The James Begg Society

The James Begg Society

Publishers of Protestant, Reformed Christian Literature

Articles from our past Email Newsletters

Two Chapters from
Memorabilia Domestica;

or, Parish Life in the North of Scotland.

By the Rev. Donald Sage, A.M., Minister of Resolis.

The following article consists of two chapters which have been selected from Memorabilia Domestica ; or, Parish Life in the North of Scotland, by the Rev. Donald Sage, A.M., Minister of Resolis (edited by his son, Donald Fraser Sage). If you are interested in reading the whole book, it has been made available on the Internet at

I hope you will yet be encouraged and challenged in your own faith by this glimpse into the spiritual lives of some of the Lord’s people in the Scottish Highlands of the 19 th Century.

Some of the paragraphs were rather long, so I have taken the liberty of dividing them to aid reading.

The footnotes have been re-numbered (in the original book they were numbered starting from 1 on each page with footnotes) and they have been relocated to immediately below the paragraph where they are referenced. They are herein referred to as notes.

This article was included in our Email Newsletter No.7, 6th March 2007.




THE laird of Attadale, in whose family I was to reside, had arranged to send a horse as far as Dingwall for me to ride. I arrived there on Sabbath morning, and at the usual hour attended church. The late Dr. Stewart of the Canongate Church, Edinburgh, was then minister of Dingwall, to which he had been translated from the parish of Moulin. I was deeply impressed by his Gaelic discourse. His elegant and beautiful dialect of the Gaelic language, and what was worth all the languages on earth, his pure and vivid views of gospel truth and Christian experience, left upon my mind, I dare not say a saving, but certainly a lasting impression. I rode in the evening to Muirtown, then the property and residence of a Mr. Reid, an exceedingly plain, unsophisticated, downright sort of a man. His wife, a very pretty-looking woman, was a native of Gairloch, and sister of the present minister of Golspie, Mr. Alexr. MacPherson. When I arrived at Muirtown it was rather late in the evening, and, on alighting at the door, a demure, serving-looking man met me, of whom I enquired if his master, Mr. Reid, were at home. He replied that he was, and, moreover, that he himself was that identical master in his own proper person. I stammered out an apology, but he cut me short by saying that I was by no means the first who had, in his case, mistaken the master for the man, and at once ushered me into his parlour. We had tea, and, immediately thereafter, Attadale arrived from Inverness. I left Muirtown on the Monday, in company with him and Mr. Reid, and arrived that night at Luibgargan, the identical inn where my grandfather, nearly a century before, had his rencontre with Red Colin. Next day, Mr. Reid returned home, and the laird and I, proceeding onwards, arrived at Attadale about two in the afternoon.

My cousin, Mrs. Matheson, received me very kindly. The family consisted of five sons, Alexander, 1 Hugh, Farquhar, Donald and John, and two daughters, whose names I now forget. Attadale’s mother and sister also resided in the family, but soon afterwards he built a cottage on his property for their accommodation. All the boys were my pupils. The place of Attadale is very romantic, but almost entirely inaccessible, except at low water by the sands to the east, and by a break-neck, scrambling road over the edge of a precipice to the west.

[Note 1: Afterwards Sir Alexander Matheson, Bart., M.P., of Ardross.—ED.]

Mr. Lachlan Mackenzie was then minister of Lochcarron, a man of genius, but of great eccentricity, and distinguished as one of the most eminently pious ministers of his day. As such his praise was in all the churches. I was his stated hearer during my residence in his parish. We had to cross the bay of Lochcarron to reach the church. It was built towards the close of my grandfather’s ministry, and was, every Sabbath, crowded to the doors. This worthy and eminent servant of God was by this time in the decline of life. He was much afflicted in body by one of those nervous disorders which, undermining his constitution, terminated in paralysis; he died in 1819. His sermons exhibited the most profound views of divine truth.

His expedients to re-establish his health were very peculiar. At one period of his life he bathed, often many times but always once a day, and that too both in summer and winter. He literally loaded himself with clothing. I have seen him on a hot summer day, in the church which was crowded with people, wrapped up in three vests, over which were two coats, a great-coat, and a cloak.

His elders were weak and injudicious. They filled his ears with all the idle, gossipping complaints against this individual or that, which floated on the breath of the common people, and this both grieved and irritated him. These he introduced into the pulpit, so as often to excite his own mind, and very little to edify his audience. There was one individual, a stated hearer, against whom he frequently pointed some awful and crushing denunciations. He was a sheep-farmer, who resided in the immediate vicinity of the manse. This man rose from a humble origin to be a prosperous and wealthy holder of stock. During the days of his obscurity, and when he lived in a humble hut, he made a profession of godliness, frequently communicated with Mr. Lachlan on the state of his mind under the hearing of the Word, attended the prayer and fellowship-meetings, kept family worship, and, in short, was apparently a decided Christian. But, as the world began to smile upon him, a change came over his spirit. He gave up family worship, absented himself from all meetings held for prayer and Christian conference, exchanged the society of the prayerful people for that of the profane, and finally crowned his apostasy by railing against the venerable pastor whom he had formerly professed to love and revere. Mr. Mackenzie first endeavoured to regain him by private admonition, but this having only a hardening effect, he took up his apostasy and publicly denounced it. Those denunciations, some of which were truly predictive of what afterwards took place, were uttered frequently in my hearing and were singularly appalling.

Of all his nine co-presbyters Mr. Mackenzie was the only minister who preached the gospel with purity and effect. Mr. Morrison of Crow-Kintail adopted the evangelical strain, but he was more remarkable for his blundering than for any actual efficiency. Dr. Ross of Lochbroom was an able man, and a sound and talented preacher, but his love of controversy and of litigation destroyed his ministerial usefulness, and was withering to his soul. Dr. Downie of Lochalsh was a man of wealth and of gentlemanly manners, a princely landlord, an extensive sheep-farmer, a good shot, but a wretched preacher. Mr. Russel of Gairloch, Mr. Macrae of Glenshiel, Mr. Macqueen of Applecross, and Mr. Colin Macivor of Glenelg, were complete and respectable specimens of Moderatism in those days.

I was introduced to Mr. Mackenzie, and not a little recommended to him by my lineal descent from the first Presbyterian minister of that parish, of whom he often made honourable mention in his pulpit doctrines, repeating in the way of illustration certain anecdotes of him, or pithy sayings, which he was reported to have uttered. These references, because of my close relationship to the person referred to, drew upon me the eyes of the whole con gregation, among whom my ancestor’s memory was still fresh, and many of whom had both seen him and heard him preach. I was often a guest at Mr. Mackenzie’s table, and although myself, at that time, very careless and ignorant of divine things, I felt that my host was truly a man of God. There was a simplicity and heavenliness, in all that he said and did, that both impressed and overawed me. Mr. Mackenzie never married, but he was a great admirer of the fair sex. He was known to have had, for many years, a predilection for a young woman, a near neighbour of his; but there was nothing in her spirit or conduct to induce such a man as Mr. Mackenzie to marry her, as she and all her family were destitute of any sense of vital godliness, and he was not the man to put himself under an “unequal yoke.” He died in the 66th year of his age and the 38th of his ministry.

Having, as a candidate for license, been transferred from the Presbytery of Dornoch to that of Lochcarron, I delivered before the latter my remaining trial discourses, and was accordingly, by their moderator, Mr Morrison of Crow-Kintail, licensed to preach the gospel. This was in 1815. How ignorant of that gospel was I then, and how callously indifferent to the great charge with which I was then entrusted! The day on which I was licensed I left Attadale somewhat early, to cross the river Carron at its junction with the sea at low water. The day was dry, and the river very low, so that I had not the slightest difficulty in getting over, and I arrived at the church of Lochcarron in full time to witness the commencement of the Presbytery’s proceedings. It was so late in the evening before they could take up and fully go through my trials, that I was under the necessity of remaining in the inn at Jeantown over night.

Early next morning I set out for Attadale. It had rained heavily during the interval, but had cleared up about daybreak. Being well mounted, I directed my course to the ford on the Carron, which I had crossed on the previous day, when the water was not deep enough to reach much past the horse’s fetlock. The river, however, on my return was greatly flooded. Unaware of this fact, and unconscious of my danger, I entered the ford. But I had not ridden ten yards into the stream when my horse suddenly lost his footing, and we were both at once swept down by the strength and rapidity of the current into the tide below, which was making at the time. I was about to give up all for lost, but had the presence of mind to wheel my horse round, when, after swimming for the distance of ten or fifteen yards, he reached the beach with me in safety. My condition there was, however, by no means a secure one, as the tide was advancing around me. A man, accidentally passing, guided me out of my perilous position. He said that although no man nor horse could have crossed the river where I had attempted it, he would undertake to lead me over a little farther down, where, he assured me, the water would scarcely be knee-deep. Accordingly, coming with me to the very point where the current of the stream entered the tide, and going before me himself on foot, he led me in a diagonal direction across, following closely the bank of sand which the force of the stream had thrown up before it on its entrance into the sea, and thus we reached the opposite bank in perfect safety. I thought so little of this incident at the time that I never even mentioned it, but on looking back on it from amidst the vicissitudes of after-life, and the many difficulties and subsequent deliverances which I have experienced in the course of my ministry, I have frequently had reason to acknowledge the goodness of God towards me on that occasion.

Mr. Dingwall of Farr had died in the previous year (1814). His successor was Mr. David Mackenzie, missionary minister of Achness, to whom the patron presented the living, on which he entered in May 1815. The vacancy in Achness was soon afterwards filled, the Assembly’s committee appointing me to that place. In consequence of this I left Attadale, and once more came to reside under my father’s roof.

Previous to my departure from Attadale, it might be about a week or two, I was, as a licentiate of the Presbytery of Lochcarron, asked to preach within their bounds. My first attempt to address a public audience was made at Lochalsh, and in the pulpit of Dr. Downie, the parish minister. My exhibition was an almost complete failure. I was wretchedly deficient in the Gaelic language, and I entered upon the ministry with a conscious dependence upon myself. Both the Gaelic and the English sermons which I preached at Lochalsh were the result of a whole week’s study, and I had closely committed every word to memory. Dr. Downie, for whom I officiated on this first occasion, was one of my early acquaintances after I came to reside in that part of the country. I had been frequently a guest at his house, and he treated me with uniform kindness. But careless and ignorant as I then was, I could not fail to notice the glaring deficiencies of his ministerial character. His sermons were literal transcripts from Blair “et hoc genus omne.” These he read in English, and translated into the purest and most elegant Gaelic. Dr. Downie’s respectable neighbour, Coll Mac- Donnell of Barrisdale, a cadet of the family of Glengarry, claimed cousinship with me as the great-great-grandson of MacDonnell of Ardnafuaran. This gentleman was, in personal appearance, size, and manners, a genuine specimen of the Highland “duin’ uasal;” he lived at Achtertyre, a farm which he held from Hugh Innes of Lochalsh.

Dr. Downie had four daughters and three sons. His eldest son attended college; he afterwards went to the West Indies. Charles the second son is now minister of Contin, and Alexander, the third son, is a medical practitioner in a foreign country. His eldest two daughters, Flora and Margaret, about the time I resided in that country, 1813-15, were at a London boarding-school. During the visit of the allied sovereigns of Europe to the Prince Regent in 1814, after Napoleon’s banishment to Elba, these young ladies were spectators of a public demonstration made by the Regent in honour of his Imperial and Royal visitors. Poor Margaret, a very beautiful girl, caught cold on that occasion, which threw her into a consumption. She and her sister came home, and her death took place a few months after her arrival. It was the second Sabbath thereafter that I preached at Lochalsh. Dr. Downie walked with me to church. When we entered the churchyard gate, one of the first objects which met our eyes was the new-made grave of his daughter. A convulsion passed over his face, the tears started over his eyes, but he quickly regained his composure. 2

[Note 2: Dr. Alexr. Downie died in May, 1820, at the age of 55, having been minister of Lochalsh for 29 years.—ED.]

Leaving Attadale early in the morning, I breakfasted at Luib-gargan, proceeded on foot down Strathconon, and rested during the night at Garve. Next morning I met with a clansman, the only one outside my own family I had ever seen. He was a John Sage, an excise officer in that district. We breakfasted together, and setting off immediately thereafter, I arrived at Kildonan on Thursday.

The communion was to be administered on the Sabbath following, and I found my father, with his assistants, Mr. John Munro, missionary, minister of Dirlot, and Mr. Duncan MacGillivray, minister of Assynt, busily engaged in the preparatory duties. The services were conducted in Gaelic, and in the open air. The spot selected for the meeting of the congregation was about a mile to the north of the manse, on the banks of the burn, and about two or three hundred yards below the waterfall of “Ess-na-caoraiche-duibhe.”

My father preached the action sermon in Gaelic and I succeeded him in the evening. I selected for my text the same passage I preached from at Lochcarron. I uttered a few preliminary sentences with considerable boldness and facility. But all at once my memory failed me, and I made a dead pause. My father sat behind me in the tent, and groaned aloud for very anxiety. The congregation, too, among whom were a number of my future flock at Achness, all on the very tiptoe of curiosity and attention on my first appearance, were agitated like the surface of one of their own mountain lochs when suddenly visited with a hurricane. After a pause of some minutes, however, during which I felt myself pretty similarly circumstanced as when carried away by the river Carron, I pulled out my manuscript, and stammered out the rest of my sermon with much trepidation, and in the best way I could.

I returned home totally disconcerted, and seriously meditated the renunciation of my license, my mission, and all my ministerial prospects. Mr. Munro, however, came to comfort me in my distress. It would appear that he himself had had a personal experience of the very difficulty with which I had then to grapple. He had been requested by Mr. Bethune to preach at Dornoch, but although he got through the Gaelic service without much difficulty, when he attempted to preach an English sermon without his manuscript, he had to stop short in the middle of a sentence, and was under the necessity of having recourse to his paper, much to his own confusion no less than to that of his audience. He could thus the more readily sympathise with my feelings, and I was not a little cheered and encouraged by his truly Christian and fatherly admonitions. I think, indeed, that upon the whole I was no loser by this very severe trial of my natural feelings. It read me a most humbling lesson respecting myself, and struck a telling blow also at the very root of my self-confidence, then my easily besetting sin.

I may here record some notices about my father’s assistants at that communion. Mr. John Munro was a native of Ross-shire. His more immediate ancestors were tinkers not of the gipsy race, however, but native Highlanders—who gained their livelihood by the manufacture of horn-spoons and vessels of tin or white iron, and by mending broken stoneware, and who wandered about from place to place in pursuit of their vocation. They were therefore called, in their native tongue, “ceardaidhean,” or craftsmen. Mr. Munro, although sprung from so humble a race, was yet destined by the All-wise Ruler for far higher ends. At a very early age he felt the power of the truth upon his heart, through the instrumentality of his mother s instructions. He received the first rudiments of his education at Kiltearn parish school, and afterwards, during his attendance at the College and at the Hall, became parochial school master, first of Resolis, and afterwards of Tarbat. While in this latter place he married Miss Forbes, sister of the minister of the parish. After finishing his course at the Hall he was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Tain.

Although a man of great moral weight, and of faith unfeigned, his natural capacity was limited, as were his literary attainments. He understood the first principles of Latin and Greek grammar, but abstract views of a subject, the logical arrangement of it, and the bringing out of his views in a regular and consecutive form, were qualifications of which he was destitute. When on his trials before the Presbytery he delivered a homily, on which all bestowed most unqualified approbation. It was clear and concise and, in short, a masterly performance. But Mr. John Ross of Logie, one of their number, who well knew the extent of Mr. Munro s abilities, and the very much more than mere help which he received from his parish minister, added with much emphasis, after highly commending the performance, “But, young man, is not the hand of Joab with thee in all this?”

Soon after being licensed, about the year 1812, he was appointed missionary-minister of Dirlot, and it was during his ministry there that he regularly assisted my father when he annually administered the sacrament at Kildonan. He was missionary at Dirlot when I was at Stempster, and I noticed that although he was universally respected by the pious among the lower classes, yet, by the higher and better-educated who knew not the truth, he was known in Caithness by the epithet of “Munro of the hills.” He was elected minister of the Gaelic Chapel, Edinburgh, on Mr. Macdonald’s translation to Urquhart, or Ferintosh, as successor to the eminent Charles Calder. On the death of Mr. Cameron at a very advanced age, he was, as the choice of the people, presented to the church and parish of Halkirk. 3

[Note 3: Mr. John Munro died 1st April, 1847, in the 41st year of his ministry. He was for 25 years minister of Halkirk, where his memory is much revered.—ED.]

Mr. Duncan MacGillivray, now of Lairg, was a near relative of the venerated Dr. Angus Mackintosh of Tain. 4 He was a native of the parish of Moy, Inverness-shire, and an original member of the Northern Missionary Society, being present at its first meeting held at Tain in 1800.

[Note 4: Dr. Angus Mackintosh was translated from the Gaelic Chapel, Glasgow, and admitted minister of Tain 11th May, 1797 ; he died 3rd Oct., 1831, in the 68th year of his age and 39th of his ministry. He was one of the originators and secretary of the Northern Missionary Society. In 1800 he married Anne, youngest daughter of Mr. Ch. Calder, minister of Urquhart. She died 23rd Jan., 1857. He was succeeded by his son Dr. Charles Calder Mackintosh, who was ordained (assist, and sue.) 19th June, 1828; translated to Free Church, Dunoon, in 1854; and who died at Pau 24th Nov., 1868, in the 62nd year of his age and 41st of his ministry. (See his Memoir and Sermons, published and edited by the late Rev. William Taylor).—ED.]

The first charge to which he was appointed on being licensed to preach was that of Achness. I have even now a distinct remembrance of seeing him at Kildonan on his way to enter upon his labours. My father and step-mother were from home, and he stepped in upon us on the evening of a raw, cold, misty day in spring. He was the immediate successor of the late Mr. Gordon of Loth, and like him was a frequent visitor at my father’s when he preached at Ach-na-h’uaighe, and was always his assistant during sacramental occasions. During his visits to Kildonan he had often been my instructor in Latin. Both as a preacher and a well-educated man Mr. MacGillivray was highly respectable. His sermons were well-composed, and exhibited throughout clear, comprehensive and impressive views of divine truth. His delivery was peculiar. He had a sort of paralytic affection in his throat which, at frequent intervals, interrupted his elocution, not only during the utterance of a sentence, but even of a single word, and he had a rather awkward habit of holding up his left hand, folded almost double, close at the root of his ear. Soon after his settlement at Achness, which was then a most populous tract of country, he married a daughter of Mr. Robert Gordon, then tacksman of the farm of Achness, a very hand some, high-spirited woman, by whom he had sons and daughters.

On the death of the late Mr. Wm. Mackenzie, minister of Assynt, Mr. MacGillivray was, by the patron, appointed as his successor. His appointment to Assynt was a personal arrangement between himself and Lord and Lady Stafford. The people of Assynt were not consulted in the matter. They, however, took the liberty of thinking for themselves in the case. They had formed a strong attachment to the late venerable Mr. John Kennedy, minister of Killearnan, who was still officiating among them at that time in capacity of assistant to the late Mr. William Mackenzie. The parishioners wished to have Mr. Kennedy settled among them as Mr. Mackenzie’s successor. Their request, however, was peremptorily refused, and Mr. MacGillivray was appointed. The Presbytery of Dornoch, therefore, met on an appointed day to settle the presentee. They reckoned, however, without their host. As they were all assembled in the manse parlour, with the exception of my father and Mr. Keith, and were about to proceed with the settlement, their attention was directed to a strong body of Assynt Highlanders, each armed with a cudgel, who presented themselves before the manse windows. As if significantly to express the purpose of their assemblage, each pulled off his neckcloth with one hand, and wielded his cudgel with the other, and loudly demanded the compearance of the Presbytery. The members resolved to go out and remonstrate with the rioters, but it would riot do. The mob which now assembled told them through their leaders that the only way by which they could escape broken bones was that each should get to his nag with all convenient speed, nor slack bridle till they had crossed the boundaries of the parish, for that they were determined that the presentee should not on that day, nor on any other day, be settled minister of Assynt. To this peremptory condition the Presbytery members were compelled to submit, and each and all of them, together with the presentee, his wife, family and furniture, were sent back the way they came, closely followed by the men of Assynt. This affray was productive of consequences obstructive to the subsequent usefulness of Mr. MacGillivray in the parish. The ringleaders were discovered, tried before the Justiciary Court at Inverness, and, in spite of the earnest entreaties of their pastor, sentenced to nine months imprisonment. Shortly thereafter, the parish of Lairg becoming vacant by the translation of Mr. Angus Kennedy to Dornoch on the death of Dr. Bethune, Mr. MacGillivray was settled minister of that parish, with the unanimous consent of the parishioners, and there, as I write, he still labours at a very advanced age. 5

[Note 5: Mr. Duncan MacGillivray, A.M., was ordained minister of Assynt at a meeting of Presbytery held at Dornoch on 24th Aug., 1813, and was translated to Lairg 12th Aug., 1817. He was a native of Inverness-shire. His two sons, Angus Mackintosh and Alexander, have been ministers of the Free Church of Scotland. He died 11th Feb., 1849, in the 48th year of his ministry.—ED.]

For the first half-year after my appointment to the Achness mission I remained at Kildonan, and went to both stations to preach almost every Sabbath. Indeed my commission from the Assembly’s Committee of the Royal Bounty had not, from some unaccountable delay, been forwarded; and therefore, although I preached in the mission, I was not ordained by the Presbytery until they had received my written appointment, which was not till the month of November, 1816, nearly six months after my return from Lochcarron. It came at last, and I went to Creich, where the Presbytery held a meeting. I was then ordained by Dr. Bethune, the Moderator, to the pastoral charge of the mission at Achness. I went home that evening with my ecclesiastical father, and, if I remember well, preached for him at Dornoch on the following Sabbath.

I yet remember my first visit to Achness to preach my first sermon there. I lodged at Breacachadh, in the parish of Kildonan, on the Saturday evening. Thomas Gordon was then tacksman of that farm. He was the lineal descendant of a race of Gordons transplanted from Banffshire to Sutherland during the days of Adam, Lord of Aboyne, who on his marriage with Elizabeth, heiress of Sutherland, became titular Earl of Sutherland. I was long and intimately acquainted with Thomas Gordon, and had also seen his father, old William Breacachadh. The Gordons of Breacachadh and of Ach-na-moine were of the same race. Their original ancestor, a Thomas Gordon, was a man of gigantic strength. His descendant, William Gordon, was a low-statured, broad-shouldered, square- built man, the model of a Highlander, with keen black eyes, and most respectable and consistent in point of character, but peculiar in temper, and of a somewhat sordid disposition. About eight or ten miles farther on, and in the same parish, resided a neighbour, George Mackay, Halmindary, already mentioned, a man of wit, humour, and piety, who not unfrequently indulged his native poignancy of wit and sarcasm at the expense of William of Breacachadh. Old William was a man of frugal habits, and George of Halmindary had all the thoughtless prodigality of the Sutherland Highlanders. Both strictly maintained the terms of good neighbourhood with each other, but although they often exchanged the rights of hospitality, they never met or parted without their “miffs.” Halmindary could not possibly keep his caustic humour against Breacachadh within the bounds of civility when they met, and this Breacachadh both felt and resented.

With Thomas of Breacachadh I lodged on the Saturday evening before my first Sabbath at Achness. He provided me with a horse, and accompanied me the next morning, after an early breakfast, to the place where the congregation met. The rural church, or meeting-house as it was called, at Achness was at the time almost ruinous, and until it was repaired the people were obliged to meet in the open air. After addressing them both in Gaelic and English, I returned in the evening to Breacachadh. The terms of my commission enjoined upon me to preach two Sabbaths successively at Achness, and the third at Ach-na-h’uaighe. My incumbency at Achness lasted for three years. My reminiscences of that period involve, first of all, a description of the nature and the locality of my ministerial labours.

Missions, particularly in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, were of very long standing, for I was the seventh and last in succession of the missionaries appointed to officiate at Achness. My aboriginal predecessor in office was the revered and truly pious George Munro of Farr, married to my grand-aunt. 6

[Note 6: Mr. George Munro was ordained successor to Mr. Skeldoch as minister of Farr 23rd May, 1754. On 16th December of the same year he married Barbara, daughter of Mr. John Mackay, minister of Lairg. She is said to have been a woman of masculine understanding, but of feminine amiability and Christian piety; while Mr. Munro was a guileless character, but an honoured servant of the Lord. He died 1st May, 1779, aged 74, and in the 25th year of his ministry.—ED.]

The object of the Church in establishing these missions was to supply the almost total lack of ministerial service in the extensive parishes of the north. Parishes of forty, fifty, and even sixty miles in length are there of frequent occurrence, and both the larger and smaller parishes are absurdly divided. The principle adopted in settling the bounds was not, evidently, to take into account the distance from, or proximity of, the population to any place of worship erected for them, but solely so as to include the landed property of the heritors of the district. This was called a parish, and in many cases it exceeded in extent many whole counties in the south. Missions were established for the accommodation of such of the parishioners for whom it was a physical impossibility to attend the parish church. For the support of the missionary-ministers there were two sources of funds, the Christian Knowledge Society and the Assembly’s Committee for managing the Royal Bounty.

The Christian Knowledge Society was established by Royal Charter in the year 1701, and gradually, I presume, it extended its efficiency over the sphere of its labours, establishing itself as it best could. To send forth ministers, catechists, and schoolmasters, each in their respective departments of moral and religious usefulness in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, was the peculiar province of this Society. It began its labours when moral and religious education, as a popular and efficient system, was but little understood. The management of the Society, therefore, was not progressive, and although its schools and missions were, at the first outset, productive of considerable benefit to the rude and benighted Highlanders, yet upon the whole it was very inefficient, and at the time I write it is almost defunct. 7

[Note 7: The S.P.C.K. was at first supported by persons of all Protestant denominations in the country. But in 1846 the Court of Session decided that all its agents must belong to the Church which was established by law. Since this decision, the funds of the Society have been diverted from education to the support of missionary teachers and catechists belonging to that particular denomination. The Commissioners on Educational Endowments have lately, however, prepared a scheme by which it is to be restored to its original and catholic constitution. (Statement by the Rev. J. C, MacPhail of Edinburgh.)—ED.]

The Assembly’s Committee for managing the Royal Bounty was of more recent origin, but was evidently intended for a similar purpose to that of the Society. A grant of £2000 annually from the last Sovereigns of the House of Hanover was presented in due form by their commissioner to the General Assembly, in order to be bestowed in sums of from £45 to £50 upon missionary or itinerant ministers in the five northern counties. Achness was one of the stations. The minister’s right or authority to enter upon his duties, and to draw the salary, which was £50, was the Committee’s letter, called his “commission,” which contained instructions directing him how to proceed. He had to keep a journal of his preachings every Sabbath, whether Avithin the bounds of his own charge or elsewhere, and to send it up to Edinburgh half-yearly, duly attested by the Presbyteries within whose bounds his charge lay.

The mission at Achness was, in regard to locality and surface, of very great extent. It lay within the bounds of the neighbouring presbyteries of Tongue and Dornoch, comprehending the extreme heights of the parish of Farr, from Moudale down to nearly the middle of Strathnaver, towards the north-west, and from Halmindary down to Kinbrace, in the parish of Kildonan, towards the south-east. A very considerable portion of the population had already been removed by the Stafford family, and their tenements given to sheep-farmers, so that the peopled part of that vast district was comparatively limited. The whole population in the Strathnaver district lay apart from the missionary s house, being divided from it by the Naver, a river of such volume and breadth in the winter months as completely to preclude the attendance of the people at their wonted place of worship during that season. That part of the mission which lay within the parish of Kildonan extended from the boundary line between the parishes to Kinbrace and Borrobol, on either side of Loch Badenloch and of the river Helmisdale which issued from it. The population here lived, like that of Strathnaver, in detached townships. Those in Strathnaver were Moudale, Tobeg, Grumore, Grumbeg, Ceannachyle, Syre, Langdale, Skaill, and Carnachadh all possessed by small tenants, and lying on the north and west banks of the loch and river of Naver. Those in Kildonan were Gairnsary, Breacachadh, Baden-loch, Bad-chlamhain, Ach-na-moine, Ach-na-h’uaighe, Dalcharn, Borrobol, and Kinbrace. All these townships were more or less densely peopled, and lay alternately either at the head of Loch Badenloch or on each side of the shores of the lake and of the river Helmisdale. The great majority of the population was to be found in the Strathnaver district ; and, consequently, it was incumbent on the missionary, for once that he preached at Ach-na-h’uaighe in Kildonan, to preach two Sabbaths successively at Achness in the parish of Farr. There were three more townships in the Kildonan district, viz., Griamachdary, Knockfin, and Strathbeg.

The rural church at Ach-na-h’uaighe I have described in a previous chapter; that at Achness was scarcely better. When I entered on the duties it was in a wofully dilapidated state, but it was soon afterwards repaired by the people, and made merely habitable. It consisted of a long low house, with a large wing stretching out from the north side of it. The walls were built of stone and clay, the roof covered with divot and straw, and the seats were forms set at random, without any regularity, on the damp floor. The house of the minister was erected at the foot of a steep brae, and in the middle of a fen. Its walls were of stone and lime; it was thatched with divot and straw, and contained four apartments, a kitchen in an outer wing, a parlour with a bed in the wall, a closet, and a bedroom. The minister also rented, for the sum of £5 annually, a small farm from the sheep-farmers, Messrs Marshall and Atkinson, which afforded corn, straw, and hay for a horse and two cows. The place of Achness itself, once densely peopled, was in my time entirely depopulated, and the only one left was a miller, who resided at its northern extremity.

The people of the districts in both parishes were much fewer during my ministry than under that of my predecessors. I mention this particularly in reference to what has been called one of the Sutherland clearances, which took place in 1815, nearly a year before I went to Achness. A vast extent of moorland within the parishes of Fair and Kildonan was let to Mr. Sellar, factor for the Stafford family, by his superior, as a sheep or store farm; and the measure he employed to eject the poor, but original, possessors of the lands, was fire. At Rhimisdale, a township crowded with small tenants, a corn-mill was set on fire in order effectually to scare the people from the place before the term for eviction arrived. Firing or injuring a corn-mill, on which the sustenance of the lieges so much depends, is or was by our ancient Scottish statutes punishable by imprisonment, or civil banishment, and on this point of law Mr. Sellar was ultimately tried.

The Sheriff-Substitute, Mr. R. MacKid, hearing of the case, proceeded in his official capacity to the spot to make a precognicion of the circumstances. The Sheriff’s enquiry fully established the fact, and elicited many aggravating particulars, so that he considered himself called upon to issue a warrant for Sellar’s apprehension and incarceration in Dornoch jail, and to prepare the case for the Inverness Circuit Court. That MacKid was at the time not on good terms with Mr. Sellar, was well known. But though his procedure may have seemed harsh, it did not alter the particulars of the case. The trial took place, but the final issue of it was only what might have been expected when a case came to be determined between the poor, as the party offended, and the rich, as the lordly and heartless aggressor. Sellar was acquitted, while Sheriff MacKid was heavily censured. Indeed, the latter was threatened with an action for damages at the factor’s instance. To ward off this blow, MacKid threw himself on the other’s mercy a submission which was readily accepted, as Sellar was only too happy to escape incurring any further public odium. The whole matter, however, left a stain on the memory of the perpetrators which will never be removed.

After residing for nearly seven months at my father’s house, I went, about the beginning of the winter of 1816, to reside permanently at the manse of Achness. My furniture was scanty, and my books were few. Some articles of furniture I got from the manse of Kildonan, and some, such as a bed and bedding, a carpet, and some chairs, I purchased at the roup of Kirktown in Golspie. For, consequent on the proceedings in Mr. Sellar’s case, MacKid felt that he could no longer act as Sheriff, nor very comfortably dwell at his farm of Kirktown, which he held in lease from the Stafford family. He therefore resigned his office as Sheriff-Substitute, and his lease as tacksman of the farm, selling off his farm-stock and household furniture by auction. He went to reside at Thurso, and practised as he could in his legal profession, but without much success. His wife died there, and he soon afterwards returned with his family to Fortrose, where, having lost all his money, he died at a very advanced age.





W E left Aberdeen in the month of May, 1822, by coach for the north. We were accompanied by my wife s sister, Frances, her mother, and other sister, Maria, choosing to go before us by sea. We came that evening to Nairn. Our fellow-passenger was Capt. Robert Mackay, Araichlinni’s son, who left us at Nairn on his way home, after dining with us at Forres. Next morning we hired a coach at Nairn to Resolis, crossed the Fort-George ferry, and arrived there in good time next day. We found Mrs. Robertson and Maria before us. The meeting was a joyful one, but it was mingled up not a little with a gloom which hung over us, we could not tell how.

Shortly thereafter, my induction took place within the church at Resolis. All the members of the Presbytery of Chanonry were present. These were, Messrs. James Smith of Avoch, Roderick Mackenzie of Kilmuir-Wester and Suddy, Robert Smith of Cromarty, John Kennedy of Killearnan, and Alexander Wood of Rosemarkie. My father was also present, and Dr. John MacDonald of Urquhart or Ferintosh. Mr. Roderick Morrison, factor for Newhall, was there also, and remained to a late hour in the evening. The services of the day were conducted by Mr. Kennedy of Killearnan, and through out the whole service, from first to last, he “approved himself to the consciences of all” as the servant of the Lord. The service ended, the Presbytery dined, at my expense, at the inn at Balblair, where we passed the time agreeably enough, the men of every age associating and closely drawing up with each other. I cannot dismiss without a short notice the venerable minister who officiated on this day. Mr. Kennedy of Killearnan had long been an eminent father in the Church of Christ, and throughout his ministry his work had been acknowledged by his Heavenly Master. His settlement had been a most harmonious one in so far as the parishioners were concerned, but a very violent one as regards the Presbytery.

The gloom of Moderatism rested upon the Church in that part of the country, and Mr. Kennedy’s settlement was dreaded as the breaking in upon it of a new day. He was not an orator in any sense of the term, nor was he a scholar, for his early education had been neglected. But he was thoroughly imbued with the spirit of the Puritan divines, and of some of our own old Scottish preachers. The leading features of his ministerial and personal character were piety and prayer, the one the necessary off-shoot of the other. His closet preparations for the pulpit, and for the week-day discharge of the duties of the ministry, chiefly consisted in prayer. As the close of his life drew near, his cries for divine help became more urgent, and more frequent and importunate, so that prayer became, at last, the great and leading business of every day. After a ministry of 43 years, he died in 1841, aged about 70 years.

Mr. Robert Arthur was my immediate predecessor in the charge of Resolis, where he laboured for forty-seven years, and if his life and ministry were anything but what they should have been, it was not for the want of a bright example clearly set before him of one who, as a Christian man and a gospel minister, had adorned the doctrine of God his Saviour. This was Mr. Hector MacPhail whom he succeeded.

Mr. MacPhail was truly a man of God, for whom “to live was Christ.” He was perhaps one of the most deeply-exercised Christians of his time, equally and minutely conversant with the depths of Satan on the one hand, and the “unsearchable riches of Christ” on the other. His faith, to himself scarcely perceptible, was great in the sight of the Searcher of Hearts—winging its flight upwards, like the eagle’s, towards the Sun, whose ineffable light, instead of obscuring its gaze, served only to strengthen and enlarge its capacity of spiritual apprehension. But this faith took its rise from a sense of utter hopelessness of help in man to save, and it made its way to “that which is within the veil,” through the darkness of unbelief, and in the face of Satan's deepest devices to ensnare and deceive.

His first introduction to his future charge was by means of an “elect lady” then residing in the parish, Lady Ardoch, otherwise Mrs. Gordon of Ardoch, now called Poyntzfield. He was settled over the united parishes of Kirkmichael and Cullicudden, 22nd Sept., 1748, and continued to labour fervently, zealously, and successfully in word and in doctrine for twenty-six years thereafter. His residence, for the first seven years, was in the manse of Cullicudden, and he preached alternately in the church there and in that of Kirkmichael at the other end of that parish. The manse and both churches, however, became ruinous, and were besides inconveniently situated. The heritors and Presbytery resolved therefore to select a more central situation, and accordingly made choice of a small farm situated at the western extremity of the old parish of Kirkmichael, called Ré-sholuis, or the ridge of light. Here they erected a manse and a church, each about double the size of the old ones, and the united parishes, though individually retaining their ancient names, have ever since been known, quoad sacra, under the name of Resolis.

During the earlier part of his ministry Mr. MacPhail was much tried with strong temptations to atheism. But, soon after he came to reside at Resolis, and after a longer than ordinary period of depression of mind, he was, through the Word and the Spirit and the Works of God, for ever delivered from its grasp. He was of the happy number who, “in the day of power,” had their minds humbled to the simplicity of children, and who, receiving the truth as such, gave God full and implicit credit for truth in the whole of his testimony, without any reservation, and who were thus happily freed from those painful struggles which others of a more highly intellectual and abstract turn of mind so sorely felt. These features of Mr. MacPhail’s mental and Christian character rendered his ministry eminently successful among his own flock, and all over the North, while his private dealings with those under serious impressions were signally blessed for removing their doubts and establishing their minds in the faith of the gospel.

Mr. MacPhail’s life was not a long one, for his health soon began to decline. As long as he had any strength remaining, however, he continued faithfully to discharge the duties of his office. He died 23rd Jan., 1774, in the 58th year of his age.

Mr. Robert Arthur, his successor, was inducted into the charge in 1774. He assumed at first an evangelical strain of preaching, and associated with the most highly-esteemed ministers, such as Mr. Calder of Urquhart and Mr. A. Fraser of Kirkhill. His knowledge of Gaelic, however, was very imperfect, and this rendered his preaching in that language utterly inadequate to convey the simplest truths to his Highland hearers.

Another circumstance led to an estrangement between him and the pious among his people, and ultimately put an end to his usefulness among them. Mr. Gordon of Ardoch dying, and the family becoming extinct, the estate was sold to a stranger of the name of Munro, who, in honour of his wife, changed the name of the place and called it Poyntzfield. He was succeeded by his nephews, first George, and then Innes Gunn Munro, the latter a Colonel in the army. The Munros of Poyntzfield have, in all their generations, been the votaries of gaiety and pleasure rather than of the more staid and money-making pursuits of the world. Mr. Arthur, then a young, unmarried man, became only too intimately acquainted in his new heritor’s family. This intimacy led to his marriage with the laird’s sister, and his consequent residence almost entirely at Poyntzfield, to the utter neglect of the week-day duties of his office. This course of action alienated from him the more serious among his parishioners, while he himself became a bitter and implacable enemy of all the Evangelical ministers with whom he came in contact. His acquired fluency in after years in the Gaelic language, and a certain knowledge of medicine, by which he made himself useful to many, retained the majority of his parishioners as his hearers; but all the seriously disposed regularly attended the ministrations of the eminent Mr. Charles Calder of Ferintosh. Mr. Arthur was thrice married. His eldest daughter, an excellent and amiable woman, was the wife of the late Mr. Alexander Gunn, minister of Watten in Caithness.

When the close of his life approached, and he was confined to bed, he was glad to receive supplies for his pulpit from all the ministers who were willing to give them. Mr. Calder had long before “gone into heaven,” but his successor, Mr. MacDonald, sometimes preached in the open air close to the manse, Mr. Arthur sitting at the window and listening. He was a sound theologian, and admired Mr. MacDonald as a preacher, but, alas, he gave no sign of any change of heart. He was the same in the immediate prospect of death as he had been through life. He died in 1821, in his 78th year and the 47th of his ministry.

The day after my settlement my wife was confined to bed. The pains of labour had set in, and, alas, with more than ordinary symptoms of a fatal termination. That night I had a few hours of hasty sleep. I awoke from my troubled slumber, with a deep sinking of the heart, to the realities which my dreams had been presenting to me. During the course of her illness I was frequently at the side of her dying bed. Our first alarm was excited by the peculiarity of her case; it was that of difficult and protracted labour. Mrs. Smith of Cromarty, the wife of my much-esteemed co-presbyter, being informed of the affecting circumstances, volunteered her services in ministering to our comfort and encouragement under the burden of anxious fears. My poor Harriet was delivered of a dead child. And, alas, when the pains of labour were over those of dissolution followed. Death came in his wonted manner slowly, irrevocably, without giving way. Harriet uttered a few incoherent sentences, she fell into a swoon, and breathed out heavily for a few moments her last sighs. It was the 7th of May, 1822, at six o clock of the evening.

The funeral was numerously attended. I was so completely prostrated as to be quite unable to accompany her beloved remains to their last resting-place. My venerable and sympathising father, however, supplied my place as chief mourner. The body was deposited in Cullicudden churchyard, a beautifully sequestered spot, lying on the southern shore of the Cromarty Firth.

Mr. MacDonald of Ferintosh often visited me, and preached to my people. Shortly after the death of my beloved wife, he passed on his way to preach at Cromarty, and I accompanied him on horseback. The ride thither and back on the same day completely exhausted me, and I lay down on my return wishing that I might die. Such a desire came upon me so strongly that I hailed with delight every unsuccessful effort of nature to regain its former position under the pressure of present weakness, as so many sure precursors of death which would unite me to her from whom I had been so recently and sorely separated. I gradually recovered, however, but still the notion haunted my mind.

Then conscience began to ask, “Why did I wish to die?” My sorrows at once responded to the inquiry—“just to be with Harriet.” “But, was I sure of that? If Harriet was in heaven, as I could not but hope that she was, was nothing else to be the consequence of death to me but to go to heaven merely to be with her?” I was struck dumb; I was confounded with my own folly. So then, the only enjoyment I looked for after death was, not to be with Christ, but to be with Harriet! as if Harriet without Christ could make heaven a place of real happiness to me!

This discovery of my own miserable sources of comfort threw me into a dreadful state of despondency. I was perambulating the garden of the manse at the time; I left it, and betook myself to my bedroom, and felt all my props suddenly crumbling down under me. I was in a state of indescribable alarm. I had a bitter feeling of insecurity and of discontent. I threw myself on my knees to pray, but could not. My spirit was angry, proud, and unsubdued, and all these unhallowed feelings took direction even against God Himself. He it was who had deprived me of the object of my warmest affections. Not only so, but He had withdrawn from me the only source of consolation out of which I could draw strength to bear me up under so great a bereavement. Oh, what a God had I, then, to deal with—how like Himself—how unlike me! “But who is a God like unto Him, who pardoneth iniquity, and who passeth by the transgressions of the remnant of His inheritance.”

I was somewhat humbled, and I made another attempt to pray. But now I felt that I was entirely in His power. All my sins stood out before me. I attempted to come to a settlement with God about them, on the terms of a covenant of works. But I soon found that I was sadly out in my reckoning; like a schoolboy, in a long and tedious arithmetical question, who has come to an erroneous conclusion, and who has blundered more in searching out the cause of his error than when at first he erred, so it was with me. God brought to my remembrance the sin of my nature, the sins of my youth, and the sins of my daily omission and commission. I had no chance with Him; He was too holy and too just a God for me. I attempted to justify myself; I betook me to the oft-repeated, but just as often foolish and unsuccessful, plan of “washing myself with snow-water to make myself never so clean.” But the result was the same as in the case of Job, “He plunged me into the ditch, so that my own clothes abhorred me.” This conclusion threw me into despair; I flung myself on the floor, not to pray, for I deemed that, in existing circumstances, quite needless, but just to wait like a condemned criminal for the coming forth of an irrevocable sentence of condemnation. I felt that I deserved it, and I felt equally hardened to abide the result. But, “who is a God like unto Him” in dealing with transgressions?

In my then present state, and in the sovereignty of the Spirit’s influences, that passage came to me with much power, “I am the door.” It glided into my mind without any previous attempt to get at it. But, like a light, dim at first, it gradually and rapidly brightened. My bonds were forthwith unloosed, my darkness was dispelled. Like the lepers in Israel of old I had only the alternative of life or death in any case. But God was gracious. I laid hold of the hope set before me. I thought, believed, and felt that I had actually entered the “Door.” I found it wide enough for a sinner, and high enough as a door set open by God and not man, by which to enter. If I may dare to say it, I did enter that door, even then, and at that solemn moment, notwithstanding the pressure of my outward bereavement and of my inward conflicts ; having entered, I did experience “all joy and peace in believing.” In the world I had only “trouble,” in Christ I had “peace;” and in that peace I was enabled to resign, without a murmur, my beloved Harriet, soul and body, to His holy care and keeping. I resumed prayer, and felt much liberty, comfort, and enlargement.

It was in the evening of one of the days in the week immediately after her death. I had, about an hour or two before then, gone from the garden to the parlour, and risen from the table in an incontrollable agony of sorrow, rushed out at the door, and hurried up to my room. But after the mental conflict above described, and the most gracious deliverance afforded me, I returned to the parlour, to the society of my beloved friends, in that peace of mind which Christ describes as “peace in Him,” in the very midst of those “troubles” which we must, and shall “have in the world,” but as the result of His “victory” over it.

My present tranquillity, compared with my former “fight of afflictions,” and so immediately succeeding it, astonished my friends, and they could not but ask the reason why. I could only say that, “the Lord had given, and the Lord had taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” For many days, and even weeks and months afterwards I passed my time in prayer, in faith, and in sorrow as to the things present, but rejoicing not a little in the God of my salvation. Alas! this sunny season was succeeded afterwards by a long dreary day of coldness, clouds, and darkness, but it has never been forgotten, nor have its salutary effects been dissipated or lost.

My revered father, having been present at the death and burial of my beloved wife, soon afterwards returned home. He went by Tarbat manse across the firth to Golspie, and from thence he immediately proceeded to Kildonan.

As my mind became more composed, and the soreness of my sorrows, by the healing hand of time, was gradually wearing off, I engaged in the Sabbath and week-day duties of my office. I commenced a course of ministerial visits to the families of the parishioners. The whole parish I divided into districts, each comprehending as many families as I could conveniently visit during the course of a day. Intimation was also given from the pulpit, and the whole was finished in a period of ten months from the time I began until it was concluded. It was true indeed that the time was prolonged farther than it would otherwise have been, owing to various other duties interposing in the meantime.

The line of work which I prescribed to myself was, to visit each family separately, from which all not belonging to it were excluded. With the heads of the family I held a confidential conference alone, the children or servants not being present. These were then called in, and, after asking each of them a question in the Shorter Catechism, beginning with the heads of the family, concluding with the servants, and addressing to all a few admonitions, the visitorial duty terminated. I took up, at the same time, a census of the whole population, one column being devoted to the names of individuals, divided into families and numbered as such ; another, setting forth their designation and places of residence ; and a third, containing what might strictly be called the moral and religious statistics of the parish, or remarks illustrative of the state, character, and knowledge of each individual. My kirk-officer, John Holm, accompanied me in all my peregrinations through the parish on this occasion from first to last.

During my incumbency in Aberdeen one of my most esteemed acquaintances was Mr. Nathaniel Morren, then a student of divinity. Soon after the death of the venerable Kenneth Bayne of Greenock I was, as already stated, invited to preach as a candidate for that vacant charge. I was succeeded by another, Mr. Angus Macbean, some time before then assistant preacher at Croy within the presbytery of Nairn. In the choice of a minister which followed, Mr. Macbean was chosen. But there was a minority for myself, and these were so dissatisfied with the choice of the majority that they resolved to withdraw and to build a church for themselves. At the head of them was Duncan Darroch, an eminently pious man of the old school, with whom afterwards I became acquainted intimately. I was now minister of Resolis, and to ask me to become their minister was, in the circumstances of the case, out of the question. But my recommendation had weight, and I warmly recommended my friend Mr. Morren, who, accordingly, became their minister. Soon after his induction to his new charge at Greenock, he married Miss Mary Shand, with whom, and her excellent mother and sisters residing at King s Street, Aberdeen, I was most intimately acquainted.

He and his wife, some years afterwards, visited me on their way to Strathpeffer. He then preached for me a most able sermon. But my recollection of that is not so distinct as of a lecture at family worship on the Sabbath evening, by which, in its soundness of doctrine, depth of thought, and even of soul-exercise in the truth of God, I felt my soul refreshed as it seldom had been before. Previous to the Disruption of the Church of Scotland in 1843, Mr Morren’s conduct was not what had been expected of him. He was not content with joining the Moderate party, to whom, from professed principle, he had been conscientiously opposed, but, besides, he became their champion in a series of pamphlets at once the ablest and the most malignant that were written on the whole subject. Having fought in the battle, he at once rose in the esteem and confidence of those with whom he had identified himself. Lord Panmure presented him to the church and living of Brechin, vacant by the resignation of Mr. MacCosh, 8 whose successor he became. He died there very suddenly.

[Note 8: Afterwards Dr. MacCosh, the eminent President of Princeton Theological Seminary, New Jersey.—ED.]

My father died at the manse of Kildonan, at half-past seven in the evening of the 14th day of April, 1824. I had no sooner received the tidings of his death than I immediately set out for Kildonan. The preparations for his funeral occupied our time and consideration. To all those of the more respectable classes, in a worldly point of view, funeral letters were duly issued by a bearer sent for that purpose through the immediate vicinity in the parishes of Loth and Clyne. The length, depth, and breadth of the coffin, elegantly mounted, exceeded anything of the kind I have ever seen. The procession, after leaving the manse, proceeded in a westerly direction; and in order to give each of his parishioners the opportunity of paying the last tribute of respect to their beloved and venerable pastor, the body was carried shoulder-high by six men, relieving each other at intervals, all round the Dalmore and by the banks of the river, to the churchyard, and deposited in a tomb which he had erected soon after my step-mother s death, and close beside her remains and my mother’s in their last resting-place. To their memories he had erected a monument, with a suitable inscription; and, in remembrance of him also, I inserted in the back wall of the church a monumental slab bearing the following inscription:

In Memoriam
Reverendi Viri
Hujus Ecclesise Pastoris,
Qui obiit,
14mo Aprilis,
Anno Ætatis 7lo, Laboris suæ in hac Eccles. 37o. 9

[Note 9: It should he recorded that Mr. Alexander Sage wrote an historical sketch of the “Clan Gunn,” which still exists in manuscript. As regards the merits of this work, Mr. A. Gunn, minister of Watten, writes as follows: “Some years ago, when investigating the history of Clan Gunn, I saw Mr. Sage’s notes on the clan, and consider him to he the chief authority on the genealogy and traditions of the Kildonan branch, which included the family of the chieftains. As minister of Kildonan he had the best means of knowing these, and his notes did not go much beyond Kildonan.”—ED.]