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September 26th 1863

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Blairgowrie Hits the Headline

Hyping it up Victorian style:

“From Meikleour House where he has been enjoying the Parliamentary recess, the Right Hon. Earl Russell has condescended to accept an invitation to a banquet to be held in Blairgowrie and to receive another expression of the popular appreciation of the invaluable service he has rendered to his country. Today may go forth words of not only European but of cosmopolitan interest and political significancy and secure for our burgh universal renown……

At half past one o’clock on the 26th September 1863, a procession started from the Wellmeadow under the leadership of Capt. George Brown Anderson of the Rifle Volunteers of Blairgowrie and Rattray to meet him and bring him in honour to the town. The procession was led by the Volunteers and their musical band, followed by the Masonic and Operatic Bodies of the place, and a coach containing Mr Thomas Stiven and his Councillor subordinates. If not immensity of numbers, at least from its respectability, orational enthusiasm, the splendour and profusion of banners, emblematic devices, stirring mottoes associating the past with the present and carrying us back to the time when William 4th, in the fullness of his royal state approached the refractory Lords to dissolve Parliament - this procession was such of which his lordship might be proud. Meeting their coming visitor the procession received him with tremendous cheers while the Volunteers welcomed him with a petit deploy.

Waiting his arrival were groups in ferial attire rehearsing some of his great deeds and enumerating their national benefits. Having reached the Cross his coach drew up to a side while Capt. Anderson with cool and soldierly movement cleared the way for the Town Council to the presence of the captured Earl. By a blink over his shoulder the veteran statesman indicated the subsidence of the tumult caused by the scramble to catch a glimpse of him, one of the most responsible of living men, who when he speaks the world listens; completely surrounded by a loving and venerating populace.

The chief magistrate of the burgh most respectfully craves his ear - all else being silent. The noble statesman lent him both, while the worthy bailie read an address expressive of the gratitude felt for his services to his country, and a desire that he might be instrumental of still more good to this mighty nation, to which the Earl briefly replied, and being let go he threaded his way to the banquet amid the rapturous acclamation of the vaste concourse.” 
From ‘A hand book to Blairgowrie, Rattray and neighbourhood. Specially adapted for Tourists, Visitors and staid Residenters’. Published 1865.

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