Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Napier Commission in Skye - Attitude

I am currently working my way through the Napier Commission's Report for the Isle of Skye. The landowner at the time (1883) in the northwest of the island was Dr Nicol Martin. His attitude towards his tenantry is eloquently portrayed in reply to:

7570. You think they could not pay the rent?
—I know they could not do it, and they would not do it. They are getting indolent and lazy besides. Look at this winter; they did nothing but go about with fires on every hill, and playing sentinels to watch for fear of sheriff's officers coming with warnings to take their cattle for rent. They went about with pitch-forks and scythes and poles pointed with iron or steel, and it was a mercy no one would serve the processes upon them, or they would have murdered him sure enough. You cannot get a sheriffs officer now to serve a process on any tenant in Skye.

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