the committee on
the merits sat, and before it was a formidable array
of forensic and engineering talent.
"The Committee intimated that they would proceed
with the inquiry concerning the Great North
of Scotland scheme in the first instance; and that
finished, they would take evidence and consider the
engineering question of the Perth, Inverness and
Elgin railways. We had very able speeches from
the leading counsel on both sides. Serjeant
Wrangham was leader for the Perth and Inverness;
but as he was engaged in some other committee,
Mr. Hope Scott was appointed to lead, it being the
first case in which that eminent counsel acted as
leader before a Parliamentary Committee.
"The Duke of Richmond, Lord Lovat and others
were put in as witnesses against us.
"As our engineering only was in question we
produced the first talent of the day. The inquiry
occupied a fortnight, and at last the Committee gave
their decision 'That the Preamble of the Great
North of Scotland Bill was proved, and that the
Preamble of the Perth, Inverness and Elgin Bill
was not proved'.
"The Committee intimated that' they had come
to this conclusion with reference to the proposed
altitude and engineering character of the proposed
Perth, Inverness and Elgin Railway as compared
with those of any other line of railway now actually
completed and in operation'."
This decision was a great blow to Mr. Mitchell
and Mr. Anderson, who had laboured so indefatigably
on behalf of the cause which they had so
greatly at heart. Their wives, who had accompanied
them to London, and had shared their hopes and
their anxieties all along, felt the disappointment
fully as keenly as their husbands did.
Further on in his Reminiscences, Mr. Mitchell
states: "In 1851-52 a committee was formed and
some £300 or £400 subscribed in the North to
defray the expense of a deputation to London and
elsewhere to urge the Southern railway companies
to assist in another effort to promote the Highland
"Mr. Mackintosh of Raigmore, Mr. Peter Anderson
and I were appointed the deputation for this
purpose. We communicated with all the great
proprietors connected with the North, whom we
found most favourable. We proceeded to London,
where we had a meeting with the London and North-Western
Railway Directors, and with Mr. Locke
the engineer and Mr. Brassey the contractor.
. . . . . . . . .
"On the return of the deputation a public meeting
was held in Inverness in April, 1853, to report the
result of their proceedings.
. . . . . . . . .
"The meeting thanked Mr. Anderson and me for
our efforts, and appointed an influential committee
to carry out the project, instructing us to revise
our estimates and traffic returns, preparatory to
resuscitating the company and issuing a new
. . . . . . . . .
"The prospectus was published in 1853. The
inhabitants of Inverness and Nairn came forward
handsomely with subscriptions. It was a great
triumph after being so thoroughly defeated in 1846
for the Inverness people themselves to be able to
construct the line to Nairn.
"Lady Seafield was good enough to cut the first
turf on the 21st of September, 1854. We had a
procession of the magistrates and notabilities of the
town on the occasion, and a dinner in the Town
Hall, where the railway future of the North was
"The works being of a simple character, were
soon constructed, and on 5th November, 1855, the
Nairn line was opened for public traffic.
. . . . . . . . .
"In July, 1856. the Bill was passed for the
whole line from Nairn to Keith, which was
named 'The Inverness and Aberdeen Junction
"Thus, singularly enough, notwithstanding the
bitter contentions of the Aberdeen Company before
Parliament in 1846, for the short line between Inverness
and Nairn (fifteen miles), the Highland Company
ultimately became the possessors of one half of the
railway between Inverness and Aberdeen, fifty-five
miles. By this means they secured a more extended
base along the shores of the Moray Firth for their
great plan of the direct railway through the central
Until the present railway station was completed
in Inverness all the meetings of the Highland Railway
Company were held in the dining-room of Mr. Peter
Anderson's house in Academy Street. So frequent
were those meetings, and so largely were they attended,
that in a short time the Brussels carpet in
the dining-room was worn to tatters, and it used
to be a standing joke in the family for many a day
that such and such plans must be postponed until
it would occur to the directors to present the
household with a new carpet!
Of those who used to assemble weekly in that
room to transact the business of the Inverness and
Nairn Railway Company, only two now survive —
Mr. Eneas W. Mackintosh, the cultured and kindly
laird of Raigmore, 1 and Mr. Andrew Dougall, late
Manager of the Highland Railway.
The writer has a vivid recollection of her father's
indefatigable labours on behalf of the railway at
that period, and of how he used not only to remain
in his office until a late hour at night, but to occupy
himself in his own room at home with railway
documents until the small hours of the morning.
Even the short interval of rest between dinner and
tea which he used to allow himself in his own home,
was often encroached upon by railway business.
Whatever the cause might be on behalf of which
Peter Anderson was engaged, he always identified
himself with it, and made its interests his own.
To the furtherance of every scheme in connection
with the Highland Railway he devoted his best
energies, and brought to bear upon it that enthusiasm
and zeal which characterised his nature underneath
a quiet exterior. Latterly he had been the sole
legal adviser of the Railway Company, as George's
time had been fully engrossed with other work (he
being Inspector of Poor, Law Agent for the Inverness
District Asylum, etc.); but in 1863 Peter retired
with a small pension from the appointment of
solicitor for the Highland Railway, which he had
held for so many years.
1 While these pages were passing through the press, Mr. Mackintosh
of Raigmore died at the age of 80.
In 1856, George and Peter Anderson published a
small pamphlet of thirty-two pages, entitled, Handbook
to the Inverness and Nairn Railway and scenes
adjoining it. It was published at the Courier office
and had a pretty view of Cawdor Castle on its lilac
cover. The little book not only gave interesting
descriptions of all the places of interest on the route
between Inverness and Nairn, but served as an
excellent guide to the town of Inverness and its
neighbourhood. Appended was a copy of the
earliest Inverness Railway Time Table, which possesses
sufficient interest to merit insertion here.
TIME TABLE IN 1856
Down Trains Timetable in 1856
In 1864, another pamphlet by the two brothers
was published by George Waterston, Hanover Street,
Edinburgh. It was called Handbook from Perth to
Forres, Inverness and Bonar Bridge, by the Inverness and
Perth and Inverness and Aberdeen Junction Railways.
It contained sixty-four pages and a small map. In
the preface to this little handbook it is stated, "As
the central Grampians, hitherto little known except
to the deer-stalker or an occasional adventurous
tourist, having now been brought within range of the
locomotive, must attract more of general notice, the
authors have ventured to enlarge a little upon them,
though somewhat aside from the precise railway
route, under the impression that the particulars
given may prove not unacceptable."
A third edition — improved and expanded — of
this handbook was published in 1865, by John
Menzies, Edinburgh, with the title changed to
Handbook to the Highland Railway System, from Perth
to Forres, Keith, Inverness and Bonar Bridge.
Besides a map, it contained a frontispiece presenting
a coloured view of Dunkeld. Favourable
reviews of this little hook appeared in many of the
leading Scottish papers. The Daily Review of 24th
July says: "There is an enthusiasm and vivacity
in the composition sufficient to carry away the most
prosaic traveller, who visits places more for the
sake of saying that he has seen them than from any
enjoyment he expects from the sight. At the same
time the authors have too much of the habitude of
composition and the good taste of educated gentlemen
to indulge in the turgid raptures and exaggeration
which are the common characteristics of local
guide books. . . . Nothing can be pleasanter than
to travel the Highlands with Messrs. George and
Peter Anderson's new volume for their daily companion."
A fourth edition of the handbook was published
by John Menzies & Co. in 1868, of which the title
was Handbook to the Highland Railway System and
the Sutherland Railway.
The preface states: "Besides a description of
the Sutherland Railway, the whole handbook will
be found to have been carefully revised and enlarged.
In particular, a correct narrative of the
circumstances of Viscount Dundee's death, never
before, it is believed, given to the public, has been
This account of Viscount Dundee's death, the
writer, who was often her father's amanuensis, well
remembers being greatly interested in writing to
In an appreciative review of this handbook which
appeared in the Inverness Courier of 17th September,
1868, the narrative of Dundee's death is given in
full as being an extract likely to have much interest
for the public. In this review the editor remarks
"The great work by which Messrs. Anderson are
known, their magnum opus, is the Guide to the Highlands
and Islands of Scotland, which is by far the
most valuable, the most useful, and most interesting
of all the guide books to the North. The information
accumulated for that compilation is freely made
use of in the lesser work before us, but it is adapted
to the change of circumstances rendered necessary
by the introduction of railways, and so far as the
labour of preparation is concerned, may be said to
be a new work altogether as it had to be wholly
recast if not rewritten."
In 1886 a fifth edition of the Handbook to the
Highland Railway was published at the office of the
Northern Chronicle. It had been revised and corrected
by Peter Anderson's only son, and enlarged
by a very considerable amount of altogether new
matter. It extended to 200 pages and contained a
comprehensive map and sixteen engravings, while
the cover was most artistically designed.
By 1897 the Handbook had attained to its.
GUIDE TO CULLODEN MOOR AND STORY OF THE
BATTLE — GUIDE TO INVERNESS — LAST DAYS.
AS the last ten years of Peter Anderson's life
were spent in the vicinity of Culloden Station,
he often came in contact with the late Mr. Arthur
Forbes, who was at that time the Laird of Culloden,
and as their tastes were in many ways congenial,
an intimacy sprang up between them and an arrangement
was made that Mr. Anderson should
write a guide to Culloden Moor with which would
be combined a detailed account of the battle. The
preparation of this little book was of absorbing
interest to the author, and, all throughout, it is
stamped with his faithful painstaking and lighted
up with the enthusiasm which he always manifested
for whatever was romantic and chivalrous in the
annals of Scotland.
The little book, in its pretty green cover, was
published by Menzies & Co., Hanover Street, Edinburgh,
in the summer of 1867, and was entitled
Guide to Culloden Moor and Story of the Battle,
with Description of the Stone Circles and Cairns
at Clara. With Plans and Illustrations. In the
preface the author stated: "Having been for
some time resident in the neighbourhood of the
Culloden Railway Station, the author's attention
has been a good deal engaged with the scene and
incidents of the expiring struggle of the Stuart
dynasty, and last battle fought on British ground.
The Culloden family take a warm interest in all
matters connected with the action; and though the
battle of Culloden has been repeatedly described
in the course of works of more general history and
disquisition, the circumstances are becoming unfamiliar
to the public at large; and it has been
thought that a separate account, embracing a survey
of what has been said on various controverted
points by different writers, with the addition of
more minute topographical details, and the aid of
received local tradition, might be acceptable, more
especially to strangers visiting the field of battle.
To enhance any value the work may have, Mr.
Forbes of Culloden has been at the expense of
having drawings taken and engraved of certain
objects which appeared likely to prove interesting,
and plans prepared, all expressly for the publication,
by way of illustration and embellishment.
These he has liberally placed at the author's disposal,
and they are included without any additional
charge; so that it is to be hoped the volume will
be found, at anyrate, worth the price, and not
undeserving of perusal. . . . It has been deemed
proper to add a description of the interesting collection
of Stone Circles and cairns at Clava, in the
near vicinity of the battlefield, as well deserving
The Scotsman of the 27th of August says: "The
story, strange and mournful, though so often told, has
never been better told than by Mr. Peter Anderson
in this neat little pamphlet. In the modest guise of
a guide to the locality of the fight, Mr. Anderson,
well-known as one of the authors of the Guide to the
Highlands, gives an admirable history of the whole
battle, and of the events that led up to and that
followed it. The ground is traversed carefully but
not tediously; and the course of the marches and
of the brief and simple action is illustrated by
excellent maps and plans. Mr. Anderson's enthusiasm
in the subject, and his thorough local knowledge,
have enabled him to clear up many doubtful points,
and to bring together many scattered incidents and
anecdotes of decided interest. . . . It is avowedly
a compilation, but the fruits of much reading and
personal research are embedded in it; and the
result is a descriptive and historical account of the
ground and the action better than is to be found
anywhere else in anything like similar compass. It
is an interesting little work to read at any time and
place; but the true time and place to read it are of
course when on a visit to Culloden."
The Daily Review of 19th August, 1867, remarks:
"So long as either of the Messrs. Anderson of the
Guide to the Highlands are prepared to offer their
services to tourists and others desiring information
about notable scenes in the North of Scotland, they
will have no rivals, for the public are well aware
that their qualifications for the task are unequalled.
The present Guide was called for. But its publication
is not so much the result of a demand on the
part of the public as of the fulness of information
Mr. Anderson has obtained on this most interesting
subject, partly in consequence of favourable local
circumstances, and partly through minute and careful
study of the locality and of the history and
traditions of the period relating to the last battle
fought on British ground. Readers will have, accordingly,
the pleasure of perusing a publication
which has not been got up for sale, but which has
all the interest of a work on which the accomplished
author has been engaged as a labour of love. The
present laird of Culloden, the great-great-grandson
of the illustrious President Forbes, has given Mr.
Anderson valuable assistance and co-operation in
the preparation of his little volume, pictorial illustrations
being introduced to an extent which the
small price of the work would not have warranted
but for Mr. Forbes's liberality. . . . The author
has been able to bring forward not a few facts not
hitherto published, and his inquiry into the position
of the combatants is the most complete and satisfactory
which has yet been given to the public."
The guide book in its fourth and fifth chapters
relates many incidents which occurred in Inverness
and its neighbourhood.
The following extracts from these chapters may
perhaps be acceptable to the reader: —
"The right wing, or rather the portion of the
army which directed its course in a body to the
south-west, as it comprehended most of the other
clans, in its retreat presented so formidable an
appearance, that a large party of dragoons, who
had been sent to intercept them on their way across
the Nairn, opened their ranks and allowed them to
pass unmolested, with the exception of a solitary
officer, who, attempting to seize a Highlander, was
cut down with a single blow of the claymore, and
coolly despoiled of his gold watch in presence of his
astounded comrades. In the course of the retreat
of this body it was that Gillies Macbean, a native of
Strathnairn, a man of prodigious bodily strength,
said to have been six feet four inches in height, one
of the Mackintosh regiment, and a member of one
of the smaller tribes connected with the powerful
and old Celtic clan Chattan, signalised himself in
a manner that has handed down his name to
merited notoriety. The author understands that
it appears from the records that Gillies was proprietor
of Kinchyle, near Dores, at the lower end of
Loch Ness, and that his brother was proprietor of
Faillie, in Strathnairn, where the Prince and his
followers crossed the Nairn in their flight. At the
farm steading of Balvraid, being wounded, he could
not keep up with his companions, but setting his
back to the house wall, determined to sell his life
dearly. Tradition relates that he was not cut down
till he had made no less than thirteen troopers bite
the dust, some of the officers vainly crying 'to save
that brave fellow'. Though left for dead, he was
found still in life and conscious, by an old woman
from one of the houses, who covered him, at his
own desire, with straw, but he died shortly after.
Gillies had endeavoured to arm himself with the
tram of a louban or peat-cart, but was not able to
disengage it. It is said that it was by getting on the
house-roof some of his assailants got the better of
him. The house was one of several there at the
time, and stood within what is now the corn-yard.
He was buried beside it, and a large stone laid over
him, the position of which is still shown, but his
friends removed the body. In forming the cornyard,
a skeleton was discovered at the south-west
corner, and in removing a little mound for the formation
of the west side of the square of offices,
where the servant girls, little wotting what was
underneath, used to rest their pails when carrying
water from an adjoining well, there was another
dug up. On the north side of the offices there was
a malt-kiln, in which some of the wounded Highlanders
sought refuge. In the Moor, between Balvraid
and Stable Hollow (the line of flight), in
cutting turf or otherwise, skeletons have been repeatedly
turned up. All the buildings at Balvraid
were set on fire by the dragoons on the afternoon
of the battle, to signal their victory to the fleet in
the firth. The cracked and calcined state of the
stones was to be seen in those last pulled down.
"From the sublime to the ridiculous is but a step.
One of the residents at Balvraid fled on horseback.
He was owner of a large pot, used for boiling, in
the yearly washing of blankets, and being, it is said,
the only article of the kind on the Moor, it would
seem to have been regarded as of peculiar value,
for, strange to say, it was borne away by the fugitive
in his flight. His solicitude, however, was in vain,
for the precious pot was perforated by a bullet,
designed by the dragoons for a more deadly billet.
The pot, with the hole in it, was long to be seen,
and may possibly be yet in some household on the
"The pursuit to Inverness was most disastrous to
the fugitives. These retreated not in terror, but
broken-hearted and in despair.
. . . . . . . . .
"The principal lines of flight of the fugitives to
Inverness are laid down on an old plan, apparently
of the time of the battle, as by about the west end
of the Culloden birch wood to Drakies, and also
along the north edge of the Moor and to the west
and above Inshes, and from both to Kings-mills.
But others descended towards the sea. We recollect
in the wall of the former old house at Ashton
near Stoneyfield, a cannon ball having been found
embedded. In the field to the west of the barn,
behind the stables at Culloden House, a skeleton
was turned up. It has been remarked, as a curious
coincidence, that the horses of persons living in
Culloden House almost invariably shy in passing
the road opposite the spot.
. . . . . . . . .
"James Macdonald, son of old James Macdonald,
who lived at one time at Culchuinag, whom many
visitors will have seen, a sort of cicerone of the
place, who died a few years ago, told the writer
that in ploughing between the hollow . . . and the
road to the river, he turned up seven skulls at one
time — proofs of the conflict which eventually took
place at this spot.
"In connection with Culchuinag, a singular incident
occurred. The mother of the late old James
Macdonald, the guide above mentioned, whose
parents lived there, was baking on the day of
battle, when a poor Highlander, who had lost his
hand, rushed in and staunched the bleeding stump
by thrusting it on the hot stones of the fireplace on
. . . . . . . . .
"The sons of some of the neighbouring gentry,
who had ventured, out of boyish curiosity, rather
near the scene of action, narrowly escaped from
the dragoons who were scouring the Moor.
"Colonel Alexander Mackintosh of Farr informs
the writer that his father went with the late Hon.
Archibald Fraser of Lovat, the late Arthur Robertson
of Inshes, and two other boys, all at the school of
Petty, towards the battlefield, early on the 16th of
April, and saw the wearied troops of Prince Charles
march past them, amongst whom was his father,
Angus Mackintosh of Farr, captain in Dunmaglass's
regiment, who fell on the field that day. He did
not speak to his father; but though only a boy in
his fourteenth year — and he lived to be ninety —
never did he forget the careworn and dejected
expression of his father's face.
"The late Mr. John Rose, tacksman of Kirkton,
who was born at Balvraid, and had the farm of
Leanach on an improving lease, used to mention
that a party of the Prince's followers devoutly
engaged before the battle in solemnly and appropriately
singing the twentieth Psalm.
Jehovah hear thee in the day
When trouble He doth send.
"A straw or a feather serves to indicate how the
wind sets. There was a very old man in the village
of Evanton in Ross-shire, alive within the last thirty
years, who used to tell that he had been sent by
a neighbouring laird on the morning of the battle,
with a letter for a correspondent near the Moor.
The bearer ventured as near as he dared to the
scene, and so distracted was he by the sight, and
din, and danger that he returned home without
fulfilling his mission.
"A female servant in Mr. Rose's family related
that her grandfather had told her that he was at
the time a boy herding on the Moor; and having
been attracted by the digging of the trenches, had
drawn near to look on, and that one of the persons
so engaged lifted a man's dissevered arm and struck
him on the cheek, bidding him to go away.
. . . . . . . . .
"A significant testimony to the wanton cruelty
of the English troopers existed to a comparatively
recent period, in the person of the late Provost
John Mackintosh of Inverness, father of the late Mr.
Charles Mackintosh of Aberarder. Being an infant
of eighteen months at the time of the Prince's stay
at Inverness, he had been sent with his nurse, to
be out of the way, to a house somewhere in the
neighbourhood of Culloden. A few months after
the battle a party of dragoons had gone into the
house in the nurse's absence, and finding the child
in a cradle, they, after pillaging the house, placed
the cradle, with the infant in it, on the fire.
When found by the nurse, the embryo magistrate
was a good deal scorched; and till his dying day
he bore the marks on his arms. In convivial moods,
Provost Mackintosh used jocularly to boast that he
had been wounded at Culloden."
The next literary work which Peter Anderson
undertook was the Guide to Inverness and its Neighbourhood,
which was published in 1868, and which contained
an appendix by his brother George on the
"Geology of the Neighbourhood of Inverness"; but
although he had carefully completed it, he did not
live to see it in book form.
He had always been fond of the society of men
much younger than himself, and for them he had
a peculiar attraction, owing to the courteous consideration
with which he always treated them and
the sympathy with which he entered into their tastes
Towards the close of July, 1868, he was dining
one day at Culloden House, having been invited to
meet two young clergymen who were on a visit
there — the Rev. Mr. Cunningham and the Rev. Mr.
Macneil. The young men were anxious to climb
to the top of Ben Wyvis in Ross-shire, one of our
first-class mountains, and very similar to several in
the Cairngorm group, with which Mr. Anderson had
made himself familiar. He therefore volunteered to
accompany them on their expedition on the following
Saturday, the 25th of July. The Inverness Courier
of the following week remarks: "Not satisfied with
the general acquaintance made by him in early life
with the Grampian mountains, he had for the last
few years passed part of each summer in a minute
examination of their more inaccessible fastnesses
and corries, and of the various passes through them.
In these excursions he exposed himself to great
fatigue and no little danger."
The day he started with his fellow-travellers from
Culloden Station was one of dazzling sunshine and
intense heat, but Mr. Anderson was apparently in
the enjoyment of health and strength, and his spirits
— exhilarated by the prospect of climbing the
mountain in congenial companionship — had all the
buoyancy and eagerness of youth. Never had he
looked brighter than when he turned round at his
garden gate and waved his hand in token of farewell.
The Courier referred to above, states: "The party
went by train to Dingwall, and thence started on
foot for the summit of the mountain, but without
taking a guide with them. The day was intensely
hot, but clear, and on the top the view of the greater
portion of the whole North, from the Atlantic to the
German Ocean, was very distinct and gratifying.
But in coming down, the party lost their way, and
floundered for nearly two hours in peat bogs, where
they had to leap over innumerable pools and water
courses. They were thus thrown too late for the
last train from Dingwall to Inverness, and had to
take a conveyance across the hill to Kessock
Ferry, whence they walked home, another distance
of about five miles."
It was past one in the morning when Mr. Anderson
reached his own door. When jumping across one
of the water courses during his descent from the
mountain, he had given a strain to his heart and,
it is supposed, burst a blood vessel; but so great
was his habitual consideration for the feelings of
others, and so averse was he at all times to speak
of any ailments or sufferings connected with himself,
that he refrained from mentioning to his family the
circumstance of his having been seized by illness
on the mountain side.
On the Sunday afternoon he was able to get up
for a few hours, and even to walk once round the
garden. On Monday he kept his bed, but complained
of nothing but fatigue. It was only on Tuesday
morning that alarm was experienced. Dr. Wilson
was then sent for, but by the time he arrived, Mr.
Anderson's weakness had greatly increased, and all
efforts were unavailing to sustain his ebbing strength.
He died shortly after two o'clock, on the morning
of Wednesday, the 29th of July, 1868. The last
sentences he ever uttered were, as had been the
case with his father, expressive of concern about
the health and comfort of others.
On the 1st of August, he was laid to rest among
his own people, in the old Chapel-yard. All the
lawyers in Inverness marched in procession to the
grave. The chief mourners, in addition to his only
son and his brother, were Mr. Arthur Forbes of
Culloden; Mr. Eneas Mackintosh of Dalmigavie;
Mr. Andrew Dougall, general manager of the
Highland Railway; and Mr. George R. Mackay
(son of the Rev. Dr. James Aberigh-Mackay, formerly
incumbent of St. John's).
In the following September, the Guide to Inverness,
on which so much careful and loving labour had
been bestowed, was published by Menzies & Co.,
Edinburgh. An appreciative and sympathetic
notice of it (by Mr. Walter Carruthers) appeared
in the Inverness Courier of the 24th of September,
1868, which may be given in full: —
"It is melancholy to think that while this Guide
to Inverness and its neighbourhood was passing
through the press, the author was sinking under
the effects of over-fatigue, induced by too long a
mountain ramble among the scenes he knew and
loved so well. The date of the preface to this
volume is the same month as that of Mr. Anderson's
death. He never saw the finished work, but it is
satisfactory to know that it had been fully and
carefully completed long before it passed into the
printer's hands, and the whole volume bears the
mark of Mr, Anderson's habitual painstaking and
discernment. There was probably no other person
in the Highlands to whom certain extensive districts
in the country were so familiar, and especially
around Inverness. He was at home on every hilltop
and in every valley. Scarcely a week passed,
when the weather was suitable, in which he did not
make an excursion to some noteworthy spot — now
to a tumulus among the hills, of which he had received
some notice, again to some vitrified fort, or
to mark the progress of ruin at some old chateau,
and generally these holiday trips involved a great
deal of walking. Mr. Anderson's last pedestrian
excursion, as our local readers will remember, was
to the top of Ben Wyvis, on one of the hottest days
of this unusually hot season. The mere ascent and
descent of the hill, even in a broiling sun, would
not have been too much for his agile and wiry
frame, though it had known sixty-four summers, but
a succession of petty misadventures occurred by
which the day's walk was prolonged to far past
midnight, and from the effects of this excessive
fatigue our amiable and accomplished townsman
never rallied. The Guide to Inverness, his last
literary work, embraces the district which of all
others he knew best. the town and environs of Inverness,
and the places of interest or of greatest
beauty, within the bounds of an easy day's journey
— such, for instance, as Foyers, Kilmorack, Glen-Urquhart,
Culloden, Cawdor, etc. Regarding all
these, information is given as to distances, means of
conveyance, inns, etc., and for further guidance, two
maps are inserted in the volume, one of the town
and immediate neighbourhood of Inverness, and the
other of the country between Invergarry on the one
hand, and Nigg and Cromarty on the other. These
plans are prepared with great care — that of the town
being reduced by Mr. Paterson, C.E., from the maps
of the Ordnance Survey, which were placed at Mr.
Anderson's service, through the courtesy of Sir
Henry James, R.E. Mr. Hugh Mackenzie contributes
a couple of spirited sketches of Inverness —
one, a familiar view of the Castle, the Bridge, and
the Haugh roads; the other a very striking and
artistic etching, which even old citizens may be
somewhat at a loss to recognise, but which on examination
will be found to be a very spirited and
characteristic rendering of a glimpse of the Castle
buildings, taken from about Raining Stairs. An
appendix to the volume contains two valuable contributions
— one of them an essay on the geology of
the neighbourhood of Inverness, by Mr. George
Anderson, who is so well fitted to write on this
subject with authority and also with elegance. This
is followed by an alphabetical list of plants found
in the neighbourhood of the town. The volume is
neatly printed on good paper, and, after the pleasant
fashion of the times, comes out in an attractive
Peter Anderson had had four of a family — three
daughters and one son. One daughter — Agnes Jane
Grant — died in childhood in 1851. The other two,
Jeannette Margaret and Isabel Harriet Grant, survive
him. His only son, Peter John Anderson,
gold medallist of the Royal Academy in two successive
years, and a graduate of the Universities of
Aberdeen and Edinburgh, is Librarian to the former,
and Secretary of the New Spalding Club. He
has edited several works dealing with academic and
municipal history: Fasti Academiae Mariscallanae,
3 vols., 1889-98; Charters and other Writs illustrating
the History of the Royal Burgh of Aberdeen, 1890;
Inventories of Ecclesiastical Records in the Synods of
Aberdeen, Moray, Angus and Mearns, 1890; Historical
Notes on the Libraries of the Universities of Aberdeen,
1893; Officers and Graduates of University and King's
College, 1893; Aurora Borealis Academica, 1899;
Records of the Aberdeen Universities Commission of
1716-17, 1900; Roll of Alumni of University and
King's College, 1900.
Both John and Peter Anderson had, like their
father, been suddenly taken away from this world
while in apparent health and strength, and while
in the midst of a career of industry and usefulness;
but George, who of the three accomplished brothers
had been the most brilliant and the most widely
known, was destined to fade from earth slowly and
softly through long years of feebleness and languor.
Soon after his brother Peter's death his health gave
way, and in 1869 he removed with his wife and
daughter to Clifton near Bristol, where it was hoped
that the mildness of the climate might have a reviving
effect on him . At first he used to enjoy
walks on the Downs leaning on his daughter's arm,
but his steps grew feebler and feebler, and by the
time his only son had arrived from China to pay
him a visit, it had become too great an effort for
him to move from his easy chair . But the old
instincts of hospitality never faded from him — the
old terms of endearment towards his family circle
came as of old from his lips.
During those last years of his life it was the
privilege of the writer to spend months at a time
under his roof, and to sit by his side and mark the
gleam of pleasure which never failed to illumine
his beautiful and refined features when the sounds
that he had ever most dearly loved — the strains of
Scottish music or the prayers of the Church of
England — fell upon his ear. Every evening his
devoted wife played his favourite pibrochs, reels
and strathspeys over and over again, and his
daughter sang to him one old Scottish ballad after
another, winding up with the more modern ones of
"Sir Randal" by Robert Chambers, and "Douglas,
Douglas, tender and true!"
Then the piano would be closed, and after reading
some passages of Scripture, Mrs. Anderson would
kneel down by her husband's side, as he leant back
in his easy chair, and read to him some portions
from the Book of Common Prayer. When the
words "When two or three are gathered together
in Thy name, Thou wilt grant their requests" fell
upon his ear, he never failed to clasp his hands
and bow his head. As soon as the first words of
the closing prayer — the Lord's Prayer — were pronounced,
Mr. Anderson's little dog, which never left
his side, day or night, rose at once to be in readiness
to escort his feeble steps to his own room, (He had
given the dog the Gaelic name of M'ulaidh, which
signifies "my treasure or favourite".) Leaning
on his wife's arm, and with his right hand resting
heavily on his staff, while his daughter walked
behind, Mr. Anderson would slowly begin to ascend
the stairs, preceded by the little dog M'ulaidh, which
never omitted to look back at every step, to make
sure that her beloved master was safely following
her. As soon as he was ensconced in bed, little
M'ulaidh settled herself on his feet, to keep watch
over him till morning.
On the 7th of March, 1878, the earthly life of the
brilliant, gifted and lovable George Anderson came
to a close after nine years of weariness and weakness.
He was laid in a beautiful cemetery near
Bristol, and his faithful wife now rests there by his
side. She died at Minehead in Somerset on 23rd
The obituary notice of George Anderson in the
Inverness Courier concludes with these words:
"Mr Anderson lived to a good old age: he died in
his seventy-sixth year, and all who had the privilege
of his friendship, who could enjoy his racy
conversation or sympathise with his youthful and
buoyant disposition, who experienced his generous
hospitality and recognised his remarkable and
varied accomplishments, will learn not without
some touch of emotion that he has passed away
to join the great majority."
George Anderson had had four children in all,
but two of them, Mary and John, died in infancy.
His surviving son and daughter, George Cobban
and Justina Jessie have long been resident in Hong
Kong. The former entered upon a sailor's life at
a very early period, and has been for over forty
years in the employment of Messrs. Jardine, Matheson
& Co. Before quitting their steam service in
1882 he had commanded five of their vessels in
succession. At present he is the oldest member of
their staff, and holds the appointment of Marine
Superintendent at Hong Kong.
Family Tree- Following four pages
Cite this Document
An Inverness Lawyer and His Sons, 1796-1878. 2023. In The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 2 December 2023, from http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/cmsw/document/?documentid=45.
"An Inverness Lawyer and His Sons, 1796-1878." The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2023. Web. 2 December 2023. http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/cmsw/document/?documentid=45.
The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing, s.v., "An Inverness Lawyer and His Sons, 1796-1878," accessed 2 December 2023, http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/cmsw/document/?documentid=45.
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An Inverness Lawyer and His Sons, 1796-1878
|Title||An Inverness Lawyer and His Sons, 1796-1878|
|Year of publication||1900|
Author information: Anderson, Isabel Harriet