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SELKIRK—SELKIRKSHIRE

acquired control of the Hudson's Bay Company. In May 1811 an immense tract was granted to him in the Red River valley, and he at once proceeded to send out settlers; but the hostility of the North-West Fur Company, with its headquarters at Montreal, eventually ruined the colony (see Red River Settlement), and the influence of his rivals led to the defeat of Selkirk in various legal proceedings. On the 8th of April 1820 he died broken-hearted at Pau. One of the most generous and disinterested men in the history of colonization, he fell a victim to the predatory selfishness of his rivals.

Copies of his papers, most of which are unpublished, are in the Canadian Archives Department at Ottawa.


SELKIRK, a royal and police burgh and the county town of Selkirkshire, Scotland. Pop. (1901) 6292. It lies on Ettrick Water, about 3 m. above its confluence with the Tweed, 61/4 m. S. of Galashiels by the North British Railway Company's branch line, of which it is the terminus. It is picturesquely situated on a hill on the right bank of the river, close to which are the mills and factories. The public buildings include the county buildings, public hall, library and the town hall (with a spire 110 ft. high). There are statues of Sir Walter Scott in his sheriff's robes, and Mungo Park, the African explorer, who was educated at the grammar school. Woollen manufactures (tweeds, tartans, plaids and shawls) are the principal industry, but the town is also an important agricultural centre. With Galashiels and Hawick it belongs to the Hawick or Border group of parliamentary burghs. Immediately south of the town are the beautiful grounds of the Haining.

As its early name (Scheleschyrche) indicates, Selkirk originally consisted of a number of shiels (huts), in the forest beside which a church had been planted by the Culdees of Old Melrose. David I., while prince of Cumbria, founded in 1113 the abbey, which was removed fifteen years afterwards to Kelso, and also erected a castle. Captured by Edward I., by whom it was enlarged and strengthened, the fortress was retaken by Wallace in 1297, and remained in the hands of the Scots till the battle of Halidon Hill (1333), when it was delivered to the English. It was probably destroyed in 1417 when Sir Robert Umfraville, governor of Berwick, set fire to the town, and nothing remains of it save some green mounds and the name Peel Hill. It is significant of the havoc wrought during the Border warfare that there is not in Selkirk, in spite of its antiquity, any building two hundred years old. Of the eighty burghers who marched to Flodden (1513) under William Brydone, the town clerk, only the leader survived, with a banner captured from the English; he was knighted by James V. This banner is locally supposed to be the one borne by the Weavers' Corporation in the annual ceremony of Riding the Common, but the claim cannot be verified. The charter granted by David I. and other muniments having perished, James V. renewed the charter in 1533, with the right to enclose 1000 acres of the common and leave to elect a provost. After the battle of Philiphaugh (1645), David Leslie, the Covenanters' general, had some prisoners confined in the tolbooth of Selkirk and afterwards massacred in the marketplace. From an early period the souters (shoemakers) were a flourishing craft, and in the rebellions of 1715 and 1746 were required to furnish the Jacobites with several thousand pairs of shoes. Though shoe making is extinct, “the souters of Selkirk” is still a nickname for the inhabitants. Tradition of the ancient craft yet survives also in connexion with the enrolment of burgesses, when the burgess elect has to go through the ceremony of “licking the birse” (i.e. bristles). When the loving-cup reaches the candidate he dips in the wine a brush of bristles like that used by shoemakers and passes it through his lips.


SELKIRK MOUNTAINS, a range in the S.E. of British Columbia, Canada, extending N. for about 200 m. from the American frontier with a breadth of about 80 m. and bounded E., W. and N. by the Columbia river. Though often spoken of as part of the Rocky Mountain system, they are really distinct, and belong to an older geological epoch; consisting mainly of crystalline or highly metamorphosed rocks, granites, gneiss, schists; their outline too is rounder and less serrated than that of the Rockies. On the S.E. is the Purcell range, with the main chain of the Rockies still farther E., and on the W. the Gold range, prolonged northward as the Cariboo Mountains. They do not rise much above 10,000 ft., the highest peaks being Sir Donald (named after Lord Strathcona), 10,645 ft.; Macdonald (named after Sir John Macdonald), 9440 ft.; and Mount Tupper (after Sir Charles Tupper), 9030 ft. The scenery is wild and magnificent; below the snow-line, especially on the western side, the slopes are densely wooded, and enormous glaciers fill the upper valleys; of these the most celebrated is that of the Illecillewaet, near Glacier House, on the Canadian Pacific railway. The Selkirks are crossed by the railway at Rogers Pass, discovered in 1883. The engineering difficulties overcome are greater than at any other portion of the line, and the grades are in places very steep. A magnificent series of caverns, called the Nakimu Caves, occur in the Glacier Park Reserve not far from Glacier on the Canadian Pacific railway. These caves are formed by the Cougar Creek, and were first comprehensively surveyed in 1905–1906 (see the Canadian Surveyor-General's Report for that year).


SELKIRKSHIRE, a southern county of Scotland, bounded N. by the shires of Peebles and Midlothian, E. and S.E. by Roxburghshire, S. and S.W. by Dumfriesshire and W. by Peeblesshire. Its area is 170,762 acres or 266.8 sq. m. Almost the whole of the surface is hilly, the only low-lying ground occurring in the valleys of the larger streams. The highest hills are found in the extreme west and south-west. On the confines of Peeblesshire the chief heights are Dun Rig (2433 ft.), Black Law (2285), Broad Law (2723) and Lochcraig Head (2625); and on the Dumfriesshire borders, Bodesbeck Law (2173), Capel Fell (2223), Wind Fell (2180) and Ettrick Pen (2269). In the north, close to the Midlothian boundary, is Windlestraw Law (2161). The principal rivers are the Ettrick (32 m.) and its left-hand affluent the Yarrow (14 m.), but for a few miles the Tweed traverses the north of the county. Gala Water (21 m.), though it joins the Tweed a little below Galashiels, belongs rather to Midlothian, since it rises in the Moorfoot Hills and for most of its course flows in that shire. St Mary's Loch and its adjunct, the Loch of the Lornes, in the uplands, are the chief lakes, and of numerous small lakes in the south-east the two lochs of Shaws, Clearburn, Akermoor and Essenside may be mentioned. The vales of the Tweed and Yarrow and Ettrickdale are the principal valleys.

Geology.—This county is entirely occupied by Silurian and Ordovician rocks which are very much folded and crumpled; the axes of the folds run in a south-westerly, north-easterly direction. The Ordovician rocks, represented by the Glenkiln and Hartfell shales, appear in the crests of the anticlinal folds; in the western part of the county they are frequently sandy in character. Above the black Ordovician shales come the Birkhill graptolitic shales followed by the Queensberry grits, a series of greywackes, grits, flags and shales, which pass upwards into the Hawick rocks, shales with brown weathering greywackes. Some of the Queensberry grits and underlying greywackes in the Ordovician are used as building stones. Igneous rocks are represented by the Tertiary basalt dikes of Bowerhope Law and dikes of quartz-felsite near Windlestraw Law and Caddon Water; dikes of minette occur near Todrig. A great deal of boulder-clay covers the older rocks; the ice-borne material travelled from west to east, and many of the hills show steep and bare slopes towards the west, but have gentle slopes covered with glacial deposits on the eastern side.

Climate and Agriculture.—The rainfall for the year, based on observations at Bowhill, between the confluence of the Yarrow and Ettrick, at a height of 537 ft. above the sea, averages 33.65 in. The mean temperature for the year, calculated at Galashiels (416 ft. above the sea), is 46.3° F., for January 36.2° F., and for July 58.2° F. The climate is thus cold and wet on the whole, and as the soil is mostly thin, over a subsoil of clayey till, agriculture is carried on at a disadvantage. About one-sixth of the surface is under cultivation, oats being almost the only grain crop and turnips the chief green crop. Live stock is pursued more profitably, the sheep walks carrying heavy stocks. Blackfaced are the principal breed on the higher ground, but on the lower pure Cheviots and a cross of Cheviot with Leicester are common. Cattle also are raised, and horses (mainly for agricultural operations) and pigs to only a moderate extent. There are comparatively few small holdings, farms between 100 and 300 acres being the most usual. More than one-third of the county (upwards of 60,000 acres) belongs to the duke of Buccleuch. The land between the Ettrick and the Tweed was formerly covered with forest to such an extent that the sheriffdom was described as Ettrick