Two centuries ago it was thought an insult in the Highlands to ask a note from a debtor. It was considered the same thing as saying, "I doubt your honor." If parties had business matters to transact, they stepped into the air, fixed their eyes on the heavens, and each repeated his obligation with no mortal witness. A mark was then carved upon some rock or tree near by, as a remembrance of the compact. Such a thing as a breach of contract was rarely met with, so highly did the people regard their honor.

When the march of improvement brought the new mode of doing business, they were often pained by these innovations. An anecdote is handed down of a farmer who had been to the Lowlands and learned worldly wisdom. On returning to his native parish, he had need of a sum of money, and made bold to ask from a gentleman of means named Stewart. This was kindly granted, and Mr. S. counted out the gold. This done, the farmer wrote a receipt and offered it to Mr. S. "What is this, man?" cried Mr. S., eyeing the slip of paper. "It's a receipt, sir, binding me to give you back your gold at the right time," replied Sandy. 

"Binding ye? Well, my man, if ye canna trust yoursel', I'm sure I'll no trust ye. Ye canna have my gold." And gathering it up, he put it back in his desk, and turned his key on it. "But, sir, I might die," replied the canny Scotchman, bringing up an argument in favor of his new wisdom, "and perhaps my sons may refuse it; and the bit of paper would compel them." "Compel them to sustain a dead father's honor!" cried the Celt. "They'll need compelling to do right, if this is the road ye're leading them. Ye can gang elsewhere for money; but ye'll find nane in the parish that'll put more faith in a bit o' paper than in a neighbor's word of honor, and his fear o' God."