Friday 1st January
Eighteen Hundred and Sixty Four has now begun and it is natural to look forward to try and see what prospects lies before me. During the year 1863 I have enjoyed health and strength soundness of body and mind and have done a large business all for which I cannot be too thankful. My future prospects is more doubtful owing to McDonald & I dissolving partnership. He is remaining in our present shop while I have not yet settled upon one but hope to do so soon. But I must take courage and be up and doing. I hope also if all things goes on well to have the fellowship of another partner. So all things considering and if spared if it is a good year I hope with the blessing of God to be able to do an honest livelihood in a good business. We were pretty busy today. Christina presented me with two pair of sox.
Saturday 2nd January
It is reported that John Fraser was drowned while on his way to Australia or New Zealand that he was sitting at the side of the vessel it blew very hard and he was taken overboard and was no more seen. It was very cold today.
[NOTE from Inverness Courier, 7 January 1864, 3: ‘A LEWS EMIGRANT DROWNED A private letter from a passenger on board an Australian passenger ship, states that during the passage a Stornoway man, named Fraser, while sitting at the vessel’s bow during a heavy sea,was washed overboard and drowned. The unfortunate man’s cap was picked up.’ John Fraser’s identity has not been established, but a John Fraser from Gairloch, aged 25, was a shopkeeper in Stornoway in 1861. See Diary entry for 16 November 1863.]
Sunday 3rd January
In the morning Mr Adam preached from the 19th chapter of 2nd Kings Samuel 31st to the 37th verse. In the evening from the 13th chapter of 1st Corinthians 13th verse And now abideth hope.
[Note: a letter from Thomas Adam concerning his visit to Stornoway was published in Brechin Advertiser, 19 January 1864, 2. He spent four months in town, preaching at the U.P. Church.]
Monday 4th January
Very blowy not busy. Misses Smart Buchan & McPherson away
Tuesday 5th January
I had a letter from W.R. Sutherland and got a specimen carte de visite from W. Charleson London and I wrote him enclosing 3 cartes. I went home with Christina and she gave me Margaret’s carte de visite.
Wednesday 6th January
A fine day pretty busy. I was at the singing school and went home with Christina.
Thursday 7th January
I received the League register at night I went to Goathill & saw Mrs Gerrie.
Friday 8th January
We were pretty busy today. The night was very dark. Two men fell over the pier but were rescued.
Saturday 9th January
Pretty busy. I wrote Wm. R. Sutherland today.
Sunday 10th January
In the morning Mr Adam preached a most excellent discourse from the 9th chapter of Hebrews 15th verse And for this cause he is the mediator of the new covenant that by means of death for the redemption of the transgressors that were under the first testament they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. In the evening he preached from the 39th Psalm 12th verse last clause For I am a stranger with thee and a sojourner. In the afternoon Mr McRae E.C. preached from the 12 chapter of 2 Corinthians 8th & 9th verses. At night I went home with Christina. We had a walk down to Mossend and back again.
Monday 11th January
Not much doing today. In the evening it blew very hard the night was very dark.
Tuesday 12th January
I had a letter from Kate. I had been pretty busy today.
Wednesday 13th January
Today is held as a holiday it being old new years day. The Volunteers were out shooting at the target with the carbines then were 3 prizes given. In the forenoon I had a walk down Sandwick Road and by Mossend into town again. After 2 o’clock Christina and I had a very pleasant walk down to the Melbost Sands. It was 7 o’clock before we came back. I then went to the U.P.Church. The Revd Mr Adam gave a very entertaining lecture on the power of harmonius sounds.
[Note: Tuesday 12th January was actually Old New Years Day, held as a holiday throughout much of the Highlands. For some reason the holiday was marked on Wednesday 13th January in the Isle of Lewis. The Inverness Courier (21 Jan 1864, 5) reported: ‘The annual holiday allowed by the merchants to their employees was granted on Wednesday, the 13th instant, which was also observed as Old New Year’s Day all over the island. Our Volunteers, mustering upwards of fifty strong, had an early turn-out, under command of Lieutenant Morison, and held a competition for prizes at their rifle range, which was only closed by nightfall.’ Old New Year’s Day remained an official holiday in some Scottish towns into the 1930s and 1940s.]
Thursday 14th January
I slept very unpleasantly for the last 2 nights. In the morning I had a note from Christina and her carte de visite enclosed. I was at the U.P. prayer meeting and heard the yearly report read and prospects of the debt being cleared.