Scalan Archive

A Highland Parish

SCALAN

INTRODUCTiON

@Innes Review Vol XIV No. 2 1963

The following account of Scalan still exists in the Scottish Catholic Archives It is the work of John Geddes who had been appointed to 1762 where he re-organised the college and built a new house; he remained there till December, 1767, when he was appointed to replace George Hay at Preshome, and in 1770 he was sent out to Spain to deal with the situation there on the expulsion of the Jesuits and to try to re-establish a Scots College there, and he remained in Spain till his consecration as Bishop of Morocco and auxiliary to Bishop Hay on St. Andrew’s Day, 1780. Another copy which probably came from Scalan is also in the archives; it contains the partial register of Scalan published below and probably other copies were in circulation; it was known and used by Dom Odo Blundell in The Catholic Highlands of Scotland (1909) but a complete publication is desirable as it is a fundamental document.

 

A BRIEF HISTORICAL ACCOUNT OF THE SEMINARY OF SCALAN

1. Every Scotch Catholic who has any zeal for the Advancement of the true Religion in his Country, and still more particularly Persons in our circumstances must naturally have an affectionate regard for the little College, as I may call it, of Scalan. Besides this, we who are here present have almost all of us past some time of our lives in that house , and do I hope, retain a pleasing and grateful remembrance of it. These considerations make me believe that it will give you some satisfaction to have this short historical account of that seminary taken from the mouths of those who were not only Eye-witnesses of the things here related, but even the principal Agents in them. Among these, besides others, may be reckoned Bishop Hugh Macdonald, Bishop Smith and that Mr. George Gordon who as we will see, was long Superior of that very place of which we are going to treat.

2. About the year 1713, which was also remarkable for the beginning of the Seminary annexed to the Scotch Benedictine Monastery at Ratisbonne Bishop Nicolson, who was then Vicar Apostolic of all Scotland and his Co-adjutor, Bishop Gordon formed a resolution of establishing a School for the education of Catholic Boys who after trial and preparation there might go to the Scotch Colleges abroad, or, when it should seem proper, might go on with their Studies so as to acquire the learning sufficient for entering into Holy Orders without ever leaving their native Country. That this last was not only one of the original designs of this Institution but even the chief one is very certain: though at present and for some time past, especially since the death of Bishop Smith, the trying and preparing of boys for our houses of education in Catholic Countries has been the end principally proposed at Scalan. The instruction and teaching of young Gentlemen designed for secular life has always been considered as accidental to the School and has been avoided as much as could be done without inconvenience because it was looked upon as a hindrance to the attainment of the primary intention.

3. The place which was chosen for the establishment was the Island in Loch Morar. Mr. George Innes, who was afterwards Principal of the Scotch College in Paris, was sent to be the first Master and Mr. Hugh Macdonald, Son of the Laird of Morar, who came afterwards to be the first Apostolical Vicar of the Highlands, was one of the first Scholars. But before this School had long existed the civil war of the year 1715 and the ensuing Calamities occasioned a dissolution of it, nor was the Re-establishment of it attempted until a year or two after, when the disturbances had considerably subsided, and then Scalan was judged a proper place in which the execution of the former plan might be prudently re-assumed.

4. Scalan, as you know, is situated in the upper and southermost part of the Lordship of Glenlivet. The piece of land that formed the Farm which has this name is spread almost round an eminence of a conical Figure joined on the West towards Strathavin to a higher Hill called Tomtrumper. At the foot of this Eminence on the East the brook named Crombie glides along to the North, and about two miles farther down, after having passed the Farms of Badygalashan, Eskymulloch, Auchaveach, Nether Clashmoir, Nether Auchjnayjaw and Refrish a little above Tombea, falls into the Livet. From Scalan you turn your face to the North-East you see before you at the distance of a quarter of a Mile the little hill of Tomvain and farther off the higher Hills of Glenfiddich and Cairnvollich; on the right you have the mountains of Cairndoulack and Cairnmore which form the nearest part of the desart that divides Glenlivet from Strathdon; a little to the left and beyond the hills of Cordregny, the towering Benrinnes seems to touch the Skies with its rocky top very often covered with snow or mist. Westward from it Kairnykay shows itself, and between them but much nearer is the hill of the Buochie which rises in the middle of Glenlivet, between the Livet and Crombie and separates the Braes from the lower part of the Country. The Climate here is cold and you have commonly much snow in the Winter; but in the summer the place is not at all disagreeable, The eminence itself or, as it is there called, the Tom of Scalan is composed of limestone covered with a not very thick coat of Soil fit for bearing Corn, and at no great distance, almost on every hand but especially to the North, between you and Clasnoir, you meet with enough of that black earth which in Scalan affords us the best of Fewel in our Peat and Turf and is a remedy given us by Providence against the cold of our northern Regions. Scalan was almost entirely covered with Juniper until the year 1716, and the name itself is said to have been given it from Sticks fixed in the ground and interwoven with twigs forming small Huts called in Erse Scalan or something near to it, and which served to conceal the fowler from the Blackcocks which were wont to frequent those places.

5. Mr. John Gordon, of the family of Cairnborrow which seems to ow extinct, was Missionary in Glenlivet in the year 1715, and had residence somewhere about Munmore or Castletown, but in the next year when General Cadogan and other Officers of the Hanoverian armyy came North with their Troops he thought it safest for him to make his ordinary abode in the most retired part of the Country and staid commonly in a Barn which was on the Southwest corner of the Tom of Scalan where there is a dwelling house to this day. It was about this time that he resolved to make for himself an Habitation on the Banks of the Crombie near to an excellent fountain which he saw there, and, in fact before Winter with the permission of Mr. Grant of Tomvullin who had all that place in Tack from the Duke of Gordon, the Juniper bushes were cleared away, a house was built and somewhat of a yard was formed, and this was the very beginning of Scalan’s being the dwelling place of our Clergymen.

6. This place was looked upon by Bishop Gordon as very proper for the purpose of reviving the Catholic School. Scalan was not only on the Duke of Gordon’s Estate, who was then Catholic, but it was also retired and there were many Catholics in the Neighbourhood. Accordingly next year, 1717 there were some Scholars here but I am not certain whether or not Mr. Gordon ever had the management of them. I know he did not remain long there, but was sent to the Mission of Strathbogy where he lived only a short time, and it was remarkable that having preached on the Sunday very fervently on Death he himself died on the Tuesday thereafter and was buried in Peter-kirk, an old ruined Chapel on the banks of the Deveron about two miles above Huntly, which still continues to be a burying-place for the Catholicks.

7. At the very first foundation of the school of Scalan or very soon after it was founded the charge of it was committed, in as far as I can remember to have heard, to the same Mr. George Innes who, we said, was Superior in that of the Isle of Morar. He was, however, soon succeeded in this Office by Mr. John Tyrie, nor was it long before Mr. Tyrie got the care given him of the Mission of Strathbogy. and Mr. Alexander Grant, Brother to Bishop Grant now living, was entrusted with the government of this house which continued in his hands for five or six years from the year 1720 or near that time until 1726 when he returned to Italy.

8. The house, as we already signified was built at the foot of the Eminence on the very Brink of Crombie and for about twenty years it was almost entirely of Turf. For the maintenance of some milk-Cows and for the affording of some other necessaries Mr. Grant of Tomvullan gave them in sub-tack a piece of land extending up the hill from the house, and another Mr. Grant, Brother to Mr. Grant of Ruthven, who then lived in Demiemore in order to improve it. and was also the Duke’s Factor in some of these parts, granted to this house of Scalan a piece of Ground on the East side of Crombie which was properly within the Bounds of the Farm of Badygalashan as the Brook was the limit, but it was then separated from Badygalashan by sufficient authority and is now justly considered as belonging to Scalan. Without this addition those of the Seminary would have been by far too much confined, but this favour put it in their power to form an Inclosure through which Crombie runs and this contributes to the agreeableness and much more to the useful-ness of the place. Nay it is on a part of this Ground thus added to Scalan that the house built about ten years ago, is situated.

9. Mr. Hugh McDonald, who had been in the School of the Isle of Morar was also one of the first Scholars in Scalan and soon after the opening of this last School Mr. George Gordon, born at Drumin, who was afterwards Superior of Scalan and for many years before his death Missionary in Aberdeen, was received into it. Mr. James Grant, now Bishop, was also two years in this house about the year 1720 or soon after it, before he went to Scothouse, when he was 14 or 15 years of age and when his Brother, Mr. Alexander was actually Superior of the Seminary. Mr. Archibald Anderson the Deacon, was likewise here for some time but only as Teacher, and I think it was pretty early, but I cannot precisely determine the year.

10. Bishop Gordon took a pleasure in staying at Scalan some Months of the Summer, and was very desirous that learning and piety should flourish there. For the obtaining of this great end he drew up short Rules in the year 1722 of which there was a copy in his own Handwriting to be seen in that house, some years ago where, 1 suppose, it still remains. They resemble very much the Rules of the Pontifical Colleges having, however, some additions adapted to the particular circumstances of Scalan or which the Bishops thought useful for giving the youths a due command of themselves and some things also are necessarily omitted which could not have place in Glenlivet.

1 1 . The good zealous Bishop began to reap the fruit of his endeavours in the year 1725, for then he had the satisfaction on the Ember Saturday of September to confer the Order of Priesthood on Mr. Hugh MacDonald and Mr. George Gordon whom we have mentioned above. The first of these Gentlemen was, not long after, sent to the Highlands, and he exercised the Missionary Functions for some years with extraordinary diligence and success in the Country of Morar untill he went to Paris where he staid in the Scotch College a year or two, and then returned to Scotland and was consecrated Bishop of Diana at Edinburgh by Bishop Gordon in the year 1731 , and appointed by the Pope first Vicar Apostolic of the western part of the Kingdom.

12. Mr. George Gordon, the other young Scalan Priest, soon after his Ordination got the charge of the Mission of Glenlivet which he continued to have only a year or something more until be was called to succeed Mr. Alexander Grant as the Superior of the Seminary in the year 1726 or much about that time.

13. Mr. Grant had behaved in Scalan much to the satisfaction of every body concerned and Bishop Gordon had formed so advantageous an opinion of his prudence and virtue that he looked upon him as a proper person to be raised to the Episcopal Order and place him at the head of ihe Highland Missions as Vicar Apostolic of them, it seeming expedient that there should be a Bishop who understood the Erse, seeming so great a part of the Scotch Catholicks could speak little else but that Language. Mr. Grant was quite averse to this proposal not only out of humility, but also because he imagined, and not without grounds, that he would not be acceptable as a Superior to those of whom it was intended to give him the direction. However after many remonstrances he at last seemed to yield to Bishop Gordon’s entreaties and went to Rome, as was supposed, in order to be there consecrated Bishop. From Rome he went out to a neighbouring city (I think Montepulciano) to wait there and make a Retreat, until the Bulls in the meantime should be got ready. But he, instead of returning at the time when he was expected, disappeared, nor were any accounts of him after that time ever obtained, though exact enquiries have been made all over Europe, excepting only that he himself wrote, about fifteen months after his absconding, from Genoa to Mr. Stuart, then Agent of the Scotch Mission at Rome and asked some little Money which Mr. Stuart remitted to him. Whether he was drowned at Sea, or died by some other accident, or retired into some Religious Order or became an Hérmit is uncertain. All who had been acquainted with him agreed in esteeming him as a man of consummate virtue.

14. From this digression let us return to Scalan where we have now Mr. George Gordon for Superior who did all in his power to make this ,school useful to his Country. He had many scholars whom it is impossible for me to particularise at present. Mr. William Reid was one of the most eminent among them, who after having studied several years here was sent to the College at Rome about 1733 whence he returned Priest in 1739, and after having laboured with zeal in the Mission of Mortlach about thirty years, his health being entirely broken, he retired into Aberdeen where he now lives, I think. Mr. Robert Grant, now Principal of the College in Douai, who was several years in the house of Scalan, entered into it when Mr. George Gordon was Superior and was for some time under his care. Mr. William Gordon, who was long in Scalan and, after having been ordained Priest at Rome, out of scrupulosity or other Unreasonable Fears, instead of returning to the Mission went to reside at Loretto does not much deserve mention, much less does the unhappy Mr. Francis McDonell, who, after having studied and been promoted to Holy Orders at Scalan, behaved ill in the Highlands, apostatized at Edinburgh, about the year 1742 and, I believe, lives still on the western Coasts of Scotland, having long since lost the sight of his body, and has not, as yet, I am afraid, recovered that of the soul though I have heard he had expressed some signs of repentance.

15. There were also in Scalan in the time Mr. George Gordon was Superior, the sons of several gentlemen for their Education and Instruction in Religion, without any intention of their becoming Clergymen. Among these the present Mr. Gordon of Aberlour was one, and, if I am not mistaken, the sons of the families of Letterfury and Birkenbush were here also under Mr. George’s care as Mr. Gordon of Glastirum, then very young, had been for a year or two with his predecessor.

16. There was indeed much about this same time, a boarding school for Catholic young Gentlemen kept at Strands in Strathavin by Mr. Gregory Farquharson who had Mr. Archibald Anderson for some timc to assist him. At this school some of Glengary’s, Scotus’s and Belfinlay’s sons with many other Highland young Gentlemen, as also the late Mr. Gordon of Munmore, some Stuarts from Deeside and the sons of Mr Gordon of Letterfury received at least a part of their education. Thi~ Mr. Farquharson was for some time Preceptor to Cosmus Duke of Gordon, in his father’s life-time; he took arms in 1745, was made prisoner at the battle of Culloden, and died, I think, at sea as they were carrying him up to England. (Note.—See comment on this statement in Clapperton’s account of Deacon Anderson.) r

17. This is another digression, but I hope you will excuse it likewise. I shall now proceed to tell you that Mr. George Gordon was sent to the Mission at Aberdeen in the year 1736 and that his successor at Scalan was Mr. Alexander Gordon of Cuffuroch who, if I remember well, received the order of Priesthood in that same place about this time, together with Mr. John Gordon of Birkenbush who had returned from Paris Deacon, and more than ten years after miserably abandoned the Catholic Religion.

18. I think it was in the year 1738 that Mr. Alexander Gordon built a new house at Scalan of stone and lime for the greatest part, and therefore much better than the former one. He had commonly a numerous school and among his scholars besides Mr. Robert Grant and Mr. William Gordon above-mentioned was Mr. Dougald Macdonald from the Isle of Uist who afterwards completed his studies at Rome and became a zealous Missionary in his own Country, but died young to the great regret of his friends and all the Catholics who either knew him or had even heard of him. But it must be owned that Mr. Gordon has been blamed for allowing to enter in by his too much good-nature a relaxation of discipline into the house of Scalan during the five or six years he was there Superior; for he was called in 1741 or 1742 to be general Procurator of the Funds of the Mission and in that office, and at the same time as Missionary he remained at Edinburgh untill in the year 1763 he went thence to be Chaplain to the Duchess of Perth, with whom he continued at Stobhall for above ten years to her death which happened in 1772. (and now he lives at Dundee. Note: This last phrase ha~been cancelled, and certainly when this was written Bishop Geddes believed he was going to live in Dundee, but his movements are somewhat uncertain, and if he was in Dundee it was only for a short time; ultimately he moved to Edinburgh and became Vicar-General to Bishop Hay.)

19. Mr. William Duthie was the next Superior at Scalan. This Gentleman whilst he was studying at Aberdeen in order to be an episcopal Clergyman and had even received the Order of Deacon in that Communion was converted to the Catholic Faith together with several others by Mr. William Shand, one of the most zealous and successful Missionaries that we have had and whose memory is still venerated by many. Mr. Duthie studied Divinity at Paris was ordained Priest, returned to Scotland, and in 1742 got the direction of the Seminary.

20. In this same year 1742 Bishop Gordon and Bishop Macdonald met at Scalan in order to deliberate what was proper to be done with to Mr. Francis MacDonell whose behaviour had given great scandal and to treat of other affairs. Mr. Francis was there present and some satisfaction but not all that was desired. Mr. James Grant, Bishop had come from Barra to pay a visit to his friends and ,anied Bishop McDonald to Scalan on this occasion.

21. I have not great knowledge of the Scholars who were at Scalan the first years that Mr. Duthie was there, but I can mention in particular Mr. William Gordon, son to Dr. Alexander Gordon of Keithmore and consequently nephew of Bishop Gordon. He was then a boy of great hopes and he afterwards turned out a young Gentleman of such excellent   qualifications that no one ever knew him who did not esteem love him and his name was seldom mentioned without there being added to it the deserved praises. No wonder if his death, when he was in the twenty-seventh year of his age was much regretted by his friends.

  22. In the Summer of the year 1745 Bishop Gordon paid to his dear Scalan the last visit: he died on the 17th of January O.S. of the year following at Thornhill near Drummond Castle and was buried at Innerry (in the Abbey of Inchaffray cancelled). Providence seems to have taken him out of this vale of tears at the critical time in something of the same manner as St. Austin and other holy men that he might not see the calamities that soon ensued and which would have pierced his heart with the most sensible grief. Even before his corpse was carried from Thornhill in the Neighbourhood of the Castle I think I have heard the Soldiers of the adverse party had come to rifle it. Bishop Gordon was the founder of Scalan, for near thirty years he cherished that house with the greatest tenderness and he in the end made it his heir, so that it is certainly reasonable that those who have received any benefit from that establishment should regard his memory and pray for the peace of his soul.

23. Soon after the death of the good Bishop, Scalan was laid in ashes, for as soon as the Duke of Cumberland saw that his victory at Culloden was entirely decisive and that his Adversaries were so scattered that they could scarcely unite again to make head against him, he sent out parties on all hands to extinguish (as was the language then) the remains of the Rebellion. One of these parties entered Glenlivet and soon directed their course to Scalan as to a place particularly obnoxious to the Presbyterian Clergy who had now great influence. This visit had been expected. Mr. Duthie had dismissed all the Students to their parents or friends. He had also got the sacred vestments and Chalices, the books and even the other moveables carried to the most secret and safe places and this was done with so much prudence that of these things very little was lost. I think it was on the Morning of the 16th of May that the detachment of the Troops surrounded Scalan and orders were immediately given for setting the house ón fire nor was it long before these orders were executed. Mr. Duthie with a sorrowful heart from one of the neighbouring hills was looking down on the affeëting Scene. He saw his habitation surrounded with armed men whom he knew to be then full of barbarous fury; in a short time the smoaky flames began to ascend; he could soon perceive the Roof fall in and after a little there was nothing left but Ruins. This was to him and to many others a dismal sight but the worst was that it seemed to be only the beginning of evils; they knew not what was to follow nor where nor when these barbarities were to end; the entire extirpation of the Catholicks out of Scotland was loudly threatened and was justly to have been feared without the interposition of Divine providence in their favour.

24. When the soldiers had completed their shocking work and done all the harm they could get done at Scalan they departed thence in order to carry terror and mischief to other places, and then Mr. Duthie ventured down to take a nearer view of the Ruins they had left, making at the same time the reflections which such circumstances could not fail to suggest.

To see the very spot in which he had lived contentedly for years, where he had taken his bodily refreshment with cheerfulness and sociality, where he had slept in peace and security, where he had taught, preached, prayed and even many times offered up the adorable Sacrifice, to see this place. I say, covered over with ashes, and reduced to be a habitation proper only for Owls and wild beasts must have been very afflicting to the good man. But notwithstanding all this he still retained courage and during that Summer and the following Winter he made his ordinary abode at the place called Culenteim which depends upon Tomalionan and from thence took what care he could of the small crop on Scalan. In the Summer of 1747 some of the old houses were made fit for something of a dwelling, and as soon as it was thought it could be done with any degree of safety another house was built, but much inferior to the former one, for it occupied only the ground on which the Kitchin had stood before with a very small part of the house that had been burnt, and a new Kitchin was also reared up.

25. Before the Summer of 1749 Mr. Duthie had again some Scholars; he had in particular Mr. John Gordon who, having studied with him some years, and having made a stay of some Months with Mr. George Gordon at Aberdeen, was promoted to holy Orders by Bishop Smith and was Missionary in Glenlivet after the death of Mr. John Tyrie for two or three years with an exemplary zeal, preaching with fer*our, instructing with diligence and using all other means in his power to be of service to those committed to his care. He died of a fever in the year 1757 or 1758 and was buried in the chapel of Dunan not far from Drumin.

26. But though Mr. Duthie was thus endeavouring to bring the Seminary by degrees back to its former state yet much prudence and caution was necessary, for until about the beginning of the last War in 1756 there were almost always two parties of Soldiers stationed in Glenlivet who had express orders to seize the Priests wherever they could find them and they expected a reward for apprehending them. Hence it was that even in the year 1752 there was a strict search made at Scalan for Mr. Duthie in the night, but he had been forewarned of the danger by means of the Serjeant or his Wife who were quartered in Demiemore. And it happened, not only in this but on many other such occasions, that the soldiers in hopes of some reward which was always liberally given them, and sometimes had been previously promised to them in case they should give timeous notice of any intended search, let some hint or dropped some letter as if it had been by accident that the persons aimed at might be put on their guard. It may be here served that those who have seen only the present times of peace and safety in our Country cannot easily form to themselves a just idea of those past troubles nor have a strong enough sense of the reasons we have to be thankful for the calm which the Catholicks there now enjoy.

27. Mr. Duthie continued at Scalan until the Summer of the year 1758 when he came to be Prefect of Studies in the Scotch College in Paris and he had under his care after the battle of Culloden besides Mr. John Gordon already mentioned and some others, Mr. Alexander Geddes and Mr. Alexander Kennedy who both, as you know, came to be Clergymen and Missionaries.

28. Mr. William Gray was the next and, in as far as 1 know, the seventh who had the direction of Scalan. He was born in Strathbogy and had spent a great part of his life (nor was he now young) in teaching in Gentlemen’s private families. He had been converted to the Catholic faith and, after his conversion, had been about two years in the Scotch College at Paris. He had on his return home made some stay with Mr. Duthie at Scalan, had been also some time at Lundin in Fife as Preceptor of the Children of Mr. Lundin of Lundin, now Earl of Perth, and Bishop Smith had ordained him. (Note: This reference to an Earl of Perth may need explanation. James Lundin of Lundin on the death of Edward Drummond, styled Duke of Perth, (who died in Paris 7th Feb. 1760, and who is a prominent figure in one episode of Jansenist history, the miracles at the tomb of the Deacon Paris) had a claim to the estates of the Earidom, and here uses the title as well. The attainder on the Earl of Melfort in 1695 did not affect his children by Sophia Lundin. his first wife. James Lundin died in 1781, his son James was created a British peer, Lord Perth and Baron Drummond of Stobhall. The British Parliament restored the Earidom in 1853.) Mr. Gray remained there Master and continued in that office until September of the year 1762, when he was succeeded By Mr. John Geddes and then he went to a place in Strathbogie called Bawgrie-miln to teach the Sons of one Mr. Forbes residing there, of which task be was very capable being much versed in Grammar and well acquainted with the Greek and Latin classical Authors.

29. Whilst Mr. Gray was Superior at Scalan an extraordinary visit was made to it by two Protestant Parsons who were sent in the year 1760 by the General Assembly to observe and bring them an account of the state of Religion in the Highlands and Isles of Scotland. They did not indeed so much as alight from their horses at Scalan but, after having spoken for a little with Mr. Gray who had expected their coming and who invited them into the house, they rode off expressing their surprise that so great a noise should have been made about a place that made so poor an appearance to them and seemed of so little consequence. Nevertheless in their account of their visitation which was published in the Scotch Magazine they make particular mention of the College ( Scalan and affirm that there were three Priests residing in it whereas at that time there was not one priest there but only one Deacon. They were guilty of no less mistakes in other parts of their relation which probably proceeded from their giving credit to what was told them by their Brethren, and no wonder if their doing so led them to errors seeing about that time a Protestant Minister who lived only at the distance of six Miles from Scalan asserted strenuously that there were actually in that house above thirty Boys when really there were only four or five.

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30. Besides some others Mr. Gray had for scholars at Scalan John, Alexander and William Gordons, Sons of the families of Clashnoir, Munmore and Lettoch in Glenlivet, and Alexander Cameron from Braemar, a grand-nephew of Mr. Thomas Brockie who had been a very active and successful Missionary in the Parishes of Cabrach, Glass, Mortlach and Aberlour. These four Mr. Geddes found in the house when he removed from Shenval to Scalan and others were received in the following year, especially John Paterson who at present has the management of the Seminary and who bad been a scholar in it before under the care of Mr Gray, had been sent to the Scotch Benedictine Monastery at Wurtzburg the preceding Autumn together with John Geddes, now a Monk in that house under the name of Father Andrew, but that Climate not agreeing with his health, had returned to Scotland and resolved to prosecute his studies as well as he could at home and become a Missionery of the secular Clergy if he should be found fit for that purpose.

31.In the same year. 1763 a renewal of the sub-tack of the small farm was obtained of Mr. Grant of Rothmaes on favourable enough terms for the three years that remained of his Lease; and indeed this Gentleman and his father, Mr. Grant of Tomvullin had been all along friendly to Scalan. and though they were often solicited especially by the Presbyterian Parsons not to allow such a Popish School to be on their possessions yet they never yielded in the least to threats or importunities’ but always continued to give what assistance and protection they could to this settlement and even gloried in doing so. The father had the happiness to be converted to the Catholic Faith in his last illness and was assi~ted at his death by Mr. George Gordon of Scalan. as he was wont to be called. The son probably intended the same, nay he had again and again signified as much, but he was seized with a sudden sickness and snatched away before he was well aware of the danger he was in1 adding one to the many instances of those who ruin themselves by delaying, on account of trifles, to settle the most important affair they can possibly have even to think upon.

32. About this same time Scalan got an addition to its small revenues by there being applied to it about £12 a year, whereof the one half was a Benefaction granted by Pope Clement XII for the Education of Scotch Catholic Boys designed to be sent to the Colleges abroad and the other half is the Interest of a part of ten thousand Crowns given by King James VIII to be employed by Cardinal Spinelli in the way he should judge most expedient for the advantage of the Catholic Religion in Scotland. It is required as a necessary condition for receiving this money at Rome that a particular account of the two Boys maintained by it the preceding year, signed by the Vicar Apostolic be presented to the Cardinal Protector of Scotland in order by these means to prevent its being turned to any other use whatever. An equal sum was granted to the Western Vicariate at the same time from the same source for the same end and with the same conditions.

33. On the 4th of August 1764 Alexander Cameron and John Gordon above-mentioned set out from Scalan for Rome and Alexander Innes departed with them in order to go to the Scotch College in Paris; this last is the youngest son of Mr. James Innes of Balnacraig and had been almost a year in the Seminary. Lewis Macdonald also, son of Mr. Macdonald of Morar who had been at the School of Fochabers joined them here and went with them to Paris, being likewise to enter the College there.

34. The place of the Youths who had gone abroad from Scalan was soon filled up by John Farquharson son of Mr. Gregory Farquharson in Glenconglass, James Cameron, son of Mr. William Cameron then in Dairachy who are both now in the College we have in Douai, and by some others.

35. But as it would require too much time at present, were I to be as particular as I could in giving you the history of Scalan for the last twelve or fourteen years; and as you yourselves already know the mosi’ remarkable things that have happened relating to it in that space of time, I shall only here mention a few Events more, reserving a fuller Account of them to another occasion.

36. In the year 1767 the Lease of the little Farm was renewed for 17 years and a new house was built, nor can I avoid taking notice that on this very day on which I pronounce to you this historical account it is exactly ten years since the Masons convened there in order to lay the Foundation of it, as they did, the next morning.

37. On the 7th of December of the same year Mr. John Thomson arrived at Scalan to take the management of the house, which Mr. John Geddes gave over to him on the 15th of the same Month, and departed for the Enzie. Mr. Oliver left Scalan at the very same time and went first to Aberdeen, where Bishop Grant ordained him Deacon and then to Douai to be Prefect of Studies in the Scotch College there.

38. On the 19th of May 1769, being Trinity Sunday, Bishop Hay was consecrated at Scalan by Bishop Grant, the two Bishops McDonalds as assistants.

39. In the Spring of 1770 Mr. John Paterson succeeded Mr. Thomson as Superior of Scalan and still continues in that office, having during seven years sent several boys to these Colleges abroad who, we hope, will in due time be of great advantage to our Country and the verifying of this, we, my dear companions, must certainly contribute to our share.

40. We have numberless very pressing motives to this. The time by the goodness of God will come when the Catholic Religion will again flourish in Scotland, and then when Posterity shall enquire with a laudable curiosity by what means any sparks of the true Faith were preserved in these dismal times of darkness and error Scalan and these other Colleges will be mentioned with veneration and all that can be known concerning them will be recorded with care, and even this very account which I give you, however insignificant it may now appear, may one day serve as something of a Monument of Our Church History transmitting down to future Ages the names of some of those Champions who stood up for the cause of God and, far from being carried away by the Torrent of prejudice, in spite of all opposition and delusion went on steadfastly in their duty to their Maker and strove to make as many others as possible their Companions in the way to Bliss. To be mentioned in after times as having been the happy instruments of procuring Glory to the God of Heaven and endless Felicity to our Fellow-creatures is evidently an object incomparably more worthy of the Ambition of a truly great Soul, than the being renowned for having conquered Kingdoms or ruled Empires, or anything else that the World as such can ever propose to us, but it is still true that all the Glory which is confined to this our Earth and does not extend beyond the Limits of time seems very trifling to the faithful Christian who looks forward into a boundless Eternity and is enraptured with the Hopes of having his name recorded in the Book of Life, his praises celebrated in the heavenly Jerusalem, of being for ever and ever esteemed heroes and glorified by the Supreme God of all the Creation and treated as his friend and favourite in the presence and eternal Society of all the good and wise men that have ever been and of all those most perfect angelical Spirits. How far should not such a Prospect raise our minds above all earthly views? With what an ardent desire of pleasing our God and of promoting his honour should it not fire us!

 

FIÑIS

N.B. This historical Account of Scalan was read in an Academical Meeting in the Scotch College at Valladolid on the 18th of June 1777.