Transcripts of letters from John Alexander Findlay to his Uncle Roderick MacDonald in Australia, 1894-1907

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Transcripts of letters from John Alexander Findlay to his Uncle Roderick MacDonald in Australia, 1894-1907

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2 Inverleith Avenue,
EDINBURGH,  8th December, 1894.

My Dear Uncle,
My respectful greetings to thee on this our first acquaintance.  Your address comes to me from my brothers beyond the seas and it seems singular how it thus comes to me as if set rolling on the outer edge of the Eastern Hemisphere, it passes on round the New World, stopping a moment of American and Canadian soil and then bounding across the Atlantic to the happy Meridian of Scotland, the best and blest of all abodes, the land of thy nativity.  Yes, another example of the continuity of thought which pervades the unity of the British Empire and in which Scotland and Scotsmen take a prominent part in almost every department of her wide domain, hastening on the time as it were when "man to man the world o'er will brithers be an' a that".  From out of the depth of old Scotland rocks, the cradle of the world!  It is the intense love of home, love of country, or rather patriotism which explains all this.   For I believe that next to religion, patriotism is a principle which perpetually ministers to every mind thoughts of a higher and nobler life.  And with Scotland and Scotsmen it is a principle that rolls ever on, charged with living meaning, to win or storm its way through echoing halls and sympathetic hearts -  clad in the rich vesture of a noble historic past, rich in power, in honour, in glory, in eloquence, in poetry and in song, imperishable gems of thought, qualified to inspire and instruct the living generations and to descend in eternal youth the unending highways of the ages.
The question is oftentimes asked, "what's in a name"?  I think it contains much.  From the earliest dawn of childhood down to the present day there has ever appeared to me a certain charm about the appellation

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"Uncle Roderick".  Having never known you otherwise  to my recollection, I cannot well explain it, but I conclude that I must of heard tell something very good about you when I was a mere child. In this manner the good seed sown has grown up and now responds to wider issue.   I know I cannot be wrong when I look at your photograph which has ever held an honourable place in our domestic album all these years.
Another charm to me for years past was the island of Islay on the west coast of   Scotland where your ever respected Father settled down for a time in days of yore for the edification of the inhabitants.  There I purposely journeyed last July and found the historic domain of his educational labours.  To me it was a pilgrimage of love to the shrine of everything that is good and noble and true in a life I admired so much, and who it was who taught me the first rudiments of learning when he stayed with us at the old home in Clachnaharry.  I could resist uncovering my head in reverence to his memory as I passed the threshold, just as he himself used to do at all times on entering any domain, exclaiming in his ever earnest prayer, "Peace be to this house".  I found the place full of interesting association and wandered over the whole island, amidst the purple bloom of its mountain tops to its rocky shores, where the wild waves soar midst Atlantic's roar, on Islay's strand their surges beat.  The Big Strand of Islay, fully six miles long, of  pure sandy beach, where the Atlantic billows roll in for miles in magnificent array is one of the finest pieces of coast scenery I have ever witnessed.  In fact the whole place seemed to me like a leaf out of Ossian - the wild rushing waters, the mists of the mountain, the towering grandeur of distant peaks, the shadow of the cloud on the mighty deep, and the surpassing glory of the sun-set, spreading its ever shifting colours across the ocean, all just as they must have appeared to the Bard of old in the times of the days of other years.
But emerging out of these old world reveries let me return to more recent history, and while yet on the west coast, let me not forget to record my journey to Fort William and thence to witness the

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last remaining work of my late respected Father, the restoration of the whole Caledonian Canal with new lock-gates, and where at Corpach he so successfully completed his great undertaking which cost the Imperial Government 20,000.  It is now just over a year since he left us and as my thoughts fly northwards to that sacred spot of earth on the banks of the River Ness at Inverness where our two worthy and noble Fathers lie side by side I feel that I cannot here omit a passing word of respect to the memory of those we loved so well.  And is not my mother there also in holy trinity.  Of her I have no recollection.  In infancy she left us all, to join the choir invisible, no thought of her I can recall, except in visions possible.  Father intended retiring at the end of last year on the completion of his Jubilee as a Government Official but fate ruled otherwise.  Having to provide a home for the homeless I brought my sister, Margaret, to Edinburgh.  We are now living together here and "Pyro", Father's favourite spaniel dog is also with us.  The old Home is now deserted by all but not forgotten.  I am located in Edinburgh for the past eight years always connected with the foreign export shipping trade to all parts of the world except the far east.  But my native hills and glens ever tempt my feet to roam.  Knowing that anything from Dear Old Scotland is received as medicine to the Scot abroad I send you the accompanying missives in which you will doubtless recognise the spirit of the Highlands still speaking aloud!  And now about your worthy self.  I will be pleased to her from you at your convenience with a short account of your long stay in the orient.  I have read and heard a great deal about Australia and all its glory as the rising Britain beyond our shores.
For the present I will close.  Sister joins with me in sending you all our best wishes, and with compliments of the season pray accept of these our respectful salutations,
Yours sincerely,
J. A. Findlay

Roderick MacDonald Esqr: Melbourne

Enclosure with previous letter of 8th December 1894.  (On paper with view of Edinburgh Castle, National Gallery, & Free Church College.)

To Uncle Roderick

REVEILLE
For the days of auld lang syne.

THE BUGLE CALL FROM THE GARRISON
**********

Hark! the glad sound, the bugle call,
Loud from the Castle rampart wall,
The trump swells forth from hour to hour,
Full martial pomp of British pow'r,
Blending on high with pibroch strain,
A grand tatoo of might and main,
Re-echoing o'er distant seas,
Hear the glad sound on freedom's breeze,
As day to day the whole world o'er,
The notes prolong on every shore.

J.A.F.
December, 1894.

 

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2 Inverleith Avenue,
EDINBURGH,  8th August, 1895.

My Dear Uncle,
Excuse the long delay in answering your last kind letter and subsequent Paper, Photo, and Church Pamphlet, all of which I duly received and perused with much interest.  Since then I am very pleased to learn that your hopes and expectations have been fully realised in the safe arrival of Mr. Robert on Canadian soil.  There he will no doubt meet with much to interest his honourable profession and where at the same time he will encounter one of the most ardent, prosperous and progressive colonies of  Scotsmen as have ever left the shores of the dear old motherland.  Built on sure foundation, his aspirations will yet rise on stepping-stones of native worth into high honour and distinction.  Or as Burns has it : -  "He'll be a credit to us a', We'll a' be proud of Robin"!
Your reference to some Northern incidents prior to your own departure awakens within in me many responsive sympathies of the long ago, re-echoing mysteriously from the past as it were some happy memories of youthful days.  Well do I remember the song you allude to and in which I heartily joined in singing on its first introduction the praises of Mr. Thomas Bell Bowie; but as far as I know my respected brother Robert was not the composer.   Then again Elisabeth well recollects the eventful day of your visit to the ??halls?? of Kilmorak.  The others of the company were the two Miss Fraser's who lived next door, Mary and Jenny. The latter is long since gone but Mary lives at Elgin where until the beginning of this year

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she kept house to her remarkable father who died there recently as an octogenarian, as you   will see from the enclosed paper report.  You will doubtless remember him as the Post-master of the district when he lived at the canal offices.
I take particular notice of you family record and am glad to learn that the worthy porridge of Old Scotland is so much appreciated in the land of the Southern Cross.   How could it otherwise be when I am told that yours is a true Highland home?
Aunt Louise in London has been recently calling on sister Elizabeth who, as you will perhaps know, is married in Kent and hearing that I had some news from you she desired me to send her same , so I take the liberty to post her your letter, and doubtless you will hear from her in due course.
Notwithstanding the closure of the City of Melbourne Bank, which I regret to see announced    today,  I still believe that there is a bright out-look for Australian trade and commerce in the near future,  and sincerely hope that it may extend to your department ere long.  Lord Hopetoun was obviously a great success as Governor General for Victoria and did his best to consolidate matters.  I read the full report of his enthusiastic departure from Australia.  In the event of you not seeing the full report of his welcome home I send you same, which was duly kept for you but omitted to be sent at the proper time.    You will see he is very hopeful of the future.   The result of our General Election, ending in a change of Government will give double emphasis to his remarks.  The Unionists have triumphed gloriously.  The enemies of separation have been vanquished and drowned in a  great wave of Imperial Unity .........................

Page 3 of this letter is missing but the ink from it has leaked through onto Page 2.   This makes Page 2 very difficult to read, but it is also possible to make out the signature a P.S. on page 3.

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J. A. Findlay
P.S.  too busy and too modest to get photo taken, but will send you my shadow on paper soon.

 

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2 Inverleith Avenue,
EDINBURGH,  24th November, 1898.

My Dear Uncle,
Long days and months have passed since last I received your welcome letters and oftentimes in the interval have I tried to reply but in my busy life interruptions of various kind interfered to my regret and my present apology.  Still, our kinsfolk in Australia and other colonies are ever near to our remembrance, more especially in these times of international complications.  While ever ready to protect our honour before the world the old country feels the patriotic sympathy and support of her kinsmen beyond the seas with no unmeasured pride.  In these times of danger the British lion is ever on the alert, and long before the Pashoda incident our defences were on the ready for any emergency, and at the present day we need fear no foe.  At the time of our great victory at Omduran and Kartoum I was on holiday with sister at Amsterdam visiting the coronation festivities of the young Queen of Holland, after which w proceeded to Brussels and then on to Waterloo, where, 83 years ago France had to fall back in defeat.  The time and occasion raised my patriotic spirit as I stood on that historic field musing on the onward charge of the Scots Greys rushing on to death and immortal victory!  I could not but exclaim "Scotland for ever" when I heard of Gordon being at last avenged.  The air is still full of our proud

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position and hence perhaps my warlike remarks in this respect.
The question of Australian Federation interested us very much and with sympathy for its significant purport we wish it ultimate success.  The introduction of the penny postage to our colonies, which comes into force on X'mas day, will have a far reaching effect in binding our Empire more closely together and at the same time greatly benefit the commerce of the world.
Always busy in the shipping world.  We had letters from Montreal recently and glad to report all was well there.  Like you, they write for my photograph, as meanwhile they feel as if they were communicating with some imaginary being, not having seen me for so many years past.  I must therefore get this photograph taken shortly and send you all a copy.
This leaves us quite well and hope to hear that you are all enjoying good health in the antipodes.  Meanwhile let me extend hearty greetings from Old Scotland, wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, the good old friendly remembrances in which sister also joins.
Yours very sincerely,
J. A. Findlay



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TELEG ADDRESSES AT EACH OFFICE IN SCOTLAND, "STEVENSON", AND AT NEWCASTLE, "STEVENITE"

LATE A.B. DRYNAN & Co.

D. M. STEVENSON & Co

LEITH

GRANGEMOUTH, BO'NESS

BURNTISLAND, METHIL

GRANGEMOUTH

The Offices are joined by Telephone

AND AT NEWCASTLE-UPON -TYNE

8 Commercial Street,

Established 1879

Leith.   2nd March,  1899

                         
My Dear Uncle,
Your last letter came duly to hand, contents of which I have perused with pleasure.   The photographic Christmas card also received.  I wish the young artist very success with his camera.
Your friend Mr. Paton called at the house recently but unfortunately we were all out at the time, and therefore had not the pleasure of meeting him.  As for myself, I am engaged all day here from 9AM till 6.30 PM without going home in the day-time as the house is about two miles away from here.  If there is anything I can do for him here in the way of extension of sales or purchases I will gladly do what I can for him.  The other party that you referred to we have not seen or heard of so far.
Expected some news from Montreal this week but I see that the Mail steamer "Labradore" is wrecked yesterday on the west coast of Scotland, and fear all the mails lost.  Passengers and crew all saved.  What tempestuous weather there has been in the North Atlantic of late.  There are still 16 large steamers missing for over a month, two of which were bound from the States to Leith.  Several owners have now abandoned all hope.

I have just received a beautiful photograph of our dear old aunty Kate in Glasgow, now in her 78th year, and still keeping wonderfully well.  She was father's favourite sister.  We are to

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pay her a visit on the 11th inst.  Cousin Robert from London was through here on business recently and appears to be getting on well.  Aunty Louise is also keeping very well.
Glad to see that the Australian Federation scheme is now most likely to meet with a successful issue.  I hope to hear that your noble island will yet fall in with Penny postage like all the others of our Imperial family.
Observing that the 12th of April is your birthday, let me here extend our sincere congratulations, wishing you many, many happy returns of the day.  Enclosed are some lines appropriate to the occasion that I composed for your name sake Roderick in Chicago on his last birthday, 23rd August, the sentiment of which kindly accept in reference to your worthy self as a true born Scot, a real Highlander and a worthy son of Clachnacuddin!
Again with united remembrances and regards to self and all around your happy home.
Yours sincerely,

J. A. Findlay

 

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2 Inverleith Avenue,
EDINBURGH,  2nd August, 1900.

My Dear Uncle,
  Your last long and interesting letter came duly to hand, and in accordance with same Sister called on Dr MacDonald regarding his coming publication, "The MacDonald Bards from Medieval Times".  He is now busy with the proof sheets and the book will soon be issued from the press. His publisher, Norman MacLeod I know well, he having been our next door neighbour here for some years past and now gone up town to live.   Strange things come about , is it not.  Well, we had some original verses of Grandfather's which I believe never appeared in print and perhaps you never heard of.   Enclosed is a copy and also sent to Dr MacDonald to include in his book.  The verses are in his own hand writing and initialled "R.McD. Huntly Street, Inverness".  They will still add interest to his biographical sketch.   Today I received a letter from Brother Roderick referring to an article in the "Oban Times" of which Uncle Hendry wrote to him about from Texas, having received a copy of the paper.  I am very pleased to see that our beloved Grandfather is at this distant date being recognised in his proper share and now being immortalised for all time through the press.  The editor of the "Oban Times" in his article states that he did not know the time Grandfather died but this surely could have easily been obtained had he written to us or to Glasgow.  Grandfather died at Inverness and was buried in the Old High Church burying ground by the side of the River Ness in the grave immediately adjoining my respected Father and Mother.  I remember well having attended the funeral.  And now I write these lines my thoughts fly northwards to that sacred and hallowed spot with feelings of reverence and respect to their immortal memory.
I received a letter the other day from your Robert from which I now see that he is bound back to Montreal and I feel sure that he will settle down there successfully or as Burns put it

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"He'll be a credit tae us a', We'll a' be proud o' Robin"!  And of course Robert or Roberts is a great name to conjure with at this present day.
Things in South Africa are fast coming to the only and natural conclusion but China still remains a thorn in the side of all nations.  It is to be hoped that the Legations at Peking are all safe notwithstanding the conflicting news that reaches us from time to time.  I intended sending you the remaining numbers of "With the Flag to Pretoria" as an authentic record of the Transvaal war for binding but lost the connecting number I last sent you.  Please say and I will at once send on the following numbers which I have beside me for yourself and Brother Robert at Montreal.
Flags at half mast around us fly mournfully for the late Duke of Edinburgh.  The thoughts of the nation and Empire at large are today at one in sympathy and feelings of our venerable Queen in her sad bereavement and for the late King of Italy.  I send you papers today giving accounts of the stirring events of the past few days.
The consummation of the Australian Commonwealth is an event of high significance which gives unbounded satisfaction on all sides.  The appointment of the Earl of Hopetoune is also well received.
I go on holidays for a fortnight about the middle of this month.  I am offered a free pass and free rations by a large Leith steamer which we are loading here for St. Petersburg and will probably arrange to go there.  If so I will try and send you a postcard from the Russian capital.  Would that I could find time for a holiday in Australia.
We are busy in the shipping trade as usual and things are keeping very brisk all round.   Weather here somewhat changeable and cool.  We have not experienced the tropical heat of London.
But I must close for the present, with respectful salutations to self and all around,
Yours affectionately,
J. A. Findlay

Thanks for the papers recently received

Note : - The article in the Oban Times referred to, (May/June? 1900), is identical to the section on R. MacDonald in the "The MacDonald Bards from Medieval Times".


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2 Inverleith Avenue,
EDINBURGH,  15th December, 1900.

My Dear Uncle,
Your welcome letter of 10th ult., together with the "Argus" are just received and glad to receive your news.
Mr. Paton duly called upon us recently.  He is a thorough good Scot and a patriotic Australian.
Pleased to hear that Urquhart has received such a good appointment.  Robert, I know will yet make his mark in Canada. "He'll be a credit till us a', we'll a be proud o' Robin"!
Since my return from Russia have been exceptionally busy in our export line.  I much enjoyed my holiday abroad.  St Petersburg is a magnificent city, one of the finest in the world.  Population about 11/2 millions.  I was mush interested in their churches, and magnificent building they are and look very ornate with their gilded domes.   The services are very devout and impressive.  The dove is one of their saint birds and worshipped in the church.  Outside it is looked upon as sacred and thousands may be seen flying about the streets and about the shipping on the river Neva.   We had quite a regiment of them on board every day.  The weather was very fine and salubrious.  I spent one day with our agent at his summer residence on the Finland frontier where there is splendid woodland scenery.  There I found growing blue-bells just the same as our own Scottish Blue-bells, which I was pleased to see, being my favourite flower.  My Pass-port admitted me to the Winter Palace of the Czar.   It took me two hours to get over all its grandeur.  I never witnessed such wealth of gold and splendour and magnificence.  Saw also all the scientific instruments of Peter

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the Great. Also visited the church of the fortress, and saw all the tombs of departed Czars.
I also visited the Summer Palace at Peterhof, a most beautiful place, and the fountains there are truly splendid.  At Cronstadt I saw much activity in naval and military affairs.  Cronstadt is a very strongly fortified place.  Coming back we came through the New Kaiser Canal on to Brake in Germany.  On the round of a month's voyage, I thus saw Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Russia, Poland, Germany, and old Heliogoland.
Referring to the MacDonald Bards, the book is not yet published and I have not yet seen any proof from Dr MacDonald but will call on him again first opportunity.  Enclosed is a letter that was written by your respect Father to our own mother in 1858 which will doubtless interest you, containing as it does some personal reference to yourself.   Enclosed also is some writing by your mother in Gaelic and English.  It was a great hobby of hers to write out extracts from newspapers, maxims,  medicinal cures, advertisements and all manner of things.  We received a great host of such writings of late from Glasgow. They must have been written 40/50 years ago.  Dr MacDonald had also a look through them.  Poor old Grannie, well do I remember her tender kind heart when any of us became unwell then out came some cure she had written down on some of these papers.  These old relics of the past will doubtless greatly interest you.  Her writing is something wonderful, every inch of paper being closely filled up in quite legible form and some of it minute.  Perhaps you can get someone to translate the Gaelic verses.  Further I enclose a letter written by your Father from Moy at the time he was tutor to the McIntosh of McIntosh.  The original we had to return to Glasgow.

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We now look forward to the coming inauguration of the Australian Commonwealth on the 1st of January next year.  Dear old Scotland rejoices greatly at the prospect and on New Year's day will look on in spirit approvingly and with a benignant motherly smile at the progress of her sons who are the bulwarks and support of our Colonial Empire.   To celebrate the occasion, and that I may be personally represented on the occasion, I send you today parcel post, custom duty paid, a real true born Union Jack to display on your garden flag-staff or on flag-staff on top of your verandah on the 1st of January.  It is the flag that now flies triumphantly over Bloemfontein and Pretoria, it is the flag for which our forefathers fought and died in all parts of the worlds and still fighting and dying on the battle fields of Africa and China, it is the representative and emblem of Justice and freedom where'er it waves, it is the flag that rules the ocean wave, it is the sign and symbol of the unity, the majesty and the might of the British Empire, it is the flag that braved a thousand years, the battle and the breeze!  Guard well its sacred honour!  Unfurl its proud wave to the Australian breeze on the 1st of January to welcome the dawn of a new century, the opening of a new era, and the birth of a new nation beneath the sign of the Southern Cross.  Let Urquhart bring forth his camera and immortalise the event just as you have the tail end of the flag about a foot above your heads, with your family all gathered round you, and the halliards still in your hand, and a second view when at the top and all of you salute.   It will thus prove an interesting memento to the MacDonald clan of generations of Australians yet unborn.  Send a copy to Montreal, Chicago &c, not forgetting one to my humble self.  "Long live the Australian Commonwealth"!  May her ways be ways of pleasantness and all her paths be peace!

Note : - As there is no signature at the bottom of this page, I suspect there were further pages to this letter which are not in my possession.  

 

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2 Inverleith Avenue,
EDINBURGH,  31st December, 1900.

My Dear Uncle,
Your welcome letter of 28th ultime, together with your beautiful photograph came duly and timeously to hand this morning.  I thank you for the splendid photograph of yourself and your family which I will ever treasure up to memory dear.  In reciprocating your kind wishes, may the New Year be one of health, happiness and prosperity to al of you.
After all the storms of the past month we are today having quite summerlike weather, and very mild and bright for the season.  As I write the very sun that I now look upon is setting down in all its splendour behind the heather clad hills of Scotland to dawn and shine on the morrow on the new-born Nation of United Australia!  And why, even as I write at 3.45 PM, it is already New Year's morn with you and the new century has already dawned upon you!  In a few hours hence I can picture you all in Australia saluting in gladness the Union jack.  In spirit I extend and join your rejoicings.  We attend midnight service here tonight in  St Giles Cathedral to take in the New Year and at that hour our thoughts and minds will be directed towards you all and all our kin beyond the seas.
Although the 20th century has already dawned upon you today, we have still the old one with us at the moment, and I cannot let it pass man, this historic old-world nineteenth century of ours without a word o' kindness yet for days o' auld lang syne.  It is the century in which we were born, in which we spent many

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happy days, and in which we have lived to witness great things take place throughout the world in every department of human action, especially in the domain of scientific invention : -

"Since first this active world began
Nature is busy in every part
But passing all in wisdom and in art
Superior shines the inventive man".

In this respect our grand old country has ever led on in the van of human progress, raising the whole world as it were to a higher and nobler level of life and civilisation.   Transcending all is the expansion and consolidation of our world-wide Empire, a heritage unparalleled in the history of the world, and the deeds of valour and daring that led up to this great and glorious consummation will ever live down the ages to everlasting wonder and admiration, associated as they are with the greatest reign in history, that of our well-beloved, noble  and venerable Sovereign, Her Majesty, the Queen.  What a world of good her life on earth has done!  God bless the Queen!  Long live the Queen!
And now, writing as I do from the old homeland, the old motherland of nations beyond the seas, I send you my warmest greetings, and my best wishes attend you all during the coming year, and throughout all time, God attend you God befriend you!
Your affectionate Nephew
J. A. Findlay

Sister writes her best wishes to you all.

 

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2 Inverleith Avenue,
EDINBURGH,  23rd January, 1901.

My Dear Uncle,
THE QUEEN IS DEAD !  LONG LIVE THE KING !
Such are the significant words before the world today.  Victoria, the great, the good, the noble, the true, the beloved, the Royal and illustrious Queen of the British Empire has gone to her eternal rest in the mansions of the blest to be crowned for ever in glory immortal.  Words utterly fail to describe the feelings under which our minds and hearts are bowed low in humble adoration.  And the same feelings of deep emotion prevail in the hearts of Britons the wide world o'er, aye and by other nations of every colour and creed.  That beautiful and regal life has done much good to the world at large and even in death uplifts the mind to higher and nobler thoughts.  Since first her illness became known on Friday last the very heavens rained down in torrents as if weeping in distress, the winds roared and moaned throughout the land  and the waves along our island shores "uplifted their heads and made a mighty noise" as if all creation joined in sorrow and regret at the declining hours of Her Britannic Majesty.   At the culminating moment of her last farewell at 6.30 PM last night the clouds and storms dispersed and then the stars looked down their myriad eyes of pity and the thin edged crescent of the new born moon shone down on the new order of things on earth.   Today muffled bells are pealing, cannons roar, flags droop down at half mast and

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the countenance of the people is saddened in distress and dismay.   The heath clad hills of Scotland are covered in a dim white shroud of vapoury mist and I hear the pibroch sounding a sad lament in the streets.  Even the song of the thrush and other woodland birds sounds more plaintive in my ears today.  The whole nation is mourning and the whole world is touched in profound respect and reverence.   Such a spectacle the world has never seen and will perhaps never see again.  I send you the principal newspaper of the day containing a full report of the sad tidings which I feel sure will be welcomed as coming from the Capitals of the old home and in which you will read far more than I can depict to you.  And now our new king is proclaimed, and the ship of state will sail on as hitherto firmly enthroned in the hearts of a united people.  Long live the King !  God save the King !
For the present I close with ever feeling of regard and respect,
Yours affectionately,
J. A. Findlay
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PS.-
It may perhaps interest you that my late respected Father once saved the Queen's life.   It was at the time Her majesty visited the Highlands in 1874 or 1876.  When landing at Dochgarroch on the Caledonian Canal the gangway leading on the Royal steamer slipped off the paddle box just at the moment the Queen stepped on to it and Father noticing the danger called to the Captain to hold fast his ropes but this could not be done in time and in the emergency he called to his assistant opposite to hold up the stage while the Queen passed on otherwise the stage would have overbalanced and her Majesty would have been precipitated into the water between the two vessels with the stage on top of her.  We oftentimes asked his permission to report the incident to headquarters but this he would not allow in his extreme modesty and always stated that he wanted no publicity in the exercise of his duties. The incident was not noticed by anyone at the time and out of respect to his  wish we never brought it forward.  But the fact remains true and we were all present on that occasion and heard him illustrate the particulars of the incident on several occasions and I know exactly how to describe same according to his statements.  It was John Brown, Her Majesty's attendant, who ordered her forward before all was quite secure with the moorings, His words to Her Majesty were. "Come awa' woman, they're a' ready"!

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Hoping all well, let me now close with seasonable greetings, and my best wishes attend you all far into the days and the years of the coming century.
Your affectionate nephew,
Jack

 

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8 Commercial St,
Leith, X'mas day.  25th Decr: 1905.

My Dear Uncle,
Thanks for your welcome Christmas card duly to hand.  I heartily reciprocate your kind greetings wishing you all good during the coming year.  I plead negligence in being so long in writing to you and tender apologies a thousandfold.  For the past year we have been kept very busy in our shipping line, in fact this is  record year for our Firm, having exported over one million tons of Scotch minerals over this year.
This summer I had holiday to Northern France and to Kent, a round voyage by sea.  It was during the time of the "entente cordiale" with France when the British Fleet was being entertained by the French nation at Brest.  I took Frank Jezzard with me to Calais on his first sea voyage and his first visit to foreign climes.  His British Naval uniform was then the observed of all observers at Calais so we were very royally entertained.  Later on this autumn I had to go to Germany on business and voyaged from here to Hamburg.
Next month we have all the excitement of a General Election.  That the Liberals will maintain themselves in power I feel doubtful.  I am strongly Unionist, and feel confident that our cause on tariff reform and preferences to the Colonies will yet get a fair chance before the country.

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Had letters from Montreal  and Chicago the other day and all seem well.   Presume Robert is still in New Zealand and will drop him a note by this mail.   I saw the New Zealand football team play in Edinburgh.
Deferred posting this letter for Friday's Mail.  We are having very mild weather for the season and no snow yet.
I wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year, And now,

Here's to the mighty motherland,
And every friend of old,
Round whom this day, so far away
Her shelt'ring pinions fold,
God bless them all, and let them say,
We think of them this Christmas Day.

Yours very truly
J. A. Findlay

 

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TELEG ADDRESSES AT EACH OFFICE IN SCOTLAND, "STEVENSON", AND AT NEWCASTLE, "STEVENITE"

D. M. STEVENSON & Co

NEWCASTLE ON TYNE

GLASGOW & LEITH

8 Commercial Street,

Leith.  9th October,  1906

My Dear Uncle,
I must apologise for not replying sooner to your letter of 4th April.  In the first place, this is to announce to you that I am getting married on Monday 15th inst, to Miss Isabella Johnston Dougall in Edinburgh, and we have taken a house at Corstorphine three miles outside Edinburgh.  Would have intimated this earlier to you but have been kept exceptionally busy and missed mail after mail to you.  We are to be married in Greenside Parish Church, Royal Terrace, Edinburgh, by the Rev John Lamond and "hope to live happy ever afterwards".  So you see I have allied myself to the Clan MacDougall.
Sorry I cannot make any further progress regarding the Chancery affair referred to.
Have not heard from Robert since he was in New Zealand.  I hope he is getting on all right in New York.
This summer I spent holidays at Sandwich, Kent and had a happy time and excellent weather both by sea and land, having voyaged to and from London from here, by sea.  At present we are having excellent weather here in Old Scotland.
This is my 20th year with this firm and they have been very kind to me on the occasion.
Meantime, with all kind regards and best wishes,
Yours very truly,  J. A. Findlay