Wednesday, 14 September 2011


During its session at Letterfearn, Kintail, in August 1883, the Napier Commission was hearing some breathtaking tales of abuse of crofters and tenants in the villages of Bundaloch and Carndhu. I copy part of the reply from witness John Macrae (in reply to question 31277 by Sir Kenneth Mackenzie).

[...] After that we met with the factor at the schoolhouse, Dornie, but all he did was to make fun of us, telling us to take crops out of the rocks, and to imitate the earth worms who were splendid drainers. And further he told us that the blood went from the heart to the top of the head, and then went downwards to the soles of our feet. This signified that men now-a-days were asking too much, but that they would be checked. A vessel was sent to the country loaded with potatoes by the proprietor, but the factor went amongst the better class of people to give them a supply, and kept from the poorer classes all knowledge of it ; and had it not been for the parish minister, who through charity and kindness got a supply for us, we should have been in a very bad state indeed. Had it not been for the minister of Dornie, many of the poor people here would have been in danger of dying of want during the spring. The nuns provided them with work.

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