Sunday, 8 May 2011

Napier Commission: Ripples and waves

The evidence heard by Lord Napier's Commission in the Hebrides was relayed by the press, and gave rise to further agitation and representation elsewhere in the Highlands and Islands. The below article, printed four weeks after Lord Napier's first session at Braes (see previous post) showed two examples: one from Easter Ross, the other from Orkney. The Commission sat at Sanday in July 1883, and at Dingwall in October 1883.

A meeting of the crofters in the Strathpeffer district was held at Fodderty on Tuesday. Mr Gray, Heights of Auchternend, presided. Mr John Gillanders, crofter, Duran, proposed the first resolution, which called upon the Government to take measures for the abolition of deer forests and the breaking up of large farms into smaller holdings. The motion was seconded by Mr John Campbell, crofter, Strathpeffer, and agree to.
Mr M'Lennan, Bottacks, moved that compensation be granted for all unexhausted improvements effected by crofters. The motion was also seconded and unanimously agreed to. Mr Rose, Heights of Keppoch, moved, and Mr Cameron, Heights of Keppoch, seconded that it was necessary that perpetuity of tenure and revalution of the land be secured to the crofters. Mr Murdo Mcliver moved that this meeting express sympathy with the crofters and working farmers of Caithness, and and resolve and agree with their views generally. Mr D. Cameron, Knockfarrel, seconded, and the motion was unanimously agreed to. Mr K. Cameron, Knockaffer, moved that a copy of the foregoing resolution be communicated to the Royal Commission, with the request that the Commissioners give the crofters in the district an opportunity of stating their grievances to them. Mr Nicol and Mr John Macrae, Dingwall, also spoke in favour of the objet of the meeting, and urged on the crofters to speak out fearlessly, and state their grievances, should the Commission visit the district.

The Orkney crofters, who hitherto have made no agitation, nor had any public meetings, are now taking a more active interest in the subject, seeing the evidence led in the Western Isles. The first meeting has been held in Sanday, of the Northern Isles group, where several delegates were appointed to represent the crofters and cottars.

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