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one at the same time deeply engaged in agriculture and its interests, was Mr James Innes of Durris. Mr Innes was born at Leuchars, in Morayshire ; his father was Sheriff of Kincardineshire, and proprietor of Leuchars ; his brother, Cosmo Innes, Esq., was Sheriff of Morayshire. The father of Mr James Innes bought the lease of the estate of Durris for ninety-nine years from the trustees of the Earl of Peterborough for £30,000 and an annual feu-duty of a few hundred pounds. Owing to some new views of the law of entail, the Duke of Gordon, the legal heir of the Earl of Peterborough, turned Mr Innes out of the estate after he had expended £95,000 in improvements, and after the case had been in court for fifteen years. Mr Innes farmed extensively, having had seven or eight farms in his own occupancy at the same time He rode on horseback yearly to Falkirk, and bought a large lot of Highland cattle. He generally had 200 cattle, 1500 sheep, and from ten to twelve pairs of horses on his farms. Mr Innes's horses went at the top of their speed in cart and plough; they had all breeding. No standing was allowed when the horses were in harness. In a busy day in harvest, and when the horses were yoked double, you would have seen Mr Innes's horses driving in the corn at a smart gallop. The harvest-carts were wide, railed and framed on both sides, with one or two cross-bearers. In a “ leading” day Mr Innes was a sure hand at the fork in the stackyard, and the man on the stack and the man on the cart had to look out. Mr Innes was no trifler, and would not be trifled with ; but if an accident bappened he made no remarks. He did not transact business by commission, but purchased both the cattle and sheep himself. The aged West Highlanders were sent to the wood during winter; the year-old Highlanders were put into the strawyards; and the four-year-old Aberdeens were bought for stall-feeding Black-faced wethers were sent to the low pasture and for turnipfeeding. An annual sale of cattle and letting of grass
took place about the 20th May. Mr Innes was famed for growing turnips. He gained the prize of £50, given by the Highland Society for the best field of turnips in the north of Scotland, twenty acres of yellow and ten of globe turnips. Deacon Williamson's six and eight year old Aberdeen work oxen—these were not the days of quick returns in cattle-consumed them, and they went to the Greenland whale-ships at last. Mr Innes was the poor man's friend, and a kind master to his servants, but a cool determined man. Although standing almost six feet three inches in height, he was a splendid horseman ; when crossing the Dee he made his horse jump into the boat with himself upon its back. He galloped as the crow flies from one farm to another, and was at the head of everything himself. He was an intimate friend of the late Lord Kennedy, Captain Barclay of Ury, Farquharson of Finzean, Davidson of Balnagask, and Cruickshank of Langley Park. He sometimes took a holiday with them; and even entered for a time into some of their frolics, when his seedtime and harvest was finished: he was quite fit to keep his own with them. He was well educated, wrote out his leases, collected his rents, could floor any one in court, and was very popular as a justice.
Mr Cruickshank of Langley Park and Mr Innes after· wards quarrelled—the quarrel originating at Blackball.
There had been a good deal of chaffing between them, which ended in a row. Cruickshank went home and wrote a challenge to Innes, and Innes went home and wrote one to Cruickshank. They met and fought at Laurencekirk: Major C. Robertson, Kindeace, Invergordon, was Cruickshank's second, and Dr Hoyle, Montrose, was in attendance as surgeon. - was Innes's second, and Dr Skene, Aberdeen, his surgeon. After the first fire the seconds stopped proceedings; but Mr Innes's mother had intercepted a letter, which she gave to her son after the first duel, and Mr Innes forthwith sent another challenge to Cruickshank. They
fought again at Bourtreebush, half-way between Aberdeen and Stonehaven. Mr John Stewart, late in Anguston (who was a great friend of the laird of Durris), was standing with Mr Innes at the Plainstones, in Aberdeen. Mr Innes looked at the town clock, and said, “My time is up; but you will meet me at breakfast to morrow at Durris at eight.” He did not say what he was to be about. Mr William Walker, who was afterwards three years overseer to Mr Innes at Durris, tells that he thinks it was in June or July 1819 that his father's servant and himself were carting home fuel from near Bourtreebush, when they observed two carriages on the turnpike from Aberdeen driving at a furious pace. The carriages stopped in an instant within 300 yards of the inn; several gentlemen alighted and walked into the nearest field, and in a few minutes shots were twice exchanged, one party and carriage leaving twenty minutes before the other, in the direction of Stonehaven. At the second shot Mr Innes was wounded in the thigh ; and it was a close shave on the other side, for Mr Innes's ball went through Mr Cruickshank's whiskers. Mr Innes, however, kept his appointment with Mr Stewart next morning. Mr Stewart said that he met him at Durris House at breakfast. He came down stairs with his wonted agility, in the best of spirits, and shook hands with him; but he seemed to · tremble a little, and his hands fell downwards, and although he never mentioned the duel, Mr Stewart afterwards heard he was wounded in the groin. For the above account of the second famous duel fought between Mr Innes and Mr Cruickshank of Langley Park, I am indebted to Mr William Walker and Mr John Stewart, late of Anguston. The two were, however, great friends ever after.
I was well acquainted with Alexander Davidson, the notorious poacher and smuggler. He was a very powerful man, and his whole body was covered with hair like that of an ox. He was a favourite with many
of the gentleman, and was often sent for by them to show his feats of strength and agility. He could shoot in a direct line from Braemar to Aberdeen with very little interruption. From many of the proprietors he had permission to take a run through their property ; others winked at bim : from myself, then acting for my father, he had permission to go on his course. He was very polite in his askings, and put it thus: “ Will you have the goodness to allow me to go through your property when I am on my annual tour? I will not poach it; I will keep the straight line, and only kill what may be on my way.” I believe Davidson was true to his promise ; but if he was refused permission, and if any attempt was made to entrap him, he had his revenge : he would shoot and poach on that property for days, and no one could take him. In the year 1820 Mr Innes and Mr Davidson of Balnagask gave their support to Davidson against Lord Kennedy and Mr Farquharson of Finzean, who laid a bet of £50 that Davidson would not run without clothing from Barkley Street, Stonehaven, to the gate of Inchmarlo in a given time. It was thought that Davidson's feet must fail him. At the Bridge of Banchory there was a posse of wives, with Mrs Duncan the toll-mistress at their head, ready to make an onslaught on poor Davidson. They had been hired, some at five shillings, some at ten, and the leader, Mrs Duncan, at twenty shillings, and came prepared with their aprons full of stones and other missiles, and Mrs Duncan had in addition a large knotty stick. When Davidson came in sight he saw the trap that was laid for him, and drew up for breath before he came within the enemy's reach. The fearful rush and the unearthly appearance of Davidson took his enemies by surprise ; their missiles fell wide of the mark and with a few tremendous bounds he passed the wives and the bridge. Mrs Duncan was in a towering passion because Davidson had escaped, after all her generalship, and declared, not in the most becoming language,
" that it was not a man, but a beast." Davidson was safe, and reached the gate of Inchmarlo up to time, and pocketed the £50. Davidson was at last found dead on the hills, with his faithful pointer standing over him.
Captain Barclay of Ury and Mr Innes laid a heavy bet with Finzean that they would produce six better men in Durris than Finzean could do in all his estates. The men were selected, and the day was fixed; a long and strong rope was procured, which crossed the Dee, and twelve yards to each side extra, to allow the men to be tied in at regular distances from each other. At the place chosen to decide the wager the river had sloping banks on each side. Those who got the first start were sure to pull the others probably nearly through the river; the tide would then be turned, and the other party be as successful with their opponents. So matters went on several times, until it was found necessary to stop, and no decision could be given. The poor men got a proper ducking, and some of them were even in great danger of being drowned or hanged, as they were all tied into the ropes.
I was very well acquainted with the late Captain Barclay, who was the lineal descendant of the author of the • Apology for the Quakers,' and claimant of the earldom of Monteith, and was familiarly designated “the father of the shorthorns." Though Captain Barclay remains without a national acknowledgment of his merits, no man deserved better of the farmers of Scotland; for he was their firm supporter through life in good and bad report. Captain Barclay was in many respects a remarkable man-one not to be forgotten by any one who had once met him. I have been many a day in company with him, and have the most vivid recollection of him as he examined the stock in a showyard. Pacing along from class to class, I think I see him drawing his open hand leisurely down over his chin, and, as he met an acquaintance, saying in his