(From Our Own Correspondent.)
Edinburgh, March 1
Two important bye-elections took place in Scotland during February—the one in Dundee, the other in the Western division of Edinburgh. In the former the vacancy was caused by the retirement of Mr Lacaita. The poll was taken on February IG, with the j result that Mr Firth, the Gladstonian candi- | date, received 7SSG votes against 4217 it- [ corded for his opponent, General Sir Henry l Daly, who represented the Unionist party. Mr Firth's election was all along considered certain, but his majority, large as it was, exhibited a decrease of 1231 votes as compared with the figures when Mr Lacaita was elected, The Unionists claim that this indioates that publio opinion in Dundee is growing more favourable to their principles, and thay feel encouraged accordingly, In Western Edinburgh the contest was very muoh closer and more exciting. No election in this city for a, number of years has awakened so much interest. The vacancy occurred by the sitting member, Mr T. E. Buchanan, resigning his seat and seeking re-election, on account of his having renounced his former principles, and embraced Gladstonian views. His antagonist was Mr Kaleigh, a young barrister, who formerly unsuccessfully contested the seat for the Southern division of Edinburgh, and who had executed a change of front pretty nearly the converse of Mr Buchanan's. The poll was taken on February 18, when Mr Buchanan received 3294 votes, and Mr Iteieigji 3248. The former was thus retiiiped by a majoritj* of 4G votes only, vyhereas wheji"lifi contested the seat as an Unionist his majority" was'" G'9o. Mr Buchanan ia personally yery popular, while Mr Raleigh is comparatively littlo known in Edinburgh, and this was enough to turn the scale where parties were so evenly balanced. THE CKOFTEB AGITATION. gepteppe y/aa passed a day or two after I last wrote upon the crofters y/hp >yere convicted of mobbing and rioting in connection with the disturbances at Aigiiish, in Lewis, aud Clashmore, in Sutherlaridshire. Of the former, three were sentenced to imprisonment for nine months, seven for 12 months, and two for 15 months each; while another man, for destroying a fence at Aignish, was sent to prison for six months. In the case of the three Clashmore rioters, one of them, a man, was sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment, and the other two, who were both women, to pjne months' imprisonment. The judge (Lord Oraigbill) rerid'the women a lecture on their conduct in hlackening their faces, and said he waa doubtful if he had done right in reducing their sentences on account of their sex. As it was, the passing of such sentences created a sensation in court, and caused a great outcry to be made by the crofters' sympathisers all ovar the country. Petitions, signed by women only, praying for a reduction of the sentence on the two yromen aro now in course of signature.
'•'At first the news of the sentences passed on the convicted rioters seemed to sober the cr'oftpjrs generally, but they very soon recovered from the shook, and though they have not committed any glaring breach of the peace, suoh as the riot at Aignish, there have been many petty acts of lawlessness, and very many threats of more indulged in in various places. Theagitation isnowspreading, in the Hebrides to South Uist and Benbecula and on the mainland, in West Ross, particularly in the districts of Ullapool aud Dundonnel. In this country, moreover, a laid was made on the hares (1), a good many of which were shot. Several of the delinquents, however, were promptly brought before the* sheriff and smartly fino.d, The diversion of tho Barvas river, in Lewis, hfis at last been completed by the crofters, in spite of the interdict served upon some of them; but the work is so badly dono as only partially to accomplish the purposes of those who undertook it.
Their lazy method of working has evoked some not very complimentary criticisms. Meanwhile the leaven is spreading all
through the north and west, affecting parties who are not crofters at all. For example, the fishermen at Dunbeath, Caithness, have been requesting land from Mr Sinclair, of
i* Dunbeath Castle, on the ground that they ' could not now earn a living by fishing. The Crofters' Commission continues its labours in ' regard to the revision of agricultural rents, and in many parts a revision of this-kind is 1 also going on independent of the commission. For example, the whole of the farms and holdings on the Countess of Seafield's ' Inverness-shiro estates, whose aggregate ) area is 100,000 aores, have just been . revalued, with the result of an average : reduction in the rental of nearly 30 per cent. • Everything in the North seems to be in a ' state of transition, and it is difficult to say yet in what direction things are likely to [ reach a settlement. '■ Meanwhile hunger is gnawing hard at the unfortunate population of Lewis. Mr M'Neill and Sheriff Fraser, who were appointed by the Scottish Secretary to inquiie into and report upon tho condition of tho crofters in Lewis, have issued their report. It tells a dismal .tale of present misery and a future without hope. For instance, in the Lochs district the people have nearly consumed their potatoes, and their only other *god consists of; meal furnished by tho Destitution Committee, and now and again small fish. Very few of them have either money or credit. At the same time the commissioners remark upon "a lamentable absence of energy and activity among the people," of which they say that they noticed " many examples." They add: " This apathy—in part, perhaps, due to their hopeless position—we mainly ascribe to the baneful effects often observed elsewhere of subsistence on eleemosynary aid." Emigration is the remedy pressed by the commissioners, who regret that the present leaders of the people forbid tbem to entertain proposals for carrying their labour to other fields till all tho land in the isjand has been given to them. They forget, the commissioners point out, that even if tho whole area of the Lews were made over to the people, they are totally without capital wherewith to utilise it; and that, again, assuming the capital to be forthcoming, the whole difficulty would recur in the course of a few years. The commissioners add that it is their conviction " that actual starvation in the Lews has only been averted during the present winter by the exceptional abundance of last year's crop, and will almost certainly occur before tho crop of next season is available." The change in the conditions on which mon are hired in the east coast fishing are estimated by tho commissioners to have cost the Lews men a loss of £40,000 alike in 1886 and 1887, while at the same time tbo price of stock has seriously fallen. In every way the prospect is as bad as it can be, while measures for effecting a real and permanent improvement seem to be at a deadlock. TRADE AND INDUSTRY. At the annual dinner of the Edinburgh Fish Trade Association last month, Mr : Blackie, of the Normal Company, London, gave some statistics showing the extent of the fishing industry in Scotland. There j were, he said, 49,000 fishermen, 3000 coopers, ' 1000 fishcurers, and 44,000 other persons ' generally connected with it. The value of ' tho boats was £91G,000; of the nets, ■ £760,000; and of the lines, £120,000; mak- J ing a total of £1,800,000 invested in the ' fishing trade in Scotland. Mr Blackie blamed ' the North of Scotland Bank for having done *■ much to bring about the extraordinary do- ' pression whicii existed all ovor tho country ' by the manner in which it had given ad- £ vances to fishcurers. I i
A petition having been signed by some 700 fishermen at Fraserburgh and forwarded to the Marquis of Lothian, Secretary of State for Scotland, asking for State aid to enable them to emigrate to British Columbia on account of their destitution, Lord Saltoun, hereditary provost of the town, has published a letter in which ho says that the representations made ; in the petition " are gross exaggerations, if not absolutely incorrect." He says that there are barely 200 fishermen in Fraserburgh, including the fishing village of Broadsea, and that there is little or no destitution among them. Among the coopers Lord Saltoun admits thero is some destitution, but he adds that it is being locally and successfully dealt with. As the prospect" of getting State help in order to emigrate becomes more assured, there will doubtless be increasing need to scrutinise the stories put in circulation about destitution, At tho half-yearly meeting in February of the Forth Bridge Railway Company, the Marquis of Tweeddale, who presided, said that the engineers wero of opinion that if the present rate of progress continued, and if the weather wero of an average kind, and no untoward event occurred, they might count on tho bridge being completed in the course of next year, and in all probability about October. The iron industry of Stirlingshire continues to grow in spite of the dull times. A large foundry has just been erected at Larberfc, near the railway station, and a second close by is nearing completion. The Scottish News, with which the Edinburgh Courant was amalgamated some two years ago, published its last morning issue on February 11, and is in future to be represented only by an evening paper issued at
the same office. Previous to tiie amalgamation referred to, the paper was published for some years under the name of the Glasgow News. It is said that about £150,000 has been lost in the endeavour to establish this paper in the Conservative interest.
It is stated that the unlet house property | in Edinburgh at tho present time i| £30,000 less than it was a few years ago. There is a specially brisk demand for working men's • houses, owing to so many of these having ' been demolished in the carrying out of oity improvements. On the other hand, of the better class of houses there are more to let this year than there were twelve montbs ago.
At a large and enthusiastic meeling held at Helmsdale last week, it was unanimously resolved to petition the Duke of Sutherland to re-open the Kildonan goldlield in order to afford employment to the people of the district. The duke being at present in China, however, it will be some timo before the matter can yield any fruit. Doubtless some of your readers will remember the excitement created some 20 years ago when this goldfield was discovered, if I recollect rightly, by two Otago men. At the annual social meeting last week of the employes of the Caledonian Railway Company engaged in the passenger departments at the Central and Buchanan street
stations, Glasgow, Lord Provost Sir James King, who presided, made an interesting
Bpeeoh on railway enterprise, He stated that in Britain the maximum speed maintained for considerable distances was now 54 miles per hour, the nearest approach to this in any foreign oountry being 40 miles an hour. At the same time statistics showed that railway travelling was safer in this country than any other. Coming to the Caledonian system in particular, Sir James said that upwards of £39,000,000 had been spent in its construction. Its mileage was over 800 miles, and tho rolling' stock included nearly 700 locomotives and something like 45,000 waggons, while thedrawings amounted to about £3,000,000 annually,
Somo idea of the scale on which some of our steamship companies are now carried on
may be formed from particulars given at the annual social gathering of the Glasgow
employes of the "State Line," hold on February il. "&iv Murray, trie manage;: fjf the compapy, who presided, §a}d £hat its agents ih the United Kingdom and various countries on the Continent numbered between 3000 and 4000, while those in the United States and Canada exceeded 3000 in number. To these had to be added between 500 and 000 men in the regular employment of the company at Glasgow, and as many moro at Lame and New York; while the crews of the fleet ranged between 400 and 500. In all, therefore, the company afforded employment to a greater or less extent to upwards of 8000 persons in different parts of the world. AN EAST END COLLEGE FOR GLASGOW. A bill has just been brought hit 3 Parliament for the establishment of a college of the University of Glasgow ix\ the eastern part of th>3 city, ift io"proposed to ea}l it "St. Mungo's College,"and that its affairs should be managed by a board of governors, consisting of 19 persons, six of whom are to represent the university, and tho remainder tho corporation, school board, chamber of commerce, infirmary, and other public bodies in the city. The object in view in the starting of the college—viz., the bringing of a college education to the doors of the poorpr section of the community in Glasgow, is a laudable one. At the same time, unless things are wisely managed, there is a danger on the one hand, of the college not being made use of to stny considerable extent, and, op thp cither, of the' instruction given sinking below a university level, Tl}E LAPSED MASSES,
The Glasgow Presbytery of the Established Church has lately mado an effort to ascertain how many people within part of its bounds do not attend any place of worship, and the causes for their conduct, The population dealt with numbered 118,753, out of which the non-churchgoers numbered 19,050, or about 17 per cent. At this rate the total number of non-churchgoers within the presbytery's bounds would amount to about 120,000, which is about the estimate formerly arrived at on other data. Among the causes of this unsatisfactory state of things, intemperance is assigned, as might be expected, the foremost place, Among tho other causes enumerated, are " low religious tone, the debasing influence of Romanism, non-attractive services, Sabbath labour, want of parental authority, and cheap and unhealthy literature." Among the remedies suggested are— " Plainer dressing on the part of those attending churcb, the abolition of seat-rents, early closing on Saturday, and no labour on the Sabbath." These remedies relate specially to the pew; but if the pulpit were also reformed by being occupied pnly by men witli warm hearts and plain good sense, giving definite, practical, and kindly messages to their hearers, there would be far fewer empty or half-occupied pews. To this day experience teaches that a well-filled pulpit always results in welkfilled pews. . POSTAL CURIOSITIES. A resident at Stonehaven has had delivered to him a letter which has been on its way for 20 years. It contained only a Christmas card, and was addressed to him at a former address of his in India, and posted on Oth December 18G7. The envelope bears the postmarks of several Indian Post Offices, as well as various inscriptions in Persian, Arabic, and Devanagari characters pencilled upon it by puzzled postal officials in India. Tho letter ultimately found its way to Scotland, and reached its owner 20 years and two months after it was posted, Mr Hyde, superintendent of the Edinburgh General Post Oilice, in the course of a lecture delivered by him the other day on "The Post Office a Hundred Years Ago," gave a curious specimen of the difficulties with which letter carriers have to contend, "even in these days. He stated that a letter had been received at Edinburgh bearing the Sheffield postmark of 28th October 188G, and addressed as follows: "Photographic Establishment, Princes street, where they have the photo, of the Marquis of Lothian in his State robes in the window, • nearly opposite the Post Office, Edinburgh," The letter was duly delivered. EARLT CLOSING OP PUBLIC HOUSES.
Under the new act of Parliament, authorising the closing of public houses at 10 p.m. (instead of 11), at the desire of a majority of the inhabitants, there bids fair to be a considerable social revolution. The operation of the act is limited to towns whose population does not exceed 50,000 inhabitants, and many of theso haye, by plebiscites, declared overwhelmingly in favour of closing at the earlier hour. In Roxburghshire, for example, all the public houses will be closed at 10 after May. Among other localities where the same step has been resolved upon, are Kirkcaldy, Montrose, Dalkeith, and Bridge of Allan. The experience gained in theso places, others in various parts of the country which might also be named, will doubtless give a fresh impetus to tho efforts of temperance reformers. Already some of these are urging the amendment of the act so as to include the large towns, where its operation is most needed, but there will be a good light before this result is achieved, Meanwhile the working of tho act in the places where it is adopted will be keenly watched alike by the friends and foes of restrictive liquor legislation.
Sir William Johnston, of Kirkhill, a once prominent Edinburgh citizen, died on February 7, aged 85. In company with his famous brother, Dr Keith Johnston, he founded the eminent firm of geographical publishers of W. and A. K. Johnston, which
is now carried on by Mr T. B. Johnston, the last surviving brother. William Johnston was Lord Provost of Edinburgh from 1848
to 1851, and was knighted in tho latter year. He then retired from municipal affairs, but
took an active and useful interest in benevolent schemes of various kinds. He refused repeated invitations to represent tho city in Parliameut. About 20 years ago bo retired from business, and since then he bad lived a quiet life at his property, Kirkhill House, near Gorebridge.
Admiral Sir William Edmonstone, Bart., C.8., of Duntreath, Stirlingshire, died rather suddenly at his Edinburgh residenco on February 18, aged 77. He saw service in the Mediterranean, where he lost part of his lower jaw in action against pirates off Crete. He was also Commodore on tho West Coast of Africa for several years, Ho sat in the House of Commons as member for Stirlingshire from 1874 to 1880, and received a presentation of silver plate from his constituents in recognition of his services. He is survived by a widow, one son, and seven daughters, six of whom are married. Sir William Marjoribanks, Bart., of Lees, Berwickshire, died at Torquay on February 22. He only succeeded to the baronetcy on tjie sudden death of his brother in November 1885, and had been in delicate health since. With his death the male line of the family expires, and tho baronetcy will lapse. It is believed the estate will go lo Mr George Marjoribanks, a nephew of Lord Twoodmonth, and who is at present connected with the London banking firm of Coutts and Co. Air Norman Macbeth, R.S.A., au eminent Scottish portrait painter, died on February 28 in London, whore he had resieed of lato years. He was in his 07th year. GEKRIIAL NEWS. According to an official statement just issued, the amount of public money expended in connection with deputations by the city of Glasgow during lhe 12 months ending on 30th September 1887 was £1589 17s 2d. A new residential suburb of Dundee is expected shortly to spring up at Warniit, near the southern end of tho Tay Bridge, by which the town i.s reach in seven minutes. An outcry is being raised against thu wanton destruction of scafowl in Shetland by " sportsmen." The skua or bonxic, in particular, is declared to be in imminent danger of extinction. It breeds only in three places, and but few specimens are left. Valentine's Day seems to be rapidly falling into a happy oblivion. This year the falling
oft in the number of missives was very marked, and it was not found necessary to strengthen the postal staff at all to deal with the extra letters.
At Larkhall, Lanarkshire, a testimonial is being got up for the benefit of one Michael Smith, who is said to be 111 years of age. He was bora at Auehnagurgan, and baptised at Ballymacnab in October 177G,
The grammar school at Lanark, which was erected in 1883, and was attended by 440 pupils, was burned to the ground on February 18. Difficulty was experienced in finding a fire-plug, owing to the ground being covered with snow. The valuable classical library bequcated to tho school by Dr Smellie, the noted obstetrician, was saved. The casting of Mr W. G. Stevenson's colossal bronze statue of Wallace, which is to be erected at Aberdeen, has been successfully completed in London, It may surprise those who aro not acquainted with suoh matters to learn that the work has given employment to a staff of men for 2| years. The cost is £3000, whicii is defrayed by a bequest by the late John Steell, Edinburgh. The statue is to be unvcaled next month by the Marques of Lome.
Dr Isaac Bayley Balfour, Sheraidian professor of botany at Oxford, has been appointed to succeed the late Professor Dickson in the botany chair in Edinburgh University. Dr Balfour, who is 35 years of age, is a son of the well-known Dr J. H. Balfour, who was professor of botany for 35 years in Edinburgh. The post is worth considerably more than £2000 a-yoai', An " exposition of hairdressing," under tho auspices of the Edinburgh Hairdressers' Academy, was held in this 'city a few days ago, About 300 spectators watched with groat interest the dressing in different styles of the hair of 17 ladies.
The personal estate of the late Mr John Fulton, brewer, Edinburgh, has been declared at £100,000; and that of the late Mr W. J. Little Gilrnour, of Liberton ancl Craigmillar, near Edinburgh, at £31,896. b,. book, qn blaci-faqnd shoep im§ jvist been issued, the authors of which are Messrs John and Charles Scott, They state that such sheep aro more numerous and widely distributed now than they ever were. The number in Scotland alone they estimate at four and a-quarter millions, or 70 per cent, of the total sheep stook of the oountry, representing an invested capital of about £7,034,065 and an annual rental of £1,177,215. During last season nearly 5000 rams were sold at the Scottish ram sales at an average price of £4 5s lOd, being a rise of almost 55 per cent, on the prices obtained in 1885.
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SCOTLAND., Otago Daily Times, Issue 8169, 28 April 1888, Supplement
SCOTLAND. Otago Daily Times, Issue 8169, 28 April 1888, Supplement
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