HUNTLY EXPRESS JULY 16 1864 GLASS
A number of young men in this quarter, being anxious about the end of last year to add to their stock of knowledge, made known their wants to Mr John Scott, Abrunhill, one who had received a good education and was endowed with superior talents who at once consented to meet with them at any place in the parish most convenient for themselves. Mr Alexander McGregor, Westerpark, supplied them with house-room, fires and light and the class started about the end of January last, the branches of education being principally arithmetic, mathematics and English grammar.
The class being anxious to show their respect for Mr Scott’s services which were given gratuitously, met in their usual meeting place on the 21st inst, where an excellent supper was waiting them prepared by Miss McGregor. Mr James Taylor, Quarryhead was called to the chair and in stating the object of the meeting said – The class had met for the purpose of ostensibly manifesting their appreciation of the importance of the studies in which they had been engaged through the evenings of the winter and spring months. He had great pleasure in being able to give testimony to the harmonious movements of the class all through its existence. First of all, when the idea was conceived and Mr Scott’s assistance solicited, the cordial and hearty manner in which he responded and the matter of a house in which to meet, no sooner had the request been suggested to Mr McGregor for a room in his house, then the request was granted with a frankness and cheerful goodwill peculiar to himself. With regard to the meetings themselves, the mutual friendship, the steady progress and punctual attendance which characterised them, rendered the class a pleasure to all concerned. And finally with respect to the matter which had brought them together that night, it was simultaneously inaugurated by the branches of the class living in both sides of the river. The chairman then called upon Mr Grant, Belnaboth to present Mr Scott with the testimonial.
Mr Grant said – Mr Scott it is with no ordinary feelings of pleasure that I, representing the class, rise on this occasion to present you with the testimonial of our appreciation of your intelligent labours on our behalf. By this gift we do not mean to measure the value of your labours amongst, us, for it can convey only an imperfect idea of the gratitude we feel towards you for your disinterested exertions to improve our mental condition. We felt, however although we could not reward you as you deserved, or as we could ourselves have wished, that it would be unpardonable for us not to convey to you some tangable token, slight and imperfect it might be, yet it could not but signify in some way or other, our sense of your valuable instruction. We who have been so kindly taught by you know full well the benefit of a good education; and spurred on by a lively sense of the necessity of acquiring knowledge, we have all along thoroughly appreciated your kindness in imparting to us that information which you had so creditably attained yourself. Self-educated men – those who seek in after years to improve defective education are always respected and esteemed; but when such men laudably exert themselves to help their fellows up the steep paths of learning – to which there is no royal road – as you have done to us, they are not only respected and esteemed – they are beloved and their memories are cherished to the last. Allow me now, sir, to express the pleasure I feel in being honoured to present you with this testimonial which in the name of the class and as an expression of their feelings, I beg your acceptance (Loud cheers)
Mr Scott in reply said – I have great pleasure in receiving from the class such a tangible demonstration of their respect, although, at the same time, I feel that such a demonstration from such a class is vastly more than in any way I deserve, having all along considered it more as a mutual instruction class than a school. I believe I as its teacher have been as much benefited as any members of the class; and from the great amount of enjoyment and pleasure I have had at meeting with the class, my attendance there partook more of selfishness than of venerable merit. Upon principal I felt myself bound to do all I could for the good of my fellow man especially those in my neighbourhood and locality; and this being an eligible opening for my doing so, any exertions were demanded in principle. In conclusion allow me to express the pleasure I feel in meeting with you at the end of harvest if you and I be spared till that time. (Great cheering)
The Chairman then called on Mr Scott to present a Silver Mounted Snuff Box to Mr McGregor. Mr Scott observed that accommodation for the meeting of the class was no trivial matter as an influential gentleman of the parish stated to him that he had for years contemplated opening an evening class but had been prevented for want of a house for the purpose.
In their case the difficulty had been entirely obviated not only having secured a comfortable room with all necessary accommodation, but a most hearty cheerful welcome from our host. He begged therefore Mr McGregor would accept this testimonial of their esteem (handing him the horn) (Cheers)
Mr McGregor, in reply, said he hardly knew what to say as the presentation had taken him so much by surprise, in respect that he had never thought of such a demonstration nor considered the class obliged to him in anything he had done. He had studied along with the class and had experienced considerable improvement, and if they should resume their meetings he would be much disappointed if they did not meet in the same place.
The Chairman then called for a special thanks to Miss McGregor which was heartily responded to and the meeting separated.