Wednesday, 5 March 2014
Air Lorg Tearlach ( Searching for Charlie )
Neil and Donald found the "presses" of the Inverness Courant very easily on asking just a few people. Being the first newspaper in these parts, it had been well received by those who valued it for its forthright opinions and its no-nonsense written style. Just off the Wellgate, through the Bull Close, they happened on a long one storey white house which could only be where the Courant was published. A young lady came over to meet them and introduced herself as Mary Grant. NEIL: " I am Neil Macleod and this is my brother Donald. We are genuinely happy to meet you Miss Grant, and in doing so, be assured that we have come a long way to make you acquaintance. We are from the Isle of Lewis, and have come here with a certain proposition in mind." Mary Grant told the boys that her people own farms near Elgin in Morayshire and this has allowed her to travel around Scotland. She spent two years in Edinburgh, and it was here she took an interest in printing. She spent most of her time in the printing works of Mr. Creuch on the High Street. This was not an apprenticeship as such, but she learned a great deal under the watchful eye of Old Creuch. She believed he was amused that a young woman might be interested in the printing trade, and he would tease her when her hands and face were covered in printer's ink. She then invited the lads to tell her about their proposition. DONALD: " Miss Grant, There are few around who have not heard the rumour that Charles Edward Stuart has landed on the Scottish mainland to regain the three crowns for his father, King James III, known in Hanovarian circles as "The Old Pretender". Alerts at some garrisons and the sight of troop movements throughout the west suggest that Charles Stuart is indeed here and seriously contemplating rebellion. He has landed in Moidart, as this region of the West Highlands is staunchly Catholic, an area seemingly untouched by the Reformation two hundred years ago." NEIL: " Assuming Charles can rouse the Jacobites to his cause, it has been our desire to follow in his army's wake to report on the state of the army, their hopes and ambitions, and hopefully conduct interviews with the main protagonists of this Jacobite army. Mary, we thought that since your paper was one of the few north of Edinburgh or Glasgow, it would be ideal to carry these stories of rebellion. The Courant would gain a wide circulation, well beyond Inverness. We would meet our own expenses, and the only thing I ask is that our names appear in all the reports we send you." MARY: "If you are willing to go through with this, and meet your own expenses, then I will publish all the reports you send me. I might be persuaded to publish what you send in special supplements. Life with the Jacobite army could be onerous and at times dangerous, so I would ask that you take care of yourself, as best you can. Do not place yourselves in life threatening situations. If needs must, you have two fine horses which will get you out of any immediate danger. Being fluent in Gaelic should help you get close to the Highlanders, who will be the greater part of the Jacobite army. Donald and Neil, take care and God Bless."