ALEXANDER Potts, in his letter of October 8, mentioned John Paul Jones’s invasion of Wales during the American War of Independence, 1776-83.

Was it the last incursion of the American Navy into British waters?

Walter Scott in 1812 embarked on a six-week voyage around Scotland from Edinburgh to Glasgow by way of Shetland, Orkney, the Hebrides and the north coast of Ireland in the company with the Commissioners of the Northern Lights to inspect lighthouses. He recorded much in his journal.

Interestingly, he also wrote much correspondence while on board to be posted when they went ashore.

In this he accounts of the ever-present dangers of American cruisers on the horizon. The war of 1812-14 was still being fought. The British invaded Washington city in 1812 and had set fire to the White House.

The fear of being caught by American cruisers was real as they prowled along the seas and with the lacking written evidence, one can only speculate that they did do landfall. The danger of “invasion” or hit and run attack was ever present.

Scott writes: “We were favoured with a distant glimpse of what was said to be an American cruiser,” and adds, “what a pretty figure we should have made had the voyage ended on our being carried captive to the United States”.

In a letter written on July 18 to Matthew Hartstonge, he adds that “the Admiral has sent a sloop of war to sweep any Americans out of our way”.

No doubt this episode shows that even the fabled might of the “jolly jack tars” could not stop American cruisers crossing the Atlantic and posing a threat.

No special relationship then either!

The journal itself makes interesting reading.

John Edgar


I AM usually reluctant to comment on letters from those who profess to be supporters of independence, because I fear I may generate division, but Peter A Bell’s letter of October 6 caused me to make an exception.

When I read his letter of so-called “criticism” of one of the leading figures of Scottish independence – in this case Angus Robertson, a man of experience and good intellect – I expect to read grown-up argument.

Peter’s letter fails dismally in this respect by making no attempt to offer proposals or ideas for the advancement or achievement of the independence case. Its content is full of insult and discourtesy. Reasonable or logical argument is absent.

It appears that anger forms the basis of his letter, but it is misdirected.

All of us in the movement feel anger, frustration and impatience of various degrees, but anger is not what will win self-determination (although it will probably be one element in our fight). What is required is concrete analysis of all stages we are at in our struggle and its developing circumstances and happenings.

Angus Robertson will have an essential role in that struggle.

Bobby Brennan


REGARDING the dangerously high likelihood of chlorinated chicken and hormone-enhanced beef being sold to consumers, we should all act now!

The risk of these products being traded/imported and then “processed” in a factory into a food product and then leaving it with the customary Union Jack flag on it is our greatest danger.

Consumers should speak up now and make it clear that without accurate and truthful origins on our food labels, we will not be buying any suspect items for consumption.

Any trade deals which will result in these items arriving on our tables in disguise should then only create an unsold chicken/beef mountain for the US exporters/UK importers.

At the end of the day, it is profit that matters to them, not health.

It is also the opportunity for our local farmers and producers to assure us of their high quality and safer products which personally, even at a higher price, I will happily purchase.

Marie McIlwham


ONCE again an excellent article by Hamish MacPherson on Scottish history (What should you know about your nation’s history?, September 29), but I must take issue with his inferral that there was a “Celtic Church” separate from the authority of, and obedience to, Rome.

This was most clearly and emphatically not the case, as is now well established by referral to the abundant facts, available to any impartial historian.

There now exist several books on this vexed subject: A Chain of Error in Scottish History by Malcolm V Hay is a thorough expose of those patent errors which sadly still persist.

James Cameron Stuart