Ormidale Memorial

Below we bring you, bit by bit, a memorial that Ormidale wrote in 1798 laying out his grievances against his brother (“the late Otter”) in an attempt to have his will overturned. We have done our best to decipher Ormidale’s scrawl but please feel free to offer corrections of any word you think we have misread. We are quite sure that there will be a few.

Excerpt 1

We are particularly keen to hear suggestions for the word before “Intaill” in the second last line.

Preface         At Ormidale 22nd January 1798 Years

Alexander Campbell of Ormidale the Writer of the Following

Memoriall for himself his Son and Others Concerned in the Affairs of the

Estate of Otter Presums to Sett forth one proposition Upon Which

The following Memoriall is justly faunded Viz in When Considered

The Fact that the late Otter his Father had followed for Many

Years in the Conveyances of his Landed property Which Plainly Shews

the reasonableness of the same by Unalterably his following the same

Plan to be his full Intention for the purpose of Conveying his Landed

Property ————-

Wherefore it is possible that any Argument can be Sett forth in

Suport of the Contrary that he as said Would give up his said

purposes to be layed Aside by the Caprice of any Son he had Who

Might Destroy the Whole Oa Intaill said property in favour of

the Children of any Prostitute

Excerpt 2

Ormidale is saying here that Otter had no right to ignore their father’s wishes, no matter how badly the two had fallen out. He goes into much more detail about their differences later on in the memorial itself. You can see from this extract how difficult it is to understand documents which do not have modern punctuation, but instead rely on capitalising Important Words.

Not only that but in a most Barbe=

=rous Unaturall Manner Without Rime or Reason would intirely

Alter said Whole Plan laid down in Late Otter his Fathers Papers

as aforsaid if sach is that the same could be done to the prejudice of

All Concerend it is Morally Certain That the Laws of Britain which

are founded upon Christian principles are most Egregiously De=

=ficient And if Late Otter his Fathers Deeds were layd aside

Without a Just and Honorous Cause is Still Extraordinary Such

Should be Allowed to Stand Unaltered in Spite of any Argument

for its Suport And though late Otter Could Asert with Truth

he had reason to be Displeased with his Brother Was it a reason

to lay aside his Brother and Son and Others conform to his Fathers

Interest as aforesaid

Excerpt 3

Here, Ormidale is not holding back in the slightest on his opinion of his brother!  We spent some time wondering who Robert Spiers might be, but the inclusion of the name Marrat led us to that lightbulb moment. It’s a mondegreen, a mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase in a way that gives it a new meaning. Mr Robert Spiers is in fact Robespierre – Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre, one of the leaders of the French Revolution. Marrats was of course Jean-Paul Marat, a fellow revolutionary, who was assassinated in his bathtub.

——————  28th January 1798 Viz

But what man could expect any good Action from the Intillicts

of such an Outward Appears as Late Otter had which plain=

=ly Shews that the said Outward Man Corresponded with his Intillicts

perfactly and particularly in the Following Memoriall in Page 10th

When Upon the 26th of May 1786 Years he late Otter began

With his false Assertions Against his brother and Containued in same Stile

Upon the       Without deviating from his said plan without Remorse till Death

Eleventh January took him away from being a Burden to himself And a most disgrace=

1784 Years   =able Companion to his Nearest Friends particularly to his Nearest Relati=

=ons ———————-

In a Word Such a Character was Similar and Only to be Compaired

To Robert Spiers and Marrats Tirants in France and deserved=

=ly Saffered for there Barbarity and Trearchery , late Otter only wanted the

Power of the said two Tyrants luckie for him or he would lose his head

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