20th April 1813

Planted the last of the Potatoes.  Have planted this Season about 14 pecks viz. 2 Early and 12 late.

The Justiciary Judge sat here.  One woman was tried for concealing pregnancy and not calling for assistance was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment.  A collier from the Plean was tried for a rape and acquitted.

Our Chief Magistrate J Sutherland died of a mortification in his foot occasioned by sotting and drinking.

The weather cold and dry with some frost.

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4 thoughts on “20th April 1813

  1. My Dear Lucas,

    I remember Sutherland well. He took a wife of the name of Katharine Wilson, and was a merchant in the town as well as a Magistrate. It does not bode well for his judgement, though, Lucas, if his head be so stupefied from the ale as you suggest, although I doubt if the collier would agree with me. He no doubt may have a wife and bairns to support, and it would go ill with them if he were put away. The town has enough beggars and poor folk to support as it is.

    One can only hope the Potatoes cling to life. A fine food, the Potato. I have heard the Irish in particular do very well on them.

    Yours, etc.,
    Nathaniel Blyss.

    • Dear Blyss,

      Ah, yes, the potato – a fine and nutritious food source. Not only does it yield four times as much sustenance as one would get from a similar area planted with wheat, but it also grows well in poor or wet soil. Thankfully the soil in my garden is neither poor nor overly wet and I can hope for a fine crop in the months ahead. It is to be hoped that the late frosts do not do damage to the young shoots.

      Some would do better to cultivate their plants at home than be out carousing, which never leads to any good.

      Kindest regards,

      (Stirling Archive)

  2. Dear Dr Lucas,

    I confess to being filled with outrage and dismay when reading your latest account. The distress of that poor woman cannot be imagined. She may well have been deserted by the man who caused her condition in the first place, and could see no way out of the shame of her situation except by concealment – all the more so should she come from a good family. Perhaps, though, she was the opposite, and so poor she could not see a way even to keep herself, let alone an infant. As for the unspeakable collier, innocent he may well be, but I hope the learned Judge considered that the woman’s predicament may well have been a direct consequence of such an unsavoury case.

    Mama is still middling to fair, and still causing the servants grief. Two have, in fact, left quite suddenly, but we muddle along somehow with the faithful Hannah, the housemaid, and the young scullery-maid.

    I remain,
    Your humble servant,
    Charlotte Somerville.

    • Dearest Charlotte,

      What sordid cases for a young lady to dwell on, however your sense of moral conscience for the unfortunate and poor does you credit and I am sure will stand you in good stead whate’er you will face throughout your days . ‘Tis true that many women do find themselves in difficult, even dangerous, situations, often abandoned or let down by someone they once trusted, both in high and low stations of society. The kirk session records (quite in addition to the courts) are full of such cases, where once proud women stand in shame before the kirk by way of public repentance while their paramour is long gone to pastures new. In this case, no doubt the Judge was filled with concern for the welfare of the child, the innocent party in this unfortunate situation.

      I would suggest beef tea and fresh air for your Mama and daily constitutional walks to aid her recovery.

      Fondest regards

      (Stirling Archive)

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