OF REDLANDS, CALIFORNIA  - Founded 24 January 1895

MEETING # 1622

4:00 P.M.

October 21, 1999

The Highland Clearances

by Robert E. Knight

Assembly Room, A. K. Smiley Public Library


In the 19th Century many of the inhabitants of the Highland glens were cleared out, often by forcible eviction, to make way for a more profitable tenant---the Great Cheviot Sheep. Families had to leave the homes where they had lived for generations. Thousands emigrated over the ocean in the hope for a better life.

Background of the Author

Robert MacKenzie Knight was born in Redlands, California in 1922. He was the sixth of nine children. He went through the Redlands Public School System, graduating from Redlands High School in 1939. He graduated from the University of Redlands in May of 1943, and immediately reported to Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana as U. S. Navy Reserve Midshipman.

The author served four years of active duty with the USN in the South Pacific and Philippine Islands in the protection of ships from magnetic mines. At the end of the war her returned to Redlands, married Winifred Peters of Redlands, and bought the orange grove where he still lives today in the Crafton area.

As a result of the citrus freeze of 1949, he returned to the University of Redlands to get his teaching credential and Masters Degree. He taught in the Redlands Schools for two years, then taught in the public schools of San Bernardino for twenty five years more. He has taught classes at both San Bernardino Valley College and Crafton Hills College.

In 1977 he retired from teaching to devote full time to his kiwi fruit growing and packing business which he started in 1971. He now owns and operates one of three kiwifruit packinghouses in So. Calif.

The Highland Clearances

In the month of July 1999 my wife and I were invited to meet, in London, our youngest son, his wife, and their two children, Kaito MacKenzie Knight, almost four years old, and Anna Nakamura Knight, age five. The plan was to stay in London for four days and then fly to Inverness, Scotland, where we would rent a van and explore the islands and highlands of Scotland.

Our son who is living in Saudi Arabia at this time and working for Lucent Technology, wanted especially to visit the area of the Mackenzie Clan. My middle name is Mackenzie honoring my grandmother’s family name.

My father always told me as I was growing up that years ago toward the end of the eighteenth century that one of our ancestors was Sir Charles Munro who lived just above Inverness in Scotland. The story goes that upon the death of Sir Charles Munro his estate went to the eldest son. A younger son of Sir Charles Munro emigrated to the United States settling in Woodstock County in Vermont. Back in Scotland the oldest brother who did inherit the estate remained unmarried. As time went by this brother wondered what would happen to the estate upon his death? As his younger brother in Woodstock, Vermont had more than one son, he wrote to his younger brother and asked if he could adopt one of his sons so that the passing on of the estate and the title would be kept in the family. His brother said, "No". This refusal spurred the older brother to find a wife and subsequently he became the father of his own successor. My Mackenzie ancestors came from the younger brother in Vermont. How the name Munro slipped in there is one of the things I need a return trip to Scotland to find out. The Mackenzie Clan borders the Munro Clan in the Highlands of Scotland. I did find out that names were sometimes switched around with relative ease as the situation demanded.

We spent four days in London after which we flew to Inverness and picked up a Renault van that had seating for six passengers plus our luggage. We then set out for Loch Ness where we had reservations at a Bed and Breakfast about half way down on the west side of the Loch at a place called Drumnadrochit. Our genial host at the Bed and Breakfast, Jack by name, asked us what we wanted to do while in the Highlands. I told him that my middle name was Mackenzie and that we wished to travel about the Highlands and see where my ancestors resided. He told me, with a twinkle in his eye, that the Mackenzies were pretty good at taking the land of others by using force, inferring that I might be wise not to reveal that I was the descendant of the Mackenzie Clan in certain parts of the Highlands. A map showing the parts where different clans lived showed the largest areas occupied by the Mackenzie Clan.

Our first morning in Scotland we drove to Fort Williams, then over to the west coast of Scotland and then North to Maillaig. We boarded the ferry boat taking us to the Isle of Skye. That night we stayed at Broadford and ate our evening meal at a pub. Facing us where we sat down to eat was a huge mural completely covering the wall which depicted the local history of the area. Most striking was a picture of people being driven from their homes which had been set on fire by soldiers. When paying my dinner bill I asked the pub keeper what the mural depicted? He said that it told the story of the Clearances in which the "Crofters" were being driven out of their homes by the "factors" hired by the clan chieftains. At once I was filled with questions: Who were the "Crofters? Who were the "factors" of the clan chieftains? When did this all take place? Little did I know that the answers to these questions were to end up being the topic for this paper, The Highland Clearances.

We left the Isle of Skye after driving around a good part of it the next afternoon and then returned to the mainland at Kyle of Lochalsh. We stayed two nights in this area. Plockton was the nearest town and was a charming little village to visit. We drove to Eilean Donan, the Mackenzie Castle, restored and used by the MacRae Clan. This castle was bombarded by the English in 1711 during the Battle of Glenhiel.

Our next stop was Gairloch where we stayed in a Bed and Breakfast built in 1776 and now used as a small Inn. The following day our son, wife, and children wanted to go boating in the little bay near where we stayed. While they did that my wife and I spent the whole morning in the local museum. It was a delightful small museum, one which Nelda Stuck would have loved because it was filled with local history and artifacts presented by the people of that area, the kind that Nelda is promoting for Redlands. We purchased a number of books displayed at the museum among which was the HISTORY OF THE CLEARANCES by Alexander MacKenzie. This book held the answers to my questions about the Highland Clearances.

As we drove on across the Highlands along the western coast of Scotland through green hills with many streams and waterfalls flowing down the barren slopes, we were struck by the wild beauty of the country. These lonely slopes sparsely populated and mostly treeless and so green were in the earliest days the communal home of the clansmen and their chiefs. At first the clansmen and the chieftains all lived together on common ground with each helping the other and the clansmen having a strong loyalty to their chieftain. They needed each other.

For generations the clan chiefs kept their clansmen or retainers close at hand by granting them clan lands for the use of the retainers or clansmen to locate and build their homes and to keep gardens and pastures for a few cows, a number of sheep and some chickens. In exchange for this, the clan chief collected "rent" usually on the first of each May. The "rent" was based on the number of people living in the house. These clansmen who lived on these small farms and paid rent to the chief, or lord, were called "crofters." Tenancy of the "crofter’s" houses was subject to the will of the crofter’s chief. The chiefs of the clan were interested in retaining a large number of vassals as their power and often their security were only guaranteed by their arms and weapons. These clansmen proved to be fine, valued soldiers when needed for protection against their enemies. Many of these crofters or retainers who acted as soldiers when needed, had lived in their houses for as many as five generations. If one had lived in the same house in which one’s grandfather had been born one would feel that this was his own house.

When order was established , the chiefs or lords as they now were, began to reside in the town and required larger revenue. The chiefs no longer lived on the land with their clansmen,and no longer needed them for protection, but only for the small revenue they collected once a year for the "rent".

As time went by highlands owned by the clans became more valuable for grazing sheep rather than homes for the crofters and their small pastures and gardens. The chiefs became greedy for income and started selling out or renting their lands for sheep pastures. To do this they had to move out the inhabitants off their small parcels of land. It was a dreadful time. The crofters who thought their chiefs were loyal to them were completely abandoned by them, and ordered to leave by the "Factors", who were outsiders hired by the Chiefs, to get rid of the Crofters anyway they could, as fast as they could. The chiefs were in their luxurious homes in the big cities perfectly unaware of the cruel methods that were used, the burning of the cottages, the turning out of the Crofters’ families from their cottages which had been used by their families for generations and with no place to go. Even the clergy turned against them and were unwilling to help them because they feared for their own position if they helped or showed kindness to them.

So the "Crofters" were fellow clansmen of the clan chief. The "Factors" were outsiders hired by the clan chief to do the dirty work of driving out the "crofters"so the clan chieftain could use the land of the crofters, which had been originally communal land, to make larger fields to rent to the sheep herdsmen from the Lowlands of Scotland and England. They could collect as much as ten times the income just from the wool alone. The Crofters could not believe their chiefs would "sell them out in this way".

A celebrated French economist, M. de Lafaleye, made some succinct comments on land tenure in Scotland as quoted in Alexander MacKenzie’s book on the Clearances. He said, "The dispossession of the old proprietors transformed by time into new tenants was affected on a larger scale by the "clearing of estates". When a lord of the manor, or clan chief, for his own profit, wanted to turn the small holdings into large farms or into pasturage, the small cultivators were of no use. The proprietors adopted a simple means of getting rid of them; and by destroying their dwellings forced them into exile."

M. de Sismonde describes the result of the famous clearing executed between 1814 and 1820 by the Duchess of Sutherland.

"More than three thousand families were driven out, and 800,000 acres of land, which formerly belonged to the clan, were transferred into seigniorial domain. Men were driven out to make room for sheep. The sheep are now replaced by deer forests, which are treeless solitudes."

One can imagine the pain and agony of being evicted without warning from what one considered his own house by someone hired by the clan chief called the "factor" on a May 1st. when all rents were due, and how inhuman this was seen to be by the crofters. The clan chiefs, or lords as they were now called, in most cases did not know what cruel means the "factors" used to clear the land. The clan chiefs no longer lived on the land with their clansmen.

Sutherland County was one of the areas of the Highlands that suffered the most misery and cruelty on behalf of their chiefs. For years the inhabitants of that county lived comfortably and happily. The mansions of proprietors and the abodes of the "factors", magistrates, and ministers were the seats of honor, truth, and good example when people of quality were indeed what they were styled, the friends and benefactors of all who lived upon their domains. What a change? These became seats of cruelty, unfairness, greed and deceit. Donald MacLeod has written as follows:

"Alas, alas, I have lived to see calamity upon calamity overtake the Sutherlanders. For five successive years, on or about the term day, May 1st., has scarcely anything been seen but removing the inhabitants in the most cruel and unfeeling manner and burning the houses which they and their forefathers had occupied from time immemorial. The county was darkened by the smoke of the burnings, and the descendants of those who drew their swords at Bannockburn, Sheriffmuir, and Kilkrankie- the children and nearest relations of those who sustained the honour of the British name in many a bloody field-the heroes of

Egypt, Corunna, Toulouse, Salamanca, and Waterloo- were ruined, trampled upon, dispersed and compelled to seek an asylum across the Atlantic; while those who remained from inability to emigrate, deprived of all the comforts of life, became paupers, beggars, a disgrace to the nation whose freedom and honour many of them had maintained by their valor and cemented with their blood."

At the time the clearances started, around the first decade of the 1800s one half of all the land in Scotland belonged to ten or twelve persons. These persons were the clan-chiefs of the territory of Scotland that consists of the Hig1hlands. Today, two thirds of the population of Scotland occupy just ten percent of the total land of Scotland.

It is believed that the aboriginal people of the Highlands migrated from Ireland; so it is no wonder that most of the inhabitants of the area spoke Gaelic. Also, it has been said that the Gaelic language removes a district more effectively from the influence of English opinion than oceans of three hundred miles. The British public knew better what was going on in New York City than what was doing in Skye or Lewis Islands."

Donald MacLeod tells about reading from speeches delivered by Mr. Loch, the much hated Factor of the Sutherland Family, at public dinners among his own party; "That he would never be satisfied until the Gaelic language and the Gaelic people would be extirpated root and branch from the Sutherland Estate; yes from the Highlands of Scotland."

He, Loch, published a book where he stated as a positive fact, that when he got the management of the Sutherland estate he found 408 families on the estate who had never heard of the name of Jesus.

Whereas MacLeod could make oath that there were not at that time, and for ages prior to it, above two families within the limits of the county who did not worship that name and holy being every morning and evening. Most of the Crofters spoke Gaelic,as their mother tongue. This in itself set them apart and caused even more harassment by the "Factors".

To show you an example of the unbelievable tribulations and hardships one of the many crofters suffered, I am going to read to you from one of the letters Donald MacLeod, a crofter who fought back and because of this was a "marked man" who continued to be harassed by the factors who were trying to get him and his family off their land. Donald MacLeod, with other crofters, often anonymous because they were afraid of revenge, wrote in letters to the Inverness Courier that give a picture of the terrible things the crofters were experiencing. Donald writes:

"I am glad to find that some of my countrymen are coming forward with communications to your paper confirming my statements and expressing that gratitude we ought all deeply to feel for the opportunity you have afforded of bringing our case before the public by so humble an instrument as myself.

Nothing, I am convinced, but fear of further persecution, prevents many more from writing such letters and hence you need not wonder if some of those you receive are anonymous. They express a wish which from various sources of information, I am inclined to think general, that my narrative should appear, as it now will, in the form of a pamphlet, and that my own particular case should form an appendage to it. I had no intention originally of bringing my particular case and family suffering before the public, but called on, as I am, it appears a duty to the public, as well as myself, to give a brief account of it, lest with-holding it might lead to suspicion as to my motives and character.

For some years I followed the practice of going south during the summer months for the purpose of improving in my trade and obtaining better wages, and returning in the winter to enjoy the society of my family and friends; and also to my grief, to witness the scenes of devastation that were going on, to which, in the year 1820, my worthy father-in-law fell victim. He breathed his last amid the scenes I

Have described [in a previous letter], leaving six orphans in a state of entire destitution to be provided for; for he had lost his all in common with the other ejected persons of the county. This helpless family now fell to my care, and, in order

To discharge my duty to them more efficiently, I wished to give up my summer excursions, and settle and pursue my business at home.

I therefore, returned from Edinburgh in the year 1822, and soon began to find employment, undertaking mason work by estimate, and had I possessed a less independent mind and a more crouching disposition, I might perhaps remained. But stung with the oppression and injustice prevailing around me, and seeing the contrast my country exhibited to the state of the Lowlands, I could not always hold my peace; hence I soon became a marked man, and my words and actions were carefully watched for an opportunity to make an example of me. After I had baffled

Many attempts, knowing how they were set for me, my powerful enemies at last succeeded in effecting my ruin after seven years labor in the pious work. If any chose to say I owed them money, they had no more to do than summon me to court, in which the factor was the judge, and a decree, right or wrong, was sure to issue. Did any owe me money it was quite optional whether they paid me or not. They all knew I could obtain no legal redress.

In the year 1827, I was summoned for 5 pounds, which I had previously paid {In this case the factor was both pursuer and judge} I defended, and produced receipts and other vouchers of payments having been made; all went for nothing! The factor, pursuer, and judge commenced the following dialogue:

Judge: Well, Donald, do you owe this money?

Donald: I would like to see the pursuer.

Judge: I’ll pursue you.

Donald: I thought you were my judge, Sir.

Judge: I’ll both pursue and judge you. Did not you promise me on a former occasion that you would pay this debt?

Donald: No, Sir!

Judge: John McKay {the constable} seize the defender.

I was accordingly collared like a criminal, and kept in an adjoining room for some hours and afterwards placed again at the bar, when the conversation continued,

Judge: Well, Donald, what have you got to say now, will you pay the money?

Donald: Just the same , Sir, as before you imprisoned me; I deny the Debt.

Judge: Well Donald, you are one of the damn’dest rascals in existence

But if you have the sum pursued for, between heaven and hell, I’ll make you pay it, whatever receipts you may hold, and I will get you removed from the estate.

Donald: Mind , Sir, you are in a magisterial capacity.

Judge: I’ll let you know that---{with another volley of execrations}

Donald: Sir, your conduct disqualifies you for your office, and under the protection of the law of the land, and in the presence of this court, I put you in defiance.


I was then ordered from the bar and the case continued undecided. Steps were, however, immediately taken to put the latter threat, my removal,-my punishment, into execution.

Determined to leave no means untried to obtain deliverance, I prepared an humble memorial in my own name, and that of the helpless orphans whose protector I was, and had it transmitted to the Marquises and Marchioness of Stafford, praying for an investigation. In consequence of this, on the very term day on which I had been ordered to remove, I received a verbal message from one of the under factors, that it was the noble proprietor’s pleasure that I should retain possession, repair my houses and provide my fuel as usual, until Mr. Loch, should come to Sutherlandshire, and then my case would be investigated. On this announcement becoming known to my opponent, he became alarmed, and the parish minister no less so, that the man he feasted with was in danger of being

Disgraced; every iron was put in the fire, to defeat and ruin Donald for his presumption in disrupting the will of a factor, and to make an example to deter others from a similar rebellion.

The result proved how weak a just cause must prove in Sutherland, or anywhere, against cruel despotic factors and graceless ministers; my case was judged and decided before Mr. Loch left London! I however got justice for on that gentlemen’s arrival, I was brought before him for examination, though, I had good reason to know, my sentence had been pronounced six weeks before, and everything he said confirmed what I had been told I produced the receipts and other documents, and evidence, which proved fully the statements in my memorial, and vindicated my character apparently to his satisfaction. ;He dismissed me courteously, and in soothing tone of voice bade me go home and make myself easy , and before he left the country he would let me know the results. I carried home the good news to my wife, but her fears, her dreams and forebodings were not so easily got over, and the event proved that her apprehensions were too well founded, for on the twentieth of October, 1830,about a month after the investigation by Mr. Loch, the concluding scene took place.

On that day a messenger with a party of eight men following entered my dwelling {I being away about forty miles off at work} about three o’clock just as the family members were rising from dinner, my wife was seized with a fearful panic at seeing the fulfillment of all her worst foreboding about to take place. The party allowed no time for a parley to take place, but, having put out the family with violence, proceeded to fling out the furniture, bedding, and other effects in quick time and after extinguishing the fire, proceeded to nail up the doors and windows in the face of the helpless woman with a suck-infant at her breast, and three other children, the eldest under eight years of age, at her side. But how should I describe the horrors of that scene? Wind, rain, and sleet were ushering in a night of extraordinary darkness and violence, even in that inclement region. My wife and children, after remaining motionless a while in mute astonishment at the ruin which had so suddenly overtaken them, were compelled to seek refuge for the night under some neighbor’s roof, but they found every door shut against them! Messengers had been dispatched warning all the surrounding inhabitants, at the peril of similar treatment, against affording shelter, or assistance, to wife, child, or animal belonging to Donald MacLeod The poor people, well aware of the rigor with which such edicts were carried out into execution, dared not offer my distressed family any assistance in such a night as ever an "enemy’s dog" might have expected shelter. After spending most part of the night in fruitless attempts to obtain the shelter of a roof or hovel, my wife at last returned to collect some of the scattered furniture, and to erect with her own hands a temporary shelter against the walls of her late comfortable residence, but even this attempt proved in vain the winds dispersed her materials as fast as she could collect them, and she was obliged to bide the pelting of the pitiless storm, and the cries of her famishing children. Death seemed to be staring them in the face, for by remaining where they were until morning, it was next to impossible that even the strongest of them could survive, and to travel any distance amid the wind, rain, and darkness, in that rugged district, seemed to afford no prospect but that of death by the falling over some of the cliffs or precipices with which they were surrounded, or even into the sea, as many others had done before."

In Donald MacLeod’s letter XX to the Inverness Courier Newspaper he continued with his story:

"The only means left my wife seemed to be the choice of perishing with her children where she was, or of making some perilous attempts to reach distant human habitations where she might hope for shelter. Buckling up her children, including the one she hitherto held at her breast, in the best manner she could, she left them in charge of the oldest {now a soldier in the 78th Highland Regiment}giving them such victuals as she could collect, and prepared to take the road to Caithness fifteen miles off in such a night and by such a road as might have appalled a stout heart of the other sex and for a long while she heard the cries of her children, whom she had slender hopes of seeing again alive, sounding in her ears.

She had not proceeded many miles when she met a good Samaritan, and an acquaintance of the name of Donald Mac Donald, who disregarding the danger he incurred, opened his door to her, refreshed and consoled her, and {still under the cover of night} accompanied her to the dwelling of William Ennis Esq. Of Sandside, Caithness, and through his influence, the gentleman took her under his protection and gave her permission to occupy an empty house of his at Armidale {a sheep farm he held of the Sutherland family} only a few miles from the dwelling she had been turned out of the day before.

At this time Donald MacLeod was working in Wick and on that night he had felt apprehension of something wrong at home. Donald set out to see how his family was faring when he overtook his wife and William Ennis Esq on the way to his vacant house at Armidale. After a brief recital of the events of the previous night, Donald’s wife implored him to seek their children"

Donald continuing writing says,

"At that moment I was in a fit mood for a deed that would have served as a future warning to Highland tyrants, but the situation of my imploring wife, who suspected my intention, and the hope of saving my children, stayed my hand, and delayed the execution of justice on the miscreant, till they have appeared at a higher tribunal."

He then went to the area near his destroyed home and found the children at their grand Aunt’s house. This good woman’s husband left the house when the children arrived. He dreaded the ruin threatened to any that would harbor or shelter them. His wife upbraided him for his cowardice and declared that if a legion of devils were watching her, she would not put out the children or leave the house either.

After getting his family resettled in the vacant house of their benefactor, Mr. Ennis, things were quiet for awhile until late in the Spring when Donald went to Edinburgh to resume his employment. As soon as it was known that Donald MacLeod was gone and not able to assist his wife, two factors entered his house unexpectedly and began threatening and abusing his wife. Fearing for her life, she left the house with her family to go to her mother’s house which was near their parish church. She had hoped to stay there until her husband returned from Edinburgh to take her and the family away. Thursday the factor appeared and terrified her mother and Donald MacLeod’s wife so much that the next day she left her mother’s house and after two days of incredible toil she arrived at the coastal city of Thurso, a distance of forty miles. She remained a living monument of Highland Oppression. What a nightmare it all seemed!

Soon afterwards, Donald MacLeod left Scotland with his family to emigrate to Canada. His wife never regained her health. In Canada MacLeod combined his letters he had written for the Inverness Courier into a publication telling of the pressure put upon the Crofters of the Highlands, driving them out of their homes, banishing them to the sea coasts to live only on what could be harvested from the sea. He wrote about the greediness of the chiefs who turned to love luxury and drove out their own clansmen in order to make money by bringing in thousands of sheep from the Lowlands to pasture on the lands formerly used by their own people.

During this time Harriet Beecher Stowe was writing about slavery and its evils, writing UNCLE TOM’S CABIN, and other books . In a communication with the Duchess of Sutherland , Lady Sutherland portrayed the clearances of the County of Sutherland as a good thing, Even she was not aware of the great cruelties and hardship her orders had caused her people.

Harriet Beecher Stowe attacked Donald MacLeod’s writings in her book, SUNNY MEMORIES published in 1857 for his criticisms of the Sutherlands. In this book Mrs. Stowe, referring to the so-called "Sutherland Improvements" wrote:

"To my view it is an almost sublime instance of the benevolent employment of superior wealth and power in shortening the struggles of a civilization and elevating in a few years a whole community to a point of education and material prosperity, which, unassisted they might never have obtained."

To this remarkable statement MacLeod replies:

"Yes, indeed, the shortest process of civilization recorded in the history of nations. Oh marvelous! From the year 1812 to1820, the whole interior of the County of Sutherland whose inhabitants were advancing rapidly in the science of agriculture and education who by nature and exemplary training were the bravest, the most moral and patriotic people that ever existed-even admitting a few of them did violate the excise laws, the only sin which Mr.Loch and all the rest of their avowed enemies could bring against them. Where a body of men could be raised on the shortest possible notice that kings and emperors might and would be proud of; and where the whole fertile valleys and straths which gave them birth in due season waving with corn; their mountains and hillsides studded with sheep and cattle, where rejoicing, felicity, happiness, and true piety prevailed; where the martial note of the bagpipes sounded and reverberated from mountain to glen-from glen to mountain.. I say, marvelous, in eight years converted to a solitary wilderness, where the voice of man praising God is not to be heard, nor the image of God upon man to be seen; where you can set a compass with twenty miles of a radius upon it, and go around with it full stretched and not find one acre of land within the circumference which has come under the plow for the last thirty years, except a few in the parishes of Laing and Tongue;- all under mute, brute animals. This is the advancement of civilization, is it not madam?"

Donald MacLeod continues rebuking Harriet Beecher Stowe for her stance in praising the

Duchess of Sutherland’s strategy in clearing the crofters from her land in a short time and in her opinion making the land more prosperous. He continues:

"Return now with me to the beginning of your elaborate eulogy on the Duchess of Sutherland. I agree with you that the Duchess of Sutherland is a beautiful, accomplished lady, who would shudder at the idea of taking a faggot or burning torch in her hand to set fire to the cottages of her tenants, and so would her predecessors, the first Duchess of Sutherland, her good mother: likewise would the late and present Duke of Sutherland, likewise at least I am willing to believe that they would. Yet it was done in their name, under their authority, to their knowledge, and with their sanction. The Dukes and Duchesses of Sutherland, and those of their depopulating order, had not, nor have any call to defile their pure hands in milder work than to burn people’s houses; no, no, they had, and have plenty of willing tools at their back to perform their dirty work from Mr. Loch down to Donald Sgrios, {an under factor} or Damnable Donald, the name by which the latter was known. It seems that Mr. Loch was left to give you all the information you required about British slavery and oppression.… If you took the information and evidence upon which you founded your UNCLE TOM’S CABIN from such unreliable sources, who can believe the one tenth of your novel? I cannot."

MacLeod goes on to enlighten Harriet Beecher Stowe about slavery in the Highlands of Scotland by telling this story.

"In the parish an old bachelor by the name of John Macdonald, who had three idiot sisters whom he upheld, independent of any source of relief. But a favorite of George, the notorious factor, envied this poor bachelor’s farm, and he was summoned to remove himself and his belongings at next term {May 1st. when the next rent was due}. The poor fellow petitioned his Grace and Loch, but to no purpose; he was doomed to walk away on the term day, as the factor told him, ‘ to America, Glasgow, or to the devil if he chose.’ Seeing no alternative, the day before the day of his removal he yoked his cart and got neighbors to help him haul the three idiot sisters into it and drove away with them to Dunrobin Castle. When he came up to Factor Dunn’s, he capsized the sisters out upon the green, and wheeled about and went away home. The three idiots, finding themselves upon the top of one another so sudden, they raised an inhuman like yell, fixed into one another to fight and scratch, yelled, and screeched so terrific that Mr. Gunn, his lady, his daughters and all the clerks and servants were soon about them; but they hearkened not to reason for they had none themselves but continued their fighting and inharmonious music. Messenger after messenger was sent after John, but of no use; at last the great Gunn himself followed and overtook him, asked him how did he come to leave his sisters in such a state? He replied, ‘ I kept them while I had a piece of land to support them; you have taken that land from me, then take them along with the land, and make of them what you can; I must look out for them myself, but I cannot carry them to the labor market.’ Gunn was in a fix and had to give John assurance that he would not be removed if he would take his sisters; so John took them home and has not been molested yet."

Many of the Crofters perished, some scraped out an existence by the sea living on the fish they could catch, some became paupers, some emigrated to Canada and America going on broken down , unsafe ships and lived through the excruciating hardships they had to endure. Some survivors bettered themselves over time, but many scars were left and the unfairness, the cruelties, the loss of human life and dignity have not been forgotten. Bitterness and guilt are still felt where the Clearances took place.

Most every country seems to have something in its past of which it cannot be proud. Here in our country we have the shabby treatment of the Indians in some places and then slavery for which we are still suffering the effects. Ireland had the same thing happen as Scotland with the chiefs taking over the communal land and the others pushed out to wherever they could exist. In Germany we had the Holocaust, in the middle east the persecution of the Armenians by the Turks.

Most recently we have the struggle in Yugoslavia between the Serbian’s and the Albanians also conflict between Pakistan and India in the Kargil Pass area.

Greed and the insatiable desire for power seem to be the two forces that perpetuate man’s inhumanity to his fellow beings.

When we visited the Scottish Highland in July it was spectacularly beautiful, The heather was about to bloom, the people were wonderful, the food was great. It was hard to believe that those bad things could have happened in that quiet, serene, beautiful setting—but it did, during the Highland Clearances

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